Value your free time – how much would it take to get you to give up an hour of your free time? That’s your hourly rate for paying for services. If it’s going to cost less than that to pay someone else, you’re better off doing that. (John Gannon, c.1991)
Cost of fun – when money was scarce we used to work out the cost/hour of a particular amusement (OK, arcade game). Then we’d take steps to maximize perceived value (fun/cost). This meant going to matineés, selecting games based on our skill, etc. (This led inevitably to pinball instead of video games.) More importantly we started to think analytically about how we spent money. (Craig and I, c.1986)
Don’t re-invent the wheel – if someone has already solved a problem, make really sure you’ve got a better solution before you waste time and money learning why they did it that way. Generally, rethinking well thought out ideas is an interesting exercise for learning, but not great for profit. If possible, read up on why they did it that way before you do it the hard way.
Avoid “DIY” syndrome – doing it yourself will only save money if your time is cheap. Figure out what someone wants to do a jobs and if you can’t do it for 1/3 as much, you’re definitely better off paying to have the job done. The only exception is if you consider the task a hobby, then cost goes out the window. But make sure you mean it. (me, c.2010)
Cost equals Effort – figure out your hourly wage. Now before you spend money on something weigh it against the amount of time you’ll have to work to pay it off. Still worth it? Suddenly pricey or surprisingly cheap? (me, c.1998)
Time & money are fungible – but it’s much easier to earn more money. (me, c.2010)