Everyone loves a deal. I know I do. But it’s possible to spend so much time looking for the best deal, that it ends up costing us more than what we actually save. And I know this because I’ve experienced it all too many times. I’ll keep looking for a better bargain, and in the end I may spend several hours doing so. But when I look back on what I actually saved, I realize that the amount I saved compared to the time I spent wasn’t actually worth it.

How do you determine if it’s worth it?

One way is to divide the money saved by the time spent, and see how much you’re effectively saving/making per hour. It’s one thing if you spend a few hours (or even several hours) and are able to save thousands of dollars on a car. It’s another thing to spend several hours and save $20 on a pair of shoes. If you’re not saving that much per hour, and are able to earn more by doing something else, it’s probably worth consideration.

But it goes beyond just the dollars saved per hour. We also have to account for all the other valuable things we’re not doing—like spending time with our family, or investing in the lives of others.

Ultimately it comes down to how much our time is worth to us, and how we want to spend it. Is the money we’ll save worth the amount of time it will take to save it? Sometimes the answer will be yes, and sometimes no. But that’s something each of us will have to determine.