How much is your time worth?

Emma Woollacott
alarm clock with coins isolated ...
alarm clock with coins isolated ...

We've all seen the latest TV advert from We Buy Any Car, in which customers say that they don't mind getting a lower price for their old car as long as they get a quick deal. It seems to show they are happy missing out on what could be hundreds of pounds in order to save a couple of hours of their time

So do we really value our time properly?

One method of finding out just how much an hour of our time is worth is to use GoCompare's Value of Time calculator. Enter your salary, and discover just how much money you're missing out on by looking after your children, exercising or cooking.

"A generally shared perception of time is that it never slows down but only seems to speed up," says GoCompare's Sean Fitzsimons.

"As we lead increasingly busy lives, we felt the Value of Time calculator can give each of us greater insight into how we spend our hours in the day and encourage us to make positive changes to our daily routine accordingly."

Value of Time by

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Of course, with most Brits complaining that their work/life balance is worse then ever before, few of us would want to spend more time earning money at the expense of playing with our kids.

But there are plenty of ways in which investing just an hour of our time can bring a big reward: here are seven of the simplest.

Switch your energy deals
If you're on a variable rate tariff you could save a couple of hundred pounds a year by locking into a fixed cheap rate.

Change to a fixed-rate mortgage
If you're on your lender's variable rate it's definitely worth looking at switching to a cheap, longer term fixed rate - speak to a broker if you're not sure. You could typically save around £5,000 in two years and own your home outright sooner, says

It's worth checking whether you were mis-sold PPI or hit with unfair bank charges in the past or if you're entitled to compensation for delayed flights or trains. It's easy to do this yourself - so don't pay a company to do it for you. You might get nothing, but it's always worth checking.

Go through your bank statements
Look through all your bank statements to see if you have any direct debits for services you no longer use, such as kids' computer games subscriptions or insurance products. You'll need to go back for a whole year to be sure, as not all direct debits are taken every month.

Sell stuff you don't need
It's easier than ever to get rid of unwanted stuff and make a few quid at the same time. Check out Facebook selling groups, eBay or Gumtree and pop an ad online.

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Change your shower
A water efficient shower head, says the Energy Saving Trust, will reduce your hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower. A four-person household can save around £80 a year this way from water heating, as well as a further £120 on water bills if they have a water meter.

Change all your light bulbs
The average household can save about £35 a year on bills by replacing all remaining old-fashioned bulbs with energy-saving CFLs, and all of their halogens with LEDs, at a cost of about £100.