The Budget

The other day my mom sat down with my brother and me to show us how she does all the bills and budgeting stuff. All stuff I more or less knew, except for maybe the exact values of our household income and expenses. There are certain things in factored into it that are basically fixed, and there are certain things that can be vary depending on things that we do. Setting up a budget for limited resources is an important thing to do and allows for optimization.

Every day we are given 24 hours to do as we please and it’s up to us how we spend that time. Just like with money there are certain fixed values and certain time “expenses” that must be accounted for. I have 24 hours, but I also have to sleep, eat, work, pee, poop, etc. Those are some hefty expenses. Say I average 7 hours of sleep (for the sake of this discussion let’s say 3.5 hours for the first and last hours of each day). Right now I work about 6 hours per day. Meals ~3 hours per day. Misc. body maintenance (pee, poo, shower, brushing teeth) 1 hour. That totals 17 hours. 17 hours of stuff that can’t really be changed. That means I have 7 hours of free time.

What should I use it for? Exercise? Reading? Video games? Learning Spanish? Playing piano? Staring at my phone? Just like with finances, whatever I put my time into is an investment, and I want to choose investments that will pay the biggest dividends. And I’ll be honest I haven’t exactly been a temporal Warren Buffett. I recently got an app to monitor my phone screen time and found that in the past week I average over 3 hours on my phone per day. Throw in a couple hours or more of video games and that leaves me with less than 2 hours of free time. The dividends of those 5 hours: negligible. It’s kinda like how a lot of people talk about not wanting to look at their bank account because they know it’s not pretty. But facing the truth is the only way to fix things.

Here’s where optimization comes in. I need to change my investment habits to increases my ROI. Using the app I mentioned, I am going to set limits for the usage of certain apps to help combat idle scrolling. At this point I’m trying to bring my phone usage to about 1 hour per day. I’ll also try to block of times during my day dedicated for my high ROI activities. Sounds easy enough, but I anticipate it to be harder than is sounds. Low ROI stuff is so tempting and easy to fall into, but it’s good to get into better habits now because one year from now this budget is gonna drastically change when med school starts. Wish me luck. Words of encouragement or advice are always appreciated.

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