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Many people don’t get how “time is money” could apply to them. They might think because they don’t get paid much or they have what appears to be endless free time, their time is not as precious.

That’s not true. Time is the one thing that you can put to work, literally and figuratively, to make money. In many cases, when keeping busy, there is less chance for unnecessary purchases. Here are the many ways that time can be turned into cash right away or down the road.

Simply work

If struggling to make ends meet, consider taking a part-time job or do the odd project that can help with some extra cash. All that is needed is an open mind and clever use of the imagination — and a willingness to experiment with different types of jobs. In all cultures, status is an important aspect, but with a little creativity and openness, you might be able to make money and learn a new skill.

The current job might allow for overtime and a suitable compensation, but if it doesn’t, consider others that might. Instead of being trapped in all the limitations of the current job, one might be able to exchange the free time for a higher income.

One of your hobbies could be turned into a paid gig. For example, babysitting, baking, or organising homes are all examples of things that can be done during the free time for extra money.

Learn something

This is a plan for the long run. Instead of obsessively checking social media or watching television, set aside a few hours to learn something new. This could be a new skill, language or for a certificate. By doing so, enrich your knowledge to help advance professionally or get a better-paying job.

Learning in itself is a skill that can keep one on track financially, because when committing to an end goal, you are likely to be motivated to stay the course. So consider the learning opportunities that intrigue both intellectually and professionally.


Volunteering by definition is not a paid endeavour. But it allows for networking, learning of new skills, and a chance to give back to the community. These can position you for opportunities later. The skills and connections built through volunteering are likely to become handy when finding a new job or getting recommendations.

Some major employers may pay for the hours volunteered by their employees. The money won’t go to you, but to the charity with you volunteer for. This could be one way in furthering the chosen cause.

Make a lifestyle change

People pay coaches and diet specialists to help them follow a healthier lifestyle. If you have time, device a new lifestyle with the help of the many free resources online and in your community. It doesn’t have to be a fitness regime; it could be anything that you would like to change.

Fancy a new look at the home? How about polishing up the painting skills? Trying different foods, biking or growing some of vegetables are examples of where changes can be made to the lifestyle choices.

They make for good use of time but with minimal expenses. In fact, they might end up saving money on the long run.

Rania Oteify, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor.

■ Turn your time into paid work;

■ Develop skills or hobbies;

■ Volunteer for a good cause; and

■ Change your lifestyle positively.