Now this is a topic that everyone can relate to. Who doesn't struggle with the dilemma of time versus money? Do I save money and do it myself, or do I save time and buy it? That can mean buying the item outright, or hiring someone to do some work. Sometimes doing it myself means having to buy the tools and supplies necessary to get the job done. Which is the better choice? I don't know about you, but sometimes one wins out, sometimes the other.
Modern thinking tends to assume money represents leisure and freedom from work, i.e. the more money I have the more toys, entertainments, and free time I can have. Here's a real life example: When the kids were growing up, Dan and I believed they needed a full time mother. Also we believed in homeschooling. Every single person we encountered (except for other homeschoolers) assumed that I stayed home because we could "afford" it. That Dan made a big enough salary so that I didn't have to work. No one seemed to guess that we did what we did out of a spiritual conviction, and that some things are more important than money. The reality of our situation was that we really tightened our belts and lived what others would consider a denialist lifestyle.
I don't think it was always that way. Do you remember in Farmer Boy about Almanzo, his father, and the pumpkins?
Father asked: "Almanzo, do you know what this is?"
"Half a dollar," Almanzo answered.
"Yes, but do you know what half a dollar is?... It's work, son. That's what money is; it's hard work... Say you have a seed potato in the spring, what do you do with it?" ...
"First you manure the field, and plow it. Then you harrow, and mark the ground. And plant the potatoes, and plow them, and hoe them. You plow and hoe them twice... Then you dig them and put them down cellar."
"And if you get a good price son, how much do you get to show for all that work? How much do you get for half a bushel of potatoes?"
"Half a dollar," Almanzo said.
"Yes," said Father. "That's what's in this half-dollar. The work that raised half a bushel of potatoes is in it."
When my kids were little there was a lot of social discussion about mothers and going to work. That was before the supermom myth had been busted and women were looking to have it all. I think it was Dr. James Dobson (or was it Larry Burkett?) who recommended that mothers count the cost of a job before assuming that having a paycheck would mean they had more money: childcare, transportation, wardrobe, meals, vehicle maintenance, and conveniences to make up for one's lack of time all add up. I've had friends who told me that their job was actually costing money rather than making money.
I mention that because the principle also applies to some aspects of homesteading. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about growing our own goat feed, and I received a comment that said it sounded like too much work. The point is, it's work either way, whether I grow it myself or buy it. If a bag of feed is $15 and I make $10 an hour, then it "costs" me an hour and a half of my time to purchase the feed (plus the fuel and time to go buy it). If I make $30 an hour, then it's only a half hour of my labor. The question then becomes, would I rather go work for someone else to pay for my feed, or work for myself (and my goats)?
Sometimes we have more time than money, sometimes we have more money than time. Sometimes it's the little things which are personally important that tip the balance. There is no way to say one choice is better than the other, but I would say it is wise to count the true cost and then make choices based on our goals, priorities, and what we believe will achieve the most beneficial outcome.