By the time Sunday rolls around, my husband and I are extremely tired from a week’s worth of work. But, one of us has to go to the supermarket to restock the fridge. Who should it be?
Sincerely, Tired Tiffany
Dear Tired Tiffany,
Have no fear, your supermarket stress is not very difficult to resolve! The first thing to address is how you or your husband could have used the time that it takes to run to the grocery store. What do you give up by buying the groceries? Say, for example, that your husband wants to watch the latest sports event, while you were planning on walking the dog. This sacrifice, walking the dog, is your opportunity cost.
Once you have identified the most desirable thing that you give up, your decision becomes very simple. Just keep in mind that the opportunity cost is always something positive. So, the opportunity cost of preparing for an important presentation would be more sleep or watching a movie.
From an economist’s perspective, the person with the lower opportunity cost should always be the one to do a task. Instead of debating who is more tired, decide who sacrifices less. Therefore, because walking the dog is arguably more important than watching a sports game, your husband should be the person to run to the supermarket.
Keeping the idea of opportunity cost in mind can help you make all kinds of decisions in your life, from who should pick up kids from school to who should take out the trash. The person not doing these chores is always the one whose time is being used to do something more valuable.
I hope this helps you become less tired!
Best of luck,