Would you choose "summer Fridays" or a 5% raise?

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(MoneyWatch) What's worth more to you personally -- time or money? If given a choice by your company, would you take "Summer Fridays" or a small bump in salary? As a freelancer, I face this decision all year round -- the more time and effort I put in, the more results I see in my business. So what would you choose? A little more time with friends and family (or simply by yourself) or a little more cash to save or spend on those folks (or again, yourself).

I put that question to a handful of people, and their replies are below. The results clearly aren't scientific -- to some people, Summer Fridays mean a full day, for others it means a half. And at some companies, any time off needs to be portioned into the first four days of the week. At others, it's truly "free." Still, this informal survey revealed Summer Fridays to be significantly more popular than the small raise. Please share your choice in the comments section below.

"I'd choose summer Fridays"

For travel time. My family lives in Minnesota, and between my own vacations and seeing them, allotted vacation days always runs thin. Fridays off means many more opportunities to fly out of here Thursday night to see them and back here again Sunday night. A 5 percent pay raise? What is that, even? It's safe to say I already piss away 5 cents out of every dollar I have; giving me another nickel isn't going to change my lifestyle nearly as much as more free time. -- Ben Nettleton, social media director, Houston, Texas

For beach breaks. As a 24-year-old working at a PR firm in Boston, time off is way more appealing than taking home a little more money. As a younger employee, we already have less vacation time to work with, and some feel uncomfortable even taking what they do get. If I had a higher salary in the first place and 5 percent meant big bucks, it may be a different story. But right now, I'd rather have a little less per paycheck but be checking my balance from the beach at 2 p.m. than the bus at 6 p.m. -- Joanna Clark, public relations assistant account executive, Boston

To have a freer weekend. A four-day work week would give me an extra day to do all of my chores and errands without eating into my weekend. It would improve my relationship because it would give me more time to spend with my husband. It would also give me more time to relax and unwind or take short weekend trips. I think it would also make me a better employee. I'd be happier and more relaxed, therefore a more productive employee during the work week as well. -- Linda McGrath-Cruz, litigation paralegal, Miami

To enjoy the sun. You can't put a price-tag on spending time with your family or doing what it is you love to do. Here in the northeast, the summer days are so valuable because of the long and harsh winters that we can have. For those thinking of a 5 percent raise over Summer Fridays, consider that you can have all the extra money in the world, but unless you have time for yourself, you can't enjoy it. If you want the extra money, cut back on other luxuries and save for it. -- Randy Simons, director of media relations, Albany, N.Y.

"I'd choose the 5 percent raise"

To save and spend more. In most white-collar occupations, you still have to get the same amount of work done. So by getting Friday off, you still have to cram five days' worth of work into four days, which in a salaried job would mean working extra unpaid hours on those days. If the person takes a strategic attitude toward the extra money (saving for retirement, saving for a nicer vacation, a home down payment, paying off student loans, etc.) and doesn't just waste it on shoes and lattes, they can "buy" more enjoyment with the extra money than they would have had with the extra day. -- Richard Breen, media relations director, Greenville, S.C.

To buy a home. Single, childless me would say summer hours in a heartbeat. I've never cared that much about money, and unless I'm in dire financial straits, my time is always more valuable than money. However, I'm a single mom who also wants to buy a home in the next few years, so with that said I'd have to take the 5 percent raise. Anything else would be irresponsible. -- Kona Gallagher, marketing program manager, Leesburg, Va.

To buy stuff. Call me Machiavellian, but you can buy clothing, cars, gas with a five percent pay raise. What can you purchase with a Friday off? -- Richard C. Kelleher, digital marketing specialist

Which would you choose, more time off this summer or more money?

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Joe Mabel

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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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