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August 24, 2009


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I sometimes wish I had a job that paid for more time, since I am salaried, I see no money benefit from outsourcing my chores. As for time with the family, it is hard to put a price on time mowing the lawn versus spending time with the family. We are do it yourselfers through and through so usually projects involve the whole family and give us time to work together. I am just waiting for my 2 month old son to get old enough to mow the lawn!

My only problem with strategies like this is that people forget you must get something useful out of your time to make it worth it. If you use that saved time to just sit on your butt and watch TV, you're not really saving any money at all. (Unless watching TV is worth that much to you...)

There are other factors which might also come into play here. For instance, if a particular household task is very stressful or a source of contention between you and others in your household (e.g., one person feels the other person never gets the bathroom clean enough), sometimes outsourcing it is an investment in domestic harmony. I've found hiring a cleaning person twice a month can be very helpful in shared living arrangements--if everything is spic and span twice a month, most people can live with varying standards in between, since it never has a chance to get too bad.

I pay a local teenager $20 a week to mow the lawn. Helps a kid earn some money and gives me an extra hour with my family on the weekend.

I also pay $20 to get my oil changed, I could do this at home and save $10, but again, the time with my family is more valuable.

Twice-a-month housecleaning service is a good deal for this single mom. I did it myself for many years, but it took up most of one day every weekend and left me totally worn out. Even though I still have many other chores that I have to do to take care of my family--laundry, grocery shopping and errands, cooking, and yard maintenance--I now have some time on the weekends for family, work, or personal pursuits. Also, I like it that the house always looks presentable no matter how busy I am--makes it easier to spontaneously get together with friends. It's also nice for when I travel for work, because the housecleaners keep and eye on things and feed the gerbil while I'm gone.

Chores are often valueable as learning lessons.
You and kids get to learn what you/they do or do not like to do also get to appreciate those who do what you do not want to do.
the money/time trade off has to have 'agravation factor' added in also.
Some thing just are not worth doing yourself.

$50 for mowing grass - a week!

I'm glad we have rock (in Arizona)!

I have the opposite philosophy which is I like to do as much as I can in order to save $. This includes cleaning my apartment and actually taking my laundry to the laundromat and doing it myself. I know those sound like no-brainers, but among my friends where I live (NYC/Brooklyn), no one I know does those chores themselves.

Husband spending 2 hours in the kitchen could save us 20 to 30 bucks but if he works overtime (from home) for 2 hours, we will earn $45/hour. The $45 may be taxable but I think, the time he spent doing overtime work still has more value than the cooking chore.

We hire a maid to do the once-every-two-weeks thing, and a gardener to deal with the yard every two weeks. It costs about $150/month total. We figure it buys us at least two weekend days per month, which is good since we can have that time to go on day hikes, etc. Another thing is we don't have to buy and store yard gear in our small garage.

I like the way you present this topic. It shows that thinking outside the box is usually a good idea. Also, it is not such a good thing if you apply some ground rules strictly and all the time. Things should be evaluated on their individual merits. - We outsource some things, too, especially if they can be done more effectively by somebody else and not for too much cost. We do that, even if we do not spend the times saved on other productive activities. As far as I am concerned, there are benefits to outsourcing that are not tangible, too - like more leisure.

You could extrapolate outsourcing to the idea of having a nanny. My wife makes too much income as a physician to not have her work. The cost of the nanny is easily paid for by the additional income she generates. If you can improve your cash-flow by outsourcing tasks, it is worth it.

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