Outsourcing to Balance Time
I've posted multiple times about how time poor we feel. My wife and I have struggled with finding a balance with our responsibilities and my guess is many working families struggle with this. I feel its likely a particular challenge for those of us who are frugal. Since college I've happy exchanged time for savings since time was in abundance and it seemed like a good trade to maximize our savings.
These days the tables have turned and I'm struggling with balancing my time:
- I'm older and more attuned to how valuable time is. If I live to be 80, I'm closing in on the midpoint of my life. The clock is ticking and its fair to say I'm more conscious of it these days.
- I'm juggling more responsibilities than ever: trying to maintain a career, 3 rental properties, family, etc. My time hasn't increased, but my commitments have grown expontentially.
- I still have a innate instinct to trade time for money. Without thinking I typically reach for the lowest price point product, will spend hours doing research before a purchase, will happily go to multiple stores to pick up items if it costs less $.
- We are still have a big hill to climb to reach our financial goals. Once we reach our goals I suspect finding balance will be much easier as one major factor (our finances) will have a lot more flexibility.
I've previously posted on our thoughts on trying to outsource more to help balance our responsibilities. Here is an updated view of primary items that we look at outsourcing:
- Home Cleaning - We have avoided an sort of subscription on cleaning, but we have been getting our house cleaned a couple times a year when the cleaning service offers a $20/hr promotion. If we were to find someone to clean our house for < $15/hour on a regular basis we would probably do it as its not something I consistently help with and I know would help my wife
- Home Repairs/Improvements - We now have a neighbor (in school) who will help on several tasks for about $20/hour. I still do the majority of the work around the house, but have had him take on some small projects for me and am looking for his help with some larger home improvement projects we had in mind when we bought the house in the future. We have also been trying out some painters to try and find one that we think provides a good value - at this point I just assume have a painter do all the painting around the house if they are < $20/hr. This is a big change from before where I would just assume do all the painting to keep our expense to a minimum.
- Rental Repairs/Maintenance - We've been able to find some good help here and continue to have success in minimizing the time spent keeping up our rentals. We have had a couple handyman taking care of two rentals in close proximity for us (costing us $20-$35/hr depending on the handyman) with good success. We've had a contractor help us with some projects at the 3rd rental and if we find a reliable handyman that we feel is a good value we will use them regularly.
- Oil Changes - We continue to get our oil changed at a car shop for <$20/change. I never paid anyone to change my oil before I met my wife, but I'm now very comfortable paying someone else to do it as it is a good value for my time. The cost of the materials alone typically makes the actual cost for the work a no brainer.
- Lawn Maintenance - I generally like working on the yard and continue to maintain it myself. It will be a very sad day for me if I ever have to pay someone else to mow my own yard.
- Car Wash/Cleaning - right now our cars just suffer from a lack of being regularly cleaned. We don't have the time currently to clean them and will use a car cleaning service when we feel compelled to clean them.
- Trash Service - We are closer to getting trash service. I currently haul our own trash to the dump every 3-4 weeks and find it a generally enjoyable activity. However, the cost for the time savings is relatively low and with a second child on the way I suspect I would need to travel to the dump more frequently from the increase in trash. Also when I purchase a replacement car I will be less inclined to haul trash in it.
Are there other major areas that you spend money to save time?
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