Is It Worth It To Pay Someone Else to Complete Some of Your Everyday Tasks?
Many of us scoff at the idea of hiring someone else to take care of something we can do for ourselves. After all, chances are that you are perfectly capable of mowing your lawn, or cleaning your house. Many frugality experts also recommend that you change your oil so that you aren’t paying someone else to do what you can do in your own driveway.
But could it be worth it to hire someone else to take care of these tasks after all? What it comes down to is the tradeoff between time and money.
How Much Money is Your Time Worth?
It’s true that you can save money by completing many mundane tasks yourself. However, whenever you take them on, you have to invest time, which could be spent doing something else. If you could be building your business or getting a certification that could lead to a pay raise instead of spending two hours cleaning the house, it might actually be worth it to pay someone else to perform your chores.
One of the first things to consider is the value of your time. Many people use how much they make at work as a measure of how much their time is “worth.” If your time is worth $25 an hour, but you can get a kid in the neighborhood to mow the lawn for the equivalent of $20 an hour, it might make sense to hire it out – assuming you are doing something productive with that time.
The key, when looking at it from a purely financial standpoint, is ensuring that you are productive with that time. According to the 2011 American Time Use Survey released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend, on average, 2.8 hours per day watching TV. This is about half the leisure time the average American has at his or her disposal. If you are using the time you pay others to complete mundane tasks to watch more TV, or engage in some other equally useless activity, you’re not really getting your money’s worth.
Even if you decide not to hire someone else to complete your everyday tasks, consider what you could do with the almost 3 hours you spend each day watching television!
Time is Worth More than Money
Some people hire others to do their chores not because they want to free up the time to make more money, but because they think that their time has a value that can’t be measured by mere money.
For example, if paying someone to complete a few minor chores will allow you to spend more time with your kids or just get a few moments to yourself after a long day of work, it might be worth it. Indeed, according to a 2010 study by The Wharton School, and published in the Association for Psychological Science, time matters more than money to most people. Time is about emotional investment, according to the study, while money is more about survival.
If you decide that the emotional investment is more important, and you can free up the time by spending an acceptable amount of money to have someone else perform mundane, time-sucking tasks, it makes sense to free up that time. (You should, however, be sure that you have the disposable income available to truly afford hiring services.)
You can always make more money, but time, once gone, never returns.
Decide If It’s Worth It
If you enjoy yard work, and value it as a form of exercise, there is no reason to pay someone else to do the job, no matter how much time it takes. Make a list of everyday tasks you wish you could outsource. Then figure out what you would do with the time it frees up. Determine how important that free time is to you. If you feel that you will use it productively and positively, either spending it on things you truly enjoy, or making more money, it might be worth it to pay someone else to handle your chores.
Image: jesadaphorn / iStock.
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