Outsourcing Household Chores: Cost-Effective Move or the Ultimate In Anti-Frugal?

When I was growing up, and too small to mow the lawn at the house my mom and I rented, my mom hired someone to cut the grass, edge and trim the hedges. It was the only household chore she outsourced as she tackled all inside work, often worked 50-60 hours a week, cooked a hot meal nearly every night for the two of us, and was an all-around great mom.

One day I asked her how we could afford to pay the man to cut our grass. Mom said she could probably get out there and do it herself, but it would take her all day and her allergies would suffer the next couple days. To her, it just wasn’t worth it.

It wasn’t long before my grandfather convinced her I was plenty old enough to push that mower around the yard, and so I did, happy to be doing my part. As I got older, I seem to have inherited those same allergies…and no, that’s not just an excuse to get out of yard work!

These days I wear a mask to prevent inhaling dust and grass clippings, but my eyes still swell to the point I look like I’ve lost a fight. The next day, my sinuses are completely clogged. My wife, probably weary of hearing me complain about my allergies, recently asked the valid question, “Why don’t you just hire someone to handle the yard work?”

Outsourcing the Yard Work?

Honestly, I had never considered it, because it seemed more frugal for me to do it myself. In fact, despite the allergies, I’ve always enjoyed yard work. Well, for the most part. But maybe my wife was on to something. Maybe I should scout out local service providers at Angie’s List and give one of them a try.

I could hire someone to do the lawn, freeing up more family time, and maybe even giving me an opportunity to write more. Instead of spending Saturday mornings in the yard, and the rest of the weekend paying for it (physically), it might make sense to outsource the work and free up that time for something else.

Naturally, I’m reluctant to do it, because it is hard for the do-it-yourselfer in me to hire someone to do something I can do myself. But at some point you have to recognize that your time is valuable, too. Would I rather be enjoying more time with my kids, and/or pursuing more entrepreneurial endeavors, or working in the yard in 100-degree heat on a Saturday. Well, when you put it that way, it seems like a pretty easy decision.

However, I’m also careful to avoid lifestyle creep – something I’ve mentioned a couple times here lately. I haven’t quoted landscape pricing, but I imagine it would add $100-$200 to maintain the yard each month, maybe more. That doesn’t factor in other special projects I’ve completed like planting trees, pruning trees, spreading mulch, etc.

Maybe a compromise would be to outsource the regular mowing and trimming, but continuing to take on special projects myself.

Other Chores to Outsource

Yard work seems to be a popular chore to outsource, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Cleaning services seem to still be in demand, despite the tough economy. Assuming they have the disposable income, I know many people who are happy to pay someone else to perform the weekly maintenance inside the home: vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, dusting furniture, sweeping porches, etc.

Most cleaning services offer a variety of package deals and an a la carte option, and will come up with a schedule that fits your needs (weekly cleaning, every two weeks, once a month, one-time deep clean, etc.).

My wife and hired a cleaning service to deep-clean our old house when we moved, because we were so occupied with getting our stuff settled in the new home. It added a couple hundred dollars to our moving budget, but we both agreed it was the best couple hundred dollars we ever spent!

Sure, it would have been cheaper for us to spend a couple days there scrubbing the place down after the furniture was moved out and the walls were painted, but at the time we were exhausted, I had to return to work, and my wife spent much of her time caring for our kids and my grandfather, who lived with us, all the while trying to unpack boxes in the new house.

I’m still weighing the decision to outsource the yard work, but for now I’ll keep wearing masks and taking Claritin on yard days. Maybe I could ask for service every two weeks to give myself a weekend off (the yard has to be cut just about every week in the peak of summer growing).

I’ll keep you posted on what we ultimately decide, but I guess the takeaway lesson here is that just because we are frugal, we shouldn’t be against spending money just for frugal sake. Sometimes it makes more sense to buy the more expensive, higher-quality option, or in this case, trade some amount of money for your time, which should also treated with value. After all, time is the most important non-renewable commodity we have.

What are your thoughts on outsourcing household chores? Have you ever thought about hiring someone to perform yard maintenance, or to help clean your home?


  1. As someone who travels for work, outsourcing my yardwork and my housecleaning is a must. However, long before I ended up on the road, I learned the value of hiring help. I would rather pay a modest wage to someone who doesn’t mind doing the work that I detest than curse the job myself and do a half-assed job.

    With the extra time that I have, I can pick up side-jobs doing the things that I love (baking, computer work, sales) and let those activities pay for the help that I hire.

  2. Interesting timing on this post!! I had wrist surgery in September and the healing process isn’t as fast as I’d like. So we had a woman come in and deep clean our 7 year old home. We got a quote for her coming in every 15 days. After discussing it, we decided that (1) we wanted a cleaner house and (2) it does save time and (3) we can put it in our budget without a huge impact (even though the cheapskate in me is questioning it).

    Hire someone to cut your lawn – you will love it!! Good luck.

  3. When our children were younger, we were able to find some young teens who were eager to work. Have you thought of hiring a kid from the neighborhood? They don’t charge much, and it helps provide them with work experience and a good reference for when they are older.

    • Exactly! I was just going to suggest that myself. Its helpful to the kids, because they’re having trouble finding summer jobs with the economy being down, and it saves money.

      So Frugal Dad the teen could easily take over mowing and aerating your lawn (when needed), and you could focus on special projects and fertilizing – easily taking half the work out but still leaving you some fun in the yard.

    • Where do you live? My 14 yo son would love the job! Everyone hires a “service” run by adults and he can’t get any lawn jobs. He is hardworking, honest and cheap! Contact a local Scout troop and ask if anyone needs work. Contact the high school and ask. There are teens out there who need work and are willing. Just have to find them and connect. When I had three little ones very close together my husband hired a college student home for the summer to come in once a week to help me by cleaning the house. What a blessing that was. It allowed me to do other things with my children and have a little rest time. As they go bigger I taught them to clean and now all of them can clean a whole house and do laundry, as well as yard work. Frugality is the best use of resourses according to YOUR needs. Good Luck.

  4. At least outsourcing mowing or housecleaning makes some sense ! One time a magazine suggested grooming your own dog to save fifty bucks twice or three times a year ? I had to laugh being a Groomer myself ! You would definitely need a cleaner after that as anyone who’s ever tried it has come to realize. I have even taught owners to groom their own dogs and it STILL wasn’t worth it to them – they always brought their pets back ! Having said that, I strongly believe that in your case, taking drugs probably costs more to you than getting your lawn mowed !

  5. I think if you are paying all your own bills and have a little bit extra money to pay a lawn service go ahead. Especially since it cost you your health a few days. I would second hiring a local teen. My brother also has bad allergies and gets so sick when he cuts the grass. He has to take allergy meds and go to sleep for the rest of the day.

    This spring I had my yard cleaned up because the job was big. It took two guys about 9 hours to get my yard ready for spring (including about 25 bags of leaves that were left over from spring.) Well worth the money, because they had the right equipment and more strength. I am a single mom and it would have taken me three days to do that much work. I think I may budget to have them come once in fall and once in spring.

  6. Dang, I was just writing a similar post on outsourcing and you beat me to it. Good points!

    If it weren’t for your strong allergies, I’d have to vote for handling everything yourself – because it reminds you that each aspect of your lifestyle does have an upkeep cost, and forces you to keep your lifestyle contained. If you just outsource things that take up too much time, it becomes easy to have a very complicated life (pay the house cleaner, pay a chef, pay someone to tow your powerboat to the marina each year and clean the hull for you, eventually get a jet and pay a pilot, then you need an HR manager to handle the payroll for all your staff, maybe a publicist for your public image and a lobbyist to ensure that government regulation leans in your favor….). Complicated does not equal happier – if you insist on doing everything yourself, you are forced to take on fewer activities and possessions in your life, because you are limited by time. Then you lead a more focused AND less expensive life. Which, interestingly enough, makes you happier.

  7. I also agree with having a younger person to do the regular mowing if you go that route. Our neighbor does a great job on a few other neighbors’ houses, while I’m thankful to be able to continue mowing my own.

    Cleaning the house is a much different story, especially when we had our second child. It’s the least painful check I write every other month and we’d much rather use that time playing with the kids.

    In general, I’ve completely jumped on the idea of outsourcing anything that I know can be done better (and usually quicker). For example, I’ve hired a guy to pressure wash our house every year – we worked it out so that he would give me a discount if I had him out every year. It’s totally worth it to me to know that it will be done right and I don’t have to spend most of a Saturday doing it myself.

  8. My husband and I also suffer from terrible allergies when doing the yard work and where masks when we must do it, but another wonderful help for us was buying a manual push (not gas or electric) mower. It doesn’t fling grass everywhere and our allergies don’t flare up at all when using it! (Plus it’s good for the planet, and cheap because no gas or upkeep other than potentially sharpening blades). We found this when gas was so expensive and our mower broke, not even realizing the allergy advantage. So now, every few weeks we have to weedwack and use masks for that, but it’s not nearly as often! The new push mowers are very easy to push and if your lawn is a reasonable size, I highly suggest considering this! Also, instead of buying one brand new (which we found was easier online than at local store), you can try craigslist too!
    Otherwise, a teenager would be cheaper than a lawn service and a good way for them to earn some money (now that the jobs are so scarce esp. teenagers are not finding their first job sometimes until 19 or 20, which isn’t really good for work ethic I’m seeing!). Let us know what you find!

  9. How about thinking of it as hiring someone who needs a job? Instead of giving your money to drug companies (and the hospital if it gets really bad) hire the local person! I hate when frugal hurts the local economy!

  10. I agree with Mrs. White. My children started a lawncare business and they have learned so many valuable lessons. If you can find a teen that is serious about doing it for a business, you would be helping the teen. My children have been doing this for six years.

  11. I outsource the yardwork. I work a lot especially during the summer. There are days (like Monday this week) when I leave the house at 6 am and don’t get home at night til 10 pm. The last thing I want to try and do is figure out when I can get a couple hours to cut the grass and pull weeds. It is worth it to me to be able to spend the time I do have with my kids. I also outsource my taxes. I have saved lots of time and frustration by doing this each year.

  12. http://press.angieslist.com/news/3-dirty-jobs-that-pay-to-hire-a-pro-%281%29.aspx

    You’re reading our minds over here at Angie’s List! We did a little scouting on this topic recently. The link above will take you to our release, but here it is if you don’t want to click out.
    3 Dirty Jobs that Pay to Hire a Pro

    Ever hear anyone complain about having too much time to play with their kids, catch up on their reading or just relax? Know anyone who would rather scrub the toilet than take a nap?

    “Too many of us assume the cost of hiring a pro is so high that it can’t be justified,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “But what we’re doing is undervaluing our own time, as well as the stress relief even a little help can offer.”

    Angie’s List, the nation’s premier provider of consumer reviews on local service companies, did the math on three common household chores that never seem to get done: house cleaning, lawn mowing and cleaning up after pets.

    “Consumers tell us all the time how much easier life became when they gave up some of their chores to a pro, Hicks said. “For some families, hiring a reliable local service company ends the fights over who’s cleaning up after Fido, who’s on toilet detail and whether the grass really needs mowed again. Often, these service pros became like part of the family.”

    1. House cleaning

    Why pay for it? Most of us can keep up with basic tidiness, but giving your house the good scrubbing it needs takes a lot of time and cleaning supplies. It’s a job that’s never truly finished, and, and it’s one of those issues always at the top of the list of things that cause family disharmony.

    * Average cost: $80
    * Time spent by average homeowner: at least a few minutes every day/hours on the weekends
    * Frequency for a pro: every other week

    2. Lawn mowing

    Why pay for it? Your lawn is a huge part of your home’s curb appeal and taking care of it eats up a lot of precious summer time. Few homeowners enjoy the sweat and mess, keeping the gas can full and messing with the upkeep a lawn mower demands to be in top chopping shape. Leave the mowing, trimming and yard waste collection to the experts and you won’t have to store or maintain the tools and equipment.

    * Average cost: $35
    * Time spent by average homeowner: at least three hours, including trimming, bagging and personal clean-up.
    * Frequency for a pro: weekly

    3. Cleaning up after pets

    Why pay for it? Leaving these deposits to break down naturally in your yard is unhealthy for your family and your dog, and let’s face it: it’s an icky job that some of us put off until we just can’t take a step outside without risking a shoe covered in poo. A professional has equipment that makes the task quicker, and some pros say they develop skills that let them sidestep the waste but still find and pick up every bit of it.

    * Average cost: $20
    * Time spent by average pet owner: at least an hour, two for those who tend to put off the job, including disposal and personal cleanup.
    * Frequency for a pro: weekly

    “For some of those dirty, do-it-yourself jobs, if you don’t hire a reputable, reliable professional, you’re going to add to your stress level rather than reduce it,” Hicks warns. “But there are lots of great service professionals out there who would love to take on your chore list. Budget the cost of hiring a professional versus doing it yourself. Then do your homework to find someone with a great local reputation who will make your life easier.”

    Costs for these services vary across the country by size of house, yard or dog. Average costs and job duration were derived by reviewing Angie’s List data and surveying highly rated service professionals in the nation’s biggest cities.

  13. I look at things from a retirement/limited income aspect. Sometimes outsourcing is a necessity to be budgeted because the chore cannot, or should not be done.

    The first that comes to mind for me is cleaning the gutters. At some point in life this becomes too risky…getting up on a stepladder. Inside the house to change a light bulb is one thing, on unsteady ground is another. Washing the outside of windows is another.

    Sometimes finding help to mow, or clean gutters is not all that easy. We are forgetting the folks who live in a rural area. I, for instance…do not have a neighborhood teenager. Or folks who live in a traditional retirement area…my mother for instance lives in an over 55 park where there also are no teenagers.

    Terry in Tennessee

  14. I had a yard service for two summers and after two loped off sprinkler heads and a busted board on my gate, I decided to do it myself. I also had a bit of guilt looking at someone else doing what I did for money as a teenager. At 57 in Texas heat, it’s not fun but it is some exercise and an added benefit is that it has me re-evaluating my landscape. Less mowable area, (the days of golf course looking yards are numbered) and use water-wise, native plants. We’re already limited to watering two days a week and that makes it grow slower as well.
    BONUS: I pay MYSELF 25 dollars every time I mow to stash away for something like dinner out, movie, etc..

  15. There’s just some things I am just not good at so I pay someone else to do a good job, yes it costs, but frees me up to do the things I am good at. And I don’t have to get indignant with myself when I do a bad job. Outsourcing can change your life by freeing up time and liberating you to do the things you excel at.

  16. I have hired both a lawn service and a cleaning lady. This is the best $250/month I spend. We generally have the cleaning lady come before company or a large party. The lawn service comes every 7-10 days. When I add up those costs and weigh it against my hourly income, it always makes sense to hire the services. I, too, have thought about a neighborhood kid, but after three years with the same lawn service, they know me by name, know I pay my bills, and are very responsive!!

  17. Have you tried wearing safety goggles when you mow? They’re not air-tight, but they might be of some help in keeping a lot of that crud out of your eyes. I too think you should check out the local teen option, but until you do that might be an option.

  18. In your case, I would definitely outsource the lawn maintenance to someone else (preferably a local teen/college kid who would do a good job). I would do the other yard projects myself. I don’t think its worth being sick everytime you mow the lawn!!

    Personally, I hate to outsource but have done it in the past to save time and lots of frustration, and it was very worth the money I paid.

  19. We currently pay $160/month for mowing and trimming, and it seems like extra costs are always tagged on, like $50 for fertilizer, $25 for sprinkler repair etc. Sometimes our bill is $250/month. Is fertilizer that expensive? That is something we might be able to manage. How I wish there were teens/college students wanting to work. There is a demand for workers who know how to clean, mow and trim, spread mulch and paint at a reasonable wage.

  20. This is where I say there’s a difference between frugal and cheap. 🙂 When you avoid spending money for something you don’t need, that’s frugal. Not spending money when you SHOULD is being cheap…

  21. Seven years ago i moved from a small ranch house on a fairly large lot to a townhouse. one reason was the yardwork. i used to LOVE my yard — planting perennials, etc., even mowing wasn’t a problem. then, one year, the new man in my life and i (we weren’t “spring chickens” at that point) realized we both spent hours and hours and hours of our weekends on the yard — mowing, mulching, pruning, trimming, . . . and he no longer felt comfortable cleaning gutters. i finally allowed a neighborhood boy to mow the lawn, and it was very satisfying to pull into the driveway after work on a thursday and see the lawn all mowed and looking pretty for the weekend. but we still did everything else, and the last spring mulching caused my knee to get “tennis elbow” requiring physical therapy. we made the decision to move to a townhouse. we’ve been in it for over 7 years, and the annual pots on the patio are just enough! i do get nostalgic every so often about “my yard,” but my husband reminds me of all those 90 degree days sweating and cursing.
    but now, i’m debating trying to convince my frugal self that it would be worth it to get some housecleaning help. the townhouse is actually larger than the old ranch house, and is on levels. i’ve gotten a few quotes/names/prices from neighbors’ cleaning persons, but i still can’t commit. although, after last saturday’s cleaning of 3 1/2 bathrooms, vacuuming, steam-mopping the tile/hardwood floors, dusting, . . and getting a headache from all the bathroom cleaning products, i think i might just do it. i’m exhausted by the end of the the day, and don’t want to have any “fun” on saturday nights. i’m now trying to decide how often would be appropriate and exactly what chores i’d gladly hand over to someone else (the bathrooms are a no brainer).

    • Without committing, how about just trying it out once and see if you like it or not. Then see how long it lasts before you feel it needs the whole thing done over, or what spot cleaning you can do to make it last longer. Maybe you only need once a month or every two months… You’ll know better after you try it once 🙂

  22. Since the man left the planet two years ago, I realized I cannot do everything myself…there’s a reason the marriage model continues to exist, despite some flaws. Since I am OCD about the house, it made the most sense to hire out for lawn care. Plus, my mower had died. Plus, there is the small amount of gas and isn’t Claritin nearly $1 a pop?

    A guy comes every two weeks except in May and June, when it is weekly. I have reduced the amount of yard to mow, so it is $15 for cutting AND trimming (it’s that rural area effect). I love my yard and I still do all the fun stuff, like planting and KILLING WEEDS. I do love me some Round Up. My kids help with the trimming (of course, I pay them a little bit or offer some kind of compensation. I wouldn’t want to do it for free, either) and we have the all-day Yard Day about four times a year. They are learning their own homeowners skills by doing so.

  23. Frugal to me is both frugal with TIME and Frugal with MONEY…
    And neither at the expense of one’s health. And being frugal in most places leaves you with the ability to spend in others…. it’s all a juggling act. 🙂

    When I moved in Feb (across town), I was working and babysitting grands, trying to get the new place ready for the grands plus all the repairs and painting the new place needed (a foreclosure), and all the moving just became too much for me…. so I hired help to deep clean my old home to have it renter-ready…. I was soooo delighted with the outcome, that should the need arise again, I will definitely do it again! Such a feeling of relief, a weight off my shoulders – and such shiny floors! 🙂

    When I was on the dairy farm, I opted for a cleaning service to come in every two weeks and do the floors and bathroom – I could hire someone to do that but I could not hire someone to do the job I was doing in the barn with the baby calves and the cleaning out there – The trade off was worth it!

    If your allergies are getting to you, have your wife do the lawn mowing, and if that doesn’t work, hire someone. If this little old lady of 57 can mow my own lawn….. 🙂 lol! You’ll feel better if you aren’t fighting the allergy all the time – really 🙂

  24. I don’t enjoy yard work at all. But, I don’t mind mowing the yard every week… it doesn’t take me more than an hour. We recently deisposed of the landscaping that was tedious to maintain and just have the lawn to mow and a few flower pots to tend to now. No bushes or trees etc.
    I have previously had a cleaning service and agree that it is money well spent. However, the lady who used to clean our home moved and we haven’t bothered to hire a new service yet.
    I’m currently in the process of building a fence and that is also work that would be best left to someone else 🙂 (Next time)

  25. I don’t mind mowing the lawn, but we do not have a lawn mower. Instead, I pay my 16 year-old brother to mow it every couple of weeks. I know that he needs the money (he’s saving for a car), and I’m not paying an outrageous amount of money to have it outsourced.

  26. I’d outsource work if in that time I can make more money or if I’m too old or physically not able!

    Anything else is an excuse!

  27. While lifestyle creep is always a concern if it gets out of control, isn’t improved quality of life the whole point to getting out of debt and saving?

    We live much the same as we always have, with a few lifestyle creeps now that we’re debt free except for the mortgage and have fully funded EFs and retirement. We 1) go out to dinner about 2 to 3x a month, 2) we have two nice, reliable (paid for) cars, 3)we take great (to us)vacations 4) we have a cleaning lady and 5) we have help with the yard work. I think so long as we recognize these perks for what they are – the happy side effects of otherwise living below our means – they’re not a danger to our finances.

    We have just returned from a vacation where we probably went overbudget by a whopping 2k. So what do we do? The next 2 months we’ll not eat out at all and we’ll cut out that three day getaway we’d been thinking about in August. Those cuts should be sufficient, but if they weren’t, we’d cut out or cut back the cleaning lady.

    Doing yard work when you’ve got allergies, don’t enjoy it, and can afford to pay someone else to do it for you is foolish.

  28. I never felt guilt at the idea of not wanting to do something and hiring someone else. I figured it was a luxury expense I don’t mind budgeting for. That said, we have a biweekly housecleaner and a biweekly lawn service. It is the best $180 a month that we spend on “fun stuff”. 🙂

  29. It’s interesting to me that someone would continue to do something that made them sick and still focus on the cost issue. This is why I think being frugal often gets a bad rap. It seems that frugalistas sometimes forget the obvious: You lose time and money doing some things if you get sick and/or you could be using your time doing stuff you can’t outsource or even working and getting paid.

    Tending a garden because it relaxes you and is a stress-buster is one thing. Mowing lawn, doing outdoor household maintenance (where people often put themselves in physical jeopardy) when they can afford (and that is key, you have to have the money available) to hire a professional never made sense to me.

    We have close friends, both self-employed, working long hours, from a home office. They have a number of people they pay to clean and maintain their house and garden because the little free time they have, they don’t want to spend doing these things–not to mention, they know what they don’t know and don’t think you should waste time trying to be what you aren’t (an electrician, a plumber, etc.).

    In the local economy, they are considered amazing because they are major contributors to the income of a half-dozen people who live nearby. I sometimes get truly annoyed at frugal people who don’t see the value in hiring others (especially if THEY are in a service business themselves!) and in respecting the fact that professionals generally do offer a good value for their services.

    It’s one thing to simply not have the money/option to hire someone. It’s another to have it and then to sort of begrudge giving it to others.

    And FYI: what a lot of people do not say when they try to do things themselves, is that often they fail miserably and still end up having to hire people.

    I’d rather work more and get the money and then hire someone to do some stuff, as needed, in terms of household maintenance. Makes no sense to use very limited free time on some things.

    FYI: I still clean my place because the way it’s set up, it’s actually easier and faster but there will come a time when due to health problems, I may not be able to do. Then I’ll hire someone.

    Friends who have hired folks over the years tell me it was the best investment of money they make on a regular basis because it frees them up and they are less frustrated and crazed by doing stuff they don’t do well, don’t like doing and often mess up.

  30. If you can make more money by outsourcing these chores, then it is a no-brainer. If you are going to sit on the couch and eat bon-bons, then get off the couch and do the work. This is a cost/benefit calculation.

    I know some people hate those chores, but this is money that could be saved for the average family. If you are saving enough for your goals and still have disposable cash flow, then it could be a luxury. Otherwise, git er done.

  31. I would definitely hire someone to do weekly mowing to avoid the health effects you’re observing. I’m sure it’s tough on your body to deal with the allergy symptoms and might wear you down and make you more susceptible to other health problems.

  32. MONEY4THIS ::We all have things that we are willing to spend money on
    NOT4THAT :: and things we don’t think are worth spending money on.

    Everyone is different on what they deem valuable and even frugal. I have allergies and if it made me that bad I wouldn’t even think twice about it paying someone to do it. (I just wish cleaning house made me swell up). If money was a problem I would probably go the cheap route and hire a teenager for much less to just mow. Either way, I wouldn’t do it myself.

    Now that we all have told you to do it, will you actually do it?

  33. Best $70/month I’ve never spent. But when the now 5 year old is old enough to push the mover I’ll put the $70 to a different use.

  34. My son just got hired for the summer after doing a temporary mowing job for our neighbor while they were on vacation. They liked the job he did so well that they decided to have him continue to mow once a week so that they could go on bike trips or fishing when there wasn’t so many people out doing the same. Everyone is very happy with the deal and this gives my son work experience and references for when he is old enough to apply for traditional teenage jobs.

  35. We both hate yard work in our house so we’ve been working at creating a maintenance free yard. Ground cover instead of irritating grass that needs to be cut every week. A deck that has annual maintenance (again instead of weekly maintenance) and landscaping for the rest of the space. We purposefully bought a house that is only a block away from a very large community park so that as our child grows up there will be a convenient green space for her to run around in, just not one that we have to maintain!

  36. Interesting post. The hiring a neighbor kid to do some yard work is a great idea. Unfortunately, in today’s world it comes with a liability risk. Make sure your home owner’s policy has you covered in case of injury. Speaking from experience on this one unfortunately. Have a great 4th everyone!

  37. What are you going to do with the extra time? For me, hiring a company to clean my house means I can put more time into my online business. It also means I have more time for my family. The cost of the cleaning service is easily made up. We’ve considered hiring a lawn crew but it’s something I still enjoy doing on my own right now, though I can see us re-visiting a lawn crew.

  38. My philosophy when it comes to outsourcing household chores is this:
    – Am I putting away 20% of gross income?
    – Am I meeting giving goals? As a Christian I believe my resources are not my own, but given by God. Therefore, 10% is a good place to start but progressive giving as a way to combat cultural creep is better. My wife and I have a goal to get to 20% giving by age 50. (I am 46 this year and we give 17% of gross now).

    If I can answer both questions in the affirmative, and I have a 3-6 months of income emergency fund built up in my checking account, then I don’t believe it is overly indulgent to free up time for yourself through outsourcing household chores.

  39. Just do it, FD. Swollen eyes and sinus damage just aren’t worth it, dearie. You can save the special projects for your very own self if you want to. Fortify yourself ahead of time and limit the time you spend grubbing around. You’ll be glad you did.

  40. I have allergies but I love doing things myself. I love flowers and digging in the dirt. When those flowers grow I just sit back and enjoy. I sometimes call my father over to help me out with big jobs I try to pay him but he will only take a few bucks to play his lotto and leave the rest on the table.

    Love my POPS