Is Outsourcing Household Chores a Luxury or a Smart Money Move?

by MelissaBatai on January 11, 2012

Mopping and Sweeping

I don’t like cleaning; and I make no secret of that fact. Dust can multiply for months, and I might notice that it is there, but I probably won’t clean it. I do have the basics that I do every day—dishes, and general picking up. I clean the bathrooms and sweep and mop the kitchen floor, so I am not a complete slob, but I hate deep cleaning.

A few years ago hiring a house cleaner seemed like a luxury I couldn’t afford. However, my husband and I are in gazelle intense mode now that he has finished his Ph.D. Simply put, we have a lot of debt to pay off from his many years in school. I work from home and have recently come to the conclusion that I make more per hour than a housecleaner does. I could justify the expense of a house cleaner coming in every two weeks to do more deep cleaning such as mopping the entire upstairs, dusting, cleaning blinds, etc. if I work during the time the housecleaner is there.

Many of us are conditioned to see outsourcing household chores as a luxury that we should not waste money on. (At least that was the way I was raised.) However, if you work a full-time job and have a side gig in the evenings and weekends, AND make more per hour than you would pay for the outsourcing, it may make sense to hire someone to do the tasks you don’t want to or don’t have the time to do. I would much rather do my work than clean the house, and economically, it makes sense to outsource.

Of course, housecleaning isn’t the only chore you could outsource. There is dry cleaning, lawn care, even meal planning. (There are plenty of sites that offer meal plans at a reasonable cost. Every week you login and they give you a list of meals, the recipes, and your grocery list. All you have to do is the cooking and shopping.) If you are thinking of outsourcing, choose tasks that you don’t like to do. I happen to enjoy grocery shopping and cooking, so I don’t want to outsource that. Cleaning? That is a different story.

If you can easily afford to outsource, there may be no hesitation on your part. However, if you are on a tight budget like we are or if you are trying to work as hard as you can to pay down debt as quickly as you can, you may feel that you cannot justify the expense of outsourcing. Take the time to crunch the numbers. If you can find someone in the neighborhood to mow your lawn at $20 per hour and you can make $40 per hour doing your own work, it makes sense to outsource because you still walk away with an extra $20 (the $40 you earned minus the $20 you paid to have someone mow). If outsourcing gives you more hours to work and ultimately nets you more money, it may well be worth doing.

*Photo by Cole007*

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Is Outsourcing Household Chores a Luxury or a Smart Money Move? « Outsourcing Yes
January 12, 2012 at 12:30 am

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Untemplater January 15, 2012 at 3:23 am

I dread deep cleaning too. I’m trying to clean 2-3 times a week in small spurts instead of putting everything off until Sundays but it can be tough when work gets crazy. We couldn’t afford a housekeeper when I was growing up so it just feels weird to think that I’d “deserve” one now. If I ever have kids I think I’d welcome help with open arms though as I’m sure I’d be even busier than I am now! -Sydney

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Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter January 15, 2012 at 12:48 pm

We actually hired a cleaner about 6 months ago and it has been awesome. We found a way to work it into our budget. We are much less stressed and have more time to concentrate on more important things. It has been really good for us.

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Melissa January 16, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I am hoping to be able to hire a house cleaner every other week in the next few weeks. With three kids, I could spend much of my day cleaning when I would much rather be writing. Glad to hear of your positive experience, Miss T.

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Poor to Rich a Day at a Time January 22, 2012 at 9:28 am

I have thought of outsourcing many times as it would really help me be more productive with my time. Right now I could not fit it into my budget but it is a nice thought that maybe soon I can!

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Kacie January 22, 2012 at 11:26 pm

I should probably look into what a housecleaning service would even cost, and maybe find some lower-level options.

I think if we have another baby, I will hire out some housekeeping help without hesitation. Right now though, I CAN technically get it all done. I just don’t. There are too many other things that need my attention, but it’s hard to justify the expense right now.

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Michael January 28, 2012 at 6:30 am

“I could justify the expense of a house cleaner … if I work during the time the housecleaner is there.”

This isn’t precisely true. It is only true if you increase your total time working (and get paid for that increase) by the equivalent time the housekeeper charges. It does not matter whether you are working when the housekeeper is there if you relax some other time to compensate or do not find a way to get paid for the extra hours.

Most people use logic like you do above, but then end up working and making the same amount of money as they did before, but fool themselves by staying busy during the specific hours that the housekeeper is on site. If your revenue does not go up by more than your expenses, you made a bad financial decision.

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101 Centavos January 31, 2012 at 7:41 pm

We ‘outsource’ some of the housecleaning every couple weeks. It works OK for us. On the other hand, we don’t eat out much. You could say we ‘in-source’ our food preparation.

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Jan Foselli February 7, 2012 at 5:27 am

Amen! I hate cleaning as well & I’m like you – general pickup & laundry almost daily. I’m going to try the small spurts as well so I’m not spending my weekend stressed out from not cleaning & then scrambling to do so. DH doesn’t like ‘having a stranger in the house’ so getting a house cleaner is not an option for us…….

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