Spending Money to Save Time

My wife’s extended family is of Norwegian heritage, and the entire family loves eating lefse at large family meals. The only problem is that preparing an extended family sized batch of lefse takes several hours, so they all chip $10 or so together and buy three or four pounds worth of the potato pastry from a local small businessperson who makes it from scratch.

Another friend of mine is of Eastern European descent and his family eats babka some family events, and the babka is made on a rotating basis (meaning one person makes all the babka for one family event). When it came to be her turn, she didn’t have the time to make the babka but she wanted it to be as good as the babka as her other family members made, so she ordered four loaves from Dean and DeLuca, setting her back $50.

Yet another friend of mine was making handmade wooden blocks in his woodshop for his son, sanding them down carefully and painting them. He ran out of time so he enlisted the help of several of his woodworking friends, paying them several dollars for each block they could make before Christmas arrived.

In each of these cases, the person was substituting their money for their time. Their busy lives prevented them from having the time to do something well inside their skill set, so they paid someone else to do it.

This brings to mind an argument from another friend of mine, who pays a housekeeper to come to his home for a couple hours a day. This is a local connection, paid in cash only – he pays the woman $10 an hour in cash to come to his home and do some basic cleaning – vacuuming, scrubbing toilets, etc. He argues that without this service, he wouldn’t be able to do many of the things he has the free time to enjoy, and to him it’s worth $10 an hour to get that extra time.

On a lot of levels, this approach makes sense to me. What value do you place on your time during your waking hours? One honest way to do this is to calculate your hourly wage and see how much you actually do value an hour of your time, and then use that data to figure out how valuable your free time is to you.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that I make $12 an hour as my real wage for the time invested working on The Simple Dollar, and I worked on it two hours a day. If I hired someone to clean my home at $10 an hour during those two hours, I would only make $2 an hour, but I would have two hours of free time where I didn’t have to participate in the drudgery of house cleaning. Those two hours could be used to make the lefse or the babka, saving some significant money, or else spent enjoying my life.

Alternately, let’s say I had a great idea for a side business and the capital to get it rolling, but I didn’t have the time to get started. I could channel some of that capital into hiring someone to do menial personal tasks, then channel my own time into the side business, seeing if there’s enough meat there to get things to really take off.

This is much the same idea as the “virtual assistant” concept in The 4 Hour Workweek, or the precise reason why upper middle class and upper class families hire a maid or personal assistant to take care of menial tasks for a relatively low wage. They’ve discovered that their time is quite valuable and that an assistant like this creates more free time in their lives that they can spend with their families, doing things they deeply enjoy, or perhaps following their dreams as well.

For many people, this isn’t even a consideration. I know many people who make a real wage (their hourly wage after including benefits, extra hours spent devoted to the job by commuting and so on, and extra money spent commuting and on clothing and on taxes and so on) below minimum wage and thus this isn’t really an option, or perhaps they’ve reached a point in their life where their income from other sources covers their living expenses and they have all the free time in the world.

This concept really speaks to people like me whose most valuable resource is time. Time, more than anything, is what I wish I had more of. Is it appropriate to buy more time? It depends entirely on how you value it, but as time goes on and my writing career begins to bloom, it begins to look like a compelling option.

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  1. Jodi says:

    I find it interesting that quite often a SAHM’s time isn’t valued at all.It is seen that they have all the time in the world so hey are given more an more tasks to do. At what point is their time worth getting help to do some of the work? That is what my husband and I are trying to figure out. In a sense I “earn” money by saving my family money – by being the primary care taker of my children, cooking our meals so we do not use convenience foods, cloth diapering, breastfeeding,… the list goes on and on… But they list keeps getting added to and my basic housework tasks suffers…

  2. Bill says:

    There’s nothing I value more than my time, or my wife’s. She’s a SAHM, even though our son is 16.5 years old. We learned long ago that all of the things that she’s able to do for us during the day while we’re at school/work is more valuable than any paycheck she can bring home. Plus, it opens up our evenings and weekends for family time, instead of shopping, etc.

    The concept even touches our hobbies. I love working on my classic truck, but there are some things that it’s better to buy prefabricated or have someone else do, all in the interest of skill level and/or time.

  3. Patrick says:

    It’s all about time freedom. Money is just money until you spend it, and the price of existence for many people is the slavery of working a job they hate to buy stuff they don’t need. (paraphrased from the movie Fight Club).

    I put in 40 hours a week and I’m starting to embrace the idea of frugality. Not just buying less stuff, but not needing to buy stuff. There is a subtle difference there that I have not yet fully embraced.

    My next goal is to develop a stream of income outside of my main job (mostly passive) that can knock a full day off of my work week. Time freedom is my true goal. That is the real prize. I always thought I had to be rich to be free….but embracing frugality is starting to play a part in my life.

    Thank you Trent for sharing your thoughts here, your website is packed with value.

  4. victoriana says:

    “The real truth is that money can’t buy happiness, only time can. If you look at every financial transaction you make through that filter, everything begins to look a lot different. ”

    Trent that statement caught my eye, from your blog and as I mused about it I realised that money can buy time. Surprisingly, looking on your blog today, that’s what is resonating loudly. So, yeah, money can buy time and in turn that time can be translated into happiness.

    You say you’d love to write and I can say that since you decreased on the number of posts, the quality of your work has improved! Congratulations!

    I have been writing for years and my writing spans from journalistic articles for magazines, broadcast to scientific/academic journals. I also do research. All call for different standards. However, I have learnt that scientific writing needs a lot of evidence and even now that I am a full time researcher/writer, I can’t get over the fact that the social sciences are full of what I call ‘man-made’ conclusions, otherwise concocted in our personal labs ostensibly called homes/lives. I am a social scientist at heart.

    It takes me back to some of the fundamentals of journalism, which have been eroded by sensationalism, especially portrayed by the western media. These are things like the use of worn out cliches, and the excessive use of sweeping statements, which reminds me of you. You are a good writer and I have become a keen reader of your blog but my dear, you make so many sweeping statements! Please, check that.

    You made some statements about people losing jobs. At first I was not so sure I agreed with you but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions here but from the posts that followed I realised that your limited professional experience (deduced from your age) was definitely a reason for your inappropriate conclusion. I was grateful to the many people who posted varying views and I, too, was schooled from their posts. Again, thanks to you.

    I therefore kindly request you to take your time before making conclusions and then relaying them as the truth. Truth can be subjective but maybe you can keep on saying, “In my opinion…. In my view…. In my experience…..etc” This will also help your niece but don’t think that your experiences or observations based on whatever number of people you are in touch with, necessarily give you valid conclusions. Otherwise, keep up the blog.

    Shalom….!!

  5. Trent Trent says:

    Jodi, you’ve touched on an issue that I’ve been trying to figure out exactly how to write about for a while now. How does one figure out the real cash value of a stay at home parent? I’m going to really work on that one in the next few days.

  6. victoriana says:

    BTW, I meant to also let the readers know that I was born and raised in Uganda but have lived in various parts of the world (including other African countries, U.K, Belgium, Holland, Germany, France, N. Ireland etc, mostly due to my journalistic work and postgraduate studies. I am widely travelled. So, yeah, from the remotest war-torn villages in dire need on my continent, to the glitzy lived of London, New York, Paris, (even Dubai), personal finance is interesting. I currently live in N. America. I therefore find personal finance blogs very interesting, looking at myself as an outsider.

    Keep it up.

  7. Jason says:

    Trent,

    My wife is a SAHM and we’ve wondered about this as well. In fact, since full time workers are able to deduct a portion of childcare expenses via a Childcare Flexible Spending Account I think it would only be fair to give families with a SAHM some equivalent credit.

    One angle to consider in your article – Many SAHM’s are grossly underinsured because they do not have an “income” to replace in the event of their death. If something happened to my wife I would have to hire a maid, a nanny, after-school child care, etc. That alone speaks to the worth of a SAHM.

  8. I don’t know much about the SAHM thing. So I’ll write to the “pay somebody to do something to free up time” thing.

    You really touched on it toward the end of your post. This concept is really a luxury of the upper middle and upper classes (i.e., those who make enough money to pay someone else to do something.

    Another aspect to this would be “what” do you pay other people to do if you had somewhat limited resources – house cleaning or lawn maintenance? Grocery shopping or picking up the dry cleaning?

    I think the real deal is determining one’s priorities and managing time around those priorities. Is it more important to get the house cleaned or to post on The Simple Dollar? And if you had finite resources, could you do both?

    Just some thoughts.

  9. Alicia says:

    This is a good issue for people to think about, but it shouldn’t be based on how much you make each hour you’re working unless you’ll actually be working *and* the money is otherwise unallocated.

    There are two separate issues here. One is the subjective value of your time, and the other is the hourly worth of your time based on your current employment.

    If you’re a salaried employee, you’ll bring home the same amount of money whether you hire a housekeeper or not. The only reason your hourly income should factor in is if you have a way to actually make the extra money you’ll pay out.

    I’m a freelance writer. If I take a cab home from work, it costs me $23 and saves me 30 minutes. Technically, that half hour is worth $30 to me–but only if I actually do some extra work so I can bill an extra half hour. If I don’t, I’ve simply spent money to save myself time.

  10. Alicia says:

    BTW, in my previous comment I wasn’t including SAHPs. If a SAHP is in a situation where he/she has to defend his/her value (which should be so obvious that it needs no defense), one approach might be to consider the salary he/she would be making if working outside the home.

    In many ways, the value of a SAHP is unquantifiable. I’m assuming someone would only try to put a number on it if they were being forced to for some reason.

    Figuring out an hourly worth for an SAHP will only do you so much good, based on the logic of my previous post. Calculating your hourly worth won’t magically increase your bank balance, but it could help to remind a perhaps-ungrateful spouse what’s up.

    You might also use the concept of overtime. You can’t run a house and raise children in 40 hours a week. On evenings and weekends, your spouse should split the responsibilities evenly, just as he/she would if you were both employed outside the home.

    My dad always had a weird idea that his job was to work, and my mom’s job was to run the house and raise three kids. It was awful for her and for us kids–like being raised by a single parent. Hopefully your situation isn’t this extreme, but in any case I would encourage you to defend your time and your worth vigorously!

  11. vh says:

    Seems to me the SAHM’s time is worth what it would cost to hire a live-in, 24-hour-a-day nanny & housekeeper with comparable intelligence, education, and caring personality. That plus whatever the SAHM nets if she has a home-based business, such as blogging, freelance writing, or peddling candles in her friends’ homes.

    None of this addresses her value as her husband’s companion and, uhm, playmate.

  12. Johanna says:

    “Is it appropriate to buy more time?”

    If you have a car, a washing machine, or a microwave, isn’t that exactly what you’re doing?

  13. Mary says:

    Families with SAHM’s DO get a tax credit — they pay less in taxes because they make less money. Paying someone to do something for you only makes sense technically if you are earning more per hour while the other person is doing it.

  14. JReed says:

    A SAHP is Priceless!…I do not have children but my 3 siblings do. I’m sorry to say this but the ones who have had stay at home parents are far more confident, courteous, curious and playful than the ones who went to day care. I know this may spark controversy and I am fully aware that it takes two incomes in some families. But , that is what I observe in my family.

  15. Marjorie says:

    Trent,

    I completely agree with your article’s basic premise. While we can’t afford to hire a housekeeper at this time, I look forward to when my writing brings me enough income to be able to at least get a virtual assistant to take care of the tedious bookkeeping and administrative tasks my writing requires. Plus, as my husband works long hours, I usually take charge of the housekeeping, which takes up more time than I can really afford to sacrifice, given the demands of self-employment.

    Considering that I can average $20-25/hour (sometimes more, depending on the assignment) with my freelance writing, it’s worth it to me to get someone to do the unpleasant-but-necessary tasks of keeping my business and household in order. Plus, it frees up my time so that I can focus on getting more quality assignments, just increasing my hourly pay.

    And most of all, I can spend more time with my husband rather than running errands or doing laundry.

    Salut,
    Marjorie

  16. Chris Conley says:

    Johanna great point. Lately the saying “Time is money” has taken on a whole new meaning; or maybe it’s just that I finally ‘got it’.

    Everything you pay for can be boiled down to paying someone else to spend the time to produce a finished product/service.

    On another note, I used to vaguely think(dream) that my true hourly wage was what I made before taxes. I used to use that as an excuse to hire others to do work, so that I would “save” money and time.

    Now that I’ve calculated my true wage after taxes, expenses, actual hours worked and so on, it makes much more sense to do many more things myself. And I’m better off for it now, saving a bunch of money and not living off in lala land thinking I made a ton of money!

  17. Rob says:

    This calculator was created by Crown Financial Ministries. It can help you calculate the net income you recieve for your work and how much you actually add to the family income after all work-related expenses have been deducted from your gross income.

    http://www.crown.org/Tools/Calculators/Work_OneIncome.aspx

    It will be interesting to see what you all think, especially when discussing the SAHP.

  18. JT says:

    I agree to a point…I do this with car washes for example (I pay to get that done in a few minutes rather than do that myself). But I do the rest of my household chores on my own. I just feel that paying a maid (even at $10 an hour, and I make more than that) would be a significant chunk of money each month. Its one thing to argue that your hourly wage is xx dollars and therefore you should outsource menial duties. But, really, you aren’t always on a clock and earning money. You can easily take care of some things like laundry during your downtime and save the expense.

  19. Liz says:

    I’ve never been in a position to pay someone to take care of this kind of tasks, but if I owned a home, I would pay someone to clean if I possibly could. Why? For me particularly (although my husband is much better), cleaning is hard work that I don’t do particularly well. For me it will take a long time to do something that a professional can do much more easily. Plus I will cut corners. And if you own a home, it is probably worth it to protect your investment. I don’t care enough to make it a regular priority to clean, so paying someone would make sure that it would get done.

  20. Steven says:

    I don’t think you can break it down quite so directly into hourly value. I work 40 hours a week, but that’s “have to” work time. The other kind of time, “don’t have to” time, is in a different category – the value of that time is a mix of what I make at work, how much free time I want to have in general, how much I think I’m worth versus how much I get paid, etcetera. In addition, the less free time I have, the more value it has.

    If I make $25/hour during the week, my weekend time is worth more than that to me because it’s all I’ve got to myself. I may be willing to pay a little more than my job pays me (which is not necessarily what I’m worth, anyhow) to free up my extra hours. If I make $25 an hour at work, I may not take a job an extra ten hours a week for $35 an hour because that free time is worth more to me than $25 an hour.

    I might sometimes trade time for money because I must, but my time is priceless.

  21. vh says:

    Alicia makes a good point: “If you’re a salaried employee, you’ll bring home the same amount of money whether you hire a housekeeper or not.” The only context in which assigning personal time a dollar worth occurs when you’re not salaried: when you own a business or have a sideline, so that your income directly depends on the number of hours you work.

    You could look at it this way: the more time you have to work for someone else to put bread on the table, the more the REST of your time is worth. This presents a kind of supply-&-demand scenario. The less time of your own you have, the more that time is worth to you.

    Forty hours a week is a huge chunk out of your life. Having to fork that much time over to an employer means all the rest of your survival chores have to be done at night (when you’re exhausted or occupied with kids–or both) and over the weekend. That means you have two days in which to

    * do the grocery shopping (often involving trips through traffic to several stores);
    * schlep to Home Depot (often several times, if you have a repair project under way);
    * clean the house (a two- to five-hour job, depending on the size of the house and the size of the mess);
    * get dog or cat food;
    * wash or groom the dog;
    * wash the car;
    * mow the lawn;
    * water and groom the garden;
    * clean the leaves out of the gutters;
    * clean the pool & adjust chemicals;
    * wash the windows;
    * take out the trash;
    * repair the toilet;
    * change the car’s oil;
    * take the cat to the vet;
    * reconcile your bank accounts;
    * calculate the budget;
    * drive the kids to soccer, baseball, music, friends’ houses;
    * prepare a week’s worth of food, if that’s your thing; and
    * oh yeah…you thought you were going to watch a movie! LOL x 10!

    In other words, you’re trying to cram an entire week’s worth of chores and running around into two days! In my opinion, that makes your “free” time worth at least as much as & probably more than your hourly wage, real or employer-alleged. When your supply of time is low, it’s well worth hiring a housekeeper, a lawn service, or a pool dude (or dudette), to have someone else change the oil, or to buy a product instead of making it.

    The time I have to put in at the office is brass. My free time is gold.

  22. Sandy says:

    Again, while not a “chore” like scrubbing the toilets, figuring out paperwork for your HMO or other health insurance plan is time spent, and if time is gold to most of us, please consider supporting a candidate who supports universal health care. Like a guaranteed week’s time off, in our case.
    While it seems like many posters are young-ish, and like my husband and me have children, not so much medically is going on. (outside of broken arms, etc..) But we likely spend a good week through the year figuring out forms and deductibles, etc…(not to mention at the doctors office having to fill out new forms every visit).
    Older people have much more time taken from them figuring out all that they need medically, and then throw in the drug benefit…hello! Talk about how much time (life energy) trying to figure that one out!
    Time is golden…has anyone figured out how much the average person would have if not filling out health insurance forms?

  23. lorax says:

    This assumes you’re making money at the same rate indefinitely into the future.

    That’s not usually the case, so there’s another dimension to this: the money I spend for time now might mean less time is available later. If I pay for someone to fix my electrical system now, I have less money to invest. This means I can’t use it in the future – when I might want to (or have to) retire early.

  24. sandspiral says:

    Some very good points have been raised here. One that really resonates with me (made by Alicia and JT) is that money spent only gains you the value of your time if you actually use that time to *make* that money/recoup that value. Another (made by Steven and vh) is that time spent not working is MORE valuable than your “true hourly wage” (however you determine that) because you have so little of it and need/want to do so much with it.

    I’d like to ask the group a related question–somethng that came up for me when I recently read Tim Ferriss’s “The Four-Hour Work Week.” The way he describes outsourcing menial tasks raised my moral hackles, and I’m trying to figure out why.

    My family would probably be classified as lower-middle class…we never wanted for any of the necessities, but there was always an awareness of having to watch the money closely and not spending on “extras.” So I was raised to value hard work and self-sufficiency, but I’m beginning to realize how much of a poverty consciousness I absorbed. I have also discovered that I have a kind of disdain for money–the attitude of “it’s greedy and not spiritual to focus on wanting money,” etc.–which I now want to get over. After all, money is neutral. It’s what you do with it that counts.

    So Tim talks in his book about outsourcing menial tasks to people long distance, and often in other coutries such as India. Even if I had the wherewithal to do this, to me that smacks of a kind of master-and-servant mentality.

    On the one hand, you might argue that your “virtual assistant” in India (or wherever) has freely chosen to work for what I might think of as slave wages, but which to them is actually decent money.

    On the other hand, compare that to, let’s say, getting a maid. Let’s face it–the person you hire is highly likely to be from the lower classes. It may not be politically correct to make such an observation, but I don’t personally know anyone who would choose to make a living dusting furniture and scrubbing toilets–unless they have large amounts of initiative to pursue other careers and goals, people do menial jobs for a living when their life circumstances don’t readily present more pleasant options.

    Let me stress that I do NOT mean to offend anyone by these comments. I’m sharing them because I’m very much in the process of working these things out in my own mind and would love it if people shared their own thoughts.

    Where do you (mentally, or in actuality) draw the line between feeling like you are taking advantage of others and wanting to leverage your time by paying them to do tasks that free you up? Does anyone else have a moral dilemma with this?

    Looking forward to your responses!

  25. mary campbell says:

    There is a great book to read, “Nickled and Dimed,” that will shed light on the moral dilemma regarding the question of hiring a person to do your menial labor.

    A non-living wage with not sick days, health insurance or any sort of job stability or chance for advancement creates a permanent under class where, even with the most heroic efforts, leaves the poor, uneducated and non-english speaking stuck and miserable, unable to climb out and support themselves and their families.

    The ivy league-educated author of this New York Times bestseller, after working undercover as a “maid” and in other low end, soul crushing positions, has come to the conclusion that she can scrub her own toilet.

    You realize that your navel-gazing about this very topic is a by-product of your own educational advantage. Only relatively well off people can sit around on their computers and strategize about various scenerios for their resources.

    My advice? Scrub your own toilet. Then donate your time to give a hand up to somebody.

    Really like this blog and the remarks.

    Mary

  26. lynn says:

    sandspiral’s comment caught my eye.

    I hold an MBA and have a perfectly decent job. But we live in a high cost area and when I want a little cash, I occasionally tend bar P/T. (When I did it for a living, I was in my 20’s- no problem. 20 years later, my back aches!) Tending bar makes me look at my money differently. When I work extra for cash, and my feet hurt when I am done, I am loathe to turn around and pay almost the same wage out again for someone to clean my house- or give to a step-child to buy a cell phone with! You could argue that I am using my “middle class white collar salary” to pay for it, but it doesn’t feel that way. It puts me back in touch with the reality of working hard (physically) for a living and appreciating the desk job, too.

    Also, I am “the boss” at my day job and “just another worker” when moonlighting. Good for the soul and it tamps down the arrogance of those of “us” who’ve “made it”. As for the moral dilemma; I don’t have it. Why? Because not only do I tend bar if I need extra cash I would scrub toilets, graduate degree or not, if my bills needed paying and it met my goals. The trick is- when you pay someone else- make sure you pay them fairly and competitively- don’t get greedy.

    Oh- and tip your bartender when you go to your company Holiday party! You’ll feel great about yourself!

  27. Sarina says:

    I’m glad you have this blog. I learn a lot from the postings you make Trent, and I also learn from the comments others offer. I’m 57 and re-entering the work force after 29 years. It’s kinda scary.

  28. Heather says:

    I am not rolliing in dough, but I would definitely utilize these services where needed in order to maximize my time doing what I love. Not too long ago I would have thought this absurd. Being a SAHM, even seemed out of the question. Though I’m still under 30 and not married; I didn’t even realize until recently that it was something I should give thought to.

  29. sandspiral says:

    Thanks for the comments so far to my comments. :-)

    @Mary – I’ve actually read “Nickeled and Dimed,” and I agree–it is a fantastic and very eye-opening book. The author herself freely admits that while she committed to working the menial jobs that she did for the sake of writing the book, she didn’t truly experience the levels of trapped-ness and desperation her co-workers felt, simply because she knew that her time doing such work was finite and that she had her higher education to fall back on at the end of what to her, in the end, was only an experiment rather than a real life of poverty with no way out.

    I’m also trying not to be offended by your use of the phrase “navel-gazing.” Maybe I’m misinterpreting (text-only posts are difficult that way), but that feels rather dismissive to me. I’m fully aware that I have educational and financial advantages, but that doesn’t make me any less sincere in my wrestling with these issues. I do donate time (and money, when I can) to causes that I feel are worthy. And I also scrub my own toilets. ;o)

    @lynn – I like the way you apparently work for extra cash when you need it. That has the dual benefit of saving rather than going into debt and, as you observed, keeping you in touch with physical labor and the value attached to it. I think that’s very important in the largely sedentary, information-based world that many of us inhabit.

    Thanks also for your comments on the whole “moral dilemma” question, which seems to tie in with your willingness to do work that others in your position might not. It’s a refreshing attitude.

    Anyone else care to chime in? :o)

  30. Fun_Friend says:

    I have a cleaning professional come and do intensive cleaning every two weeks. It’s worth themoney to me as the chores she does are those I dislike. My DH and I are both full time workers with kids who have a lot of extracurricular activities. I’m also going to grad school. I also pay someone to do painting and remodeling duties since I lack the skills or inclination to do these things. I have someone come in to exterminate bugs too (a real necessity in S GA). So I guess I work pretty hard to support other families besides my own. No matter how frugal I am, I’ll never cut out my cleaning lady or other professionals who make my life nicer as long as I can budget the cost without pain. These are reasons that I work!

  31. Andrea says:

    Many years ago I learned that almost everybody has something they pay someone else to do that they could do themselves, and sometimes the choices are funny. Clean your own house top to bottom but take laundry to fluff and fold. Having a little money (from frugal habits) gives us the freedom to unload chores we’d rather not do or to spend that precious time on something that feeds our souls. It’s when you offload everything that you lose touch with reality, like people who have never been in a grocery store.

  32. turbogeek says:

    @Lynn —

    I think you said one of the smartest things I’ve read lately. Working a second job, even one that earns substantively less than your primary income, has more value than the money earned. It reminds us of the value of hard work, and helps us make intentional decisions about how we spend our money toward conveniences.

    I hold my MBA as well, and am ‘the boss’ at my day job. Even at the peak of my career (which I walked away from last year — but that is another post) people in the neighborhood near mine knew me as “the yard guy” or “the fixit guy”; I moonlight doing landscaping and light household repair. I look at it as “therapy that I get paid for doing”.

  33. Jason L says:

    I like to do the menial tasks in life. They make me feel alive. That may sound a bit odd, but I think that expresses my feeling adequately. All things considered in the universe, I’m really not a big deal. How much “support staff” does my life really deserve? I can afford to pay other people to do things, and at times I do. However, despite my six figure income, I find doing things like grabbing the toilet brush, or the Weed Eater quite refreshing and cathartic. Instead of looking at my personal time as “valuable” I look at it as precious. Being out in the back yard pulling weeds with my sons is a much better use of my valuable time than finishing Halo 3 with them. (Though, I do that too ;-)

  34. CHB says:

    sandspiral’s comments really resonate with me too – I just don’t think I could bring myself to pay someone else to clean up after me. This is one of my latest life-morals rumination – how much value should a person have to deserve a “support staff” as Jason L put it? I hate hearing about or seeing the most intelligent, accomplished, genius-level people who can’t tie their own shoes or prepare a single meal. Yet, if they did spend the time on these tasks, would the rest of the world suffer since they didn’t get to spend more time using their talents to invent more ground-breaking ideas, art, or technology? This just hurts my head to think about. Then again, I completely agree with Jason L when he describes feeling alive while doing these things. I love the pride and satisfaction of a clean, well organized home. But that’s because I have the choice to do it – if it was the only job I could get paid for, I doubt I’d feel so satisfied about it.

  35. Jodi says:

    I have recently begun to pay to have my work shirts ironed, at three bucks per item, at a local place that delivers them back to me for free. I LOATHE ironing. And the cost to get three items a week pressed properly seems insignificant but the time I gain back by not doing them myself is really significant. Plus they have more patience and therefore do a much better job than I would do. I do believe in doing most things myself, and saving money where I can, but freeing myself from dreaded chores is actually worth the money to me.

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