Don’t you hate it when you read a post asking for advice, but never learn how the story turned out? Well, because I don’t want to leave you hanging, this is a follow up to Monday’s post about some things I could save money on but choose not to. I was having a dilemma about whether to hire a maid with our new infusion of cash now that we have no student loan payments. You readers made me think about what was really important and how best to apply my values toward making this decision. I won’t keep you in suspense. I hired a maid!
Let me say that this person came highly qualified, has lots of experience cleaning houses like mine, and agreed to the price I offered. I have no doubt she will clean my house to the standards I’ve come to expect. I also know she’ll be on time and won’t give me a crap load of excuses about why she can’t do a particular task. Where did I find this amazing person? I didn’t have to look far, as I’ve hired myself.
What? How can you hire yourself? Before you start throwing virtual tomatoes at me, let me explain. I’ve always hated house cleaning because it seemed like work that had to be done but brought little gratification. Sometimes my husband notices and makes a remark about the house looking nice, but we often forget to compliment the ones we love for tasks we take for granted. I’ve never not cleaned the house, so there really wasn’t any other standard to compare to. I just hated doing it.
We’ve been going back and forth about hiring help. We have come a long way in our journey toward becoming financially independent. The last remaining obstacle in our minds is the mortgage. If we didn’t have that payment, we could pretty much live on peanuts. Yes, I know the arguments for and against paying off a mortgage, but it makes sense for us, and we were already on track to have it paid off in the next 6 or so years.
I’m going to pay myself the $200/month that a maid would cost and add that to our mortgage payment. Playing with the numbers on the Club Thrifty Mortgage Murder Spreadsheet says we can shave an extra 6 months off our payoff date.
I realize this is a Jedi mind trick and that the money would have been mine to use however I wanted anyway, but by acknowledging that cleaning the house is worth $200 a month toward our debt payoff, it changes my whole mindset about the idea of a maid.
When you are trying to live a different lifestyle from most of the world by getting rid of debt and becoming financially secure, you have to think outside the box. The world sees me as a doctor and my husband as a professional who just got a big raise. Heck, the local paper did an article about him and his new job. We should be splurging on a new car, boat, or at least some hired help. In year’s past, I thought this way too, and it got me nowhere but in debt. Spending newly acquired money on something frivolous for the here and now feels great for about five seconds, then you have to look for the next thing to scratch the itch.
If you are struggling with debt, life can seem really boring. All work and no play eats away at your psyche, but you can come up with creative ways to boost morale. Instead of thinking about deprivation, think about how much your are paying yourself to be the maid, the entertainer, or the cook.
I have no problem with hiring help for things you don’t like to do or don’t have time for, as long as you’ve evaluated why and aren’t going into debt to pay for it. Having hired help just because the neighbors do is not a good reason. In my case, I’m now happy to be employed as the maid. It will get me to the place I want to be a whole half year sooner. After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll get someone to clean my house AND cook my meals. Being financially independent brings lots of choices!
What is something you hate to do, but won’t pay someone else to do it?