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Why Hiring Help Might Ruin Us Forever

hiring lawn helpWe have had an interesting May and early June in Southwest Colorado. With very little spring snow, there was real worry about drought conditions. Without snow, you can almost stump a toe and start a forest fire later in the summer. Some of our anxiety was relieved when we got an unheard of 6+ inches of rain last month with more in the forecast. We will never complain about too much water, but it did present some unusual challenges that could have used some outside help, but I’m afraid hiring help might ruin us forever.

Grass Grows Really Fast When It’s Watered

Our property is a little over three acres. I wouldn’t have the same house if we were to do it all again, but hindsight is 20/20. We have some grass around our house, but the majority of the land is undeveloped and not irrigated. When spring rolls around, prairie grasses, more commonly known as weeds, grow on the non-yard portion of our property. Jim mows it a couple of times, but unless we get lots of rain, it doesn’t grow that much and usually turns brown by fall. Our riding mower works fine for taking care of it.

With our recent deluge of rain, the weeds were out of control, about waist high. Every time I turned into the driveway, my head started playing,”A-weem-a-wop-a-weem-a-wop, in the jungle, the mighty jungle……”

It has been so rainy that there was no chance to mow. Then, when we finally got a few days of sun, we realized the mower would not start. After a new battery and exhausting all Jim’s mower fixing skills, we had to take it into the only lawn mower repair shop in town, where we were told it would be at least a two week wait.

We Could Hire Someone To Mow

We seriously considered hiring someone with a tractor to come out and mow. At this point, the weeds were too tall for our riding mower and the HOA was probably going to start sending notices if we don’t get rid of our weeds. I was also concerned that there might be a family of trolls hiding in there somewhere.

In the end we decided to rent a tractor and do it ourselves. (Ourselves meaning Jim would mow and I would watch from the kitchen window). DIY landscaping saved about $100.

Time Lost To DIY

We were really proud of our DIY plan. Jim was going to have the tractor delivered at 9AM, do the mowing and be at work by noon. His schedule is more flexible when there are no kids in school.

That was all well and good until the tractor people didn’t show up until 10. Then, the mower attachment broke about a fourth of the way into the job. Jim had to wait for the rental people to come fix it, which took hours. In the end, he wasn’t able to go to work at all.

That meant either having to make up lost work time over the weekend or by working later the following week. He doesn’t really side hustle like I do, but he gets so little free time these days that it sucks to waste a day when we could have paid $100 and been done with it.

So Why Don’t We Hire More Work Out?

After this and many other examples where it’s better to pay someone because of the time saved, why don’t we hire people more often? Lord knows the last thing I want to do at the end of most days is clean house, and I’m sure Jim doesn’t relish getting home from a business trip to hop on the lawn mower.

The real reason is that I’m afraid of where it might end. If we hire someone to mow, then we’ll probably want someone to clean as well. That will be so nice, I’ll probably feel like we should take work clothes to the dry cleaner for pressing. Might as well get someone to wash our cars too. Before you know it, we have a whole staff of people that seem necessary to keep our household running. It might give us more time, but are we really going to spend every minute of it earning money? Probably not.

I’m afraid hiring help would ruin us or at least send us back to being Joneses when we’ve fought so hard to just be the Parrs.

What routine maintenance do you hire out? Does hiring help lead to lifestyle inflation?

 

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About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.

21 comments

  1. We don’t hire anything out right now, because we also think it would probably ruin us! If I ever got a taste of what it feels like to never have to clean my house, I have no doubt that I’d never want to go back. We have decided it is just never going to happen unless we get to a point where we feel we can afford it for the rest of our lives. So that’s probably pretty far off, if ever!!

    • That’s the problem. You can’t go back. Once I started working part time, it’s incredibly hard to work a full 5 day week in the office. I think it would be exactly like this for house cleaning.

  2. We hire out a few things but do the rest. For example, I pay someone to clean once per month. She does a really deep clean and then I just have to keep up with it for the rest of the month. She spends four hours cleaning and my house is not huge or anything! It’s really hard for me to find 4 free hours to clean other than weekends, and I would rather spend weekends with my family =)

    • I never clean on weekends and usually end up staying up late on an already packed day to do housework. If I view the day as sucky already, what’s it hurt to add house cleaning? Probably not the best idea, but better than wasting the weekend.

  3. We don’t hire anything out at the moment, largely out of irrational concern that we might become “those” people who hire everything out. That being said, we’re not that far off from hiring someone to come and clean 1-2x per month for us. With as busy as we are we’re seeing that is time we could devote to the family and not be a pain financially. Like Holly said, it can be hard to find that time to devote to one thing like that and I’d rather use what little free time we do have enjoying time with the family.

    • I would much rather spend time with the family or doing something that seems more constructive than housework. Why is it so hard to view vacuuming and dusting as constructive?

  4. We try not to hire out the routine cleaning and maintenance, although we’d sure love help while we’re working. But we do hire out repairs or jobs we don’t have the equipment to do, like sealing the driveway or staining the siding. Once we retire, we hope to take on more of that ourselves!

    • I’m more than OK with once in a while stuff like painting the outside of the house or building a fence, but we don’t hire out the routine stuff either. It would make me feel too guilty or lazy.

  5. Sounds like you might be fearing the slippery slope. 🙂 For some reason though, I don’t see you two going down that path. This seems like it might be a one-off or two-off depending on the rain, and with little downtime already, it’s probably worth it to hire someone.

    • While we’re gone next month, I think we’ll get someone to come in and mow and maybe clean. It will be nice to come home to a a clean house and nice yard, plus the HOA will be happy.

  6. We hire out lawn mowing at the house we own and at the house we currently live in and rent. We obviously can’t mow the house we own since it’s 16 hours away. We mow anyways just because we have horrible luck with lawn mowers, they always tend to break after just the first few uses and never once has the manufacturer honored their warranty for their product. Just bad luck for us I guess! Plus, we hate mowing haha.

    • I had a mower break the first time I used it, then got a Toro. Haven’t had a single problem yet. Toro is the way to go!

    • I think you hit the nail on the head. I haven’t outsourced much at all, really, until today. I bought a gutter cleaning Amazon deal and I think it will be worth the $75 I paid. I have never been able to successfuly clean them despite spending hours trying to. In general I’ve been a big fan of the idea of outsourcing things, but you are 100% correct that it’s a slippery slope that honestly has no end in sight. Most celebrities and wealthy executive seem to outsource dang-near everything but they are also so busy that they are buying themselves a tiny amount of time to live lives outside of their busy work schedules.

      • I’m fine with outsourcing if it gives you more time, but I do have time to clean house. I just don’t like to!

    • We hire out the yard work at our rental properties. We won’t hire out our own, but seems more like a business transaction for the others.

  7. I have chronic fatigue, and my husband is eyes-swell-shut allergic to cut grass. So we pay for yard service. I hate it, but until we can afford to get rocks covering the front lawn… It’s better than tickets. Someone keeps calling the city on us, even when it’s not that bad. The city employee think it’s because we’re right next to a park. Either way… grrrr.

    We also finally called it quits on getting our own water. The tap water here in AZ is disgusting. And 25 cents a gallon isn’t too bad. But my husband has a bad back and bad knees (I know, we’re a mess) which makes things difficult. We would keep putting it off, and then we’d buy gallons of water when we couldn’t lug the bigger ones. That wasn’t much cheaper than water delivery, and there was no stress about running out. Which can lead to dehydration and that leads to my feeling nauseated and dizzy.

    I’m definitely worried that the outsourcing will slowly creep into more aspects of our lives. My husband has been lobbying for a once-a-month maid service for a couple of years now. I looked into the pricing and told him no way. But it’s something I’ve promised to at least consider next year. I think that one will take several years to convince me, but it may happen.

    I think the issue is finding a way to carve out the money. As long as you can find ways to save elsewhere to compensate, it’s okay.

    • I dream about having a maid sometimes but probably will hold off until our house is paid off. I tell myself housework is a worthy chore and it makes me a better person. I’m not sure that helps, but it’s better than going around complaining about how much I hate it.

  8. Since my mother cannot garden anymore and that was her thing, I hire a gardener. It’s a HUGE weight off my shoulder. I love gardens but I hate gardening and I suck at it. I can spend my time doing other more important things that I’m good at, and now we have a much nicer backyard than when my mother was doing it!

  9. I share a similar fear! We used to hire cleaners, and it was SO NICE to have that job done for us every two weeks. But no. Not until we’re mortgage-free. And maybe by then, we’ll be thrilled to continue doing our own cleaning. (I seriously doubt it, but you never know.) I teach at a high school, and I did make a marvelous discovery this week: I can get my car cleaned – both inside and out – at a very discounted price. A little piece of lovely in this frugal time.

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