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I Hired a Maid!

hired a maidDon’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? 

 Image: Freedigitalphotos.net/artur84


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.


  1. Congrats on your new gig! I used to pay my boyfriend to clean the house after a few failed attempts at hiring a maid. Now this boyfriend wouldn’t clean so I do it myself even though I am not a big fan of dusting and mopping, I still hate the idea of having someone lurking around the house more.

  2. First I was envious. Then I wasn’t.

    I would really love to hire a maid.

    Also, give your mortgage rates, you’d be better off investing that money instead of paying down your mortgage faster. You probably already know this.

    • I do. We are investing as well. I am maxing out my work plan and a Roth and my husband’s job is pension eligible. We’re also planning on another rental later this year or next. Paying off so much debt has freed up more money that we’ve ever had. We never really had a choice before. It was going toward debt, mostly stupid debt. I wish we’d done this years ago.

  3. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom

    You’re a mortgage pay off master. I like using similar motivations when we feel like taking a day off work. Derek and I will talk about something we want (rather then need) and put that day we were tempted to take off towards the purchase of a want. It happened last Monday and now we suddenly have 1/2 of what we need for an iPad.

  4. Awesome post! You always hear the advice “Pay yourself first” but you’re really taking it to the next level. Such a great idea to not just save yourself the expense, but apply it to your debt. Really a great model for others to emulate.

  5. “Instead of thinking about deprivation, think about how much your are paying yourself to be the maid, the entertainer, or the cook.” This is a good point, though I think there are so many frugal activities you can take part in (with other friends/family too!) that it’s not a great excuse anymore for spending money. I really dislike cleaning, yard work, and a few manual things that I have to do on a weekly basis but I will not hire it out until I can financially justify it.

    • While we don’t particularly enjoy cleaning or yard work, there is a certain pride in having a clean house and freshly mowed yard. Even if if doesn’t stay that way for long!

  6. If we had the cash flow, I would definitely do the same thing, but with my wife as a stay at home mom, we simply don’t have the cash to support that. She has the time, but as you pointed out, the time she could spend doing other things (she now has an online business) could definitely be put to better use. Still, this isn’t on the horizon for now, but I’m glad you have it working for you!

  7. I think you’re making an awesome move Kim! That’s a great way to shave even more money off of your mortgage. If we had the cash flow right now we’d be doing the same exact thing ourselves. The one thing that I hate doing, but will not pay for is mowing the grass. I loathe doing it for some odd reason, but (right now at least) I can say that I’ll not pay someone to do it. It just seems crazy to and it gets me outside as opposed to being on my computer.

    • John, a little vitamin D never hurt anyone. Actually, isn’t that why you had kids, to eventually do the yard work?

  8. We recently hired someone to clean our yard (it took 4 people 6 hours to clean it AH!) and we also hired someone to mow our yard every 2 weeks. The cost is minimal and we don’t have the time.

    • If you hate doing it, I can see hiring out the yard work. You actually have to have a mower, weed wacker, and other yard item, so you could come out ahead not having to buy and service those items if your yard is a reasonable size.

  9. Good for you Kim! You know what your time is worth! Once I get my debt monster in control I would like to hire one as well, my wife would be forever grateful!

  10. I think that’s great..you will love coming home to a clean house that you didn’t have to clean..and they always get to those places that you never bothered with. For me that’s cleaning the grout. Hate it!

  11. LOL! You had me tricked! But good for you for figuring out what worked for you. I think that’s some great out-of-the-box thinking that will help pay off your mortgage a little quicker and make it more bearable for you to clean your home. Plus, when the mortgage is paid off, you might decide to hire that maid or use your maid salary for something else that matters you. LOVE it! Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks Shannon. I think a good point for me is that we actually sat down and thought about this. In year’s past any new money would have been spent almost before it hit the bank.

  12. This is great, I love your idea. It makes you feel like you’re actually getting something for doing something you dislike. I really don’t like doing the laundry or dishes, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to justify someone else doing either of those for me.

    • When it came time to really thing about paying someone, I couldn’t do it. I think this is a better idea for us at this point.

  13. This is something I preach in my financial planning class. When you buy something on sale, take the difference you saved and bank it. You are in effect doing the same thing. I may disagree with paying down your mortgage though. Your mortgage rate should be under 5% and you should be able to put the $200 per month to work and earn more money. Either way, good luck.

    • Yes, math wise I know that, but I’m set on paying off our primary house. Maybe not the rentals. I am still maxing out my retirement and a Roth, and my husband will be pension eligible, so it’s not like we’re not investing as well.

  14. Now that is how you do it. You treat the chore like a job and pay yourself for a job well done. I think this a spectacular idea. Nice work Kim. I might have to do this with mowing the lawn.

    • I think you should. Mentally, it seems to work but I’m sure it will get old after a while. Maybe I’ll have to give myself a raise.

  15. Sounds like you made a great decision, Kim!

    Have a great weekend 🙂

  16. Good job Kim! Sometimes Personal Finance is all about tricking yourself!

  17. Love that you are fired up about paying off the mortgage. I don’t think you will regret that decision in the long run.

    May the force be with you 🙂

  18. Awesome! It really makes you value your effort when you were seriously hiring someone else to do it. That’s certainly worth the 6 months of freedom it will buy you. Congrats!

    • Kind of what I thought. I guess you could say the same thing about any monthly expense, but I really can probably clean better and more efficiently than any hired person, so why spend the money?

  19. When I read that you are paying yourself, I thought maybe you are taking the money out of the bank to spend on yourself!

    • No, just mentally changing the designation on where our money goes. It’s really sort of silly, but somehow makes sense to me.

  20. Great point about tending to be complacent about what others in our lives do for us.

  21. Yard work! We have a 1/4 acre, and it’s a corner lot with tons of landscaping to do each year. It’s not all hate, more of a love/hate relationship. I do like doing to work and getting things looking good, BUT IT TAKES SO MUCH TIME! I like idea of paying myself the money, but our budget is pretty tight, so I couldn’t hire it out anyways 🙂

    Congrats on curbing the desire for lifestyle inflation. Been there, done that, and now you’ve got bigger, better things to accomplish (like Early Retirement!). You should post your mortgage payoff progress monthly, that would be AWESOME to see 🙂 And motivating.

  22. I have thought about hiring a cleaning service many times in the past but just couldn’t stomach someone else going though my house. I know that millions of households do hire cleaning services nationwide and have no issues with them, but I guess that i am a little paranoid.

    • I do have a secret fear of someone going through my underwear drawer. Not sure it would be that exciting, but still.

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