We all make choices about what we’re willing to pay for instead of making time to do it ourselves. You may choose prepared meals over cooking yourself. I may enjoy the time I spend cooking and am more than willing to do so. You may find cleaning therapeutic while I despise it. You may be willing to drive to multiple stores to get the best deal while I will pay more to just go to one.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to manage the time that I have. As you all probably know by now, I work full time in a fairly demanding job. I do pretty well juggling things most of the time, but I also travel for work. It may seem obvious, but let me spell out how traveling affects my time. There are no evening laundry loads or quick clean ups or paying of bills that come in the mail or picking up something quickly from the store that we need. Any of those random errands I might fit into the early morning or evenings just cannot be done. Yes, my husband is at home when I’m not, but he’s 100% busy with taking care of the girls, commuting, and actually working his own job (and hopefully making sure the house isn’t a complete disaster when I get home!).
Anyway, I realized I started to value my personal time more than money. It’s definitely happened gradually for me, but I tend to outsource as much as I can to spend time on the things I want to. Years ago, this meant that I hired someone to clean our house every other week. In order to keep our house clean, we were spending almost an entire day on the weekend doing it. This was our only non-work time and the last thing I wanted to spend it on was cleaning! So, when we could afford it, we did it. I consider it dollars extremely well spent.
This is an obvious way I’ve chosen time over money, but what other more subtle choices do we all make? I pay for Amazon Prime which allows me to get free 2-day shipping and saves me trips to many stores like the drugstore for that one item or from going to the toy store for that gift I wanted to get, etc. It just shows up at my door. Thinking about how I feed my family, we buy cut up fruit. Several years ago, I scoffed at WHO would be so lazy to buy that?! It’s so much more expensive. Guess what, it’s me. We end up avoiding food that isn’t prepped and ready to go given how quickly the little people at my house want things. I can grab the fruit and have something healthy in their hands in just a minute. We could fit in time on the weekend to do this ourselves, but again, it requires time. Time I don’t want to spend cutting up fruit.
For quite awhile, we even ordered our groceries online and had them delivered. Except for the rare item, I didn’t have to actually go to the grocery store! The groceries arrived at my door and I could order them from wherever I was when I had the time to do it vs. when I had time to go the store. We have paused on this as the quality of the produce wasn’t what I was looking for, but for many items it was extremely convenient!
After moving into our new house two years ago, there were many things we decided were money well spent to save our own time. We paid someone to paint many of the rooms including our two story entryway. In a couple of days, we had a freshly painted house…which would have taken us months to do ourselves. We paid someone to clean out our gutters. We paid someone to fix leaky faucets. Other things we’ve taken on ourselves – my husband is still taking care of our lawn.
In the stage we’re in, much of our time is spent taking care of our little girls (as it should be!). There’s a lot they can’t do themselves and they need our time. So, we’ll outsource as much as we can afford to in order to have that time. I’ll be curious to see if the pendulum swings back when they get a bit older.
What are you willing to pay for to save time? Has this changed over time?