As one of your most valuable assets, you need to consider which tasks you are spending your time on and if they are worth it. If they aren’t, you can free up your time with money. Frugality is so important for establishing your financial foundations. So, it makes sense to DIY the easy, or easy to Google, chores on your to-do list. At least, it does in the beginning.
When Should You Think About Trying to Free Up Your Time with Money?
Once you start to develop some traction in your quest for financial independence, you will notice a shift in your priorities. You are going to get to a point in your FIRE journey – more like a tipping point – where your time is going to be more valuable than some of the tasks that swallow it up.
As you begin to accumulate significant wealth, you will be faced with opportunities to outsource tasks that you would be losing money on by performing them yourself. You are probably asking, “but how can I lose money by doing things myself instead of paying someone else to do them? Doesn’t that counteract everything that FIRE teaches?” And you are right. But you are also wrong. Bear with me for a moment.
Consider the trade-off. Specifically, consider what your time is worth and what you are willing to trade it for. Trading your time to build your empire is more than justifiable. But is it worth it to free up your time with money for tasks that don’t help you to build your wealth, when that’s what you could be using it for?
Consider if that time can be better spent. It helps to think about what you could be earning in the time that it takes you to do something that would be considered menial. There is a reason why CEOs of Fortune 500 companies don’t leave their desk halfway through the afternoon to wash the windows of their office.
Once you have begun to accumulate wealth, it might be time to look into hiring someone else to handle the tasks that don’t serve you. The following errands are just a few examples of tasks that you might want to consider outsourcing.
With most grocery delivery services averaging $10 per month, it is worth it to consider having someone else spend hours at the grocery store on your behalf. If you opt to pick up your groceries and simply have somebody at the store do the leg work on your behalf, you are looking at paying even less. Walmart has grocery pickup for FREE! You place your order online and they load it into your car for you – all you have to do is drive there.
Grocery shopping from the comfort of your laptop or cell phone app has another hidden benefit as well. By reducing the temptation of impulse purchases, you might actually notice a dip in your monthly grocery bill. Did you ever imagine that you could save money by delegating one of your most time-consuming chores to somebody else?
Another great way to get your everyday essential items is to have them sent to you from Amazon via Prime Pantry or Subscribe & Save. We use this to get things that are as cheap as, or sometimes even cheaper than, in the store. Mouthwash, soaps, detergents, floss, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, protein bars, snack items and so much more.
Digital coupon clipping from the comfort of your couch can’t be beat. Stocking up on the stuff you go through every month to be delivered right to your front door via Amazon? Definite close second.
Once your time becomes too valuable to be spent hoofing it to the store because you are short on toilet paper, it is time to start thinking about paying a little bit to have someone else do it for you. Hate having to plan your meals out, go to the store and think ahead?
How often do you spend hours mowing your lawn, pruning your shrubs, and weed whacking the tight corners around your house just to come back inside bursting with energy to focus on the jobs that make you money? Probably not often, if ever.
Is your time worth what it would cost you to pay one of the neighborhood kids to handle these chores? Check out some local subscription services that will handle your yard maintenance year-round. That way you won’t ever be caught with a snowy mess to clear after spending a full day at the office.
HOAs are sometimes a heated debate and I can see why. However, it has to provide enough benefit and fit the lifestyle of the home owner to make it worth it. HOA’s they take care of:
- Trash removal
- Snow removal
- Grass cutting
- Power washing
- Common area grounds keeping
This can help free up many hours where you can enjoy doing other things and are more important to you.
You don’t need to have a job outside of the home to benefit from paying for childcare. Plenty of work-from-home parents do this. It might look like having a babysitter come over for a few hours every day or sending your child to a daycare for half a day. Either way, having part-time childcare can be beneficial to both you and your child, or children.
Needing a few hours of childless focus every day is nothing to be ashamed of. Especially considering that the work accomplished during those hours will more than pay for what was spent on them in the long run. Your early retirement will thank you for this small investment. Consider the benefits to the well-being of your children as well.
Having somebody present to give your child their full attention while you work will keep them active while giving you the peace of mind of knowing that they aren’t causing trouble behind your back. Enrolling your children in a group care setting will teach them vital social skills to take with them once they are old enough to attend school.
Hiring a cleaning service to come in and clean your home might be a little out of reach until you’re making the big bucks. That doesn’t mean that you should spend all of your valuable time scrubbing floors.
When it is worth it for you, consider hiring a professional to deep-clean your home bi-weekly or once a month. They are professionals for a reason, and can likely accomplish in an hour what would take you four. We aren’t all going to be the best at everything.
Do what you excel at, and if hiring help to accomplish the rest will allow you to dedicate more time to your goals, don’t be afraid to cross that bridge. We have a cleaning service come every month for $150. They clean top to bottom our entire home in less than 2 hours. It would take us both an entire day to accomplish the same. It saves us not only a lot of time but also a lot of frustration between work and daily chores.
Things to Especially Hire Out For
So far, we have touched on hiring help to handle tasks that we can do ourselves, but that at a certain point in our FIRE journey simply makes more sense to pay someone else to accomplish. But there are some specialized tasks that you will almost certainly want to outsource. To a certain degree, and armed with a couple of YouTube videos, you can likely handle your minor home maintenance and plumbing.
For jobs outside of your comfort zone, don’t feel bad about calling in a professional. Trying to fix something that is heinously above your skill level carries with it the high risk of creating more damage and costing yourself thousands of dollars to fix once you finally put your pride aside and call in the big guns.
The same concept applies to your car. Every driver should have a basic understanding of car maintenance, even if that is limited to changing a tire and topping up the windshield washer fluid. Trust the professionals to handle anything much more substantial than that.
Remember when I said that we aren’t all going to be the best at everything? This falls under that category.
When you are starting on your quest for financial independence your taxes might be simple enough for you to file them yourself. As you accumulate more wealth you will want to hire a professional. You won’t save any money by doing them yourself when you have a stocked investment portfolio, rentals, and a side hustle or business.
In fact, you will likely miss out on opportunities to save money by mitigating your tax burden. A professional accountant will know what to look for and find opportunities to keep more of your money in your own pocket.
Make Sure You Can Really Afford to Hire Help
We’ve mentioned a few times that outsourcing these kinds of tasks should only be done when it makes sense. Don’t forget that the building blocks for a solid FIRE foundation rely on frugality. Frugality should be your main priority until you have established yourself enough that your hourly wage is greater than what you would be paying somebody to handle these tasks for you.
Never let lifestyle creep get the better of you, and you shouldn’t use this reasoning as justification for extravagant expenses. Keep your goals in mind every time you consider paying someone to do something that you can do yourself. That being said, consider the trade-off.
Maybe a little more help each month will give you the time back in your life to mentally recharge. If you value the service provided, and the expense fits within your budget, we say GO FOR IT! Just be sure you’re still able to achieve your goals.
- How to Invest: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in the Stock Market
- Roth 401(k) vs. Traditional 401(k) | Similarities, Differences, and Examples
- How To Retire In Less Than 10 Years
- The Basics of F.I.R.E (Financial Independence Retire Early)