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Challenge: Back to School

Worth It? Should You Hire Household Help for Back to School?

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It’s been said that money can’t buy happiness, but a recent study reports that it can if it is used to buy services that save a person time. In fact, using money to pay someone to do household chores was linked to an overall increased satisfaction with life in general.

The average married woman spends about 17 hours a week on housework. Imagine how much happier she would be spending that time playing board games with her children, reading a new book by a favorite author or just relaxing. With this in mind, we took a look at some of the more common household chores and did the math to help you decide which services you might like to outsource.

  • Cleaning Service
  • Lawn Care
  • Child Care
  • Car Washing
  • Cooking
  • Window Washing

Keeping up with cleaning is a chore for most people. Hiring a maid service to come in once a week can lessen the time spent on tasks such as mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms and wiping down baseboards. The costs of cleaning services can vary widely based on the area where you live and whether you use a service such as Merry Maids or you hire an individual. The national average cost to hire a maid service is $165.

A well-manicured lawn adds to the curb appeal of your home and makes your neighbors happy. The cost to hire out this task also varies quite a bit. You can hire the teenager next door to mow your lawn or you can hire a professional lawn-care service. The size of your yard will also impact the overall cost. The average size yard tends to cost around $50 per service. Keep in mind that during the fastest growing seasons, your lawn might need to be mowed twice a week.

Many families utilize day care centers for child care. However, it does take time to drop the children off at the center and pick them up again. You can save time each day by hiring a nanny or au pair to care for your child in your home. It’s important to vet any child care provider carefully and to even install cameras to monitor activity. The average cost of different types of child care run $900 per week for day care, $700 per week for a nanny and $356 per week for an au pair.

Even seemingly simple tasks can add up when you factor in the time spent on all the elements of the task. Car washing is one example. You have to soap up the car, rinse off the car and perhaps wax the car. Conversely, you could hire a detailing service to do this work for you while you check emails and catch up with your family on social media.

A basic car detailing will include the car wash, wax, vacuuming of the interior, wiping down interior surfaces and tire cleaning. An average-sized vehicle will cost between $50 and $125, while a larger vehicle, such as an SUV, will run more.

Getting dinner together for the family is something that takes up an hour or more of a person’s time, depending upon how much prep work and cleanup there is for a given meal. At the same time, you don’t want to run through the drive-through and feed your family unhealthy fast food. One solution is to hire someone to cook meals in your home. The cost varies widely, with some chefs charging $30 per plate and others charging $40 per hour.

This is one area where it might be best to think outside the box on how to hire a personal chef without spending thousands of dollars a month. Are there any retirees in your neighborhood who enjoy cooking? Many seniors like to work just a few hours a week, so this might be a great option for both of you. Another option is to hire a personal chef just one or two days a week and eat out a couple more days a week. You have to choose what fits your budget best.

Window washing is one of those dreaded tasks that is unrewarding because as soon as the windows are clean, it seems they are almost instantly dirty again. Most window cleaners charge based on the size of the window and the number of windows in your home. The national average to clean windows is $300-$400.

There has to be a balance between buying more time for things you’d rather pursue and staying on a budget. Knowing how much each type of task costs to hire out can help you see what will and won’t fit within your budget. If you have a task you absolutely hate that takes up a lot of your time, then that is the best place to start when deciding what to outsource.

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