We are at a cross road with regards to this topic and in general, when should you outsource daily tasks the Mustachian way.
We used to do all the cleaning and household chores ourselves. That was before our son was born. He is 6 months old, one of us is working 100% and the other 80%. He goes to Kita 4 days a week. We are reallt struggling to find time to keep up with house chores and meal preparation. We have no help from the family. Clearly, we earn more by hour than the cleaning lady so from an economics point of view we should hire one. However, we are not earning more because we hired her.
Pros of hiring a cleaning lady or any help:
We can relax a bit on weekend and spend more time with our son
We might fight less about who will take care of housework
We are parting ways with 270-480 Chf a month, couple k per year.
We dont live in a huge place, 100 sqm, 3.5. She will also prepare one meal for us. Her rate is 30 chf per hour and will take 3-4 hours per week and comes weekly.
What do you all think? When should you pay to get back your leisure hours and how much are you willing to pay?
How much is 500 CHF per month for you and your family?
How much is multiple hours a week for you (in my experience I’m slower at cleaning than my cleaning lady, so what takes her 3 - 4 hours might take you more)? How much more time can you spend with your child?
The problem with FIRE and Mustachian way is that we sometime forget to enjoy the now trying to maximize the future. 500 CHF a month is nothing in the grand scheme of your savings “career”.
P.S. Having a 6 month old myself, while the cleaning lady is a godsend, it won’t stop you having to tidy up daily or every two days as our flat (yours probably too) looks chaotic in an afternoon usually.
Just give it a try… As it is now, it seems that you are struggling, it’s difficult (probably frustrating) and as a family, your well-being is imho an absolute priority.
Feeling guilty? There is a large thread talking about quality of life somewhere on this forum that is worth a good read. It made me realize that many so-called mustachians are not actually hardcore frugalians budgeting every expense and counting every cent. Most are just regular people looking for ways of optimizing things and getting the most out of their money, all without excessive deprivation.
A mustachian is very attentive of not only how their money but also how their time is spent.
Also, this mustachian is quite lazy when it comes to cleaning his place. And this mustachian is baffled by the speed his cleaning lady works. What she gets done in three hours would take me a full day.
Thank you all for your response. Here are responses to some of your feedbacks.
You are all very correct. 500 CHF is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but will hopefully improve our life quality dramatically during this year.
Just a continuation of the question and for my curiosity: how much would you pay to get back 1 hour of your leisure time? How do you arrive at that value or do you think in that way? Do you think more in terms of how much it will improve your life’s quality?
From my personal experience, it is one of the best decision we made
My cleaning lady is far more efficient than we were at cleaning and she has a way deeper knowledge at which cleaning product is to be used in various situations. All in all, she is doing our job far more quickly and we don’t have to waste our saturday morning doing cleaining chores.
The satisfaction I get from a snowshoe walk in the sun on saturdays is far more beneficial to my well being than the CHF 285.- I spend monthly on my cleaning lady
I have no kids and have lived on my own until recently.
Yet the 100CHF I spend on the cleaning service once a month - and knowing that everything is properly sorted at least that one time per month - has likely been the best value for those 100CHF/month in the past few years for me.
I still vacuum in between but not too much else.
With having a baby it would probably become even more so worth it.
While I don’t disagree with your post at all, I’d say that 6k a year - or 260k after 20 / 400k after 25 years at 7% p.a. - to most people is not nothing.
But apparently it’s feasible for much less than 500 CHF and if for someone it’s worth to spend that amount, in order to gain free time, should try it out IMO.
And everyone who calls CHF 500 a month “nothing” should go for it for sure.
A friend of mine reduced his working time to 80%, which means roughly 1250 CHF less on his bank account every month in exchange for 4 extra days off. It happened during the covid crisis because his employer had less job for him, he wasn’t too happy about it initially, but now he says he doesn’t miss the money and wants things to stay that way. I guess free time can be worth this much to some people…
This is actually a conversation I have wanted to start on here for a while… I decreased my work from 100% to 60% couple months before our son was born. I have a high stress job with lots of responsibilities and long work ours and I felt more and more aimless, powerless. Needless to say, the idea of FIRE appealed to me in those years. Work my ass of and then retire at 50 or so. At the same time I didn’t have any balance in my life and it wore me down. Now at 3 days a week, I get three daddy-son days (my wife works saturdays too), it allows my wife to build her career (she’s at 60%+ too) and once my son is older, maybe I get to try new things (those children are a full time job by themselves)
So for me the 40% income drop was worth it so far. I won’t FIRE, I know that, but I’ll enjoy our relative youth and be with my son as much as possible.
That’s not to say that the mustachian beast in me is not angry from time to time at me for not saving as much as I can, but for now I can keep it at bay.
We have someone who cleans 2,5 hours every other week in our apartment. Costs: ~250 CHF/month.
This is a very flexible setup, i. e. we use exactly the hours we need and we can ask for longer service if required (e. g., help with spring cleaning).
I see the cleaning service as far more luxurious than, e. g., going out for dinner or a short weekend trip in Switzerland to relax once in a while. My partner and I have long discussed long about hiring someone to clean for us, but mostly about where to find someone reliable and how to handle the formalities (no payment under the table).
Weighing money against free time may be difficult because many of us cannot simply work longer for a specific amount of time to, let’s day, earn money for two hours’ worth of cleaning.
Maybe another approach helps: Think about the savings and investment goals 2022 and what you achieved. If you overachieved them = you’re disciplined and financially healthy, you can splurge a little rather than reaching 125% or 142% of your annual savings goal in August already.
Or looking at it from the budgeting side: Consider cleaning as “want” and weigh it against similar expenses according to your philosophy: For some, the car is a necessity, for some a luxury. For others, it’s a nice watch, a bike, nice food, traveling etc.
As they say: “You can make any which come true, but not all.”
Retire from a good life to an even better life. Not from a stressful life that was wearing you down. I don’t know you personally but it sounds like you made the right choice.
That’s actually a really good way of looking at it! I’ve just seen it more times than I care too, people giving their all for some future that in the end is not what they had dreamed, can’t be enjoyed because of the wear and tear or even worse them not getting to the end at all. To be honest I had to get a good kick in the ass from several people to finally recognize my limits.
All required documents can be generated with one click. For example, one lady that worked for me moved to another city, went out of work, and then I got a letter from the RAV asking me to provide a ton of documents, such as monthly work reports for an entire year. Within seven days. Done, one click.
This is something that I struggled being quite cheap myself but something that my wife pushed and I am so glad she did.
We got our Saturday morning back (which we used for cleaning the apartment) and for 250-300 CHF a month, that’s a no brainer.
My way of thinking about it was: all this money saving, investing is for what? Allowing us to have more free time. So why shouldn’t I pay for something that I dislike doing, giving me precious time back?