After years of saving money, I did the maths to figure out what my time is worth and learned there's a smarter way to spend

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  • After years of living in tiny apartments and saving money for down payment on a house, Anna Baluch bought her home and hired someone to clean for the first time.
  • She did the maths and realised that three hours of her time working from home was worth more than the $US80 per month she pays her cleaner.
  • Paying for the service started to change the way she thinks about outsourcing tasks – even when living frugally, it can be worth spending money to save time.
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As someone who’s instantly stressed by a cluttered space, a clean house is very important to me. Unfortunately, however, cleaning takes time.

Scrubbing bathrooms, mopping hardwood floors, vacuuming carpet, wiping down baseboards, and dusting surfaces is a time-consuming endeavour, even if you don’t have any kids or pets like me. Even though my house is only about 1,900 square feet, it takes at least three hours to give it a good deep clean.

I had never used a cleaning before because I had only lived in tiny apartments and had been focused on saving for a down payment. When we bought our house in central Ohio, I was working a full-time job and writing on the side, so I was a lot busier that I’d been before we moved. A few weeks after we moved in, I decided to try a cleaning service.

I asked for recommendations for trustworthy and professional cleaning professionals in my community’s local Facebook page. After interviewing a couple of the recommended cleaners, I found a woman who said she could clean my entire house from top to bottom for $US80. I decided to hire her one time to see whether it was worth it.

She came over one morning while my husband and I were at work and cleaned the top and lower levels of our raised ranch. That afternoon, I came home from work to a sparkling clean house that smelled great and instantly put me in a good mood. I was mesmerised by the polished furniture, glowing floors, and gleaming kitchen counters. It didn’t take me long to call her up and let her know that I’d like to hire her to clean my house once a month.

Since I am now self-employed, my time is more valuable to me than it ever was before. Lost time means lost dollars, so to me and my husband, a cleaning service is well worth the money. I figured out how much I earn on average per hour from writing and realised that it makes financial sense for me to pay $US80 a month to have my entire house deep cleaned than lose a few hours of writing time.

Also, it’s more important to me to spend the weekends relaxing and enjoying time with friends and family than saving $US80 once a month. Although I am generally a frugal person, a cleaning service is something I refuse to save money on. It makes my husband and me happy and less-stressed, making it well worth the investment.

While we still do laundry, put away dishes, organise our mail, and perform other common household chores that keep the house tidy, we don’t have to worry about finding the time to clean every single component of every single room in our house. We can count on Lisa, our cleaning provider, to come over on the last Tuesday of every month and work her magic.

Hiring Lisa has showed me that it’s worth it to spend money on services that bring convenience and sanity to my life. Now, I’m not afraid to order takeout or groceries online on days that I’m extra busy and simply don’t have the time to shop or cook. It’s become easier for me to outsource tasks that take up a great deal of my time or make my life more stressful than it needs to be, and for that – along with a sparkling house – I’m grateful I hired a house cleaner.

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