I was raised by a single working mother, and money was tight.
Nights out were to the dollar theatre, her purse bulging with homemade popcorn and 65-cent cans of cola from the grocery-store vending machine.
For a long time, I viewed money as a scarce resource and didn’t mind doing things the hard way if it meant saving a little.
I lost many weekend afternoons in the laundromat waiting for my clothes, schlepped boxes onto $US30 U-Haul trucks when I had to move, and suffered plenty of late-night flights and long layovers to save on airfare.
But as I got older and advanced in my career, the calculation began to shift. Increasingly, I valued time over money.
My husband and I started dropping off the laundry. (It came back folded!) We hired movers. We even paid extra to fly direct.
I was still careful with my money, of course. It wasn’t until I met a young couple raving about the woman they’d hired to clean their apartment that I even considered getting a housekeeper. That was something only rich people do, I thought. It would be unbearably selfish, not to mention elitist, to ask an outsider to scrub my bathtub … Wouldn’t it?
Some months later I found myself on my hands and knees, cleaning the toilet during the few precious hours I had not dedicated to work, family, or friends. Screw this, I thought; I am more than willing to buy back some time.
That was about a year ago, and ever since a wonderful woman named Molly has been coming once a month to mop, dust, and polish every surface in our two-bedroom apartment.
Walking into a gleaming, lemon-scented home to find everything in its place is well worth the $US80 a visit. Indeed, buying the luxury of turning to my husband on Sunday to ask, “So what do you want to do today?” may be the best money I’ve ever spent.
Read about the best money successful people ever spent in Business Insider’s Success Series.
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