Soooo… my wife and I are having a debate right now (actually, it’s not so much a “debate”… it’s more like “we have decided, just discussing the pros and cons”) about hiring a *regular* housekeeper to clean our house.
This is a new area for us, because we rarely outsource tasks.
In the past 12 years living together, we’ve probably hired a cleaner maybe 10 times max. These have been times when we’re extremely busy or in a transition and need a deep house clean before hosting important guests or something. Apart from that, we’ve always found time ourselves to sweep, mop, dust, clean the bathrooms, do our own laundry, and all the other adulting stuff.
BUT… life is about to get pretty busy for us. On top of all our current stuff, we anticipate a little kid or two entering our home soon – and these kids will come with their own full schedule of appointments and activities.
Hiring a house cleaner will let us prioritize work and kid stuff, as well as protect some of our dwindling free time.
It’s not that I’m against hiring cleaners… I just want to consider the long-term effects of this decision before we commit. To me, this feels like lifestyle inflation that could potentially be a one-way street. Once we get a regular cleaning service, it might be hard to give up later.
Financial Considerations of Hiring a House Cleaner
We’ve found a cleaner that can come every 2 weeks, and will charge ~$150 per cleaning.
That’s $3,900 per year. 😳
BTW – we would still need to clean ourselves in the off weeks. (Our German Shepherd alone sheds heavily and we already sweep a couple times a week). So hiring a cleaner could actually cost us more if we need more than every other week.
We can afford an extra $3,900 per year, but there are a few ways to consider the costs:
First, the weekly cost breaks down to $75 per week. Luckily, one of my contracting gigs pays $75 per hour. So if I worked just 1 hour extra per week, this could fully cover the cost without impacting our cashflow. Sounds easy!
Next, if we think about the time savings, it’s probably a cost of ~$20 per hour that we pay the cleaner to save our time ($150 for 8-ish hours work).
- Is me and wifey’s work time worth more than $20 an hour? Yes, I think it is.
- Is our FREE TIME worth more than $20 an hour? At the moment I would say maybe, but next year with a full schedule I would think Yes, it’s definitely with it.
Lastly, I’m considering the overall impact of our FI number. If this new annual cost continues *forever,* then it’s something that will need to be replaced eventually by passive income.
Given the 4% rule, an extra ~$4k per year of living expenses adds $100k to our FI number. That’s a pretty huge increase to think about!
There are also opportunity costs (because we’ll be spending $4k instead of investing it each year before reaching FI) which could be another $100k+ of missed growth over the next 10 years.
Again, I’m not opposed to increasing our expenses (we planned for increased costs when we have kids). It’s just a little sticker shock seeing the numbers written down. Somehow a basic bi-weekly cleaning service has a ~$200k impact on our overall financial life!
Money aside, I have some weird emotions going on about hiring someone to clean my house.
First, I think I have a pride issue that I need to swallow. Almost every one of my friends here in LA has a regular hired house cleaner. The fact that my wife and I do all of our cleaning ourselves makes me feel great. I’m proud to be a hard worker. And switching from hard work to smart work is more difficult than I thought. It involves releasing control.
Next, I’m scared this lifestyle inflation will be a “creep” that keeps growing and growing. I’m worried that a cleaning service twice a week will soon lead to every week, and then maybe we’ll start to hire help in other areas of life. I guess the unknown future costs are starting to freak me out.
Lastly, I’m worried about getting lazy. When someone else is cleaning, it means I will stop cleaning. This change in my behavior may lead to me stopping other types of chores and looking to outsource more stuff.
Even worse, what will our kids be learning by seeing someone regularly clean for us? When I was a kid, my siblings and I helped with ALL household chores. Cleaning the house was one of the ways my parents taught me to be independent. I’m worried that if our kids grow up with a cleaner, they’ll expect that as the normal thing when they reach adulthood.
All Things Considered …
Am I crazy for thinking this way? Am I being a tight-ass for not jumping at the chance to outsource chores?
Would love to hear from you all. If you have a regular house cleaning service currently, all in all, is it worth it?