Spend Money to Save Time or Spend Time to Save Money?

I was at a birthday lunch last week with nine other women– all of them moms.  The conversation started, as conversations between moms often do, with childcare– preschool hours, the recent school closures for ice, elementary school carpools, nannies, and the like.  Then something else came up.  People began discussing other things they were considering hiring like someone to help with meal prep, someone to run weekend errands, a housekeeper to come more frequently.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about since.  One of my favorite jobs in college was to run errands and do the grocery shopping for a family who had three kids.  For parents with two demanding jobs, it was absolutely genius.  Why would they want to spend precious weekend time rifling through the produce section or picking up dry cleaning?  Twice last week I found myself talking to close friends about my current time deficit.  I relish time spent in the kitchen trying out new recipes from new cookbooks with tediously shopped for ingredients, awaiting praise after those first bites, but lately our dinners are staples– soup, shredded chicken tacos, bean and ground beef tostadas.  (They’re also things that I can do with Ever strapped to me in a carrier.)  I have limited childcare hours and I’m having trouble extending them– I’m just really, really enjoying this time with Ever.  Work is going along swimmingly thanks to a great team, but you could always be doing more, you know? Meanwhile the idea of trying to do things like go to barre class five days a week feels like a total pipe dream.  I even tend to feel guilty when I do personal errands, like dropping things at goodwill or mailing things at UPS– during childcare time.  My ongoing to do list lives in a draft of my gmail and is divided into life and work.  It wasn’t until drafting this post that I realized there is someone I can actually pay to do almost all of the things piling up in the life category.  She can run the errands and I can either work or play with my baby without feeling stressed.  I felt instant relief about my week after coordinating that with her. (If only she could go to the DMV on behalf!)

After the birthday lunch, I came across this article in the New York Times that puts it this way: Do you spend money to save time or spend time to save money?  They cite a study that says that people who choose the former are generally happier.  With that said, what do you hire to have done and what do you do yourself?  What’s your childcare situation, if you have children?  Do you cook at home, use a meal service, or eat a lot of take out?  Let’s play fantasy life for a second: If there was one thing you could hire to have done for you what would it be?  A driver? A chef? A housekeeper? A personal shopper? An errand runner? A nanny? Something else?

First image via Hello Fashion Blog , second image via Style Me Pretty Living

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  1. I have always been in the spend time to save money category. And then this year, since my business is taking a lot more of my time, I hired a sitter to come once a week and help out. Not only am I a happier mama knowing I have that time every week to sit down and work (and get those personal errands done!), I get so much work done that I’ve doubled my client list! So spending money to make time is actually making me more money. And while I still feel super stressed a lot of the time (might just be my personality, though), I do think I’m happier 🙂

    • Jen Pinkston

      01/24/2018

      Oh I’m really glad to hear that about your client work! It’s so true that it makes more sense for you to use your time in that way than to be grocery shopping or picking up dry cleaning.

  2. I do agree that spending money to save time is important. Especially if it gives you more time to spend doing things with people you love.

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

  3. I do agree that spending money to save time is important. Especially if it gives you more time to spend doing things with people you love.

    Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    • Jen Pinkston

      01/24/2018

      Agreed! If you can afford it, it seems like giving yourself the gift of time is the greatest luxury of all…

  4. Caleigh

    01/26/2018

    We live in a village about an hour away from the closest city, so we don’t have access to a lot of the services that one would have in an urban area. I actually prefer this Because iF we need something, we just have to ask a neighbour or someone Else in town and they would be glad to help.

    For example, our neigHbour is the town butcher so If we need meAt we just call them and say “hey can we get x,y,z” and they Will Just drop it off When tHey Get home. Or if When i was at HOme with a sick toddler, my work supervisor PickEd up a jug of milk for me on her way home (i work full-time at the local credit union). We all just help each other out!

    • Jen Pinkston

      01/26/2018

      I’m really glad you mentioned this actually. Parker came down with the flu on Wednesday and all of my friends were texting to check on her. One said, can I bring over some soup? My first reaction was that I felt so bad saying yes, like I was causing this major inconvenience when I knew I could have a food delivery service drop off Soup Peddler. But then I thought about what terrible reaction that is to have! Have much more wonderful it is to feel cared for and loved by community. We did end up with a grocery bag on our front porch that contained soup, all the fixings, and cookies and I can tell you that it meant so much to us. It’s definitely become very easy to hire your needs met as opposed to letting others meet them.

  5. This is agreat question to pose. I run a concierge company in houston to help busy clients with a variety of tasks like these. People often hire me because they just don’t have the time to get everything done and value their time more. Often they are stress free and can get other things done that they need to or spend more time with family and friends. I love helping people and love that I can contribute to their quality of life. I think it is so worth it to outsource various tasks. Lately laundry is a big thing that people have been outsourcing more, whether this is doing a wash and fold service or having someone come to their house to do it and it is often less expensive than you think.

    • Jen Pinkston

      01/29/2018

      Amazing, Amy! I love that you do this. So true about laundry. I think I’m one of the few that actually enjoys doing laundry, but I can totally see how having it outsourced would free up a lot of time! What’s the most obscure task you’ve ever completed for someone?!