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Grocery delivery or laundry service might seem luxurious, but paying to protect my time

  • A financial planner says money is a tool to help you live the life you want.
  • One way to make the most of it is to spend on services that save time, like hiring an accountant for taxes or a house cleaner.
  • If you calculate what your time is worth, you might even be saving money overall.

As a financial planner, I would like to think I’m pretty responsible when it comes to managing my finances. I make sure to never spend more than I earn, track all my expenses in a detailed spreadsheet, and avoid impulse purchases as much as I can.

But just because I consider myself financially responsible doesn’t mean I skimp on everything.

I’m all about making smart decisions with my money and cutting back on unnecessary purchases when you can. However, I also believe money is a tool that gives you freedom to be able to do what you want, when you want.

I think tools or services that can save you time are almost always worth the money.

4 services I’m happy to pay for

So much of our day is spent doing “life admin” — those everyday tasks like grocery shopping, cleaning, or paying bills. Some of those actions can be done without hiring someone (like setting your bills on auto-pay), and others you typically can’t pass off to someone else (like going to the dentist for a check-up).

But for everything else, time-saving services can be used to earn back a little extra time in your day or cut down on your never-ending to-do list.

Here are currently all the services I use:

  • Grocery delivery: I could spend hours browsing in a grocery store — so instead, I simply fill up my cart online and pay to get it delivered. Not only do I save on time (and the annoyance of having to carry my heavy grocery bags home); I also believe I save some money! Shopping for groceries in person often leads to impulsive purchases for me, like that bag of candy in the checkout line.
  • Laundry service: Once a week, I have a service pick up my laundry and return on that day, washed and folded. Laundry is one of my least-favorite chores and my apartment in New York City doesn’t have laundry, which means I’d have to bring it to a laundromat and stay there while I washed it myself.
  • Accountant: I have used some sort of software every time I’ve filed my taxes, but last year I hired an accountant and I’m never going back. I simply sent over my documents and they took care of the rest.
  • Apartment cleaner: I hire house cleaners to do a deeper clean of my apartment about once a month – not only do I save time I would have spent cleaning, but they do a much, much better job than I ever could.

Time saved can be money earned

Another reason I pay for time-saving services? I believe you should spend money to make money. I regularly freelance, which means the more I work, the more money I can make. Paying for services that save me time and effort means I’ll have more time to put into my business, earning me the money spent back, and then some.

One way I’ve been able to really rationalize this is by figuring out the value of my time. For example, let’s say I charge $100 an hour for my freelance work, and it takes me two hours to clean my home. By hiring cleaners that cost $100, I’m actually saving money, since I’ll be saving $200 worth of my time.

Saving time with certain services also means avoiding the emotional stress and headache of doing that chore.

For instance, I think hiring movers is always worth the money spent. It removes so much of the headache and stress of moving, and makes the overall move much more enjoyable. I have more life satisfaction and general happiness avoiding the tasks I need to do but don’t want to do — and am more than willing to pay for it. It’s helped me avoid burnout or general stress about everything I need to do.

We only have so many hours in the day — and I’d like to spend as much time as I can enjoying them.

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