- I’m a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom, and I value my time.
- We plan to spend approximately $ 1,000 per month on house cleaning and lawn maintenance, grocery and meal delivery services, workout equipment and babysitters.
- It’s expensive, but the positive effect on our lives is worth it.
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Time is money, they say. Even as a stay-at-home mom / freelance writer, I still value my time very much. That’s why I don’t feel bad splurging on things that make my daily life easier, like meal and grocery delivery services, housekeeping crews, or weekly lawn care.
Other follies that I fully support? Monthly babysitters (research has shown that taking time to relax has a direct effect on productivity), even home workout equipment, which equates to less time spent hitting the gym and save money on walk-in classes with gym memberships.
Another advantage? Knowing that my money is spent directly to improve the quality and efficiency of my life, it’s easy to stay on budget in other areas, like going out to dinner, traveling, or shopping for clothes. Here are the main things I splurge on – and why I don’t feel guilty.
1. Lawn cleaning and maintenance services
When we moved into our current house, it was much larger than our first house, a small colonial house with only two bathrooms and three bedrooms. Now we have about 1,000 more square feet, plus an additional bathroom and bedroom.
As I’ve been working regularly since the birth of my first son almost four years ago, we’ve made it a priority (and a fixed budget line, for that matter) to hire a cleaning service every two weeks. We pay $ 110 every two weeks to have our house cleaned, for a total of about $ 220 / month. Although it is not a small amount of money, I can easily make up for it in three hours of work; which, ironically, is about the time it would take me to clean our house myself.
Another thing we splurge on? Lawn maintenance service. We live in Florida, where the extreme heat and rainy season make it difficult to care for grass and other plants. Coupled with my husband’s busy work schedule, we hired a lawn service to take care of our lawn and landscaping.
We started by paying $ 110 / month for weekly mowing, plus monthly weeding and landscaping. While that price recently jumped to $ 150 / month, which admittedly hurt a bit, it’s still worth it for us, especially since we don’t have to spend any money on it. lawn equipment.
Monthly total: $ 370
2. Grocery and meal delivery services
It’s no secret that eating out can dramatically cut your budget. But for us, a busy family with young children, making a commitment to eat-in for most meals meant we had to both plan ahead and be excited about what we were going to prepare for meals. That’s why we decided to try a meal planning service for weekly dinners. We landed on Hello Fresh, but I also heard great things about Sunbasket, eMeals, and Blue Apron.
Hello Fresh works for us as we choose our (family) meals in advance, they are delivered to our door every Monday, with all recipes and ingredients included. Also, the meals have all been good so far which means we are really happy to eat there. We’re paying $ 110 per week, which includes the ingredients for four dinners for our family of four.
Speaking of delivery, another way to stay on track and stick to our shopping list is a weekly delivery of basic items like eggs, milk, snacks, and fruit. These shipping costs are $ 9.95 / week, plus the cost of groceries.
Monthly total: $ 479.80
3. Personal care costs
No, I am not saying that I schedule monthly spa or nail salon visits. In fact, with a child of one and three, these outings are rare. But I’m allocating funds for other self-care items like home training equipment and monthly babysitters so we can enjoy an adults-only night out.
While I know the gold standard for spinning bikes is probably the Peloton, we went with a cheaper alternative, the Echelon. It cost $ 450 (in 2020), including $ 400 reimbursed by my husband’s employer. We also pay a subscription of $ 39.99 / month to access live lessons. Even though I only cycle a few times a week, we still save a lot on gym memberships or spinning or yoga classes.
Now that our children both usually sleep through the night, my husband and I have made a commitment to set up a monthly date. The going rate for babysitters in our area is $ 16 / hour, so after all, we usually spend around $ 56 / month on parties – well worth it in my opinion.
Monthly total: $ 95.99
After doing the math, I realized that we are spending around $ 945 a month on household “frenzies” that make our lives a little easier and more efficient. While not a small amount of money, the positive effects it has had on our lives – and our budget – is well worth it.