Pay For or Do Yourself?

By Melissa Tosetti

I’ve been told by many clients that before our first meeting, they were terrified I was going to tell them they have to give up their housekeeper.

Rarely is that suggested.

Why?

Because for so many, coming home to a clean home is very important to them and it doesn’t make financial sense to do the work themselves.  “Financial sense” is more than just balancing assets and debits on a ledger. It also involves considering the emotional and lifestyle costs and benefits of money decisions. Based on the amount of money they make in their careers, it makes sense for them to have someone clean their house. Using that time instead to recover from work or spend time with their family helps them to enjoy life and be refreshed when Monday comes back around.

Now, there are clients that in order to get them where they need and want to be, we have to create a tighter Spending Plan and sometimes that means that they will need to temporarily clean their own home.  But, we’re able to use their housekeeper as a “carrot” to get them to implement their Spending Plan so they can regain their financial footing.  Not only will they be able to hire a housekeeper again, but they’ll also have the skills they need to spend smarter in the future so they won’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll continue to be able to afford the convenience, as long as their income remains the same and/or improves.

In addition to focusing their fixed expenses on what will help them live the life they want to live, where we really want to get clients to think is when they go about their day-to-day life.  As we often write about, because we’re all so busy we have a tendency to be in a constant state of reaction.

Something comes up, we panic and throw money at the problem – only to realize later that if we stopped, relaxed and took a moment to think through the problem, it’s quite possible we could have come up with a much less expensive alternative.

There are also situations where a client could afford to hire out the work, but might enjoy that particular chore so why not do it themselves?

A good friend of mine did just that last week.  He’s a vice president of a very large tech firm and also owns a rental property.  He spent half of last Saturday painting one of his duplexes because it’s a chore he rather enjoys and it saved him a bundle of money.  However, the plumbing problem that reared its’ ugly head a few months before was hired out because it wasn’t something he enjoyed doing and it was just a bit beyond his expertise.

I really like keeping my home clean and working in my yard so I do these tasks myself.  The money I save by not paying for the service gets focused on the thing my family and I love the most – travel.

A few years ago, I gave a speech in San Francisco, introducing the 9 Savvy Money Habits to the audience.  The habits start with paying yourself first and include tracking your spending and paying your bills on payday to name a few.

When I got to the very last habit, spend money on the things you want, a woman raised her hand, stood up and told me my slide was wrong.  She said it should say, spend money on the things you need.

I explained to her that the slide was indeed correct.  By following the 8 other Savvy Money Habits, you’re in the process of building a strong financial foundation.  By doing that, it gives you the ability to know how much you have to safely spend on the things you want.  The intention of Savvy Habit Number 9 is to really think through your purchases and ensure they are what you truly want and not something that is just catching your attention at the moment.

Living a Savvy Life is not about frugality.  It’s about being purposeful with how you spend your time and how you spend your money.  Take time to really think through where your money is going from the things you buy to the services you pay for to ensure those items are what you truly want.

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Melissa Tosetti is the founder of The Savvy Life and author of the international bestseller Living The Savvy Life. For the past eight years, she’s worked with over 545 individuals and families to create Spending Plans. Melissa also works with financial advisors and their clients doing cash flow planning as well as giving over 200 Savvy Living presentations via webinar and in-person to audiences across the U.S.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with clients visit The Savvy Life’s Programs page.

If you’d like to learn more about how Melissa works with financial advisors and their clients visit: The Savvy Life Advisor’s Page