As a fairly frugal person and avid consumer of personal finance publications, I've always agreed with the mantra "why pay for something you can do yourself". Its a good policy to live by and a lot of financially savvy people will tell you that mantra is a direct contributor to their success. In recent years however, I have formulated a new mantra for myself: pay for convenience if it buys you a better life.
I really needed to adopt this new mantra as a working mom of 3. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to be superwoman so I just have to outsource some tasks and pay for some conveniences. Of course, this is also a function of disposable income and what you can afford. For me personally, here are 8 things that I pay for instead of doing myself with the ultimate goal of improving quality of life for me and my family.
Breakfast meals: I buy muffins, sausage rolls, waffles and cereal for our weekday breakfasts. Cost is roughly $30 a week. Reward is eliminating 2 hours of cooking/baking on the weekends that are better spent resting or hanging out with the kids
Rotisserie chicken: Ugh! This is just such a great convenience. Bonus points to the grocery store if its organic. I try to buy one chicken every week/ other week and it serves a variety of purposes. In soup for dinner, part of kids lunch, part of my lunch salad, served with random carb for dinner plus bones for stock. It's $8 at Costco and $12 at our fancy organic grocery store. Money well spent. (Alternative to this is a meal preparation/delivery service like Blue Apron that takes care of dinner a couple of days each week OR the weekly dinner specials most grocery stores seem to offer)
Grocery Pre-Ordering or Delivery: In 2019, I decided to start ordering some of my groceries using the supermarket app and picking up curbside instead of going into the store and browsing the aisles. I cannot sing enough praises about this convenience. I've saved so much time and money for using this service. The service costs $5 per order when I use the PC Express app but every month I've done this consistently, I've seen a distinct reduction in the amount I spend on groceries because I'm only ordering what we need, when we need them.
Handyman: Around here, we're 2 working parents who are handy-skills deficient. Having a handyman's number has been critical to the upkeep of our home. In the last couple of years, the handyman has replaced 6 broken tiles, fixed broken hinges and replaced closet doors. All tasks that we could have learnt to do from watching a few YouTube videos but our results would have been mediocre at best while consuming precious time and emotional expenditure.
Car washing or detailing: I pay for detailing twice a year at the beginning and end of the winter season. With all the mud and salt dragged into the car, plus the random kids' food stuff that manages to hide in the nooks and crannies of the car, I need this and I don't have the hours, skill or desire to detail my car myself.
Housecleaning: Self explanatory. 4 hours of my weekend versus $125 monthly.
Audio Subscription for commuting: I've been getting too bored with radio and too impatient to wait for free library audiobooks to listen to during my commute. BUT I do want something mind-impacting to listen to for those 20 minutes everyday. My solution? Pay for a subscription that I can access from my phone. Currently it's a Spotify Premium account for me but I'm looking into either Sirius XM or Audible for next year.
Spa/Salon care: Be that a manicure, pedicure, massage or facial. Why? For that moment of pampering and self care.
This list isn't applicable to everyone but it sure works for me.