Hiring someone to clean your home feels like a luxury item – more so than holidays, dinners out, or always having the latest iPhone. But does that really make sense?
You might be better off hanging onto your old phone and taking a cheaper holiday in order to afford a cleaner.
Taking some basic household tasks off your plate can have benefits beyond just a tidier home. It can mean fewer arguments, more quality time with your family and less stress.
“I enjoy my job, and I’ve only got so many hours available to do the things I want to do,” says Jasmine Hardy Mills, a business owner and mother of three.
“I’d rather outsource the cleaning and spend more time with my children. It’s also good for my relationship: help from a third party creates some equity.”
A cleaner typically costs between $30 and $40 an hour, and a three-bedroom home might take two hours to clean. That’s probably a good investment if cleaning causes stress in your household – and that wouldn’t be surprising, considering some research has shown couples spend 40 minutes a day arguing about chores.
“Some things you have to do for your sanity,” says Liz Koh, AFA, CP, CA and director of Money Max.
“If you’re a busy professional person with a demanding job, it might just be a question of mental health, as long as you’re on track for your longer-term goals.
“Maybe if you’re splashing out on a cleaner, don’t go out to dinner as often? I think it would be worth it.”
Unlike consumer goods or travel, admitting you have a cleaner can sometimes feel embarrassing or elitist. Many of us still cling to the idea that there’s something character-building about doing your own housework, and hiring someone else to do it for you is lazy or a waste of money.
But Koh says there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and those sentiments are often hangovers of old stereotypes about we should and shouldn’t do:
“Don’t be stuck in your thinking. Do what’s important for you and don’t worry about what other people think.
“You’ve also got to remember you’re providing someone else with a job so they can support their own family.
“If I was a working mum with kids at home, and I could afford it, I would say cleaner is almost in the necessity department.”