The Anti-DIY Strategy To Getting What You Want In Life
This post is brought to you by CreditRepair.com.
Here on TFD, you’ll find a ton of money advice centered on doing things yourself. And for good reason — when you don’t have a lot to work with, even the most basic of “extras” feels out of reach. You meal plan and prep so you’re not tempted by overpriced office salads in the middle of the week. You get intimate with your hand-me-down bike and all the tenable paths in your city so you don’t have to drain your entire paycheck keeping up with a car. Maybe you’ve even learned to mend your own clothes or cut your own hair to keep costs down.
Of course, on top of being extremely helpful in saving you money, those little ways to cut corners can be incredibly satisfying. I cannot express how glad I am to have learned to do certain things by myself, like DIY decor projects and even simply cooking. It’s so gratifying to know that, should you need to, you can take care of yourself when it really matters.
But as I’ve gotten older (and, frankly, started earning more money) I’ve learned something: my time is just as valuable as my money, if not more so. Some people will always prefer going the DIY route when it comes to their money and time, and that is totally fine. But paying for certain services is, I think, a solid, straightforward way to upgrade your life. That’s why we’ve partnered with CreditRepair.com to illustrate just how adopting this anti-DIY strategy of outsourcing certain tasks might be worth it for you.
Put a dollar amount on an hour of your life, and then recognize when something is actively worth losing X amount of hours.
One of the biggest reasons to go the anti-DIY route for upgrading your life is to identify certain tasks that simply are not worth your time as a professional. As someone whose career has mainly consisted of freelancing (and who owns a single-member LLC), it’s pretty easy to recognize that any time spent not working is equivalent to lost wages — I could technically be earning money in that time, so by doing something that’s not work, I’m doing the opposite. I’ve always liked the concept of categorizing your time, as it makes it easier to decide which activities are worth “losing” money on. However, it can be tricky to put a price on my time in that way. In freelance, not every project earns the same amount or takes the same number of hours. If you have a salaried job, you can simply divide your salary by the total hours you work in a year. To get a similar number, I try to take the average amount I earn in a month and divide it by the average number of hours I work.
Then, I can determine if something is worth me losing the amount I’d earn if I was working instead. Now, I don’t consider time I take for myself — yoga classes, time with my partner, dinners with friends — as lost wages, as that would lead to a pretty sad state of affairs for my work-life balance. But anything work-related that’s not actively earning me money, like doing my taxes, definitely falls into that category. It makes so much more sense for me to pay someone a couple hundred dollars to do my more-complicated-than-they-need-to-be (IMHO) taxes rather than attempt to do them myself. Spending who-knows-how-many hours trying to figure them out on my own would end up costing me much more than just sucking it up and paying a professional to do them.
Give yourself the accountability you need to get on the path you want to be on.
Holding yourself accountable is a huge reason to invest in outsourcing a task you’d otherwise avoid. Chelsea has written about how, when she decided she wanted to get into Pilates, she went with private lessons at the beginning to make sure she actually went:
“One of the most obvious ways to trick your brain when it comes to exercising is to give it no easy way out — so much of what allows us to fall off the wagon early in any new fitness regime is the fact that no one gives a shit whether or not we keep going, and therefore saying ‘eh, I’ll go tomorrow’ (which inevitably becomes ‘never’) is just too easy. My personal way of doing this with Pilates was to pay an eye-searing (for me) amount of money for three private sessions to get the basics, so as to avoid injury/humiliation/total confusion when I eventually went to classes.”
Of course, you don’t have to pay an “eye-searing amount” to hold yourself accountable to something. Becoming the type of person who works out is one of those things that simply doesn’t happen overnight — and neither does getting good with money, including improving your credit score. If you have bad credit, you may have resigned yourself to the idea that that’s just the way it is and you therefore can’t access things that would require it (including anything from a more favorable interest rate on a mortgage to a credit card with a killer rewards program). Working with a company like CreditRepair.com would hold you accountable for improving your credit, something you might give up on if the entire thing was up to you. They also work with you so that finally tackling your credit isn’t a DIY project. They help you develop an actionable plan to get your score up, while also working to dispute negative claims you may be able to get wiped from your credit report. (Check it out here.)
If you dread a task or know you really can’t do it well, decide if it’s worth the money to cut it from your to-do list.
This last category of outsourcing is perhaps the most trivial: choosing to pay for things you know you could do yourself, but simply don’t feel like doing. One of the biggest (non-rent) expenses of my life this year was moving to a new part of the city. My boyfriend and I decided we really didn’t want to lug all of our belongings down hallways and an elevator, into a moving truck, and up a bunch of stairs and then unpack it all ourselves, so we saved up to pay for movers. We rented a U-Haul to drive ourselves and our belongings for about $150, and hired movers to cart everything into and out of the truck for an added $600. It was totally worth it. The day was stressful enough without us also literally doing the heavy lifting.
As a fun experiment, I reached out to the greater TFD community to see which service they are more than happy to pay for despite the fact they could technically do it themselves. One of the most popular answers was house cleaning:
“The best thing I did for myself was hire a cleaning service. They come every other week and it has made my life so much better. I come home and the entire house is spotless and organized. Its $226 for a month. I travel a ton and I hate cleaning. I am not, nor will ever be, a person who feels accomplished after cleaning their house. I travel a lot for work and I would rather spend that time doing something I enjoy than cleaning.” – K.
“Oh god, definitely house cleaning. Like I am fully capable of doing all of it myself, but it is deeply luxurious to never think about a to-do list of cleaning tasks on my weekends!!!” – Desirae
Another thing people are more than happy to outsource? Dealing with their cars:
“Anything to do with my vehicle. Washing it is probably the most practical. My apartment complex even has a car washing station that you can use, you just have to bring your own soap. But I don’t. I will just fork over $12 at the car wash and be done with it. You can probably also change your own oil, and some people can do easy repairs like brakes. But I won’t. Just drop it off at the shop and call it a day.” – Krista
“Detailing my car, cleaning my oven/fridge, and baking cinnamon rolls.” – Audrey
And when it comes to personal care, outsourcing often seems like the way to go:
“Pedicures. I’m TERRIBLE at pedicures. I’ve tried. They turn out like garbage. One professional pedicure lasts at least a month for me, and is way worth the up-front cost. Mani’s I do less often, but enjoy them done professionally.” – Taryn
“Bikini waxing. Just because you can do it at home doesn’t mean you should.” – Sarah
“Getting my hair dyed! I could technically do it, but it would be time-consuming, and likely not look as good.” – Meleah
Of course, being able to outsource things like cleaning or getting your oil changed is an immense privilege. But remember: it is not shameful or embarrassing to pay someone to do something you could technically do yourself. You are not a failure or self-important because you choose to pay in order to not have to do something; you’ve simply decided that your own life is better because you’ve decided to outsource that one particular thing.
Going “anti-DIY” doesn’t mean doing absolutely nothing yourself; it’s simply a different way to think about what’s worth your money and time. A part of improving your life means recognizing which tasks need to get done, and how you can make them happen in a way that’s as easy on yourself as possible. Whether it’s using a resource like CreditRepair.com to get on the right financial foot or paying a housekeeper so your weekends are all yours, learn to recognize when outsourcing a task will make a tangible improvement on your life.
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