How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

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MrBeaver
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How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by MrBeaver » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am

We are in the toddler stage, and things are literally crazy.

I'll spare you the details of the state of our house, but suffice it to say that I've realized that over the past couple of years we have increased spending on 'emergency' things to solve immediate time, energy, or preparedness problems within our household. My general level of stress seems high as a result of being forced into decisions. I'm talking about simple things like going out to eat because the kitchen is a mess. I'm ok with that periodically because I know 'life happens' sometimes, but I keep feeling like a bit of more planning in how we spend our money to gain time would help us feel less frazzled and move us closer to our non-financial goals. And I'm worried that we are setting habits we will not revert from once toddler stage is over.

What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
Bonus points if it's reasonable expenses (say, total of <$200/month) for a middle class single income young family, and/or things that you found easy to revert away from to reduce spending once toddler stage was over.

I have considered outsourcing lawn care, but I usually do this early in the morning on a weekend when the family isn't up yet, so it doesn't seem like it's a net drain. But I have a hard time evaluating things like this when we feel like we are just doing survival management.

livesoft
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:12 am

Here is an earlier thread:
viewtopic.php?t=213662
and there are many more.

I have tons of time because I don't worry what other people think about my clothes, my car, my yard, my house, my kids. I didn't even have to spend any money on not worrying.

Example: Toddlers don't have pajamas but sleep in the clothes they will wear the next day.

Example: No one has more than 3 days of clothes. Clothes are never folded nor stored away. They are on someone's body, in the washer or in the dryer. The rare clean clothes end up on the dining room floor or table where they get put on a body eventually. They can be worn for two days in a row even if they are dirty.

Example: Everybody eats out of their big bowl. There are no other dishes and certainly no serving dishes. Food goes from the stove / oven into eating bowls. Most vegetables are cooked/steamed in a microwave. Food is simple: salads requiring almost no prep, no clean-up.
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lthenderson
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by lthenderson » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:20 am

MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
We spent money by having one of us stop working and become a stay at home parent. That was seven years ago and haven't regretted it for a second. Not only did it gain lots of family time and sanity, but it allowed the still working spouse to focus on their career even more which payed off in dramatic pay increases to the point I'm not sure the decision cost us any money in the long run.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by miamivice » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:24 am

MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
We are in the toddler stage, and things are literally crazy.

I'll spare you the details of the state of our house, but suffice it to say that I've realized that over the past couple of years we have increased spending on 'emergency' things to solve immediate time, energy, or preparedness problems within our household. My general level of stress seems high as a result of being forced into decisions. I'm talking about simple things like going out to eat because the kitchen is a mess. I'm ok with that periodically because I know 'life happens' sometimes, but I keep feeling like a bit of more planning in how we spend our money to gain time would help us feel less frazzled and move us closer to our non-financial goals. And I'm worried that we are setting habits we will not revert from once toddler stage is over.

What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
Bonus points if it's reasonable expenses (say, total of <$200/month) for a middle class single income young family, and/or things that you found easy to revert away from to reduce spending once toddler stage was over.

I have considered outsourcing lawn care, but I usually do this early in the morning on a weekend when the family isn't up yet, so it doesn't seem like it's a net drain. But I have a hard time evaluating things like this when we feel like we are just doing survival management.
1. We hired a house cleaner. Once every two weeks. (We continue to tidy the house before the cleaners come, aka clean the house before the cleaners come to clean the house.)

2. We no longer shop in stores. We either buy things from Amazon or for groceries use Wal-Mart store pickup (wife shops online, I drive to the store to pickup groceries.) Saves hours of time. Costco is the exception. Wal-Mart store pickup is free. Other stores have nominal charge.

3. We have a yard service. Not because the yard is hard to mow but because the shrubs require constant maintenance which I don't have time for

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simplesimon
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by simplesimon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:25 am

MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
I have considered outsourcing lawn care, but I usually do this early in the morning on a weekend when the family isn't up yet, so it doesn't seem like it's a net drain. But I have a hard time evaluating things like this when we feel like we are just doing survival management.
Sounds like there are other things you could be doing on an early weekend (like cleaning the kitchen or whatever) if you didn't have to take care of the lawn.

We pay for house cleaners.

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MrBeaver
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by MrBeaver » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:42 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:12 am
Here is an earlier thread:
viewtopic.php?t=213662
and there are many more.
Thank you. I just read the thread, and there were some good time-saving tips. One of them that is very actionable is that we have been 'both' putting kids to bed (same room) when we are both home in the evening. I cherish time with the kids and us together, but I'm now thinking we should only do that if the house is in a good enough state to be manageable for the next day – otherwise, one parent do bedtime and the other wave the magic wand on the house.

...but is this really what you meant to say, that you cook your oatmeal in Dr. Pepper?
livesoft wrote:When measuring oatmeal, just use a glass (not a measuring cup) and use same glass to measure the water, milk or Dr Pepper used to cook the oatmeal. Use same glass for milk for drinking with the oatmeal.
Last edited by MrBeaver on Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MrBeaver
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by MrBeaver » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:46 am

miamivice wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:24 am
2. We no longer shop in stores. We either buy things from Amazon or for groceries use Wal-Mart store pickup (wife shops online, I drive to the store to pickup groceries.) Saves hours of time. Costco is the exception. Wal-Mart store pickup is free. Other stores have nominal charge.
Thanks for this encouragement. Our local Aldi just started curbside pickup, and I think we may start trying it. I despise 'big' stores precisely because it takes me an hour to walk the acre of aisles (most of which I don't want) to get to the things I do want. I can usually get in and out of Aldi within 20 minutes, and I now know where most things are.

runner3081
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by runner3081 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:53 am

lthenderson wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:20 am
MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
We spent money by having one of us stop working and become a stay at home parent. That was seven years ago and haven't regretted it for a second. Not only did it gain lots of family time and sanity, but it allowed the still working spouse to focus on their career even more which payed off in dramatic pay increases to the point I'm not sure the decision cost us any money in the long run.
+1000

Same benefits for us, we are also 7-years in.

Thegame14
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:10 am

MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
We are in the toddler stage, and things are literally crazy.

I'll spare you the details of the state of our house, but suffice it to say that I've realized that over the past couple of years we have increased spending on 'emergency' things to solve immediate time, energy, or preparedness problems within our household. My general level of stress seems high as a result of being forced into decisions. I'm talking about simple things like going out to eat because the kitchen is a mess. I'm ok with that periodically because I know 'life happens' sometimes, but I keep feeling like a bit of more planning in how we spend our money to gain time would help us feel less frazzled and move us closer to our non-financial goals. And I'm worried that we are setting habits we will not revert from once toddler stage is over.

What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
Bonus points if it's reasonable expenses (say, total of <$200/month) for a middle class single income young family, and/or things that you found easy to revert away from to reduce spending once toddler stage was over.

I have considered outsourcing lawn care, but I usually do this early in the morning on a weekend when the family isn't up yet, so it doesn't seem like it's a net drain. But I have a hard time evaluating things like this when we feel like we are just doing survival management.
mowing the lawn, we found a young man who will do front and back yard, just mowing for $40 every 2-3 weeks.

Andyrunner
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:19 am

1) cleaning person 2x a month, helps big time
2) pay someone to fertilize lawn (can't have a toddler stepping on thistles)
3) grill = less pots/pans to wash

not spending money but things that have helped with time for the kids:
1) wife dropped FTE from 1.0 to .8
2) acceptance that house is going to be a mess
3) divide and conquer tasks. Someone takes the kid grocery shopping so the other can organize the house, etc.

vtjon02
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by vtjon02 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:21 am

Although we live significantly below our means we have a cleaning lady come in once per week, sometimes twice if we are entertaining or have guests. It is the single best luxury in our lives. Something about us both coming home to a sparkling house after long days is well worth it. Sometimes I feel stupid that we own one car and yet have the cleaning lady comes twice per week but that's how it goes.

Find whatever your best luxury is and roll with it.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:35 am

MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:42 am
...but is this really what you meant to say, that you cook your oatmeal in Dr. Pepper?
Diet Dr Pepper at half-strength actually. It sweetens the oatmeal without adding calories, gives it a faint cherry taste, and adds caffeine. I don't drink coffee.
Last edited by livesoft on Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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FrugalConservative
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by FrugalConservative » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:35 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:12 am
Here is an earlier thread:
viewtopic.php?t=213662
and there are many more.

I have tons of time because I don't worry what other people think about my clothes, my car, my yard, my house, my kids. I didn't even have to spend any money on not worrying.

Example: Toddlers don't have pajamas but sleep in the clothes they will wear the next day.

Example: No one has more than 3 days of clothes. Clothes are never folded nor stored away. They are on someone's body, in the washer or in the dryer. The rare clean clothes end up on the dining room floor or table where they get put on a body eventually. They can be worn for two days in a row even if they are dirty.

Example: Everybody eats out of their big bowl. There are no other dishes and certainly no serving dishes. Food goes from the stove / oven into eating bowls. Most vegetables are cooked/steamed in a microwave. Food is simple: salads requiring almost no prep, no clean-up.
To each their own, but these are some strange ways of living life.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:42 am

Andyrunner wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:19 am
2) pay someone to fertilize lawn (can't have a toddler stepping on thistles)
I just fertilized my lawn this morning. It took about 15 minutes with a handheld spreader. I did have to buy fertilizer yesterday on my way to the library (while the maids cleaned the house). But fertilizing is such a rare task that saving less than 1 hour per year is not something to think about or pay for.
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rascott
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by rascott » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:49 am

We have a 4 yr old and 1 yr old, with 2 working parents, so feel your pain.

What we've done for sanity:

1) Peapod grocery delivery
2) House cleaner every 2 weeks
3) Hired help for major spring/fall landscaping (mulching, trimming, fall leaves). I still do the regular mowing/ trimming.

rascott
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by rascott » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:51 am

livesoft wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:42 am
Andyrunner wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:19 am
2) pay someone to fertilize lawn (can't have a toddler stepping on thistles)
I just fertilized my lawn this morning. It took about 15 minutes with a handheld spreader. I did have to buy fertilizer yesterday on my way to the library (while the maids cleaned the house). But fertilizing is such a rare task that saving less than 1 hour per year is not something to think about or pay for.
Thistles must mean herbicide spraying, not fertilizing.

livesoft
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by livesoft » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:56 am

Also there is no rule that one must mow their entire lawn in one go. Sometimes it is simpler for me to mow the front yard one day and the back yard another day.
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:06 am

Lawn care $30/wk, though as my sons get older this will be done by the three of us. It's really a nice thing right now when the kiddos are little. If you get someone to do your lawn, then you will have that time in the morning on the weekends for something else.

House cleaning 1x/month $150: this helps my wife stay sane. It's worth double what we pay.

We've done the whole grocery pickup thing a few times, usually it works out well. Grocery delivery is way too expensive for our budget, and our experience has been less than acceptable.

(My wife stays home with our 4.5yo, 2yo, and 6mo. She has no plans to ever go back to full-time employment.)
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

Andyrunner
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Andyrunner » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:07 am

rascott wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:51 am
livesoft wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:42 am
Andyrunner wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:19 am
2) pay someone to fertilize lawn (can't have a toddler stepping on thistles)
I just fertilized my lawn this morning. It took about 15 minutes with a handheld spreader. I did have to buy fertilizer yesterday on my way to the library (while the maids cleaned the house). But fertilizing is such a rare task that saving less than 1 hour per year is not something to think about or pay for.
Thistles must mean herbicide spraying, not fertilizing.
True on both. Its actually just remembering to do it.

Cyanide123
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Cyanide123 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am

We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by simplesimon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:04 am

Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am
We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.
Is this for dinner every night? What kind of food does she make? How much does this cost? Very interested in something like this, thank you!

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Cyanide123 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:10 am

simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:04 am
Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am
We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.
Is this for dinner every night? What kind of food does she make? How much does this cost? Very interested in something like this, thank you!
More like she cooks these large party platters that are enough food for a week. Each small platter is roughly 40 bucks for chicken dishes, 50 bucks for beef dishes, 30 bucks for vegetarian dishes. She has an entire menu basically, we text her what we want, and in a couple of days she makes everything and we pick it up.

Roughly about $120 for a week of food for 2. Her cooking is better tasting than ours as well.

It's actually cheaper for us than cooking ourselves because there are long periods where we get lazy and just eat out :P

Just found a local lady who does laundry for $15 per 40 x 30 laundry bag, so pretty dirt cheap :P

Afty
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Afty » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:14 am

We do a lot of planning to optimize our time. We use a spreadsheet to plan meals for the week. We do meal planning on Saturdays then buy the groceries we need to make those meals. When we get home we don't have to think about what to eat, we just look at the spreadsheet and do that. One person is responsible for the meal planning, grocery buying, and cooking for the week. The other person is responsible for doing dishes and other daily chores. We swap off depending on who is most interested in cooking that week.

I also keep a weekend todo list and on Friday, prioritize the tasks and coordinate time when my wife can handle the kids so I can focus on stuff around the house. Not everything gets done, but that's OK.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:15 am

Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:10 am
simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:04 am
Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am
We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.
Is this for dinner every night? What kind of food does she make? How much does this cost? Very interested in something like this, thank you!
More like she cooks these large party platters that are enough food for a week. Each small platter is roughly 40 bucks for chicken dishes, 50 bucks for beef dishes, 30 bucks for vegetarian dishes. She has an entire menu basically, we text her what we want, and in a couple of days she makes everything and we pick it up.

Roughly about $120 for a week of food for 2. Her cooking is better tasting than ours as well.
That's essentially what I do. I prepare ~95% of our food for the week on Saturday morning and put it in tupperware. Takes 2-3hrs and we are spending ~$65-$100/week to feed 4 (kids 7 and 4). With a little planning it is pretty easy to do yourself.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by simplesimon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:17 am

Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:10 am
simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:04 am
Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am
We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.
Is this for dinner every night? What kind of food does she make? How much does this cost? Very interested in something like this, thank you!
More like she cooks these large party platters that are enough food for a week. Each small platter is roughly 40 bucks for chicken dishes, 50 bucks for beef dishes, 30 bucks for vegetarian dishes. She has an entire menu basically, we text her what we want, and in a couple of days she makes everything and we pick it up.

Roughly about $120 for a week of food for 2. Her cooking is better tasting than ours as well.

It's actually cheaper for us than cooking ourselves because there are long periods where we get lazy and just eat out :P

Just found a local lady who does laundry for $15 per 40 x 30 laundry bag, so pretty dirt cheap :P
Thanks! We batch cook on Sundays for the week to save time and money but finding less time available to do even that.

Cyanide123
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Cyanide123 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:19 am

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:15 am
Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:10 am
simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:04 am
Cyanide123 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:26 am
We have a lady that Cooks for us. Pretty reasonably priced. Not having to cook is a huge relief. Every now and then I still cook when we are off.

We're probably going to start using a laundry service soon as well. I hate laundry.
Is this for dinner every night? What kind of food does she make? How much does this cost? Very interested in something like this, thank you!
More like she cooks these large party platters that are enough food for a week. Each small platter is roughly 40 bucks for chicken dishes, 50 bucks for beef dishes, 30 bucks for vegetarian dishes. She has an entire menu basically, we text her what we want, and in a couple of days she makes everything and we pick it up.

Roughly about $120 for a week of food for 2. Her cooking is better tasting than ours as well.
That's essentially what I do. I prepare ~95% of our food for the week on Saturday morning and put it in tupperware. Takes 2-3hrs and we are spending ~$65-$100/week to feed 4 (kids 7 and 4). With a little planning it is pretty easy to do yourself.
Yeah i don't know how people can cook everyday. Id go crazy if i had to do that.

moneywise3
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by moneywise3 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:25 am

Preferred parking at theme parks

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 am

First off: you'll be out of the woods in two years, unless you have another kid. 4 and 1 is tough. 6 and 3 is pretty amazing.

Second, we prioritized time over income: spouse works from home. He's in tech, and likely could see a salary increase if he were willing to take on a 3-hour commute. But being able to be done every day at 3pm has been huge for our family. (Some people have stay-at-home parents. We sort of fake it with two incomes and flexible schedules.) Kids can come on short errands and help with cooking, laundry (they fold wash cloths.) It's not all fun time, but it is time spent together.

I'll say I didn't have a lot of luck with grocery pick-up. I'd set the pick-up time, and then wait 45 minutes in the parking lot while they found someone to wheel out the order. As it takes me about 45 minutes to shop, all this meant was that I traded shopping with a two-year-old for a two-year-old screaming because she wanted out of the car.

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AerialWombat
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by AerialWombat » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:45 am

Lawn mow, edge, blow, $35/wk. Gets done whether I’m home or on the road.
“Life doesn’t come with a warranty.” -Michael LeBoeuf

Texanbybirth
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Texanbybirth » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:46 am

getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 am
I'll say I didn't have a lot of luck with grocery pick-up. I'd set the pick-up time, and then wait 45 minutes in the parking lot while they found someone to wheel out the order. As it takes me about 45 minutes to shop, all this meant was that I traded shopping with a two-year-old for a two-year-old screaming because she wanted out of the car.
That's INSANE! I hope you got that order for free.
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

rg422
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by rg422 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:52 am

We have 3 young ones, both wife and I are FTE. We have a cleaning person who comes 2-3 times a month. Well worth it for us, as it saves us a lot of free time. Same with lawn care q 2 weeks.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:54 am

AerialWombat wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:45 am
Lawn mow, edge, blow, $35/wk. Gets done whether I’m home or on the road.
We started having our lawn mowed a couple of years ago because my allergies wouldn't allow it. But the time, effort, and sweat saved is well worth the $45 we pay each week. And yes, having it done while traveling is a bonus.

There's no way that I would do all of that for someone else for $45.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am

I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by simplesimon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
Yes, if you don't value space between you and the neighbors.

delamer
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by delamer » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm

Your original post said you are a one-income family, so I assume one of you is home with the kids?

So I’d recommend a schedule for various chores — laundry on Tuesday, bathroom cleaning on Wednesday, etc. Once you get in a rhythm, you never get too far behind on any maintenance. Kitchen clean-up needs to be as-you-go.

It isn’t a sin to park the kids in front of the TV for an hour a day to get things done.

I hated taking little kids grocery shopping. We used a delivery service as needed.

oldfatguy
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by oldfatguy » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:02 pm

We're a few years past the toddler stage now, but I still have not found any good ways to free up enough time. There just aren't enough days in the week, it seems.

We've tried hiring a house cleaner a few different times over the years ... we found them to be expensive, unreliable, and they did a poor job. Many of my neighbors have a lawn service, but I just can't justify paying 200-300 a month for something that takes me about an hour every week or two. I also do batch cooking for the entire week on Sunday, which saves time on weeknights, but takes up my entire day on Sunday.

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willthrill81
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:03 pm

simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
Yes, if you don't value space between you and the neighbors.
You can have a basically zero maintenance yard as well. We had some neighbors who did a very nice job in their yard with paving stones, gravel, and large rocks with a few plants that only needed trimming once a year. Once set up, the effort and cost of maintenance were both very low.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:19 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
You're not wrong. I'm guessing you're in a condo now? I like having our yard and garage -- spouse is handy and fixing and making things is one of his hobbies -- but we're planning to xeriscape the front yard in the next year or so just because mowing the lawn is a pain. Still prefer the SFH over sharing walls, but I can see the case for the opposite decision.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:20 pm

Texanbybirth wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:46 am
getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:33 am
I'll say I didn't have a lot of luck with grocery pick-up. I'd set the pick-up time, and then wait 45 minutes in the parking lot while they found someone to wheel out the order. As it takes me about 45 minutes to shop, all this meant was that I traded shopping with a two-year-old for a two-year-old screaming because she wanted out of the car.
That's INSANE! I hope you got that order for free.
Alas, no, but they lost my business.

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simplesimon
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by simplesimon » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:25 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:03 pm
simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
Yes, if you don't value space between you and the neighbors.
You can have a basically zero maintenance yard as well. We had some neighbors who did a very nice job in their yard with paving stones, gravel, and large rocks with a few plants that only needed trimming once a year. Once set up, the effort and cost of maintenance were both very low.
How big is his lot? It sounds pretty neat, but would not work in our neighborhood.

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willthrill81
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by willthrill81 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:29 pm

simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:25 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:03 pm
simplesimon wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
Yes, if you don't value space between you and the neighbors.
You can have a basically zero maintenance yard as well. We had some neighbors who did a very nice job in their yard with paving stones, gravel, and large rocks with a few plants that only needed trimming once a year. Once set up, the effort and cost of maintenance were both very low.
How big is his lot? It sounds pretty neat, but would not work in our neighborhood.
.25 acre. Their front yard had to be grass per HOA rules, but their fenced in backyard could be whatever they wanted.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

Maven
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Maven » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:45 pm

A lot of good suggestions here. We have a 5 and 3.5 year old so I can sympathize. Instead of spending money on things to add sanity back into our lives, we have chosen to sacrifice income to get that sanity and stability during the toddler years. I understand this isn't possible for everyone. When we had our first child, I took 6 weeks off and then began working at most 20 hours per week. Child #2 came just 17 months later and then we really appreciated the fact that I had a lot of time to keep our house and lives in order. We always say how grateful we are for our arrangement because we rarely feel as though we're struggling to keep up.

A few suggestions though... get or stay organized, don't over-commit yourselves to outside events/activities, utilize grocery delivery or pick-up, find a food delivery service to help with dinners a few nights a week (if available in your area), divide and conquer the kids (such as splitting up the bedtime routine as mentioned above), find friends/neighbors to swap playdates where you get some kid-free time to get things done (even one hour can be so productive!), and lastly... limit wasted time driving around. For example, if you find yourselves trekking across town for errands, can you find something closer to your home? Be strategic and you can free up a lot of time.

These years are tough, but magical. Best of luck!

veindoc
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by veindoc » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:49 pm

One thing I feel passionately about is teach your kids how to pick up, even a one year old can do it.
I did have a house cleaner to handle kitchen and toilets( I have 3 boys- use your imagination), but I made sure we at least took care of the clutter.
At this age kids think cleanup is fun. And clean up periodically like before you eat and after you eat and one hour intervals. Many parents try cleanup just before bedtime when all you can focus on is how difficult it is to wrangle the kids to bath and bed. This is doomed to failure. Now that my kids are older they realize that cleanup is actually not a game. But when I say clean-up they know what to do and how to do it. All throw blankets and pillows go back to the couch, books back on shelves, tablets in storage cabinet, toys in basket. Random cups and water bottles in dishwasher etc.

I also learned to cook simpler. Meals are mostly salad and baked meat. I rarely cook a vegetable, this might be hard with a 1 year old but I believe mine did not have any problems w spinach leaves, carrots, raw broccoli radish and cucumber. And my kids believe it or not ate vegetables- it was half their meal every meal so resistance was futile. Gave up on rice though the kids did love it. Too messy.

I also did not give kids a bath every day. It was mostly every other until age six unless we went swimming or played in mud.

Good luck. My sis in law texted me over the weekend asking when the time would come that she and the family could get out of the house before noon.

Frank Grimes
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Frank Grimes » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:54 pm

Kids are 4.5 and 2.5 and both of us work.

Spend money to gain time? Not too many things honestly, we pay for a house cleaning once a month for <$100 which is a great deal. And probably buy more things on Amazon or elsewhere online that we'd otherwise just go shop for.

We manufacture time using some of the same non-monetary things others have mentioned - I grocery shop once a week on Sunday and meal prep that day and maybe one other night during the week after kids' bedtime. Mowing takes me 20 minutes and I can do that on weekend mornings or after work during the week in a pinch. We don't generate a ton of laundry, but that gets done either in the evenings or during weekend nap/quiet time when we're not headed out anyway. Everyday meal prep and dish cleanup occurs when the other adult bathes the kids.

Biggest thing is trying to multitask to get things done simultaneously. For example, I have a bunch of stuff to do tonight. Laundry can be washing/drying while we have dinner and bathe/bed kids and later on meal prep for Wed-Fri meals. Dishes get washed in between cooking steps, as well as making lunches for tomorrow and sorting/shredding today's mail. Laundry gets folded once the food is prepped. All of this will be completed within 2 hrs.

Oh that and I haven't played golf in 2 years, have a great mountain bike collecting dust and larger home or yard projects get planned/thought about for weeks or months before the time frees up to do them properly.

chemocean
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by chemocean » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:42 pm

A retired economics professor just published a book called "Spending Time" that addresses the fundamentals of this issue. I heard about the book on a Planet Money podcast. The local library ended up purchasing it for their collection, which provides some indication it is written for the general publice.

finite_difference
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by finite_difference » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:47 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:24 am
MrBeaver wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 8:08 am
We are in the toddler stage, and things are literally crazy.

I'll spare you the details of the state of our house, but suffice it to say that I've realized that over the past couple of years we have increased spending on 'emergency' things to solve immediate time, energy, or preparedness problems within our household. My general level of stress seems high as a result of being forced into decisions. I'm talking about simple things like going out to eat because the kitchen is a mess. I'm ok with that periodically because I know 'life happens' sometimes, but I keep feeling like a bit of more planning in how we spend our money to gain time would help us feel less frazzled and move us closer to our non-financial goals. And I'm worried that we are setting habits we will not revert from once toddler stage is over.

What have you consciously decided to spend money on to gain time or family sanity, and not regretted?
Bonus points if it's reasonable expenses (say, total of <$200/month) for a middle class single income young family, and/or things that you found easy to revert away from to reduce spending once toddler stage was over.

I have considered outsourcing lawn care, but I usually do this early in the morning on a weekend when the family isn't up yet, so it doesn't seem like it's a net drain. But I have a hard time evaluating things like this when we feel like we are just doing survival management.
1. We hired a house cleaner. Once every two weeks. (We continue to tidy the house before the cleaners come, aka clean the house before the cleaners come to clean the house.)

2. We no longer shop in stores. We either buy things from Amazon or for groceries use Wal-Mart store pickup (wife shops online, I drive to the store to pickup groceries.) Saves hours of time. Costco is the exception. Wal-Mart store pickup is free. Other stores have nominal charge.

3. We have a yard service. Not because the yard is hard to mow but because the shrubs require constant maintenance which I don't have time for
+1.

Also, babysitting. Ask around, at daycare, YMCA, etc.

A few hours once or twice a week to run some chores, have dinner, exercise or simply decompress goes a long way mentally to regroup.
The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. - Thich Nhat Hanh

chemocean
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by chemocean » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:49 pm

Here a the details of the economics of the issue:

Hamermesh, Daniel S., author.

Title:
Spending time : the most valuable resource / Daniel S. Hamermesh.

Publisher, Date:
New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2019]

©2019

Description:
x, 220 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm

Summary:
"Time is the ultimate scarce resource and thus quintessentially a topic for economics, which studies scarcity. Starting with the observation that time is increasingly valuable given competing demands as we have more things we can buy and do, Spending Time provides engaging insights into how people use their time and what determines their decisions about spending their time. That our time is limited by the number of hours in a day, days in a year, and years in our lives means that we face constraints and thus choices that involve trade-offs. We sleep, eat, have fun, watch TV, and not least we work. How much we dedicate to each, and why we do so, is intriguing and no one is better placed to shed light on similarities and differences than Daniel S. Hamermesh, the leading authority on time-use. Here he explores how people use their time, including across countries, regions, cultures, class, and gender. Americans now work more than people in other rich countries, but as recently as the late 1970s they worked no more than others; and they also work longer into older age. Men and women do different things at different times of the day, which affects how well-off they feel. Both the arrival of children and retirement create major shocks to existing time uses, with differences between the sexes. Higher incomes and higher wage rates lead people to hurry more, both on and off the job, and higher wage rates lead people to cut back on activities that take time away from work. Being stressed for time is central to modern life, and Hamermesh shows who is rushed, and why. With Americans working more than people in France, Germany, the U.K., Japan and other rich countries, the book offers a simple but radical proposal for changing Americans' lives and reducing the stress about time."--Baker & Taylor.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by Jags4186 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:52 pm

delamer wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm
Your original post said you are a one-income family, so I assume one of you is home with the kids?

So I’d recommend a schedule for various chores — laundry on Tuesday, bathroom cleaning on Wednesday, etc. Once you get in a rhythm, you never get too far behind on any maintenance. Kitchen clean-up needs to be as-you-go.

It isn’t a sin to park the kids in front of the TV for an hour a day to get things done.

I hated taking little kids grocery shopping. We used a delivery service as needed.
This has hopefully nothing to do with the OP, but when everyone was going on and on about Marie Kondo all I could think about was the one episode with the stay at home mom, who had 2 toddlers, a nanny, and a cleaning lady yet the house was constantly a pigsty. Like what are you doing all day?

delamer
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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by delamer » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:01 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:52 pm
delamer wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:01 pm
Your original post said you are a one-income family, so I assume one of you is home with the kids?

So I’d recommend a schedule for various chores — laundry on Tuesday, bathroom cleaning on Wednesday, etc. Once you get in a rhythm, you never get too far behind on any maintenance. Kitchen clean-up needs to be as-you-go.

It isn’t a sin to park the kids in front of the TV for an hour a day to get things done.

I hated taking little kids grocery shopping. We used a delivery service as needed.
This has hopefully nothing to do with the OP, but when everyone was going on and on about Marie Kondo all I could think about was the one episode with the stay at home mom, who had 2 toddlers, a nanny, and a cleaning lady yet the house was constantly a pigsty. Like what are you doing all day?
Not to derail the thread, but I have a friend whose house is clean but not neat. She dusts, vacuums, cleans the kitchen and baths, but there is stuff all over the place.

And it also is possible to be neat but not clean.

But it is easier to keep a place clean when it is neat. And an orderly place tends to look cleaner too.

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Re: How do you spend money to gain time? (young family)

Post by stoptothink » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:42 pm

getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:19 pm
stoptothink wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:56 am
I'm just realizing how much time (and money) we save by not having a yard. As we consider moving to a SFH home, a large lot/yard is actually a negative.
You're not wrong. I'm guessing you're in a condo now? I like having our yard and garage -- spouse is handy and fixing and making things is one of his hobbies -- but we're planning to xeriscape the front yard in the next year or so just because mowing the lawn is a pain. Still prefer the SFH over sharing walls, but I can see the case for the opposite decision.
We're in a townhome (end unit). In almost 4yrs we've (faintly) heard our neighbors maybe a handful of times. It isn't an issue for me at all. Noise/privacy isn't really an issue for my wife either, her primary argument is that she doesn't like that the neighborhood is somewhat transient so we don't develop long-term relationships. I think if she was being honest, it's that she doesn't like the fact that we are living in a home that we bought for less than what our current annual income is: we make several times what any of our neighbors do and she subconsciously wants to project that image in the home we live in. Either way, we are very much in agreement that a large yard is a negative.

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