Frugality & Maid Service

Does having maid service make a person spend thrift? Well, in my mind it does. I feel I am perfectly capable of keeping my house clean and so I should do it myself. But these days things are very busy at work. maidAlso, ever since I got hooked to blogging, it seems like I have very little spare time on my hands. I don't want to spend that spare time on cleaning (and gasp cooking, but that's a whole other story). So, around Mother's day, when I saw a coupon for 25% off for maid service slid under my door, I gave in and called the number. The quote was quite reasonable, especially considering that it was an insured and bonded company! So I quickly set up an appointment for one-time cleaning for the next weekend.

On the weekend, three maids showed up. They went straight to the master bath and started scrubbing and cleaning. Let me stop here a bit to expound on the complexity of different cleaning chores. If you are used to doing the chores yourself, you will agree with me that not all the chores are created equal. Some (like dusting) are really easy and in a way relaxing. But cleaning bathrooms and making sure that they sparkle all the time - now, that is really a lot of hard work. Of all the cleaning chores around the house, I dread cleaning the bathroom the most. But the maids attacked the problem with gusto. They set about cleaning every nook and corner, chattering away and humming along as they worked, until my bathroom looked the way it did before I started getting lazy! I was so relieved.

To cut a long story short, they went through the rest of the house with the same enthusiasm and thoroughness. Sometimes I wonder if I have border-line OCD, and one of the places it manifests is in keeping the house clean. It felt great, for a change, to have someone else do the hard work, while I got to keep the pristine clean house.

Back in the home country, it is very common for everyone to have a maid who comes in once or twice a day and cleans the house. The maid usually spends a couple of hours in each house, and has several houses lined up throughout the day. It is sort of a regular day job with a fixed schedule. And costs a heck of a lot less than what it does here in the US. So, while I am used to living in a clean house, I am not very used to doing the work myself. When we came to the US however, I realized that maid service was well out of my reach. So, I never opted for it thus far. And even this time when I did have the maid service, it was meant to be a one-time treat.

But now that I have got the taste for it, I am extremely tempted to sign up a contract for maybe monthly or at least bi-monthly cleaning. But it feels like a lot of money to spend. Maybe I am still comparing it with the cost of having a maid in the home country. I feel that since I am physically fit enough to clean the house and do not have any kids to mess it up too bad, it is just not justified to pay the maids for the chores I am supposed to be doing. What about you all? Do you have maid service? Is it really non-frugal to pay the maids to do the chores that I am perfectly capable of doing? Or am I being too much of a miser by not allowing myself the luxury of freeing up a few hours every weekend?

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heidiM said...

We have someone come in to do the cleaning once a week, and my husband and I are both still in grad school! Neither of us are great housekeepers, and we both have very busy schedules. Result: the mess was becoming a big source of stress. So even though we don't have a huge income, for us hiring a cleaning person has been a wise investment, which has paid for itself in other ways. To give you just one example, we cook more of our meals at home now than we used to, because we have more time to shop and prepare those tasty-yet-frugal dinners.
FYI - We have found all of our "maids" via the student job board at our university -- much more affordable than a professional service!
So, IMHO it can be frugal to hire a maid, depending on what your situation is: you will have to do the cost/benefit analysis for yourself.

SavingDiva said...

I live alone in a two-bedroom apartment...and while I hate to clean and would love to have a maid...I just can't afford it. However, it would be nice. I guess I don't even know how much something like that would cost!

Strange Bird said...

I don't think you're being too much of a miser. If you are fine cleaning it yourself, then by all means, do so! #1 and I have agreed, though, that since he is much messier than I am and it is annoying to me and I would be resentful cleaning up after him (and he would be resentful if I nagged him too much), we will get a maid if we live together. A little bit of money for increased harmony. ;)

ispf said...

heidiM: I live in a university town too, but never thought to look on the student job board! Thanks for the suggestion - I will look there to see what I can find.

savingdiva: I was exactly in the same position as you. Until we had the maid service this time, I didn't know how much it would cost, and didn't even look into it since I couldn't afford it.

strangebird: "A little bit of money for increased harmony" - that is a really neat way of looking at it! In my case, even though the better half is not too messy, he is entirely un-domestic and does not help much in any of the household chores :( So I end up doing all the work and sometimes get too tired and cranky or I end up nagging him to help me, which makes him cranky... Money spent on avoiding these situations is definitely money well spent!