Neighbors pay people to do EVERYTHING! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We just moved to a more upscale neighborhood. We bought a fixer upper at a huge price discount (about 100,000) below market and are doing almost all of the work ourselves. We have met a bunch of really nice down to earth neighbors, but there are a couple of neighbors in my court who are freaking me out because they pay people to do EVERYTHING.

One has two little girls (3 years old and 3 months old) since we have lived here I have noticed she has her lawn cut, her groceries delivered, a cleaning lady, pest control, disposable diapers delivered, a tailor come to her house, premade meals delivered, and so on and so forth.

The other one is 60ish and has no kids.

In both households, the wife doesn't work outside the home. They have multiple people out on most days, but here is what pushed me over the edge. Yesterday they both had "Scoopers: Our Business is Picking Up" come out and pick up their dog poop and today they have a groomer who comes to their house to groom their dogs. I never would have even guessed that such their were companies that do those things!!!

This isn't judging them - it just sort of amazes me. They probably think DH and I are nuts since this house needed to be gutted and we have been working on it ourselves for 7 straight weeks....lol
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#2 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 10:12 AM
 
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I dunno. Sometimes it is cheaper for people to pay for services they could do themselves. We sometimes have a lawn service come to mow because the opportunity cost of doing it ourselves is too high. And we are REALLY frugal people. But if it is between dh skipping a $150 job to mow the lawn that we can pay someone $50 to mow, it does not make sense for him to do it.

I also would have totally jumped on grocery service had it been available in my area when dd was an infant. I was EXHAUSTED and had PPD. Grocery shopping was a task that was just too overwhelming for me for a long time. I am sure anyone looking in that did not know me would wonder why someone with no job and only one kid needed a grocery service. But I would have considered it money well spent.

While, I personally would not use many of the services you listed, I am sure I could brainstorm some sort of reason why it makes financial sense for someone, somewhere to use it. It could be that these people are just terribly lazy or throwing their money away, but I guess we just do not know that for sure. I doubt they think you are strange for doing the jobs yourself. They might even envy you
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#3 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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DH's Aunt owns a portable grooming service. So I knew it existed. Sometimes people with no kids, substitute pets for kids. We have a couple with two little dogs that come into work to visit a resident. They bring the dogs in a doggy stroller. I didn't know those existed until I saw one (and now they seem to pop up everywhere!)

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#4 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:05 AM
 
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I get what Yooper is saying.

We use certain services because I can save money. For example, it would take me hours each week to do my DH's work shirts (launder, press, starch) but it costs about $7 to get it done professionaly. So instead of doing shirts, I have more time to cook. Ordering out or going out would cost more than $7 many, many times over.

Grocery delivery would be a dream come true for me! Not ever going to happen in my area but oh my, it would be so nice!

As far as the poop picker uppers? Now that is something I just can't imagine paying someone to do.

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#5 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:07 AM
 
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I'm probably too frugal to actually do it, but if I had the money and could pay someone to do things like that and free up more time to spend with the kids and in my own pursuits, I would like to think I'd do it.
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#6 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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I looked into Grocery Delivery awhile back; it's really not as expensive as you'd think. I despise grocery shopping with every fiber of my being, so I was all for it. We ended up staying overseas, but when I come back, it will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Truth be told, if I could pay somebody to do all the big tasks in my house, I totally would. I spend so much damn time cleaning and fixing and washing and whatnot, there are days I don't even enjoy being home. I can't blame somebody else for it.
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#7 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:20 AM
 
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I would totally pay for a lawn service. Well, maybe. I dunno... If we had a lot of disposable income, yes. Which I think we *could* have if we were spending more carefully, but we're not, so I guess it's not that important to us? LOL We didn't mind doing those things before we had kids, but now an hour and a half on the weekend to mow the lawn feels like half our weekend is gone Same deal with shoveling our driveway... but I guess those things are really the only exercise we get lately besides chasing kids...

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#8 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I get that it is cheaper to pay for somethings. And yes, grocery delivery is actually reasonable and makes sense with an infant. My point was that it is funny that they pay people to do EVERYTHING...the one with no kids and no job has had THREE different people come and do stuff today and it is only 11:00 am.

Aside from the money, it almost seems like more work to coordinate all the workers than to do the work than to do it yourself, ykwim? When we have had people come and do something for us that we don't know how to do or don't have the tools for (tree removal comes to mind) it required several calls and coordination --- it seems like so much work to have 10 plus people come to your house every week.

Anyway, as I said, I am not judging them, I am just amazed at the sheer number of services they contract out. It would never occur to me to leave the dog poo in the yard until somebody else swung by to pick it up -lol
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#9 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:13 PM
 
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Aside from the money, it almost seems like more work to coordinate all the workers than to do the work than to do it yourself, ykwim? When we have had people come and do something for us that we don't know how to do or don't have the tools for (tree removal comes to mind) it required several calls and coordination --- it seems like so much work to have 10 plus people come to your house every week.
Maybe they have personal assistants they pay to set up all the "workers."

I would absolutely pay for someone to come pick up my dogs poo. In fact I have taken cards from the pet store-but never followed up with them.

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#10 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:15 PM
 
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Ah, but perhaps there's the key...things like tree removal and such aren't needed on a regular basis. Grocery shopping, dog grooming, poo pickup, and lawn service are things that do need to be done on a fairly regular basis. It may require some coordination in the beginning, when first starting the service, but after a short time it's just part of the routine.

If I had the money and didn't enjoy doing these jobs myself, I'd definitely hire someone else (or several someones) to do them for me.

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#11 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:20 PM
 
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If I had the money I would totally do it, all of it. Especially the dog poop scoopers.

This coming from someone who does everything in the house, literally everything. DH goes to work and plays with the kiddo, and that is just about it.

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#12 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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FWIW, I used to babysit for a family that lived in an upscale neighborhood. They were the only ones they knew in the neighborhood who mowed their own yard, painted things themselves when things needed painting, grew veggies, that sort of thing. They did have people come clean their house twice a month, and had a nanny, but both of them worked, and as soon as they got home, I was done for the day. They actually had a new neighbor who came by to meet them when they happened to be painting the garage and he asked something weird about them not being the ones who own the house (he thought they were hired painters) or something. Anyway, I know for a fact they had loads of money, but I guess they just couldn't see spending it on things they could do themselves and didn't mind doing

ETA... they also have a pool and do all the pool maintenance themselves...

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#13 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I do everything myself most of the time, but I can see the need for such services.

In order to live in an upscale area, you need an upscale paycheck each and every pay period. A lot of times those type of jobs take a heck of a lot more time than a 9-5 type job or a 40 hour a week job. If your neighbor is a SAHmom with two small kids, her DP most likely works several hours a week or travels. When that DP is home, he/she would most likely rather just spend time w the family or doing something for themself and spouse than cut the grass and pick up dog poo.

Dh and I are creative types and we can DIY on almost anything and everything. We also bought a fix upper in a better neighborhood but not upscale. Some of our neighbors are in awe of what we have done and are doing to our home. For us, its our golf game, large tv, going out to dinner everynight fun. Others would like to spend that time doing something else.

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#14 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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I would totally pay for most of that. As it is, we have a service mow our grass every week, and even when things were EXTREMELY tight a couple of years ago, the lawn service was about the only luxury we kept. When our dog was still living, I thought with every single scoop that I wished we had the money to pay for someone to pick up the poop for me! I like to grocery shop, but if I could afford a housekeeper I would sign up for that, too.

I do know a woman who hires out everything. She is an extremely organized person and a respected volunteer in our community. She pays people to do what she doesn't enjoy and focuses her time on what she does enjoy and is good at.
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#15 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I should add, I have a produce and dairy delivery each and every week. I started it when the gas prices were skyrocketing two summers ago. It was cheaper to buy stuff this way and have delivered than go buy myself.

"The true joy of life is the trip. The station is only a dream. It constantly out distances us."
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#16 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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I do know a woman who hires out everything. She is an extremely organized person and a respected volunteer in our community. She pays people to do what she doesn't enjoy and focuses her time on what she does enjoy and is good at.

This also contributes to local jobs WITHOUT creating a bunch of extra manufactured goods. I would much rather see people spend money on services than stuff.

Last year, our house needed several interior rooms painted. We are, by no means, "high income" so some of my friends reacted with horror that I would actually pay painters rather than do it myself. They all do their own painting and I have too in the past. But, I also knew from experience that with the color changes I was making, doing it myself was going to require 3-4 coats whereas professionals could do it in 1-2 coats. And a lot faster. I weighed the options. The extra paint and new equipment (brushes, pans, tarps, etc...) it was going to take me, alone, made up for half the cost of the painters. The other half was easily made up with my not having to ignore my 5yo for a week and have half of my house unserviceable while I did the job.

Knowing that, I can totally see a 60 yo single woman with disposable income making similar choices. If she hates scooping poo and someone else needs some money and is willing to scoop poo, then everything is good. Much worse for said woman to buy three different cheapo plastic poo scoopers in an attempt to make the job easier for her. At least the money is going in someone's mouth and not into a landfill.
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#17 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I didn't mean to step on any toes

I just didn't know until a couple of weeks ago that you could pay people to do some of this stuff and I would never think of calling anybody to do it. I was not saying anything bad about their choices, just thought if there was anywhere on earth where people might also be surprised it was here. Sort of thought this was the diy, saving money sort of crowd...anyway, I am clearly the weird one here and also it seems being viewed as judgemental, so sorry.
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#18 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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Our grocery store here charges $8 per grocery delivery. This means you sit at your computer and order stuff (or call it in), they do all the selection at the store and deliver it to your house.

With a newborn and a older toddler at the time, I considered it well worth it as it meant I didn't have to kid wrangle both of them to do one, otherwise simple, task. If I did it, it would have involved half my day, many tears, and impulse purchases (to make ME feel better).

I've hired painters because I have high ceilings and with kids around I couldn't paint AND watch the kids at the same time.

I've also hired a house cleaner twice in my life, just because I couldn't handle cleaning 3 bathrooms and a kitchen 9+mo preggy with a toddler.

My friend hired a personal chef during her post partum period just because she couldn't handle the shopping and cooking for 6 (including 2 teenagers) for a while after her C-section.

I can see using many of these services once in a while but not on a long term basis, more like on a "need to catch up" basis.

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#19 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:22 PM
 
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Sorry, I didn't mean to step on any toes

I just didn't know until a couple of weeks ago that you could pay people to do some of this stuff and I would never think of calling anybody to do it. I was not saying anything bad about their choices, just thought if there was anywhere on earth where people might also be surprised it was here. Sort of thought this was the diy, saving money sort of crowd...anyway, I am clearly the weird one here and also it seems being viewed as judgemental, so sorry.

Oh! I don't think you are judgmental.... I can totally see your point. It just might not be obvious that sometimes these services do save money or something worth more than money for some people. I know it seems incompatible with "Frugal Living" but that is not always the case.
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#20 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:35 PM
 
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OP, we seem to live in a neighborhood similar to yours. The majority of the homes here have lawn services and housekeepers but we choose to do those tasks ourselves. I was a nanny in a very upscale home where they had a fulltime housekeeper, a gardener, lawn service, etc. and I saw how much work it was too deal with the "help." We're hoping that once we get the yard and house up to where we want it, it will be less work overall. I think that if it seems like we're going to continually put in a lot of man hours, we may hire out some of the work - mainly the yardwork.

There comes a point where it's preferable to pay someone and save yourself the time.

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#21 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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and then there are people like me and DH - we know that no matter what we say we'll never actually do some of the stuff ourselves. for instance, we'll never paint a room, so why bother to pretend we'll get to it and then not do it when we can hire someone to come in and get it done and over with in a day vs using procrastinating or arguing about it for weeks?

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#22 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:40 PM
 
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They're certainly doing their part to stimulate the local economy. If they have the money, who really cares what they hire to do? Perhaps they have health issues and can't do for themselves.
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#23 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:49 PM
 
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We occasionally look into having a service done. The last one was edging and mulching the garden beds. When we heard the price, I said, "Wow, no way. I'll do it myself." And I did, but it was a lot of work, so it was nice to know exactly how much I was saving!

Plus, I say to myself, look at me, not spending money on a gym membership.

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#24 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't care. I am not judgemental. This IS the FRUGALITY website where I thought the point was to discuss FRUGALITY. I am sorry, I am in a new neighborhood where I don't know anybody and I was feeling lonely and thought it was funny that there is a company called "Scoopers: Our Business is Picking Up". I thought some other frugal mothers might too.

I really didn't want to get anybody ruffled up or anything - I just thought it was funny and that given the usual tone of this page, I could enjoy a bit of nice cybersocialization.
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#25 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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One of the reasons I like living in a condo is that landscaping, maintenance, etc is already paid for through my condo fees.
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#26 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 02:32 PM
 
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Our next door neighbor hires someone to mow his grass. We live in a blue collar neighborhood--there are several people in the neighborhood who have side businesses actually mowing grass, so it's a bit unusual.

He also NEVER leaves his house except one quick trip to get mail mid-day, and then again to catch a cab to work in the afternoon (and back 3-4 hours later). We've lived here 4 years, and we've probably spoken 10 words back and forth.

We have lots of fun making up stories about who he is and what kind of business he's running from inside his house that requires him to be so reclusive.

Just odd neighborly games.
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#27 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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I don't care. I am not judgemental. This IS the FRUGALITY website where I thought the point was to discuss FRUGALITY. I am sorry, I am in a new neighborhood where I don't know anybody and I was feeling lonely and thought it was funny that there is a company called "Scoopers: Our Business is Picking Up". I thought some other frugal mothers might too.

I really didn't want to get anybody ruffled up or anything - I just thought it was funny and that given the usual tone of this page, I could enjoy a bit of nice cybersocialization.
hi mama, you're not in mclean are you? honestly, i'd probably be just as shocked as you, so don't feel bad about posting here! on the other hand, now that i think about it, i'd be down for getting services like that if i had the cash. i've chosen to live in a small apartment that costs big bucks in order to have a shorter commute, because time spent with family is more important than a big house and a yard. i'm too anal about grocery shopping to let anyone else do it for me, but even now i'm considering having someone clean my place - i think i need that for sanity!

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#28 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 03:15 PM
 
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I've been considering grocery delivery. My youngest is at the stage where getting through five minutes in the store is close to impossible.

I think the pooper scooper business is hilarious. You wouldn't want a scheduling mishap and have them come after the lawn guy, would you?
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#29 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 03:42 PM
 
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We lived across the street from a similar family except they had teenage children, not little ones. They did have the dog groomer come every week or two to take care of their five beautiful dogs. DH and I would notice every time they had different services come to their house...it really did boggle the mind how many things they paid for that we would do ourselves. This neighborhood was a mix of very expensive homes and much less expensive rentals (near a university), so it's not like everyone in the neighborhood had housekeepers or anything like that.

My friend's mother also hires a lot of people to come to her house to do things for her, but my friend thinks she does it because she is lonely. Maybe that's a possibility for your older neighbor, too.
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#30 of 110 Old 09-29-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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I wonder if I could move in with them

Ive been thinking of hiring my SIL's mom to come wash dishes and sweep my floors. I can't keep up with it my 2 yo is so busy the house is a mess...maybe even have her mob the floor....I can sit on the computer all day but if I get up they can see me and then the drama starts. With ODD though I never had this issue huumm...

You should see if your neighbors need anything , might be a way to earn some extra money
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