Outsourcing to save money

Donna Willan Money cents

Last week I managed to wrestle my pool back from green to murky blue. But as I wrote in my last column, I had an epiphany – we cannot do it all, I cannot do it all! So once in a while, if you can afford it and if it’s a task that’s not in your skills-set, then outsource! Sometimes it might even save money.

I started with the pool. I got a few quotes (on a side note it always astounds me how much the costs and services offered vary) and decided that one for R500 was reasonable. I worked out that on a good month I spend around R100 on chemicals, and when it is not working I spend another R300 or so. So yes, a pool service is more expensive, but I’m saving myself immense stress, time cleaning filters and anxiety as I watch (regularly) the pool turn murky. So I may be paying an extra few hundred rand, but I am saving many hours every month, and reducing my stress load immensely. And frankly time and less stress is worth a lot of money, even on a shoe-string budget – so I did it. I contracted a pool company!

Even if I had loads of money I still would not want to outsource everything, as I like to feel connected to life by experiencing all aspects of it. For instance I enjoy cooking, the kids like getting involved, and I think it’s critical to be aware of what we are eating and how we prepare our food – so I would not buy a lot of pre-prepared food. However, maybe there are other areas of our lives that we could approach differently. Are there other outsourcing options that are not too costly and allow one a little more time to have fun, play with the kids and enjoy life?

In my next column I am going to explore the idea of “want versus need”. Simon addressed this a while back in one of the great ‘100 second tips’ – I wonder how this applies to me, do I distinguish my wants from my needs, and how often do I re-package my ‘wants’ into ‘needs’?


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