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Cleaning Service/Maids
Old 11-03-2015, 10:25 PM   #1
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Cleaning Service/Maids

Curious to hear if anyone here has used a recurring (twice a month or once a month) cleaning service? If so, how did you justify the cost? Or, do you think it is a waste of money and one should do it themselves to save for FIRE?


I never thought I would be saying this at the age of 26, but I have been considering hiring a recurring cleaning service. I've been thinking of hiring a monthly service, since I don't have kids and my place doesn't get too bad too fast.

I find that I never end up having the time to clean as often as I'd like to (which isn't that often - like once a month), and I never do as good of a job as I'd like, yet it still takes me longer than I anticipate. I end up being busy with work, family and social activities and other hobbies, and when I have a small speckle of free time, I find that I'd rather watch tv, read, or relax and not clean.

I feel that at a monthly cost of about $60-70 (I live in a 950 sq. feet condo) this is reasonable given that a dinner and drinks out could easily set me back the same amount.
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Cleaning Service/Maids
Old 11-03-2015, 10:36 PM   #2
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Cleaning Service/Maids

I have only used cleaning services for special occasions, but many of my friends use them twice a month. If I could find service for $60-70 a month, I'd do it. In my area the average is $120/visit.


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Old 11-03-2015, 10:44 PM   #3
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We used a cleaning service when we were working and it helped a lot. With the hours we were working, we didn't get around to cleaning as often as we would have liked and it really took valuable time away from having a life.

They came once a week and washed our sheets & towels too. They didn't do the whole house every week, but divvied it up so that it always looked good.

Now that we are ER'd, we clean the house ourselves.
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:48 PM   #4
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Retirement is pretty much just buying time. Maybe you can consider the cleaning service as starting with a mini-retirement during weekends now.
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Old 11-03-2015, 11:17 PM   #5
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I assume you are male. Having a nice clean apartment or house will be a big help with your relationships. In fact, a messy place can kill a relationship before it even happens.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:07 AM   #6
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Curious to hear if anyone here has used a recurring (twice a month or once a month) cleaning service? If so, how did you justify the cost? Or, do you think it is a waste of money and one should do it themselves to save for FIRE?
I haven't used a cleaning service, but I see no problem at all in justifying the cost. Would I clean houses for somebody else for not much more than minimum wage? No. With my four advanced degrees I could hopefully make more money doing other things if I want to work, and frankly my skills are not in housecleaning. So why should I clean my own house to save the same low wage? I can afford a housecleaner if I wanted one. Case closed, cleaning service justified, IMO.

The reason I haven't used a cleaning service is not the cost, at all; it's that I don't feel comfortable having my space invaded by house cleaners. Hard to explain, and totally irrational I'm sure, but the idea just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Get a house cleaner! You can always change your mind later on.
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Old 11-04-2015, 12:31 AM   #7
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I haven't used a cleaning service, but I see no problem at all in justifying the cost. Would I clean houses for somebody else for not much more than minimum wage? No. With my four advanced degrees I could hopefully make more money doing other things if I want to work, and frankly my skills are not in housecleaning. So why should I clean my own house to save the same low wage? I can afford a housecleaner if I wanted one. Case closed, cleaning service justified, IMO.

The reason I haven't used a cleaning service is not the cost, at all; it's that I don't feel comfortable having my space invaded by house cleaners. Hard to explain, and totally irrational I'm sure, but the idea just makes me feel uncomfortable.

Get a house cleaner! You can always change your mind later on.

Bolded the main objection I have towards hiring cleaners. I've heard nightmare stories from former coworkers about them breaking things, stealing things, shoddy cleaning and feeling guilty and paying them anyway... my house is my safe place and I don't like the idea of strangers in there for most reasons. While I'm sure that the good ones far outweight the bad ones, I still figure I'd get screwed so I don't even want to give any of them a chance. Sigh.

I object slightly based off the idea that I should never have so much stuff and so much house that I can't take care of it myself, but frankly I get being a bit overwhelmed and just not wanting to deal with it after working hard and cost-wise it can make sense to outsource it if you are okay with people coming into your home.

So mixed feelings myself, with me mostly feeling like it is probably an okay idea. But probably wouldn't be able to do it myself.
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:43 AM   #8
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If you can afford it, and you want it then I don't not see a problem at all.
If you are single then the only person you have to justify anything to is yourself, right?

In my case I had a cleaner who came once a week when I was single, once I got married my wife decided she did not want the cleaner and decided to do it herself.
I had offered to continue to have the cleaner come, she declined (the impact on our finances was basically insignificant). We agreed that since she was making that decision then she was assuming the responsibility for the outcome. I do help out when she wants/needs it but I basically hate cleaning and she actually likes to do it. Go figure!
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:43 AM   #9
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It took a long time to find a trustworthy house cleaner. Looking for recommendations from coworkers who lived nearby I'd continually call to find them unavailable. Finally found one with a slot in her schedule a few years ago and DW and I have been very happy with her since.

With both of us working it's been easy enough to justify the $90 per visit. We live in a high COL area and she really does improve our quality of life. After I retire the $2K per year will sting more, but by this point she's almost become part of the family and we'd find it hard to let her go.
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Old 11-04-2015, 05:32 AM   #10
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I have a service that comes in once a week. I've had them for years. If you have allergies it really cuts down on dust. I was a little leery at first but have used the same company and have not had any stealing or breakage. They are insured. With working full time and husband not well the cleaning service has been great. If my husband is home I leave a BIG note for him to remind him that the cleaning service will be here and a BIG note for the service not to go into the master bedroom. My husband said they are so quiet that most of the time he doesn't know they are there. A friend of mine that lives in an apartment has the same service come in once a month. Another friend has the same service clean before special events/holidays. For special events you have to book them far in advance.
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Old 11-04-2015, 05:48 AM   #11
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We've been using the same cleaning service for years. We pay $115 every other week and s bonus around the holidays. They're not perfect, but are honest and nice. We test their honesty a couple of times a year by leaving a "dropped" $20 on the floor somewhere and they've never let us down. They offer to pay for anything they accidentally break, but it's rare and we never ask them to pay. They've never asked to increase their pay, so we've done it on our own a couple of times. I can't see any need to give them up any time soon.


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Old 11-04-2015, 06:13 AM   #12
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Not too emotional about most things, but I loathe cleaning. It simply doesn't happen or I do a real shoddy bad job at it.

So I have a cleaning lady come in every two or three weeks. Costs me <1k per year. 550 sq. ft (roughly) apartment.

It has a side benefit: I am forced to sort of arrange my stuff somewhat before she comes in. That keeps the place in a state where I'm not ashamed of surprise visitors (cf. HaHa's comment ..).

Yes it is a luxury. But it increases the quality of my life by a very large amount. Sacrificing a bit of personal space (stranger in my house!) was a bit of a hurdle, but worth it. Other than that I'm reasonably frugal and have no hired help. Not too worried about the stealing bit. There is nothing of monetary value to steal in my house.

Each makes his own trade-off though. 50k over a lifetime will likely not make the difference if that's the only item you splurge on.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:23 AM   #13
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We have always used a cleaning service. I hate dirt and I hate cleaning even more. Now that we are empty nesters our cleaners come every other week. It's well worth the $ to us.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:33 AM   #14
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There is no problem hiring a cleaner, do not feel guilty. You can hire a service, or hire someone that is trying out a side hustle to retire early.

Many people are doing these same side gigs to make an extra $60-$70 that they can put to their retirement program and retire early.

Factor in $60, every two weeks. That's $1,560 every year, potentially tax free income, that can be put into a retirement account. If it's in a 401K and gets matched, it could be double.
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Old 11-04-2015, 06:39 AM   #15
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DW and I had weekly cleanings for 20 years and biweekly for the last 10. Initially, it was done incidentally by the woman who provided in-house day care for our daughter. When we no longer needed day care we had become quite attached to this woman who was interested in switching to maid services. We ended up finding enough friends in the neighborhood to provide her full time work and helped all of them set up the proper SS payments. DW and I also set up and funded ($100/mth) a Vanguard lifecycle account for her. Over the years, she developed pretty bad arthritis and is retiring at the end of this month. She is 62 so will go on early SS while she pursues disability. She was undocumented when she started with us, but with a few scares was able to return to Guatemala and come back legally. She is now a US citizen and has been able to bring her three children into the US. One of the nicest, hardest working people I know.

Edit: back to the OP - we plan to find someone else to come in biweekly to clean. Lots of dog hair around here.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:01 AM   #16
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The reason I haven't used a cleaning service is not the cost, at all; it's that I don't feel comfortable having my space invaded by house cleaners. Hard to explain, and totally irrational I'm sure, but the idea just makes me feel uncomfortable.
Yes, this, exactly.
I had one many years ago for awhile when I was married. I'd get annoyed because they'd spend time "organizing" instead of cleaning. For example, if I had three stacks of mail, one bills to be filed since I've paid them, another bills to be paid, and a third of just info to read, I'd come home and find them all together, and probably moved. Or I'd have something in a certain place for convenience or a reminder to do or take something, and it'd be moved elsewhere and mess up my system.

I never really worried about theft (though these days I might be more worried about identity theft), just the feeling of someone going through and moving my stuff. It would also be unsettling to me to have a stranger in my house while I'm home.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:27 AM   #17
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Factor in $60, every two weeks. That's $1,560 every year, potentially tax free income, that can be put into a retirement account. If it's in a 401K and gets matched, it could be double.
Wish I lived in your neighborhood, no chance of finding someone good and reliable for that price around here.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:33 AM   #18
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We have a monthly service at $30/hour which comes to $75 per month. This is twice DW's wages, but she hates housework and I have bad dust allergies. I pay it gladly to keep the peace and have a clean house.

A couple of things have gone missing since she started (e.g. A favorite pen). But things go missing anyway, there's not nearly enough evidence to blame the maid.
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Old 11-04-2015, 07:51 AM   #19
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I had a cleaner that came in every 2 weeks when I was working full time and attending grad school 4 nights a week. During that period I met my husband and we got married. He did not like strangers in the house (even though my cleaner was the wife of a coworker and not a stranger.)

I would love to hire a cleaner before large parties/events... but DH stands firm on the no strangers in the house thing. Not worth the battle as he has stronger feelings on this than I do. I just remind him that I'd like to hire someone - but instead he gets to pitch in on the super-clean we do for big parties.
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Old 11-04-2015, 08:09 AM   #20
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I consider myself a rather frugal person, but the best thing I ever did for myself was hire a cleaning lady. I've had the same person coming to my house for 25 years, 1/2 day every other week. It's just me, so there's not a lot of mess other than the kitchen I love coming home on that every other Monday and smelling Pine Sol!

i anticipate retiring in about 4 years, and at that point will have to decide whether Maria stays in my budget or not. Will be much harder to justify once I have way more time on my hands (and am in a much smaller place, as I'll be downsizing soon).
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