October 24, 2007, 7:00 am

The Decision of Having a Housecleaning Lady

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance,Project $1500
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cleaning lady My regular readers (that are really growing from months to months!) know that my wife is on maternity leaves with two kids at home. I would really be able to keep her at home and offer her the option of going back to school. This is why I made created my $1,500 project. However, today, I am going totally the other way with this post. I am actually trying to find a housecleaning lady to help us out in the house.
While it is not creating money, it will actually take more money away from my wallet every month. I think money is not the only thing in life and that our life quality is more important than anything else. Nonetheless, having a housecleaning lady is not an easy choice to make for many reasons.How people will look at you

In order to understand fully this point, you have to know where I live. In Quebec, the average income per person is around 25K to 27K CDN (which is now the same thing as USD!). More than that, our population has been influenced by politicians and religion for a good hundred years to believe that money is evil and that we were born to live modestly. In French, there is an old saying that goes like this: “Nous sommes nés pour un petit pain”, literally it gives: “We are born for a small bread”. So basically, small is beautiful and we do not deserve better.

This is why we asked ourselves how our entourage will look at us if they knew we were thinking of having a housecleaning lady. They would probably see us as being lazy or unable to manage our career, our children and our household. Or, the other way, it might creates jealousy. In the middle of that, we would probably find some people that would understand and agree with our decision. Nonetheless, we decided to keep it quiet for now. Anyway, what’s happening in our house, should stay in our house right?

Why purposely increasing our payment?

At first glance, it seems that we just found another to spend more money. Especially if we consider the fact that my wife is at home for the next year and could handle the house by herself. But is it not as simple as that. I personally can not help her much to keep the house as I am full time working, full time MBA and full time blogging. My blog (and other internet project I’m working on presently) are part of my plan for creating more steady income. I rather work on my MBA and my blog and increase my income than cleaning my house. This leaves her all alone to take care of the house and the kids (we are not a big fan of daycare so my son goes only two to three days a week and my little one stays at home). She is able to do everything, but that keeps her busy on a full time basis. This is not really what we want. I would rather see her taking more time for her and for our children than cleaning the house. And we could do a lot more thing over the weekend! So we then decided that a lady could come once a month to take care of the big cleaning and we would keep the house clean in the meantime.

Our first try

We found a housecleaning lady about two weeks ago. She came home to make an estimate and so we can judge if we like her or not (after all, she will be in our house while we are not there). Every thing seemed fine, she looked fast and efficient, this was perfect for us. We still required to speak with other clients just in case. We received a really good feedback from the two of them. Our new life could begin already! Not really!

She was asking $60 and was cleaning our three floors for that price. We thought it was a bit expensive but we also considered that our house has a decent size (2,400 sqft with the basement). She took three hours to go across the house. My wife was pretty impress how fast she could go. Once she left, we notice that she skipped a lot of places and was cutting corners big time. I can tell you that she will not come back home! We were expecting a good service, especially for $20 an hour!

We will continue trying

I believe that if we can afford it, we should use our time to do more fun stuff than staying inside the whole weekend to make our stairs shine! Our energy could be put in activities for our family and therefore increase the quality time we spend together. We sometimes forget about ourselves as we are so concentrating living this non-stop-breatheless life. I think we could get some rest from this task. It’s like big companies, it’s all about outsourcing to concentrate on the real things (in my case, the real thing is my family!). So we will keep on going and search for a good housecleaning lady that actually take good care of cleaning everything. I’ll keep you posted!

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Everyone has an aspect of their lives where they are not frugal. Don’t worry about it, gotta live too. I personally think a cleaning lady is a great idea but probably not something that I would spend money on. Probably b/c i’m cheap. 🙂

by: The Financial Blogger | October 24th, 2007 (9:31 am)

MDJ, I think there is another factor why you won’t spend money on a cleaning lady now : I don’t think you have children, right?

Having two, children increase significantly the amount of work in the house (including cleaning!)

Hey! Where did you get your cleaning lady? From an agency? Which one? I am trying to find one for my mother… thanks!

by: Quentin D'Souza | October 24th, 2007 (3:31 pm)

$60 seems like a great deal. I’m outside of Toronto and the least expensive Cleaning Service I could find was $90 for about the same amount of area as your home.

I too am considering spending on a cleaning person, especially since I have two kids and two dogs = cleaning disaster. Let me know how you found someone.

By the way, I totally disagree with you that Quebecers live modestly; certainly not Montrealers. I come from the West of Canada and the difference is night and day. I would bet that Quebecers spend way more of their income on entertainment, clothing, cars, vacations, etc. than the rest of Canada. It would be an interesting study. Just in my neighbourhood I see many people paying others to mow their lawns, cut branches, make repairs to the house, etc. Where I’m from I would not see that at all. Everyone mowed their own lawns and did their own minor repairs.

by: The Financial Blogger | October 24th, 2007 (11:32 pm)

The cleaning lady was actually dropping adds on everybody’s door in my neighborhood. Since we even call existing client and the result was not satisfying, I don’t know which method would be the most reliable to find a good one.

My wife just told her over the phone today, as I am pretty far away right now (look at the time of my answer and you will figure out that I am somewhere on the West Coast), I don’t know how it went. I am really curious to see if she came up with any excuses.

CR, I think you might be right with Montrealers and I used to fit in this category (until I had two kids! here is my BMW payment! lol!). However, I still feel that there is a strong feeling of jealousy when you can afford this kind of luxury. That’s too bad!

I’m thinking of asking some of my neighbors, it seem that several people have in my area. I’ll keep you posted!

Well FB, I totally agree with you on a cleaning lady (and I don’t even have any kids)! It is the best discretional spending we do imo. I’d give up my cell phone before I’d give her up! But I feel ok about this spending because we live substantially below our means in most every other department. Our house is probably the smallest, least expensive home she cleans…in fact she probably wonders how we can afford it. 😉

Generally, it is MUCH cheaper to find someone outside of an agency. We found our cleaning lady by word of mouth. She comes every other week and we pay her $55 for 6 hours (though I’m sure it doesn’t actually take her that long). Totally worth it.

[…] The decision of having a housecleaning lady (at The Financial Blogger). […]

I always told myself that if I ever get married, we’re getting someone to clean the house. Forget saving money, I figure it could save our marriage in that no one has to fuss about who is doing what chore. 🙂

by: The Financial Blogger | November 8th, 2007 (9:10 pm)

you got that right Velvet! there are things more important to care about!

I tried looking for a private cleaning lady and then hired this maid service. I am very happy with them and hope they continue cleaning for the price.