We all know the saying if you want a job doing properly, do it yourself. And that’s true for many things, but there are times when getting a bit of expert help can actually be of benefit.
We didn’t have much money growing up, so it was definitely a case of make do and mend. During my college years, I spent a few years working as a cleaner to earn some money. I also had a job in the laundry of an old people’s home. Mum also got us involved in cooking (and creating meals with next to nothing in the cupboards). So I learned a lot of the skills I needed to run a home.
However, I didn’t bank on running my own business and being a mum to a brood of children. Life got busy quickly and, as much as I like to do things myself, there just isn’t the time or energy these days to do it all.
Using help, like getting a cleaner, seemed a huge luxury only the wealthy can afford. But I realised that there are certainly jobs around the house that can be outsourced without breaking the bank. The time I save can be spent earning money from my business or spending quality time with my children (rather than sticking the telly on for them so I can get jobs done).
Obviously, if you enjoy doing things yourself or don’t have the money to spare, you won’t use all of these, but if you have considered getting help but just feel somehow guilty about that, then don’t. You don’t have to do it all!
Check out my 10 domestic cheats – and why not enter a fabulous competition to win a free time-saving gift (see below)?!
1. Send your ironing out
That is, if you do it! I believe ironing is highly overrated! Every weekend I see posts on social media of mums (usually) complaining about ironing mountains and sweating over the steam iron. Before you think I’m a total slob, I love nothing better than freshly ironed bedding or crisp shirts, but with the arrival of baby number four I realised it was not only virtually impossible to find time to get the ironing board out, the only thing that needed ironing was my hubby’s work shirts. On everything else the creases fall out.
So I got an ironing lady! Every two weeks or so, she’ll collect his shirts and deliver them back the next day beautifully pressed. In fact her finish is far better than what I was doing, as I only managed the briefest flick over with the iron in a hurry.
She charges about 90p a shirt. To iron 20 shirts would take me a couple of hours – either work time or family time – plus the electricity so I consider this a huge saving! Ask around on local social media networks to see if there is an ironing service in your area, or if you have a teen in the house, you could offer a bit of pocket money per item (this of course works for most of these points but, if you want something doing properly…).
2. Get the decorators in!
Like most people, we have always done our own decorating. It’s not too difficult to put paint on a wall, and wallpaper is relatively straight forward once you get the hang of it. However, with the upheaval and time it takes to do, decorating is at the bottom of our to-do list (well, it’s always on the list, it just never gets done). It can be a big expense too, when you factor in the cost of paints and materials.
We had our garage converted about five years ago and decorated it ourselves, but spending late nights after the children had gone to bed painting was a nightmare, and the finish was more throw it at the wall and see if it sticks! So, when we had our new kitchen installed just before Christmas, I made sure to factor in a bit extra for a decorator. It was worth every penny, as he did a proper job plus he finished it much sooner than we would have done. Finding a decorator isn’t too difficult; if you post to your local friends on social media, you should get a reliable recommendation.
3. Spread the cost of your weekly shop
How many times have you popped in for milk and come out £50 lighter? I know I do this all too often. Online shopping is a brilliant way to budget and save hassle going to the supermarket. It can be time consuming at first, but once you’ve logged your favourite choices, it’s a case of reuploading your shopping basket and booking a delivery slot. Many supermarkets offer free or cheap delivery too.
We tend to shop around and will mix up an online shop with a trip to Aldi, Lidl and Sainsbury’s. We always have something coming in the post from Amazon, as they often have the best prices and superfast delivery options. If you like making savings, take a look at Ashleigh Money Saver and also like her brilliant and hugely popular page on Facebook, as she posts regular offers for all kinds of things. Also, don’t forget to make the most of your savings points that you accumulate on your shopping.
4. Send thoughtful gifts and cards with minimal hassle
Has a friend had a baby or is someone you know in need of TLC? For those times when you really are up against it sending flowers isn’t the only option as there are lots of companies out there that provide a gift service. One of my favourites is Don’t Buy Her Flowers (see below for a fab competition prize). They put together these beautiful care packages that you can tailor to suit the recipient. You can also add COOK food vouchers to any package, so you can give new or busy parents the gift of good, prepared food delivered to their door (definitely on my birthday list!).
Amazon is another go-to as they can offer gift wrapping and direct delivery. I know I’ve used them a lot for last-minute gifts. You can also use apps such as for Funky Pigeon or Moonpig to personalise greetings cards and get them sent direct. It seems a bit of a cheat as you haven’t taken the time to go out and choose a card yourself, but often these apps have far better choice and the personalisation aspect is what appeals to me most.
5. Keep on top of the dust with a cleaner
I only started using a cleaner a few years ago. This is the ultimate in ‘giving up a job you really feel you should do yourself’, but trust me, there is no shame in using a cleaner and if you can afford it, you’ll never look back! Money is tight at the moment so we’re doing it ourselves, but I used to spend £20 a week for a couple of hours’ cleaning. It made keeping on top of the housework so much easier week to week. Ask around as there might be someone using a cleaner who lives near you.
6. … and get a window cleaner
We pay £10 to have the windows cleaned once a month. I do the insides, but it really does make a big difference to have a proper job done on the outsides too, as with the grime in the air they get grubby really quickly. And, as the window cleaner is up a ladder, we pay him to clear the gutters once a year too. Ask around your friends and neighbours for recommendations.
7. Make the most of childcare
If you work from home and don’t have someone around to help look after the baby, a childminder or nursery is a popular choice to help you keep on top of your work. Most providers are used to working by the half day or even hour if necessary. Just think of all you can achieve in a few hours without a child around and you’ll soon find it well worth the cost. You can search for childcare locally or online at https://www.childcare.co.uk/
8. Get your milk delivered
We have always had our milk delivered. It’s much cheaper to buy it in the supermarket but knowing we’ve always got milk in, with the children using it up all the time, is handy. We have a great relationship with the local dairy and they always deliver no matter the weather and are happy to accommodate any changes to our order, if we go on holiday for example.
A few months ago, I considered cancelling the milk, but I feel annoyed that the big companies are pushing dairies out of business so I decided to go for a different approach. I found I was always in the supermarket picking up bread and juice, so I asked my dairy to start delivering a fresh loaf three times a week and orange juice twice a week. The cost is about the same, and as I’m not going to the shops all the time, I’m saving the money I would have definitely spent on other things.
9. Use handy people!
Once a month a man with a van pops round to clean the wheelie bins in the neighbourhood. He has an industrial pressure washer and blasts the bins to get rid of all the grime. Now, this might not seem too big a deal, but we have two green wheelie bins for general waste, a brown gardening waste bin and a blue recyclables bin, plus a small food caddy. They all get really grotty after a while and it’s a job I’m never going to get round to doing, so I’m happy to pay him the £2.50 per bin to keep them clean.
This is a one-off for our area I expect, but there might be people offering services like this that you can use every so often. The same goes for ‘man with a van’ services, which you can use to get rid of junk really cheaply.
We also use a dog walker every week to help us out on busy days. Look in your local classifieds or again on social media.
10. Get the car washed while you shop
When I do go to the supermarket, I often use the car cleaners in the car park to wash our car. For £8 my car gets a thorough clean and polish while I shop. I think this is money and time well spent!
What about you? Do you use services like these or does the thought make you cringe?
*The lovely team at Don’t Buy Her Flowers are offering MummyWrites readers an exclusive FREE Any Occasion package worth £25. By the way, this is NOT a sponsored post, I contacted the company as I’m such a big fan of their products.
Simply enter the competition by clicking the link below!
Also, if you’re on Twitter, Britmums is looking for your savvy life hacks (top tips on saving time or money). They are running a competition to find the best hack in a range of categories. You could win £25 just for sharing a top tip!
Pop over here to enter yours or tweet them using #SuperSavvySavers
If you enjoyed this post, why not see what else I’m twittering on about: