Why hiring help seemed smart even for our budget

hiring help around houseASKING FOR HELP IS NEVER A BAD THING


I know you are thinking that it can’t be possible that Mr.CBB would shell out money to hire help around the house but it’s true.

Would you have spent the money we have to get jobs done or do you think we are crazy? Read on…..

Not everyone has family around who they can lean on for help when it’s needed nor do you want to bug your neighbours for help in the summer.

Sure I help my neighbours do the odd jobs but I would never ask them to help me with jobs that are easy enough for me to do on my own. Maybe that’s just me.

I’m the first one to cringe but don’t complain out loud when our neighbours let their house fall apart because they fail to put any money into maintaining the home.

Maybe communication would work better because you never know what someone is undergoing in their life and they could use some help. That’s also being a caring neighbour although some might view that as being nosey. You never win! I think just about every neighbourhood has one of every type of neighbour going.


Types of neighbours


  • Too much debt no money to maintain the home or just don’t care to
  • Difficult neighbours
  • Crazy neighbours that scare you
  • The “I’ve got more money than you” neighbours
  • Nosey neighbours
  • Lazy neighbours
  • Copycat neighbours
  • Helpful, caring neighbours
  • Neighbours who always visit or find a reason to
  • Complaining neighbours
  • Busy neighbours who work more than they are home (that sort of describes me some days)
  • Neighbours who rent their home and don’t care
  • Neighbours with ill-health or other serious issues
  • Loud neighbours
  • Neighbours with kids who are left to do as they please (how many windows have you had shattered? This house has had 2 with plenty of tennis balls in the gutters)

I’m sure we can all add to this list because we’ve either lived through it or we are one of these neighbours I’ve described above. Everyone has their own personality and for me that means I like to keep our home pristine looking at all times. I don’t like to see our house falling down around us so I tend to make sure the jobs that need to get done are accomplished.

Over the past 5 years I’ve done so much around the house that I’m amazed how far we’ve come but there’s still so much to do. I am currently renovating the bathroom with a second bathroom on the to-do list right after. I also have a full basement to finish with a third bathroom, living room and dining room floors, full kitchen renovations and adding ledge stone to accent walls in the home. I also need to paint again as it’s been a few years.

I know, it’s lots of work but we knew moving in there was going to be lots of work that needed to get done to make the home our own including a serious overhaul of the front and backyards. Just because you move in a home doesn’t mean the work stops because it’s new or has years behind it. Some people like to create a style of living that suits them and this is what we are doing.

We have the money in the budget to do the work and although our house is not old according to what I know is old back in the UK. The renovations are more updating than anything like most homes in our subdivision that are upwards of 15-20 years old.

I’ve since completed the front yard and was trying to get the backyard done this summer. That was the plan but with the new job and other things that have popped up I’m on overdrive at the moment.

My wife is super busy as well and can only do so much around the house as well but she does her fair share. Just when I think that I’m going to have time to do something another job pops up. I know you can all relate. Just last week my employer has me scheduled for two medical training courses which I’ve already re-booked once.

I’m far from a workaholic but to some that might seem like a giant big lie. I do work as much as I have to but with my compressed work week it’s not so bad although factor in when I have to work my second job and it can be overwhelming. This is only to get my foot in the door for my dream job which I’m hoping will become a reality in the next year or so. My problem is I try to do too much at once.

The blog is where I chill out and a hobby that gets my mind off of work and what I have to do around the house. I love personal finance and without diving into money matters I’m sure our budget would be much different today. Blogging is more about investing in our finances, learning and networking with other like-minded people (the fans and other bloggers).

Since paying off the mortgage back in May of this year we’ve had extra money in the budget to play with although a large chunk will go to investing in our retirement. Hiring help around the house was the last thing that ever crossed our minds. No way were we going to hire someone to help us to do something that we can do on our own.

I believe that there is only so much we can plan into our day without going crazy. I don’t sit around often to watch TV or movies rather my time is spent doing things that need to get done or I’m blogging. It’s hard to turn off at times but don’t get me wrong I do that as much as I can by taking day trips with the wife or just getting out to enjoy a long walk and keeping fit.

Our budget update is certainly going to take a hit for July but for good reason, we are renovating. I am doing the work on my own which is a HUGE savings for our budget. If I had to hire someone to renovate the bathroom it would have cost me far more than the $5000 we have budgeted for this upgrade.

I’m quite comfortable with doing the renovations on my own as I’ve renovated my other two homes as well as my parents’ home. If I run into a problem I will hire a professional but for now I’m fine. What’s the problem then?

The problem is I can’t be in so many places at the same time and neither can my wife. If our budget didn’t have extra money to play with we might have had to suck it up and figure this out a different way. However with a tight deadline looming with the bathroom renovation we’ve had to hire help around the house.

What kind of help? Well my wife would love to hire a housekeeper for about $15 an hour but for the moment she is sticking with it and we are both pitching in as much as we can to keep the house clean and organized. I doubt this will ever happen but you never know what the future may bring us.

What bothered me more than having clothes on the couch that needed to get folded and put away was watching the weeds grow in the back garden. I know for many of you it’s not a big deal but for me I can’t stand staring at an overgrown yard.

A neighbour up the road put flowers outside her home and has not cut the grass in over 2 months and it makes me wonder how someone can spend upwards of $800,000 on a home and not mow the lawn. Keep in mind she is planting flowers in her make-shift garden bins on the front property so I’d be hesitant as their neighbour to ask if they need any help.

I know everyone has issues behind closed doors even if they don’t admit it. I’m admitting it today. I can’t keep up.

So, I’ve had to hire help by placing an ad in our local community online forum in search of someone who was willing to help us maintain the backyard.

I wasn’t looking for a professional landscaping business just someone who wanted to help clean up the weeds and dig over the garden until I could get out to do what I need to do. I’m afraid that might not be until next summer but until then I’d like to keep the yard neat and tidy.


Hire me


I don’t think I was prepared for the overwhelming response from people who responded to my want ad to hire help, literally hundreds. The stories people told me via email about who they were and why they wanted to do the job was outrageous. Some people pour their heart and soul into finding work and I appreciate that.

There were some who said “please help me” because they needed the money to pay for bills, childcare etc. I heard everything from how someone graduated with lots of OSAP debt they wanted to pay off to people who simply needed more money.

I know I’ve said it a million times that if you can’t balance your budget you have two choices

1: You spend less and make cuts to your budget


2: You find more work.

I figured since it was just general clean-up that minimum wage was a reasonable amount to pay. Some people emailed me wanting $25 an hour which may have been reasonable for professional services but not for something simple like cleaning up the weeds in our backyard. Others wanted below minimum wage or would take anything we were willing to give. We would never go under minimum wage though.

Since we weren’t allowing someone in our home we were safe in hiring someone to work outdoors. I’d caution with wanting to hire someone to come into your home without any type of references or police background check. You never know who they are and if getting into a homes is all part of a master plan to rob you when you aren’t home. Stay safe.

Once I found the person I wanted to hire the job was completed in a timely fashion and the yard looked amazing. I was able to breathe again because having chores mount up can be breathtaking especially when you have a full plate.

The amount of money that we paid him was well worth it because if I had to take three hours out of my day to stop the bathroom renovation it wouldn’t have been worth it.

If I wasn’t so pressed for time to get this job done I may have done just that but time is money now and to hire someone to help with the bathroom is something I’d rather not do. It made more sense to hire someone to help with chores around the house.

I know this won’t put a dent in our budget but I’ll admit that it was hard for us to do because we are so used to doing everything on our own. Accounting for every dollar coming in and out and being tight with our money is something we are proud about doing so giving it up sometimes is not easy if it’s something you know you can do. We didn’t budget this in but considered it as home maintenance which we have as a projected expense.

What I learned from this is that sometimes you have to just back up and evaluate situations and do what’s right even if that means you have to use money in the budget for such services.

Have you ever had to break down and hire help for something you knew you could do but didn’t have time to do?


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  1. Good for you for recognizing you were overwhelmed and it was likely money well spent! I once advertised to have someone help with an exterior shed demo (I didn’t want my husband going chainsaw crazy and the roof killing him) and I had to delete the ad after like an hour because I received so many emails. It’s funny I’ve also been thinking about doing the same thing as you with the yard. Since said shed demo was completed we havea huge chunk of land that needs to be cleaned up which will realistically take a full day to do, I’d rather pay someone to take care of it for me. Not this summer but it’s on my list for next!

  2. I have hired people to do minor blog work/ghostwriting but nothing too major. I live in an apt so that takes care of the yard work and my place is small enough to clean myself (although about twice a year I hire someone for a deep cleaning). I think it can be very beneficial to at times get help. You can’t burn yourself out to save a buck every single time. It’s a balance thing, like pretty much everything else. 🙂

    1. I think we might end up doing the same next year just so we get a cleaning that is thorough as well. It’s not always easy to move furniture and wash walls so it will help and be well worth it.

    2. I think we might end up doing the same next year just so we get a cleaning that is thorough as well. It’s not always easy to move furniture and wash walls so it will help and be well worth it.

  3. Ive thought about getting help for our home. We just bought a new home a couple years ago and have struggled to keep up with the constant upkeep. Coming from a condo it was a bit of a shock to have to do everything ourselves. I think eventually we will but at the moment the budget is too tight to be able to afford extra help (although it would be nice)

    1. You are right it can get costly to hire help. I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have to get this bathroom done so fast but oh well.. it wasn’t much money out of our pocket and the back garden looks great now.

  4. Literally hundreds of responses? Oh no, that must have been rather overwhelming!
    I wish that I could justify hiring people to do things more often, that’s for sure. Like you said, you’re currently in a place where you are just plain too busy… for me, it’s mostly laziness at the moment! I definitely keep hiring someone as a legitimate option, in the back of my mind, at all times, though.

    1. I was shocked Anne but yes I was getting email after email from people who wanted to do the job for me. It wasn’t a difficult task by any means and some people love picking weeds as it’s relaxing for them so why not get paid to do it.

  5. That sounds like it was a great idea to hire someone for the garden weeds. Now that you have your mortgage paid off, you can take some of that money to use discriminately. If your time is spent on things that will save you more money like bathroom renos, it all makes sense.

    1. Thanks.. but soon enough that money will be accounted for to max out our retirement funds. It’s amazing how much money we need to maximize our lives IF we want to.

  6. We’ve never hired out a job that we could do around the house. We do know our limitations, especially with renovations and hire professionals when necessary for something we can’t do (ie. large upstairs window replacement this spring). But the other stuff is always done by us. If I don’t have the time, I work it in or juggle something else to a different timing. I really need to weed the garden, so cleaning out the garage can wait. So far it has worked for us, but in the future who knows, I’m not against it, just haven’t done it. I redid our bathroom (much of it last fall): paint, floor, mirror, toilet. Not everything. I had one thing left that wasn’t critical to every day, so it waited until I got around to it. It was the cabinet assembled and installed over the toilet. It looks lovely now that it’s done, but it was 7 months after I did the rest.

    1. Same here but the bathroom can only be out of commission for so long. Smart how you were able to prioritize the garage clean-up and weeding. I’m doing a full bathroom reno so it will take me some time. Ah well.. I”ll get there! Cheers Angela.

  7. I’m kinda with you on this one. I try to do everything I can on my own, and will always help a neighbor when they need it, but sometimes it just makes sense to have someone come in and do the job. Especially if it is something you hate doing, or don’t have the skills to do.

    1. That I agree. It’s just hard to dish out cash for something that you know you can do on your own but just don’t have the time to do.

  8. My husband really shouldn’t get up on a ladder to clean our gutters that are on the 2nd story. Paying someone to clean the gutters for 100 each spring and fall is MORE than than worth it!

    1. Our neighbour does the same thing to have someone come in to clean the siding even though her husband says he can do it. She worries because being a ladder is the last place he needs to be with his medical condition. Sometimes it’s hard to give up and let someone else do it.

  9. We’re the neighbour with the health issues here. I have my boys to help out and they do a lot of the outside work for me. Weeding I try to do myself but it gets ahead of you very quickly. Along the driveway is in bad need of weeding right now so I might go out and start pulling later. We have some very aggressive weeds around. I have been fighting the bind weed since we moved here 22 years ago and I’ve been losing that fight for just as long.
    In his healthier days hubby did a lot of the work around here. He did bite off more then he could chew when it came to the roof here in 2009. It didn’t help that it was a wet summer that year. Hubby thought it was a good idea to strip the entire roof in one shot, didn’t work well as it rained every day for a month after that. We were tarp central here all over the roof. I had to,scramble to find someone to do the job after he fell off the roof trying to position a tarp to stop some water coming in. Thankfully I did manage to find a roofer that would do the job at a reasonable rate. He and his crew worked through the Thnksgiving weekend to do the roof for us. I will be forever grateful to him and his crew.
    We have the neighbourhood grouch living on one side of us and a rental house on the other side. The two units beside us are rented to older people and we see Lloyd out cutting the grass all season. The dear lady in the back unit talks to us all the time about this and that. If we go away she watches the house, and we return the favour when she goes away. I’ve driven her to her daughters places the odd time as well.
    He other side of the grouch has new people there that just moved in a couple of months ago, young couple. They did a lot of work there the month before they actually moved in. An older lady had been there before but she passed away late October last year so the house was sold. She hadn’t been up to having much done to the house while she was here but that happens.
    Our area is all much older houses than yours so the houses are always needing a lot of work just to keep things going….such is life….

    1. That’s great that you have your boys with you to help keep the maintenance up on your home. If someone has health issues it may become overwhelming to try and get the house in order but in some cases getting hired help is a smart step rather than letting a house fall apart costing more in the long run. 🙂

  10. I can totally relate! It’s hard to find time or energy for family outings and date nights when you spend your time cleaning, cooking and taking care of your children. If your schedule is already overwhelming, keeping the house in order becomes a daunting task that can take a toll on your marriage, as well as your health.

    1. With work being overwhelming right now it’s been tough but i need to get the bathroom done. I started it and I can’t just leave it for months on end because my employers want me to work and train more than anticipated. I’ve had to back off and say no a few times but I understand what you mean.

  11. I don’t know if this counts as hiring someone but in college I would have grad students do a final proofread of my papers. The service was free so I always took my papers to them. It was a big relief to not have to do the final proofing myself. It’s boring and time-consuming.

    Props to you for asking for help. I’m happy you can breathe again!!!

    1. If it was FREE even better but yes you are asking for help but at no cost to you. That wouldn’t bother me so much. What was difficult was pulling money out of our budget to pass on the job to someone else. It was worth it though. Cheers Will.

  12. There are times when I know I need to hire help. I can do a lot of things on my own, but I value my time more when it comes down to it. If it is going to take more time than it will cost me, then I will pay for someone else to do it.

  13. Good for you Mr & Mrs CBB!

    Hubby and I have hired others along the way at our home too. Sometimes the reason is because we simply don’t have the know-how… like the roof replacement, furnace replacement or heat pump installation. Other times it’s because we aren’t that way inclined – for example neither of us likes gardening so we hire someone to plant and maintain the flowers and shrubs plus they weed and fertilize the grass but hubby does our grass cutting and edging.

    As we age, the amount of help we need will change and in some cases increase. There will come a day when I would rather hire out the exterior house staining than have my hubby on a 2 story ladder but so far he is young enough and sure-footed enough to handle the job. When it comes time to paint the interior ceilings… we’ll get someone with the scaffolding, and insurance, to do the job properly and safely.

    Will we always have the same “out-sourcing” … NO! As our time frees up, i.e. in retirement, the “having adequate time” factor diminishes but the “ability to actually do the job” factor may or may not increase depending on the task at hand. Perhaps the smartest thing is to recognize what the actual limits are today and then work within them.

    Safety always needs to be of the utmost concern, in my opinion. We have never had children but I certainly would not ask a sleep deprived new papa to be swinging around on a ladder doing home repairs/maintenance. The cost of a possible injury would be a lot higher than tasking out that job for that single year while everyone gets back in the groove and rhythm of the new expanded household. Maybe this needs to be a part of planning for the new arrival – budgeting for what needs to temporarily falls by the wayside? Do I see a new blog topic in the making??? LOL 😀

    1. Good point and many people might not think about that as they age because we don’t always feel the aging pains until we get there so planning for it financially is not always in the cards. That’s just another reason to make sure having a healthy retirement fund is important. Thanks Mary.

  14. HAHAHA! Love those neighbor classifications – they’re right on the money! Nice job going against your frugal instincts. I know it sounds crazy, but hiring someone will ease some of your load, and you can’t put a price on that!

    1. I’m sure there are more funky neighbours to add to the list so I hope others share their take neighbours in their area. I had a bit of a laugh thinking them up but there are a mix of the good, the bad and the odd everywhere lol.

  15. “…hire help for something you knew you could…” Yes…absolutely! We’ve had hired a yard service before to mow/trim. The absolute best service we ever hired was a cleaning service. We had them for three months in two separate stints after the birth of our first two children. Really let my wife relax with the kids at home and not worry about cleaning the house. It’s tough to do because it feels like you are being lazy. And it feels like you are wasting money because they are tasks you can easily do…they just take time. I’d say it’s worth it though in some circumstances.

    1. I agree it’s hard to keep up with everything and as much as we would like to it’s starting to mount up. I have to get this bathroom done before I head back to my second job which is very soon, hence the rush. Sometimes starting a project in the house becomes time sensitive when other things pop up especially with an employer lol.

  16. We are kinda there. We’d love to sell our house to get into a less pricey situation and to decrease our commute time. We have two young girls and one is a nursing baby who nurses ALOT. Our yard is overgrown because hubby has to do everything himself – cooking, cleaning, yard work. It would be a hard sell right now given just the state of our yard. It might be good to hire someone to just spend three hours getting everything cleaned back up – winter will be here in just a few months, so one or two days of help is all we’d need. And paying that instead of the gas on our long commute seems like a no brainer!

    1. Good for you. It sounds like you are both very busy with your nursing baby and other daughter. We don’t have any kids so I don’t know what that’s like but I’m sure it puts a dent in the time you have available. I know some parents where we live hire a cleaner to come in just because the money they spend is well worth it to them. I can agree after hiring someone to pick my weeds… took some stress off my shoulders so I can focus on the bathroom and my career which has been demanding lately.

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