Money is Time


We’re in this in-between time here, with this one last tulip barely hanging on, and the iris not yet blooming.

The fierce, cold winds of the last week or two (apparently it was quite stormy while we were gone) shattered the apple blossoms and threw everything back into stasis. The butterfly bush, the lilacs, the iris – they’re ready to blossom, but they’re waiting, leaves a bit shriveled, looking for an extra boost of warmth.

Any day now.

The other day a guy came to our door offering cleaning services. He was a twenty-something and granola with it. He said he had a number of clients in our neighborhood; I nearly asked him to name names. We were both home and the guy specifically mentioned window cleaning, which we need done, so I asked him to give us a bid to do it. Since washing the windows has been on my to-do list for several months now, I thought it might be worth finding out.

$350. I kid you not.

And here I was thinking $50 or $100. Who knew I would be so far off base?

I tend to think of things now in terms of what my hourly rate at the day job is. Especially if it’s something I don’t want to do. When I was a grad student, young professional, I had way more time than money. Mainly because I had no money. Anything I could do myself, I did. Then at some point the ratio changed and I had more money than time. If I could pay someone to do it, great. Especially if it would “cost” more to do it myself, in terms of my hourly rate.

Am I the only one who thinks this way?

I make a decent living, but I figure it will only take an hour or two to wash the windows. No, I don’t make anywhere close to $175. Washing the windows myself, it is.

We watched the guy walk away, hunched against the cold wind, joined by a woman his age in a flowing gypsy skirt. David wondered how they can charge those kinds of prices. I thought maybe it’s worth it to some people to pay that kind of price.

Now that I’m thinking more and more about truly being a full-time writer, my mind is starting to go back the other way. I’m doing things more myself and find myself less willing to shell out the money to hire someone else.

I’m seriously considering hiring out to wash other people’s windows, too.

3 Replies to “Money is Time”

  1. I make the same calculations. If it's cheaper and easier to hire someone to paint, I'll hire them. I can use that time for other things…

    It really does come down to what you have more of, time or money. And what skills you have. Right now, I'm saving money by doing all my own layout, cover design, etc…because I have the skills, and not the money. Someday, I'll farm those out and concentrate on editorial and writing. I long for that day. Maybe if I go wash windows, I can make the money to do it!

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