Ep.32 - Adulting 101 - How To Simplify Life - Automate and Outsource (3 Minute Read)
Read Time: 3 Minutes
Since early 2016, my life has become busier and busier with more responsibilities and commitments. I joined the board of my college alumni club in LA, made a commitment to the gym, hustled on Airbnb, started this blog, and strategized on paying off a graduate school loan. While this was all happening, dishes still needed to be washed, and grass still needed to be cut.
With that realization, I began to think a lot of about how to simplify my life.
Until artificial intelligence can come to the rescue, here are the two main ways I simplify my life: automation and outsourcing.
AUTOMATE/STREAMLINE ANYTHING THAT CAN BE AUTOMATED
Automating anything I would need to do anyway helps save time and eliminate mistakes. Here are some areas I automated to help streamline my life.
1. Automate Bill Payments: Unless you're cash strapped and can't make ends meet, there is no reason not to automate your bill payments. This includes your rent/mortgage, utilities, credit card payments, car payments, student debt payments and your savings!!! If you think you need to check your balance before paying, you should NOT. There really isn't a need. You should pay in full anyway.
2. Automate Food Prep: According to Statista, Americans on average spend almost 6 hours a week on meal prep. If you want to shave the time down to half of that, you should think about ways to automate it. One way to do this is to meal prep over the weekend for the entire week. This is what we do, we spend about 2 hours to meal prep for lunch and dinner for the whole week. It ends up saving us 4 to 5 hours later on in the week, because we don't need to cook for an hour every night.
3. Auto-Renewal: I set many things on auto-renewal, because I would want to buy them anyway. This includes big ticket items, such as auto and home insurance, as well as smaller items, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Playstation Network subscriptions.
OUTSOURCE THINGS YOU DON'T WANT TO DO YOURSELF
A lot of maintenance work can't yet be automated, but it's also work you probably don't like to do anyway. You know what I'm talking about.
This includes washing dishes, cutting the grass, doing laundry, cleaning the house, driving to work, etc. If you don't do it, someone else has to do it. Compared to automation, one disadvantage to outsourcing is that it costs money. As a result, this strategy is better suited to anyone who's incredibly busy and has a little extra money in the pocket. Here are some areas you can outsource easily with relatively low costs.
1. Outsource Gardening Work: We outsource our gardening work to a great gardener. In the beginning, my wife and I had a lengthy debate on whether we should do it, because the task was easy enough that we COULD do it ourselves. They key word here is "could". However, we realized our time could be better spent elsewhere. Hiring a gardener in LA for a month costs less than one night out.
2. Outsource House Cleaning: I personally don't outsource house cleaning. But I sure know people who do. Depending on your selection, a popular service, such as Tidy.com (not sponsored), can take care of your cleaning for $40 or $80 per visit. That's a bit too much for me in my current situation. However, if I had kids it would be a serious consideration, as I think $40 is a very reasonable cost.
3. Outsource Meal Prep: I wish I could eat out every day without having to cook. But I don't have a budget for that, so it's not an option. Some people prefer not to go grocery shopping and would like variety in their meals, so meal prepping is also not the perfect solution. There is an alternative, which is meal prep delivery. There are quite a few selections out there, such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh and Freshly (not sponsors). On average, each charges about $10 per serving per person. If I lived on my own, I would probably subscribe to Freshly, because it solves two problems for me. First, I don't need to cook at all. Secondly, it helps introduce variety to my meals. All of these two benefits come at $10 per meal, slightly more expensive than cooking at home, but significantly cheaper and healthier than eating out.
Follow me on Instagram: dollars_and_sense_la.