Ten ways to find time you didn't think you had
IN a world of plenty, one thing we cannot get enough of is time.
Just as businesses outsource jobs to concentrate on their main operations, people are outsourcing the day-to-day to focus on work or leisure activities.
Householders have had help from cleaners and gardeners for years but it is becoming easier and more common to ditch everyday tasks than DIY.
1. Let someone else make dinner
Why slave away over a hot stove when someone else can do it? Buy fresh, pre-made meals that you can warm up for lunch or dinner. Urban Deli and Cafe at Maroochydore sells pre-made dinners such as shepherd's pie, vegie stacks, mild Thai curry and a creamy chorizo pasta bake that you can take home and warm up from $10-$15 each. Or you can order online through the Marcoola-based Crazy Fresh which will deliver meals to your door from $10.
2. Use a laundry or ironing service
It's not much fun spending your time off washing and ironing everything you've worn all week so you can put it all on again. Outsource it to someone else. Ironing is sometimes charged by the hour, the basket-load or per garment. We found someone advertising ironing online at $2 per garment and who will pick up and drop off for an extra fee if that is also too time-consuming for you. Another advertiser was offering to wash and fold a basketload of 15-20 items for $17, or iron a standard basket of 25 items for $45.
3. Brush off cleaning the oven
Is there a worse job than cleaning the oven? Hand it over to a specialist oven or barbecue cleaner. OvenGleam charges about $99 for cleaning a standard oven, about two hours work. They also clean barbecues starting from about $89 for a Weber up to $125 for a four-burner.
4. Out-source kids' birthday parties
Instead of going to the trouble of hiding the breakables, baking cakes, and organising pass-the-parcel and other games, book a kids birthday party elsewhere. If you are stuck for ideas, try McDonald's, Hungry Jack's, Top Shots, Aussie World, Laser Zone, and the aquatic centres.
5. Pay someone to walk the dog
A dog needs between 30 minutes and two hours exercise a day, depending upon the size of your dog. That adds up to between 3.5 hours and 14 hours a week you spend often tramping the same bit of footpath when you could be doing something else. Teenagers and students are often looking to walk dogs for pocket money or extra cash. Expect to pay $15 an hour, or more or less depending on the size of the dog and the size of the dog walker.
6. Someone else can wash the dog, too
Why chase the dog around with a hose when you can simply hand it over on a lead for someone else to deal with? A mobile hydrowash for dog costs about $30.
7. And someone else can wash the car
Nobody seems to wash their own car any more, either. A basic mobile detail, including wash, vaccum and window clean costs about $50-$100. Expect to pay about $150 if you want a more detailed detail with tar and bug remover and a spray-on wax or polish to finish it off.
8. Farm out your assignments
Can't face that university assignment that is due in less than a week? Don't worry, there are plenty of people in places like India and the Philippines willing to take it off your hands for a fee. A 1650 word English literature paper can be done in four days for $108 at domyassignments.com.
9. Get yourself a PA for everyday tasks
Personal assistants are not just for executives any more. If keeping up with everything you have got to do in every day life is getting too much, you can now hire a personal assistant. Karly Pacher, of Buy More Time, hires herself out as "a PA for the every day”. For $35 an hour, she run all sorts of errands, from buying groceries to picking up prescriptions and "pretty much everything. It's not really limited, as long as it's legal and I'm able to do it at your place or mine”.
10. Let someone else buy your fruit and vegies
Online shopping is nothing new but you do not even need to spend time selecting the items these days. Freshbox, an online business based on the Sunshine Coast, offers "set boxes” of mixed fruit and vegetables of their choosing delivered direct to your door and you can set your order to repeat without having to sit down at the computer every week. A medium mixed box of fruit and vegies at the moment includes two avocados, two bananas, a broccoli head, 600g of carrots, a grapefruit, a bunch of kale, a lettuce, 1kg of pumpkin, a bunch of silverbeet, 600g of sweet potato and carrot, 500g of tomatoes and a bunch of asparagus for $59.