Ask the Readers: Do You Pay For Convenience?

By Ashley Jacobs on 3 May 2011 (Updated 10 May 2011) 95 comments
Photo: Andra MIhali

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Lauren, @mvs027, and Renee Chapman for winning this week's contest!

Let's be honest: goods and services that make our lives a little easier are always fantastic. Most people are willing to pay a little extra when it comes to convenience. However, there are many people who refuse to pay for convenience goods or services and instead opt to take the extra time to do things themselves all in the name of saving money.

Do you pay for convenience goods or services? Will you buy precut fruits or veggies instead of cutting them yourself? Do you clean your own house or hire a housekeeper? Why?

Tell us whether or not you pay for convenience and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Enter 1 of 3 Ways:

  • Post your answer in the comments below, or
  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, then "Like" the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well — but you don't have to for entry), or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, May 9th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 9th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Kari

Yes, I do pay for convenience. For instance I have never changed my oil even though I know a lot of people that have (I've had friends/family do it for me once or twice though). We buy the fancy pre-sliced cheese at Costco (not the Kraft singles). We have a gardener. And... probably a lot more!

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I hadn't even thought about paying to get oil changed as a convenience! Great point! I have no idea how to change my own oil, so that's definitely something I pay for.

Guest's picture
Pamela

You betcha. You can always earn more money but you can't make more time.

But I don't do it often. It's most likely that I'll buy something I need without doing lots of investigation in advance to find the best price. But I buy so little it doesn't hurt me too much.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have always valued self-sufficiency rather highly, which in general has amounted to not only gaining a sense of satisfaction with a job well-done after having to learn how to do something myself and trying it out (making it much more likely), but also apparently attracting/ being attracted to people with similar values. So, on average, over the course of a relationship, any project that my husband or I could not accomplish on our own would generally be bartered out to friends or family. That is not to say that I personally WOULDN'T pay for convenience if the situation warranted it (for example, I do not trust my husband or most of my friends to cut my hair), but honestly, more often than not, I have not been in a position to be able to afford paying for convenience if I wanted to...and that, I believe, is becoming the trend for most people! Unfortunately there are many instances in which you just don't have a choice: somewhere along the line you're paying someone to bag your groceries in many areas, or to collect your garbage if you live in a town or city, whether you are willing to do it yourself or not, for example, but I'll let someone else delve more deeply into that subject.

Guest's picture
Michael Mongeau

We sometimes buy convenience packages for our kids to pack in school lunches. For example, applesauce in individual serving cups rather than buy a large jar and using plastic storage containers. The extra cost is minimal and worth the tradeoff to us.

Guest's picture
Guest

Of course - I think most people do but sometimes they think of it as 'necessity'

I pay for someone else to do my lawn, install appliances etc. I also will sometimes buy convenience foods when they're too time consuming to make on my own [and mine aren't as good usually!] like dumplings or calzones - but I make most other things from scratch.

Guest's picture
Carson M.

I used to pay for convenience, but the economic downturn has prompted me to become a DIYer when it comes to MANY services and goods. Depending on the service, if I learn to do it myself, I may even be able to offer my new-found skills to a neighbor, friend, or relative in return for cash or other services/goods of interest. Saving money while also possibly earning money (or other things that save even more money) all while learning something new, staying active and challenged...seems far more valuable to me now than ever before.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

That's awesome that you learn to do certain things on your own and then offer your services to people you know! What a great way to make a little extra money!

Guest's picture
Raina

I'd say I pay for convenience when I buy frozen foods, but the price is pretty comparable.

I pay for convenience when I get an oil change. Sure, I COULD learn how to change my own oil, but it hasn't happened and it's just easier to let a professional do it.

I pay for convenience by being a car owner. There's a bus and railway; I COULD use other modes of transportation and save money. But I think most people like the freedom of having their own car to go where they want whenever they want. Then again, I'd be severely restricted in my ability to work and go to school, but in general terms, a car is a convenience.

I pay for convenience by living close to my job. Sure, I could find an apartment that's a bit cheaper further out of the city, but then I'd have to deal with a longer commute, and I chose the closer home.

A cell phone is a convenience. People got by without cell phones for ages. I could make all of my phone calls from landlines if I wished. But I like having that phone with me so that I can make a phone call anytime and be reached anytime.

Showers are convenient. With all the water that goes down the drain, it's definitely not cheaper than how they do it in some third-world countries - get a bucket of water and have at it. But it's just easier to step in the shower and let it do its thing.

There are a million conveniences...

Ashley Jacobs's picture

Those are some really interesting points about what actually constitutes convenience. Thanks for sharing!

Guest's picture
Christie

I pay very little for convenience. I do buy the little carrots already washed and scraped, but for 99 cents on sale, why wouldn't you? Other than carrots, there is very little that I buy that is pre-packaged or ready to use. Time, I have, money is short, so I have to do the best for my family and use the resources at hand to the best of my ability, which includes the more-work, cheaper-price options most of the time, which are usually healthier and more cost effective.

Guest's picture
sd

When you get down to it, EVERYONE pays for convenience at some level. Even what we consider "scratch cooking" today depends on products like flour and frozen/canned vegetables which, at one time, were "convenience foods" compared to milling wheat or canning vegetables yourself. Even the car mechanic down the corner who services your car is a convenience rather than having to acquire and practice the skills of parts replacement yourself.

Guest's picture
Monica

We are working on steering away from the convenience things! For example we now buy whole chickens & cut them ourselves. We used to get our water softner salt delivered until we realized we were paying well over $15/bag when we could get it at the store for $4! Slowly making small changes in our household!

Guest's picture
Karen

About the only thing I can think of that I pay for the convenience is to have a mailing address at the UPS Store. For $20 a month I never have to worry about changing my address when moving (which has happened about 5 times since i've had it), giving out my address, anywhere, or have to worry about someone being home to accept a package. They'll even call me if I ask them when an expected package arrives. I have 24 hour access, auto billing, discounted supplies, witnesses to the time and condition of a package, as well as a built in screen for junk mail, a notary that already knows me, and if my computer/printer/copier goes down I can run in there and use theirs. I've given up everything else, this is staying!

Guest's picture
gt0163c

I do pay for some conveniences. When my life gets busy, I'll pay someone to mow my lawn. Sometimes I'll run up to the close by grocery store for a gallon of milk rather than going to the farther away (and with not as good hours) store that is consistently cheaper. I don't chang my own oil and I regularly buy books (at the used bookstore) because it's easier to have a few books on hand that I can read at my leisure rather than going to the library and having to get through a book before it's due back.

Guest's picture
Staycee

About the only convenience I pay for is a car wash. I hate to wash my own car. My dh will spend 2 hours on his in the driveway and the whole time I'm thinking: "For $6, you can get that done in 15 minutes, dear!"

Guest's picture
Sarah

It's actually better for the environment (uses less water and recycles the wastewater) to get your car washed at a car wash vs. doing it yourself.

Guest's picture
Leah

Housekeeper! We've had one since before we could really afford it. She came once a month, then twice a month, and now every week. I hate serious cleaning, hate it hate it hate it. It's worth it to me to pay someone to make my house look beautiful. I love coming home to a clean house.

Guest's picture
guest

I added a lawn care this year, decided to pay someone to do all the weed and feed spraying instead of doing it myself. Each year it physically got harder for me to do and I was not sure that I wanted to add the cost into my budget. This year I took the big step and I have to say I do feel guilty about it.

Guest's picture
Nicholas

Some goods and services are nice to have but in this tough economy I have found that I tend to do most things myself. Precut fruits and veggies are an easy decision for me... I cut them myself to preserve the freshness up until I need them. I have never had anyone else clean my home except for me or my parents (when they visit they tend to clean and yet their house is never clean). All this saves money from unnecessary expenses.

Guest's picture
Guest

Anything I can do money to save as a SAHM I will do! Sometimes we have to inconvenience ourselves to get ahead.
@luckyatars54
whitlav at gmail dot com

Guest's picture
Min

One convenience that I do pay for is lunch. I used to make sandwiches every evening before work, but now I opt for the ease of just going out at lunch to get something, even if it means I pay 100-300% more.

Guest's picture
Lauren

Yes, I definitely pay for convenience; precut veggies and such allow me to meet halfway between frozen meals and cooking from scratch.

Guest's picture
Melanie

This is a great question. In terms of our household, I would say that we usually don't pay for convenience services. We mow our own lawn, clean our own house, cook our own food (that we grow most of in our own garden), and I even launder and iron my husband's dress shirts instead of taking them to the cleaners.
All that said, we do "pay" for these services in terms of opportunity cost. I only work part-time because I do so many things at home. My income could easily be doubled if we took advantage of more convenience services. But I enjoy doing many of these tasks, so it seems pointless to work more so I can earn more money to pay for someone else to do jobs I like.

Guest's picture
Guest

Sometimes. I work strange hours that often make it difficult to make a healthy meal for dinner, so I'll often buy convenience items like frozen microwavable rice (or something similar) so that I can make a quick dinner.

Guest's picture
ptkdude

I absolutely pay for convenience. As a perfect example: When sending a letter via Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested, I use an online service instead of going to the post office. It's about $2 more expensive, but I don't have to go to the post office and wait in a ridiculously long and slow-moving line. To me, that is well worth an extra $2 considering it's an occasional thing.

Guest's picture
Lisa

I do not pay for convenience most of the time. Sometimes I do pick up food for lunch thru a drive-thru when I didn't take the time to make my lunch.

Guest's picture
Lisa

Yes, there are some areas which I will pay for convenience. I usually weigh the time involved against the cost to determine the benefit. For example, I will buy pre-cut veggies but I have a hard time paying a salon to color my hair because it is so expensive!

Guest's picture
Jules

Yes, I pay for convenience goods, mostly for food. I will buy pre-washed greens when I know I will use them right away. I also buy rotissiere chicken and make soup, enchiladas, fajitas, etc. For the cost of the chicken it is still a very good deal. I also will buy the frozen "bag" dinners and add fresh veggies or more meat to them to stretch them even further.

Guest's picture
Mariel

We ALL PAY FOR CONVINIENCES, such as electricity and other modern things, because they directly or indirectly damage the environment (think nuclear chaos or risk, or polution) and many other things are involved, such as destroying the local economies because we buy things cheaper from somewhere else...

Guest's picture
Christina R.

Convenience is definitely something that I am willing to pay for. I like to apply the concept of opportunity cost to my time, and thus I am able to value my time for what it is and spend time on things that matter to me, rather than trying to save a few cents or not. It's all about weighing the pros and cons.

Guest's picture

I do my best to balance between paying for convenience and saving money by doing things myself, but the reality is...convenience usually wins. Here are a few ways I pay for convenience.

1. I go visit a certain someone pretty frequently. I try to use SouthWest airlines as much as possible even when the tickets are a little more because the DAL is way closer to his house and if I need to cancel a flight at the last minute it's no big deal.

2. Ditto on the oil change. I usually refuse to pay more than $19.99 though.

3. In the future I plan to have a cleaning lady. I hate cleaning and I'd rather spend what little free time I have doing something fun.

Guest's picture
Michael

I pay for lots of conveniences. This computer, for example was purchased even though I suppose I could wire-wrap my own board...once I made my own wire and board...after mining the appropriate minerals and ores and smelting them.

There are times to pay for convenience and there are times to cut your own fruit.

Guest's picture
Raina

You're right, every time we buy anything, we've paid for the convenience of someone else building/preparing that product. Even in building a computer, it's certainly more convenient to buy a pre-constructed motherboard, RAM, etc. than to go to school to become an electrical engineer.

Guest's picture
Thomas

I definitely pay for convenience but only for certain things

Guest's picture
Emily

If I've had a bad day, I'll treat myself to the convenience of buying coffee, even though it's so much cheaper to make at home. I tend to look at it as time vs. money and if my time is more valuable than the amount of money I'd save doing something myself. Sometimes I'll pay a little extra for a direct flight to avoid a layover, but if the price is significantly higher, then I'll deal with stops. I'm a little more inclined to pay for convenience on vacation since I'd rather enjoy the experience and not be wasting the dollars spent on a trip by constantly counting pennies.

Guest's picture
Christy W

Sometimes yes, most of the time no--especially as I learn how more to make the most of my budget.

Guest's picture
R. Poe

Yes, I use the automatic car wash when I could wash the car myself. I pay for bottled water when I could buy a water filter because even though it may be cheaper to buy a filter I prefer getting my favorite water already bottled from the store.

Guest's picture
Eric

I guess I do in some instances, when I order online rather than trudging to the store, or go to a local convenience store for a few goods rather than the groceries. Not too often though.

Guest's picture
Hollie

We probably pay for conveniences more than we realize, but it's a mix. We have a maid service every 3 weeks to give the house a good cleaning, but at the same time we make things like bread from scratch (probably not much cheaper, but we enjoy it) and cut up our own fruits and veggies. We buy applesauce and yogurt in big containers not snack size, but have someone clean out the gutters once or twice a year. I think it depends on what we like/don't like to do and safety factors - if my husband falls while cleaning the gutters it's going to cost much more than the $70 we pay 2x a year; sitting outside and cutting up and eating a watermelon with the kids is a nice activity for a summer day.

Guest's picture
Guest

I used to buy pre-cut, pre shredded, pre-made you name it and I bought it. Now I make my own salad dressing, cut and shred my every thing, and make household cleansers. I try to not buy anything pre-made that I can make myself. The housekeeper has been long gone.

Guest's picture
Esta

Over the past 10 years as a stay-at-home mom, time has become more abundant and money much less so. So yes, I've learned to make many foods from scratch, and we very rarely eat out. I clean my own house and car. Our landlady takes care of house repairs and yard maintenance. My husband has started an orchard, vegetable garden, and chicken coop at our commercial farm, where we hope to build a small house.

Guest's picture
Kristin

I think that some carefully chosen convenience items can improve overall health and productivity. I buy "baby" carrots because I know that if I buy the whole carrots, then they will most likely turn black in my fridge waiting to get peeled and eaten, but if I have baby carrots in the fridge, I will munch on those while I cook the rest of my meal. So I see buying baby carrots as a good investment: they improve my overall nutrition, and they take the edge off of my hunger so that I have enough time to cook the rest of my meal and I'm not tempted to rely on other convenience or restaurant foods to satisfy me.

Guest's picture
Guest

When it comes to convenience, and doing it myself. I must weigh the opportunity cost of DIY or getting it serviced.
I used to do my own car washes, but realized it was a hassle, and took lots of time just to complete.
Taking out the house, getting towels, soap bucket, wheel cleaner, and brushes. I realized that for the cost of the wheel cleaner, I can get my whoel car cleaned. Much cleaner than I can get it myself, and quicker too. The wheels can be very diffult to clean if you’re doing them by yourself, unless you have a pressure washer.

If the job is dangerous like gutter cleaning. I would rather pay for the service.

If I can do the job myself, cheaper, faster, and better myself then I will. If not I am willing to pay for the service.

Guest's picture
Traci

Yes, I pay for convenience. I am fully capable of washing my own hair. However, it would take me about 4 hours. It takes my stylist 2.5 and she does a much better job! Same for pedicures.

Guest's picture
Susan D.

Oh, yes, I pay for conveniences at our house. I use Amazon Subscribe & Save for a lot of household and pantry items; I pay to have my oil changed; I'll buy precut vegetables and salad mixes. Sometimes I'll buy a roast chicken at the deli instead of cooking one myself. Stouffer's Lasagna instead of homemade? You bet! I shop for books online from the comfort of home. Guess I'm at that certain age and I'm now tired of having to do so many things myself.

Guest's picture
Guest

I will usually try to determine the cost/benefit of paying for convenience. If there is a great financial benefit either way, the choice is easy.

Guest's picture
Chris

In food, we pay for convenience only when the cost of the prepared is far less than the $ and time needed to make it ourselves. Unless homemade quality increases substantially.

Guest's picture
Kate

I think there are more things that I wish I did on my own but I don't have the time or the motivation to really learn to do it myself. I think it can really depend on the price too. For instance, I always have my oil changed even though I could probably do it more cheaply myself. But, when I had a rust spot form on my car and I took it in for quotes the price was outrageous. From $500 to $1000. So instead I went to autozone, bought sandpaper, primer, and paint (maybe $30 total) and did it myself. I'll cut my own fruit but I'll pay to have someone else paint my nails. I think it depends on the price, what I get for the money, what I consider to be difficult, etc.

Guest's picture
cynthia rafler

I am on the fence between convenience and saving money. Always buy convenience when it saves time and gives you opportunity to enjoy other things. To save money I use coupons, store circular and a grocery list. But I always go to my mechanic to get my oil change, instead of doing it myself. My husband works 2 job so it is convenient to pay extra for a dvr, so he does not miss his programs while he is making money. I try to shop more online to save money on gas. For years now we have been enjoying Staycations, picnic for lunch and eat out for dinner while enjoying my own city. This helped contribute to our emergency savings so that my husband could fly to be with his father during a serious illness. I pay cash for almost everything, to save money on the convenience of credit interest rates. I wash my car by hand instead of using the convenience of an automatic car wash, good exercise, and a little fun in the sun.

Guest's picture
blossomteacher

Yes. I have a housekeeper who comes once a week. It was my therapist who recommended it. It is a fantastic service for me...I previously spent much of my life beating myself up about the state of my house (my mother is a fabulous housekeeper and neatnik). Now, as long as the house is picked up, I know the grungies will be taken care of. I can honestly say that I am mentally and emotionally healthier because of my housekeeper.

Guest's picture
Farmer Jo

I have started paying for convenience with a new baby! Grocery delivery has been a big one!

Guest's picture
Amy Saves

I get the pre-cut apples at the store so I can eat them easily. It costs more but saves time in cutting!

Guest's picture
Elena

the only reason I do pay for convenience is because I have very limited time to do it myself. although it would be cheaper to grow my own garden and have my own veggies and fruits I dont have the time.

Guest's picture
Carrie

Yes, my family pays for conveniences. After 16 years of marriage, I have finally started making room in the budget to have my hair cut and colored regularly, which is every six weeks. I have extremely long hair and I tried coloring it myself but it was too much of a hassle. I also tried waxing my own eyebrows and that was a disaster. Now I go to the salon to have my eyebrows done every two weeks.

My husband does all of our household repairs, car repairs, oil changes and yard maintenance. We're very lucky that he knows how to do a lot. It has saved us a lot of money.

My husband works a schedule that is difficult to keep up with, so I have been buying more convenience foods and frozen dinners that he can have for his meals, since he always takes his lunch to work.

One convenience I would love to be able to afford: Someone to come and organize my house and then someone to keep it clean for me! :-)

Guest's picture
Lynda

depends on what it is. not precut veggies/fruits but definitely an oil change!

Guest's picture
Liz

I do for some things but not others. I refuse to pay extra for pre-cut produce, for example. But I definitely will pay for car repairs (which I don't know how to do - so maybe less convenience and more lack of knowledge on my part there), as well as some quick-prep meals like frozen stuff.

Ashley Jacobs's picture

I'm with you there, I would have no idea how to do repairs on my own car, so that's definitely something I will pay someone else to do!

Guest's picture
sarah

Sometimes. We don't have someone mow the lawn or babysit our kids or clean our home. So, no money spent there. The conveniences we use are food related, although we rarely eat out. I spend alot of time making foods from scratch as well as my own cleaning supplies. I do work full-time as well. So, my conveniences are mostly from the grocery store (ie: waffles, pizza sauce and sliced bread). When me and the kids are getting out the door, toasting waffles is alot quicker than making them from scratch!

Guest's picture
Ciaran

I do not pay for convenience. If it is something that I can do myself, then I do it. I clean my own house, change my own oil, cook my own meals, do my own laundry, etc. Convenince is not worth the price 95% of the time, at least for me and my thin wallet.

Guest's picture
Tepe

Nope. Too cheap!

Guest's picture
kristina wittchen

Hardly ever.

Guest's picture
michelle

I think most people pay for some conveniences, while dciding to do other things themselves. I do pay for the convenience of having my house cleaned. Since the economy tightened, I have done more myself, but this one thing is so time-consuming, I just gring and bear it. As an almost-empty-nester, it is way more important for me to spend time with my kids than with a toilet brush. Just sayin'.

Guest's picture
jodi

I will pay for self serve gas, because I hate getting gas, and its easier... its a small guilty pleasure!

Guest's picture
Sweta

Yes for things like oil changes, home renovations/repairs. No for food related things like buying shredded cheese (I buy a big block at Costco and do it myself) I also do not buy ready made meals. I prefer to cook better tasting items myself at home.

Guest's picture
Kandace

hardly ever

Guest's picture
Maria S

Sometimes

Guest's picture
Therese

I think everyone pays for a lot of conveniences, unless they live in a cave or in the woods somewhere remote from civilization. Which conveniences we pay for are individual choices.

Guest's picture
Lori wood

I certainly do not buy bottled water. We purchased an under sink water purifier several years ago. I have bought clearance stainless steel water bottles for about $3. The filter is replaced about twice a year for about $70. We have good tasting, clean, and envronmentally sound bottled water for a fraction of the cost and it takes less time to change the filter and fill the bottles than it does to cart in cases of plastic bottled water.

Guest's picture
Carmen

I do my own cleaning (occasionally). But I will occasionally pay for convenience at the grocery store. I buy baby carrots because I'm more likely to take them to work. And I buy pre-shredded cheese when it's on sale. I can stock up and throw the bags in the freezer. Since most of our cheese is used for melting (casseroles, pizza, etc), we don't notice any difference.

Guest's picture
Emily

Yes, we do pay for convenience...

We eat out sometimes (once or twice a month) because we're too tired to cook from scratch or if we're running late.

We buy most produce because we've yet to become self-sufficient with our starter vegetable garden.

We use Kleenex instead of washing handkerchiefs.

We drive when we don't feel like walking / biking somewhere.

We use an automatic washing machine instead of one of those hand-cranked gadgets.

I'm typing this from home -- computers and internet are huge conveniences! -- instead of using computers at the public library.

Most things in life are "conveniences" when you think about it.

Guest's picture
Medie

My time is too precious to me. I am frugal but not cheap. My time is worth more to me than cutting up veggies, changing my oil, waiting for a bus, doing yardwork and other tedious and time consuming chores. Life is too short, I'd rather spend time with my family or doing something I love.

Guest's picture
Erika Recordon

Yes! Oil change that's a good one. I always pay to have it changed. Also, I rarely wash my own car, which is just lazy.

Guest's picture
Betty

I don't buy convenience foods like pre cut veggies, but I do buy bread if that counts.

Guest's picture
Sheryl

I do pay for convenience - sometimes!

Guest's picture
Ann

I am so lucky to be able to pay others to do the things I'd rather not. I'm mostly paying to have TIME for the things I enjoy. So I pay to have my house cleaned and my lawn mowed. However, I am willing to invest my time in the food I eat, and I don't buy many pre-cut veggies or convenience foods; I take my lunch to work, and only eat out once or twice a week.

Guest's picture
Courtney

Definitely pay for convenience when I am food shopping. In other categories, I'll try DIY to save some cash but cooking is not my forte. So I go for anything pre-made, pre-cooked, pre-washed.. basically anything that makes the effort I have to put towards dinner minimal. I know, it's bad but the last thing I want to do when I get home from a long day at work is cook myself a gourmet dinner.

Guest's picture

I do pay for "convenient meals", the kind that are already prepared by the grocery store in advance. They're usually healthier and less expensive than fast food meals. I don't have time to cook, and every time I do try to make something in my kitchen I end up setting off the smoke detector.

Guest's picture

i pay for convenience, but it's all about different levels. i buy the majority of my produce at the farmers market, which requires a lot more washing of dirt and chopping up, but spending a few hours processing all the fruits and veggies on a sunday, makes it all the more convenient during the week. we always have 1-3 "convenient" meals at home and usually don't take more than 10-25 minutes to pull together dinner, which makes a big difference. most of the time, i think convenience comes down to personal values. i prefer to buy locally and enjoy the great taste of farm fresh food, so i approach the 'inconvenient' with a better attitude to where it doesn't seem like a bother.

we do the same by not paying for cable, but buying 1-2 cable shows on amazon to save us the giant bill from comcast.

Guest's picture
Kaye

This is a pretty broad question. While I work hard to find ways to cut costs by doing things for ourselves (cooking rather than eating out, changing our own oil, making gifts as much as possible rather than buying), I certainly pay for a lot of convenience items. Some foods we buy are prepared partially to save time. We pay others to cut our hair. As a working-away-from-home mom, the time I save using these items gives me more time with my family. So yes...I do pay for convenience when I feel the savings I get in time is worth the cost.

Guest's picture
Jennifer

For some things I pay for convenience-for instance getting my dogs nails trimmed this weekend, occasional oil changes, etc...

Guest's picture
KelR1

I have to admit I often buy precut produce to save time and effort. The trade-off is that it's all ready and helps my family eat healthier, so I don't think it's so bad.

Guest's picture
M.A.

I rarely pay for convenience unless someone else can do the job better. Right now we are saving for vacations and would rather not pay someone else to clean our small house or rake our yard or do our gardening. And we have the time. For pre-cut, etc., food, it doesn't seem to taste as good as what I buy and cut up myself. (Except onions. For stews, chili, etc., I will buy frozen, chopped onions, to save from crying.)

Guest's picture
Rachel

I don't generally pay for convenience. I don't buy pre-cut or pre-washed fruits and veggies; I pack my lunch for work; I don't use ATMs if they have fees; etc.

However, where I do pay for convenience is the 100-calorie food packs. I know I could very easily divide up my own 100 calorie packs, but I prefer the store bought ones.

Guest's picture
Ella

I'm trying to make decisions about cost vs. convenience right now. Generally I eschew pre-cut veggies and prepped meals and do chores more cheaply, even if it takes more time. However, this fall I'm going back to grad school and will have a very tight budget. I also have a medical condition which requires me to keep to a very strict sleep and eating schedule. I'm looking at apartments with an in-unit washer and dryer and a dishwasher, because, although it will be more expensive, it will allow me to manage my schedule better. For example, I can put clothes in the dryer before bed, as opposed to staying out late at a laundry mat. I'm also looking to pay extra for a garage for my car, since my medication reduces circulation in my hands, making it painful to scrape off snow in winter. I will probably incur a little more student debt this way, but I think it will be worth the peace of mind while managing a heavy course and research load.

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Diann

Yes, I do pay for convenience. When buying groceries, I buy the pre-made salad kits

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mdw

Sometimes I'll pay for convenience. I usually have a hard time paying for it though. If I can keep a few extra bucks in my pocket and spent a little time to keep that money, I tend to do it. Lately I've been looking more at the time/benefit equation and sometimes will pay for convenience if I decide it's not worth my time to save the money.

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Selene

I'm thrifty when I can be - making my own salad mix and chopping my own vegetables. When we travel, I pack our lunch instead of stopping for a meal. I use coupons whenever I can, including at restaurants.

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Alissa A

It depends on the item. I don't buy pre-cut veggies and fruit, but do like frozen meals for the convenience!!

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sarahnthropic

who buys precut veggies? i always see them in the stores, but it seems ridiculous. the whole carrots and celery are cheaper, and it takes all of 10 minutes to wash and cut them.

if i had a car, i would pay someone to change my oil, simply because i don't know how to do it myself AND i have no legal, eco-friendly way to dispose of the oil (which oil change places do).

during times of my life where i had more money than time (it seemed) i paid for a lot more convenience: the atm downstairs with the fee instead of walking 3 blocks to my bank; cabs instead of the bus, etc. but now i have no money, and so convenience just doesn't get paid for.

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Tova

My one convenience: pizza night. My husband and I work 4 jobs between us (and I'm a full-time student), so one night per week of fast food ensures that we could steal a little time for ourselves and a little energy for later. One small pizza for $8 is worth the peace of mind we get.

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Marjac

I cut my own grass, clean my own house, once in a while I'll take my car to the car wash to wash off the winter salt but pretty much do everything myself with the exception of oil changes. Can't afford to do otherwise.
Marjac

Guest's picture
fern

No, I don't pay for convenience because I'm a cheapskate and figure this is someething I can do myself. I mow my acre and a half myself (not a rider mower), I clean my home and chop my own vegetables.

However, I do sometimes buy frozen entrees for a quick lunch, and when i'm making soups, it's easier to buy baby carrots than chop up full size carrots.

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Kristin

Just this weekend, I was suggesting to my husband that we try making pizza from scratch, since we eat it so often. He said he'd rather pay the extra for someone else to do it...I guess I agree, in the long run. But I'd rather cut my own fruit and veggies, thanks. :)

Guest's picture
lsharp

When I finally got realistic about my time and availability to cook decent meals for my family, I decided to indulge in some homemade food delivery for about two meals a week. It is still cheaper than me running out for fast food, it's healthier for my family, i'm supporting a friend's business, and I am saving on gas money. I was kidding myself that I could cook 7 healthy dinners for my family a week, so this is the next best thing (even better since my kids enjoy her food better and will try something new if they know she made it) Worth every penny!