Jim’s Mowing Mackay franchisee Jim Lowe makes short work of long grass with his ride-on mower.
Jim’s Mowing Mackay franchisee Jim Lowe makes short work of long grass with his ride-on mower. Peter Holt

No time? Pay to stay sane

NOTHING signals that your life has spun totally out of control quite like paying $4 for a small blister-pack containing three strands of scrappy lemongrass. But "time poverty" makes you do crazy things.

Remember when bumping trolleys at the deli section used to spark pleasantries about weather and sporting fixtures?

Now it seems these exchanges are spoken in shorthand of sighs and eye-rolls. "I'm late, I'm late, I'm late," we bark, before vanishing down the rabbit hole into a surreal, sped-up version of domestic life.

As anyone who has spent a hunk of time unemployed knows, making hay while the sun shines on the Northern Rivers seems the smart thing to do. However, it often comes at the cost of a herb garden, or sleep, or family.

Anecdotally and statistically, we're a society either overworked or underworked. While the current unemployment figures look reasonable, the numbers don't tell the whole story.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released in July revealed there were 892,900 "underemployed" workers in Australia - workers who want more hours of work than they have. Australia's underemployment rate sits at 7.4% - 9.6% of females and 5.5% of males.

Recently a busy friend admitted employing someone to come around and tend her neglected veggie patch every now and then. At $30 a fortnight she can be assured of fresh herbs and salad greens throughout the summer. So, if she can grow twelve scrappy stalks of lemongrass, then she's better off than me.

Sometimes, when faced with time poverty, it helps to know your limitations. For example, if you know you're not going to get through the mending pile, it makes sense to employ the services of a professional. It's far cheaper than buying cheap, disposable threads.

Besides, giving your hard-earned to a local alteration business feels better than propping up retail giants.

So, if you are one of the lucky ones too busy making hay, why not pay someone else to maintain your lemongrass?


When hiring help can save you money

We deliver: If buying your groceries online, whether from a supermarket or veggie co-op, delivery is often free or nominal. By making purchasing decisions at your leisure in the comfort of your home, you are more likely to menu-plan and avoid impulse treats. Taking a photo on your phone of your fridge's contents and referring to it while you shop, can help reduce waste.

Ask a cobbler to mend your favourite shoes and boots. Prices vary based on the materials used (rubber being the cheapest) so get quotes based on materials.

Beyond the lawn: Find a gardener that can set up and maintain a veggie patch if you are too time-poor. Picking greens as you use them reduces waste.

Tax time: If you own a small business, doing your own tax can actually cost you money. Paying someone who can do it quickly and thoroughly and who knows what you can and can't claim, is one of the best investments you can make.

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