Monday, November 5, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Live Well On Less: Managing Servants

Oh, I wish!

You've read the analogies which liken the Proverbs 31 woman's servants to our modern gadgetry.

Somehow, my washing machine is still not the same as a crisply aproned housekeeper!


Yet, timesaving appliances do help us live well on less, by making scratch cooking convenient and big chores do-able by the average family.

Just for fun, let's apply The Amy Vanderbilt Book of Etiquette's chapter on domestic help to our household tools:

"The interview--the surest way of finding the right person is through word-of-mouth references."
  • Borrow a friend's new gadget before investing in one of your own.
  • Read reviews on Epinions or Amazon.
"Her quarters should be shown and discussed."
"An employee does not train herself."
  • Buying a new appliance will not save you money.
  • Using your appliances saves you money.
"Do a time study on your housekeeper, if she says she is overworked."
  • Constantly re-evaluate your resources at hand.
  • Consider picking up a second crockpot, arranging the freezer for more efficient air flow, or hanging the comforter in the sun instead of drying it for an hour.
"If you wish her...out of the house at once, ask her to pack up and leave immediately."
  • Don't hesitate to get rid of a dust-gathering appliance, even if it was an expensive gift.
  • An empty counter is more valuable than most equipment.
  • Sell it on Craig's List, Freecycle it, or bless a friend.

It's easy to find great appliances, secondhand! Here are some posts which show how my servants enrich my life at home--for pennies on the dollar:
---Bread machine conquers my dough-phobia.
---Food processor shreds cabbage and chops nuts for crust in a snap.
---Clean your oven with a shop vac.
---A used Kitchenaid mixer gave me the strength to bake 26 dozen muffins.
---Two wafflemakers and a Waring blender whip up cheap whole grain breakfasts.
---Crock pot chili prevents fast food spending.
---The Rowenta iron made me love the smell of starch in the morning.
...not to mention the other gadgets I haven't praised yet--our Wahl home hair clipper, the coffeemaker that fits in the cabinet, the $5 Oreck vacuum, and more.

What is your favorite "domestic helper," and how does it save you money?

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