Is splurging on dog grooming financially smart?

According to the Associated Press, "There are more than 70 million dogs in the United States, and they account for a good chunk of the nearly $3 billion pet owners spend each year on grooming and boarding, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association."

A recent AP story looks at the rise of self-service dog wash centers -- For $8 to $17 at these places, you can take Fluffy and give him a bath. In someone else's tub. With someone else's soap/towels.

It's a good compromise for people who don't want to spend the $35 or more on a professional groomer, but also don't have the facilities to bathe an Alaskan Malaumte in their homes, or don't want dog hair clogging up their drains.

I consider myself a tightfisted guy with money but I will always splurge and go for a professional groomer. They do a better job than I can, I don't have to get dirty/smell like wet dog and soap, and it isn't really that expensive, given the amount of time and energy it would take me to do it myself. I'm much better off hiring someone else to do it.

Here's the personal finance point of this post: It's perfectly acceptable to hire someone else to do stuff that you don't want to do when it will save an amount of your time approaching the value of what you're paying them.

This is hard principle for those of us inclined toward thrift to accept. But if you're a doctor who's always busy, cleaning your house yourself isn't good personal finance. It's stupid. You're much better off spending a few hundred dollars a month hiring someone else to do it.

Here's a good principle I picked up from The 4-Hour Work Week. Take the amount of money you earn per year and divide it by 2 thousand. If you earn $50 thousand per year, that works out to $25. That's the amount that you can spend to hire other people to do time-saving tasks for you.

So if you earn $50 thousand a year and need something done around the house that you don't want to do and can find someone to do it for $25 an hour... go for it!

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