In my constant quest to exercise my high level of frugality (ok, cheapness), I took a look at our budget and decided to cut some spending. We never realized how much money we were spending on something that we could handle; lawn care. Ashleigh and I take pride in having the one of the best lawns in the neighborhood; however, in efforts to have our cake and eat it too, we would also like to have one of the largest bank accounts as well. Lawn maintenance, especially on a lot the size of ours, is one of those things you just accept paying. Not anymore.
The first axe was to our lawn treatment company. They would come and spray for weeds, fertilize the grass, lay down fire ant killer; stuff that I thought we could do on our own. Our annual bill was $750. After shamelessly rummaging through the clearance area at our local hardware store and aggressively perusing all that Craigslist had to offer; we have everything we need for just $100. That means I just put $650 in my pocket.
Axe number two; the landscaping company. I have to admit, we we're getting a great deal. They came every other week, trimmed, edged and mowed for just $35 a visit. However, living in Central Texas, the lawn needs to be mowed one to two times a week, minimum (which I was doing the extra mowing myself). I figured, I can mow one more time each week and eliminate that bill completely. With such a long mowing season here, just around 40 weeks, I'm saving myself nearly $700.
Now, it's not all profit.
I am incurring additional costs by doing the work myself. First off, I now spend an additional hour and a half a week on lawn care. Who knows what the actual monetary cost is, nonetheless, it's valuable time not spent with my family. Lastly, I am spending, on average, an additional $3.50 on gas every other week; an extra $70 out of pocket total. I can live with that.
All told, by doing the lawn maintenance myself, I am saving $1,280 this summer. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.
Doesn't sound like that much? I like to look at it in these terms; take those savings and divide it by the amount of hours worked and you see that I'm saving (or earning) $21.33 per hour worked. I can live with that. I can also live with the fact that our lawn is amazing and it's because of our hard work. As for padding my bank account, it's cake with all the money I'm saving. And now, I get to eat it too.
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