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Frugal Fail

One of my plans to keep my budget down was to do all my own lawn care.

Yep, that’s not going to happen.

Last year, I started out with my reel mower.  Yes, that’s right, one of those old fashioned lawn mowers that’s just a bunch of spinning blades.  Why did I go this route and not get a normal mower?  I don’t have a garage on my house and I have yet to purchase a freestanding tool shed.  That means that all my lawn tools have to live in my house.  I am not about to store a gas powered mower inside my house.  It’s just not going to happen.  I thought about going electric, but the reviews weren’t much better than the reviews for the reel mower, and I figured the odds were good that I would eventually mow over the cord and ruin the whole thing.

The reel mower wasn’t bad… until I let the grass get too long.  Anything over 3 inches and that thing wasn’t going to mow.  And that means that it missed all the crazy fast-growing weeds.   Not awesome.   At one point, I was actually going out with the hedge trimmers and cutting them off.  Yeah, that’s embarrassing.

Then I hired the neighbor kid to mow for $30 a pop.  Problem?  He wasn’t entirely reliable, and didn’t actually do the best job.   He was only paid after he did the work, so it’s not like he took my money, but I just wasn’t entirely pleased.

So I went back to my landscaping company to get pricing.  For a reasonable fee, they would not only mow, but fertilize, overseed, and treat the yard for various bugs and weeds.  Not a bad plan.  So for this season, that’s the route I’m going.  I’ll decide next spring what I want to do next.

Yes, it’s a splurge, and I know all you frugal folks out there are yelling at me through the computer.  But I figure that I can cut back elsewhere and leave this to the pros.  Best of all, it leaves me time to do all the other things being neglected around the house.


7 comments to Frugal Fail

  • tom

    Ahhh the joys of home ownership and landscaping…

    Sounds like you need to get out there 2x a week to cut the grass. How long does it take with the reel mower?

  • I think that isn’t a bad idea. It doesn’t sound like you would be breaking your budget to do it and it saves you time so you can go do something else!

  • Start to finish, maybe 90 minutes or so. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it adds up, especially if I’m doing it twice a week.

  • bogofdebt, that’s exactly how I’m looking at it. It doesn’t break the budget at all, and it saves me time to work on other projects around the house. And marathon train, of course. 🙂 I also look at it as protecting my investment – I spent a good amount of money having the lawn completely relandscaped (after years of neglect), and I would like to keep it in the best shape possible.

  • tom

    Wow… 90 mins is a long time. I’d hire that out too! Good call.

  • I agree — good call. Now you can use your time for something more productive! I had the same experience with a service vs. neighbor kid. The kid was actually more expensive than the service and just mowed, nothing else, and sometimes didn’t show up. The service always came and was FULL service – mowing, edging, weeding, seeding, the whole smash. Way better deal.


  • It can’t be a frugal fail, because it’s something you’ve decided – after some thought – to spend money on because not spending money on it doesn’t work for you.

    Anybody yelling doesn’t understand the concept of frugal – saving money where you can in order to spend it where you want.