I have a fabulous lawn. The grass is green and well-trimmed, the landscaping is shaped and mulched, nothing is overgrown… it’s just gorgeous.
Of course, I don’t take care of this myself. I pay a lawn service.
“A lawn service?” you exclaim.
Doing it Myself – Is it Worth it?
Yes, I know. If I took care of my own lawn, it would be cheaper. And the first year I lived here, that’s exactly what I did. I trimmed my own lawn using a reel mower. A reel mower is what many people think of when they think of old fashioned lawn mowers. Two wheels, some spinning blades, all powered by the person pushing it.
(You see, I don’t have a garage or a shed. I wasn’t about to put a gas powered mower into my basement where I store all the gardening equipment, and while I know that electric mowers exist, I gave myself about 15 minutes before I mowed over the cord and destroyed the whole thing.)
While reel mowers work if you’re good about mowing your lawn before it gets too long, I was not good at that. Also, it was a chore I totally hated.
Let’s not talk about how the landscaping looked. I had no idea what to do about trimming bushes so I just ignored them. This was the wrong plan.
The following year, I hired a lawn care service. And it was glorious! They mow and trim, they fertilize, and they take care of the landscaped beds near the house.
Paying for a Lawn Service
Last year, I decided that I could probably at least handle all of the mulching. Two long weekends and too many trips to Home Depot to count, I decided that from then on, the landscaping company would be taking care of everything lawn related.
Sure, it’s a splurge, but I decided that I would rather spend the money paying someone to do a task I hated so that I could spend time doing things I enjoy. Of course, it’s also something that has to fit in the budget.
I have a number of friends who have hired cleaning services for their house. I always think “Oh, I couldn’t afford that.” They say the same about my lawn service. And sure, it would be awesome to not have to do any household chores, I don’t really mind cleaning (though I’m certainly not one of those people who loves it), so for now, it’s worth it to me to do my own cleaning and spend that money elsewhere.
I’ve learned that it’s all about balance. I don’t have to do everything on my own. And just because one person thinks it’s a splurge doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s something I shouldn’t do. We all have areas in which we prefer to splurge.
Plus I just love coming home to a pretty house.
What is your splurge? Do you pay someone to clean? Take care of the lawn?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
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