To Hire a Lawn Care Service or Mow The Yard Myself?



If you have been hanging around my site for more than two years, then you probably remember this debate. In March of 2012, I had to make the decision to either hire a lawn care service to mow my yardΒ or do it myself. I had recently purchased my first house and had absolutely no space for a lawn mower. So, not only would I spend my valuable time mowing the lawn each month (which is a cost no doubt), but I would have also had to buy a lawn mower and a shed! The total cost was far more than I was willing to pay, so I decided to go with the lawn service for $17.50 per mow.

20140222 - lawn mowerRethinking My Decision

Since I now have the goal of paying off my house this year, I am starting to think about these expenses differently. Sure, my time is valuable, but how long does it really take to mow the lawn? 30 minutes? And, if I was able to buy a lawn mower that was small enough, I’m sure I could find some space for it in the garage.

As I continued to think about the cost of this lawn service (which equates to about $275 a year by the way), I began to realize that I can get the lawn mowed for even cheaper than what I previously expected. I just found an old school style reel mower that needs absolutely no gas and costs only $30 online (through Craigslist of course). Assuming this lawn mower holds up, my yearly mowing expense would be reduced by $245 and I get some free exercise! πŸ™‚

You Have to Change Your Thinking

When I wrote that original post, I was averse to spending large amounts of money (in one shot) and really didn’t want to mow my own yard. After all, I had other things that I wanted to do! Since my brain really didn’t want to mow the lawn, I came up with a few solid reasons why I shouldn’t. It was as simple as that.

Now that I am more debt averse and am conscientious about my spending, I have come up with a great solution that will force me to get a little more exercise (which is never a bad thing) and cut my lawn for practically nothing!

Whenever you are making an important decision about your budget, be certain to check your way of thinking. Are you truly making a financially wise decision? Or are you just finding ways to justify your spending so you don’t feel bad about it?


Weekly Round-Up

Make More Money Online By Following the Wine Pair Strategy – by Yakezie

How to Get Paid and Promoted Faster: Is Your Nose Brown Enough to Get Ahead? – by Financial Samurai

Tips to Avoid Going Into Credit Card Debt – by My Family Finances

How Would You Invest $20,000? – by Funancials

Reason to Have an Emergency Fund: Medical Emergencies – by Making Sense of Cents

Our $150 Baby – by Budget For Health

Stop Looking in the Rearview Mirror! – by Krantcents

A Beginner’s Guide to Real Estate Investing – by The College Investor

Money In Your 20’s: Take Big Risks or Focus on Saving? – by Squirrelers

How to Discover Why You Ended Up With a Terrible Mess of Debt – by Money Manifesto

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26 comments to To Hire a Lawn Care Service or Mow The Yard Myself?

  • Good for you buying a reel mower. It’s quiet, great for your heart and the environment to boot!
    Cheers, Luna
    Luna Broderick recently posted..To Hire a Lawn Care Service or Mow The Yard Myself?

  • Me too! Might be a few weeks yet. Mean time keep the shovel out!
    Luna πŸ˜‰
    Luna Broderick recently posted..To Hire a Lawn Care Service or Mow The Yard Myself?

  • My husband used to work for a landscaping company in college, so we would probably never hire anyone to do yard work. He actually got a side gig mowing commercial lawns last summer and made an extra $900. If you don’t mind getting your shoes dirty, it’s not a bad job.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Ways to Save Money on Skiing

  • Thanks for the links, I am in good company.

  • considering we only have about 4-5 months of lawn cutting here,
    I’m still happier with my local lawn service . It supports the
    mentally challenged with gainful activity and the organization
    that provides them with opportunities [at $15/cut]-
    all part of my decision making process =)

    great post.

    • That is pretty cool. There is a similar service in my area that supports ex-cons and gets them back on their feet. That might be worth me checking out in the future as well.

  • Hi Derek! I was over on another blog and saw your post title and had to wander over and check it out. Congratulations on the decision to take care of your own lawn. I too USED to have a gardener to do our lawn (about 80% of our neighbors here in Southern California hire a gardener) and didn’t think much about it. But when my husband and I decided to go completely debt free (including a house mortgage) we added up all the stuff we really didn’t need and one of them was a gardener. For 4 years now we have done our yard work ourselves and it was a REALLY good decision for us for a couple of reasons. #1 you definitely save money. in our area it is over $100 a month. #2 you feel like your lawn and home are really your space. Like I said, most of our neighbors have gardeners and they drive in and out of their garage to and from work just to pay for the expense they don’t even seem to enjoy. #3 Who needs and expensive gym? #4 you get in touch with nature in a deeper way and realize that the world is a much bigger and more amazing place that we usually imagine. I’m sure there are more reasons but those are the top four. Good luck to you and stick with it!
    Kathy @ SMART LIving recently posted..Five Ways To Slay The Succubus of Crippling Debt

  • jim

    Oh man! I used to use one of those push mowers – back in the day – when that is what everyone used to mow their own lawns. You will definitely get a good work out. Just make sure to wear old tennis shoes that you won’t mind turning green. One caveat – if you have seasonal allergies, don’t do it. Hire it out. Otherwise, go for it. You’re in for a summer of workouts.

    p.s. I still want to know the very nano-second your mortgage is paid off. Yay for you – I’m so jealous!

  • Jessica @ Budget for Health

    Tanks for including my baby post in your roundup! I’m glad we didn’t have to worry about mowing a lawn or shoveling snow when we bought our condo but I wouldn’t go this route if I was just trying to avoid mowing a lawn. The monthly association fee does not make it worth a free mow and shovel!

  • Derek,

    I really appreciate you highlighting my article. In regards to mowing the lawn, I have left that up to a professional. I have come up with several excuses: “I’m stimulating the economy, I’m creating jobs, I can write an article in the hour I would mow and could make more.” I recognize that my justification may be irrational, but it’s a luxury I’m not willing to give up at this moment.

    Hope all is well-
    funancials recently posted..HOW Would You Invest $20,000?

    • You’re welcome funancials. You always have some great stuff on your site, so I enjoy swinging in once in a while. As for the mowing, I was full of excuses these last couple of years, but this summer I would much rather keep the money in my pocket. πŸ™‚

  • I love mowing my own yard…it’s truly the only time a father and husband can be alone. I think it’s because they’re afraid to interrupt me in case I tell them it’s their turn for awhile. πŸ™‚ Although, my teenager took over doing it most of the time last year to earn extra cash. πŸ™‚
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted..Is This The Year I Pay Someone To Do My Taxes?

  • Ryan

    Good for you doing your own lawn! I just purchased my first house with a postage stamp yard and found a reel mower for cheap on craigslist as well. I can’t wait to try it out when the snow melts. Just an FYI, keep lubricating the blades do they don’t get bound up when not in use and it should last forever with zero gas or repair bills!

  • I had a reel lawn mower and it worked awesome on our last lawn. Unfortunately, our new grass doesn’t get along with it and I needed to get a real lawn mower. Thanks for including my post this week! Glad you liked it!
    Lance recently posted..Be Un-American And Save Money When You Dine Out

  • Mowing your own lawn can definitely save you money in the long run. It may seem very expensive on the front end with having to buy a mower and more but it will end up being cheaper when you think about how many time you will have to pay to have your lawn cut and maintained over the year. I had to make the same decision as well, so I ditched my lawn service and started mowing my own lawn. The only cost now is gas when I need it.
    Caleb recently posted..Hello world!

    • I just recently bought an old reel mower that requires no gasoline. I don’t expect that it will do as good of a job, but it will give me exercise and zero expenses. I’m getting pretty excited about mowing this yard when the grass starts growing again (Michigan is a little slow getting to Spring this year). πŸ™‚

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