Saving Time & Money on Yardwork Edition – Personal Finance Review

April 13, 2008

With rising fuel prices and a falling stock market, who want to spend money on fertilizer?  I recently avoided a lawn care salesman who was convinced he could give me the greenest lawn on the block for $60 an application. Seriously, who cares about green grass other than the people selling fertilizer?

Fertilizer Costs
Although our yard is the last thing I want to spend time or money on right now, it turns out our neighbors were persuaded by the same salesman. The fertilizer truck came over the weekend, my wife was worried the “Joneses” were going to make our yard look bad and talked me into breathing some life into our yard.

The first way I saved money was purchasing a smaller bag than I typically buy.  In years past, I’ve always had extra left over so instead of spending $40, I bought a bag half the size and paid half the price.  I guess I used to always worry about running out and having to make another trip back.  From now on I’m sticking with the smaller bag, once it’s gone, it’s gone.  The size I had actually worked out perfectly, no leftover fertilizer to store and I covered the whole yard.

Labor Costs
The second way I saved money was to apply the pre-emergent myself.  It took me all of 10–15 minutes, I don’t make anywhere near enough money to pay the $60 the lawn service company was asking for an application.  Twenty bucks for the fertilizer puts me $40 shy of their estimate and I’m definitely not paying a lawn service $40 for 15 minutes of work.

Of course they spray it on vs. the granules that I spread but I have that covered.  I simply water it in, using our self-installed sprinkler system I save the time it would take to drag the sprinklers around.  I forget every year how nice it is to flip that switch and have the water flow, that sprinkler system saves me incredible amounts of time.

Of course, the bad thing about fertilizing and watering is that your grass starts to grow, which means you have to mow it!  What a stupid cycle.  It’s going to be hard for me convince myself to buy gas for the lawn mower this summer with fuel prices as high as they are.  Jungle yard, here we come!

Anyhow, here are some money articles I enjoyed this week:

Fitting for the current economic environment, the Digerati Life talks about how to invest defensively in down markets and The Simple Dollar has a great overview of the current economic situation.

Although the market is having a rough time, that’s no reason to put off fixing your finances.  Million Dollar Journey reminds us the best time to start is now.  The Lazy Man won’t be doing any saving with SmartyPig and My Dollar Plan covers something none of the stocks I own are doing right now, stock splits 101.

You’re almost out of time to contribute to an IRA for 2007, Sun talks about some last-minute promotions brokers are offering for opening a new account.  Generation X Finance asks how much you’re saving in 2008 vs. what you did in 2007?

On the employment front, Brip Blap discourages us from becoming a consultant but then offers the other side of the coin with 15 reasons to be a consultant.

Free Money Finance goes over some ways you can make more money, but of course the IRS wants a piece of the action, so the Mighty Bargain Hunter reminds us we can call the IRS with our tax questions.

No Credit Needed is recycling his way to a new lawnmower, making money from recycling aluminum.

Five Cent Nickel takes a look inside Vanguard’s Portfolio Watch and Jim from Blueprint for Financial Prosperity does a roundup of his clever Devil’s Advocate series.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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One Response to Saving Time & Money on Yardwork Edition – Personal Finance Review

  • Fern

    Why do you want to make your lawn grow if you’re just going to mow it anyway?

    seriously, all that fertilizer you’re dumping on your lawn just ends up in the groundwater. I have a nice, healthy crop of weeds each year which is kept nicely trimmed and no one has a problem with it.