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DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service?

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DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service

We’re still taming our overgrown yard. Honestly, I really like it. I find the time spent mowing and trimming and planting to be really therapeutic and satisfying. My parents always had us work in the yard together, so it just seems normal to spend time mowing and raking each week. We are DIY lawn care people, not pay for a lawn service people.

My husband does the fertilizing and edging, and I cut the lawn and manage the garden. The kids and I weed, and we all rake.

Raking and Raking

However, we’ve raked so. many. friggin’ leaves these past few weeks. When the lawn is dry, I can use the mower to mulch them. But it’s been pouring rain, so whenever there is a break in the rain or just a light drizzle I run out to rake. I try to time it with virtual school breaks and off-work hours. It’s tricky. The wet leaves are heavy, and my hands are calloused, blistered, and dyed orange from the wet leaves. It looks like I got a bad spray tan.

DIY or Pay for a Lawn Service

I wish this picture did the orange-ness justice

But I get to listen to podcasts and be outside. The kids help off and on, and frankly I treasure the few moments of solitude when they wander off. My muscles are sore, but I really do enjoy it. Plus, I know the leaves are almost (!) done falling and I’ll be done for a year.

All that doesn’t mean I don’t notice when my neighbor’s lawn service teams pull up. Big, strong guys hop out with industrial-strength leaf blowers strapped to their backs. They pile up the leaves (even the soaking wet ones!) crazy quick. Then they fill bags and bins with leaves, and drive away, leaving these yards looking neat and trimmed. All while I’m still out there raking and raking and raking…

So while I’ve been out there for hours and hours, I’ve started to think, “Is it worth it to pay for a lawn service??”

The Cost of Paying the Pros

I started researching how much it costs. According to HomeAdvisor, the average national cost for basic lawn care is $135 a month (or about $33 a week), and for leaf blowing $30 per hour. It’s more if you have them come twice a week, and everything else is extra: towing away leaves, weeding, fertilizing, and more.

I bet this past week alone I’ve done 7 hours of raking, trimming, and bagging. I’ve spent $8 on several big paper leaf bags from Lowes that we fill and drop off to our city for free.

So is a lawn service worth it? It depends.

  • PROS: Saves you time, saves you from injury, uses higher quality tools, and involves expertise and experience.
  • CONS: Costly each month, takes away your chance to exercise and be outside, and means you’re not always in charge of how the job is done.

Will We Stick with DIY?

Are we going to pay for a lawn service? Nope. People in this much debt just can’t justify hiring pros. We’re physically able to do the work, and it’s not worth it to me to budget for it right now.

Am I actively looking for a $30 leaf blower on Facebook Marketplace? Yep. And I’ll still notice every time a big, industrial leaf blower interrupts a Zoom call, and I’ll marvel at just how fast those teams can get the work done.

Baker’s delight on clearance

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We’ve been doing really well with eating through our freezer and pantry. I’ve made gumbo and tacos this week and each of those meals last two days. Recycling reheating leftovers for the win – our tacos became nachos the second night!

Last weekend, I took Gymnast to Walmart to finish up his Christmas shopping for Texas (his money). And while he shopped, I grabbed a few items I needed to round out this week’s meals. And, as always, I checked out the clearance section. I love Walmart Clearance and they have at least 2 sections…one in grocery and one for household items.

This particular time, I was in grocery.

I picked up a couple of whole wheat pasta boxes for 50 cents each and a Pumpkin Spice coffee K-cup box for $4 (I am not a coffee drinker but I keep our Kcups stocked for my coffee drinking kids as it helps them save money. We keep a few of their favorite creamers along with teas, coffee, hot chocolate so there is something for everyone.)

Then I saw cake mixes. Now I don’t know if I have mentioned how much my kids love to bake. I would say one or the other of them bakes at least 3 days a week. They typically take it to school to share in class or Princess used to sell brownies at school.

When I saw some cake mixes marked at $1.46 each, I thought I would grab a couple. Then a Walmart employee comes up behind me and says, “take those to the register, anything by that brand will ring up for $0.36 each.” My jaw dropped. And I immediately started looking for an expiration date or something that would tell me what was wrong with them. When I asked her, she said they were Halloween items that didn’t sell. Now you tell me, do these look like Halloween items?

After a few minutes of hesitation, I loaded my cart up and proudly walked off to show Gymnast my score. I bought about 20 cake mixes, sugar cookie mixes and then 3 bags of sprinkles. The mixes are all different colors – orange, green, purple, black and teal. So I guess that’s the Halloween part.

But I am super proud of this purchase. Didn’t blow my very limited grocery budget at all. And these will last through the winter. Beauty made an orange cake that night with orange peel shavings and cream cheese frosting. It was beautiful and delicious, wish I had taken a picture.

$0.36 score! I’ll take it!

I’m already looking forward to returning to the grocery clearance section after Thanksgiving. We will need to restock our freezer and pantry and I will start there. Lots of scratch and dent cans available and even some pasta sauces. (I didn’t purchase any of these items this trip because I really am trying to eat through what we have and keep costs down this month.)