Will I become financially independent pulling weeds? No. But I did save some money this weekend by a little “do it yourself” labor. In turn, that money will be invested and continue to grow the accounts to get me to my goals of financial independence faster. Many of the bloggers that I follow pound away at the idea that you get to early retirement by not spending money more than from trying to make additional money to invest. I really try to do both. But for this weekend, I definitely went the saving money route.
Last Friday, I had the landscaper that we used last year come by to give me an estimate on trimming the shrubs, weeding the flower beds and laying down new mulch. He walked the beds for a couple of minutes and then came and told me it would cost $260. HOLY CRAP! That much for only 1-year-old beds (house was built last spring)!
In the past I would have agreed to it on the spot and asked him when he could have it done. However, my new attitude on saving and investing for early retirement, has me reviewing how I spend in new ways. I knew that my stomach would be churning if I paid that $260. So I decided to make this an opportunity for a post on the old richbyhalf.com site.
Friday after work I stopped by Home Depot and picked up a new rake, weed puller and 10 bags of mulch. When I got home I went to work and pulled all the weeds out. It took me about 45 minutes. Cost at Home Depot was $56.22 for the tools. However, I will probably be using these tools for many years so I’ll use 7 years of use. The $56.22 divided by these 7 years results in this session costing me $8.03. The bags of mulch cost me $53.80.
Saturday morning I got up early and went and spread my 10 bags of mulch only to find out I seriously underestimated how many square feet of flower beds I had. So Sunday morning I bought 12 more bags of mulch at $64.61 and finished the job.
Total time spent working was 2.5 hours. Total money spent was $126.44. Let’s throw in an extra buck for gas due to the additional trip to Home Depot and I ended up spending $127.44 vs. paying out $260. I saved a nice $132.56!
Is that extra one hundred thirty dollars big time money? No. But if I continue to put a little effort into things instead of taking the easy way out with a credit card swipe or writing a check, then it will certainly add up over time. Another way to look at is that I got paid $53 an hour to clean up my own yard (money saved divided by hours of labor). How great is that!
Another question I have is what would you do for $132?