My Personal Finance Journey

Personal finance observation, musing and decisions in a journey toward financial independence by 2020 with at least $3 million.

By Topics

0. About (10)
1. My Progress (139)
2. Car & Home (107)
3. Credit (138)
4. Banking (33)
5. Saving (49)
6. Investing (308)
7. Taxes (89)
8. Spending (74)
9. Misc (97)
A. Archive (49)


Feb 2014 (3)
Jan 2014 (6)
Jan 2012 (1)
Apr 2011 (1)
Mar 2011 (1)
Feb 2011 (1)
Jan 2011 (1)
Dec 2010 (1)
Oct 2010 (1)
Sep 2010 (1)
Aug 2010 (1)
Jul 2010 (1)
Jun 2010 (1)
May 2010 (1)
Apr 2010 (1)
Mar 2010 (6)
Feb 2010 (2)
Jan 2010 (7)
Dec 2009 (3)
Feb 2009 (4)
Jan 2009 (8)
Dec 2008 (1)
Jun 2008 (2)
May 2008 (2)
Apr 2008 (5)
Feb 2008 (3)
Jan 2008 (15)
Dec 2007 (32)
Nov 2007 (6)
Oct 2007 (8)
Sep 2007 (9)
Aug 2007 (24)
Jul 2007 (2)
Jun 2007 (1)
May 2007 (3)
Apr 2007 (4)
Mar 2007 (4)
Feb 2007 (13)
Jan 2007 (6)
Dec 2006 (3)
Nov 2006 (7)
Oct 2006 (7)
Sep 2006 (6)
Aug 2006 (4)
Jul 2006 (10)
Jun 2006 (1)
May 2006 (3)
Apr 2006 (2)
Mar 2006 (6)
Feb 2006 (6)
Jan 2006 (3)
Dec 2005 (1)
Nov 2005 (9)
Oct 2005 (8)
Sep 2005 (13)
Aug 2005 (25)
Jul 2005 (16)
Jun 2005 (17)
May 2005 (19)
Apr 2005 (20)
Mar 2005 (24)
Feb 2005 (23)
Jan 2005 (36)
Dec 2004 (40)
Nov 2004 (34)
Oct 2004 (17)
Sep 2004 (21)
Aug 2004 (59)
Jul 2004 (37)
Jun 2004 (31)
May 2004 (29)
Apr 2004 (52)
Mar 2004 (49)
Feb 2004 (49)
Jan 2004 (31)
Dec 2003 (48)
Nov 2003 (52)
Oct 2003 (29)
Sep 2003 (8)
Aug 2003 (5)
Jul 2003 (2)
Jun 2003 (2)
May 2003 (5)
Apr 2003 (2)
Mar 2003 (2)
Feb 2003 (3)
Jan 2003 (29)


New Year Resolution: I'll Mow My Own Lawn

Contributed by mm | March 16, 2014 7:41 AM PST

It has been a year since we bought our new home on an acre-shy lot. I am not a particular fan of gardening over my life so far, and hence for most of last year, I had conveniently outsourced the yard work to my gardener for $330 a month, including tax. He is a good young man who bought an established lawn care business and does adequate work. I even introduced him to our neighbor across the street, from whom he won the lawn maintenance business too. By November we mutually agreed to pause the service until grass will grow again in March. I also sent him a Christmas gift card for appreciation.

March has come with a heartburning message from my gardener. Two weeks ago, I received a new proposed contract requesting a price hike of almost 50%, to $490 a month for year-long service.

I know I had a good deal in only paying $330 a month for my big yard -- I did some comparison shopping earlier in 2013 and I was quoted anywhere between $450 to $600 for comparable services. This young gentleman was just resetting his service to the market price so it is nothing wrong with him.

But still, a 50% price hike is a lot to stomach.

After all, $490 a month for 12 months, plus year-end gratuity, is over $6,000 a year. And that's only on an after-tax basis -- at my current marginal tax rate, that's easily over $8,500 pre-tax money.

So here comes this late new year resolution: I plan to take care of our lawn myself, with some enlisted help from my boy at 12.

My whim was inspired by the book Early Retirement Extreme, which I recently finished. The book argued that to maximize one's happiness (which can consist of health, family connection, curiosity as well as career ambitions, among many other things), it's a doomed approach to keep working harder on the corporate ladder and make a few more bucks, only to outsource more daily chores to others or more sophisticated gadgets, and in the process losing the balance of personal happiness.

It's very true in this case. It would take a lot of effort to make $8,500 extra in my mid-career job. And by paying a gardener to do the work, I hardly set foot on my lawn for more than a couple dozen times last year. It is a missed opportunity -- by doing the yard work myself, I will learn something, have more physical exercise, enjoy my lawn more, and have a better sense of achievement.

Financial wise, I expect my annual spending on the lawn care can be reduced to about $1,000, and this will be a huge source of savings for us this year.

So I have taken a few baby steps toward this late-coming new year resolution: I have read most of the book Lawn Care for Dummies, completed the first round of fertilizing and seeding for half of my yard. A riding lawn mower is also on its way from Home Depot.

Life in good.

This Post Has Received 14 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.

John Galt Commented on August 16, 2014

This also makes me think of a section from the book "How Will You Measure Your Life?" by Clay Christenson, a professor at the Harvard Business School.

on page 155 he talks about consciously building a culture. Specifically, in his own family. Understand the culture you want, and proactively pursue it.

One of the values he & his wife wanted to instill in their family & children was they wanted their kids to love work.

He describes not being able to order their kids to love work. Instead, they always tried to find ways for the kids to work together with them, and to make it fun. "I'd never work in the yard unless I had 1 - and often 2 - kids hanging onto the handle of the mower (push mower). For the longest time, they weren't helping at all, actually made it more work. But that didn't matter. What mattered was it allowed us to define work for them as something that was a good thing. We did it together. It was fun, by definition. And I made sure they knew they were helping Dad, helping the family. Before long, this value became embedded in our family's culture. Not by magic or good luck. Achieved by thoughtfully designing activities and doing simple things like mowing the lawn together." Three keys: 1) tried to be consistent about it; 2) made sure the kids knew why we were doing it; 3) and we always thanked them for it.

He also describes the fortunate benefits of having bought a fixer-upper house & not having the money to outsourse the work - countless projects to work together on as a family, instill the desired values, and give everyone... especially the kids - a sense of accomplishment and pride in their family home.

asEnqv9uem Commented on December 13, 2016

[url=]online cialis[/url] [url=]toradol[/url] [url=]tretinoin cream .025[/url] [url=]cialis cost per pill[/url] [url=]cymbalta 60 mg capsule[/url] [url=]buy doxycycline monohydrate[/url]

asEnuvphbr Commented on December 21, 2016

[url=]original cialis[/url] [url=]anastrozole[/url] [url=]yasmin[/url] [url=]clomid[/url] [url=]buy clindamycin[/url]

Peterjeola Commented on January 1, 2017

[url=]citalopram 20mg tab[/url] [url=]500mg cipro[/url] [url=]buy cialis online canada pharmacy[/url] [url=]hctz hydrochlorothiazide[/url] [url=]buy viagra[/url] [url=]clonidine[/url]

AlfredCaf Commented on January 23, 2017

wh0cd562373 [url=]celebrex[/url] [url=]cialis soft 20mg[/url] [url=]buy seroquel online with mastercard[/url] [url=]pletal[/url] [url=]advair[/url] [url=]elimite[/url]

MichaelNub Commented on January 28, 2017

wh0cd823468 [url=]doxycycline 100 mg[/url] [url=]Azithromycin 250 Mg[/url] [url=]baclofen[/url] [url=]erythromycin[/url] [url=]anafranil price[/url] [url=]Cialis No Prescription[/url] [url=]lipitor no rx[/url] [url=]AVANA[/url]

CharlesLiede Commented on January 29, 2017

wh0cd122636 [url=]zyloprim 100 mg[/url] [url=]cialis cheap online[/url] [url=]our site[/url] [url=]ciprofloxacin 500mg[/url]

CharlesLiede Commented on February 1, 2017

wh0cd122636 [url=]buy ampicillin without prescription[/url] [url=]where to buy viagra[/url] [url=]buy inderal[/url] [url=]buy moduretic[/url] [url=]buy augmentin[/url]

MichaelNub Commented on February 6, 2017

wh0cd91244 [url=]generic viagra[/url] [url=]GLUCOTROL[/url] [url=]Buy Erythromycin[/url] [url=]celexa online[/url] [url=]adalat prices[/url] [url=]antabuse[/url] [url=]Rocaltrol[/url] [url=]PLAQUENIL NO PRESCRIPTION[/url]

AlfredCaf Commented on February 8, 2017

wh0cd200332 [url=]buy triamterene[/url] [url=]arimidex[/url] [url=]alesse[/url] [url=]buy vpxl[/url] [url=]viagra soft 50mg[/url]

CharlesLiede Commented on February 9, 2017

wh0cd807772 [url=]elimite[/url] [url=]ventolin[/url]

EugeneOrert Commented on February 11, 2017

wh0cd863964 [url=]cephalexin without a prescription[/url] [url=]acyclovir[/url]

MichaelNub Commented on February 13, 2017

wh0cd91244 [url=]buy proscar[/url] [url=]more help[/url] [url=]Phenergan[/url] [url=]sildalis by mail order[/url]

EugeneOrert Commented on February 14, 2017

wh0cd932556 [url=]nolvadex no prescription needed[/url] [url=]cheap yasmin[/url] [url=]vardenafil[/url] [url=]Yasmin USA[/url] [url=]Buy Prednisolone[/url]

Add Your Comments

Remember personal information?

(It will take a few moments for your comment to be published. Please do not close the window until then.)

Read More ... 110 Posts In The Same Category

This page was last rebuilt at February 14, 2017 04:57 AM PST. (517 Words)



Consumerism Commentary
Get Rich Slowly
My Money Blog
All Financial Matters
The Simple Dollar


Copyright 2003-2014, All Rights Reserved. (Privacy Policy)