Saturday, April 16, 2011

Save Money around the Home

This month I have been posting articles that have hopefully given you some ideas about ways to save money. The first article gave some general tips on saving money. Last week’s article was dedicated to cutting food bills (fast food and groceries). This article is about how you can save money around the home by doing your own yard maintenance and by trying your own dog grooming.

Save money around the house tip: DIY

That’s right, save money by doing things yourself. Do you have services that you normally pay someone to do that you may be able to do yourself? I don’t mean retiling a floor, but what about yard maintenance? If you normally spend money to have someone take care of your yard, you can be paying yourself to do it instead.

If you spend $30-$70 to hire someone to mow your yard or do other yard cleanup just once a month (you will likely want or need more than that during the spring and summer months), then you will have paid from $360- $840 dollars conservatively. Over the course of five years, that adds up to thousands of dollars. If you do these jobs yourself, you can end up saving substantial money.

It will require that you might have to do a little manual labor like raking leaves, using a weed eater, or even pushing a lawn mower. But if you are serious about saving money than these little tasks are not that much of a sacrifice to make. Ask yourself what you value more, having free time or money? If you'd rather have two hours of free time then go ahead and pay for your yard work to be done by someone else. If you'd rather save that money, spend some time doing your own yard.

Here is another idea to save money. Try saving on pet grooming, though it’s not for everyone. I have four Pomeranians, whom I groom myself. We used to take them to the groomer two or three times a year for grooming but even then, they could’ve used a cut once every three months. The costs of taking them to the groomer were about $120 each time for all four SMALL dogs. If they were bigger dogs, we would have had to pay more!

What I have started doing is grooming them myself. I bought some dog clippers four around forty bucks, and I cut their hair the way I’d normally ask the groomer to cut it. Now, I am not a professional but it looks okay. My dogs aren’t show dogs; they are just regular family pets. I’m sure they are probably less stressed when I cut them than they are when a groomer does it just because they are used to me.

I groom them on the front porch and it does take probably three hours to do all of them. The way I figure it though, I’d rather pay myself $40 an hour to do it than pay someone else. That has saved us $240-$360 per year.

If you're too anxious to just go for the big cut yourself, try taking your do to the vet once, and just doing touch-ups. You can at the very least save yourself from having to go as often to the vet if you are not ready to groom your own dog. If you can save half of the money you'd normally spend, it is worth the effort to just do trims and touch ups for your pet.

I wouldn’t advise cutting your own dog if you or your dog are the anxious type. Clippers have guards on them but if your dog jerks around a lot, he or she can get clipped. I haven’t had any bad clips on my dogs. I would say that it happens about as often as it would when I took them to the groomer. The groomers we’ve been to have always been great. We’ve been to several different groomers so I know that clips do happen no matter how careful you are.

I hope these tips will help you be able to save some money. The more money that you can save, the more money that you can put towards becoming debt free. Don’t be afraid to think creatively for other ways to save money on things that you could be doing yourself and feel free to leave a comment for other readers to benefit from.

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