In our effort to save some moula, we have been looking at things we can do ourselves. Doing it ourselves, instead of paying someone else to do it. Because we want to join the Y down the street. But that money has to come from somewhere, so......we fired our gardener.
If you don't live in suburban Southern California, the fact that everyone has a gardener may seem strange to you. But everyone does. We have lived in 3 neighborhoods in the past 10 years and I can't remember anyone mowing their own grass. Some people did plant flowers, and such, but the weekly mowing and leaf blowing is always done by a guy or team of guys who pull up in a truck and in 20 minutes or less have mowed the grass, blown the leaves, dust and grass clippings into the street and deposited the rest in your trash can. Buzz, whoosh, slam, and they're done.
When we rented, we never paid for the gardener. But as homeowners, this was one more bill to pay. Ours charged $60. It seemed a lot for cutting our little patch of grass and blowing around the leaves. When he hacked almost all of my blackberry bush down, fully ripe fruit and all, simply because it was laying on the driveway, it was the nail in the coffin.
Meet our new gardener.
He doesn't have a leaf blower, but every weekend this fall, he used his trusty rake to rake up all the leaves in our front yard. He also works with 2 young helpers. They don't have a tremendous amount of stamina yet, but they are getting better. Eventually, they'll take over his job.
When we bought the house, Aaron asked the owners if he could keep this push mower that was in the garage. I am sure they thought he was a little odd (he also asked for a vintage vacuum that looks like a rocket) but they agreed. And now, Aaron can be seen mowing our lawn with this very vintage push mower.
He likes to keep things old school.
Yes, it is a bit of extra work and time, but Aaron enjoys it. And we are saving $60 which pays for us to join the Y. That's nothing to sneeze at.
Besides, we're also training Aaron's replacements which you really can't put a price on.
I'd love to know ways you "do your own."
My dear friend Erin has been living in the Philippines for the past 2 years and she has been doing a lot on her own. She even washes her own clothes. And I do mean by hand!
Yours probably won't be that extreme. Still, I'd like to know.
Do you do your own nails? I do.
Cut your kids' hair? I don't.
Do you make your own granola? I do. Sometimes.
Make your own clothes. I don't.
So please, do tell. It will be fun.
* To read the first installment in the Money Matters series, click here.