This 1 Home Maintenance Item Costs Me $1,000 a Year to Outsource -- and It's Worth It
by Maurie Backman | Published on Aug. 16, 2021
Some home maintenance tasks are worth paying for.
Before I bought my first home jointly with my husband, I knew that taking on that responsibility meant doing more than just covering our monthly mortgage payment. After all, homes need to be maintained, and ours is no exception.
There are certain maintenance items we opt to do ourselves. For example, we have a wooden deck, which needs to be power-washed every year, and sanded and repainted every other year. We also have to regularly change our air conditioner filters and clean out our drains to prevent clogs.
But there's one ongoing maintenance item we don't do ourselves -- lawn care. Here's why.
When your time is worth money
It costs about $1,000 a year to have our grass cut on a weekly basis. Clearly, that's a lot of money for a fairly easy task. After all, mowing one's lawn doesn't take a lot of skill -- you just need to spend the time pushing that lawnmower around. And for the record, we have a lawn mower that's already paid for, from when we used to do the work ourselves.
But while grass-cutting may be an easy task, it can be quite time consuming. Though our property isn't huge, it's not small -- and parts of our backyard are sloped, which makes mowing more difficult. All told, it generally takes about 60 to 90 minutes to fully mow our grass, and it's something that needs to be done every week from spring through late fall. And that's time we'd rather spend doing other things.
My husband and I both work very hard. He easily puts in 11-hour days regularly, and when I'm extra-busy, I do the same. As such, it's pretty easy for us to justify the expense of lawn care. We figure that since we put in a lot of time at work during the week, we deserve to kick back and relax on weekends -- not take a chunk out of our Saturday to cut grass.
What's more, because I'm a freelance writer who gets paid per assignment, I also have the option to take on more work and earn a little extra money. And that's something I routinely do. In fact, I can earn enough in 90 minutes to easily cover my lawn care fees for the week and have some money left over. In the end, I prefer writing for an extra hour and a half than dragging a lawn mower across my property on those hot summer mornings when I'd rather be at the beach or soaking in a pool.
It's all about priorities
My husband and I don't outsource all of our home maintenance -- but we do choose to pay for things that either take up a lot of time regularly or put us at risk of injury (like cleaning our gutters, which involves getting up on a very tall ladder). While mowing our grass is easy, we work hard and manage our money in a manner that allows us to pay for that convenience.
If you're planning to buy a home, it's important that you be honest with yourself about how much maintenance you're willing to do. And if you're not looking to do a lot, that's okay -- but make sure you have enough money in your budget to outsource the tasks you're not keen on doing yourself. That way, you won't risk wrecking your finances, landing in debt, or having your home fall into disarray.
About the Author
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.