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5 Chores You Can Do Yourself To Save Money

By Mark Riddix

In these tight economic times, everyone is looking for ways to cut back. Cutting back may mean eliminating a few services that you are paying outside contractors for and instead do them for yourself. You could free up at least $100 or more every week by taking a more active role in the following duties. Eliminating large, fixed expenses that you pay on a monthly basis will usually result in a larger savings over the long term rather than focusing on the small little luxuries in life that we spend money on sporadically. Here are 5 tasks that you can do yourself:

1. File your own taxes.

Companies like H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt generate billions of dollars in revenue off of taxpayers. It’s bad enough that you have to pay Uncle Sam, why pay your tax preparer as well? Most individuals can do their own taxes. If you want to do it for no cost whatsoever, all you need is some paper and a calculator. My favorite option is to use software like Turbo Tax which makes doing taxes a breeze and gets easier in subsequent years since it remembers all your previous information. Skip the tax refund anticipation loan as well. Why pay a fee to get your own money back?

2. Clean your own house.

More people then ever are using part-time maids or housecleaning services to help them keep their homes tidy. You can eliminate this weekly fee by doing some house cleaning yourself. Tasks such as carpet cleaning, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning can be done by just about every homeowner. It may take extra time and work, but it can help you save money in a hurry.

3. Cut your own grass.

Lawn services are convenient but are much more costly than cutting your own grass. They charge for everything including lawn cutting, hedging bushes, mulching, and planting bushes. Doing your own lawn maintenance and landscaping will help you stockpile dough in your savings account. Unless you have a lawn the size of a football field, it makes sense to cut your own grass. If your house isn’t big enough that you need to consider a riding lawn mower, then you should definitely consider cutting your own grass.

4. Wash your own car.

Car wash owners make a fortune off of people’s unwillingness to wash their own cars. You could easily save yourself $40 to $50 per month by washing you own car at home. All you need is a hose, car wash soap, wax, and a few products. You can get a lot of free car washes out of a small investment in those products. Plus, you are getting some exercise as well.

5. Do your own maintenance.

You can do a lot of home improvement tasks yourself. You could paint the walls, change the locks, or even fix a leaky pipe. I am not suggesting that you go around the house messing with electrical wires or adding another wing to the house. For those complicated issues, call a professional. You can save yourself $75/hour by learning how to take care of simple tasks yourself. Pick up a home improvement book or ask an expert. You would be surprised at how much you can do around the house.

Are your kids old enough to take on some of these tasks? I’m not suggesting that you turn your kids into slaves, but if they’re old enough to start mowing the lawn, wash the car, or clean the house, you should start incorporating this stuff into their weekly chores. Some activities like washing the car or trimming bushes/pulling weeds might be an activity that you pay them to do, and this can be a great learning lesson that doing work translates into making money.

(Photo credit: woodleywonderworks)

Mark Riddix
Mark Riddix is the founder and president of an independent investment advisory firm that provides personalized investing and asset management consulting. Mark has written financial columns for Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area newspapers and is the author of the book, Your Financial Playbook.

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  • Kevin

    If you’re saving that much money on carwashes then either you wash frequently or you’re paying quite a bit. Of course, washing the car at home still saves money, don’t get me wrong.

  • http://savingmoneytoday.net Mike

    $50 a month seems a little excessive. I probably spend that much on car washes in a year.

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    impressive, i will try these points to reduce expenses and save some money

  • http://www.springfieldmissourihome.com Julie Pickens-Livermore

    What great ideas on chores to do that can save a rather large amount of money over time! All these chores are ones we do often and don’t realize what it is costing us when we delegate them out and pay for the service. I know that when I had a well known lawn care company come out to weed and feed my lawn, it started to add up really fast. I really did not see an improvement in my lawn either. I soon decided it was time to cut back and take care of my own yard. Now my yard looks great, I saved some money and enjoyed being outside! Great article!

  • Little Old Me

    Don’t forget that when you stop paying others to mow your lawn, wash your car, do your taxes, etc., you are reducing the income of those who do such things for a living. I am doing the opposite: I am paying an unemployed friend (who has great handyman skills) to fix up things in my house. I do watch him perform these tasks (to learn), and I probably could do some of them myself, but he can do them better and quicker, we get a nice visit while he works, and he can pay his bills. Some day he’ll have a full-time job again. I hope it’s soon, but not in the next 2 weeks because I’ve got more things for him to do! I realize that was not the point of this article, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  • Jeanie

    From a woman’s point of view, you are missing some important ones, but most women I know do not do these things themselves. They like to have this small pampering in their lives. I take more satisfaction in paying down my home and student loans.
    1. do your own manicures and pedicures. I buy better non-toxic polish and remover and it’s still much cheaper (4 manicures and 2 pedicures plus tip ($160 mo, conservative Boston cost) minus products ($5mo))=
    $155/mo. savings, $1860/yr.!
    2. color your own hair with temporary hair color ($8). It’s hard to really mess up and temporary is fine and it usually needs to be done once a month anyhow. Plus, I think my hair is healthier and I get more compliments on it now than before =
    $62 with tip/mo savings, $744/yr.
    3. get a good haircut only 2-3 times a year. When I got my hair colored in the salon they always convinced me to get a haircut (1x/mo at $65 with tip) at the same time and cut my hair shorter than I liked anyhow =
    $47.50/mo. savings, $585/yr
    *Total savings: $264.50/mo., $3,174/yr.

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  • Ryan_courtney

    i have spent £55 on songs on my phone and i dont know what do do to pay it off btw im 12

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