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)