Lawn Mowing Savings = 1 Year Of Work!

We went from sunny and 68-degrees on Tuesday this week to an 8 inch snowstorm in just 24 hours this week. That’s life in Minnesota. As I was shoveling snow off the front porch this morning, I found a lawn service flyer on the handle of my door.

I have always mowed my own lawn – sometimes with help from my wife & son. We live on a good-sized suburban lot that takes about 50 minutes to cut & trim. I enjoy doing the work and figure it’s good exercise. That said, I’ve always wondered how much it was really saving me in the long run?

It turns out … it is quite a lot!

Where we live, the mowing season runs about 28 weeks from late April into early November. During that time, I mow every 5-6 days on average. That works out to about 36 times out mowing the grass and an additional 4 times putting down fertilizer.

The company that left an estimate for our lawn quoted $40 per mow and $53 per fertilizer application. That works out to about $1,650 for the whole year. I’ll estimate the fertilizer & fuel for the mower cost about $150, so we’ll call it an even $1,500.

Annually paying $1,500 may not seem like a whole lot of money in a nice neighborhood, but it certainly adds up. Invested over 25 years (with a 7% return rate), that amounts equals a six-figure contribution to your retirement nest egg. It tallies up to an incredible $102,898 over that time!

For most households, that likely equals a full extra year of going into work. It saves you 140 hours of work over that period of time, but with the invested returns, you could be making the equivalent of $735 per hour for your effort.

Additionally, this math assumes you live in Minnesota – a state with one of the shortest lawn-growing season. While residential snow plow services have also become popular in our city, I haven’t calculated out that investment opportunity cost. I’ll have to do that when I find the snow plow estimate on my front door this coming November!

Do you mow your own lawn? Use a service?

Image Credit: Pixabay

15 thoughts on “Lawn Mowing Savings = 1 Year Of Work!

  1. Great article. I’m one of the few in my neighborhood that does their own yard. In addition to the benefits you mentioned, working on your yard provides great opportunities to spot issues before they become a problem (fence, drainage, outside house parameter, etc). I doubt yard crews are looking out these issues.

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    1. Agree – No one working for someone else pays as much attention as the owner themselves. And, we get to enjoy the fresh air!

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  2. My wife mows most of the time, and I do all of the detail edging work. I do have a company that does the fertilizing because I was never very good at remembering to do it. I do enjoy getting out and doing that kind of work.

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    1. Agree – the fertilizing is easy to let slip. I usually get 2 or 3 of the recommended 4 or 5 applications put down each summer, but the lawn doesn’t seem to notice!

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  3. I have about a 1/4 acre and have always mowed it myself. I use both a riding mower and a push mower. It takes me a few hours but I do it in sections and take breaks or do it over 2 days. Probably costs me about $2 in gas to cut it vs maybe $75+ for a lawn service. Plus I control when I cut it. I think these lawn services show up a little more often than necessary and cut it anyway even if it could easily wait a few more days. It all adds up over the season. I dont mind the exercise (or workout) and saving the money but it does get rough early in the season when I have to cut it every week or less. I’ve gotten good at fixing my mowers too. They arent that bad once you get into it. A lot of resources on the internet and YouTube.

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    1. Funny you mention engine maintenance. I have always changed oil & plugs in my mower and snow blower, but just this week my snow blower (21 years old!) was running very rough. I don’t know much about small engine repair, but I think this summer I’m going to do a deep dive on it. I’m guessing something inside is gunked up pretty seriously. Should be a good adventure / learning experience to tackle it.

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      1. Overall I think there some basic culprits with any issues with these types of engines. Dirty spark plug, old/dirty gas, dirty/ gummed up carburetor, dirty oil. Spark plugs can be easily cleaned and reused. Make sure you have fresh gas and get some type of fuel stabilizer like Seafoam or STP which helps clean the carburetor also. Check the gas tank to see if there is a lot of dirt or water in there. Might make sense to drain and clean that out. My guess is the carburetor is dirty. I imagine the engine is similar to a lawn mower and there are lots of videos on YouTube. Not that hard once you study a few videos. After 21 years it might be something else, but most likely its one of the issues I mentioned.

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      2. I change the plug and oil every couple years, but I’m guessing the carb is gummed up. I’ll also check the fuel tank & filters. It’s a Briggs & Stratton engine, so it should be pretty easy to work on. Thanks!

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  4. We do our own mowing but do have a snow plow service for our very long driveway. Our house is paid for, and one of the perks of being debt free is to pay to have someone else out in the snow at 5 am!

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    1. I’m not sure how much a plow service costs, but we’ve had two of the snowiest winters in my lifetime back to back now in MN. If the plow services charge for what the anticipate an average snow year will be upfront, they have all lost considerable margin in 2018 and 2019!

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  5. I’ve always mowed my own yard and done my own mower maintenance too. We have 18 acres, and about five acres of it is in grass, and another mile of walking trails that I cut through the wooded area. In Virginia, the mowing season can run from early March to late November. I have about two hours of mowing per week and another 30 minutes of weed eating, but I love doing everything yard related. It’s therapeutic for me. Besides paying someone to maintain my crazy yard would require my former corporate VP salary!

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    1. Wow – with 5 acres you must have a big lawn tractor of some sort? I would hope so! I would guess you could 3x all of the numbers in my analysis if it’s 2 hours a week and for a longer season.

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      1. Yes, I have a 33hp New Holland 4×4 diesel tractor with an 7′ wide pull behind finish mower, but most weeks I simply use my 60″ Gravely Commercial Zero Turn mower. It is so much quicker with the zero turning radius, so it let’s me get the job done in a couple of hours…the right tool for the right job! (No tractor commercials intended!)

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      2. My brother had s big lot and bought one of those zero turning radius mowers. He said it was the greatest invention since the microwave!

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