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6 Common Chores You Actually Don’t Need To Pay Someone Else To Do

6 Common Chores You Actually Don’t Need To Pay Someone Else To Do

Too often it’s too easy to just let someone else do it…no matter what the “it” is. From lunch to changing the oil in our car to mowing the lawn, these tedious little chores seem to be worth the extra $20 or $30 spent to not have to do them.

But with the price of gas and food rising, it might be wise to start cutting back on expenditures. A great place to start is to start doing the little chores we pay others to do for us. You might find that you’re paying somewhere around $100 a week — or even more — to other people for chores you could be doing yourself. Think of the ways you could spend — or save $100. At the end of a year, that could be the cruise you’ve been dying to take!

In addition, there is something very satisfying about completing basic tasks, especially if our jobs aren’t very physical in nature. Doing chores like yard work and housecleaning get you working out a bit, without having to “work out.”

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Here are a few common chores you can do yourself:

1. Basic Auto Maintenance

From changing your own oil to changing the air filter, there are many small car chores you can do yourself. Have that neighbor you always see under his car teach you how to change your oil — or grab a Haynes manual from the local auto parts store and read how to do it yourself. You can also replace your own lights, air filter, windshield wipers, battery and brake pads. All of these things are fairly simple to do, you just need the manual specific to your car to see how it’s done. Don’t be afraid of doing these little things! You can save yourself a ton of money by performing these basic maintenance chores by not paying someone else to do them — and in the preventative maintenance that will keep your car running well.

2. Prepare Your Own Taxes

This is really simple, especially with the advent of online tax preparation software. It’s amazing, in fact, that anyone (aside from a large corporation) still pays other people to do their taxes. Programs like TurboTax, ask you simple to answer questions and you just plug in the right numbers from your W-2 or 1099. The cost is low or free depending on your income and you can even file different schedules for businesses, farms or other tax issues. Your state taxes can also be done at the same time. And with direct deposit, you receive your refund quickly — without having to pay a fee to a tax preparer.

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3. Yard Work

Doing your own yard work is one of the best ways to get in a great work out and still get your yard work done. Grab a push mower and weed whacker and have at it. Take your time. You don’t have to do it all in one day. Make a plan for tackling different jobs from mowing to weeding the flower beds. And if you’re going to be away for a couple of weeks, schedule someone to come and do the job. With some companies charging as much as $50 a lawn, it’s money in your pocket to mow it yourself.

4. Housecleaning

How much do you really need a housecleaner? I mean really. If you’re suffering from a large mess due to an illness or some other issue, it might be nice to hire someone to help you get started, but once you have things under control, it’s easy to keep up. When you’re in the bathroom in the morning, brushing your teeth, take a second to wipe down the sink. The shower can be easily scrubbed once every couple of days while you’re in it. Do all the floors at once, while you have the broom and mop bucket out. Make sure you always wipe down the sink after you do the dishes and the stove after each meal. But no one cleaned behind the piano? Well, if you can’t see it and your mother-in-law can’t see it — who cares? Get behind the piano during spring cleaning and forget about the baseboards most of the time. Most people don’t even notice — and you’re real friends know that you live in your house, you don’t just clean it.

Check out the Fly Lady, who has great tips for keeping a clean house without going crazy.

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5. Wash your own car

And don’t do it very often. Really, how dirty does your car really get? I mean really? Won’t it rain soon? If not, and you just can’t take the build up of dust on your car, then get out the hose and the sponges and let the kids go to town doing it. But really, car washing is one of those things that’s best done once in a while – save yourself the time, the water and the cash.

6. Dry cleaning

Does anyone go to the dry cleaners anymore? Well, they shouldn’t. Between handwashing and those funky packages they sell to do your own dry cleaning in your dryer, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for someone else to do your laundry. Even better — don’t buy clothes that need to be dry cleaned.

 

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What other chores are simple to do yourself and can save you money? Let us know! Comment below.

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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