5 Convenient Services You Shouldn’t Let Break Your Budget
There are many services that you can choose to pay for if you are in a hurry, need convenience, or if you just feel like having someone else do something you don’t want to do. Occasionally we choose convenient services because we really feel that the person we hire or pay will do a better job than we could, but the truth is, with practice, most services offered can be learned.
While it’s great to save time, it’s even better to save money. If you are on a tight budget or if you are just trying to spend less and save more, learning how to do certain tasks that you pay others for — or simply deciding to do them yourself instead of paying someone, if you already know how — can be a great cost-saver. Here are five services you can do yourself and cut out of your budget without really suffering.
1. Lawn care
It is so nice to have a pretty, well-maintained lawn. Depending on whether you have many flowers or you simply require your lawn to be mowed, you might have to spend a few hours per week in order to maintain your yard. However, you really don’t need to hire a lawn service. You can easily mow your lawn yourself, and unless you have a medical reason not to do so, you can also get some exercise by doing it.
If you have a big garden and you don’t want to deal with it yourself, you might need to scale it back. According to CostOwl.com, reasonable lawn care will cost $25 to $35 per week. Even if you only utilize lawn care a few months out of the year, your money could certainly be better used elsewhere.
2. Dry cleaners
Dry cleaning isn’t a complete waste of money — there are some expensive sweaters, suits, blankets, and so on that need to be dry cleaned in order to keep their shape and quality. However, if you are bringing large bags of clothing just so that you can save time on washing or you are dry cleaning clothes that don’t really need the service, you are wasting money.
If a garment says “dry clean” but not “only,” you may be able to get away with washing it a different way. Sometimes using a gentle cold cycle and keeping it out of the dryer will work, but of course, you should be cautious. You can also save money by avoiding purchasing items that need to be dry cleaned whenever possible.
3. Home cleaning
Paying someone to clean your home can cost you anywhere from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars or more, depending on how much cleaning the person does and how often you have the service done. Although this is truly a convenient service, it really isn’t necessary. Unless you are experiencing a really extreme circumstance or you are preparing for a huge party, paying for house cleaning is a waste of money.
Even if you are busy, try maintaining your house regularly (clean up dishes each night and wash the countertops); even small steps like this can save you from spending hours cleaning later. Then save bigger chores for a specific time each week that you have open. Just think about the hundreds of dollars that you will save by cleaning your home yourself.
4. Manicures and pedicures
It’s definitely nice to have someone clean and paint your nails, and massage your feet and legs. However, manicures and pedicures are not cheap. Even though they may make you feel beautiful (or handsome), you can absolutely do these at home yourself. If you really enjoy soaking your feet, you can even invest in a pedicure spa kit — you will still save a lot of money over regularly going to a nail salon.
5. Taxis and valet parking
Sometimes your only option is valet parking, but when you have a choice, parking and walking is almost always the right one. Not only will you possibly have to pay a fee for valet parking, but often you will also have to factor in a tip. It can be worth your time to find a different option instead. However, valet parking is a bigger waste of money when you have to pay for a group of valets for an event.
According to CostHelper, if you have to hire a group of valets for an event — such as a wedding or business conference — you might have to pay anywhere from $25 to $35 per hour, but the price will vary depending on the event and the necessary number of valets. Taxis can be another waste of money. Sometimes you have to take them, but in general, you will save a lot of money by driving your own car or taking the subway or bus, or at least carpooling to an event.
All of these services are convenient, and there may be a time that you need to use them. However, if you regularly use them now, try to reevaluate your budget and determine if the cost of convenience is really worth it.