In our subscription culture, many of us have subscribed to the fundamentally American way of life that includes having a service or monthly bill that pays for an everyday task that many people used to consider a normal part of life. DIY culture has changed for this some, but most people tend towards paying for services such as lawn service, car washing subscriptions, dog washing/clipping services, childcare services, house cleaning services, and much more. Given the economic climate with a recession looming and inflation at an all-time high, you might be looking for tasks you can do yourself to save money.
Here are 9 tasks you can do yourself to save money today:
Task #1: Wash Your Own Car to Start Saving Money
I have to admit it, I really loved my car wash subscription. I started using a car wash business in town that has locations throughout my city and in neighboring towns too. It was a lovely $30 a month subscription that I very much enjoyed, especially since I had a new car. I liked keeping it clean and going through the wash about every three or four days. Free vacuums and spray air also made it easy and sweat-free to keep my car looking new. But after a few months, as inflation in America continued to catapult to new heights, I felt the pinch and decided to go back to washing my own car.
That got me thinking, washing my car is a bit of a workout, but perhaps I could kill two birds with one stone by washing my car myself as a part of my weekly workout routine (see task #6 below). I decided to purchase a good hanging wet/dry shop vacuum for my garage with a 21-foot hose, and now it’s easy to both wash my car and vacuum it out at home. I also like the idea of an attachment a with solution to foam wash my vehicles quickly. This Armor All hose attachment and foam spray is a great option. For a $200 investment, you can wash all of your vehicles quickly and easily right at home saving time and money. You may even burn a few calories.
Task #2: Wash and Clip Your Dog Yourself and Save Money
I know what you’re thinking. You have a Goldendoodle or other “doodle” designer dog. You paid thousands for this custom, fancy breed so that they don’t shed fur in your house. (Secretly, I’m envious because I have an Australian Shepherd whose full-time job is to shed inside.) When your pup needs its first trim and you set out to the doggy beauty salon, you nearly have a heart attack when you find out that the clippings are going to set you back $50-80 every six weeks. You love your pooch, but you’re a tiny bit pissed.
The breeder forgot to tell you how much clippings cost. But rest assured, you can clip your own dog. It is possible! Most trimmer manufacturers make a pet version that will do a very nice job on Fido. These Wahl pet clippers will do a great job and you can head over to YouTube for many tutorials on how to clip your dog yourself. Take it a step further and purchase this grooming pet clamp arm so that you can restrain your dog while grooming them.
Task #3: Mow Your Own Lawn to Save Money at Home
I know you love your professional yard service that comes monthly. Especially in states that are hot in the summer, having someone come out and do the dirty work of yard care can be pretty awesome. However, doing your yard work yourself can be a great workout. It can also be a nice time to pop in your earbuds and listen to a podcast or your favorite music while saving yourself some money.
My husband has always done our yard work, that is until our sons were big enough to start helping. We also started having yard work days about once a quarter to involve our girls as well in order to weed, replant, and clean up the front and rear yards. It is important for our family to work together and show that maintaining a nice home takes time, energy, and effort. The kids gripe about it, but it is teaching them hard work and to do things they don’t like to do in order to have something they do like: a nice home. My younger son even likes edging since we purchased a cordless edger.
Task #4: Clean Your Own House to Trim Your Family Budget
There have been times over the years that I have employed a house cleaner. I just couldn’t do all the work myself on top of a full-time business and four kids. But as the kids got older, I let the cleaner go and increased the Saturday chores. Now, we all work together as a team to clean the house each week.
I did learn from the house cleaners that using cotton rags to clean saves time and money and does the best job. So I ordered these cotton cleaning rags (which I’m still using years later). I also purchase a gallon of Simple Clean concentrate and refill bottles under every bathroom sink, kitchen, and laundry room. Many cleaning services start at $100 per three-hour clean. If you have a cleaning each week, that would equal $400 per month. By cleaning yourself and with your family, you can save this money and put it towards your kids’ college funds.
Task #5: Bake Your Own Bread, Tortillas, and Muffins to Combat Inflation
You may not like to bake. I happen to love to bake, so this way of saving is naturally in my wheelhouse. It doesn’t mean that I ALWAYS bake bread (I actually purchase a loaf of wheat bread and sourdough bread for my kids’ sandwiches because it holds up better than homemade). But, I do bake just about everything else from scratch. Recently, we ran out of tortillas on taco night and I decided to try and make flour tortillas using my Kitchen Aid mixer and a Pinterest recipe. I had my daughter act at the fry cook and flip the tortillas as they cooked. They were so delicious, we plan to make them again. I also bake blueberry muffins, scones, biscuits, and even gluten-free muffins and quick breads.
Making pancakes and waffles are SUPER easy and save so much time. You can even make a big batch of waffles and freeze them in freezer bags for quick toaster breakfasts. I highly recommend this as a primary area to trim grocery costs because your family will enjoy the output so much. Plus, as you bake more, you’ll get faster. I promise it’s super rewarding to whip together some parmesan biscuits with your pasta night. Just wait for your family to declare you a dinnertime hero (thanks, Ree Drummond).
Task #6: Cancel Your Gym Membership and Workout at Home or With a Friend to Reduce Expenses
I belong to a small boutique gym that offers Les Mills classes. I love Barre and BodyBalance and working out with other people is great since I work from home. Social interaction is vital for me. However, during Covid, I did appreciate being able to do workouts from home, any time of day or night. Les Mills offers a subscription to their classes online.
There are also many free YouTube channels that have awesome workouts. You can also meet with friends daily or weekly to walk or work out. You can also wash your car and clean your house – saving yourself money and getting a workout at the same time. If you have a gym membership and you don’t use it, cancel it now, and get to cleaning! Or, if you really do aspire to use your gym membership, start with once or twice a week and make your health a priority in your life.
Task #7: Steam Clean Your Own Carpets to Trim Your Family Budget
Don’t get me wrong, if you need your whole house full of carpet steam cleaned, you may want to pay for this unless you have eight hours or more to DIY. I’ve done both but usually had my husband trade-off with me so that neither of us was completely wiped out from steam cleaning an entire house full of carpet. Bissel offers professional carpet steam cleaners for rent at nationwide locations. Costs for the machine are $29.99 for 24 hours and $39.99 for 48 hours. You’ll also need to purchase their cleaning solutions and anti-foaming products.
Whereas professional carpet cleaning can cost well over $200, you can clean your own carpets for less than $100 plus a day’s labor if you have that kind of time. You can also purchase a carpet steam cleaner to keep on hand for smaller jobs or tackle your whole house with it more regularly. When my kids were little, the Bissel Little Green portable cleaner was invaluable for those stomach bugs that hit every fall.
Task #8: Trade Childcare with Another Family to Reduce Childcare Expenses
If you have babies and/or toddlers, finding another family who needs a day or two of childcare can work out really well if you have the days to trade. This doesn’t work if you need full-time childcare, but it can work well if you work (or want to run errands) one to two mornings or afternoons per week. It also makes sense to partner with a family that has similarly-aged kids who get along with your kids. You can also trade childcare for some other service if it makes sense.
With most babysitters making between $10-20 per hour, depending on the number of kids, it could make a lot of sense to trade off with another mom 8-10 hours of childcare a week. If you have more than two kids, this option might not work (unless you want to feel like you’re running a daycare). But, if you have one or two kids, taking one or two more kids for a portion of your week (especially if you can coordinate their naptimes) could be a lifesaver.
Task #9: Paint Your Own House to Reduce Home Renovation Costs
Painting is still a relatively low-cost home renovation task. Once you’ve purchased the rollers, roller extenders, and paint at Lowe’s, ACE Hardware, or Home Depot, you can paint a room a day, or take a week off to do your whole interior. Paying a professional can be a great idea if you have the money, but if you want to freshen your interior or exterior, painting your house yourself makes a lot of sense. I like to save time by using an angled cutting brush to cut in between the ceiling and the wall instead of using painter’s tape. Make sure you have a ladder or step stool plus drop cloths to protect your furniture and flooring. Make it a fun family activity and involve your kids if they are old enough to help out.