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The following is a guest post from Amy, a dear friend and behind the scenes helper on Southern Savers.
Mowing the lawn. It’s a fairly simple task, but this year, it has the potential to be quite a costly one. When my husband and I got married 8 years ago, we bought our first power mower. As the years have passed, I have watched one part after another break. Money is tight around here, and now our self-propelled mower has become a husband propelled mower. Well, actually, he can’t even get it to start this year. So, we have to decide what to do. Do we take it to the shop and pay over $100 to get it repaired? Should he continue to spend hours scouring the internet to educate himself in lawn mower repair? Or with gas prices skyrocketing, should we try something different?
You see, last fall, I read an interesting book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology. One of the things that this book made me think about was the energy, effort and money I pour into machines that are meant to make my life simpler. In other words, I become a slave to the things that are supposed to be making my life easier. Now, I am not about to give up my washing machine. Oh no. But with gas prices skyrocketing and our family’s lawnmower dying fast, we are willing to consider something new. A reel mower.
We live in a typical ranch style house on a half acre lot. I wouldn’t dream of getting a reel mower if we had a ginormous yard that would take hours upon hours to mow. The amount of time it should take to mow our yard would be about the same with either mower, but what about the cost?
The cost of gas is around $4 a gallon right now.
Mow once a week from April-September (we do live in the South!)= 26 weeks of mowing
It takes about a gallon of gas to mow our lawn.
So $4 x 26 weeks = $104 for the gas
I called around town, and it appears that tune ups for power and reel mowers are about the same, but after a quick internet search, it appears that we could actually tune up a reel mower ourselves. If you aren’t handy, this wouldn’t be a money saving aspect, but if you are, you could save around $70/year.
Sharpening the blades:
This cost was included in a power mower tune up, but separate for a reel mower. To have someone else sharpen the blades would cost about $85, but a kit to do it yourself is around $20 (and a one time expense).
It appears that you can spent around $70-$200 for the reel mower itself. As you can imagine, a power mower costs significantly more.
We are going to try it. My husband is definitely handy and able to do the maintenance on his own, further reducing our costs. I would love to be able to let the girls play outside while I mow and could actually hear what they were getting into. In the end, if we try it for this year and hate it, we haven’t lost anything as the cost of the mower would cover what we would have spent on gas. And who knows, the next time you drive by our house, you might notice pretty patterns like they have at the baseball fields in our front yard.
Have any of you made the switch from power to reel already? Any tips for this newbie?