You can save money this summer doing some things around the home on your own. Here are some ideas on ways you can cut costs:
Mow cool season grasses like fescue and bluegrass at the highest mower setting, usually 4 inches. Warm-season grasses should be mowed around 2 to 3 inches, says Emily Nolting of the Kansas State University Research and Extension.
She said only one-fourth of the height of the grass should be removed at each mowing.
Mow in a different pattern each time, to prevent rutting and the grass growing in one direction. Trim with a weed-eater or edger for a clean, precise appearance.
Do not collect clippings, she added. Clippings amount to a pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, which is one fertilizer application, she said. A mulching mower cuts clippings several times allowing small pieces to filter into the lawn as opposed to a standard mower which deposits them on top of the lawn.
There are many home improvement projects you can do on your own, says David Lupberger, home-improvement expert for ServiceMagic.com, which connects consumers with screened contractors. His short list: painting, replacing broken window screens, cleaning the gutters and downspouts to make sure water is running away from the foundation.
If it's a two-story home or if you are an older homeowner, consider hiring someone to do a couple of these, he said.
Web sites like Lowe's (www.lowes.com), The Home Depot (www.homedepot.com) or www.DoItYourself.com have how-to tutorials, with topics such as fixing a sticky door, installing a garbage disposal or replacing an existing dishwasher.
Before beginning a home-improvement project, ask yourself, "Do I feel comfortable doing this? Do I feel safe? Do I have the knowledge and expertise to do it correctly?" said Lupberger.
"There is stuff you can do on your own, but there's a learning curve involved, which may mean not one trip to the hardware store, but several," he said. "And many DIYers find themselves hiring a pro to help them complete the project anyway, so that means they've spent more time and more money than if they'd hired a qualified professional to begin with."