3 Do It Yourself Tasks to Save $170 Per Year

Posted by Amanda on December 2, 2009

Do-it-Yourself (DIY) has become a new and exciting movement in the United States. Of course, for us frugal people, it’s been a core in our lives since we first made the realization that paying someone else usually comes with a premium.

Below are three things that you can do for yourself at home in order to save at least $170 in the upcoming year (and probably much more, depending on your lifestyle and needs).

Restaurant Secret Recipes Created in Your Own Kitchen

On Friday nights, do you get a craving for Hooters® Buffalo Chicken Wings, or perhaps a piece of the Cheesecake Factory’s® pumpkin cheesecake? Instead of leaving your home, you can make these recipes in your own kitchen.

There are chefs out there who have made it their business to debunk some of America’s favorite recipes (such as Olive Gardens’® famous Italian dressing!) and have made them available to you with specific directions from ingredients, to instructions on how to make it look just like you ordered it at a restaurant.

You can use the Top Secret Restaurant Recipes cookbook, or check out the Top Secret website where they post many of these secret recipes for free.

Cost Savings: Varies between $5 -15 per meal.

Lawnmower Tune-ups

If you live in a seasonal area, you will typically need to tune-up your lawnmower once a year. Instead of carting it to the shop, why not do it at home? Purchase an air filter specific to your model and brand, oil, and borrow/purchase some sharpening tools.

Cost savings: $80-100 per year.

  1. Disconnect your spark plug wire so that there is no chance of the mower starting while you are working on it. Check out this website (scroll down) to see a photo of how to remove the spark plug wire.
  2. Prop the mower up on two cinder blocks.
  3. Remove the old air filter by unscrewing the compartment it is held in. Clean out around the compartment where there may be grease and grime build-up. Replace with new air filter and reattach the compartment.  (Check this article out for photos and more detail).   
  4. Now, place the lawnmower on its side, and carefully (wear working gloves to do this), unscrew and remove the blades. You can wedge a block of wood or a crowbar in between blades in order to increase safety. Once removed, place the blades into a vice to secure them, and use your grinder, or a metal file to sharpen them. In order to keep the balance of the blades (so that your blades cut grass evenly), use the same number of sharpening strokes on each of the blades.
  5. Find your oil plug (usually above where the blades were, but check your model), and drain the old oil out of the mower into a pan. Check out this website for a photo of where to find yours.
  6. Put the oil plug back into the mower, and then fill with oil (using the dipstick as a guide to make sure you do not under or overfill).
  7. Reattach the sharpened blades (with care…they are now very sharp!)

File Your Taxes

Here’s a great thing that many people don’t know about: you can call the IRS help hotline to get an answer to any question you may have while filing your taxes.

There are many free online ways to efile taxes (we use Turbotax), and while you are working on your forms, take a pad of paper and write down any and all questions you have (IRS Tax helpline Info Page).

Also, online websites like Turbotax have specific, simple questions built-in that will trigger various forms to fill out depending upon whether you answer yes or no. With help like this, filing your own taxes for free has become a viable alternative to working with an accountant during tax season.

Cost Savings: $80+ per year

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Comments to 3 Do It Yourself Tasks to Save $170 Per Year

  1. Use a PRIVATE insurance guy and not one at Walmart or H&R Block. These guys want you in and out fast to work with as many as possible to maximize income. Chances of that person being back the following year are very slim. A private guy wants to give you tax advice so that you will want to see him year after year. My tax advice savings has already paid for his services for my lifetime and then some. All legal.The cost of both are the same.


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