Put Off to Tomorrow What You Can Spend Today

Posted by Joe on September 15, 2009

OK…I splurged this week. I spent $1,000 on landscaping and didn’t buy a single plant, flower, or shrub. It was almost purely cosmetic. I was just getting tired spending as much time weed wacking my yard as I do cutting the grass. It was a project that most people would have done in one shot three years ago when the initial phase commenced.

Let me start at the beginning. Three years ago I bought 6 Douglas Fir trees to serve as a screen from my backyard neighbors. The twelve foot trees cost me $700 in total. The nursery wanted $1,500 to plant them! Double the amount of the actual trees. I thought it was completely and utterly ridiculous to spend 68% of the project for labor costs. It’s not even that bad when you go to the auto mechanic!

Look for Ways to Cut the Cost

Living in a new neighborhood has some perks. I must say, the dirt flying around everywhere from construction isn’t one of them. Being that my builder is still building, there is no shortage of contractors working.

I noticed some landscapers working on the street adjacent to me and asked them if they were free to plant some trees. They were more than happy to get some extra work.

I highly advise that if you have some work that needs to be done, put the telephone book and your referral list away and drive to a new neighborhood and find a contractor that performs the type of work you’re looking to get done. Chances are they’d be more than happy to do it outside of company time. This will save you money and make them money. I have done it for my HVAC as well as the landscape job.

Long story short, I was able to get all six trees planted for $300, not $1,500! That’s a $1,200 savings!

Delay a Portion of the Project

Now, bringing you to the present, this week. The next step to the project was to mulch around the trees. Ever hear the saying, “Don’t put off to tomorrow what can be done today?” Well, when it comes to spending money, “Put off to tomorrow what can be spent today!”

Eventually you may realize the expenditure is unnecessary. But worst case, you will have more money saved for the project thereby effectively reducing its cost.

Save the Difference

I followed this reasoning and took that $1,200 I had saved and put it in a 14 month, 4.2% CD and when that expired I rolled it over into a 4% 12 month CD. With the original $1,200 savings plus my interest, I was able to not only pay for the twelve tons of stones and the two workers, I am putting the rest toward finishing my basement next year.

Granted I may have been able to get the stonework done three years ago when I planted the trees but I was able to keep my thousand dollars in CDs earning interest while concurrently having the benefit of time to evaluate what exactly I wanted to do in my yard. Heck, I could have saved even more money by putting mulch down, but do I want to apply mulch every year? No!

Increase the Principal

The interest earned on the CDs was not much considering the small principal amount. But over time if you can delay one small project, and another, and then if the projects become increasingly more expensive and elaborate, your principal amount increases, thereby increasing your interest.

Never underestimate the power of small numbers growing over time! You will stand to save thousands! Not to mention your peace of mind of having the extra savings as backup in the event of an emergency.

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Comments to Put Off to Tomorrow What You Can Spend Today

  1. Just be aware that when a nursery plants your trees for you, it includes a year’s guarantee–the tree will be replaced for free if it dies within a year. That is important with large trees than can get stressed being transplanted.


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