Money

Save up to $1,200 a year by doing this 'easy' household task yourself

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If you dread dragging out the lawn mower each week to cut the grass, it may help to know there’s a big financial incentive to do it yourself.

The average lawn service sets you back between $30 and $80 per visit, according to home services site HomeAdvisor. If you’re in a seven-month growing season, you could be spending about $1,540 annually for a mid-priced service, while those in southern states like Florida and Texas may have to spring for the cost of another two months on top of that.

If you skip the service and mow yourself, you can save up to $1,200 a year, even after accounting for the cost of a push mower, gas and your time.

“There’s no doubt — it is much, much cheaper to do it yourself,” Casey Reynolds, executive director of The Lawn Institute, tells CNBC Make It.

Lawn maintenance can be fairly easy too, Reynolds says. Like most plants, grass requires just a few basic things: mowing, watering and and fertilizing occasionally, though not as frequently as you may think. Generally, all you need to do is put down fertilizer once a year and perhaps do some weed control.

“Grasses typically don’t need as much input as people think they do,” Reynolds says.

That said, the cost of hiring a lawn service makes the most sense if you have a larger than average yard or if you're tight on time. "If you decide you're going to do lawn work on your Saturday, it can add up to a whole afternoon and that's time you could spend doing something else," Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor's chief economist, tells CNBC Make It. For example, if you own a home with a half-acre lawn, it will likely take you two and a half hours to mow it each week — that adds up to about 70 hours a year.

There are also upfront costs to consider, such as purchasing the lawn mower, weed wacker, fertilizer spreader, gas and other equipment. In the end, though, you'll still probably come out ahead by mowing yourself.

And for a lot of Americans, the results are worth it. "People love to have a beautiful lawn," Hunter says, "and it adds so much curb appeal to the house."

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