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Old 12-16-2013, 07:43 AM   #21
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I think that the key is categorization. For instance, I moved my Kubota tractor from maintenance to entertainment.

Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:31 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
Oh no, I am just interested. When I lived out, I tried to do everything on the cheap, and still I had thousands of $$ worth of stuff, and spent a lot of time trying to keep it going and safely functional.

I know some like it, but I did it out of necessity, and I couldn't honestly say that I liked it. The quick and dirty way that I classify something as fun or work, is would someone else pay me to do this for him? If yes, it is work. If no, it may be play.
If something is objectionable I will have a service guy do it. For instance, I really don't like to do plumbing. To me it's not really work if it is on my house. There are some things I put off but generally they are things like straightening up. I get a sense of satisfaction out of a minor job well done. Might just be leaf blowing. Also I enjoy gardening and so it's not really work.

I don't spend a lot on equipment but I kind of get a kick out of going into the hardware store. The lawn mower is 16 years old and gets a tune up every couple of years. I don't do the tune up but do get the exercise mowing the modest size lawn. I've got my eye on a leaf blower with a 36V lithium battery that could replace my current one.

We love living in a semi-rural area with the creatures around and the creatures love us too, maybe a little too much. Well at least they love our house and grounds.

If you live in an urban area and have a smallish abode by choice, that's fine too. Recently I've enjoyed drawing urban scenes and there is a lot of interest in nooks and crannies there.

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Old 12-16-2013, 12:29 PM   #23
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I have a pretty high grass budget...

I pay someone to mow, but I do most of the other yardwork. So, shovel, leaf and garden rakes, hoe, loppers, hedge trimmer, chain saw, fertilizer spreader, power washer, and a lightly used push mower.
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Old 12-16-2013, 12:35 PM   #24
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I have a .4 acre suburban lot. I shovel my driveway by hand and have a self-propelled push mower. It's about the only exercise I get, so I haven't pursued outsourcing it. On the two or three really bad snowstorms that we have a year, my neighbor takes pity on me and snowblows my driveway, and I bring him a couple of steaks in compensation.

My lawn is a marvel of biodiversity. Every few years my wife gets worried about what the neighbors' think and makes me throw a bag of weed-n-feed on the lawn, with pretty much no result.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:25 PM   #25
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I left my snow shovel behind when I left PA to move back to San Diego. No regrets on that. Didn't have a snow blower/thrower... but neighbors did - and they'd sometimes do my driveway. If not - I shoveled by hand.

I did bring out my push reel mower... I used it till my eldest son was big enough to use it. He mows about every 2 weeks - and gets paid $1 per mowing. Our lawn is super small - lawns don't make climate sense in desert climates like San Diego. We opt for fruit trees, veggie gardens, and drought tolerant zero-scaping in our front yard.

We have the usual assortment of tools for the yard. We inherited the 8x8 shed - some tools are stored in there - along with bikes. Rest of the stuff is in the garage - along with our 2 cars. No special cars...

Our lot is big by local standards - 1/4 acre.
Our cars are our daily drivers.

I'd guess we spend about $300/year all in for yard maintenance... kid labor, new plants/seeds, new gloves/tools here and there.

We will be spending big bucks this next summer - tearing out the driveway and putting in pavers. Even on the cheap, with family provided labor, it will cost us several thousand in materials, rental compactor, etc. Boys will make some serious $$ on this as the labor will be hard and we need them motivated.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:42 PM   #26
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Gas lawn mower, buy one new for $<200 every six to ten years and use til it breaks, leave on curb with "free mower" sign, buy new one. Snow shovel, rake, garden hoses. Someone gave us the leaf blower he had custody of following a divorce, but we never use it. These cover the necessary maintenance, not much of an outlay. DH loves to garden so he has trowels, clippers, etc. to play with for six months of the year, and awesome flowers, but they don't cost more than most hobbies.
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:47 PM   #27
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The usual hand garden type tools, a shed, a 33-inch walk behind mower and a 21-inch for trimming and the steepest part of the hill. Although the lot we own is 1/4 acre I also do and additional 1/4 acre that is common property just to keep the critters down in the woods by the creek. The hill is too steep to use a riding mower safely. String trimmer, gas edger, leaf blower used mostly now for blowing the grass off the driveway/sidewalk, pressure washer, snow thrower.

I'm leaning towards the idea of a CCRC when I get closer to 70 and if we do that I'll probably ask the buyer of the house if we can just leave all that stuff with the house. That way I won't have to deal with getting rid of it and they won't have to buy it.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:57 PM   #28
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3 acres, but due to cervical spine issues, I hire a guy to run my 61" Scag. I have 10 hp Toro 2 stage snow blower. Power washer, chain saw, air compressor, spreader, Honda generator. A bunch of normal hand tool crap. We both have 4X4, pickup and Wrangler. I'm not sure the 4x4 count as we'd have them in town.

I do miss our place on 20 acres, stocked ponds, deer, turkey, bobcats in the front yard and lots of birds. I held a screach owl in my bare hands when it hit the house, held it till it came to, then watched him fly off into the trees.
There was 100 to 1 cow to people ratio. You had to be careful driving the back roads, crest a hill and there was a cattle drive going down the gravel road. Taxes were 15% of what we pay here.

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Old 12-16-2013, 03:19 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I think that the key is categorization. For instance, I moved my Kubota tractor from maintenance to entertainment.
I couldn't agree more with this. My last property was 40 acres with 3 or 4 acres that were not farmed and needed to be maintained. My wife used to roll her eyes when I looked excited after a big snowfall and went out to spend the morning plowing. Loved it and still miss it!

I kept expenses very low by buying "classics" at auction or other sales:

- 1962 Massey Ferguson with a loader and blade (I'm the same age, but the MF was in much better shape...)
- Old 440 series JD lawn tractor
- An old Farm Boss chain saw - still have it and always will
- A trimmer that I spent more time fixing than using
- All of the assorted shovels and such
- No log splitter (unfortunately). I really could have used one.

Also, I considered my time to be no charge. It kept me off of the couch and was great exercise. Overall I'd say I maintained the property and barns for less than five hundred dollars a year even figuring in the net cost of the equipment and all of the repair supplies. That's a lot less than I spend now on my city lot with all of the landscaping we seem to feel is needed.
“If you don't do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.” - Warren Miller
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:01 PM   #30
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$129 lawn mower bought new from Lowe's 7 years ago. It needs gas (a gallon or two per year). Plus I changed the oil for $3 once.

I sharpen the blade annually using a $5 hand file, although my friend grinded it sharp for me last year.

I have a free leaf blower, free trimmer (that finally broke), free push fertilizer/seed spreader. I just bought a new trimmer for $40. Maybe $20 worth of extension cords and $50 worth of garden hoses. All hand tools have been free.

We buy probably $100-200 of various pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and lawncare chemicals.

That's for a 1/3 acre lot in the city in North Carolina. We don't have 4 wheel drives, and it snows rarely enough that the kids think frost on the grass is fun to play in.

Other than what I listed, we don't spend much on house/yard maintenance equipment. I guess you could add in our $800 shed that will probably fall apart in another 10-20 years since that's actually more expensive than our lawnmower we store in the shed (8'x12' stick built).

I figure folks out in the country with more than 1/3 acre or so of grass probably go up to a $1000+ riding lawnmower and/or other equipment to maintain their land.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (4, 10, and 11).
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:28 PM   #31
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1 acre lot in a rural area. Riding mower, push mower, gas powered weed wacker, chainsaw, leaf blower, snowblower, air compressor, welder, 3 ladders, shovels, rakes, etc. And that's just my wifes stuff :-D

God only knows what we have spent over the past 30 years to maintain this yard. We probably spend $200-$300 a year for mulch and plants. We had to pay $1K just a few months ago to have a big oak tree cleaned up that had fallen in the yard. It was just to big for me to tackle at the time.

It's all part of the price you pay to have a place with a little land.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:32 PM   #32
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I've loved (and lived in) the country for most of my adult life. DW and I have had a 40-acre "farmette" for 25 years. The yard is about 2 1/2 acres. I use a Troy Bilt Wide Cut Mower that I bought in 1992 to keep the grass in check. I've got a small Stihl chain saw to cut brush. I inherited an old Bobcat snow blower that won't die, and we've got some gardening tools. I store the stuff in the barn.

Basically I don't sweat the details when it comes to yard work. If the grass gets a little long, I don't care. I won't bother to clear an inch of snow off the driveway. I'm not going to get a nastygram from the HOA. We keep chickens in the front yard in the summer. The extra acreage we rent to a neighboring farmer, and the income pays most of my property tax. We also get some food from our vegetable patch.

Of course the lifestyle has had its price -- for me it came in the cost of getting to work. I drove 40 miles each way to my job and spent $5000 on gasoline in some recent years. I can't count the number of snowstorms I navigated through at midnight. And then there was the time -- at least 100 minutes a day in the car.

Not that the driving was all bad. The Milwaukee area hasn't sprawled like a lot of cities, and I have quick access to excellent freeways. I never commuted during peak rush hours. And I like nice wheels. After sitting eight hours on an office chair, easing into the seat of my old Mercedes 300d or 5 series BMW was a pleasure. But I'm glad I don't have to do it anymore.
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Old 12-18-2013, 10:19 AM   #33
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My lot is a small 1/3 acre lot. We built it as a retirement home, so didn't want a massive lot we had to mow, landscape, etc as we got older. The house is a very large ranch and once the back patio is installed, we actually have a fairly small area of grass to mow. There is a 30 acre neighborhood park right off my back yard that will have walking trails, soccer field, play and picnic areas. Construction on this common area started up late last summer. So I don't need a park like yard, where my yard ends the park begins. HOA fees which were set to include maint on the the common areas are $400/household per year.

Based on my past experience I included estimated cost and replacement frequency of the lawn care crap at current prices in my area.

Self propelled mower $250-$500 purchase every 10-15 years.
Gas powered edger $150-$200 purchase every 15-20 years.
Gas powered weed whacker $150 every 5-10 years.
Various hand lawn tools $50-$100 per year replacement as things break.
$200 /year on various lawn fertilizer/pesticide things.
$100-$200 /year on mulch and a few new plants in landscaping to replace old ones if nececssary

Nothing is big enough to need a truck to move it around. My old honda CR-V did just fine. Just about any subcompact hatchback can move a push mower around. If the handle folds, you can even close the hatch. I have a F-350 truck, but not because I have a yard. It's job is pulling the vacation home around. I've only had it a couple months. Never owned a truck before.

No extra storage was required for my lawn stuff. It all fits in the garage with the cars. Out buildings like storage sheds are not permitted where I live.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:15 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Current cost for our community apartments 1300 s.f. for two persons is $30,000/year.
That includes:
All maintenance... inside and outside, and the common area-- libraries, meeting rooms, dining room, beauty shop, exercise room, rehab facility, picnic areas etc...
All utilities- electric, water, sewer, heat, air conditioning and including Cable TV and internet.
Two meals a day in dining room, plus free access to"kitchen"
Major appliances- Refrigerator, Range, Washer and Dryer
Free tranportation - twice a week for shopping - two or three times a week dining for recreation, and free doctor/hospital transportation, anytime.
Thats actually quite reasonable and only slightly more than what I pay "all in" for food and shelter.

"For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." ~
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