Mowing the Lawn – Frugal Style!

It’s summer, not yet, but here in Ohio it’s currently 70 degrees plus oddly enough and it’s only the beginning of May.  My grass has started to sprout, er uhm.. giant green stalk actually and it’s time to get the mowing season started.  I have a VERY Small lot and a brief background is my oil/gas powered “machine” went out on me at the beginning of LAST summer.  Sure, I could have gone out to buy a new powered mower and spend $150-$300 on a gas powered-get out of my way lawn mower, I mean everyone has one of those and how the heck else do you cut grass if you don’t have an oiled-machine?  I took a step back and went back into “time” for the method to my “huge” aka tiny lawn this year, which ended up being the frugal method.  Look at this beast and let’s talk about it:

The Purchase Decision on my Push-Lawn Mower

I knew I needed to cut my grass, as it had to be getting over the 12 inch in length mark in my small back yard (the only area that gets sun, it’s sad but not a bad thing).  I had a few alternative options – I could pay someone $20 to mow my yard from various job ad posts.  I could borrower my cousin’s or my family’s lawn mower and make the travel trips of 2 hours total to make that happen + giving the mower back aka another extra trip.  Also – it’s not easy transporting a gas powered lawn mower if you don’t have the trunk space, trust me on that.  As I stated in the opening, I could have spent well over a few hundred dollars on a new mower, but for my small yard?  I don’t think so.  Another alternative – I could have bought parts, tried to fix mine or take it somewhere and more than likely spend between $50-$150 in time, parts or services.  Why would I want to spend so much energy, time and money on a machine that had broke down on me previously?  That doesn’t make sense either.  I could have just let my yard turn into a jungle, I guess is another alternative.  But I’m on a pursuit to save 60% of my income, as it is an integral part to my 2015 goals.  Therefore, for the final alternative…

This led to a discussion with a few friends an co-workers, Bert included.  How about the old-school, blade chopping, no gas/oil or electricity using, beast mode Push Mower?  I guess I never really considered that there was once a method used to mow your yard before using Gas/Oil or plugging it into an outlet.  You mean to tell me after all of these years of filling up my mower, struggling for a half hour at a time to pull the rope to get the thing started, there was another, easier, more frugal method to cut grass?  Talk about a game changer for me.  I’m always trying to be more frugal, whether it’s asking for a discount on items/services or even finding fun ways to save during the winter months.  I began my research, and immediately looked at amazon.  I had approximately $43.4 in reward points through amazon, so felt that I should buy a new one, with new fresh blades.  That’s when I stumbled upon this bad boy – the “Great States 204-14 14-Inch Deluxe Hand Reel Push Lawn Mower” for $73.99.  With the discounts/reward points, the price came down to for my out-of-pocket at $30.59, my dividend income from PM last month could have purchased this without the discounts, just to give perspective on how inexpensive this tool is.  Well, I clicked order now and it shipped within 2 days to my house, in a nice small package. 

The Mow

So on May 3rd (date of this writing), I assembled the push-mower and that may have taken longer than the actual mow itself.  There were 4 handles I had to screw together and doing it by yourself wasn’t hard but more than likely added 5 minutes to the total activity.  It was around an 8 out of 10 on the easy scale for assembly, I can say that much – 3 screws, and that’s it, just more of a juggling act screwing all of the metal or steel pieces together.

Once I had this bad boy assembled, I went to work.  And wow – this damn thing actually works.  In about 15 minutes tops, I had my entire portion of my backyard mowed that actually grows a consistent amount of grass and by today – the grass had to be well over a foot long in certain sunny areas.  There is the picture below to show what it looked like after the mow job.

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The pros of this tool is that: (1) Does not cost anything to operate but a little elbow grease in the pushing in tough spots (2) It can be hinged off to transport frankly anywhere (3) it’s VERY light (at least in my perspective (4) cut extremely well (5) storage space needed is minimal (6) is the most frugal way to cut the grass.

The cons of this tool is/could be that: (1) The blades may become dull given the usage and if not taken care of (2) may take extra strength in the extra long/stronger grassy spots (3) you have to rake the grass out if you do not like the grass to sit there (4) Doesn’t cover as much of a mow as a lawn mower does = more “ups and downs”

Overall Conclusion and Summary on the Push Mower

Overall – I am EXTREMELY pleased with the mower I purchased.  It cost me out of pocket less than $31, doesn’t cost anything to run/fuel/propel and is a great way to spend an extra few minutes walking/exercising outside in the great weather.  It performed a great/clean cut for me and I’m almost mad at myself for not knowing about these things – talk about being stuck in the “mindset” of everyone owning a big, powerful machine, when really it should be based on need and not what the Jones’ have or that mentality of “it’s the only way”.  If you have a fairly small yard and are looking for an easier, less problematic, costly way to mow your yard – this is the trick, and I can say it’s going to be fun performing the next mow, no joke.  This will help me in saving close to 60% of my income, so that I can focus on other things – such as investments and the like or having more cash to paydown the mortgage.  What does everyone think?  Do you currently/already own one of these?  Would you consider purchasing one if you don’t?  Any other experiences have you had with one?  Thanks all – appreciate the comments and visits, talk soon!

-Lanny

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25 thoughts on “Mowing the Lawn – Frugal Style!

  1. Lanny,

    My old neighbor used to use one, when I lived in a house with a few roommates. Thing looked perfect for a small yard and he never was at it too long. The only part that will probably suck is sharpening the blades, but you need to do that on a regular mower anyway. Either way, you can probably count it towards your gym time.

    – Gremlin

    • Gremlin,

      Thanks for checking out the post already! Just finished doing the mow in the front/back (we have had sun and in the 80s this week, very unusual). Great workout for sure and felt “more” from mowing this way for some reason. The blades will be the tricky part, but I’m sure it doesn’t take too long or cost too much to have that performed.

      Thanks DG, talk soon!

      -Lanny

  2. Lanny,

    That is f@cking hilarious! When I moved into my house 17 years ago, I used a hand held weed eater. Essentially it was a broomstick with a wheel and blade on the end that I pushed along the edge of the driveway to weed eat the grass. My wife and neighbors had never seen one before. Finally after four years I broke down and bought an electric weed eater. More recently I threw in the white flag of surrender to my wife and got a yard service. Some battles you win and some you lose.

    Another benefit is the exercise you receive while pushing that thing. 🙂

    MDP

    • MDP,

      It is hilarious, I almost die laughing when I pulled it out from the garage yesterday – you know why, because I could care less and think I have to look hilarious pushing this thing. I doubt my neighbors even have a clue on what the heck I’m even using. Loving it so far, except it definitely “sticks” when a twig/stick/branch gets caught, so that’s pretty frustrating.

      I paid a mow service a few times last year while I was traveling for $20 to mow the entire lawn once every 3 weeks or so (we didn’t have the best summer last year and my grass is difficult to grow most of the time), so that wasn’t too bad.

      I’ll keep you posted if I end up breaking the thing in half or if the neighbors start asking about it haha.

      -Lanny

  3. I thought about writing a post like this late last year when I had to buy a mower. I bought the Scott 20″ push reel mower. I bought it for the same reasons you did; frugal and simple. The problem I had was the same I had when I was a kid and used my grandparents; these mowers cut uneven and you need to go over and over the same areas. So I ended up buying a battery powered Ryobi mower. Best mower I’ve ever used. I’ll be selling my push reel mower soon. Thanks for sharing.

    – HMB

    • HMB,

      Batter powered Ryobi eh? How much did that run you? I haven’t even heard of something like that! I would say the hard/tough grass and the frisky weeds are what shows the “unevenness” when I mow, so I definitely agree with you on that.

      It was so nice being outside yesterday and pushing this thing. One neighbor literally I think watched for 5 minutes, more than likely trying to wonder what I was pushing and what it was doing (I’m sure they saw the grass flying).

      Great stuff!

      -Lanny

      • The Ryobi was about $400. A lot more pricey than I originally wanted to spend, but well worth the cost over the long term. Not worrying about gas, oil, or a lot of noise is priceless. It came with 2 batteries and I’ve only used one and never fully discharged the battery either. So far so good.

        I’m sure my neighbors thought I was a weirdo pushing my old school mower. They mostly all pay someone to cut their lawn anyways.

        – HMB

        • HMB,

          Gotcha, thank you for sharing the price – in 2 years, you’ll be happy you bought it without a doubt!

          I understand – I think I have a split 50/50 on who pays and who actually does the mow. Understand both sides, I think… haha

          Thanks again HMB

          -Lanny

  4. Interesting article. I was looking at one of these mowers when my gas mower wouldn’t start earlier this year. I ended up buying a new spark plug and air filter for my current mower for around $10-$15 and now it works again. If it kicks the bucket for good one day I’ll look at the manual mower or an electric mower which are more environmentally friendly than my gas mower. Thanks for the article.

    • Dear Dividend,

      I hear you with finding the parts and fixing it – I figured it was a spark plug and filter for mine, but given my mower was VERY old… I thought hey – if my end result more than likely will be to get something else, let’s get after it (it helped I had amazon rewards though to make this purchase). I like the idea of fixing it and I hope it lasts a lot longer, but looks like if it even lasts 2 mows for you – youre getting your moneys worth for sure.

      -Lanny

  5. Wow I think the manual old-fashioned mower is perfect for your little lawn. Way to go not purchasing a gas powered one. Report back how it’s going in July when it’s 90 and you’re mowing with that 😉

    • FF,

      Thanks! It has worked great so far, perfect size for the mower I would say. I did both the front and back yesterday in no time flat. I guarantee I’ll be thinking of this post when I’m dying in the heat pushing this thing.. too funny.

      -Lanny

  6. I live in Amish country Pennsylvania and these mowers are EVERYWHERE. I know Ohio is known for having a lot of Amish also. I’m not sure if you live in that part of the state, but if you do, when the blades get dull take it to a local Amish farm and they will usually sharpen the blades for you for about $10. They will do a better job than anyone else could possibly do as well.

    • Matt,

      Nice!! Loving these tips, as I know that I’ll have to sharpen those blades. How long do blades uually last? We have a big Amish area, without a doubt, and a place where I know quite a few only go there for furniture and wood workings.

      -Lanny

  7. Boy! Couldn’t imagine myself with such a thing on my 33k square feet land! It already takes me about an hour with a regular mower and I literally run behind it!!

    But yes, for small land it looks like the perfect tool! One step further into your goals it seems.

    Cheers!

    Mike

    • Mike,

      whoa… 33K square footage of land? Almost 1 acre then, right? Yeah, I couldn’t imagine how much effort a push mower would take.

      I bet you get a good workout right? Putting on the old shoes/boots and just running behind there, sounds like you definitely get your “steps” in for the day. Haha.

      -Lanny

  8. Thanks for your posting about the pros and cons of this lawn mower. I also had one for my garden for years. All in all, I’m interested in your post and thanks for your effort.

  9. whoah this blog is wonderful i love reading your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You already know,
    a lot of persons are searching round for this information, you can aid them greatly.

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