Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 25

Thread: Spending Money to Save Money

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,015

    Spending Money to Save Money

    Now that we're a one-income family, we're tightening the belt around here these days, and one of the expenses we figured we should cut is the $20 per week we've been paying the gardeners to mow, edge, and blow the lawns. Around here, we have to mow the lawns every week, all year round. In the dead of winter we can maybe do it every other week, but the leaves and pine needles build up, even if the grass isn't growing much. When we moved to this house, LOML and I each had our own mowers. I ended up giving mine (the newer of the two) away to the lady who bought my old house, and we kept LOML's old Sears mower, figuring we'd never use it, because it was worth $20 a week to me to NOT have to mow the lawn.

    Times and priorities change, so Tuesday I got out our old Sears mower. It's one that LOML's dad bought back in 1987, and LOML used after her mom and dad were divorced soon afterward. It hasn't been run since we moved here four and a half years ago. (Barely ran last time it was used.)

    I filled it with gas, blew out the air filter, and checked the oil. I pushed the carburetor primer bulb in once, and it was like pushing on a wet Gummi worm. It disintegrated in one push. Quick check on the web, and that part is available from Sears...attached to the entire engine assembly, for $175. I looked the engine over to see if I could figure out if it was a Briggs & Stratton or Tecumseh, figuring I'd just replace the primer bulb or at worst, the carb assembly. No obvious sign of the manufacturer, but I could still probably hunt down a replacement, or take it to a local shop for repairs. But in going over the engine I remembered the first time I'd worked on it, back in probably about 1998. At the time, LOML didn't realize lawnmowers were supposed to have oil in them. She had never changed the oil (or added to it), and had never cleaned or changed the air filter. When I changed the oil that summer, it looked like Ellie Mae's coffee. Black molasses. (What little was still in the crankcase, after 10+ years.)

    I figured I didn't really want to invest a lot of money or time in the old mower, since I'd probably be wasting my money in the long run. Plus, we have quite a bit of lawn, at least for a guy with a bad back trying to push a lawn mower, so it didn't make sense to invest in a mower I would have trouble using. I figured if I was going to start mowing the lawns, I needed a self-propelled mower. A bit of web reading also told me rear wheel drive was better than front wheel drive. I did some web surfing and ended up with this one:

    http://www.toro.com/home/mowers/recycler/20352.html

    Consumer Reports rated this model's predecessor a Best Buy, and all the reviews and ratings I saw of it seemed to be quite a bit better than average. It's not a commercial duty Honda or Toro, but it's the upper end of Toro's homeowner line, so it should last me a good long time. It's got a very standard Briggs & Stratton engine, so parts should be available down the road. The way I see it, after five months of mowing my own lawn, it'll pay for itself. And being self propelled, it probably won't beat up my back like my previous lawnmowers have.

    It was after dark before I got it home, so I won't get to test drive it until Wednesday. I think I'll put a coat of wax on the mower first. I'm actually looking forward to mowing the lawn.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    It all makes sense to me Vaughn, there is no reason to waste your time futzing with an old mower, that you will not like wrestling around.

    What does that mower cost, $400...? If you are paying $20 a week, that is only 20 weeks and the mower is paid for.


    Looks like a good machine!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tokiwadai, Japan
    Posts
    2,882
    Nice mower, Vaughn.

    The personal pace is supposed to be a nice feature. How big a yard do you have to mow? Is the B&S engine an Intek? I've had several of them, and they just keep running and running...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
    Posts
    7,890
    Vaughn,

    I have this Toro with the electric start and I am immensely pleased with it. I think the thing you will like the best, especially with a bad back, is the personal pace self propelled feature. When I have let the lawn go too long it allows me to move along at a slow pace. Likewise, if I'm doing a fall cutting and the growth has been minimal, I can race through the lawn. If there were anything I'd change it would be the bag - it fills too quickly and is a little awkward to change. But, if you mulch, like I normally do, that won't be an issue.
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alexandria, Virginia
    Posts
    1,071
    Great story Vaughn.

    When we moved from a townhouse into our new house in 2004, we gained a (small) yard that had to be mowed. My neighbor contracted for $25 biweekly mowings and I bought a $100 lawn mower at Wal*Mart. Five years later he is still paying $25 (biweekly/summers) and my hundred buck mower is still going strong.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,015
    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...What does that mower cost, $400...? If you are paying $20 a week, that is only 20 weeks and the mower is paid for.
    After the $20 rebate, it'll be right at $380. That's less than five months of paying the gardeners. (Although I'm probably going to keep them coming every other week for a while...they're losing customers like most other businesses are around here, so I want to help them out a bit if I can. They've treated me well for over four years.) Still, the lawnmower will pay for itself in pretty short order.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Cook View Post
    Nice mower, Vaughn.

    The personal pace is supposed to be a nice feature. How big a yard do you have to mow? Is the B&S engine an Intek? I've had several of them, and they just keep running and running...
    I'm guessing I've got about 1/5 of an acre, but it's thick Marathon grass. Not a tremendous amount of area to mow, but pushing a non-propelled mower one lap around the front yard hurts my back.

    The engine is the Quantum 675 series, whatever that means. I've not heard of Intek. Is it a product line? It's 190 cc displacement...not the biggest out there, but it should be sufficient.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rennie Heuer View Post
    Vaughn,

    I have this Toro with the electric start and I am immensely pleased with it. I think the thing you will like the best, especially with a bad back, is the personal pace self propelled feature. When I have let the lawn go too long it allows me to move along at a slow pace. Likewise, if I'm doing a fall cutting and the growth has been minimal, I can race through the lawn. If there were anything I'd change it would be the bag - it fills too quickly and is a little awkward to change. But, if you mulch, like I normally do, that won't be an issue.
    Glad to see another good review of this one. I'm looking forward to the personal pace feature. They had a slightly older, but electric start Toro for the same price, but I didn't know how reliable or worthwhile it would be. I've since seen a lot of good reviews on the electric start.

    Since we've lived here, the gardeners have always bagged, but I'm going to try mulching, particularly in the back yard where the lawn is a bit thinner from dog traffic and shade. The small bag (and small opening to dump it through) are about the only negative reviews I've seen on this one, aside from a few folks who obviously got lemons from the factory and had engine or drive train problems.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Posts
    12,251
    Hey Vaughn nice mower but I am not going to agree with your logic. In your shoes I would have gone down to the local Salvation army store and checked out the second hand stores around where I live and see if I could pick up a piece of junk that needed less work but was working. But thats the recycler in me.

    You did keep the world economy going by making that purchase though with the Vaughn houshold economic stimilus package VHESP.

    Lets see , jobs at I guess HD, then jobs in trucking, the port and in shipping and of course employment in the far east somewhere.

    Not bad.

    Enjoy cutting the lawn. Thats what i have two sons for. Just wish they would learn to do it properly. But hey we only cut grass for a few months of the year here thats the benefit of snow.
    cheers

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    DSM, IA
    Posts
    5,719
    I guess cutting grass all year is betting than shoveling snow part of the year.

    Vaughn, one of my best friends is in the business of cutting grass as the "head grass cutter" at a local country club. He has close to a millioin dollars of equipment in his shop at work...guess what he has in the garage at home to cut his lawn...yup Toro. I think you made a good purchase.

    I've been using an old craftsman mower that my BIL kicked to the curb almost 8 years ago. One of the plastic wheels was broken. I took the ones off my dead mower and have been using it ever since. I don't need to change the oil, I just add some every couple of weeks. Starts on one pull the first time in the spring every year too....hope I didn't just jinx myself.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Reno NV
    Posts
    13,360
    I've got more small engines around here than I care to admit.

    Most of them have had some sort of a problem at one time another from rotted priming bulbs to rotted hoses, clogged needle valves,etc... I even replaced the crankshaft on a 4 horse 4 cycle outboard motor.. I could tell the story about how it got broken, but my life would be in danger from my dear wife...

    I picked up a book on small engine repair and never looked back.

    The price on that priming bulb from Sears is ridiculous. I had a leaf blower that the priming bulb rotted on. All I could find online were ridiculously priced. Then one day at Lowes I saw some priming bulbs on the shelf. I bought one for a few bucks and was able to modify it to work.

    I'm sure you'll like the new mower though!
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
    "A door is what a dog is perpetually on the wrong side of" Ogden Nash


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kea'au Hawaii. Just down the road from Hilo town!
    Posts
    1,357
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    I even replaced the crankshaft on a 4 horse 4 cycle outboard motor.. I could tell the story about how it got broken, but my life would be in danger from my dear wife...
    Ohhhhhhh This sound interesting! I love a good story Brent, go ahead and tell us!! We wouldn't tell
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

Similar Threads

  1. Old Money
    By Al Launier in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-09-2014, 05:41 PM
  2. Even all their money......
    By Frank Fusco in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 02-24-2011, 01:47 PM
  3. i guess those led bulbs do save money...
    By Dan Noren in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-08-2010, 03:57 PM
  4. All you need is Money!
    By Dan Mooney in forum Shop Tours
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 03-14-2009, 06:33 PM
  5. Now that is some money, at least to me
    By Ken Garlock in forum Off Topic Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 05-06-2007, 04:29 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •