I have a hundred moving stories bouncing around in my head, but I want to start with the magic of a $20 bill. I found out the true power of $20 last week.
I mentioned a while ago that our builder was going to provide me with two front yard trees, but one of them was going to be a live red oak. I like live red oaks, but not anywhere near my driveway or foundation. So we came to a compromise. They gave me a dead oak tree in the front yard along with the Japanese Magnolia I wanted until closing and then promised to provide me with a live red oak towards the back part of my back yard after we officially closed. That way they would meet their two tree requirement with the home owner’s association and I would get the positioning of my choosing.
Well, this plan would leave me with a big hole in my front yard that would need a tree. I wanted a crape myrtle since they don’t die on me. When I called the guy I ended up using for back yard sodding and asked about his crape myrtle prices, he quoted $250 for a 30 gallon that they would plant for me or $165 for a 15 gallon. I didn’t want to pay that much since crape myrtles are generally a super cheap tree. So I asked how much for a 15 gallon that they would deliver, but that I would plant. He quoted $65. Literally $100 less just because of labor. I thought $65 for a 15 gallon crape myrtle delivered to my front door sounded great, so I signed up.
A few days later, my sodding and his planting crew arrived. They started hauling butt with my back yard…I mean, they really moved fast! They also dropped off a cute 15 gallon crape myrtle right next to the dead tree in my front yard. Then I had my light bulb moment.
I walked to the back yard and asked the sodding crew if they would mind planting the crape myrtle for $20 as I held it out in my hand. The head guy accepted the $20, said “no problem”, and two of his guys took 15 minutes to pull out the dead tree and plant my new one. They even added extra mulch to make up for the bigger root ball of the previous tree. Best $20 I spent this year.
I know it would have taken me at least an hour if not more to do the same job and I would still have a dead tree body to deal with. This was no muss, no fuss and my front yard was ready to go. I can’t believe the sodding guy was trying to get $100 when the little crew seemed super satisfied with $20. Well, I can, but I am so glad I didn’t fall for it.
So I guess the moral of this story is to look at all of your options. Sometimes something as simple as a $20 bill or a plate of cookies can make a problem go away. And most of the time, your time and stress levels are worth way more than that $20…
Have you had any experiences like this?
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!