It cost me only a few hundred bucks, I didn't hire anyone to do it, and I didn't have to use a haul service to get rid of the old sod.
I know that more pictures would be better, but I didn't take a lot of shots during the process. Sorry!
Here are the before shots:
Step 1: Why would you want to get rid of your grass?
What I wanted was a way to replace the yard that 1) was cheap, 2) that I could do without hiring anyone, and 3) didn't involve machinery and trucks.
Some friends recommended the "newspaper and mulch" method; I've slightly modified it and I'd like share some tips and pointers to help you out.