Is It Worth It?

Kiplinger has a fun, albeit relatively easy, quiz that asks if various financial transactions are worth the cost — if you should you pay a little extra upfront in hopes of saving money — or hassle — in the future. In it they offer the following situations:

* Changing your car’s oil every 3,000 miles.
* Taking the brand-name prescription drug instead of the generic.
* Getting an annual furnace checkup.
* Hiring a lawyer to draw up your will.
* Investing in a mutual fund with a sales load instead of a no-load fund.
* Joining a warehouse club.
* Buying an extended warranty for your car.
* Getting accidental death insurance.
* Buying premium gasoline when your owner’s manual says regular is fine.
* Buying renter’s insurance for your apartment.

So, how skilled are you at knowing if a transaction is worth the cost or not? It appears most people are savvy on these ten as of this writing the most common result is eight out of ten correct. Take the test yourself and let us know your score.

Is It Worth It? [Kiplinger]

FREE MONEY FINANCE

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. pop top says:

    I got 9 out of 10, only because I said you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. What I didn’t realize is that it assumed you would take you car to someone else to do it. I guess I’m too used to changing my own oil.

    • tongsy says:

      @squinko: I just misunderstood the question and understood it as “Change it every 3000 miles or dont change it at all”

    • pkoutoul says:

      @squinko: But it still costs money! Why change it more often than the manufacturer recommends? The 3,000 mile recommendation is basically a scam started by the quick change industry.

      • pop top says:

        @pkoutoul: I drive all over the state and do a lot of highway driving on the weekends, so I’d rather change my oil often and know that it’s good. I also understand the changing my own oil still costs money, but it’s only $5 for an oil filter and $15 for oil and I do all the work so I know it’s done right.

        @nakedscience: My dad’s best friend has a garage that we do all of our car work in. We “rent” it with a case of beer and a fifth of Schnapps. :)

    • nakedscience says:

      @squinko: I’d love to change my own oil, but I live in an apartment.

      • spanky says:

        @nakedscience: I’d love to change my own oil, but no. I lied.

        I hate changing my oil. I used to do it, and I know it saves money, but I hate it a LOT. It’s messy and I always get some kind of little owie because I’m klutzy, and then I have a bunch of oil to get rid of, but then I never do, so I end up storing a bunch of skank oil in my garage forever.

        It’s worth it for me to just pay someone else to do it. (But yeah, not every 3K.)

        • Framling says:

          @spanky: Exactly. I know it’s cheaper to change your own oil, and I know it’s easy, and I do know how to do it. I have done it, in fact, probably on every car I’ve ever owned.

          But it’s a pain in the ass. I have to make sure I’ve got jacks or ramps. I have to make sure I’ve got a pan that’s big enough. I have to dispose of it afterward. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with all the dirty paper towels I end up with. The tools I use end up all oily. After I dispose of the oil, where and how do I store the pan so my cats won’t get to it?

          Or I can spend twenty-five bucks, decline a bunch of extra services, and get it done with way less headache.

          Maybe someday, when I’m not living in an apartment, and I’ve got a garage and tools and room for it I’ll go back to changing my own oil. But for now, it’s not worth my time to do it myself.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @squinko: The annoying thing about this is that it’s highly dependent on driving style and vehicle. I see we already have one person telling you not to do it so often, and there will be more, but the reason why 3000 is useful is there are almost no situations where you will need to change it more often, so for people who are completely ignorant about their vehicle and its maintenance requirements, this is a good guideline.

      Also, considering that most people are bad about following maintenance guidelines, it’s a lot better to have them think they need to change it every 3,000 miles, and then end up pushing it to every 4,000 miles, than them thinking they need to change it every 5,000 miles and pushing it to 6,000 or even 7,000 miles. You’re not going to hurt your car by over-maintaining it, and especially if you do oil changes yourself, it really isn’t particularly expensive of inconvenient (especially compared to installing a new engine).

    • Aaronjk says:

      @squinko:
      You’ll still save $15 – $20 each time if you wait till 6000. If you do a lot of city driving (stop and go) or hard (dusty, towing) etc. then I would go with 3000.

  2. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Huh. I assumed that for question one you’d be changing the oil yourself. The quiz assumed you’d pay someone to do it for you.

    And as we recently discussed the real correct answer for brand-name vs generic is “It depends on how you react to it”.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Rectilinear Propagation: Oh yeah, I got a 7/10.

      Missed the oil change question, the furnace question, and the mutual funds question.

      • Framling says:

        @Rectilinear Propagation: I missed the furnace one (don’t have a furnace), the mutual funds one (I didn’t even know what they were saying) and the warehouse store one (I wouldn’t go through 72 eggs fast enough to be worth it and I barely have room in my kitchen for the normal-sized stuff I have).

  3. Underpants Gnome says:

    9/10. I assumed writing a will was possible thru some morbid version of turboTax, guess I was wrong.

    • Skankingmike says:

      @Underpants Gnome: I think it depends, if you have a house and money as well as a spouse and kids, then no but if you’re on your own go for the quick will.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Underpants Gnome: It *is* possible, but they’re not necessarily legal in all states — or even in the state they’re being sold in/for. My local Office Max (Office Depot? I don’t actually know which one it is) sells fill-in forms for “writing your own will” specifically for “the state of Illinois” which would be illegal in Illinois and would not be allowed in court. Surprise intestacy!

      If you were going the self-serve route, I’d use nolo.com, I’ve found them to be reliable and non-sucky and not full of shit. (And I know lots of lawyers who actually buy nolo forms to use themselves.)

      HOWEVER, if you have children or other dependents, you need to use a lawyer. Wills really aren’t that expensive and while what happens to your money after you die really isn’t that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, what happens to your kids (or your dependent disabled adult brother or whatever) is a HUGE deal.

      You can also look into the intestacy statute in your jurisdiction … a lot of them do what people would want done with their money anyway, so if you don’t have kids or other dependents, and you don’t have a complicated money situation (or a lot of money), you may be perfectly happy to let the state distribute it according to the intestacy statute. (My husband and I did not write wills when we were first married because we didn’t own much and we were fine with the intestacy statute — basically everything passed to the surviving spouse with no taxes because our estate was so small. And I actually write wills as part of my law practice, so it would have been free, but wasn’t really worth the effort. Now that we have a kid, it’s time for a will.)

      • 1SQ says:

        @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): Good call on Nolo Press; they have some great resources. Interestingly, their website says “Most people don’t need to use a lawyer to make their will.” As you suggested, the question seems to be whether the state will do automatically what you want done anyways.

        Out of curiosity, why does the “+ kid” prompt the need for a will? To cover the possibility that both parents die at the same time?

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @1SQ: “To cover the possibility that both parents die at the same time?”

          That, and that you will probably want to set up a “testamentary trust” that will hold your assets in trust for your minor child until they come of age, which is a little more complicated than a “plain” inheritance and shouldn’t really be trusted to a form. (At least not in my jurisdiction.)

          But naming guardians for your minor children in case of a worst-case scenario is one of the functions of a will, and something most people would rather have a say in.

          (Also, in many jurisdictions, a lawyer can easily draft a will with the flexibility to last through your child-bearing years … there’s some resistance to getting a will because “Oh, I’ll have a second kid soon and the lawyer will just make me come back and pay again …” And some do as a revenue stream, but in my jurisdiction you can draft flexibly enough to cover all future children of that marriage AND with word processors, it’s such a quick and easy change to add specific children if you DO want a do-over when #2 arrives.)

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @1SQ: The other thing that happens is that parent #1 dies without a will, but parent #2 is still around. Parent #2, grief-stricken, never gets around to drafting a will, and dies a few years later. And then we’ve got orphaned kids with no named guardians. Whereas if the parents had drafted a will together when the kids arrived, Parent #2’s will would have still been in effect.

          • Rectilinear Propagation says:

            @Eyebrows McGee (now with more baby!): I always get mad at the movies where the parents did name a guardian in the will but didn’t tell the person they named that they expect them to raise their kids if they die. Please tell me THAT doesn’t happen in real life.

  4. bonzombiekitty says:

    Just a note on brand name drugs vs generic. It’s not always the case that you should use a generic, specifically where blood levels of something need to stay in a very tight range. My girlfriend worked at a transplant focused pharmacy, has a father who had a liver transplant, and is studying to be a PA (hopefully focusing on transplant medicine). She said that there’s a big debate over whether or not certain generic transplant meds should be prescribed because while the generics need to be identical to the brand name, they don’t need to be identical to each other. So if you’re on BrandNameDrug A, and switch to GenericDrug B, you’ll be fine. But if you go from GenericDrug B to GenericDrug C, that can through off your levels. For most conditions that won’t matter much, but in transplants it can cause all sorts of problems.

    • Etoiles says:

      @bonzombiekitty: This is exactly the point I had trouble explaining in comments the last time it all came up. I said this but most folks said, “No no no, you’re wrong, the generic has to be the same as the brand name.” But the point I was trying to convey was exactly this: You can take GenericA of BrandA any time, but you can’t just randomly have your pharmacy start giving you GenericB of BrandB instead, which has from time to time happened with friends of mine (most often with birth control pills, which can be a very fiddly bit of balancing).

      • Snowblind says:

        @Etoiles: I have been through this several times with my wife and her medications. (Anti-depressants and Anti-seizure meds)

        Several of them must be “balanced” against others, i.e., the other drug effects uptake and retention of others.

        The consistency from Name Brand is important. Generic brands are held by regulation from 80% to 125% of the Branded potency.

        When you are dealing with some drugs: painkillers, antibiotics, etc. that is not that bad.

        Psyco-active drugs? I want accuracy.

    • Honus says:

      @bonzombiekitty:

      This is very much the case in generic thyroid meds, if you happen to need another example.

    • mgrand says:

      This is a very important issue that many (including Kiplinger’s, apparently), don’t quite understand.

      By rule, generic perscription drugs are allowed to deviate from the brand-name formulation by 20% in EITHER DIRECTION. This means two things:

      1. If the compound is expensive to manufacture, it is in the company’s best interest to routinely provide a little more than 80% of the drug. Honestly, I don’t believe this happens much, but it is possible.

      2. If production is unreliable, a single generic drug can vary by as much as 40%. Some medications aren’t so sensitive, but many are, and may mean the difference between effectiveness and ineffectiveness, or an increase in side effects.

      Another issue is the lack of control over inactive ingredients — basically the delivery mechanisms. Generic drugs often do not use the same delivery mechanisms as the brand name ones. Often they are cheaper, sometimes resulting in inefficient absorption. Or too rapid excretion.

      The last issue that immediately comes to mind is that the FDA is simply too overburdened and underfunded to evaluate generic drugs. As lax as the rules are, there is very little enforcement, or even thorough inspection, since the FDA is too busy investigating new drugs.

  5. Tim says:

    I got 7/10. I believe the oil company lies about changing every 3k miles (I guess I’m just super-cautious), I think you don’t need a lawyer for your will (I’m 20 … I hope I won’t have to worry about a will anytime soon, but even if I do, I barely have any assets anyway) and I don’t think I even know what a mutual fund is.

  6. Vjeszczi says:

    8/10 I’m pretty obsessive about getting the oil changed. I used one of the online will things, which didn’t require hiring a lawyer

    • katstermonster says:

      @TCama: I’ve been told by several mechanics that with the advent of synthetic oils, you really can go more than even 5,000 miles on an oil change. Not infinitely long, for sure…but much longer.

      I still get mine changed at 5,000 miles. Better safe than sorry.

      • pallendo says:

        @katstermonster: I must be drinking the amsoil koolaide… They say 30k miles per change for ideal conditions, 15k miles for “Severe Service” conditions (i.e. everyday driving).

        On my turbo car, I change it every 10k miles with a filterchange in between at 5k miles. On my truck, I do every 15k miles with filter changes every 5k.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @katstermonster: While, depending on your car it may be fine to go 5,000 miles (most cars built within the last decade recommend this interval or longer) I don’t know why you’d trust a mechanic to have the expertise of a lubrication engineer… Mechanics love to talk out their ass and tell you all sorts of things that are not accurate, and unless they’ve actually run two cars that are exactly the same and only varied oil change interval and then at least done a compression / leak down check after a couple hundred thousand miles, then they’re basically full of shit.

        • pop top says:

          @nataku83: I don’t know anyone who would recommend a oil change only after 15,000 miles. That’s crazy.

          • nataku8_e30 says:

            @squinko: Well, it’s AMSOIL, which is a brand of synthetic oil that’s uses a multi-level marketing scheme rather than being sold through traditional retail outlets (although, on occasion retail store owners are also AMSOIL dealers, so you can find it in a normal auto parts store). They basically claim it’s a miracle product and that they’ve been making synthetic oils longer than anyone else, the latter point being debatable. They also make products, such as an extremely fine oil filter that will strain out smaller particles than a normal filter would, but since it would impede oil flow too much, you install a bypass that diverts a small percent of your oil through this second filter. They present all sorts of studies proving how incredibly their product is, but none of it is really conducted by an impartial, recognized lab, and most of the people who claim it’s a miracle product and their car has never run better are also AMSOIL dealers. I’m not convinced their product is any worse than comparably priced oils, but due to their rather shady marketing, I make sure to avoid these jokers.

          • nataku8_e30 says:

            @squinko: Also, forgot to ad, there are some vehicles out there with factory oil change intervals as high as 15k. Hell, my ’92 Buick Roadmaster had a factory change interval of 7500 miles. It still makes me uncomfortable to go this long – I generally change my oil every 5k MAX on my ’03 Saturn, and considerably more frequently on my less driven ’85 3 series, ’90 Miata and my bikes. One of my bikes actually doesn’t have an oil filter, so I change that about every 500 miles (at least it only takes 1 quart!)

    • Cliff_Donner says:

      @Vjeszczi: I change my will every 3,000 miles.

  7. bonzombiekitty says:

    I got 10/10. The only one I really guessed on was the mutual fund one because I really don’t know much at all about them.

  8. Trencher93 says:

    “Hiring a lawyer to draw up your will.”

    The probate people would not accept my grandmother’s lawyer-generated will because of some technicality about the wording of the language that told who the witnesses were. Just be advised that even a will drawn up by a lawyer is not necessarily valid, and if it was once valid it might not be by the time comes. You need someone who knows your state law very well, and you need to keep up the will often for it to be valid.

  9. ColoradoShark says:

    I got 9 out of 10.
    The one I got wrong was about the furnace check up. Kiplinger’s says yes and my furnace guy says no! Literally, the guy who installed it said it was a waste of money with modern furnaces and didn’t come over.

    Anyone else think Kiplinger’s has some of them wrong?

    • Skankingmike says:

      @ColoradoShark: So you think something that sets stuff on fire like a furnace or engine don’t need service?

      Would you drive around a whole year before you get an oil change?

      • ColoradoShark says:

        @Skankingmike: I literally could not get the guy to come out and check the furnace/AC unit. I called when I knew it wasn’t a busy time of year like when people first turn on the furnace in winter or AC in the summer.

        Maybe he’s an idiot and I’m inheriting it from him?

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @ColoradoShark: I dunno, for $85/year, my HVAC guy comes out in the fall and gives my furnace a once-over and a tune-up and does all breakdown service during normal business hours free. (I still have to pay afterhours, but at a lesser rate.)

          I honestly have a hard time imagining this isn’t worth the money! He’s found a problem during the tune-up once, showed me some maintenance things I didn’t know how to do myself (because the furnace came with the house and no helpful hints), and fixed my broken furnace on a 20*F day within two hours and for “free.” And fixed it when my husband broke it by being dumb. For free.

    • xkevin says:

      @ColoradoShark: Changing your oil frequently doesn’t hurt your vehicle and in many cases offers benefits so I disagree that its a “waste”.

      • ColoradoShark says:

        @xkevin: I keep my cars until at least 100K miles. With oil changes every 3K miles, that would take 33 oil changes. With oil changes every 5K miles, that would take 20 oil changes.

        I spend about $30 bucks on an oil change so save $390 (13 fewer oil changes times $30) over the life of the vehicle plus 13 fewer visits to the mechanic.

        Also, if the oil plug is taken in and out too many times you may need a significant repair to fix the oil plug hole.

        I *admit* I may be wrong and this might be false economy. That is why I like to read expert reviews by people who actually take oil samples and analyze them. That kind of info I can believe. There is no way my local mechanic/dealer really does that analysis.

        • nataku8_e30 says:

          @ColoradoShark: As long as you don’t over-torque your drain plug, you’re not going to damage the threads on the oil plug hole, no matter how many times you remove / install it. Also, for 100k miles, you could probably go 10k in between changes and the car would be fine. Sure sucks for the guy you sell it too, though.

          • ColoradoShark says:

            @nataku83: I run ‘em till the wheels are square. The last two were worth so little used car dealers weren’t interested and I donated them to avoid the hassle of people coming over to my house.

            It’s great to have an old car. Park it anywhere and don’t worry..

            • nataku8_e30 says:

              @ColoradoShark: Ah, I interpreted your statement as, you basically buy a new car and sell it around 100k, which many people do. If you drive it ’till the wheels fall off, proper maintenance saves you big down the line. I have never bought a car with less than 100k on it (one of the advantages of this is you avoid lemons, or other particularly unreliable vehicles, and I have had very good luck with this). My current cars have 111k, 167k and 194k, although as they’re all in nice condition and are reasonably unique vehicles, I do still worry when I park them.

        • xkevin says:

          @ColoradoShark: Still, you’re not “wasting” the money since there are benefits to fresh oil. Using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed for regular is a waste since there’s no benefit but fresh oil can keep your engine running smoother for longer. It also depends on the type of oil. Dinosaur oil isn’t going to last as long as full synthetic so it would need to be changed at a higher rate.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @ColoradoShark: Same here. I would have gotten 9/10 except for the furnace thing.
      Leading to this question: is the furnace that thing that heats your water? Because when it gets cold here in California, we wear two t-shirts and shiver VERY dramatically. Sometimes rubbing our hands together for effect to impress the guests. Shout-out to Donner Party, YO!

  10. Trencher93 says:

    “Joining a warehouse club.”

    Look at this as an up-front loan you’re giving to a company.

    You do so in the expectation that you’ll get your money back (the principle) and interest (any additional savings over the loan amount) during the term of the loan (normally one year).

    The company would only do this (i.e. lose money on you) if (a) they thought they could lock you into purchases, even cheaper ones than normal, you’d make elsewhere, or (b) you wouldn’t collect all the money they owe you on a loan.

    I buy a lot of technical books for my work, so a B-A-M millionaire card makes sense. I recoup the money I spent on one order, and everything else is a big interest payment. They lose money like crazy on me, but they’re getting sales I might have taken to another seller.

    If you do not spend enough to get your loan back, plus enough to get some interest, it’s not worth it. You also have to already be spending the money — forking out additional money to get your loan back doesn’t make sense.

    And other factors… For me, the discount club location is so bad where I live I will gladly pay the premium …

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      @Trencher93: I missed this question as well. Assuming you have children or a large household, having a membership is probably worth the cost, but for someone like myself who spends maybe $25 per week on groceries and misc household products, having a membership at a Costco or Sam’s Club wouldn’t be worth the money. For bulk items like tp or paper towels most grocery stores or smaller wharehouse stores like Smart n’ Final have pretty decent deals on these items.

  11. edwardso says:

    8/10. I missed the furnace and the mutual funds. A note on renter’s insurance. Many leases require that you maintain insurance so be sure to check

  12. pb5000 says:

    The oil change question is poorly worded.

    I got a 10/10 though.

  13. pkoutoul says:

    I only missed the warehouse club question, and I still disagree with their conclusion that it’s always worth it. It can be worth it, but for most folks, they wind up buying too much and spending more at those places.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @pkoutoul: They say at the end that it’s not worth it if you’re buying too much and throwing stuff out.

      • Murph1908 says:

        @bonzombiekitty:
        As a parent of a 1 year old, this was an easy question for me. Formula is over $1.20 an ounce at supermarkets, and over $1.00 an ounce at Target. BJs has formula in 35 ounce containers for $30.

        Add onto that the savings on diapers, wipes, and baby food, the money I saved in this one year alone probably pays for my membership for the rest of my life. ($20 a year for 30 more years, $600, maybe).

    • subtlefrog says:

      @pkoutoul: I think it’s a poor question – or rather the answer options are poor. For us, joining wouldn’t be worth it – there are only two of us, so we don’t go through the large sizes of anything perishable. I don’t do dairy or meat, and the closest one isn’t that close, which in Los Angeles means that frankly, I’m not going to choose to go there.

      So they say I got 8/10, but I’m going to regrade myself. :)

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @pkoutoul: I missed that one too, but there aren’t any warehouse clubs near me so I’m not very edumucated on them. :) We DO have an unclaimed freight and a restaurant supply store, both open to the public, and I think that serves pretty much the same purpose, but without the membership fee.

      (On the downside, every time I go to the restaurant supply store, I end up trying to convince myself that I TOTALLY need sixteen of those red fry baskets because THEY’RE JUST SO CUTE.)

  14. JollyJumjuck says:

    I missed the furnace question, mainly because I have baseboard heating and a rented water heating tank. Also the warehouse membership value is dubious if you are single and don’t buy much. You either waste food, or the paltry savings ends up being the price of the membership.
    On a side note, I can’t agree more with the renter’s insurance. I can sympathize with people who have lost everything in an apartment fire, but if they were too cheap to buy renter’s insurance when they could have afforded it, and end up begging other people to help them out (often publicly in the form of a newspaper sob story), my sympathy dries right up.

    • edwardso says:

      @JollyJumjuck: My insurance is $100/year. Though I do live in a pretty nice neighborhood and have a large dog. The piece of mind the insurance gives me is worth it

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @JollyJumjuck: With the renters’ insurance, you can also get “high-value item” riders. Like we had a rider for my engagement ring (which was probably worth more than everything else in the damn apartment combined). THAT brought me a lot of peace of mind.

      (Amusingly, I haven’t been able to get a rider insuring my contrabass, because there’s nobody nearby — within like 150 miles — who can do a valuation for the insurance company and they’re not quite sure what to do about it, and don’t have any other contrabasses currently insured in the area. And I can’t take it to the valuation guy because my car is now too small to transport it!)

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @JollyJumjuck: I always assumed that renter’s insurance would be like bad health insurance, where they nickel & dime you to death after years of collecting premiums. Clothing, electronics, books, furniture: everything they’d turn around and give you pennies on the dollar, and that’s only if every item you’re submitting a claim for has serial numbers and receipts stored in a safety deposit box AND photographs for. While laughing like a Nickelodeon villain.
      Yeah, I’m cynical about insurance companies. Can you tell?

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @Trai_Dep: Interesting that there haven’t been any apartment insurance stories on the Consumerist yet. But then there haven’t been a lot of insurance stories at all actually…

        Oh, and the Nickelodeon line made me laugh.

  15. nwaasob says:

    9/10. I missed the question on accidental death insurance. I travel for a living so to me the math on an accidental policy works out…particularly since my company pays the premium. A matter of perspective…

    • zlionsfan says:

      @nwaasob: I got the same score, 9/10 missing the accidental death question.

      I don’t think these are all cut-and-dried. There are some that seem pretty solid (get renter’s insurance, skip premium gas), but most of the rest seem like they need “In most situations” or “Depending on X”.

      For example, if you don’t have many assets, or if you don’t particularly care who gets your stuff (assets/debt/etc.) and you have no pets, why hire a lawyer?

      The brand-name drug thing is a great example. Maybe that should have read “Assuming that your body reacts identically to both the brand-name drug and the generic …”

  16. spinfire says:

    I missed only the club question. I don’t have one of those clubs super close by, and I don’t think I’d go often enough to really save money.

    I change my oil, but I also know (from oil analysis, even) that 5,000 is conservative for my vehicle (Honda Accord) on conventional (“Dino”) oil. Similarly 10,000 is conservative for the Golf TDI using synthetic.

    We dodged a bullet with renter’s insurance. I *knew* it was smart to have but we just never dealt with it. Now we have homeowner’s insurance so the point is moot. But damn, we really should have had renter’s insurance back when we rented.

  17. IsaacDampie says:

    I got 10/10. All of them were pretty obvious, except the furnace one (I have no furnace experience due to location), which I guessed correctly anyway.

  18. TadizzleFizzle says:

    5/10 for me, obviously not a great consumerist.

    I have to object to the warehouse store answer, though. We save more using coupons (which warehouse stores don’t accept) than we would with the club membership that we allowed to lapse.

  19. Murph1908 says:

    10 for 10!

    So, why am I not rich? Oh yeah. Because I’m lazy.

  20. thesadtomato says:

    10/10, but my husband and I don’t follow all their advice. Oil changes every 3000 on an 8 year old VW really keep it running well, and we use premium gasoline, too, though I don’t know what the manual advises.

    I’ve always intended to get renter’s insurance; I had friends who lost basically everything in a fire. Must get on that.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      @thesadtomato: If your engine doesn’t require it, premium gas is worse than regular gas. The only thing “premium” about it is the higher octane rating, which prevents knocking in engines with high compression ratios. If you put it in a standard engine, you are paying extra money, lowering your fuel economy, and receiving no benefits whatsoever over regular gas.

      Using premium gas in an engine that doesn’t need it is wrong, period.

  21. thesadtomato says:

    Oh, and the plural of quiz is quizzes.

  22. bishophicks says:

    Woo! Ten out of ten!

    Warehouse clubs are worth it, especially for families. I save more than the membership fee on milk alone. Last night I went and bought 1 gal. of milk, two dozen eggs and 2 loaves of bread. I then went to the supermarket next door and bought a few other things I needed that BJ’s didn’t have. My wife thinks I’m crazy to make two stops, but the stores are practically right next to each other and I saved over $5 on just those 5 items.

    I figure I save at least $300/year after adjusting for the membership fee. And I only buy groceries – I don’t buy furniture, electronics or small appliances there.

  23. Hobz says:

    I scored 8 out of 10. I disagree with the club question. Our Sam’s club is a $35 yearly membership. I have never really found a tremendous savings when buying from there. Things such as tires, electronics and even clothing can be found cheaper online or via a sales add in the local paper. For small businesses and such, I see this as great thing. But for your small family? We save more by just buying BoGo items, store brand and using coupons.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I know that in a simplified questionnaire such as this it’s just not possible to cover all the bases. That said, I don’t think the warehouse membership fee is really worth the extra time that I’d have to spend adding another errand to my week so that I can save a few bucks on a handful of staples. The roads by BJs and Costco where I live are damn near impossible to navigate on Saturdays so I doubt that there’s any way to shop there that doesn’t involve an hour or more. They’d have to *give* me the eggs and milk to make me want to actually go there.

  25. BonnibelDowell says:

    What? No question on whether to upgrade my iphone for the third time? rofl

  26. HogwartsAlum says:

    Wheeeee!

    I got them all right! Including the mutual fund one, which I just guessed. Oh well, I had a 50/50 chance of picking the right answer.

  27. GuidedByLemons says:

    I missed the oil change question, because my owner’s manual actually says to change the oil every 3000 miles for typical driving. “SORRY, WRONG!” my ass.

    Granted, I actually change my oil roughly every 4500 miles or so since I do more highway driving than the average person, and the schedule in the manual for pure highway driving is every 6000 miles.

  28. Thain says:

    10/10. I admit that I had to guess about the mutual funds, but no sales load SOUNDED right, and lo and behold, it was ;-).

  29. tkates says:

    I am a big proponent of renter’s insurance. Seriously, it’s $10-$20 a month tacked on to your car insurance bill. If you can’t afford it, shop around for lower car insurance and then add renters.

    A lot of people think that they are covered under their parent’s policies or their landlord’s policies. I believe your parent’s policy only covers you if you’re in a dorm. Your landlord probably doesn’t take out a policy for his rental properties. Buck up and pay the cash so you won’t cry deeply when your apartment catches fire from a faulty toaster.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @tkates: Even if the landlord does have a policy it’d just be for the property and buildings they own and wouldn’t cover anything lost by the tenants. Is it even possible to the landlord’s insurance to cover the tenant’s personal belongings? Sounds like that shouldn’t work.

      I think some people don’t buy insurance because they think that they’re careful enough not to need it but you have to protect yourself from other people’s carelessness: like leaving a candle burning while they leave the apartment.