4 Ways You Pay To Be Lazy

rabbit

(jb0)

Debt Ninja reasons that many of day-to-die life’s seemingly built-in-costs are just the price of sitting on the couch and doing as little as possible. He meditated in his money-saving samurai way and came up with four things he could do himself that he routinely pays for.

His reasons from the post, with my commentary:

*Eating out. Is a mid-workday McDonald’s run really all that tastier than a sandwich from home?

*Oil changes. Doing the deed yourself takes a little bit of know-how and 15 minutes of your time, but instead you lug your car to a mechanic and waste away in the waiting room for an hour or more.

*Taxes. It’s just easier to shove a box of receipts in your accountant’s face and forget about it, right?

*Greeting cards. Just make them on your computer and fold a piece of paper in half.

What sorts of easy things would you rather pay for then do yourself, and why?

How much does being lazy cost you? [Punch Debt In The Face]

Comments

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  1. SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

    I’m guilty of the eating out for lunch due to laziness. But, I can’t cook well. That’s my excuse, and I’m stickin’ to it!

    • tsukiotoshi says:

      I always have awesome intentions of bringing my own lunch before I head out to class but what inevitably happens is that I look at the clock and find “Oh no! I only have five minutes to catch the last bus to school for half an hour!” and run out the door sans sandwich. Also it’s been super hot the past couple of days so I worry about the food going bad in the time I spend waiting at the bus stop, on the bus, and then going about my business until it’s lunch time.

      Also I’m lazy.

      • goodfellow_puck says:

        LOL! Make your lunch the night before, or even portion out multiple lunches if you have leftovers or something that keeps well all ready to go. Take an old water bottle filled with tap and stick it in the freezer–instant ice pack to keep your lunch okay in the heat. ;)

        • aloria says:

          I make my lunch the night before, but I am NOT a morning person, and can never remember to get it out of the fridge. :(

          • fourclover54 says:

            I have this same problem. I often leave my coffee cup at home to so I am work sans coffee. I have to go buy some if my coworker is out of beans because I’m not as pleasant without the caffeine fix.

            • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

              When you get home, hang something over the inside doorknob, or put a rubber band around your keys. Much more effective than…wait, what is this string doing around my finger again?

    • DarkPsion says:

      Plus, everyone having a $1 menu makes this a little less painful.

    • jenjenjen says:

      I’ve found there are some frozen microwave thingies that are actually not bad. I like a few things in the “Eating Right” line from Vons/Safeway so when they have sales (which is often) I buy a pile of them. One of those and some kind of fruit is a decent lunch and way less than eating out. Plus it’s faster than going out so I have more time for playing online during my lunch break!

    • tbax929 says:

      I got out for lunch a lot, but we’re usually schmoozing clients, so I’m not paying out of my pocket.

      Lunch is my favorite meal to eat at restaurants because I feel like I have the rest of the day to burn it off, not that I do.

  2. thesadtomato says:

    I probably buy 10 greeting cards a year, and it’s a little nicer than a LaserJet printed card. I think I can afford the (at most) $40 it costs to do that.

    • Arphahat says:

      I actually think making your cards is a little more personal and meaningful. When someone buys me a card, I read it and thank them, then throw it away. If someone takes the time to make one, I keep it, because the thought behind it is more meaningful.

      I make all my cards and have had no complaints, but I’m not even sure what the complaint would be?

      • thesadtomato says:

        Getting nice paperstock and making your own card is something I do often, but I guess I think printed off the computer on bond paper and folded in half a little tacky. Non gustibus disputandum.

    • Kevin411 says:

      Last year I quit buying them altogether. They cost so much, look so impersonal and take me forever to select. I bought a bulk pack of generic cards (elegant design with no indication of sentiment (monogram cards would also do) and write my own sentiment and mail it out right away. If I am seeing the person, they don’t get a card unless it’s a money-wrapper or a /requested/ store gift card. (Why do we pay a company to express a sentiment to a person with whom we are in the same room when they read it?) At the holidays I switch to a generic winter design (again, cheap and in bulk).

  3. backinpgh says:

    I’d say the biggest culprits these days are convenience foods. Bagged salad. 100 calorie packs of snacks. Frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Sliced apples and caramel doused in preservatives. Come on.

  4. TuxedoCartman says:

    Are oil changes really that much cheaper if you do them yourself? I remember pricing oil, filters, and disposal fees one time, and it was spot on exactly what most shops charge for the service.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      I think your price assessments were correct just a couple years ago. But recently the prices for oil changes has increased a lot. Nobody in Phx has a regular price of less than $20-something. WM charges $20. I used to be able to get a synthetic change at WM for $35, but now it’s almost $60 there. I change my own, and pay about $15 for the oil and another $4 for the filter. It’s about the same price as taking it in, but I buy better quality oil and have some left over when I’m done.

      • lestahb says:

        Yup me too. And by that, I take it to my friends house who does it for me, and in return, I fix his computer. It saves a couple of bucks, and I know it is done right.

    • Enduro says:

      I go to my local Firestone. It’s 34 bucks but they also rotate and check my tires (since I bought them from them), top my fluids and plug the car into their computer to see if anything is up. I also don’t have to get on my back and underneath my dirty automobile.

      I’ll keep packing a lunch and pay the 10 dollar luxury tax for an oil change once every three months, thankyouverymuch.

      • Powerlurker says:

        Yeah, I usually get my oil changes done at the dealership. It costs $30, but they use OEM parts, decent oil, inspect the car, and even throw in a car wash. I’m more then willing to spend the extra few bucks to not lie on my back underneath the car, especially since I live in an apartment complex that prohibits car maintenance in the parking lot.

      • surfphoto says:

        My Firestone only charges $16.99+tax for the total bill – without a coupon. If you go there frequently I’d ask them if they had any in system discounts. This price is theoretically only if you pay with the “Firestone credit card” but they give it to me anyway. I would be hard pressed to beat that changing my own oil.

    • jefeloco says:

      Edzachary. I priced out 5 quarts of 5w-20 and a decent filter at $34 in my little town, slightly cheaper if I drive to Walmart (but offset by the fuel cost); the local lube’n’go charges me $31.99 to use the exact same oil and filter I would buy and tops off all of my fluids/air AND cleans the windows/carpet while they’re at it.

      I call that a lazy win/win.

      • Jfielder says:

        5qts and a filter can be had at WM for less than 15 dollars….

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I’m very dubious of quick lube places that top off fluids. Many cars are very finicky when it comes to ATF fluid and coolant. They typically top off all coolant with universal Prestone (or equivalent) which really shouldn’t be used in cars that require HOAT coolant (Ford, Chrysler, and European brands). They also use universal ATF which they mix with additive packs for compatibility, which I’d be dubious about putting in cars with sensitive transmissions (Honda and Chrysler).

        I’d stick with either OEM fluids, name brand fluids that I specify to my mechanic, or what I pick out myself.

        • morehalcyondays says:

          Most manufacturers specific that topping with another type of Transmission fluid is acceptable.

          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            There’s nothing wrong with aftermarket fluids that meet manufacturer specifications. It’s the universal fluids and/or universal fluids that have additive packs that can cause problems. Putting “universal” coolant into some cars is a good way to ruin the radiator and water pump and at the very least guaranteeing that you get nowhere near 100,000 miles out of it. There have been several lawsuits regarding what “universal” means from people who mixed fluids, only to ruin their radiators.

            Hondas are incredibly picky when it comes to ATF fluid. Recently, there have been several quality aftermarket equivalents but this isn’t what places like Jiffy Lube use.

            • jefeloco says:

              yeah, um, the place i go to is called “Kuna Lube and Go” because it is the only oil change shop in town. It is locally owned and operated by a couple of gear head brothers; they only use high quality stuff specific to your car; why in the name of holy peanuts do so many people drive automagics? You don’t need to worry about ATF fluid or unintended acceleration if you row your own…

    • cynical_reincarnation says:

      I take mine in because i live in an apartment, so its not a matter of cheap. I know how to do it, and have done it can more, but cannot due to them not wanting car work done in their lot…

    • pb5000 says:

      I’ve been back and forth with this one for some time and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just going to take it into the shop for a change. Because of their loyalty program, the 5th oil change is always free which get’s me the 5 changes for around $100-$115 depending on which coupons they have at the time. My car takes 4.5 quarts of oil so that’s usually $15ish and I prefer to use the genuine honda filters (many would say that’s a waste but I disagree) at $6, then it always takes me about an hour to do the work and take the old oil to a disposal place. I’ve never taken it in for a change and been there longer than an hour, and they do a multipoint inspection that usually results in an attempted up sell to me for additional services, but since I know how to do most of the trivial ones, I use it as a second opinion as to when to do some of the stuff myself that is actually most cost effective than taking it in for (ie brake pads and air filters).

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        It’s a tough call on OEM vs. aftermarket oil filters. Aren’t the Honda filters contracted out to FRAM?

        • pb5000 says:

          couldn’t tell you anymore, I’ve been taking it to the dealership for long enough where I’ve not had to pay attention to it. My honda has 156K miles and still running great.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      For many shops, oil changes are a loss leader and paying $25 or $30 isn’t that bad of a deal. The downside is you usually wind up with bulk oil and a cheap filter.

      If you do it yourself, you can pick up a very good filter (I use NAPA Gold which is made by Wix) for less than $7 and 5 quarts of oil for $15 for conventional or $25 for synthetic. My mechanic will use whatever supplies I request and will usually do the whole deal for around $35 or cheaper if he already has the car on the lift for something else.

      For me, it’s worth paying a few extra dollars to have someone else do it for me. It’s just not worth the time for me to jack the car up, install the jackstands, change the oil, and then store the oil until I get around to taking it back for recycling. If I owned a lift or a truck that didn’t require jacking, then I might go back to doing it myself.

    • Southern says:

      Guess it depends on where you live. There are shops where I live where I can literally be in and out in 15 minutes, and it only costs about $18 for the whole shebang (5 quarts of oil & new filter). I can barely buy the oil and the filter for that.

      I’d much rather pay them to do it.

      As for the other tips, I thought those were common sense. *Shrug*

    • shepd says:

      Yes, it’s cheaper to do it yourself.

      A quality brand 5 L of oil (on sale) is $13. I’ve never bought it not on sale, and oil is something where someone is always having a sale. The filter is $6 regular price for something decentish.

      The cheapest place will do it for $19.99 with the cheapest bulk oil available and the cheapest filter money can’t buy. Most places charge $25 – $35.

      My car only takes about 3 L of the 5 L of oil, so I get a “free” oil change every other time. That means my average cost is under $15 with better stuff and the knowledge it was done right.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I’m very dubious of the quick lube places. I’ve just heard too many horror stories of topping off with the wrong fluids, not installing filters correctly, forgetting to refill oil, using Chinese oil filters, bulk oil, etc. Dealerships aren’t much better and don’t typically put their best workers in the lube tech job.

        I either do it myself or as of late, have my mechanic do my oil changes with the filters/oil I specify or provide.

        • Big Ant says:

          I went to the quick place one time and they completely screwed it up so bad that the screw was worn away, the whole thing had to be re drilled to actually tighten. I don’t go to the quick places anymore. I go to the shop where I usually get repairs. But just got a car and have 3 years of free oil changes which is good.

      • sponica says:

        Doing your own work is all fine and well when you have your own place, with a driveway….but living anywhere with a communal parking lot, doing work on your cars is usually prohibited.

        And I’ve never waited for an oil change to be done, I drop off the car, pick up a loaner, and come back at the end of the work day. And usually it’s never JUST an oil change I’m having done. Next one will include a “figure out why the AC is broken, and recharge it even if it will just die again in a month”

        • shepd says:

          I can’t do it where I live, either. I go to my parents and do it there. If they didn’t have a place, I’d just find a backroad in the country, or an abandoned parking lot, or maybe a carpool area to get it done. If you’ve got the car, you can get it somewhere to do it. :^)

          • Mary says:

            You obviously don’t live where I live.

            I can’t think of a place within twenty square miles where I could do an oil change, since everybody I know lives in apartments, condos, townhouses, etc. If you got caught trying to change your oil in a parking lot for a business, I can’t imagine how cranky they would get if you were caught, not to mention the way people drive in the parking lots here? I’d never risk it in a million years.

            Country roads? I’m sure they exist, but not with any kind of shoulder to speak of and with even more of the crazed drivers. I wouldn’t even want to have to change a tire on any of them.

            The nearest place I could realistically go to change my oil and have all the space, tools, and safety I would need to do it is about three and a half hours drive. It goes by the name of “Dad’s garage.” If I’m already going home, then sure, we’ll change the oil there. But driving several hundred miles for an oil change is a bit out of the way.

      • Doubts42 says:

        Most cities have disposal fees for the oil that can add another $5.00 to $25.00 to that cost. So unless you can store the used oil yourself, or you are one of the lovely people who pour it into the storm drain you need to add that cost in as well.

        • shepd says:

          Disposing oil is free where I am (Although you pay a small recovery fee up front). I’ve been led to believe that most places that sell oil will also take it free. You can also give it away to most oil change places, since they sell the used oil off they’re happy to take some off your hands for free.

          I’ve never paid once to dispose of it. Walmart will even take it off my hands.

      • LACubsFan says:

        I go to Jiffy Lube and pay $25 for Mobil 1 synthetic oil. They top off all my fluids, clean the outside of my car, vacuum the inside of my car, and I get to watch ESPN in the waiting room while flirting with the beautiful young lady that works there.

    • SOhp101 says:

      Oil changes are generally cheaper to DIY, but when you live in a major city and don’t have the space to actually do the oil change, you’re better off doing it at a mechanic. Plus it’s better to do it at a mechanic you trust because they’ll check for other things you actually need to get done before it becomes a more expensive problem.

    • nbs2 says:

      The local Honda specialist (not dealer) has a nice setup where cars with more than 100k miles get every other oil change free. Since they toss in the oil change when I get the 15k mile services done, the 7500 mile changes are free. If/when the car gets to 200k miles, all oil changes will be free. Not a bad deal.

      When we get around to buying a second car, I’ll do my own changes on it, but still bring the current one to them, as they do little consumer friendly things like free oil disposal.

    • Big Mama Pain says:

      Oil changes are definitely something I’d rather pay someone else to do. By the time you pay for oil, filter and disposal fee of the old oil, you’re only saving like $5. Plus, the place I get it changed tops off all your fluids, checks the tires, etc, plus free top offs of all fluids between oil changes. Considering my car burns about 3 quarts between oil changes, looks like it’s cheaper to pay someone.

      Now tune ups, I definitely do myself-waaaaay cheaper!

      • jayman419 says:

        You’re saving money backwards. Get that thing in a shop for a proper tune-up, and change your own oil if you need to feel proactive.

        If you add more than 1 (one) quart of oil in between changes there is a serious problem. Either worn piston rings, a bad gasket, or a crack in the oil pan… something.

        A car that burns oil like that is also wasting just as much gas and that’s not the only problem it’s gonna have if it’s not tuned right.

        If you gapped the spark plugs or fit a gasket wrong by a hundredth of an inch, if you ever decided to leave a filter that “looked okay” until your next go-round, if you tightened the belts too much or not enough by just a tiny tiny bit, that engine is literally just throwing your money away.

        Depending on the year of the car (anything after about 1980-ish) it will also affect the computer that controls your fuel injector and your transmission, cutting the power you have available.

        You can verify this yourself without spending an extra dime for testing or analysis. Just check the listed MPG for your vehicle, keep track of your fuel use based on your odometer and the size of your gas tank, then compare the two.

        You may be saving $250 (max, some places it’s as low as $50) on a tune-up every couple of years, but if you’re basically pouring every third fill-up on the ground, how much does it really work out to for the duration? And what about the planet?

    • ajlei says:

      As a girl who can and has changed her own oil before, I prefer to just take it in. It takes no longer than 15 minutes to get it done, and usually I have a coupon to bring the price down to about $20 tops. I’m a little claustrophobic, so crawling under my car using just a little jack freaks me out. Now, if I had a nice shop all to myself, I’d be good to go!

    • Kid Awesome says:

      I’ve done the calculation and I’d save $9.50 if I did an oil change myself. That’s also assuming I have a car ramp (which I don’t) so really it would take me over 20 oil changes for me to actualyl “payoff” buying some car ramps to actualyl do the oil change.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      The labor component on my dealer oil changes is $26 out of $120. Oil + Filter is $80 on ebay, so I COULD save $40… There is more work to get to the drain plug on my car (aerodynamic cover under the engine) and hauling used oil and filters for disposal eats up ANY time savings.

      Plus I get a full car wash.

    • trencherman says:

      I used to change my own oil, and it is absolutely not worth the time and bother. 15 minutes for the job is not realistic if you don’t have the right set up. You have to go buy the filter, and dispose of the oil. There’s always a coupon to change your oil cheap, so you usually don’t even come out that far ahead financially changing it yourself, even NOT counting your time.

    • nygenxer says:

      Yeah, you’re only saving about $5 – $10, but that’ll more than pay for an icy cold beer to enjoy after a job well done.

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      The only problem I have with doing oil changes at home is the whole “The car has an annoying “Change Oil” light and only the dealer can shut it off” thing.

  5. Arphahat says:

    I had heard that, after disposing of the oil and purchasing new oil and filter, you really don’t save much, if anything, by doing it yourself. Is that true?

    • Shadowman615 says:

      Does for me because my car (supposedly) takes more expensive oil. Whether or not this is actually necessary is an argument for another time, but if I buy that oil and filter myself, then I’m saving quite a bit vs paying quite the premium for the oil at the dealership, or taking the oil to a mechanic or lube place, paying for service and hoping they actually use it.

      On my wife’s SUV, which takes regular oil it comes down to about $10 in savings. $15 for the oil and filter (free disposal at the auto parts shop) vs $25 for a change elsewhere. I just do it anyway since I already have all of the tools and do my own so why not, I figure.

      Otherwise I’d likely just take it in, though.

      Mostly I just do it because it keeps me more in touch with my car. Also easy DIY things like changing the intake and cabin filters, and slightly harder things like coolant can add up to big savings.

  6. JollyJumjuck says:

    DIY oil changes are fine if you live in a house and have your own driveway or garage. If you live in a townhouse or an apartment with a communal parking lot, chances are you would not be allowed to change your oil there. Plus, not everyone is a gearhead.

    • Tim says:

      If you have a parking lot at all, that is. I don’t have a car, but my girlfriend parks hers on the street.

    • cynical_reincarnation says:

      exactly!
      i wish i had a place to sit and wash my car, change my oil, brakes, all that….

    • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

      Yes, 15 minutes is very generous estimate too. Getting rid of the oil is a huge pain in ass, in most towns you have to drive to the dump or some other facility to dispose of it. You need to consider that time as well. It also nearly always leaks in your trunk no matter how “leak proof” the container or many rags/tarps you lay down. That’s even worse if you drive a hatchback or SUV and get oil on your trunk carpet, so you’d have to factor in the cost of a carpet cleaning and/or the depreciation of your vehicles value if you leave the oil stains.

      Also if your car is lower to the ground it can be impossible to get under it without a jack or ramps and It’s not save to crawl under the car with the emergency jack. You’d have to consider the cost of that too or the time it would take to borrow/return one from a friend.

      All and all I’d rather just pay the extra $5-10. If you’re super diligent about oil changes you’d save maybe $20 a year if you change it every 3 months. But really most people skirt the line and probably change it once or twice a year.

      • failurate says:

        Quite a few of the quick oil change places will accept your oil for free. Call and ask.
        I am pretty sure they sell the oil they recover.

    • PerpetualStudent says:

      A few years ago, I replaced a tire in my complex’s parking lot – it was mid-morning and it was a quick switch with my spare before I headed to class. I came home to find a written warning detailing inappropriate tenant behavior and threatening penalty if it happens again. I thought I did something else until I checked with the management and they confirmed it was for changing my tire – no car work, of any form, was permitted.

      • partofme says:

        Wow. That’s beyond brutal. My lease says I can’t do any work, but thankfully, nobody from the rental agency is usually around to check this. I’ll probably attempt anything that doesn’t have a chance to make a mess, can be finished in a short period of time, and can easily be closed up to look like nothing’s amiss if I need to wait for a part.

        • Mary says:

          I agree, yikes. We check our tires and fill them with air on a pretty regular basis, and our neighbors will come by to talk shop with us and discuss the cars for a bit if they see us. Changing a tired wouldn’t be a problem (and if it was, you bet I’d be in front of the HOA explaining to him how STUPID that was in a hot second) but oil changes? Completely out. Massively verboten.

      • dolemite says:

        This is why I own my own house. F anyone trying to tell me what to do on my own property.

      • madanthony says:

        My townhouse’s HOA prohibits car repairs in the parking lot – except for emergency repairs. I’m pretty sure changing a flat tire would qualify.

        I’d rather see my neighbor’s changing a tire than see a car with a flat tire sitting around…

  7. macnbc says:

    I personally take my car out for an oil change not just for the actual oil but because I’d rather have a trained professional give my car a once-over, since most places do a multi-point inspection at the same time.

    • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

      Srsly? I’d rather NOT have a semitrained semiprofessional leave the oil fill cap on top of my engine where it will do nothing to keep the oil inside the engine AND will damage my hood when he drops it on the oil cap. That guy’s “once-over” consists of plugging the car into a computer, a consumer-grade equivalent of which can be had on Amazon for $70 these days.

      But I don’t have a driveway, so I don’t have much choice.

      (FTR, I agree with many of the other comments about why paying for oil changes is efficient. It’s just that this isn’t a good reason, because the folks at Jiffy Lube generally aren’t pros.)

      • sponica says:

        don’t go to Jiffy Lube then….I go to my mom and pop auto repair place. Price wise, I’m probably not saving much from the dealership but I’m getting someone who is more willing to work with me on price and paying over time. And giving the AAA discount when I don’t have AAA.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I completely agree. If you go to your corner mechanic, you’ll have an actual mechanic work on your car and not a lube tech.

        • whogots is "not computer knowledgeable" says:

          That’s a different thing, then, isn’t it? The PP referred to “most places”, which I took to mean the average of all quick-lube shops.

          And — my mistake — I used Jiffy Lube as a generic term. I don’t even remember which chain bent my hood, because it could have happened at any of the big chains. Mom & pop shops vary much more broadly in quality.

    • mpaquette says:

      By “trained professional” I assume you mean high school dropout. I do my own oil changes not because it’s cheaper, but because I know it will be done correctly.

      • Mary says:

        Well, when you do your research and choose a good mechanic that you can trust, you can do things like that.

        There are plenty of bad garages out there, absolutely. But that’s why they don’t get my business. I trust the guys who deal with my car, without a doubt, because they’ve proven themselves worthy of that trust back when I had a beater that needed frequent repairs.

        Incidentally, a large portion of my family has were and are mechanics. Regardless of their formal education level, they did it because they were gifted at it, and would do the best possible job that you could ask for. Your comment seems to be stating that everybody who gets paid to fix cars is an idiot who isn’t fit to touch your engine. That’s hardly the case.

  8. Kohl's Retail Monkey says:

    There’s still a stigma attached to making a card yourself. It’s really not socially the same to make vs buy a card.

    • Bakergirl says:

      Find a kid, and have s/he make the card. Volia! It’s cute and acceptable – because a kid made it!

      • ssaoi says:

        That’s a great idea.

      • hoi-polloi says:

        We’ve been really big on handmade cards since I had a kid. He loves playing with markers, colored pencils, scissors, and glue, especially when there’s a purpose. I think handmade is acceptable, while something randomly found online and printed on stock 8.5 x 11 may be considered cheap or rushed.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      Everyone loves my homemade cards dammit!
      Of Course, I kinda do art for a living so that’s probably why.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        Honestly, I appreciate a homemade card more than a store bought one. It means you took the time to think about it and make instead of running by a store and scribbling your name on one.

        • WontEndWell says:

          I’d just prefer if someone told me “happy (Insert Occasion.)” instead of giving me a card. It’s just an awkward piece of paper I have to hold onto for a week so someone doesn’t feel bad.

          • veritybrown says:

            I’m afraid I feel the same way. I almost hate to help other ladies with stuff at church because I’m almost sure to be accosted a short time later with an effusive thank you card, regardless of how minor my assistance was. I have to cart the thing around for at least a couple of weeks until I feel like I can throw it away. I’d much, much rather hear a hearty “Thank you so much!” in person than some carefully worded gushings written purely to satisfy some hyperactive etiquette impulse. There are times when thank you cards are appropriate, but the idea of sending a thank card for every tiny thing is just too Victorian, even for this old-school girl.

    • searonson says:

      Cards are 2 for a dollar at dollar stores.

    • kalaratri says:

      Depends on what you do to make it. Printing out some crappy clipart = a card no one wants. Get out your scrapbooking supplies and make a pop-up super card and people will be much more impressed.

    • SalesGeek says:

      A “stigma?” Maybe if you’re in fourth grade. My mother-in-law sends us hand-painted Christmas cards every year. They are usually still life watercolors of something like flowers in our yard or an especially beautiful sunflower.

      I’ve kept almost every one of them and they are something we delight in getting every year.

  9. Azuaron says:

    Okay, depending on the complexity of your financial situation, doing taxes yourself is incredibly stupid. A good CPA knows more about taxes than you could ever hope to, and will actually save you money (because you’ll pay less taxes). If nothing else, doing your own taxes costs hours and hours of time, especially if you don’t really know what you’re doing (99% of people). Personally, I’d rather have that time to make money freelancing than spend it doing my own taxes.

    • mac-phisto says:

      you should at least take the time to learn you’re return & know what it contains. if you have a complicated return, i think it’s wise to use a CPA, but that doesn’t let you off the hook for knowing what the return contains. very few CPAs or tax preps “insure” your return (as in, pay penalties & interest if they screw up). when you sign the retun, you are agreeing to this statement:

      “Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have examined this return and accompanying schedules and statements, and to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are true, correct, and complete. Declaration of preparer (other than taxpayer) is based on all information of which preparer has any knowledge.”

      simply throwing a box of receipts at your CPA & signing a blank 1040 does not relinquish your responsibility under the law.

    • mythago says:

      This. I assume accountants have the same saying that lawyers do about DIY on complicated issues: “You can pay me now, or pay me later.”

    • veritybrown says:

      I always did my own taxes until we took on the complexity of owning a rental property. All of the forms and schedules involved in depreciation, etc. were just more than I could handle. I would much rather have someone prepare my taxes who actually *understands* all of that, instead of trying to muddle through it myself and most likely getting it wrong.

    • Bob says:

      My rules for taxes is if I absolutely need a 1040 I will NOT do it myself. If I can slide with a 1040A, or even better a 1040EZ, then why not do it yourself?

    • KyBash says:

      The big difference is the fines and/or jail time if they audit your return.

      If you did it yourself, you can claim they were honest mistakes.

      If someone else is involved, it’s automatically considered a conspiracy.

    • Mary says:

      I agree with this. We filed our taxes months ago, and we’ve gotten letters back from the IRS twice now saying we forgot some form or another, and both times they were things that we read we didn’t need for x reason or y.

      My financial situation just got really complicated in the last year, and now we’re still not sure if or when we’re going to get that money that is owed to us, or if it even IS owed in the end.

    • dangerp says:

      I tend to hear this advice from people who routinely go to CPAs, and don’t take the time to understand their own taxes (mary above being possibly the only exception). Sure, there are some pieces that are complicated and take some research, but it surely isn’t rocket science. By doing it myself, I know my financial situation inside and out, and have a good idea of how certain events will change my tax liability at the end of the year (small business returns and buying a house are two examples this year).

      Plus, unless you dig into the details, there’s no way to know if your CPA is being complete and thorough. My friend showed me her tax return from her family’s long time CPA. She goes to school, and she has student loans in active repayment. I know this, and the CPA knows this. I spotted in about 45 seconds that the CPA had not claimed any education credits or student loan interest deductions. I did a quick calculation and found out she could have saved over a thousand dollars! And this is someone her family has trusted for years!

  10. savashley says:

    car wash!

    • YamiNoSenshi says:

      That depends. If you have a house and an outdoor house and a driveway, maybe. But even after all that, I get can a complete wash & dry for $8. And can you really put a price on sitting in the care as it goes through the car wash tunnel?

      • partofme says:

        That $8 wash never gets my car as clean as I would have by hand. I’m apartment living, so I feel like I’m stuck paying more for much less quality.

        • Gstump says:

          can’t you go to one of those DIY wash things where you was the car on their lot. anyway I only go to cheerleader carwashes ;)

    • DarkPsion says:

      I just save my pop cans for the car wash.

      We have those recycle bins that give you quarters for your cans, so 3 or 4 bags of pop cans gives me enough quarters for a car wash.

      • savashley says:

        I don’t drink pop :(
        I live out in the country with enough room on our property to be able to do it myself, and I know it gets done right if I do it myself, but dang it’s freakin 100 degrees outside and I’m redheaded so I get sunburned too easily, these and other factors pushed me into the drive-through car wash last night on the way home from work…it was filthy though..I”m gonna have to hand wash it now to get it back to being white again lol..the drive-through was just a pre-rinse, if you will!

    • SugarMag says:

      Generally car washes are recycling the water over and over, so I find it environmentally sound to be lazy and pay up in this regard.

      Or, I’m just lazy.

      I do cook five out of seven days though! And buy coffee out only once a week or so only (and that I usually have a gift card for).

      Or, I’m just lazy.

  11. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Eating out – well, no, the McDonalds run probably isn’t going to be as tasty, but it’s all hindsight if I haven’t made a sandwich the night before and would rather not have a rumbling stomach at the 2 pm meeting in front of all my bosses.

    Oil changes – best if you have your own driveway. Apartment dwellers take note that your landlord most likely would not take too kindly to your oil drippings. Also, it’s 100 degrees outside on the east coast – sitting for an hour inside my dealership’s air conditioned lounge beats lying down on pavement, even if I could change my own oil.

    Taxes – I don’t do them myself, but that’s because I’m really afraid of screwing up. Paying a CPA to do takes off an emotional and mental burden.

    Greeting cards – Making your own ceases to be acceptable unless you’re 8 years old or have really good design skills. If your idea of making your own card is Microsoft Word and some curvy text, please march thyself to the nearest Hallmark/Target/Dollar store.

    • NarcolepticGirl says:

      I love making my own cards. I’m kind of ridiculous and just cut out robots and weird stuff from magazines and collage them. I guess it works for me because everyone knows I’m a just a big kid.

    • WeirdJedi says:

      Eating Out – I really don’t like eating out, but my friends insist to go to a “meeting place”. My mom keeps the fridge full at all times anyways. It isn’t like I don’t have any food at home to munch on.

      Oil changes – I’m not much of a mechanic. I could learn, but my mother insists on taking it to a real mechanic. As long as she pays, I don’t object. She did pay for the car.

      Taxes – After getting my first job, I actually got my first chance to doing my taxes. The issue is that the tax people can find loopholes and tax deductions on the smallest things. Paying the company for a deduction I might have missed otherwise usually makes up for it.

      Greeting cards – We have a stack of blank greeting cards. Folding up color paper and writing something could work all on its own, but Mom was big on arts & crafts. We ended up paying more for what could have been simple, but it isn’t out of my own pocket.

  12. CaptCynic says:

    I pay to have my oil changed. It rarely takes more than 10 minutes, I stay in the car while it’s happening and read. It’s worth paying $10 extra so I don’t have to go to the store to buy the oil & filter, jack up my car, get dirty, take the oil to be recycled or disposed of, and then get cleaned up. I consider it well-spent time. My time is worth more than $10 an hour.

  13. FigNinja says:

    While I do my own taxes and rarely eat out, I pay for a gardener and a cleaning service. I work long hours and these are unpleasant jobs that would easily take one of my precious weekend days.

    I make plenty of money but I can’t make more time. When I can turn money back into time at a decent exchange rate, I do it.

    The exchange rate for taxes is pretty bad. It takes me a couple hours (much of which I would have to spend anyway getting my stuff together) and I’d have to pay someone a few hundred dollars to do it. Not worth it to me.

    Eating out saves a little effort but not time. I can make something quick and nutritious at home in the time it takes me to go to a restaurant. Besides, I like cooking.

    The hourly exchange rate for the housekeeper and gardener is about $25/hour but then they also do it all a lot faster than I do. When I add in the fact that these are unpleasant jobs, it’s a bargain.

    • cash_da_pibble says:

      This is the best argument I have read for hiring a cleaning service.
      Do you mind if I borrow it to propose to the Sig. Other?

      • FigNinja says:

        With my blessing. Good luck! It’s really is a small expense when I think of how much it improves my life.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      When I lived with three other roommates, we didn’t all have a lot of money, but we did agree to share on the cost of a cleaning service to come through and clean the common areas twice a month. Sooooooooo worth it. Definitely kept the peace and also motivated everyone to at least pick up after themselves since there were certain things the cleaning service would not do (e.g. cleaning service will clean the sink, but won’t do the dishes or clean a sink that is full of dishes.)

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Don’t forget when you keep up your own house you also have to pay for tools and supplies to do that (and pay for new ones when they break or pay to fix them), if the gardener uses their own which I assume they do then it really is a bargain.

    • mac-phisto says:

      i wish this opinion was articulated this well more often on “how to save” articles. yes, there are many luxuries we can cut out to save, but if you’re already comfortable in your saving, then time-saving is a perfectly acceptable form of saving as well.

    • Keith is checking the Best Buy receipt of a breastfeeding mother (for tips!) says:

      I consider the $70 every two weeks that we pay a housekeeper to be a bargain price for the domestic tranquility it buys me. I’m the neat one, my wife is not.

  14. zmnatz says:

    I eat out for lunch because simply put, I like my food freshly cooked and not just reheated. Give me a kitchen in my office and heck I’ll cook for my coworkers for all I care. I almost never go out for dinner since I have a kitchen at home. It’s as simple as that.

  15. jeff_the_snake says:

    the oil filter for my car is on the very back of the engine. between that and my back and joint problems it’s well worth the 10 bucks to pay someone else to do it rather than crawl underneath, skin a knuckle or two, and then spend the rest of the day in mild pain because of it. i suspect it’s the same for just about anyone who owns a modern small car. they aren’t designed to be user serviceable like they used to be.

  16. Alvis says:

    But you can’t make a cheeseburger at home as cheaply as you can get a McDouble at McDonalds.

    • aloria says:

      Exactly. Meat can be frozen, but things like bread and lettuce go bad. Unless you want to go on a cheeseburger bender or have a large family, you’re going to be throwing out a lot of food, negating any cost savings.

  17. InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

    I have to disagree with the idea that oil changes are basically a waste of money. For me the cost of the oil, filter, and disposal, as well as the initial expenditure of some way of lifting my car so that I can actually get to the underside and drail the oil, well, I’m pretty sure I’d come out close to even. And, even if I didn’t, I don’t consider time spent in the waiting room to be a waste. I take along knitting or crocheting and make productive use of my time.

    I will admit, however, that I certainly do spend money on things I could do myself. I detest washing my car, and will gladly pay to have someone else do it.

  18. BadHairLife says:

    Lot’s of things take a little bit of know how. Oil changes are possible IF you know what you’re doing and you have the facilities to properly dispose of the changed oil. If you DON’T know what you’re doing, you run the risk of destroying your engine and committing a crime of toxic waste contamination.

    I’m sticking to a profesional on that one, thanks!

    Totally agree on the lunches and the greeting card, though.

  19. Dead for tax purposes says:

    Paying somebody else to do your taxes isn’t lazy, it’s smart if you have some complicated issues like a 1031 exchange, passive loss carryforwards or NOL carrybacks, which by the way, the instructions for form 1045 to do an NOL carryback says it would take the average person something like 30 hours. Who wants to spend almost an entire work week on one form?

    I never touch my car for repairs, at least I can hold somebody else responsible if something goes wrong.

    Going out to eat is being lazy, but oh well.

    And as for the greeting cards, my wife buys them, so it’s out of my control, I already thought they were a waste of money.

    • Bob says:

      >1031 exchange, passive loss carryforwards or NOL carrybacks,

      If I have that I ain’t doing my own taxes. I’ll gladly pay for a competent tax accountant for that!

    • meltingcube says:

      “I never touch my car for repairs, at least I can hold somebody else responsible if something goes wrong.”

      Agreed. If I mess up my car, I’d have to pay for it out of my pocket, which could be thousands. I’d rather pay a mechanic to perform the fix or oil change, then that way if they break something, they are paying for the repairs, not me.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Sounds like I might be encountering some hassles for investing in Master Limited Partnerships. I haven’t had to file any K-1 forms yet, but from what all the investment sites are talking about, it could potentially be a really big pain in the … and I’m liable to do something wrong to trigger an audit!

      I’ll definitely be looking at a CPA come next year.

  20. JRock says:

    I’d do my own oil changes but my car (Mazdaspeed3) is too low to the ground for a standard floor jack to fit under. The cost of buying a low-profile jack or race ramps would be about the same as several years’ worth of oil changes. But in general, if you have the garage and drive a normal car, I’d say do it if you can (it can be fun!).

    • ForestGrump says:

      I change oil on my speed3 and it’s not so bad. Just use a normal ramp with a block of wood at the bottom of the ramp. Drive onto the block of wood and then ontop the ramp. Never had a clearance issue with the speed3 doing it this way.

  21. Marshmelly says:

    “Is a mid-workday McDonald’s run really all that tastier than a sandwich from home?”

    yes, yes it is.

    And who wants a crappy paper-folded-in-half greeting card that you made in MS Paint and printed off your ink-jet printer? I don’t think that would pass, unless you’re a kid…then it would be cute. They have them at the dollar store anyway so its not like they cost a fortune.

    • aloria says:

      Seriously, what are these amazing sandwiches people are making that are so much more delicious than McD’s? All I see my coworkers eating is cold bread, meat, and cheese. No thanks.

      • dolemite says:

        Yeah, I agree. A ham and cheese sandwhich with some stale chips isn’t my vision of heaven either.

      • parv says:

        On some weekends, I prepare a vegetables dish (Indian style, dry kind) over weekend which lasts for 2-4 days with 2 sandwiches per dining on average. (Office lounge has a toaster, microwave ovens, and refrigerators.) I toast the bread, warm up the dish, make sandwich; adjust cheese, hot mustard, etc. as desire.

        Here is a simple recipe for potato (2-3 small or 2 medium or 1 large + 1 small), onion (1 medium, like red onion myself), tomato (1 large), & shelled edamame (or peas; enough to see some green), garlic cloves & cilantro if you like …

        - either dice the potato small or cut small slices;
        - cut the onion in slices;
        - add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds to about 2 tablespoon of heated oil;
        - set the heat to medium setting;
        - before cumin seeds burns & after seeds have been turned brown, heat sliced onion till starts turning translucent;
        - add sliced tomato, let it go somewhat mushy;
        - add potato, edamae, salt, cayenne pepper powder, cracked black peppercorns, 3 pinch of turmeric, crushed coriander seeds if you have;
        - mix;
        - heat for about 4 minutes on medium-low heat, mix once a while;
        - add about 3-5 oz of water|buttermilk|orange juice|beer|wine|soup|yogurt (depends on volatility & viscosity);
        - cover, heat on low-medium for about 25 minutes;
        - check around 15 minutes (after covering) to make sure things are not burning up; mix; add liquid if the dish is drying out.

  22. Cyniconvention says:

    *Greeting cards. Just make them on your computer and fold a piece of paper in half.

    Even better;
    Unless it’s a once in a life time event (Graduating high school, college, new baby.) Just say ‘Happy Birthday/Anniversary/Holidays!’

  23. partofme says:

    Thanks for reminding me that my lease specifically states that I can’t work on my car in the parking lot. I miss being back home and having a full shop at my disposal. I utterly despise every single time that I have to pay money for something that would have taken me less time to do myself.

  24. Angus99 says:

    Hemorrhoid operations. Because my wife won’t man up and get it done.

  25. nodaybuttoday says:

    - I eat out everyday for lunch not because I am lazy but because it’s the only time during the day I get to leave my desk. Plus I like variety and that’s not something I can easily do at home.

    - Also, sending your own greeting card makes you look cheap unless you do something nice like write a poem.

    - I don’t do my taxes because my tax guy can save me a lot more money than TurboTax. I worked and lived in three different states last year and when I did it on my own in TurboTax I owed about 2k, when he did them, I owed nothing. It was all based on my own error.

    • Big Ant says:

      “I eat out everyday for lunch not because I am lazy but because it’s the only time during the day I get to leave my desk. Plus I like variety and that’s not something I can easily do at home.”

      I just bring a lunch and go away from my desk and eat it at the cafeteria, though if there isn’t any cafeteria around this is hard to do.

      “Also, sending your own greeting card makes you look cheap unless you do something nice like write a poem.”

      I’d rather have any hand made card than one bought at the store. It actually shows some effort then just buying a bulk supply at some store. Even if it is just downloading a word template and copying/pasting replies. They still have to print it out, fold it, sign it which is more than buying it signing it and giving it to me.

      Besides I never give cards or anything for many holidays that seem just a joke made up by the card factories to sell cards and gifts, which is another reason I print rather than buy.

      If anybody considers any gift I buy them to cheap I will stop giving them gifts. I give them gifts to give them gifts, not because it is some holiday and it is an obligatory $20 gift date. I have had some people get angry because I bought them some gift that I know they would have enjoyed normally, but because they bought me something more expensive I was being cheap. Guess what? I informed them they are unhappy with gifts then I will not get them anymore for them and do not expect any in return, which I never do anyways (I have some people who rarely give out gifts because of many reasons I have stated and others, but I give them gifts occasionally because they are still cool regardless of their gift giving lacking.)
      /end rant on the “commercialization of gift giving”.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        During the summer, I pack a sandwich and I’ll eat outside on the bench. The problem at the moment is that it’s 100 degrees outside and any kind of humidity and excessive heat makes my allergies go crazy. By the time I come back inside, I feel horrible.

      • veritybrown says:

        I’m afraid that I would rather have no gift from someone than a cheap, tacky gift. On the other hand, I LOVE inexpensive gifts that show the person actually knows me and cares about what I like. A used book or a pretty blouse from a yard sale mean a lot more to me than some hideous new decorative item that isn’t at all to my taste, and my true friends feel the same about gifts from me.

  26. coren says:

    Firstly, I do my own taxes at home. Haha

    Second, yeah, sometimes fast food is tastier than what I’d have at home, or a nice change. Plus if I’m gonna have a sandwich (and not PBJ) then that involves investing in meat, bread, cheese, some sort of spread and maybe veggies – which also means that I either spent way more than I would getting a jr. bacon at wendys or I just committed to having like six sandwiches this week.

    I don’t drive (free bus pass for working/attending my college) and I don’t do cards. I think I won!

  27. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I would rather pay someone to do my oil changes. It saves me from having to learn to do it myself, I don’t get all dirty, and I have a fear of my car somehow falling on me if I were to try to do it myself. I always look for coupons to the place I go to save a little on the cost.

    I buy cards in packs since I can get a better deal and then just run through those cards. The only time I made cards myself was for my graduation. I bought a kit from Office Depot for $10 or $15. The companies that make graduation cards were charging up to $150! For way more cards than I needed.

  28. matto says:

    Doing oil changes yourself is a false economy. I’ve built track cars in my garage but have a shop do regular maintenance like oil changes, plug changes and brakes.

    There’s no way you could get a car up on jackstands (safely!), drain the old oil, and fill with fresh oil in 15 minutes. It’s more like an hour, including cleanup of the inevitable spilled oil. And the possible drive to Kragen in the middle of the job because you forgot to pick up a new copper crush washer (hope you remembered before you drained the oil!).

    There’s also the cost of cleaning supplies like shop towels, simple green, and latex gloves hiding in the DIY job too. Unless you’re currently unemployed/retired and have plenty of cheap spare time, having a shop take care of jobs like this (in closer to 15 minutes, since they have lifts and other useful equipment) is a clear win.

    • matto says:

      Oops. I meant to say that I have a shop do that sort of maintenance on my daily drivers.

  29. solipsistnation says:

    To me the advantage of having a garage change my oil is having them also check other stuff– brakes, tires, and so on. I don’t really know enough to look at my car and know what’s going on, and it’s worth the $30 or so and half-hour in a waiting room (with wireless internet!) to have somebody who DOES know what they’re doing check it out.

  30. YamiNoSenshi says:

    I do 3/4 of my taxes for my fiancee and I myself. Both state forms which are easy enough, my federal. The trick is we dump all of the deductions from the mortgage, property taxes, etc, onto one federal form and the other is a 1040-EZ.

  31. VOIDMunashii says:

    Greeting Cards: Just skip’em. Most people just throw them away anyway. Spend the extra money on the gift. If you are just giving cash, then just give the cash. Showing that you stopped by a grocery store with both a card section and an ATM doesn’t show that you put any more effort into it than just giving a couple of greenbacks does.

    I used to be bad about eating out, but now I usually make a big batch of rice at the start of the week and just have that with something mixed in (pot roast, sausage, bacon, whatever’s handy) or some other leftovers for lunch. Of course it helps that the only place within walking distance of my job is Starbucks.

  32. ahecht says:

    1. Eating Out: Networking is everything, and where I work if you don’t eat out you eat alone. I don’t eat out every day, but I have to eat out at least once a week.
    2. Oil Changes: Every apartment lease I’ve seen prohobits any sort of automobile maintenance work in their parking lots, and I don’t think my work would be too keen on it either.
    3. Taxes: I don’t know anyone that uses an accountant — everyone uses TurboTax these days (and I get my TurboTax free from State Farm).
    4. Greeting Cards: Except for my girlfriend, most people I’ve given home-made cards to end up thinking I’m too cheap or lazy to buy a real card, despite how much work I put into my home-made ones. It’s not worth the amount of time and effort just to have people think that I’m cheap.

  33. friendlynerd says:

    I would save about $10 tops doing my own oil change. Not worth it in time or frustration, not to mention that since I live in the city I’d be doing it on the street (illegally, at that.) Pass.

    I think if one is to talk about saving money on oil changes, it should be pointed out that most modern cars don’t recommend them every 3,000 miles unless you’re doing some extreme driving like trailer towing or desert driving. My car recommends every 5,000.

    3,000 miles is more of an oil company guideline.

  34. RandomHookup says:

    And the cost of a messed up oil change is…?

  35. Outrun1986 says:

    It would probably be acceptable to make a greeting card for a child because they are just going to throw it aside anyways and go right for the gift or money in the card. To save money on cards I just ask people to not give me cards, and to give me the $2 instead that they would have spent on the card if they feel they need to be thoughtful.

    Otherwise unless you buy special paper and special supplies making your own card via computer is just tacky IMO, and the supplies will probably cost you more than that .99 cent or 50 cent card in the dollar store will. Dollar Tree here sells cards that originally cost $3.99 for $1 or 50 cents.

  36. mh83 says:

    I hire an accountant for my taxes because if the accountant makes a mistake, he’s liable for it. It’s not so much laziness as peace of mind knowing that I have employed an expert.

  37. Benjamin Stearns says:

    About the oil change scenario… I bring my MacBook Pro, and my 4G card, and get some work done. I don’t waste away at all. This saves me a lot of free time that I wouldn’t otherwise have if I did my own oil changes.

  38. aloria says:

    *Eating out. Is a mid-workday McDonald’s run really all that tastier than a sandwich from home?

    Yes. Cold cuts gross me out, PBJ gets old, and most everything else leaves me hungry after half an hour.

    I usually try to bring in leftovers, but honestly I have a hard time working up an appetite for something I ate only a day or two earlier.

  39. Cantras says:

    Sure, it’s lazy to get an oil change from someone else, but how much of my time does it save? Going to buy all that stuff, buying tools, waiting for oil to drain, getting under my car, trial and error (I have no idea where my oil filter is)…. Or I can go, get it done, have a free cookie and enjoy the wifi.
    I absolutely agree on things like eating out or taxes, but people always mention oil changes and they don’t seem like a good example to me.

  40. Etoiles says:

    I pay for TurboTax and in the future I may pay for an accountant. The last several years I’ve *always* had situations that make things more complicated. (2007: three different jobs in NYC. 2008: one job in NYC, one in MD; lived in VA. 2009: got married.) Especially for New York City residents, it’s worth the $$ to avoid the headache and pay someone or -thing else. (I always just did my own on paper prior to 2007.)

  41. aleck says:

    If you freelance or run your own business, an accountant’s help is essential to maximize deductions and to make sure you follow ever changing corporate tax laws.

    But if you have a salaried job with W2, paying $50 to somebody at HR Block to fill in 1040EZ form is a crime.

  42. Pooterfish says:

    The Dollar General near me has last year’s greeting cards for $0.50 and $1.00.

    They look much better than ones I could make, take less time, and don’t cost much at all.

  43. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    Oil changes, yes, but I do change my own break pads. My husband and I buy a frozen Botelli dinner about once a week.

    I think the worst thing I pay for is alcoholic drinks it bars. I know that buying a bottle and drinking at home is waaaay cheaper, but I keep wanting to socialize and other stupid human stuff like that.

  44. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    1) Totally correct

    2) There are benefits to taking your car to a shop, like noticing things you didn’t know about. Soemtimes it’s worth spending 5-10 more than you would have yourself to have a professional have a once-over. Just be sure not to get scammed.

    3) It’s a balance. You need to do some things yourself, but sometimes (like in #2) you need a professional to look at your work on occasion.

    4) I agree, except sometimes it’s inappropriate to use home-made cards. Especially if you’re using generic paper and not stock and/or embossed paper (which is still cheaper).

  45. sallysassypants says:

    I’d never make a greeting card! It’s a family competition to find the funniest or rudest card to give at birthdays. I’ll spend hours picking one out – actually sounds lazier to print one because it’ll look crappy and like you didn’t care. Now if you are artsy-fartsy and own a letterpress, that’s another story.

  46. AI says:

    Oil changes? Where I live they cost $40, and there are 3 of them near where I live. It usually takes less than 30 minutes with no appointment, and I sit in my car the entire time. If I change oil myself 1) I need a place to do it as I live in a condo and no maintenance is allowed 2) If I get any of my clothes oily, the savings disappear 3) It only saves me something like $20 anyways. I’d rather just pay that $20 than risk my clothes or getting oil on the driveway.

  47. redskull says:

    Greeting cards and eating out I agree with.

    No way I’m attempting to change my oil without a pit in my garage. I’d rather not have the car lying on top of me until someone decides to come looking for me a week later.

    I did my own taxes for decades (at first by hand, then with tax software) until I finally had a problem I just couldn’t solve or find an answer to. Went to a tax preparer, and she solved it in about 5 seconds. Plus she found several deductions I would never have known about. Well worth the $37 fee, IMO.

  48. areaman says:

    Ninja’s tips sound pound foolish.

    Lunch = I like to get a sandwich and 12 oz of soup at the supermarket (it’s $6 if I get a cold sandwich with soup and $6.50 if they make me a hot sandwich with soup). That’s usually my lunch and dinner. Unlike McDs the Swiss cheese on my sandwich is imported from France.

    Oil Change = depends on the car. Also like some people have mentioned people who live in apartments or condos have a no working on car or changing tire rule.

    Taxes = I use Turbo Tax but if I had a more complex financial life, I know some good accountants/tax preparers.

    Greeting cards = this is kind of bottom of the barrel here. Also, I like to give away bottles of wine in place of cards. The wine I give away is not Chuck Shaw and has a cork.

    • areaman says:

      Also there are two oil change places across the street from my work. I just drop off in the morning and pick up at lunch or later in the day.

    • Powerlurker says:

      New Zealand and Australian wineries make some VERY nice screw-cap wines nowadays. It doesn’t have the stigma it used to.

      • areaman says:

        This is true.

        But sometimes I bring wine to a party or something the host or hostess may not know this because I’ve never met them before or don’t know them well.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m trying to avoid a situtation that could end up as material for a Seinfled plot. “I should have brought the cork wine Jerry!!! Now Mr. Steinbrenner thinks I’m cheap!!!”

  49. Big Ant says:

    “Debt Ninja reasons that many of day-to-die life’s seemingly built-in-costs are just the price of sitting on the couch and doing as little as possible”

    Or it is the cost of paying for a service that you could do yourself but for which paying someone would be much more enjoyable. I could change my oil but I would hate doing it and would much rather pay to have it done to do stuff I actually enjoy. It doesn’t mean I am being as lazy as possible it just means I am doing the stuff I actually enjoy and paying with money I earned for the stuff I hate doing and /or am incapable of doing myself.

    I hate changing my oil so I pay to have it done when the mechanic I know says: “But it is easy to do yourself.” And on the other hand the my neighbor pays to have his grass cut when I say it is easily done and good exercise. It all depends on the person, and just because some people see it as a “built-in-cost” things such as oil changes and eating are not such a “built-in-cost” that make people lazy as a cost that people pay to make their lives easier or happier. Paying these things for what they don’t like doing does not make them lazy, what makes them lazy is when they sit down all day while the house is falling apart, they are charging all different services and items on credit while they are getting unemployment and think that society owes them something. The only thing society owes them is the opportunity to find a job and assistance while they are actively looking for a job.

  50. dwtomek says:

    I see a bit of commenting about filter quality and just wanted to chip in quickly. It only takes one time getting stranded by a failed filter due to quality to make the extra few dollars seem entirely worth it.

  51. majortom1981 says:

    couple of things. Having a certified accountant do your taxes helps if you get audited or anything like that .

    Also some of uys live in condo units and have nowhere to do our oil ourselves.

    also considering deli meat here is like $11 a pound it can be a lot cheaper to go to mcdonalds or taco bell then making a sandwich.

  52. Senator says:

    DIY oil changes in 15 min? In some kind of gear-head heaven maybe.

  53. Bob says:

    I used to do my oil changes until I got a 1993 Toyota Tercel and realized that these guys made it nearly impossible to change the oil filter without a special oil filter wrench. Also those oil filters seemed to have a tougher case so jabbing a screwdriver into one was much more difficult.

    Also oil disposal became a problem in the 1990s, right around the time you couldn’t legally dump used oil into the garbage and before widespread oil recycling.

    I gave up changing my own oil by 1995 and then paid someone to do it for me and I have never looked back.

  54. erratapage says:

    Eating Out: All fine and dandy as long as you remember to make the sandwich and bring it, and don’t eat it at 10:00 a.m. when you get the dread munchies. Me? I’d try to skip the lunch altogether, and lose productivity by letting the blood sugar drop too much.

    Oil Changes: My husband has caused two car repairs in the last year by doing the oil changes himself.

    Taxes: What accountant lets you shove receipts in his face? I find working with our accountant more time consuming than doing it myself. And usually, I get thousands of dollars more back from using him. But then, I’m a business owner.

    Greeting Cards: It’s even cheaper to skip the greeting cards altogether, and send a warm heartfelt greeting via Facebook.

    One year, I hired someone to do my Christmas shopping. Another year, I hired someone to wrap my presents. These days, I skip the presents and just hand over a wad of cash with a mumbled comment to enjoy spending it on beer or something.

  55. Dallas_shopper says:

    Uh…changing the oil in your car doesn’t take 15 minutes. In my car it’s more like an hour on my back in the sweltering heat where the only thing keeping half a ton of American-assembled, Chinese-made car from crashing down onto me is a Chinese-made jack because despite being tiny, I still need space to move around underneath my sedan…hence I have to jack it up. Plus oil gets on my driveway and on my clothes. 15 minutes my rusty ass. It’s much easier to pay someone to do it and frankly if I DID do it myself, I’d save NO time and about $4. For that, I’ll be taking it to the local lube. What a total crock of shit.

    And if someone with a job gave me a card they had printed on their computer, I’d be kind of pissed. You can get cards for as little as a buck at some stores.

    They’re right about taxes though; the only time I ever paid an accountant to do my taxes for me was the year I moved back here from abroad AND they changed the foreign earned income exemption rules to not make any sense. I massively increased my refund too, so the $300 fee paid for itself 5 times over. But most people don’t have that situation to deal with.

    Eating out is a total money-waster; I agree with that one. I never go out for lunch. Not only do I save a ton but I don’t WEIGH a ton, plus I have more energy to get me through the rest of the day because I haven’t stuffed myself full of crap halfway through the day. Plus, since I lunch at my desk, I get to leave half an hour early. Can’t beat it.

  56. Garbanzo says:

    I totally agree with what others have said about being willing to trade money to get more time. I pay a gardener to keep the plants from running amok. I couldn’t even tell you what my taxes involve, but every year it comes back from the accountant with a lot of schedules attached and I am so glad that I don’t have to take the time to learn all the applicable rules. I wish I could pay someone else to fix all my food, but all the options I’ve explored are too unhealthy (restaurants), unpalatable (frozen diet food by mail), or way too expensive (personal chef). Food preparation probably takes at least a dozen hours out of my week and I resent every minute of it.

  57. KPS2010 says:

    Lawn care…our yard is a huge corner. $35 per mow sounds like a good deal to stay cool and clean vs sweating and dealing with allergies for 1-2hrs. But some days I add it al up and hate myself for being lazy.

  58. HogwartsProfessor says:

    *Eating out.
    I rarely eat out for lunch because I can’t afford it. Every few months a coworker and I will go. Mostly I bring food and write during my lunch hour. Leftovers or a sandwich usually suffices. Sometimes I find myself scraping the bottom of the barrel because there’s nothing in the house that doesn’t have to be cooked.

    *Oil changes.
    I don’t want to do this, so I don’t. It’s not that much money for something that only gets done every few months or so.

    *Taxes.
    Oh HELL no. I tried to do my own taxes a couple of years ago and messed up. I figured I’d let someone else do them from now on so they don’t think I’m trying to hide something!

    *Greeting cards.
    Usually I buy them but I have one of those fancy programs and some card stock, so sometimes if I get a wild hair, I’ll make one. I usually put a thing on the back that says “[my name] Productions” and the year. I made my own Christmas cards for a couple of years, but they were funny and creative, not cheap foldy junk.

  59. KyBash says:

    Why has no one (that I noticed) included the cost/hassle of buying a proper grease gun?

    I’ve never had an oil change where they didn’t also lube all the fittings (16 on my car). Having a ball joint go out because it ran dry will cost far more than the few bucks saved by doing oil changes yourself. Having to jack up the car twice (to also get to the rear grease zits) finally put me off doing my own.

  60. drhunterr_esq says:

    with the exception for eating out, this is pretty poor advice. It is certainly indicative of “digging to the bottom of the barrel” for content.

    I concur with item 1. Unfortunately, my support ends there.

    2) Oil Changes – if one if judicious with coupons, a professional oil change can be had for under $35. Buying the supplies for a DIY oil change will easily cost $20. Then after the time investment is factored in? And the cost for those of us who have no mechanical know-how? All of the sudden the $15 (max) premium we’re paying for a professional to change our oil (once every 3 months for a total of $60 per annum) isn’t really a stretch.

    3) Taxes – if you take a standard deduction, then yes, there is absolutely no excuse for you to pay an accountant; assuming you completed the 3rd grade. However, if you itemize (and if a homeowner, chances are that you do), there is absolutely no wisdom in scrimping here. When everything goes smoothly, it’s easy to discount the (tax deductible) cost of a CPA. However, when you open your mailbox in July to find a letter from the IRS (and chances are, they’re not just saying “hi” and checking on the kids), it’s nice to have someone to call that knows the law and your rights when it comes to an audit. 5 years of paying CPA fees can EASILY be erased by one successfully avoided audit situation. Again, from an attorney, if your taxes are any more complicated than a standard deduction, this is foolish advice.

    4) Greeting cards – For the love of all things holy, how cheap do you want your friends to think you are? The comments behind your back aren’t worth the $2 you saved (if you shop for greeting cards at dollar stores and card outlets) by printing out some ghetto-fab card at home. And really, what message does that send your friends? “Hi, you’re so special I couldn’t even spend $2 on you.” Think about that one.

    Consumerist…usually a good site. This article? My fifth grader pulled this to my attention and the lack of wisdom involved.

  61. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Skipping McD’s is not only doing your wallet a favor, but doing yourself a favor. I never understood why anyone eats their substandard shit food.

  62. katia802 says:

    I once went too fast up the little ramps when I was getting ready to change my oil. Scared me half to death. I took mine to the quick change shop after that. One I went to I could watch them, make sure they did it right.

  63. JeremieNX says:

    I just hate greeting cards period. They are thrown out after two days. I skip them all together.

  64. ap0 says:

    I make my cards because I wait til the last minute. I bring my lunch to work because it’s cheaper and healthier. I do my own taxes because my tax situation is very simple. However, I have no interest in learning how to change my car’s oil, and I get decent coupons from my dealership for $20 oil changes (and my car uses synthetic which is more anyway), so I’ll just do that instead. Also, it only takes about half an hour of waiting and they have free WiFi.

  65. chas218 says:

    Eating Out: It’s less healthy and more expensive, but tastes better, and fits better in some schedules.
    Oil Changes: It costs about $15 and an hour to do it yourself. It takes $25 and 20 minutes to drive into the local qwik-e-lube and have them do it. Plus I feel better about a professional messing with my car, and like another poster said, they can spot trouble. It’s worth the $10
    Taxes: I do it myself, it’s way cheaper than an accountant.
    Greeting Cards: 90% of the time a store-bought card looks better than a cheezy printed one. The other 10% is when a kid sends one to grandma. It’s basically, “You cared enough to stand in the aisle at Wal-Mart trying to find someone else’s sentiment that fits this situation” vs. “You care enough to press print on your computer.” Either way, it’s the thought that counts.
    My opinion: I enjoy paying to be lazy. The best money I spend is to the guy who cuts my grass in the 100 degree heat while I’m sitting here posting to some consumer website. :)

  66. BigNick73 says:

    for the 15 min oil change I could do it on my old 1992 silverado. It was high enough no jacks needed just crawl under drain, replace filter, pour in new and go. Disposing of the old oil was a PITA. Now the new WRX goes to the shop would take me way longer than 15 mins to jack it up and get the skid plate out the way so I could get to the filter.

    Taxes, my tax situation is complicated. the $250 my CPA charges is a bargain to save me from the headaches.

    Dunno about greeting cards but me and the wife printed our own wedding invites. Buying the fancy paper and running it through my laser printer was way cheaper and looked just as nice as any others we’ve seen.

    Now I do spend $150 a month to have someone mow and weedeat my 1/2 acre lot. I hate mowing grass.

  67. Mary says:

    I’m not allowed to change my oil in my condominium complex parking lot. Is there a co-op garage I could take it to? No? Could I also get all the other free checks and maintenance that my garage puts in with their oil changes? No? I’d have to actually take it to the garage for that and pay for that anyway, since a lot of it involves things I can’t do at home?

    I hate it when people try to act like I should just change my own oil. Yes, back when I lived in a rural area I would, or my brother would do it since he had the proper tools to check a lot of other things and make sure the car was in proper working order in more ways than just an oil change. Now that I’m not allowed to do more than maybe change a tire in my parking lot and I don’t have access to my brother the handyman, I take it to a well-priced garage with people I trust who do a lot of extra work because I’m a loyal customer. I get more than my money’s worth.

  68. Mary says:

    Also, who wastes away in the waiting room? My mechanic is right next to my husband’s office, three places to eat, and several shops. They also offer a complimentary service to shuttle you anywhere within a few miles, and they’re within range of one of the biggest malls in the country. I have PLENTY I can do while getting my oil changed, thanks.

    Everybody should evaluate what is the better use of their money, but these four things are not automatic fails, and they’re not laziness, and they’re not wastes.

  69. webweazel says:

    I’m trained as a mechanic, and I just don’t bother changing my own oil anymore. It’s just a drag, a time waster, and after cleaning up the oil from everything, getting out & putting away tools, and just plain messy to do it at home. Plus, I think I’d save like 5 bucks. It’s just not worth it.
    BUT, when I go to the oil places, I ALWAYS bring my own filter. Fram, usually. There was an issue once with their store filters were manufactured WITHOUT a gasket. And the oil schmuck just stuck it on and didn’t even notice it. Let’s just say, they’re lucky I lived almost right across the street, or they would have ended up buying me a new engine. (I also now go to a DIFFERENT oil change shop.)

  70. gman863 says:

    The tax thing depends on how complicated your return is.

    I’ve used TaxAct for several years. The basic version is free; the deluxe version ($12.95) includes free e-filing.

    Earlier this year, H&R Block ran a commercial offering a special on filling out and filing the 1040EZ for $39. If spending an extra $10 for someone to change your oil is lazy, what do you
    call paying $39 to fill in about 8 lines and do basic math?

  71. CoachTabe says:

    I dunno, I pay like $16 for an oil change. Not worth the hassle to me to save $3 or $4 to do it myself.

  72. wackydan says:

    I change the oil on on three of our vehicles. Quality filter is $3 on sale, generally but two at a time for each vehicle. Gallon jugs of quality oil on sale is roughly $12-$13. New air filter is $6. Jiffy Lube types places charge north of $30.

    For $20 I can change my oil knowing that never again will my drain plugs be stripped, rounded over or otherwise screwed up. Disposal of the oil and filters is free in my area through numerous outlets. I also know that every fluid I top off is one of my choosing. So I am saving some coin here.

    Now, the third vehicle is a Can Am Spyder, and that change at home costs me close to $50… Versus the $100+++ at the dealer given the amount of hassle to change the oil.

    I’m lucky in that I like doing it, and am fairly handy. Having a house, level driveway and a large garage helps a lot.

  73. Joey Strange says:

    Wow, it must be a slow day for Consumerist. There was no information in that story that any adult doesn’t already know and some of it is inaccurate. Doing an oil change yourself takes longer than 15 minutes and with a lot of people living apartments and condos, there is not enough room to safely jack your car up to get to the drain valve and oil filter. Don’t forget trudging your used oil to a recycling center. I am a huge Consumerist fan, I read the site everyday, twice if I am bored. That this guy wrote a blog this boring and Consumerist decided to “report” it shows a bit of laziness. This story is a FAIL!

  74. NumberSix says:

    I disagree with the oil change. I can’t do it for less than the Jiffy Lube which sends me an $18 coupon every other week. Even without the coupon it would cost me the same + my time and effort to do it.

    With almost no effort you can find something else to do while they do the dirty work. You don’t have to rot in the waiting room.

  75. cheapist says:

    Like many others, I generally disagree about the oil change, though Jiffy Lube and many shops often make money by sucking people into repairs they don’t need or want. Then I also hear about poor people who pay $200 for an oil change at the dealership.

    I do often change it myself as it’s simple enough to do and I like to make sure it’s done properly, but my mechanic only charges $10 for the job if I bring in my own oil and filter. I had a very difficult time finding someone who would wait for all the oil to drain out before replacing it. On my mother’s Mercedes, it takes about an hour for all the oil to drain out and you have to remove a billion plastic panels. It probably also costs me about $70/materials to do it, but the mechanic will change it for $110 which I find well worth it.

    Taxes I also disagree with, I think there are many people who simply are not able to read or figure it out even if they try their best. I don’t think the people are lazy, they are simply incapable of doing this. I think the tax forms are way too confusing and should be simplified for people who simply have a job and just need the standard deduction. I’ve seen way too many people mess this up and not do it properly and lose out on more money than they would’ve spent at the H&R Block.

    Greeting cards? Print out? Geez, most people will consider you just cheap.