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Five Skills to Save You $$$: Auto Mechanic Skills

Is there anyone more infamous than the shady car mechanic? You know the stereotypical story, you bring your car in for an oil change and by the time you walk out, you have been convinced that your car “needed” thousands of dollars in repairs to issues you never knew existed. Unfortunately for us, this stereotype is founded in reality. Yet, while there are many mechanics out there merely looking for ways to take your money, even the most honest mechanics can cost a ton. What’s even more startling is to look at your mechanic’s bill. You’ll notice that even though parts only cost $25, you were charged $300 for the mechanic to do the labor to install that part. That is where they get you, in the cost of labor.

Now, I’m not disputing that mechanics should be paid for their time and expertise, quite the contrary, I believe that they perform an important service to our society, I’m just saying that if you, as the savvy consumer, can learn some basic mechanic skills, you can get away with not having to pay $50 for someone to install your $10 air filter.

Here are the mechanic skills you should focus on to save money and keep your car running in tip top condition:

Learn to change your oil. Years ago, before the advent of Jiffy Lube and the 20-minute oil change, people used to change their own oil in their own driveways. Ask your grandparents about this, I’m sure they’ll remember. So what’s changed? Why have people stopped changing their own oil? Well, there are lots of answers to that question but one main reason is people don’t know how to anymore. As cars have become more complicated, people have stopped trying to do their own maintenance and repairs. And while this makes sense if you are faced with the task of changing out the car’s computer system, the basics of an oil change have remained the same for many years. Learn how to change the oil and oil filter. Doing so can save you big money. That fully synthetic oil you pay a mechanic $60-$80 for can be replaced for $20 if you do it yourself.

Learn to rotate your tires. Yes, its easier to get someone else to do it for you, but come on people, you just take off one tire and put it on somewhere else. Make sure you know the pattern for how to properly rotate your tires and you’ll be good to go.

Learn to check your car’s fluids and to top them off. Learn to check the levels of your oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, wiper fluid, etc. There is no reason to pay someone to tell you that you don’t need to add more fluid.

Learn to replace your car battery. This can be a pain in the butt (have you felt how heavy car batteries are?) but it is completely doable for a novice.

Learn to replace your wiper blades. This is super easy and should never be something you pay for.

Learn to replace your car’s air filter. Again, super easy and not worth the $50 they’ll charge you to do it.

If you’re feeling adventurous, learn to replace your brakes. This is for the more advanced mechanic, but replacing your own brakes will save you tons of money when the time comes. Just make sure you do it correctly. Brakes are an important feature when it comes to stopping your car.

Learn these basic skills and you’ll only pay a mechanic for something that takes true expertise, not the basic routine stuff you could be saving money on. What other mechanic skills have saved you money? Sound off below.

Article publié pour la première fois le 13/04/2013


The Yakezie Challenge

As we all go through our financial journeys at some point we realize the benefit good old-fashioned benchmarking.  Without goals the Broncos and the Bengals are just a bunch of dudes running around hitting each other. 

This blog is relatively new (you'll notice the archives only go back to June) and without going into too much bloggy, technical detail, when it comes to getting your writing out there, your rank matters. 

So, I've taken on a little challenge to improve my rank and hit some of my own benchmarks.  The Yakezie Challenge was started over at Financial Samurai and is a great way for bloggers to support each other and improve their own visibility. 

Join me in making a mid-year-ish resolution, and start finding ways to accomplish some of your own goals. 

Wish me luck!

Article publié pour la première fois le 31/08/2010

1 comment

Congressional Compensation

Ever wonder why Congress gets to vote itself pay increases?  I did, so I looked it up.  I did all the work for you.


Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution states:

The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.

The 27th Amendment modifies this section:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

So, when Congress votes itself a raise, it does not take effect until after a new election is held.  Also, unless they vote otherwise, Congress receives an automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) annually.   

A look at how our Congressmen have exercised this right:

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Article publié pour la première fois le 20/06/2010


Is it just me or do song lyrics sound slightly ridiculous when they aren’t being sung?  All those “yeah’s,” “uh huh’s,” and “oh baby’s,” make me laugh.

Here they are in no particular order whatsoever:

1. You say that I don’t love you. You say my love is untrue.
Well darlin’ if I was a rich man I’d prove my love to you.
I’d buy you a diamond ring and a new fur coat or two.
If my nose was running money honey I’d blow it all on you.

Mike Snider – If My Nose Was Running Money


Not only is this irresponsible, it’s just gross.  The woman doesn’t want your booger money.

If my nose was running money, would I consult a doctor?  You know, I just don’t know, I just don’t know. 


2. People say I’m a crazy son of a gun
‘Cause I’ve made me a couple million never saved a one.

Darryl Worley – Living in the Here and Now

MC Hammer did that.  Now all he has left is a pair of parachute pants; or did they take those too?

Stop.  Or it’s Hammer Time.


3. I’m gonna marry for money 
I’ll be so damn rich it ain’t funny 
I’m gonna have me a trust fund, yacht club, hot tub piece of the pie 
Find me a sweet sugar mama 
With a whole lot of zeros and commas 
Don’t really care if she loves me 
She can even be ugly 
I’m gonna marry for money

Trace Adkins – Marry for Money

No comment.

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Article publié pour la première fois le 22/09/2010



Here are the carnivals where I was featured this week.  Enjoy!



Best of Money Carnival @ Money CrushWhy Diets Fail & Saving is Difficult 

Carnival of Personal Finance Editors Choice @ US Money NewsMoney Love, Part One



These are some of the articles that I found worthwhile this week:

Can You Eat Well fo $1 a Day @ KNS Financial

5 Dumb Ideas That Made Millions @ Yes, I am Cheap

Excusing Bad Behavior @ Punch Debt in the Face


Find more amazing reads by browsing through the Yakezie Blogroll.

Article publié pour la première fois le 08/10/2010


It’s an Odd Job But Somebody’s Got to Do It

Looking back over my old posts, I realize that I mention quite a few of the jobs my husband had in his youth like ice cream scooper, baseball batboy, and others not mentioned like airport communications intern, fireworks warehouse grunt, and Target stock boy.  I had my share of odd jobs myself, but that is another story entirely.  Today I would just like to share some ideas I had for part-time, self employed gigs to help you make ends meet or to have a little extra mad money to play with.

When it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, put together a seasonal lights business including set up and take down.  Or hire yourself out as a holiday gift wrapper.  Everyone knows these things put a little more magic in the season but, in truth, many people would gladly pay to have someone else do it, worry free.

Run a cloth diaper washing service.  I think a lot more people would try this eco-friendly baby necessity if there was a good local service to help with the clean up.

Turn your hobbies into jobs. Do you knit, sew, or quilt? Make handmade gifts? Paint?  Make fancy artsy gizmos out of found objects? Make jewelry?  Try selling your wares at local fairs.

Start a furniture refinishing business.  Buy old, cheap stuff and fix it up to sell at consignment stores.

Teach cooking classes.  If people are always asking for your recipe why not teach people how to make it themselves.  You can do it in your own home if you feel comfortable or if a friend has a “show” kitchen ask to use hers.

Try good old-fashioned babysitting.  Parents these days are less willing to leave their kid with a 12 year old.  They are willing to pay more for a responsible adult who can drive and has extensive kid experience.

Housesit for neighbors. Walk their dog, feed their cat, water their plants, collect their mail, keep an eye out for suspicious persons. Their peace of mind is cash in your pocket.

Do freelance work like stuffing envelopes or making bill collection calls like Matt’s grandma used to do.  She found she had more courage for this intimidating task when she put on big dark glasses and a tough gal voice before she picked up the phone.

Start a lawn care business.  There really isn’t too much green growing here in the desert, but the weeds didn’t get the memo.   They love to ruin gorgeous desert landscaping.  A weed killer business would do well.

Take in laundry.   Gone are the days of scrubbing on washboards and cranking the ringer.  People don’t care much even about ironing anymore.  I have had friends who have done this and loved it, just grab some stain spray at get to it.

Teach language lessons.  But you don’t know a foreign language?  Do you have any idea how many people in this country are trying to learn English as a second language?  If you are reading this, you’ve got the job!

Last but not least, find a job writing content for great blogs and websites like I did!  Thanks Richly Reasonable!

I am sure there are many more odd jobs out there, some seasonal or particular to your area.  So if extra cash is what you are after, just get creative and get started.  One bit of advice, don’t forget to manage your time well so that your new business venture fits into your life and doesn’t take it over.

Got any great ideas for odd jobs?  What odd jobs have you found success in doing?

Article publié pour la première fois le 03/05/2012

1 comment