Should You Change Your Own Oil?

Should You Change Your Own Oil

Ah, a quintessential image of American manliness, a dude changing his own oil. Grease-stained jacket, crew cut, work rag, socket wrench in hand. Self-sufficient to the max, except the part about needing a very expensive piece of machinery to get from point A to point B.

Not that I have any room to judge; being a two-car household means we need our fair share of oil changes too.  On average, I would say that our vehicles get their oil changed a little under two times a year, although it should be less now that I started biking to work more often.

Oil changes aren’t a huge yearly expense, but forking over that $30 dollars is never fun.  What is even worse, however, is forking over $100+ dollars for all the extras you think you need.  I’m talking new cabin air filter, transmission flush, reverse light, etc.  Anyway, the point is, if you can save some money doing it yourself, why the hell not?

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Brew Your Own Beer For Fun, Not For Money

Brew Your Own Beer

I have been wanting to cover this topic for a while now because it is pretty fun and lighthearted. Luckily I got just the nudge I needed last week when my Dad decided to try his hand at home-brewing.  A few years ago, this would have surprised me, but I have come to realize that my parents keep getting cooler and cooler with age.

So of course I got him to fork over the cost and time details for his first batch of hefeweizen, and I hate to break it to you, but from an investment perspective, it ain’t pretty.  But, really, who is brewing to save money?  Not me, and not most of my friends.  Brewing is a DIY activity that most people enjoy and take pride in, in and of itself.  Sort of like cooking, but cooler and more populist.

I mean, being able to whip up a soul-warming pho or some homemade sweet plantain arepas is pretty sexy, but nothing sells like making your own beer.  It just appeals to the masses.  Beer is the great unifier… even people at The Harvard School of Public Health say you should probably be drinking more of it.

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Gardening Costs: 400 Square Feet And a Spade

Gardening Costs

It is about that time of the year again.  What has been a relentless winter for most of the U.S. is slowly giving way to green sprouts and flowering buds.  Spring is in the air, and gardening season is upon us.

Don’t be fooled by my introductory rhetoric, however.  I am not a gardener.  Last year was our first attempt, and even in the temperate, lush Portland climate, there wasn’t a green thumb between the two of us.

Our poor results last year were a big motivator for this post.  I was hoping to find out that gardening isn’t worth it, but sadly, it appears that it (barely) is, or at least can be if you plan well.  Last year we planted beets, pole beans, cherry tomatoes, and squash in a small raised bed.  The only crop we harvested reliably was the squash.

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The Dirty Little Secret About Early Retirement

Secret About Early Retirement

Here’s the dirty little secret you won’t hear too often in the early retirement community: income matters, A LOT.  A typical handling of the income conundrum goes something like this: “Yeah, it can be hard to retire early / save a lot with lower incomes, but it is still possible if you are determined.”  The sad reality that this attitude conceals is that, while it still may be *possible*, retiring early with a low-to-average income requires significantly more sacrifices.

Specifically, the average American household earning $50k per year probably won’t be able to retire in less than 30 years, even with a budget similar to Mr. Money Mustache, unless they are willing to give up some other basic necessities, which is asking a lot and living a life out somewhat out of balance in my humble opinion.

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Cooking at Home vs. Eating Out

cooking at home vs. eating out

Here’s the thing.  I used to eat out at restaurants so much that I decided to start a food blog in 2010 to keep track of all the fabulous meals I was having around NYC.  I didn’t want to forget them; I wanted to savor the memories.  I will say, looking back at the blog for the first time in a few years, I’m still really glad I documented it.  I ate some amazing food in NYC (and Portland), and I probably would have forgotten some of those experiences otherwise.

Anyway, I don’t dine out as much these days, mostly because I took a hard look at my values and decided that the excessive spending on foodie restaurants didn’t really align that well with my life priorities.  Luckily I like cooking too.

We cook a lot more now and go to restaurants just occasionally, usually as a treat or to socialize, which are happiness-enhancing behaviors (delayed gratification) and also fit better with our priorities.  Life is good under this new paradigm, and if you have similar goals/values/priorities and a weakness for restaurant food (and drink), I would definitely encourage a test run.

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How to Fix RV Toilet Leaking on Floor

RV Toilet Leaking on Floor

RV-ing is a great option to take when you want to enjoy camping without suffering the hardships of camping especially when it comes to the use of the bathroom. But what do you do if you suffer from toilet leakage?

You are left with two options which include taking it back to the dealership for repair or fixing it yourself. The former is a good choice especially when you don’t want to get your hands dirty but it is expensive. But for an easy and inexpensive method of repair, you can fix the toilet yourself by finding out how to fix the RV toilet leaking on the floor.

Now, if your toilet is leaking around its base, the most likely cause would be a bad flange seal between the toilet and the septic tank. To repair it, you would need certain equipment that includes.

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How to Replace Bathroom Tiles That Have Fallen Off

How to Replace Bathroom Tiles That Have Fallen Off

Is the mortar used in holding your tiles in place pulling off? Have any of your bathroom tiles fallen off yet? If this is the case, then you may need to repair the bath tile before all of them come off. If you don’t repair them in time, water can get underneath the tile and cause more tiles to come off or ooze off a putrid smell. If you don’t repair the tile immediately it starts coming off, the small repair task may turn out to become an expensive repair.

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