Author Topic: What basic stuff people are not able to do themselves - heard on radio today  (Read 29155 times)

zolotiyeruki

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...  Plus, it will give you confidence in situations that would leave many others giving up and asking for help.  "Yeah, I can do this.  Hand me that wrench."  ...
Your whole post is a fantastic read, but I wanted to quote this part in particular.  If you can turn a wrench on a car, that can give you confidence when, say, the dishwasher won't drain--you can futz around with it and find the clog in the drain pipe and fix it (or whatever).  The worst case scenario, whether you try to fix it yourself or not, is status quo--you call the appliance repair guy.  The best case scenario is that you fix it, plus you gain better understanding of how to fix it in the future.

One benefit of DIYing stuff hasn't been mentioned yet: besides the cost savings and personal skills, getting someone else to do something for you still takes some time.  You have to be home when the plumber comes, or you have to get your car to the shop to get the oil changed, or you have to spend time researching contractors to find someone who'll be dependable and do quality work and won't rip you off.

NeonPegasus

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I think I would be in favor of women over 50 getting someone else to change a light bulb in a very high ceiling. Many of them have osteoporosis and don't know it; a fall from a ladder could be very bad for them.
Yep let's keep those frail elderly 50 year old ladies from climbing things. Stay in.your rocker Granny where you'll be safe  ;-)!

I think the 70 year old lady at my gym who benches over 100 lbs would laugh her butt off at this idea.

Dicey

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Sometimes these people have fixtures that are only reachable by ladder, which can justify hiring someone.

I find it hard to believe anyone doesn't know how to change a standard incandescent bulb, however some interior fixtures can use weird bulbs that are hard to source.  I'd probably be posting pictures of the bulbs online for help, but if you aren't comfortable with the internet your only real option is going to a hardware store and hoping someone recognizes it.

Yeah it was the ceiling height that had her seeking help.  The problem was resolved with a borrowed ladder and a borrowed telescoping bulb changer.  Just blows my mind that one would live in a home and not be equipped to change out your own light bulbs.
Lol, we have rentals in a Senior development and this happens all the time. Now, when we buy, we replace everything with LEDs, everywhere we can, which helps. The community has initiated a Neighbors-For-Neighbors Service Club. For a nominal fee ($10/year?), a more able-bodied volunteer will help with changing light bulbs, filters, etc. Love it!

If we're lucky, one day all of us will get old and not want to climb ladders to replace light bulbs. Don't be so fast to judge.

GrumpyPenguin

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I don't own a car, so what difference does it make that I do not know how to change a car's oil?

Basic stuff people are not able to do themselves?  I can't believe how dependent people are on computers for their work and lives, yet do not know how to do even the most basic things on them.  This tends to be the baby boomers more than millennials.

Reynold

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As for me, I can do all the things on the lust but really don't enjoy many of them. So now I do things that aren't repetitive but hire out something's that are. For instance I have a gardener mow my lawn and I  take my car to a fast oil change place (one that also washes cars - twofer!) but will put in a new brick patio myself and replace my fuel pump myself since they are one off kinds of things.

Interesting, I have the exact opposite attitude; if it is something I'll need to do again, I'll learn to do it myself, because I'll keep saving money every time I do it.  If it is something one-off and/or specialized, I'll more likely pay someone because I probably won't get my value back out of learning to do it myself.   

I do sympathize a bit with people who don't know how to do things, there are a ton of specialized fields these days.  I had a friend who lived with a dribbling, not just dripping, faucet for years, hot water so he was paying to heat it too.  I finally went over and installed a valve for him, he had no idea how to do it, even though he is a smart guy.  Conversely, I couldn't put together a web site, but he could.  If we still lived near each other, maybe we could trade services. :)

On the subject of LED bulbs for hard to reach places, DW and I have had at least two LED bulbs fail in the first year or so of use.  I'm fairly knowledgeable about how they are made (and by "fairly" I mean I can tell you about what the light emitting superlattice layers are made of, and how to build the vacuum chambers that deposit them), and strongly suspect that they are using cheap components in the AC/DC converter in the lower part of the bulb now that the price has dropped.   When a bulb sold for $20, they could afford to put a 75 cent capacitor and a 50 cent resistor in that circuit, now that it sells for $3-5, they can't.  Don't expect ALL those newer bulbs to last for 20 years. . . 

Just Joe

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DH has a 2011 Subaru Outback, and you literally have to either remove the front bumper or most of the wheel well (which is held in place with fragile plastic clips) to replace the headlight.  Talk about making something almost impossible to do on your own...  I have never heard such vehement swearing in my life as I did during the 45 minutes he spent trying to replace it by himself.

You just reminded me -- I probably should go ahead and replace the cabin air filter in my first-generation Honda CR-V. I just need to set aside some time to vehemently swear while I halfway disassemble the passenger-side of the dashboard yet again.

Yup, you'd think it shouldn't be this hard to get at a common maintenance item, right? :)

Two appropriately placed hacksaw cuts on either side of the cabin filter flap makes this a ten minute affair. I did this on my 1st gen the first time I replaced the filter. I can provide more details if want. The alteration is as strong as the original. Cost me $2? Car has 300K on it now and this alteration never diminished the appearance or functionality of the car in any way.

You're just sectioning the cross brace that is in the way. Ridiculous design! SO much good thought put into that vehicle until the a/c filter access. Has been so easy to maintain otherwise!

Your collective horror stories make me think the next vehicle I buy I will be looking for things like batteries and a/c filters before purchase to gauge what a PITA it might be to live with for a decade plus.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2017, 02:24:09 PM by Tasty Pinecones »

shelivesthedream

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As for me, I can do all the things on the lust but really don't enjoy many of them. So now I do things that aren't repetitive but hire out something's that are. For instance I have a gardener mow my lawn and I  take my car to a fast oil change place (one that also washes cars - twofer!) but will put in a new brick patio myself and replace my fuel pump myself since they are one off kinds of things.

Interesting, I have the exact opposite attitude; if it is something I'll need to do again, I'll learn to do it myself, because I'll keep saving money every time I do it.  If it is something one-off and/or specialized, I'll more likely pay someone because I probably won't get my value back out of learning to do it myself.   


  I think most people are like you and I'm a bit of a weirdo. Its not that I don't know how to do things (one of my former jobs was fixing ALL the things) its just that I don't enjoy repetitive tasks but do somewhat enjoy larger more involved projects that are only done once in many years or never have to be done again. For example I just painted the inside and outside of my house, reshingled the roof, put in new rain gutters, redid the plumbing and fixtures, dug up my entire back yard and hard scaped it plus plantedbl a ton of drought tolerant trees, etc.. and was somewhat happy to do that stuff (although I'd prefer to live in a condo or apt and have others do that stuff). But make me do laundry, clean house, cook, do dishes, food shop, or any other repetitive task and I turn into a whiney 2 year old having a tantrum. Throws self on floor, kicks and screams and cries "Gawd.....didn't I just DO all that stuff yesterday?".

I'm with you. Routine tasks for boring and frustrating, because it feels like as soon as you've done them it's time to do them again. One-off projects are fun because you know you only have to do it once and it's something new and you can research and learn how to do it.

zolotiyeruki

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Your collective horror stories make me think the next vehicle I buy I will be looking for things like batteries and a/c filters before purchase to gauge what a PITA it might be to live with for a decade plus.
The thing is, there are so many things that it's really hard to pick a car that gives easy access to everything.  On my '95 Corolla, you can't remove the water pump without removing the timing belt cover.  You can't remove the timing belt cover until the water pump pulley is out of the way.  The water pump is so close to the wheel well that you can't actually remove it until the water pump is unbolted from the block.  So the solution is to unbolt the pulley from the pump, at which point you can push it to one side enough to remove the timing belt cover, and then you can finally remove the water pump with the pulley flopping around.

Or our '06 Odyssey--something inside the sliding door broke.  No big dea...except that when the door is closed, you can't get to the edges of the door panel, and when it's open, the door panel is right next to the body of the car.  Other than pulling the entire door off the car (done that, don't want to again), the solution is to open the door 1/4 of the way, and at that point you have *just* enough room to pull the panel off.

Or my '95 corolla again--the ECU isn't mounted near the fusebox in the footwell.  Oh, no no no.  In order to get to the ECU, I had to remove the glove box, the lower trim panels on both the driver's and passenger's sides, the front and rear console (where the gear shift and parking brake are), the gear selector knob and all its trim, the cruise control ECU, some extra cables and brackets, and pry apart some ductwork.  There are lots of other places Toyota could have put it, but they chose *that* one.

Laura33

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I think it also depends on your skill set.  DH is an engineer, so to him, figuring out how stuff works is intuitive, and there is no fear threshold.  Me, I am highly theoretical, so I don't have that how-it-works "common sense" (for lack of a better phrase) and am definitely intimidated at the thought of totally fucking something up.  I do jump in on small stuff here and there, but he tends to handle most of that sort of thing.

OTOH, since I am a lawyer, I am very good at figuring out words and rules and systems and such, and it doesn't intimidate me.  So I handle all of the contracts we need to sign, I research the zoning and building requirements for our various home projects, I handle car negotiations and disputes and letters that need to be written, etc.  It's not as hands-on as his "basic stuff," but it still needs to get done.

NeonPegasus

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I think it also depends on your skill set.  DH is an engineer, so to him, figuring out how stuff works is intuitive, and there is no fear threshold.  Me, I am highly theoretical, so I don't have that how-it-works "common sense" (for lack of a better phrase) and am definitely intimidated at the thought of totally fucking something up

I think that's at the heart of it. It's not that I'm afraid to try to fix something. It's that I'm concerned that I am going to damage it further and cost myself more in the long run. As I mentioned before, there have been more than a couple of things I decided to fix that I had to have DH put back together again for me. But, because I'm a fan of the growth mindset, I keep trying.

I have found my skill set is better suited at researching the problem, finding a youtube video or forum post on how to fix it and then showing DH. That's how we fixed the air filter housing on the Highlander. I found the solution and he implemented it.

ketchup

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Your collective horror stories make me think the next vehicle I buy I will be looking for things like batteries and a/c filters before purchase to gauge what a PITA it might be to live with for a decade plus.
The thing is, there are so many things that it's really hard to pick a car that gives easy access to everything.  On my '95 Corolla, you can't remove the water pump without removing the timing belt cover.  You can't remove the timing belt cover until the water pump pulley is out of the way.  The water pump is so close to the wheel well that you can't actually remove it until the water pump is unbolted from the block.  So the solution is to unbolt the pulley from the pump, at which point you can push it to one side enough to remove the timing belt cover, and then you can finally remove the water pump with the pulley flopping around.
Try the '96 Volvo I used to have.  The water pump is driven by the timing belt, and it's a scary DOHC interference engine with a bunch of extra idler pulleys and whatnot, and all kinds of stuff has to be out of the way before you can even get in there.

Though I had to replace the ignition switch on that car once, and it was crazy-easy compared to doing the same job on a friend's VW.  Five minute job vs five hour job...

Jakejake

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Lol, we have rentals in a Senior development and this happens all the time. Now, when we buy, we replace everything with LEDs, everywhere we can, which helps. The community has initiated a Neighbors-For-Neighbors Service Club. For a nominal fee ($10/year?), a more able-bodied volunteer will help with changing light bulbs, filters, etc. Love it!

If we're lucky, one day all of us will get old and not want to climb ladders to replace light bulbs. Don't be so fast to judge.
That's a great idea!

My parents are in their 70's, my mom can't walk any great distance with lurching forward and losing her balance. She can't even climb up to stand on a chair at this point. Dad's having all sorts of unwanted heart experiences - being 75 and getting tased by your defibrillator 5 times in an hour would put anyone off wanting to move and climb a ladder.  They have the know-how and experience to do basic stuff, but still went several months before they could get someone to change the battery in a wall clock because they just couldn't get to it themselves.

sw1tch

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I think it also depends on your skill set.  DH is an engineer, so to him, figuring out how stuff works is intuitive, and there is no fear threshold.  Me, I am highly theoretical, so I don't have that how-it-works "common sense" (for lack of a better phrase) and am definitely intimidated at the thought of totally fucking something up

I think that's at the heart of it. It's not that I'm afraid to try to fix something. It's that I'm concerned that I am going to damage it further and cost myself more in the long run. As I mentioned before, there have been more than a couple of things I decided to fix that I had to have DH put back together again for me. But, because I'm a fan of the growth mindset, I keep trying.

I have found my skill set is better suited at researching the problem, finding a youtube video or forum post on how to fix it and then showing DH. That's how we fixed the air filter housing on the Highlander. I found the solution and he implemented it.

The kicker is that you can't/won't gain confidence in doing something that you're not comfortable doing without actually doing it yourself.  So, the cycle continues; definitely have to start small and grow from there and maybe even break a few things along the way but learning from those mistakes.

"And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up."

Maybe I'm just too stubborn and/or a masochist and spend too much time falling... lol

NeonPegasus

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I think it also depends on your skill set.  DH is an engineer, so to him, figuring out how stuff works is intuitive, and there is no fear threshold.  Me, I am highly theoretical, so I don't have that how-it-works "common sense" (for lack of a better phrase) and am definitely intimidated at the thought of totally fucking something up

I think that's at the heart of it. It's not that I'm afraid to try to fix something. It's that I'm concerned that I am going to damage it further and cost myself more in the long run. As I mentioned before, there have been more than a couple of things I decided to fix that I had to have DH put back together again for me. But, because I'm a fan of the growth mindset, I keep trying.

I have found my skill set is better suited at researching the problem, finding a youtube video or forum post on how to fix it and then showing DH. That's how we fixed the air filter housing on the Highlander. I found the solution and he implemented it.

The kicker is that you can't/won't gain confidence in doing something that you're not comfortable doing without actually doing it yourself.  So, the cycle continues; definitely have to start small and grow from there and maybe even break a few things along the way but learning from those mistakes.

Fair enough point. I think the middle ground is to attempt it ... with a more experienced person around to teach/help you if you run off the rails.

alewpanda

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As for me, I can do all the things on the lust but really don't enjoy many of them. So now I do things that aren't repetitive but hire out something's that are. For instance I have a gardener mow my lawn and I  take my car to a fast oil change place (one that also washes cars - twofer!) but will put in a new brick patio myself and replace my fuel pump myself since they are one off kinds of things.

Interesting, I have the exact opposite attitude; if it is something I'll need to do again, I'll learn to do it myself, because I'll keep saving money every time I do it.  If it is something one-off and/or specialized, I'll more likely pay someone because I probably won't get my value back out of learning to do it myself.   


  I think most people are like you and I'm a bit of a weirdo. Its not that I don't know how to do things (one of my former jobs was fixing ALL the things) its just that I don't enjoy repetitive tasks but do somewhat enjoy larger more involved projects that are only done once in many years or never have to be done again. For example I just painted the inside and outside of my house, reshingled the roof, put in new rain gutters, redid the plumbing and fixtures, dug up my entire back yard and hard scaped it plus plantedbl a ton of drought tolerant trees, etc.. and was somewhat happy to do that stuff (although I'd prefer to live in a condo or apt and have others do that stuff). But make me do laundry, clean house, cook, do dishes, food shop, or any other repetitive task and I turn into a whiney 2 year old having a tantrum. Throws self on floor, kicks and screams and cries "Gawd.....didn't I just DO all that stuff yesterday?".

I'm with you. Routine tasks for boring and frustrating, because it feels like as soon as you've done them it's time to do them again. One-off projects are fun because you know you only have to do it once and it's something new and you can research and learn how to do it.


Amen!  Routine -- yucky.  New and exciting and accomplished once and for all?  Sign me up!

Although, in all fairness, there are several things on the OP's original list that I either don't know how to do, or don't have the upper body strength to do easily (particularly on my most recent car).  I haven't had to do many of them in past, or if I have, I was just the helper...not the person in charge.  That being said, I know that via youtube, I could step up and make it happen.....hopefully. 



Also,  everybody has their strengths, which is why community and relationships are so cool.  If I can't manage to change my tire, i have a community of people that I could call on....same for the oil.  I could likely even barter some of my own skills to make it close to free.  (painting, sewing, cooking, baking, dog sitting, crafting invites/gifts/diy household goods)   In particular, I have a friend whose husband would willingly change my oil in exchange for my time in creating the invites his wife wants for their daughter's birthday.  I could get that arranged in a few texts if something were to happen and my own husband couldn't change the oil himself. 

cytvta

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DH has a 2011 Subaru Outback, and you literally have to either remove the front bumper or most of the wheel well (which is held in place with fragile plastic clips) to replace the headlight.  Talk about making something almost impossible to do on your own...  I have never heard such vehement swearing in my life as I did during the 45 minutes he spent trying to replace it by himself.

I nearly jumped out of my seat when I read this. My 2010 Legacy is the same way. My VERY handy brother in a garage full of tools even struggled. He broke a couple bolts, and gave up since it was thanksgiving and we knew we wouldn't be able to get replacement parts. And they seem to go out far too often (i take the train to work so I don't drive as much as I used to). I asked the dealership about it, and they were all like "no they should only last a year". A couple months later I got a letter about bulbs that burn out to quickly being an issue.

I love Subaru and think they're great cars, my husband always brings up this design feature when he wants to find something to criticize, as it's really a way for the dealership to make money. It's sad that they made them this way.  I used the change the light bulbs in my 95 legacy. *sigh*

Just Joe

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Bulbs seem to go out at different rates on different cars. I have an older watercooled VW that eats light bulbs for snacks. I have an old Honda and some of those bulbs are original from the factory 18 years ago. I had a Chevy that was good on bulbs too.

Chris22

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Bulbs seem to go out at different rates on different cars. I have an older watercooled VW that eats light bulbs for snacks. I have an old Honda and some of those bulbs are original from the factory 18 years ago. I had a Chevy that was good on bulbs too.

Yup.  I used to replace a bulb every other month on my wife's VW.  I have a 15 year old Honda and I have replaced exactly 1 bulb in its lifetime with me (I bought it when it was 4 years old and I doubt it had many replaced int hat time period). 

MrsPete

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Several comments:

- Several people have commented "We didn't learn this stuff in school."  Unless you've opted into an elective course, I don't think it's ever been the school's job to teach you how to change light bulbs or sew on buttons.  These things should be learned at home. 

- Two things that I'm shocked my students don't know how to do:  Mail a letter (yes, multiple students have asked me just how one goes about mailing in recommendations, etc. for college -- and, yes, they're asking for help with the logistics:  where does one get a stamp, how does one address an envelope?).  Make a xerox copy -- they want to take pictures of things, which isn't always the right option. 

- If you don't know how to do something, it's easier today than it ever has been in the past.  We have YouTube now.  When my dryer broke, my husband sat down on the floor and watched a video, stopped it frequently, and bit by bit, he fixed the dryer. 

- I understand the concept of "I work hard and have little time to do chores, so I choose to outsource some".  Sometimes this makes sense; for example, some mending /tailoring chores are relatively complicated (for example, replacing a zipper), and it might make sense to pay someone rather than risk messing up a nice piece of clothing.  We each get to decide where to draw the line between "worth it" and "not worth it".  Still, when it comes to things like putting up your Christmas lights, picking up dog poop, etc., we all CAN do those those things, and (assuming you're able bodied) it's pretty hard to justify paying someone to take your trash to the curb.

- In conclusion, the one thing that shocks me most when people say "I can't do this" is ... cooking.  Okay, I can see that everyone might not have the wherewithall to bake a fancy cake or something else that takes real skill ... but, really, who can't scramble an egg or fry a pork chop?  Plus, because cooking is an everyday task, the potential reward for learning some basic skills is huge

TomTX

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On the subject of LED bulbs for hard to reach places, DW and I have had at least two LED bulbs fail in the first year or so of use.  I'm fairly knowledgeable about how they are made (and by "fairly" I mean I can tell you about what the light emitting superlattice layers are made of, and how to build the vacuum chambers that deposit them), and strongly suspect that they are using cheap components in the AC/DC converter in the lower part of the bulb now that the price has dropped.   When a bulb sold for $20, they could afford to put a 75 cent capacitor and a 50 cent resistor in that circuit, now that it sells for $3-5, they can't.  Don't expect ALL those newer bulbs to last for 20 years. . .

I have had 3 LED bulbs fail on me so far - and all 3 were the expensive Cree bulbs (before the lightweighting/vented redesign) - when removed, there was something rattling/loose inside.

All 3 were in open fixtures, normal household usage.

Drifterrider

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My neighbors think we're dirt poor because I never hire anyone to do anything and drive 15+ year old vehicles.  I should mention I'm also a millennial that can do just about anything.  Never ceases to amaze me what people hire others to do (ie Christmas present wrapping) and how hiring others is somehow the definition of what class you are...guess I'm just poor white trash...

Nope not poor.  Smart enough to probably never be poor :)

sw1tch

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My neighbors think we're dirt poor because I never hire anyone to do anything and drive 15+ year old vehicles.  I should mention I'm also a millennial that can do just about anything.  Never ceases to amaze me what people hire others to do (ie Christmas present wrapping) and how hiring others is somehow the definition of what class you are...guess I'm just poor white trash...

Nope not poor.  Smart enough to probably never be poor :)

You know, this reminds me of something I was thinking about over the weekend.

From the outside, it can appear as though I am living a "poor" life since externally the things that I do can look very reminiscent of what someone that doesn't have money would do (such as biking to work, walking places, lowering usage/utilities, not going out to eat at every chance, learning how to work on my own stuff & DIY, minimizing); however, I have come to understand that approaching life frugally is in fact very logical with many benefits such as: low expenses, low waste, high efficiency, more sustainable, better health, more time and energy to focus on your own growth.

I find it somewhat strange and almost enlightening to have the ability to distinguish between the two. The distinction is between "choice" versus "obligation" and in reality it is all a matter of perspective - one reeks of victimhood and the inability to appreciate or understand what one gains from being able to fend for oneself; the other of empowerment through understanding of what is truly important in life.  Yet, externally to an untrained eye and mind they both appear to be the same.

I feel like for me (and maybe many people) we were trained (especially through marketing) to run as far as we can away from anything and everything that could make you appear "poor".  Most people go through life trying their damn'dest to figure "how" to not appear poor without really questioning the "why".  Hence, we have a huge debt culture as folk try to appear "not poor".  Haha, funny thing is what the hell does it even mean to look "rich"?

Anyhow, sorry about the long rant; just got me thinking.

farmecologist

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Several comments:

- Several people have commented "We didn't learn this stuff in school."  Unless you've opted into an elective course, I don't think it's ever been the school's job to teach you how to change light bulbs or sew on buttons.  These things should be learned at home. 

- Two things that I'm shocked my students don't know how to do:  Mail a letter (yes, multiple students have asked me just how one goes about mailing in recommendations, etc. for college -- and, yes, they're asking for help with the logistics:  where does one get a stamp, how does one address an envelope?).  Make a xerox copy -- they want to take pictures of things, which isn't always the right option. 

- If you don't know how to do something, it's easier today than it ever has been in the past.  We have YouTube now.  When my dryer broke, my husband sat down on the floor and watched a video, stopped it frequently, and bit by bit, he fixed the dryer. 

- I understand the concept of "I work hard and have little time to do chores, so I choose to outsource some".  Sometimes this makes sense; for example, some mending /tailoring chores are relatively complicated (for example, replacing a zipper), and it might make sense to pay someone rather than risk messing up a nice piece of clothing.  We each get to decide where to draw the line between "worth it" and "not worth it".  Still, when it comes to things like putting up your Christmas lights, picking up dog poop, etc., we all CAN do those those things, and (assuming you're able bodied) it's pretty hard to justify paying someone to take your trash to the curb.

- In conclusion, the one thing that shocks me most when people say "I can't do this" is ... cooking.  Okay, I can see that everyone might not have the wherewithall to bake a fancy cake or something else that takes real skill ... but, really, who can't scramble an egg or fry a pork chop?  Plus, because cooking is an everyday task, the potential reward for learning some basic skills is huge.


I have to chuckle at some of these.  We have it so much easier these days than 'before the internet'.  You can look up how to fix literally anything and get a nice video of how to do it in 5 minutes or less. 

I fix everything at our house and yes, sometimes I don't feel like doing a repair job.  However, I then consider how much it would cost to call a repair person over and change my mind very quickly.

Honestly...repair people have to be laughing all the way to the bank these days.  Any repair folks out there that can comment on this?


Laura33

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I feel like for me (and maybe many people) we were trained (especially through marketing) to run as far as we can away from anything and everything that could make you appear "poor".  Most people go through life trying their damn'dest to figure "how" to not appear poor without really questioning the "why".  Hence, we have a huge debt culture as folk try to appear "not poor". 

Yep.  We are all Sneetches.

WranglerBowman

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My neighbors think we're dirt poor because I never hire anyone to do anything and drive 15+ year old vehicles.  I should mention I'm also a millennial that can do just about anything.  Never ceases to amaze me what people hire others to do (ie Christmas present wrapping) and how hiring others is somehow the definition of what class you are...guess I'm just poor white trash...

Nope not poor.  Smart enough to probably never be poor :)

You know, this reminds me of something I was thinking about over the weekend.

From the outside, it can appear as though I am living a "poor" life since externally the things that I do can look very reminiscent of what someone that doesn't have money would do (such as biking to work, walking places, lowering usage/utilities, not going out to eat at every chance, learning how to work on my own stuff & DIY, minimizing); however, I have come to understand that approaching life frugally is in fact very logical with many benefits such as: low expenses, low waste, high efficiency, more sustainable, better health, more time and energy to focus on your own growth.

I find it somewhat strange and almost enlightening to have the ability to distinguish between the two. The distinction is between "choice" versus "obligation" and in reality it is all a matter of perspective - one reeks of victimhood and the inability to appreciate or understand what one gains from being able to fend for oneself; the other of empowerment through understanding of what is truly important in life.  Yet, externally to an untrained eye and mind they both appear to be the same.

I feel like for me (and maybe many people) we were trained (especially through marketing) to run as far as we can away from anything and everything that could make you appear "poor".  Most people go through life trying their damn'dest to figure "how" to not appear poor without really questioning the "why".  Hence, we have a huge debt culture as folk try to appear "not poor".  Haha, funny thing is what the hell does it even mean to look "rich"?

Anyhow, sorry about the long rant; just got me thinking.

The really funny/sad thing is in our neighborhood our house just looks average and the people with the really nice looking places are the ones who generally have the most debt.  Any deed associated with real property is filed and publicly available in Maryland (and probably in all states)....if you know how to find it.  My neighbor likes to continually talk down to me and behind my back because I don't keep our yard perfectly manicured and don't have new vehicles sitting in the driveway, etc...I don't mind people thinking I'm "poor".  I looked up their real property deeds that are listed under his name and address to see what they owe on their house...they bought their house in 1994 for $135,900...they refinanced their home multiple times along the way and again in 2013 for $238,000!.  They just keep taking out more home equity loans against the house...and I know he's not investing the money wisely, just maintaining a fake lifestyle to keep up with the fake Jones' in a world of real debt.

Just Joe

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Wonder what he'd do if you threw that in his face publicly? I wouldn't do it though, not worth it. Would just keep it to myself.

WranglerBowman

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Wonder what he'd do if you threw that in his face publicly? I wouldn't do it though, not worth it. Would just keep it to myself.

I'm sure he'd be super embarrassed and I would never advertise that out there publicly...even though it's already public.  Just makes me feel better sometimes when I think "I must be doing something wrong since everyone else lives lavish lifestyles." then I realize all they've done is create a lavish prison and eventually it will just become a prison.

nick663

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After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.
I think there's confusion between means and ends here.  The job brings in money that you save to become FI.  Doing your own car work means you spend less money, so you can save more towards FI.
While I agree generally, oil changes are not a money saving activity in a lot of cases.  Shops use the specials on oil changes to get you in the door to upsell you on filters/wipers/etc at a super inflated price.

I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

paddedhat

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After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.
I think there's confusion between means and ends here.  The job brings in money that you save to become FI.  Doing your own car work means you spend less money, so you can save more towards FI.
While I agree generally, oil changes are not a money saving activity in a lot of cases.  Shops use the specials on oil changes to get you in the door to upsell you on filters/wipers/etc at a super inflated price.

I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.



I'm not sure I'm even close to agreeing that there is no savings to be had with DIY oil changes.  IMHO, it's about saving three things, money, time, and saving your car from a semi-skilled asshat who thinks they are a mechanic, but can't seem to handle oil changes.

Time: I can do a change on our CRV in less that 20 minutes. If I go to the closest quick change, have zero wait time until it's being serviced, and out the door in 20 minutes, it still takes an hour round trip.

Money: A five qt. jug of Mobil one costs $28, an OEM filter is $6.  Total of $34 for top grade material. A lot of places advertise synthetic changes at $49.95. A quick change place uses bulk oil pumped from drums. Is it what you paid for, really a full synthetic, really a top brand? Who knows?  Are you getting an OEM or equal filter, or a POS Fram that the place buys in bulk for two bucks each?

Asshattery:  I bought the CRV used. At some point in the three years and four Honda dealer oil changes done before I got it, some knuckledragger decided that replacing the underbelly pan on the car was too much work, so they threw it, and all the hardware, away. My Mom lost a Subaru engine to an oil change place that found tightening drain plugs to be a bit above their skill level. I was on the road and had a dealer do a change to the CRV. They overfilled it by nearly two quarts. My son's wife drives a Corolla. The garage doing her oil changes decided that they could skip the cartridge filters on the car, and my son discovered a collapsed ball of gunk where the filter used to be. It may of been run 45K on that filter.

It's more than money, a $4K engine is too valuable to me to risk letting a "professional" change my oil.

 

Just Joe

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Everything paddedhat said. Side bonus - you get to personally inspect all the CV boots which on my CRV with AWD means eight boots, look for torn balljoint/tie rod/steering rack boots, look for leaks, rust, etc.

marielle

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.

sw1tch

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.

Plus you can torque the drain plug to specs instead of relying on the paid monkey to not over-tighten/strip that bolt.

Chris22

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After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.

Well wait, is there no cost to the homeowner?  I would absolutely let a pro come take down a bee nest if it wasn't going to cost me any money.

Proud Foot

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After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.

Well wait, is there no cost to the homeowner?  I would absolutely let a pro come take down a bee nest if it wasn't going to cost me any money.

Probably not a direct cost but adding up all those unnecessary expenses could lead to higher dues each year.

Villanelle

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After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.
I think there's confusion between means and ends here.  The job brings in money that you save to become FI.  Doing your own car work means you spend less money, so you can save more towards FI.
While I agree generally, oil changes are not a money saving activity in a lot of cases.  Shops use the specials on oil changes to get you in the door to upsell you on filters/wipers/etc at a super inflated price.

I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

It's crazy to me that your HOA covers those things.  Any HOA I was ever in would have told me that those things were firmly in the "homeowner responsibility" camp, and then they'd have offered to give me their list of recommended pest removers and ... light bulb changers. 

And I'd have taken them up on the bee removal.  Is that really something people do themselves? As someone with a bee sting allergy (and the epi pen to prove it!), I'd never attempt that, of course, but it surprises me that it's something people commonly DIY.  I don't recall ever having a bee's nest at my house in my entire 40+ years of existence, so I guess I have no idea how it's usually handled. 

snacky

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I have a serious bee allergy and have removed wasp nests. It's all about wardrobe choices and using the wasp murder foam that comes with an extended so you can be as far away as possible. I wear layers of clothes and several bedsheets like a shroud. The neighbourhood children enjoyed the show.

Chris22

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I HAVE removed bee/wasp/hornet nests myself, but if someone was offering to do it for me for free (aside from a nebulous 'might affect HOA rates someday' cost), I'd absolutely let them do it.  Beats my usual technique of 'wait for nightfall, put on a sweatshirt, double-fist a couple cans of bee killer spray, shoot and run". 

farmecologist

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Reminds me of the joke about how many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb. Three.

One to serve the chardonnay
One to serve cheese and biscuits
One to phone an electrician

So are there also jokes about 'hipsters'?  ;-)


Just Joe

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It's fun to be your kids' hero.

MrsPete

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Basic stuff people are not able to do themselves?  I can't believe how dependent people are on computers for their work and lives, yet do not know how to do even the most basic things on them.  This tends to be the baby boomers more than millennials.
Oh no, I teach high school seniors, and they THINK they're hot-to-trot when it comes to computer usage.  The top 30% really do know computers -- and good for them -- but the rest range from completely clueless to barely skilled.  Oh, they can surf the internet, but that's about all.  Things that give my students trouble: 

- Saving a word processing document to their school network file instead of the computer's C drive
- Attaching a file to an email
- Printing only page 3 of a multi-page document
- Formatting a word processing document (for example, they use the space bar to center titles, are unaware that Ctrl-Enter creates a hard page)
- Saving to a flashdrive
- Using Excel
- Squint at tiny writing because they don't understand how to adjust their screen size
- Keeping up with passwords

I wish I were making this up. 

MrsPete

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.
Gotta disagree.  I can always get a coupon for a $20 oil change, and since I take my car to the place next to the mall, I can walk over and look around while they're working on my car. 

I CAN change oil, but without an economic advantage to it, I'm not going to do it.

marielle

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.
Gotta disagree.  I can always get a coupon for a $20 oil change, and since I take my car to the place next to the mall, I can walk over and look around while they're working on my car. 

I CAN change oil, but without an economic advantage to it, I'm not going to do it.

I'm going to guess this is not synthetic, or maybe synthetic blend. You can't even buy oil that cheap.

Just Joe

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Oh no, I teach high school seniors, and they THINK they're hot-to-trot when it comes to computer usage.  The top 30% really do know computers -- and good for them -- but the rest range from completely clueless to barely skilled.  Oh, they can surf the internet, but that's about all.  Things that give my students trouble: 

- Saving a word processing document to their school network file instead of the computer's C drive
- Attaching a file to an email
- Printing only page 3 of a multi-page document
- Formatting a word processing document (for example, they use the space bar to center titles, are unaware that Ctrl-Enter creates a hard page)
- Saving to a flashdrive
- Using Excel
- Squint at tiny writing because they don't understand how to adjust their screen size
- Keeping up with passwords

I wish I were making this up.

I've heard college students we know complain that their faculty - while well versed in their area of expertise - can be hopeless computer users. You'd think after 20+ years of writing articles and teaching materials that they'd be one person publishing geniuses but maybe not...

As for oil changes - not all filters are created equal. Neither is oil. Call me picky but I get alot of miles out of our cars.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2017, 12:34:38 PM by Tasty Pinecones »

sw1tch

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Basic stuff people are not able to do themselves?  I can't believe how dependent people are on computers for their work and lives, yet do not know how to do even the most basic things on them.  This tends to be the baby boomers more than millennials.
Oh no, I teach high school seniors, and they THINK they're hot-to-trot when it comes to computer usage.  The top 30% really do know computers -- and good for them -- but the rest range from completely clueless to barely skilled.  Oh, they can surf the internet, but that's about all.  Things that give my students trouble: 

- Saving a word processing document to their school network file instead of the computer's C drive
- Attaching a file to an email
- Printing only page 3 of a multi-page document
- Formatting a word processing document (for example, they use the space bar to center titles, are unaware that Ctrl-Enter creates a hard page)
- Saving to a flashdrive
- Using Excel
- Squint at tiny writing because they don't understand how to adjust their screen size
- Keeping up with passwords

I wish I were making this up.

It's ironic how some of this would have been how we described senior citizens when PC's were first becoming commonplace.  Now it's the young'uns.

Chris22

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.
Gotta disagree.  I can always get a coupon for a $20 oil change, and since I take my car to the place next to the mall, I can walk over and look around while they're working on my car. 

I CAN change oil, but without an economic advantage to it, I'm not going to do it.

I'm going to guess this is not synthetic, or maybe synthetic blend. You can't even buy oil that cheap.

I can buy a 5qt jug of Mobil 1 (high end synthetic) for $26, I'm sure if I was buying by the 55gal barrel I could get a better deal. 


Personally, I have given up working on our daily drivers for the most part, but do 99% of the work on my fun car (I did outsource a clutch replacement on that one).  I pay my dealer ~$75 for oil/filter and tire rotation that would cost me ~$40-45, so for $30 I don't have to lay on the cold ground, run around buying oil and parts, dealing with waste oil, etc etc etc.  The one thing I still do myself religiously is brakes; the arbitrage on that project is huge.  I bet it's ~$400/axle for a brake job at a dealer, and it costs me maybe $100-150 in parts.  That's a huge savings and well worth a couple of hours of my time. 

Proud Foot

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Oh no, I teach high school seniors, and they THINK they're hot-to-trot when it comes to computer usage.  The top 30% really do know computers -- and good for them -- but the rest range from completely clueless to barely skilled.  Oh, they can surf the internet, but that's about all.  Things that give my students trouble: 

- Saving a word processing document to their school network file instead of the computer's C drive
- Attaching a file to an email
- Printing only page 3 of a multi-page document
- Formatting a word processing document (for example, they use the space bar to center titles, are unaware that Ctrl-Enter creates a hard page)
- Saving to a flashdrive
- Using Excel
- Squint at tiny writing because they don't understand how to adjust their screen size
- Keeping up with passwords

I wish I were making this up.

I've heard college students we know complain that their faculty - while well versed in their area of expertise - can be hopeless computer users. You'd think after 20+ years of writing articles and teaching materials that they'd be one person publishing geniuses but maybe not...


When I was taking my Business Communications class in college (2007) our professor had us submit our weekly assignments on a floppy disk...

jinga nation

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.
Gotta disagree.  I can always get a coupon for a $20 oil change, and since I take my car to the place next to the mall, I can walk over and look around while they're working on my car. 

I CAN change oil, but without an economic advantage to it, I'm not going to do it.

I'm going to guess this is not synthetic, or maybe synthetic blend. You can't even buy oil that cheap.

I can buy a 5qt jug of Mobil 1 (high end synthetic) for $26, I'm sure if I was buying by the 55gal barrel I could get a better deal. 


Personally, I have given up working on our daily drivers for the most part, but do 99% of the work on my fun car (I did outsource a clutch replacement on that one).  I pay my dealer ~$75 for oil/filter and tire rotation that would cost me ~$40-45, so for $30 I don't have to lay on the cold ground, run around buying oil and parts, dealing with waste oil, etc etc etc.  The one thing I still do myself religiously is brakes; the arbitrage on that project is huge.  I bet it's ~$400/axle for a brake job at a dealer, and it costs me maybe $100-150 in parts.  That's a huge savings and well worth a couple of hours of my time.
Ditto for Tranny Fluid if you vehicle just needs a drain and fill. Chain Shops will say $109+ for a Versa-Trans or some fancy shit. But dealer service manual says drain. Then Fill. Dealer charges $59. Same dealer sells the OEM fluid at $7-8/qt plus crush washers for a buck.
Brake Jobs... could get all 4 corners new rotors and pads for what the shop charges for pads and resurface old rotors. And buy some tools and still come under. Tools are free to rent from Advance Auto.

dcheesi

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Reminds me of the joke about how many yuppies does it take to change a light bulb. Three.

One to serve the chardonnay
One to serve cheese and biscuits
One to phone an electrician

So are there also jokes about 'hipsters'?  ;-)
Same joke, except:

One serves PBR
One serves grass-fed goat cheese and artisanal mini-toast squares
One puts in a request on BULBR, the latest "gig" services app

...And a fourth hipster shows up in response to the BULBR request, sticks his finger in the socket, and gets electrocuted ;-)


paddedhat

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Ditto for Tranny Fluid if you vehicle just needs a drain and fill. Chain Shops will say $109+ for a Versa-Trans or some fancy shit. But dealer service manual says drain. Then Fill. Dealer charges $59. Same dealer sells the OEM fluid at $7-8/qt plus crush washers for a buck.


I was pretty surprised to discover that changing trans. fluid on a CRV is actually quicker and easier than doing the oil. The other interesting point is that Honda does not require, or approve of, the use of flush machines to do trans. service.  So it's $25 in parts, and fifteen minutes of work. Prior to doing it DIY, I had a Honda dealer do it for $99, then try to add a bullshit "environmental fee" of $17. Another dealer wanted $179 to do it with a flush machine since it's the "best way" even though it's not an approved service.

nick663

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I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

I disagree. It costs me $25 for 4 quarts of Mobil 1 high mileage synthetic oil and a filter. It takes like...15 minutes because I have ramps (paid for themselves after one oil change). It's $50 minimum for someone to do it for me, sometimes $60. Plus time wasted waiting.

So 15 minutes saves me $25-$35. Not a bad hourly rate. Even without ramps and taking 30+ minutes it's still worth it.
Gotta disagree.  I can always get a coupon for a $20 oil change, and since I take my car to the place next to the mall, I can walk over and look around while they're working on my car. 

I CAN change oil, but without an economic advantage to it, I'm not going to do it.
Same on the coupon and I can see an oil change place from my driveway.

I also don't think people are factoring in the time to buy the oil, clean up, transferring used oil to a container, and recycling it.
After being on a HOA board, none of this surprises me.  We routinely had a handful of people that would put in work request for changing outside light bulbs, removing bee nests, etc.  Each item was costing the HOA $100-$200 because they would call outside contractors to come in to do it.
I think there's confusion between means and ends here.  The job brings in money that you save to become FI.  Doing your own car work means you spend less money, so you can save more towards FI.
While I agree generally, oil changes are not a money saving activity in a lot of cases.  Shops use the specials on oil changes to get you in the door to upsell you on filters/wipers/etc at a super inflated price.

I do my own oil changes because I enjoy it but it's really not a money saving activity.

It's crazy to me that your HOA covers those things.  Any HOA I was ever in would have told me that those things were firmly in the "homeowner responsibility" camp, and then they'd have offered to give me their list of recommended pest removers and ... light bulb changers. 

And I'd have taken them up on the bee removal.  Is that really something people do themselves? As someone with a bee sting allergy (and the epi pen to prove it!), I'd never attempt that, of course, but it surprises me that it's something people commonly DIY.  I don't recall ever having a bee's nest at my house in my entire 40+ years of existence, so I guess I have no idea how it's usually handled.
The bylaws were written that the HOA was responsible for outside maintenance.  Most were reasonable about it and realized replacing a light bulb is easier than making a phone call to have it changed but there were a couple people that didn't.