DIY – Auto Repairs

The LIST
The LIST of repairs

My car is quickly approaching the dreaded 100,000 miles. Duh duh duuhh… the check engine light came on just before I took it for an oil change the other day.  $600.00 later I got a new thermostat and a list of some other repairs requiring attention in the very very near future.  Said repairs are general maintenance things, but to have the dealership do then will cost me a small fortune (like $1,700). I am by no means a mechanic, but I know enough to get by. I also know enough that I can get a new battery and install it myself (and/or get help from the AutoZone employee) for much less than $170.00.

Please do not mistake me, the gentleman at our dealership is very kind and not condescending or pushy. I simply know that the items on the list can be fixed for much less than what they would charge and can be done relatively easily. The internet has a wealth of how-to videos available in addition to car manuals and forums. You may also know someone who has mechanical experience or be brave and ask the store employees.

Who's idea was this?
Who’s idea was this?

Case in point: I borrowed my mom’s tools to change the spark plugs I purchased for $25.00. When I went to change them out I found that I needed an additional socket because my spark plug hoods are screwed closed. She brought them to me on Thanksgiving and my brother-in-law (who used to be a mechanic) changed them out for me while I held the flashlight. It took fifteen minutes, if that. I would have paid the dealership a whopping $200.00. I saved $75.00 just on this one repair.

Although not mentioned on the list, my passenger side headlight was out. I followed the online videos to change it out. I had to stop after taking off the bumper (yes, the bumper) because I did not have the right socket (note to self – buy sockets!!). Then the husband got home, reached his freakishly long fingers in, undid the cap thing, and changed the light. I then reattached the bumper, somewhat defeated. I am nothing if not good at following directions though. I have no idea what it would have cost us to have the light changed at the dealership or a service shop but I paid less than $10.00 for the light bulb. Even better, I got to take pictures of my boys “working” on the car – fun times!

Hard at Work
Hard at work on the repairs!

Auto repairs can be intimidating and costly – they do not have to be. Know what you think your limits are, like changing an air filter for instance, and do a little research. Chances are you are more than capable of doing the repair yourself and you will in turn save yourself some money.

Guide for Buying for Coworkers

We spend a tremendous amount of time with our coworkers and finding them a unique and meaningful gift is just as important. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to think of the perfect gift. That is where my guide comes in! You can check out my gift guide here to see some great (if I do say so myself) gifts for your family away from family – your coworkers!

A few weeks ago I had a gift guide posted on aftcra.com an amazing website that features exclusively American-made, hand-made items.

Since today is Small Business Saturday, it is the perfect day for you to check out aftcra.com and support small businesses! I am sure that you can find something wonderful for everyone on your list here.

Enjoy!

September Recap

Your attention please! This is a post NOT about the CP Exam!! Yes, that is correct – you are welcome. Here is a list of things I did in September, that had NOTHING to do with testing…

  1. No-Spentember! That is right! We tried to not spend money on any unnecessary, unessential things. This included eating out, going to the movies, buying costumes, etc.
  2. Planned crafts/projects for October.
  3. Started using the UP band/app by Jawbone.
  4. Helped at an IORG event.
    On my way back from an IORG installation!
    On my way back from an IORG installation!
  5. Started dedicating time each evening to have personal conversations with my big boy.
  6. Dreamed about Starbucks’ espresso frappuccino. And I bought a few. And I am aware that I was supposed to not spend money… I did my best. That is all.
  7.  Debated on how soon after I pass the CP exam I want to start the ACP exam. Okay, so this was about testing, but not exactly about the CP exam I took.
  8. SLEPT

Now I bet you are wondering how successful we were with our No-Spentember (no spend September). We did aight. Money for us does not grow on trees, it surely is not hiding in our mattresses, nor is it carried over in our bank accounts from one month to the next. How do we manage? Grace, patience, and optimism. Oh yeah, and sales, coupons, smart shopping choices, etc. For the most part, we were able to keep our spending to all time minimums. I had Starbucks ten a few times, we ate out twice, I purchased items for my blogger swap, and the husband purchased alcohol once for a dinner party we hosted. All birthday presents, school supplies, and household necessities were purchased in August or we went without – i.e. when we ran out of paper plates at said dinner party. We did not have an absolute no-spend month like we tried, but we came close. It definitely made us think twice about making purchases, or not. I know that we will try again – I just have not decided which month to do next. Maybe January…