I used to change the oil in my car. I didn’t enjoy it per se, but I got a certain satisfaction from the accomplishment, and I felt like I was saving money. Until I ran the numbers. Here’s the breakdown on a home oil change:
On the other hand, Jiffy Lube’s “Signature Service” Oil Change total cost is $29 (including $10 online coupon). Total elapsed time is 30 minutes.
As you can see, with DIY I come out $5.25 ahead when considering out of pocket expenses, but when you add in driving around, being yelled at, and extra time, the whole exercise quickly enters the debit column.
In the basement, I still have decade-old plastic gallon milk jugs full of dirty oil that I’m too conscientious to toss out, but too lazy to recycle properly. So they sit.
The other day, Pippa went into the cellar to retrieve a DVD, accidentally brushed and ruptured an ossified jug, then unwittingly tracked ink-black oil around the carpeted basement. So I guess add another $300 for carpet cleaning, or perhaps more for carpet patching. Until we figure it out, newspapers blanket the basement.
Do-It-Yourself and Life Hacks are red hot now. Your toilet flush handle breaks – do you order a new one from Amazon.com, or 3D print one in your living room? That’s not a serious question for most people, but it gets a little more interesting when you ask about something you can’t buy off the shelf.
For me, the dollars and cents don’t usually add up, especially if you factor in opportunity cost – what else I could be doing with that time. If I could be working and making money, the opportunity cost is huge. Otherwise, the cost is tied to the relative satisfaction I get from one activity compared to the other.
If I can incorporate Pippa or Grey into an activity, my ‘DIY or not’ calculation is turned on its head. Suddenly, DIY is a combination bonding/training session. If Pippa expresses any interest in changing the car oil with me, I’m there!
Until then, I’m taking it to Jiffy Lube or one of its competitors.