Leo (father of six, blogger extraordinaire) of Zenhabits, has a spiffy post on six great free alternatives to Quicken & MS Money. I can definitely vouche for Yodlee’s spiffiness, which I wrote about here.
Will also like to throw in another great free altnerative — Mint.com (which will be available to everyone ASAP!).
Last month, my dentist friend gave me a free deep cleaning. Easily saved me $300 bones for his 2-3 hours of work (man, I gotta get a dental plan).
The whole process probably would have only taken an hour had I just went for the local anesthetic that my friend offered; but for whatever reason I didn’t feel like being pricked by a needle that day (plus I felt bad about spending more of his money) — so instead I said no thanks to the quick pain from the needle and was soon subjected to a world of sharp, constant, and extended pain (good choice, Cap).
After the deep cleaning session was over, my friend remarked that he should have just given me the shot anyway so he can go “downtown” on me and not worry about causing me pain, which would have probablyed shaved an hour or two off the cleaning process.
A few months later he’ll also be making me a night mouth guard, because apparently I clench my teeth without realizing it.
And this brings me to an interesting thought: because my friend is doing it for free, I didn’t even hesitate in following his recommendation.
In a different scenario, if I was in a dentist office elsewhere and my dentist recommends to me an expensive night guard, I would consider the cost involved and get a second opinion if possible.
But because my friend is doing it for free (and plus he’s also a friend), I accepted his recommendation without a second thought. After all, he’s not exactly getting any monetary benefit out of making and fitting a night guard for me, so why not get the night guard?
(Note: night guards are hardly a scam, as they work wonderfully when properly fitted for those that may need it; but it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion or recommendations as it will save a lot of time and money in the long term.)
I’m getting quite a lot of work done for free, which is very nice of my friend and I certainly appreciate him taking the time out to help me. The strange thing is that, because of the monetary cost involved in the services he offered me, I feel a bit bad about receiving the help. If he was simply spending 2-3 hours to help me move out of an apartment, I wouldn’t have feel as weird.
Of course, my friend was happy to help me out. We’ve been friends for years, after all.
Still, I can’t help but wonder if it’s okay to receive free services from professional friends. Is there a point where the help is just too much that you should pay for the service, or seek it elsewhere?
Another friend of mine will become a radiologist in the near future, and I jokingly told him that I expected free x-rays and mammograms (for the wife, not me) in the future. He told me it was perfectly fine as long as I buy him a burrito or two in return.
Obviously, totally different in terms of gift value.
So I told my dentist friend about my concerns, and he waived it off without a second thought. He told me that I shouldn’t worry about it, as I have helped him out numerous times.
I proceed to tell him that, helping him set up BitTorrent so he can download the latest anime is hardly comparable to professional services such as dental work.
He laughed and told me that if it’ll make me feel better, I can treat him to a burrito in return. (What’s up with burritos as a medium of exchange?)
Friendships are hardly about keeping track of what you have given and what you have received. But as some of my friends grow in their prospective career, I can’t help but feel that I should pay them for the help they offer me, especially since they put many hours of hard work in specializing in their fields.
After all, what can I offer in return? Advice on how to start a crappy blog? Tips on acting like a smart ass?
Do you feel weird about getting free services from professional friends? Or maybe it isn’t that big of a deal, especially if they’re true friends. Hmm.
I usually leave these random rantings for a Sunday post, but I just woke up in the middle of the night with a very, very, painful leg cramp (I was dehydrated too so that made it worse).
Had I been in a pool instead of my bed, I am 92% positive I would have drowned. It’s a good thing I don’t swim while I sleep.
It’s also been a long time since I’ve had a muscle cramp in my calves, and I believe this is the first time for it to happen while I was asleep. Ow.
I’m trying to clean out my desk (trying is the keyword here), and I noticed a dust covered box. As I brush off the dust, dead ants, and opened the box, I was presented with stacks of checkbooks. Yay.
These stack of check book came about from one of my pettier moments in life. When I stopped working for Bank of America years ago, I requested stacks of free checkbooks because my Prima account would soon be switched to a regular checking account (you get free checkbooks with the Prima account).
The ironic and stupid part is that, I should have known better than to request these checkbooks — after all, the very reason why I stopped working at Bank of America was because they closed down the Brea processing center due to the lower volume of check writings people do.
But seriously, who the heck still write checks these days?
The last time I wrote a check was years —
Well never mind. It was just yesterday, at the Santa Clarita courthouse, where I wrote a check for $39 so I can attend an 8-hour “home study” traffic school. Double yay.
P.S. In other situations where I have to write a check, I’ll use my checking account’s bill pay feature and let the bank do the postage mailing. 39 cent savings = hot.
It’s the two years anniversary over at FiveCentNickel.com, and you can have a shot at winning an iPod nano and iPod shuffle (also some other “junks” like personal finance goodies, teehee).
You should definitely check out the link above and leave a comment on Fivecentnickel for a shot at the prizes, as your odds of winning are insanely better than say… the state lottery.