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Problems With “Do This Don’t Do That” Posts

As many have noted, I tend to shy away from guide like posts, gold making strategies, basically anything that I might have to stick a Your Mileage May Vary on it. There are several reasons on this, one of which is that at this stage of an expansion pretty much every gold making tip, strategy, route, and guide has been written already, usually several times over. But another reason is that these might or might now work for everyone, every server’s and faction’s economy is different, and not every player has the same resources available to them, so what may work for me may not work for you, and so reading about it is kind of a waste of time then isn’t it?

To illustrate this I’m actually going to pick on a tweet from Matticus of World of Matticus in which he shared an article from Yahoo! titled 10 Things You Should Stop Paying for in 2012 (I suggest you at least skim this article to get the full benefit from this article). While I find this article is filled with good intentions, and it really does get the ideas flowing on money saving, such a simple article starts to fall apart if you’re not in their relatively small demographic. Several of the suggestions in this article either don’t apply to me, or simply don’t work, as I suspect many readers will realize as well. Lets dig a little deeper shall we?

Note: I decided to pick apart an article not about World of Warcraft since it had all verities of examples in one jam-packed link. I also didn’t want to single out any posts or bloggers, or give the impression that how-to or gold tip posts are useless.

Some Background

For those who might not have picked up on this, I am not American. I actually live in Canada which is quite similar and yet has enough differences that several of these tips from Yahoo! goes right out the window. I’m also a student, a broke student, so that causes some trouble with one or two of these tips as well. Now that you have some background, lets explore why this article does someone like me little good shall we?

Coffee Shop Visits

Now I’m sure her math is valid and she’s probably right in theory about making coffee at home I’m using this as an example as how a location change can seriously mess with your numbers. The article uses a Starbucks 12 oz. (I’m assuming US fl oz.) which costs $1.75 US. I think you can see the problem here already: even among coffee drinkers not every drinks Starbucks, and not everyone uses those sizes even. For example, a 20-ounce double double at Tim Horton’s (an extra large everywhere but Kingston and Sudbury) costs $1.80 CAD ($1.78 U.S. as of this writing) assuming you get it in a disposable cup (if you bring a travel mug they’ll shave off 10 cents). That’s a big difference, you get an extra 8 ounces for a mere 3 cent increase, which can throw your numbers way off when you’re comparing that to bringing your own coffee in. Plus there’s differences in the cost of hydro, water, time costs, cost of buying the filters and mix etc. Lots of math you have to do to figure out if this may or may not save you money, on top of other factors such as the fact you might want more than one during the day, and not everyone has access to a coffee maker 24/7. So while yes this is probably a valid tip, this just illustrates that not only in World of Warcraft but in real life Your Mileage May Vary.

Baggage Fees

I would love to have this problem, but when I travel it’s usually to Toronto and I either get a ride down or catch the train (which admittedly does have checked luggage, don’t think anyone in economy class actually uses it though). While this is actually a fairly good tip, due to the size of the audience it effects I would have probably passed it over for a tip that would be useful to more people.

Baby Food

This suggestion made me pause, because while we don’t really have this issue in World of Warcraft, I believe there are some things in life you shouldn’t skimp on; this would be one of those things. Now I’m not planning on having any kids anytime soon, but I know there is more than a cost factor when deciding baby food, many parents have great concerns about what they feed their child, and while home made food may sound great in theory and as a cost cutting measure, it might not be worth it for some parents:

Store bought baby food, especially organic is pretty good and is superior to just blending some vegetables together because vegetables vary in nutrition and can be high in pesticides and or have bacteria so for a baby they would need to be very clean and prepared in a safe manner.  Also they cannot be stored unless frozen and that affects the taste.

Yes i agree its a great way to save money and can be done, although its a lot of work.

Trish Dekker, M.Ed, RD

Like I said I’m not planning on having this problem anytime soon, so again this doesn’t apply to me, or all too many people in general I’d assume, but subjects like this tend to have great concerns attached to them. Even as a cost saving measure, you have to ask yourself, if saving a few pennies worth the amount of time it would take? Could you not be doing something more productive with your time?

Cable

I already get most of my TV online through services such as watchseries.eu (Note: Canadian copyright law allows for acquiring copyright content, so this isn’t illegal, just an fyi for all you copyright fiends out there) but I still have a few objects to this tip. The first objection is that some of the services the author mention’s aren’t available to everyone. Hulu, for example, is only accessible to those using an IP from the United States or an American military base. Similarly, I assume Netflix isn’t available in every country as we have a Netflix.ca which they made a big fanfare over.

Another problem with this suggestion is, many Internet Service Providers put bandwidth caps on how much data you can take in each month (or send out, or both) and will charge you for each GB you go over that cap. Streaming video online takes up a lot of bandwidth for those of you not familiar with it, and with companies like Bell starting at a mere 2GB per month on their lowest tiers, you can chew through it in a heartbeat, and possibly end up spending more money than you save.

One last caveat with this tip: It’s really hard to catch something “live” online. I don’t know if the services mentioned in this tip are better with this, but i usually have to wait a day, even using official TV network sites, to watch a show.

Landline Phones

This is actually a pretty good suggestion, when was the last time you used a landline at home? You could have probably just used your cell right? As long as you’re already paying for a cell phone, you probably don’t need a landline as well, right? I really only have one objection to this, and that is the issue of emergency calls. While there have been leaps and bounds in the emergency support by cell phones I think most people would agree that they’d rather use a landline if possible for calling 911. Aside from service problems (I’m sure you all have that one spot in the house you don’t get service) cell phones (or VOIP phones) can’t always provide your exact location to emergency services, so if you’re unable to speak or don’t know your address emergency services could have trouble locating you, assuming you’re even put through to the right location. Cell phones apparently still have trouble routing you to the correct place when you place a 911 call, so you can accidentally be hooked up with the emergencies services the next town over.

Alright, So What Does This All Mean in World of Warcraft?

Now I must admit some of the parallels between these examples and World of Warcraft are pretty thin. The point of running through this article is to show how what works for one person, may not work for another, and that when reading such tips or guides you need to be able to think critically if you can profit from it. There’s also factors aside from profit that determine whether or not it’s worthwhile, and this article from Yahoo! outline many good examples. To really succeed at gold making you have to learn to think for yourself sometimes, and take initiative.

About the author

Eric Dekker

Gamer. Student. Nerd. Author of The Golden Crusade. Find him on + and Twitter.