osgood, zero-ing out padding and margin's for specific elements will have no impact when the global reset method has already been used at the top of the page
I agree that the original poster is in the early stage of the learning process but I don't think there's ever a time when I'd suggest fixing bad code with a quick fix rather than taking the time to fix invalid code.
It will cause more problems as problems won't be consistent especially once you start looking at cross browser support. It'll also get people into bad habits right from the start so I'd always encourage people to learn the correct way with valid, semantic code.
There's plenty of people willing to offer help and advice around here so there's no excuse for not taking the time to learn properly in my opinion.