how I saved $21

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My story, briefly:

I grew up in a very frugal family as a missionary kid. I went to college and tried to be frugal there, too, as much as a college student can. I rarely ate out, and if I was traveling I tried to skip meals to save money. Then I got my first job and moved into my own apartment. I suddenly had money, and before long I was in a nice cycle of buying things. I must admit I LOVE to shop and I love buying new things, and I love when everything in my apartment is new and shiny. I tend to throw things out rather than fixing them or making do. I’ve come so far from my upbringing!

If I want to make this work – being a stay at home wife – I really need to reexamine some of my spending habits. A BIG one for us has been eating out. When I was working, I rarely felt like cooking dinner so we ate out all the time. Now that I’m home, I have found that we are eating out much less, without even thinking about it. That’s a step in the right direction, but I am still a long ways with being okay with what we have.

I know this is an attitude thing. I had settled in a routine where I would rather pay someone else to do things, or to buy something new to replace a broken thing or have conveniences that I could do without. Maybe for some people this is an easy process, but for me it’s been difficult. Really, really hard. I know it’s a direction I need to head, but right now I’m struggling a lot over the comforts and things I need to give up.

Ah, materialism has its hold on me!

I’m being upfront with y’all about this because I’m sure that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I have a few frugal blogs that I enjoy reading, and sometimes when I read about their lifestyles I want to cry and say, “I can’t do this!” If you think I’m just a baby, please keep it to yourself. :-) In a year I’ll probably reread this post and laugh.

All this is to lead up to the baby steps I am taking. I am trying to celebrate them to encourage myself to continue. I’m trying not to get ahead of myself by wondering why I can’t go to CVS and walk out with $314 worth of things for only $5. I’m starting small – with the little things that I know I can do right now. One of these things is in relation to my car. I keep my car very neat and clean, and I want to keep it that way to maintain the value and condition of the car. There is a car wash near me where I can have my car completely cleaned, inside and out, for only $21. I personally don’t think that’s a lot of money, but it does seem like a discretionary expense! Finally yesterday I grabbed some rags and cleaning products and spent an hour cleaning my car myself. I used things I already had – window washing solution, leather cleaning solution (my car’s seats are leather), and a handheld vacuum cleaner. I did a very thorough job and I am pleased with the results! So, I didn’t spend any money except for an hour of my time, which I would have otherwise spent goofing around on the internet. And, I have a clean car. I’m happy for myself. :-)

May this be only the beginning of many future savings!