week twenty-one: spending money like my dad

My dad is frugal. Not cray cray cheap like stuffing ketchup packets in his pants at McDonald’s and then refilling the bottle at home with the purloined tomato-y goodness… but frugal. His truck is 20 years old and when he bought it, he went in and got the most stripped down version of a Ford Ranger those bitches sold. No power steering, no carpet, no radio, no power windows. Actually, thinking back on it, how the hell do you buy a new car without carpet and a radio?

My dad has never bought into “luxuries.” You know, things we convince ourselves are “needs” but really are just wants in disguise. We didn’t have cable growing up. A new car happened about once every 10 years. He got a $6 haircut and wore his Levi’s until they fell apart. Then he wore them when he changed the oil on the cars or did handyman repairs around the house and neighborhood.

He wasn’t necessarily opposed to spending money – but he never seemed to spend it thoughtlessly or on things that wouldn’t last. Of course, as a child and definitely as a teenager, I thought his thrifty ways were outdated and lame. Before he bought the Ford Ranger he drove a horrifically beat-up, rust-covered lemon-yellow truck that embarrassed me endlessly. I used to make him drop me off at school a few blocks away so no one would catch me in it.

But, like all people who have kids and get old, my parents’ once-bass-ackwards-seeming ways now seem like good sense. And although I never thought I’d say it, I will: My dad was right.

Lots of blogs have touted the idea of the no-spend months. Basically it’s just like it sounds: No buying dumb shit. For a month. Typically there’s a few exceptions, like groceries and maybe personal care, like a haircut or medicine.

But a month to me seems like an eternity. So I’m going to do a week. If it goes well, I’ll try a month next time. And I’m using my dad as inspiration. So instead of asking myself WWJD, I’ll be asking myself WWDD?

My rules are:

– Groceries are cool. But I mean food, not “grocery shopping” at Target and also slipping in fingerless gloves and a DVD.

– I have a brow wax scheduled this week. Babysitting is lined up and I’m not missing out on it. Hells naw. When you have super short hair and ungroomed brows, it’s way too easy to look like Peter Pan. Trust.

– No money spending on activities. No $5 rides on the carousel (sorry baby!) or $8 trips to inflatable world. Bonus: We have memberships at the Zoo and the local aquarium. So it’s not like baby will be all sad and deprived.

– No spending money on food outside the home. No restaurants, Starbucks runs or churros at the Zoo. (Oy. That one hurt to write. Churros take the Zoo from “wheee!” to “OMNOMNOMNOMYAYYYYYY!)

– Also – I’m going to write down all the stupid shit I feel longing for during the week, just to have a record of the unfulfilled “needs” and if, with a bit of reflection, I even want them.

Writing this down and being all serious about it makes me realize that I’m super lame if I can’t do the above for just a week. It’s a hard fucking life, huh? The week starts now, let’s go!

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