I am somewhat “tight” with a dollar or a dime. I was raised by Depression era grandparents. They couponed, they checked the grocery ads and bought the “loss leaders” and did the best they could to make their money stretch. They lived comfortably because they shopped sales and didn’t buy things on a whim.
So I come by being a “tightwad” honestly. I try not to pay full price, watch the sale ads and work to save money. This is a good trait to have a pastor. Up until my appointment at West Heights, I tended to serve small rural churches. Using coupons and rebating made my salary go farther. I kept a price book (with the schedule of food sales) and worked to make sure I had a full pantry and freezer. I worked clothing sales in order to have appropriate suits and professional clothes.
Cars were my struggle. Vehicles were necessary and expensive. I wanted good gas mileage and dependability. When I served rural churches, those two things: good gas mileage and dependability were essential.
Some things never change. I still shop sales, I read the Wednesday ads and work to save money. Three years ago I purchased a “new to me” car.
I love this car! It was “state of the art” in the year 2000. Heated seats, sun/moon roof, gets great gas mileage and in 2012, have only about 85,000 miles. I looked at new cars. I had thought to buy a hybrid like a Prius or a Ford Focus. I was shocked by the sticker price. Yes, I could afford payments, but I hadn’t had one for more than 8 years. I looked at the new Fiats, they were so cute! I had a very nice salesman who wanted to sell me one.
In the end I bought the cute little yellow VW bug. It is a standard, so I have to shift! I love that. I paid cash. We have had to buy new tires, and someone sideswiped us and didn’t stop, but I have enjoyed every day of driving this cute PAID for car.
I love driving this VW Bug. Silly, I know, but I love it. It is fun, makes me smile every day and I don’t have a car payment! Everyone has their own threshold of what is important. Mine tends to be what I can pay for in cash and not be in debt. I am grateful that I had money in the bank three years ago and could pay cash for something that continues to be dependable and still gives me joy. I smile as I get in, I often smile as I drive and often hear, “you drive the yellow bug! It suits you!”
I think often our culture encourages us to believe that joy comes from spending more and being in debt. For myself, I have that not to be true. There is much in the world that brings joy that is not based on how much I spend, but in how much I can save. As the holidays approach it is a good reminder to my soul that life is good, and that is not based on how much is spent, but on how much joy is shared.