I finally figured out a way to simultaneously save money and give the kids a good time!
Recession Mama: If your car looks anything like mine, you need a car wash. And have needed one for the last week. Or two ... Of course, you save the most money by not washing the car at all, but skimping on cleanliness is a slippery slope. Pretty soon, the kids have unintentional dreadlocks, and you're all eating off of last week's newspaper.
I used to like to wash my car myself. It was cheap and good exercise. Then I got older and lazier. And had less time -- a lot less time ... So when my county started passing water conservation laws that regulated individuals washing their own cars in driveways, I had a perfect excuse to pay someone to wash my car. I found the best local coupons for car washes at Valpak.com and Moneymailer.com, as well as on the backs of grocery store receipts. They all took competitor's coupons, and often had specials on certain days during the week.
My husband likes the do-it-yourself washes, but my new favorite is the car wash attached to the gas station nearby. It's six bucks if you buy some gas (just put in a buck's worth) and here's the best part -- WE GET TO STAY IN THE CAR! The kids can't get enough of it -- they are screaming with laughter every time that big brush roller comes out. There is a vacuum just outside, but usually I just get home and use the shop vac. Since now I'm going through for some cheap entertainment for the kids, the outside of my car has never been cleaner ...
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!