Image via WikipediaA few years ago, we went through a particularly rough financial stretch. I won't bore you with all of the ugly details, but suffice to say it was an extremely difficult time. It was particularly tough on me whenever anybody wanted to do something special, especially if it was a gift for somebody or a very special event for a family member. We just did not have the extra times.
During that stretch of time, I learned to save money whenever I could. I went from buying Starbucks Coffee drinks on a daily basis, and sometimes twice a day, to brewing my own, usually with store brand coffee. Forget about going out to lunch, I was the brown bag king. Whenever I would go to the grocery store, with a few essential items, I would only buy sale items or store brand items to save money.
One of the biggest expenses a family has would be their auto expenses and maintenance. It was tough even to have cash available for even basic maintenance. Repairs and things like tires were even more difficult. A financial adviser that I had spoken to had recommended buying used tires instead of new the next time I needed tires.
About two years ago, I had my first experience with buying used tires. My initial impression was positive, so much so that I even wrote a blog post about it. I desperately needed two tires for my wife's car. New tires would have been nearly $100 plus all of those nice little extras the tire shops add to the final price. When I bought the used tires, the two cost me about $80 compared to well over $200 for new.
Unfortunately, one year later, I ended up needing to replace those two tires, and needed two more of the original tires. I started to think that in the long run that new tires would have been cheaper in the long run, but I still did not have the money to do so. I bought two more used tires for the front of the car, and then a few months later I bought two more used tires for the rear of the car with the hope that they would last until I could afford to buy new tires.
I was starting to see that all four tires would need to be replaced soon. Fortunately, I happened to have a little spare cash available right now. Earlier this week, my wife called me to inform me that she had skidded on the road. Thank goodness there was nobody around her and there was no damage to the car. She had already asked me to take her car to Jiffy Lube for service, so this morning after doing that, I took her car to BJ's for four new tires.
Our finances are a little better than they were a few years ago, but they are still tight. I still look to save money whenever I can and probably will the rest of my life. Whenever I happen to have some spare funds around, I am very reluctant to part with it because I am concerned that an emergency could arise and not be able to pay for it. However, from here on out, safety is one area where I can't afford to scrimp.