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Friday, 17 June 2016

How To Save Money - The Car Wash

The car wash - for people who have
money to burn. 
I am not sure if it is a South African thing, but people here sure do love to wash money away their cars. At the garage around the corner from Stealthville, I see long queues every weekend as people spend hours waiting for their hunk of metal to be made all nice and shiny.

Now I have no problem with this, except for the fact that it is absolute madness!

Lunacy! You see in my opinion (opinions are like assholes - everyone has one) there are a number of totally pointless exercises us humans seem to do1, and washing your car is one of them.

So you have your car washed, and you drive it home from the garage....and guess what.... from the second you leave, it starts getting dirty again!.Or it rains.... or the wind picks up....and a few days later you are back to where you started - minus the cost of a car wash.

But yet, every weekend they turn up in their droves, religiously. I mean here is a pic I took at the local car wash on a recent Saturday morning on my way to the shops.
I could think of plenty better things to do on a Saturday morning

So there is quite a demand for this service! And as you can see below, people even queue to get in (and this is a mid-Winter's morning, in Summer it's even worse!).

People wasting time by queuing for the privilege of wasting more time
But not only are people wasting their time, they are also throwing away their hard earned money! I present you with the car wash menu:
"Welcome to the car wash - how much money do you have to throw away?"
R550-R600 for a full valet! Holy crap! And the thing is people obviously take this option, or they wouldn't have it on their menu. You know what you could do with R600!

Now I am not sure why exactly people love the car wash so much, but I am going give it my best shot to come up with an explanation.... If you are car wash fan, please drop me a comment and explain your reasoning to help me understand - maybe I am missing something obvious. But anyway, here is my best attempt at an explanation...

I think it could be that cars are expensive and so people feel obliged to "look after them". But also I think this is aggravated by the fact that people spend waaaaay too much when they purchase their cars. Just look at the amount of "fancy" cars on our roads and you will quickly realise how many people are actually living way above their means. And I guess if you are spending around half of your disposable income on your car then you could very well feel the need to keep it in immaculate condition?

So it could be that, but then maybe it's something else. While writing this post I also realised that I too have washed my car before... And then I gave some thought to the reasons why...

The few times when I have felt the need to wash my car, it all had to do with picking a girl up for a date. However on those occasions I distinctly remember doing it myself, and I can highly recommend this, because as you are doing it, your impending mission comes to the front of your mind, and you can mentally prepare for what lies ahead. Yes ladies, contrary to popular belief,  us men do put a lot of effort and preparation into these things :)

So it could be that people want a clean car for important events (dates, job interviews, or just generally trying to impress). But that wouldn't explain the sheer number of cars turning up every weekend? Could there be that many important events happening to so many people all the time? So I'm guessing that a small number of people are there to make sure they can impress, but for the large majority I think it's just because their cars make up way too much of their monthly expenditure (which is quite ironic, because their visits to the car wash is pushing up this expenditure even more!)

So in summary:
1 - Taking your car to a car wash is a complete waste of not only your hard earned money, but also your precious time! One of life's pointless activities.
2 - I strongly suspect that you can quickly figure out who is living beyond their means by visiting your local car wash
3 - If you do feel an occasion is worthy enough for a car wash, do it yourself! This is the perfect opportunity to focus and prepare for the event that has got you in your old clothes with soap and a hosepipe :)

So if you are one of those who do the car wash thing, this is one expense you should definitely eliminate if you are serious about generating wealth. For example let's say you only a small idiot, so you go for the "Wash and Go" option and you do this twice a month2. Your monthly car wash would cost you R70 a month. Now if you invested this money instead, using my Investment Rules of Thumb you can work out that in 15 years you could have in excess of R25 000 towards your early retirement kitty. So for me, this one is a no brainer - stop the car wash nonsense immediately!

Till next time, stay Stealthy!

- ~ - ~

1 Another one of these pointless exercises is making the bed, I mean you are just going to climb in again that night and mess it all up - although Mrs Stealthy Wealth will have something to say about that!
2 Only a super sized idiot would do the full valet!