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I Purposely Drive In Heavy Rain To Get A Free Car Wash

Published 5/31/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Today I was relaxing at home on a lazy Saturday afternoon, tinkering on the computer and watching my weekend mixed martial art fighting shows on TV when suddenly there was a tremendous flash of light from the window, followed by the wallop of a floor vibrating thunder crack. Since I was on the computer, I quickly checked the weather page and confirmed that there was definitely a major thunderstorm heading my way. Weather reports predicted a heavy storm system to move through my neighborhood during the early to late afternoon period with the potential to bring forth severe isolated thunderstorms and heavy rainfall mixed with strong winds, with torrential downpours heavy at times. There was even an online warning issued for frequent lightening and even a small tornado watch. The mere prospect of tornadoes has always baffled me. I live in the Maryland suburban area of Washington D.C. and have never encountered a tornado before during my entire lifetime in this area. There have been limited reports of one or two tiny tornadoes touching down in years past, but their appearances are rare and usually sighted in the less populated outskirts of the central city. The metro D.C. area is simply too urbanized and populated with tall buildings and infrastructure for a substantial twister to develop. However, we do get pretty powerful thunderstorms and heavy rain showers at times - and that's where my dirty, dust covered car comes in.

Thunderstorms and Rain Showers Signal The Tantalizing Opportunity For Me To Get A Free Instant Car Wash

The moment I heard the thunder cracks and verified the imminent rainstorms about to brew, I immediately sprung to action. I quickly got dressed and made a beeline for my apartment building's covered parking garage where my car is parked. I jumped in and went for a drive - to nowhere in particular but just to drive and keep my car exposed to the weather. In fact, my whole purpose for driving was to keep my car out in the open and under the wet and wild fury of mother nature's latest thunderstorm for a free car wash.

Am I the only one who does this? Some people have the spring and summer time luxury of outdoor parking spots out in the open for a free car washing everytime it rains. As my car is parked indoors in a neighborhood where reserved parking is otherwise difficult to find, I have to manually move it outside during anticipated rainstorms to get that momentary free water jet splashing. This time in particular I had to make sure I seized the opportunity. It's been too long since my car had a decent wash. As I rarely drive due to my habit of taking public transportation, and my recent drives have consisted of long inter-state treks to upstate New York during sunny weather, my car has gradually been covered with a layer of extended highway driving dust and dotted with splattered bugs on the front fender and windshield. However, taking the opportunity to purposely drive my car around to receive the brunt of mother nature's newest heavy thunderstorm took care of much of the grime covering it. As I drove around and ran intentional errands during the furious rainstorm, my car was easily washed and scrubbed clean by the heavy rain water and whipping winds. It felt great to save some money and even conserve some natural water resources at the same time. While saving $10-15 by not having to pay for a professional car wash may not seem like much, it still felt good not having to pay money for a luxury convenience I could otherwise obtain for free.

Purposely Going Out Of My Way To Drive My Car Outside During A Rain Storm - Frugal Or Cheap?

Some people might say I'm being super cheap by opting to drive around in my car aimlessly or purposefully running errands during a heavy rainstorm to get a free car wash, but I disagree. It's all about my priorities. I would rather spend those extra few dollar savings on other things. Even using the sum towards a nice tasty smoothie drink would be better use of that little bit of money in my opinion. It may not be a lot, but it's all about the gradual and long term aggregate effects of practicing such frugal, money saving habits. Besides, I enjoy driving in the rain. There's nothing like watching mother nature in all her glory and marveling at the pattering rain, flying leaves from the tree branches, and furious winds. Maybe it's my optimistic and sunny side up type of personality, but whenever I hear news about an approaching severe thunderstorm, I immediately think of free car washes. So long as the storm doesn't have the potential to cause major damage on my driving route through downed power lines or falling tree limbs, I prefer to look at the money saving benefits of such natural phenomenons. Vehicle safety issues or on-the-road driving dangers during heavy thunderstorms have never been serious concerns for me since I always stick to major local roads or wide highways during thunderstorms where errant tree limbs or falling debris are less hazardous problems.

Car washes are one of those ordinary month to month or periodically recurring common expenses that I try to eliminate or minimize from my budget as much as possible. Like personal hair cuts for myself or my morning Starbucks white chocolate mocha habit, I see car washes as a nuisance when it comes to frugality and financial planning. Unfortunately, it's one of the necessary downsides of owning and driving a car - you have to wash it once in a while. While there are many car lovers, gear heads, and auto-philes out there who spend countless hours and manpower effort washing, waxing, and polishing their beloved vehicles' body work, and spending endless time fiddling with engine tune ups from personal home garage setups that would make Jiffy Lube or Pennzoil jealous, I'm definitely not one of them. I treat my 2004 Honda Accord simply as what it is - an inanimate dinosaur-fuel consuming contraption that gets me from point A to point B. I use it to commute to work, shop for groceries, and occasionally take road trips. I don't see my car as a status symbol nor would I would ever want it to be one. Is it really worth paying $40,000 to $70,000 for a brand new, luxury high end sedan or sports car for just that momentary bragging right and the ability to show off to your friends, family, or even strangers on the street? Personally, I would much rather take that extra $20,000 or $50,000 fancy car savings and deposit the money into a high interest savings account or invest the sum into my Roth IRA retirement account to grow it for the future. Every little bit helps, even money saved by taking advantage of free rain-inspired car washes - it's all about the long term aggregate savings over time.

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