Something unique about LDS missions are that missionaries pay their own expenses.
Originally, costs of missions depended on where one was serving (ie. London, England vs. a rural town in South America). In 1990, to make it easier for missionaries, the Church introduced a new program that equalized financial responsibilities.
A flat monthly rate is paid to the Church missionary fund and then resources are allocated from there when missionaries need them. These monthly allowances given to missionaries (varying per mission and local cost of living) covers transportation, food, lodging, and other mission related expenses. Personal expenses, such as souvenirs, stamps, clothes and other unnecessary purchases are supposed to be from personal money the missionary brought with them.
My parents have taught me the value of money from an early age (5 to be exact). 10% of my allowances always went to tithing and 50% to my college savings account. A mission was something I wanted to go on, but chronologically, college came first.
That changed all in October with the missionary age change (See it again, and again HERE). Instead of going on a mission after college at age 21, I was going after freshman year at 19. And I had no money saved for me to go...
Between counsel from my bishop and stake president, my parents and I agreed on the amount I needed to save. And after coming home from school and stressing to find a job (to save said amount) I was blessed enough to find the perfect job (thanks to Grandma!). Not only do I have a 40 hour work week, but I get to interact with people from all around the world, great mission prep in talking to people!
And as of this past week, I have saved my portion of needed funds to go on a mission! Guess what guys! It's even more official than it was 2 1/2 months ago when I received my call!
And in honor of this wondrous accomplishment in my life, enjoy this music video :)
And just in case anybody wonders... No, I am not leaving behind any guy friends.
They're already on their own missions ;)