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Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash: A Trip For Our Family of 8!

A testimony from Rachel of 

In 2016, one of our children unexpectedly qualified for the National Bible Bee competition.

Friends and family donated money that allowed us to fly to the competition in Texas. It was a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our single-income family of 8!

Fast forward 5 months. All of our children wanted to return to Texas and three wanted to compete at Nationals. The only problem was, we didn’t have the funds and certainly didn’t expect others to foot the bill again.

My husband and I set up our 2017 budget, but were only able to save $40/month for a trip… so, we started a Texas Jar and decided to get creative.

  • In addition to spare change, any time we came in under budget for an expense, the difference went into our jar — no matter how trivial.
  • We cleaned out our attic and closets to have a yard sale, during which the kids had a concession stand. They raised almost as much money with their concessions as we did with our yard sale!
  • We sold a few items on Ebay and Craigslist.
  • I cooked some especially frugal meals (think Meatless Monday!) and tucked the money saved into our growing fund.
  • The kids earned some money doing yard work and housecleaning for their grandmother; they wanted to put all their money into the fund, but we only allowed them to contribute half, with the other half being deposited into their savings.
  • My husband gets paid biweekly (26 paychecks/year), but we budget on a monthly basis (24 paychecks/year), resulting in two “extra” paychecks per year. We put a portion of this money into the Texas Jar.

Still, saving money was only half the plan. It takes a lot of money to get a family of 8 from Ohio to Texas and back (42 hours total driving), the expense of the 4-day competition. So, we plotted and schemed the cheapest ways to travel.

  • We cashed in hotel points (both ours and a those of a generous friend) for free nights.
  • While mapping our route, we decided to drive through the night once to stretch our free hotel nights.
  • The majority of our meals were food we packed in a cooler (both on the road and in our hotel). Once we arrived in Texas, we bought groceries for easy meals we could eat in our rooms.

We finally had the expenses whittled down to $2500, and had saved $2300. We had counted and recounted our money, rolled the coins, and hoped each time that the final amount would miraculously change.

The departure date was drawing near and we were thinking hard about robbing Peter to pay Paul, when a couple from our church gave us a check for $200! The trip was the most memorable one our family has ever had, made all the more special because of the way this truly was a family effort!

Rachel is a homeschooling SAHM of 6 and co-creator of the blog , where she shares ideas and printables for organizing our homes, homeschools, finances, and lives!

We Paid Cash: Our Honeymoon

A testimony from Krystal of :

When my husband and I first got married, we decided to put our money into a savings account instead of splurging on a big honeymoon. Instead, we promised ourselves we would do a big trip on our one-year anniversary. You know, when we had more money…

Then year one came and went with no trip. As did year two. And then year five. And then year eight.

Last year, our ninth year of wedded bliss, we laughed at how naive we were in thinking we would have more money later in our marriage. Kids. Pets. A home. Good ol’ Murphy who always pays a visit from time to time.

But then we realized it was time we stop putting ourselves last on the totem pole. It was time to plan a “honeymoon.” We know our marriage is one of our greatest investments. So we committed to going on a week-long trip to celebrate our ten-year anniversary, no matter what.

While we knew we didn’t want to spend an outrageous amount of money, we wanted to go on an international trip. After doing our due diligence and having a few discussions, we compromised with a budget that felt right for both of us.

In order to pay for our trip, here a few ways we saved.

We tapped into our Vacation Savings Account.

Each month, we have a small amount that is saved automatically for our summer trips. Last year, our trip was smaller knowing we would have this big trip coming up. It really helped our stockpile of savings grow little by little over time.

We set aside our tax refund.

This was a great jump start to our budget, and covered all of our round-trip airfare.

We skipped using a travel agent.

My hubby gets all the credit here. He spent hours and hours researching locations, things to do, travel expenses, etc.

We were fortunate to be gifted a timeshare for our resort stay. A family member was gracious enough to give us a week at a resort. This limited the resorts we could visit, but it literally saved us thousands!

We only paid the fees and taxes for our visit.

We planned flights well in advance. Again, hubby gets the points for this one! Once we decided a location, he price checked flights and airports. When prices dropped, we jumped and bought our tickets for a great discount.

We shopped around for excursions.

We only did the things we really wanted to do, not everything that was offered to us. Experiencing the culture was amazing! We loved every minute of it!

At the end of the day, we learned that while we can’t afford frequent trips that cost thousands and thousands of dollars every year, we also can’t afford to NOT invest in time alone as a couple. Strategically saving over time bonded us as a team, and afforded us an unforgettable trip.

The memories are worth far more than the meager budget we started out with.

Krystal is a teacher turned homeschooling mama of two. She recently paid off over $80,000 of debt with her husband, and now writes about making family finances simple. You can read her debt free story, as well as tips for budgeting, saving, and investing for beginners at .

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small?.

We Paid Cash: Private School Education

A testimony from Erin Odom of :

When our first of four children was two years old, I learned that a new Christian school was opening in our town.

At the time, .

My husband was a public school teacher in a state that was near the bottom of teacher pay standards, and he and I were both working odd jobs all hours of the day and night.

Still, we could barely make ends meet.

One of my side gigs was freelancing for our local newspaper. I pitched a story about the new school to my editor, and he said to go for it.

While interviewing the school’s director, my heart began brimming with excitement. I had attended Christian schools from kindergarten through high school graduation, and it was something I had desired to provide for our children as well. This school has a unique model where children spend two days per week at home, which makes the tuition more affordable than other Christian schools in our area.

Still, it wasn’t free.

How could we afford Christian school tuition on our income? 

I was up for the challenge.

Soon after, I started blogging at . At the time, I didn’t even have enough money to pay for a domain name, so I started my site on a free blogger domain.

Slowly and steadily, the blog began generating an income.

By the time our daughter started kindergarten four years later, we were able to pay for a full year of her tuition in cash.

We did the same the next year. And the next — for both her and her younger sister.

Our two oldest children just started our family’s fourth year at this school. Every year, we’ve paid for tuition in cash.

How did we achieve this dream?

1. We learned how to create more income.

Around the time I started my blog, a financial advisor from our church told my husband and me that we needed to learn how to generate more income for our family.

For some reason, it had not occurred to us before that we had an income problem. Once we realized that we didn’t have enough money to live, we were motivated to do something about it.

We tried a variety of odd jobs, but, in the end, the blog was a perfect match for my personality, gifts, and skill set. Now, years later, my husband and I run it together.

If you desire for your children to attend a tuition-based co-op or school and you can’t currently afford one, creating more income might be a first step. 

2. We lived below our means.

Even when my blog began generating a decent income, we continued to live on my husband’s salary for years. We saved almost everything that I made.

3. We put the money in an account that we didn’t touch, no matter what.

When we saw that our dream of sending our daughter to this school was going to be attainable, we set up a special savings account just for school tuition.

We only withdraw from his account when it’s time to pay tuition each year.

As soon as we pay the school tuition, we seek to replenish the account for the following school year–and then don’t touch it again until it’s time to pay. 

I will never forget walking my daughter into school on her first day of kindergarten. My eyes were blurry with tears, but it wasn’t only the fact that my baby girl was growing up. I was overcome with emotion that God had provided for our needs and had even made a way for us to achieve this dream as well. 

I still cry every year!

Erin is the mother of four children, blogger at , and author of the new book , which chronicles her family’s journey out of living on a low income. 

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small?.

We Paid Cash: Moving From Kentucky to West Virginia

We paid cash!A testimony from Christina who blog at  

At the end of last year, my husband got hired for a new job — but we had to move for the job.

We had been focusing on getting out of debt, and only had $1,000 in the bank. That amount would be enough for a 350 mile move — including deposits on a home and utilities.

Then, while we were preparing to move, my husband was laid off from his current job, meaning we had to start his new job one month sooner.

We were not packed, we didn’t have enough money in savings to cover the moving expenses and our living expenses until the new job’s paychecks started coming in, and we knew we would have to be very careful with our money to make it while staying away from debt.

Here’s how we managed to pay cash for our big move! 

1.We rented out our house.

The biggest, and some said craziest, thing we did was renting out two of our bedrooms and even our living room couches to total strangers. When Ian’s job situation changed, we needed money… fast!

When Ian was at work, I took a night after the kids were in bed and packed up two rooms, my office and my infant son Logan’s room. I moved Logan into our bedroom and within a few days we had one room rented, then the other, then the living room couches.

. Two men who both had come to our town for a new job and were looking for places for their families to live, and a young lady from New York. We made $665, which covered a lot of our expenses!

It was a fun experience, and we loved it!

2. We packed and moved everything ourselves.

We knew we needed to save in every area we could, so we got moving boxes free from the dollar store nearby and I packed every chance I got. I also compared rates for the moving van companies in town, which saved us at least $300.

We had family come help us pack everything into the moving van, and we unpacked everything ourselves into the new apartment. Not hiring movers saved us around $350.

3. We called in favors and cash back

I use reward programs like iBotta all the time as a part of my normal grocery shopping routine, usually for extra payments on our debt snowball. We used any restaurant gift cards for food when we were on the road to save on our food costs while we were on the road.

We also explained to the office staff at our new apartment complex and asked them if they had any good specials, they told us about their referral program and recommended that we list each other as the referring residents on our applications, so we both got $250 gift cards when we signed our lease!

Ultimately, we both did things that were really hard for us to do. Ian thought it was crazy to rent our house out to strangers, and I did everything I possibly could to save money in every area, as well as eating some humble pie by asking family for help.

We were so blessed to have the support of family and friends, but mostly we were glad we had been living frugally for months, so cutting back wasn’t as hard as it could have been!

Christina is the mother of two children, who loves sharing her debt-free journey and family life at her blog, . Her favorite things are tea, graphic design, and making new friends.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? .

How We Paid Off $30,000 Worth of Debt

We paid cash!

A testimony from Autumn

My husband and I married at the early age of only 18. We were young and in love with each other — and with credit cards! As you might imagine, the love of credit cards got us in some serious trouble!

Fast forward three years and we had over $30,000 in credit card debt PLUS two car notes. Bad, bad idea! We had gotten ourselves in over our heads.

We knew something had to change!

It felt like a heavy load on my shoulders every time the phone rang because I knew that it would be another debt collector. Life had truly spiraled out of control for us. We realized how true, “The borrower is slave to the lender,” really is!

We decided to make some changes… some very big changes! We went through , where we learned about the, “debt snowball” technique. We had to hit it fast and furious! We had no other choice!

At that time we had a rental property, and the current renters had not paid us for almost 4 months. This meant our mortgage for the rental property wasn’t being met either. So, the first line of business was to sell it off. Then we celebrated with a credit card destruction party (AKA cutting up the cards).

We took the minimal profit from the sale of our rental and applied it towards some of our smaller bills (per the debt snowball protocol). From there we went on a tight budget like no other!

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We did things such as:

  • Ate Mac N’ Cheese several nights in a row.
  • Said, “no” to extra-curricular activities we couldn’t afford.
  • Took advantage of free entertainment (ie. swimming and taking the kids to the park)
  • Made crafts out of some interesting materials from home.
  • Shopped for deals and thoroughly researched to find the best price possible.
  • Took advantage of holiday sales. Sometimes this meant waiting. But, the savings was worth it.
  • Worked extra hours — my husband even got an extra job delivering pizzas!
  • Sold things that we didn’t need.
  • Went on free “dates” at home (usually a movie on TV).
  • Cut back on all unnecessary expenses .

It took us almost three years to overcome the mess that we had gotten ourselves into.

It was painful. It was stressful. It was very HARD WORK! But, it was well worth the financial freedom! It’s exciting to say that we are now debt-free, other than our mortgage!

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Since we no longer have debt looming over us, we have been able to pay for my new invention () with cash thus far.

Autumn Spitzke is the Owner and Designer of . She has been married to her best friend for almost 20 years and is the mother of two teenage daughters, ages 17 and 14.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? .

We Paid Cash: A Swing Set

We paid cash!A testimony from Lena

9 years ago (when our oldest child was only 16 month old), we purchased a used swing set from a friend of a friend. We knew it was something that she could grow into and would get lots of use out of, as well as her 3 siblings who followed in the next few years.

It was worth the great price, but the swing set was definitely starting to show its wear. It was starting to rot and wobbled so much that it made me nervous when all our kids were on it.

We decided to look into purchasing a new, stronger set. However, after lots of research and shopping I couldn’t find a pre-made set with everything that we wanted for less than $2,000 — and we were not willing to spend that much!

As a family, we decided to start saving for this large purchase — and here’s what we did:

  • We put all our loose change and $1 bills in a jar. When it was full we would each take a guess at how much was in it before taking it to the bank.
  • We had a rummage sale and set all of that money aside for the play set
  • We took our time and shopped around for the best deal.
  • We built our own to save money.

Once we had the money, we did some more shopping and finally found a hardware and instruction kit at a big box home improvement store. We decided to purchase the kit online by using a discounted gift card (purchased from ), a cash back rewards program, and the store’s free shipping offer for a total cost of $145.

Another home improvement store regularly has an 11% off everything sale, and that was where we went to purchase all of our lumber and screws.

It took us about a week to build the play set with much of it getting done in the evenings after supper. Our four kids helped us measure, cut, and screw everything together during that time. Then I stained the whole thing and we were ready to enjoy it!

It’s a comfort to me knowing that this play set is SO much stronger than the previous one — I know that it will last us a good long time.

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In the end, the whole thing cost us just under $700, with a little over $300 of that being saved in our change jar!

The kids were proud knowing that they had played a big part in saving for, and building the set — and we were thrilled at how much we were able to save by being willing to take the time and effort to build it ourselves.

Lena lives in a small town with her husband of 11 years and four children, whom she homeschools. They’ve been debt-free for 3 years and loving it! They love to share their story and encourage others who are seeking financial freedom.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? .