Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash: Two Night Get-Away to the Oregon Coast

We paid cash!A testimony from Abby who blogs at

My husband and I recently celebrated our third wedding anniversary. While those three years have seen my college graduation, a cross-country move, five months spent living with my family (all seven members), and the birth of our first child, we haven’t had any time away for just the two of us since our first anniversary.

Because we have conflicting work schedules, time together at home is also much rarer than either of us would like. In light of all of that, we decided to make it a priority to save money for a two-night getaway to the Oregon coast. Our goal was to have the money, $400, saved by the end of the summer so that we could take our vacation in the fall, when hotels would be offering off-season mid-week specials.

We didn’t want to take money from any of the areas in our budget, so I knew we would have to get creative.

In the middle of June we decided that any “extra” that came our way would be saved in a newly-made Vacation Jar. With our empty jar waiting, we developed a plan of action:

I began cashing the checks I receive for taking online surveys. In addition, we cashed in the spare change we’d been accumulating for several months. All of that together earned us $123.

I had been reading a lot about selling items on eBay, so I tried that, too. I sold my husband’s PlayStation 3 (with his permission, of course) along with several video games, DVDs, an iPod, and clothes. That netted us a total of $355, after we paid to ship everything.

Oregon offers a refund of $.05 each on aluminum cans and water bottles that you return to the store, so we finally turned in the cans we’d been hanging onto for quite some time. That alone earned us just over $23. I’ve already done the math; we redeemed 470 cans! Yes, my husband has a soda addiction, and yes, we’re working on that.

By the middle of July the Jar held $501.

The goal that we thought would take us two and a half months to reach was exceeded in less than a month, and my husband and I are both shocked that most of that money was just sitting around our house.

We’ve deposited the contents of the Vacation Jar in a special savings account, where it will sit while I browse the internet, searching for an amazing deal. Wherever we end up staying, my husband and I will both be able to completely relax while we’re away, knowing that we won’t be coming home to the added stress of paying off a new debt!

Abby lives in Oregon with her husband, Jonathan; son, Griffin; and pony-size black lab, Tucker. She blogs about saving money and simplifying life at .

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

We Paid Cash: A Sectional Couch

We paid cash!

A testimony from Stephanie, who runs

My husband and I have not used our credit cards in some time, but we were still debit card addicts and never realized how those little purchases made it difficult to make ends meet at the end of each month.

Several months ago, I began using coupons and following a couple of money saving, frugal-living blogs. Something that always drew my attention was the ability for people to pay cash for large purchases (a concept that still seemed very unattainable for us due to the lack of extra funds at the end of each month).

We had wanted a sectional couch for our downstairs ever since we moved in two years before, and I asked my husband if he would be up for the challenge of going debit card free, using only cash for all expenses to begin saving for a couch.

He was excited at the prospect and we went shopping for couches to celebrate! We tried out as many as we could that were $1,000 or less. We figured we could put aside $100 a month, so it would take us less than a year. We narrowed our choices and got to work at home saving money.

Here is what we did:

  • Continued to coupon, made a shopping list, and stuck to it
  • Put our debit cards in our fireproof box to make sure we weren’t tempted to use them–this tactic helped the most!
  • Sold items on Craigslist — a large chair that we never sat in and would clear space for the new couch (along with some additional odds and ends) and set this money aside for the couch
  • Cooked large quantities of dinner and used the leftovers for lunches to avoid eating out — shopping in bulk and only buying meat on sale helped with this
  • I upped to bring in some additional cash flow — I would take a slice of sales and put them toward the couch.

We had been saving for four months when my husband emailed me a link from Craigslist he spotted while posting an item to sell — it was the exact sectional we wanted and it was listed for less than 1/3 of the cost of new. It also included the ottoman which we had not planned on buying due to the additional expense!

We took a look and it was spotless, well taken care of in a pet and smoke-free home, and barely used.

We happily gave them the money we had been saving and used the extra for the hauling cost. It felt like such an accomplishment to snuggle and watch a movie as a family on a sectional couch that was paid in full! 

Stephanie Van Horn is a wife, mom to an infant daughter and chocolate lab, and an elementary teacher. She lives in Colorado where the best part of waking up is the mountain view. In her occasional free time, she runs a baby boutique, , named after her daughter.

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

We Paid Cash!:: Braces

Guest Post by Liz from .

Braces are a dreaded necessary for many of us parents with pre-teen to teenage children. Fortunately our older child didn’t require them — but we knew early on that our younger child would need them.

Our daughter recently had her braces put on and I’m happy to say that we were able to pay for them with cash. Our ability to do so was the result of advanced planning, research and taking advantage of several programs.

Here’s what we did…

Start early:

Our daughter started to see an orthodontist when she was six (at our dentist’s recommendation). By starting early, we were able to proactively correct a problem without surgery or additional appliances adding to our bill. Most orthodontists do not charge for the preliminary appointments.

Get a second opinion:

We switched orthodontists half way through the preliminary treatment. Our first orthodontist wanted to start the braces before she lost all her baby teeth he wanted to remove four permanent teeth. Our current orthodontist is more conservative about removing teeth and advised us to wait. He would have put them on early but then it would cost us twice as much because they would have been on twice as long.

Research pricing:

Initially we went to the orthodontist closest to our house. Once we decided to switch we decided to make price as well as quality one of the key points. By asking around, I found a high-quality dental complex that offered supplemental insurance in addition to cheaper prices.

Pay Cash:

This orthodontist offered a 10% savings if we paid cash. If this isn’t offered up front I would definitely ask for it. By paying cash we saved a little over $300!!

Flexible spending:

If your employer offers this option I would encourage you to use it. However keep in mind that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Money goes into the flexible account pre-tax so you will have a tax savings that you wouldn’t normally have unless your medical bills are large enough to claim on your taxes. Your savings would depend on the tax bracket you are in but could be 20% or more of your cost.

Here’s the final breakdown of what we spent:

Initial Cost =$6,100
Insurance Paid = $1,100
Insurance Group Disc = $460
Supplementary Insurance = $1,410
10% Cash Discount = $ 315
Total Out of Pocket- $2,815

I had about half stuck back in an ‘unexpected’ fund that I used for the down payment. I requested reimbursement immediately from my flexible spending account and used that money to pay the balance. I did make sure to replace the money from the ‘unexpected’ fund once I received the second reimbursement from our flexible spending.

Every time I see that shiny smile, I’m relieved to know that it’s all paid for!

In addition to being a wife and mother, Liz works outside the home and blogs at — a home management blog for the busy woman striving to find balance in their lives.

We Paid Cash: A Freezer

We paid cash! A testimony from Christina who blogs at

I love freezer cooking. When we were newly married, my husband was amazed at how much I used the freezer. It quickly became apparent that the freezer attached to the refrigerator was too small, so our first major purchase as a married couple was a small chest freezer.

A few years later, we still used the little chest freezer daily, but we decided to change the way we bought meat. Instead of paying a premium at the grocery store, we bought a portion of a whole cow and kept it in our freezer.

This saved us hundreds of dollars, but meant we had little to no space in the freezer for other meals. So we made the decision to buy a new, bigger freezer and began saving for it immediately.

We tightened our budget by doing several little things, but they really added up:

We used coupons: I absolutely love to coupon and actually enjoyed trying to save ourselves even more money than the usual coupon savings.

We cut out expensive foods: Energy drinks and soda can really add up, so cutting these out of our budget really helped lower our grocery budget.

We cut our restaurant budget in half: Our restaurant budget had been around $80 a month, however, we decided to cut it in half and use out gift certificates I got for free from Swagbucks to eat out without spending a lot.

We cut back on utilities: Lowering our electricity bill was where we saved the most money, and was by far the easiest thing we did.

It was not always fun to not be on a tighter budget than usual, but it was not as bad as we thought. Ultimately, it was a blessing because we learned (yet again) that we can usually find fun alternatives to our less-frugal habits.

In the end, we didn’t even use the money we’d saved to buy a freezer. My husband and I are college students and I had spent a lot of time applying for scholarships and grants. During the fall semester in 2010, we were blessed to have a lot more grants and scholarships than we expected.

It was very tempting for us to spend money on luxuries because we had been living on a ‘beans and rice, rice and beans’ budget. We did end up spending some money to pamper ourselves, but we used most of the money to buy an inexpensive freezer. My husband visited some of our local scratch-and-dent stores and found a commercial-grade freezer for only a quarter of its retail value!

It was a huge blessing to have a freezer paid for with the time I spent applying for scholarships. We put the money we had originally saved by cutting some areas in our budget toward our emergency fund.

Christina Wong is a young wife who writes a blog about no-drama homemaking on a budget. She loves finding ways to save money and live as frugally as possible, while still having fun. You can read more of her adventures in homemaking on her website .

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

We Paid Cash: Living Room Chairs

Guest post by Rachel from

When we were married, almost all of the furniture in our first apartment with was second hand. And after five years of marriage, our home is still furnished with those same cast-offs!

The couch that my husband brought into our marriage is a nice black leather sectional that is comfortable and still has many years of wear left. We have been talking about purchasing coordinating chairs for a few years now; however all the new chairs we liked and agreed on were way too expensive.

We scoured Craigslist and thrift stores for many months without any success. Again, the things we liked were way too expensive and the ones we could afford were way too dated!

Since we had recently started hosting a small group in our home and we had some excess money in our savings account, we decided to go ahead and use this money to purchase living room chairs. We agreed on budget of $600 for purchasing chairs and we started seriously looking.

One weekend, not long after we sat the dollar amount, we stopped in a small furniture store just two miles from our home. At the front of the store there was a red leather chair with a price of $229! We both loved the chair but red didn’t go with the existing decor in our living room.

We inquired and learned that particular chair did not come in black, which was the color we preferred, but that we could order similar chairs made by the same manufacturer for the price of $229! This was by far the best price we found for chairs that we liked. Also, by paying cash, we didn’t have to pay sales tax!

We ended up paying $458 cash for our two new black chairs. With the $142 we were under budget, we purchased an apple green leather ottoman for $104 so we could kick up our feet and have an additional seat for times when we have a house full of friends.

We now have two chairs that we needed and an ottoman–and we’re $38 under budget!

Rachel loves living a frugal and simple life with her husband and toddler and new baby. She blogs about saving money, contentment, and living minimally at .

Find more We Paid Cash stories here. Submit yours for possible publication here.

We Paid Cash! :: iPad

Guest post by Jami from

An iPad was something I dreamed about having–not only was it cool looking and I’d be able to use it as a reader and the Internet, but I’d be able to take it with me to work on my blog, . However, our budget did not have a extra money in it for this extra “want.”

Luckily, my husband was on board and wanted to find a way to help me purchase an iPad (woot!). So last spring we added an “iPad” column to our budget and started putting any extra money we could come up with into it. We weren’t in a hurry and we didn’t think that we’d be able to order the iPad for probably six months or so, given our budget.

You can imagine how shocked we were when just three months after we created the budget category we were able to order the iPad! How? Here are some of the ways we raised the cash needed:

  • Sold some items on Craigslist (a weight bench; old stereo)
  • Used Amazon gift cards I bought with Swagbucks (When we learned that Amazon wouldn’t be selling the iPad 2, we bought food items and then transferred the cash from our food  budget towards the iPad)
  • Scoured the house for anything to sell on eBay–we found mirrors, candlesticks, computer items, yarn, vintage plates, and jewelry
  • Used my six-month Google Adsense check since I would be using the iPad for some blogging

Honestly, neither of us could believe how fast we were able to accumulate the cash when we put our minds to it. And you know what? We found it fun and exciting to work towards a goal and watch the total go up. There were lots of high-fives and dancing when we’d see we were getting closer to our goal. We’d plan and talk and dream together.

And when we were able to order it and it came in the mail, we just looked at it for awhile–it’s such a great feeling to reach a goal and know it was ours, free and clear. Was it worth it? Oh yes, I love my iPad! I use it everyday and I’m finding more and more things I can do with it. And my husband? I occasionally let him use it, too.

Jami is a wife, mother, and preschool teacher who blogs at . She loves everything about a cottage, but especially what she calls “the cottage mentality” that puts people above things, celebrates imperfections, embraces simplicity, and finds joy in everyday life.

Find more We Paid Cash stories here. Submit yours for possible publication here.