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Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash! :: Japanese Language School

We paid cash!

A testimony from Melissa

My husband was born in Japan and only came to the U.S. 12 years ago. His entire family is still in Japan, so it was important to us that our children learn Japanese.

Our first child was born six years ago, and though my husband spoke to him in Japanese, my son only picked up bits and pieces because I don’t know the language, so my son couldn’t hear real conversation.

The Background

We discovered a Japanese Montessori Language school close to our home, but it came with a hefty price tag — $750 for half-day Japanese instruction and $970 for half-day Japanese instruction and half-day English instruction.

At the same time, my husband was in graduate school and making little-to-no money monthly. We were living entirely off my teaching salary, but it was very important to us that my son learn Japanese so he could communicate with his relatives.

How We Did It

Here is how we paid for three years of Japanese language school (we estimated this cost us $27,000 over the three years):

  • Have only one car. I drove the car, and my husband took public transportation.
  • Limit eating out. We try to spend less than $100 a month on eating out.
  • Cook in bulk. This eliminates the need to eat out after a crazy day and also helps to lower the grocery bill.
  • Take on additional work opportunities. Throughout the three years, I occasionally took on extra work at the school I taught at to make some more money.
  • Subscribe to basic cable. We only had the cable that was necessary to get in regular broadcast channels.
  • Have date night at home. We couldn’t afford the cost of a babysitter and going out, so we often had a date night at home and rented a movie and ate take out. When we did go out on a date (rarely), my mom watched the kids for free.
  • Buy and keep a minimal wardrobe. Many of our clothes come from thrift shops or consignments stores. If I did buy new for work, it was always at a steep discount.
  • Keep electronic luxuries to a minimum. We only have one cell phone that we buy minutes for when we need it. We don’t have iPods, mp3 players or any other modern electronic gadgets. A digital camera is about as advanced as we get technologically.
  • Pack lunches. My husband and I both packed our lunches every day so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat out at work.

The $27,000 we invested in my son’s language development had a hefty price tag. We still rent and probably will for several more years. However, it is a sacrifice we are willing to make so our children can communicate with their grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins in Japan.

In another year we will be paying for my daughter to attend the same school, but in our opinion, it is money well spent.

Melissa is a stay-at-home mom to three children ages 6, 2 and 6 months. She and her husband are now saving for their next child to attend Japanese school. She blogs at and .

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

We Paid Cash! :: Our Home Renovation

We paid cash!

A testimony from Courtney

After looking for our dream home for several months, we quickly realized that what we had in mind as the home to raise our family didn’t exist on a police officer’s salary. I was working too, as a teacher, but only for another year or so before I quit to become a stay-at-home mom.

We decided to get used to living on one income early by purchasing a home based on my husband’s salary and using my salary to build our savings.

The Background

Finding a home under our budget and fit all our requirements was a difficult and sometimes frustrating process.

We realized if we were going to find a home we could live in for the long-term it would not come without some flaws. We were careful though, and knew we had to find a home at the low- to mid-range end of our budget so we wouldn’t be financially stressed to complete the renovations.

We also decided that we didn’t want to buy a home that needed a kitchen remodel since those can tend to be more expensive.

Having these things decided, we found a home we loved and fit our budget, but needed some cosmetic changes. The kitchen had been remodeled eight years earlier and was in great condition. We just changed the handles on the doors to update it a bit. New hardware for the cabinets and drawers cost us around $60.

What We Did

  • New carpet throughout
  • The hardwood floors in the kitchen sanded, sealed and extended
  • New interior doors
  • New paint throughout

We budgeted $5,000 to get this done and were successful.

We Paid Cash TV RoomWe Paid Cash TV Room After

How We Did It

  • It was hard to be patient when we wanted a new, beautiful house right now, but we saved carefully and did projects as we had the money to — not charging anything.
  • We shopped around and had several businesses gives us estimates on supplies to ensure we were getting the best price.
  • We did much of the labor ourselves. We ripped out the carpet and pads, pulled carpet staples and prepped all the floors. Removing the carpet, combined with a 10% discount my husband gets through his work at a home improvement store, we were able to save almost $2,000 on our carpet, compared to some bids we received.
  • We borrowed supplies and labor from friends, co-workers and neighbors. Professional paint equipment was offered by a co-worker who used to own his own business; my husband’s parents had drills, saws, and sanders we used, and countless friends offered their labor to get the jobs done.
  • Carpet was the only thing we had professionally installed.

We Paid Cash RenovationsWe Paid Cash Renovations 2

It was a long, time-consuming process but definitely worth it to see the finished product and know that we improved the value of our home without going into debt. It’s also a good feeling to know we didn’t finance our renovations with our mortgage so we aren’t paying interest on it either.

Courtney and Blake have been married for seven years and have a two-year-old daughter. They reside in Utah where Blake is a police officer and Courtney teaches seventh grade. They love spending time as a family and doing things outdoors.

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

We Paid Cash! :: Wedding Rings

We paid cash!

A testimony from Sandi

I had been dating Nathan for awhile when talk turned to marriage. We both highly approved of the idea, but I could tell something was making him hesitant about proposing. I had waited for this moment all my life, but it didn’t look like he was going to get around to it anytime soon. It was driving me crazy!

When we finally talked about it, I found out that the hold-up was money: he couldn’t afford a ring. A long-time bachelor, Nathan had gotten used to living exactly within his means; while he didn’t rack up credit card debt, he didn’t save very much either. I wasn’t about to let something so unimportant keep me away from the man of my dreams, so I came up with a plan.

The Background

Feeling a little embarrassed, I talked with a local non-chain jeweler about getting a wedding ring with a cubic zirconia instead of a diamond. I quickly added that we would upgrade to a diamond in a few years when we could afford it.

The jeweler surprised me by taking it all in stride. He confided that my idea was not new; a lot of couples buy a CZ first and then get the diamond later. I was elated! I picked out the ring I liked and went to Nathan with the plan.

How We Did It

He was dumbfounded when I told him. He was so happy and so relieved that I didn’t care about having the most expensive rock out there.

I told him I would rather have him, and would rather not start our marriage making monthly payments on a $4000 ring like a lot of my friends did. Dutifully, he went to the store and found the ring I had picked out.

Wedding RingsHe spent $300 cash on the CZ and the white gold setting, which has four tiny real diamonds in the band. (Admittedly, the price of gold has gone up a lot since we got our rings.) As a bonus, we got his simple white gold ring for $25 since we’d purchased both rings there, and the jeweler even engraved the inside of both rings with our favorite Scripture references for free. I used my ring as my engagement ring as well, so there was no added expense.

My ring is just what I want, and I love it. No one has ever guessed that the large “diamond” isn’t real! Now we are saving for that big rock replacement (on which I may not be so frugal! :)) and hope to get it next summer.

Sandi is a stay-at-home mom of 1.5 children who loves cloth diapers and coupons. Nathan is a few months away from graduating (debt-free) as a Registered Nurse. They’re favorite date is a Dr. Mario tournament on High speed (with Oreos) after their daughter is in bed.

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

We Paid Cash! :: A Car Engine (with a twist)

We paid cash!

A testimony from Meagan

The Background

My husband and I got married young, while we were both still in college. Our first year together married, we lived in a tiny basement apartment that didn’t even have heat, much less a washer or dryer. I began to loathe going to the laundromat, and started daydreaming about being able to someday own my own washer and dryer.

After that first year, we found a new apartment that had hook-ups, and my husband agreed that we could use the summer to save up for a pair of energy-efficient washer and dryers.

How We Did It

My husband got a fantastic internship in a city 1500 miles away from where we went to school, so we spent the summer there, saving money for my dream washer and dryer. We even picked them out and scheduled them to be delivered a week after we were to arrive back at school.

However, on the way back to school, in the middle of a New Mexico highway, our car totally broke down. After spending a night sleeping by the road, my husband and his brother managed to tow our car to a repair shop, where it was determined that the engine was un-fixable and we’d either need to replace it or give up on our car.

We Paid Cash Car Engine

We decided that our best option would be to replace the engine with a refurbished engine. It turned out that the new engine cost only $200 more than the washer and dryer we had been saving for, and we had enough left over from our summer moving budget to make the difference.

This all happened the day before we were to have the washer and dryer delivered, so I canceled the delivery and cried because I was so sad.

The Best Part

I was so bummed about not getting my washer and dryer that my husband suggested looking on for something cheaper to use while we saved up for nicer ones.

I found a washer and dryer set for free! The owners didn’t know if they’d work, and they were in pieces, but when we put them together (using a generous amount of duct tape and other odds and ends), they both worked. And it’s been three years and they have still kept going!

We paid cash Care engine with a twist

They are not even close to as nice as what I was hoping for, but they get the job done, even with two kids and cloth diapering. We consider every day our washer keeps running a miracle.

Meagan and her husband Tyler currently live in Little Rock, AR while Tyler attends medical school. Meagan stays home with their two daughters and is having a blast learning how to be a mom.

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

We Paid Cash! :: Disney Vacation

We paid cash!

Testimony from Brandi

Two weeks from today my husband and I will be taking our four children to Disney World!

The Background

I am a work-at-home mom of four amazing boys ages 7, 6, 3 and 2. My husband is a sales rep for a wholesale distributing company. We have purposed to live within the means that the Lord provides for us and are so thankful for His blessings. With four boys, it requires creativity, sacrifice and sometimes plain old miracles to make that happen!

By the blessings and grace of God, we are debt-free except for our mortgage. We have six months of living expenses saved and are contributing a very modest amount to my husband’s 401K.

Our Goal

With medical expenses and just “life”, vacation has never made it to the top of our priority list. We decided at the first of the year that we would really love to be able to take our boys on a nice vacation and began to ask the Lord if He would allow us this extra but certainly not necessary blessing.

I’m so happy to say, He has allowed us to save all the cash needed without touching our savings or going into any sort of debt!

How We Did It

  • We are participating in a time-share presentation in exchange for free lodging! (I told them upfront that there is no chance of us buying a timeshare but they still want to give it a shot. Bless their hearts!)
  • We had a yard sale and made $500.00.
  • I sold an old kitchen table on the internet for $200.00.
  • I bought $250.00 worth of restaurant gift certificates for $18 on .
  • We will be buying groceries and eating in the condo for breakfast and lunch each day.
  • I saved $600 out of our monthly budget over the last four months by couponing, searching sales, freezer cooking and just plain saying “no!” to things. That $600 was the hardest part because we only have a monthly budget of $400 for groceries, eating out, clothing, toiletries, etc.

We Paid Cash for DisneyWhat We Gained

This has been an awesome way for us to teach our children about delayed gratification. We explained each time we had to say no to something that even though we were sacrificing now, the blessing of our vacation was going to be much greater.

We actually saved the cash in a bag so the boys could see it and when we sacrificed something they could see us add to the cash. This has been a great character and faith-building experience!

Brandi Johnson is wife to Brandon and mom to Taylor, Luke, Caleb and Zachary.

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

We Paid Cash! :: SUV

We paid cash!

A testimony from Amy

In October of 2008, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant. While this baby was not a “surprise” by any stretch of the imagination, we quickly discovered that our world was about to be turned upside down.

The first dilemma was getting from point A to point B with baby. You see, at that time our vehicles were not purchased with a baby in mind. My husband’s car, while very nice, was a four-door Coupe and not the most space-efficient. A car seat + baby + diaper bag would take up most of the back seat.

My car was a “college car.” It was my first car, purchased used when I was in high school. And, five years later, I was still driving it. It was beginning to become unreliable and definitely wasn’t the safest option for our baby. Because of this, my husband and I decided to start saving for an SUV. We started the savings process almost immediately after seeing the positive pregnancy test.

Our goal: pay cash for a safe, used (but still in good condition) SUV all before baby was due in July.

How We Did It

  • Cut back on the budget. We cut down on the money we were spending on groceries. I started shopping sales and using coupons. We saved about $80 a month doing this. We also had more date nights “in” rather than expensive dinners out. We rented movies rather than going to the theaters.
  • We put all of my husband’s work bonuses into a separate savings account — for the car.
  • We spent less on Christmas gifts. I made a lot of gifts and made our own Christmas cards.
  • We put our savings each month into the account for the car.
  • We applied our tax refund to the car account.
  • We sold my car.
  • We bought used baby items and put the money we saved into the account for the car.
  • We bought used.
  • We weren’t picky.
  • We were patient. (This was hard for me!)

We Paid Cash for our SUVMy husband’s uncle is a car dealer. We talked to him early on in the process and told him what we were looking for. Once we had the money saved up (all $13,000!) we gave him a call and he began the search.

It took him about a month and a half, but he eventually (and before baby arrived!) found the perfect SUV for us. It was a 2008 Saturn Vue in great condition.

The carseat fits great in the backseat and we still have room in the trunk for our dog! We will even have room for an extra carseat come January. 🙂

I love my SUV, mostly because I know how hard we worked to pay cash for it, and how much money we saved in the long run by doing so!

Amy is a stay-at-home mom to a little boy with a little girl on the way. Her husband is a computer programmer who works hard to provide for their family. They are striving to live debt-free and set a good example for their kids of what it means to be good stewards of what God has given them.

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