We Paid Cash: Our First House!

We paid cash!

A testimony from Kelly

As an avid reader of MoneySavingMom.com, I was inspired by Crystal and her family paying cash for their first home — but would have never dreamed it could happen to our family, too!

In 2010, my husband had been selected for a 365 day deployment to Afghanistan, we still owed roughly $10,000 on a student loan and had a couple thousand in savings. Paying cash for a home was not even a goal that we had.

Once the deployment started, we began throwing everything at the student loan and paid it in full after just three months. We were debt free! This was quite a dream in and of itself to us because in 2007 we had $65,000 in debt!

Not having any more debt payments, sticking to a budget, selling many things on Craigslist, and playing the drugstore game really helped us save a huge amount… and at the end of the deployment, we had saved $36,000!

God had been speaking to my husband about separating from Active Duty and while he was in Afghanistan, he was notified there was a voluntary separation pay program that would pay you to get out of the Air Force! He put in for the application and, by the grace of God, he was approved! To add to our savings, my husband also had 90 days of unused leave and the Air Force allowed him to cash in 60 days of that.

Upon returning from Afghanistan, we lived in the Washington, DC area to be near family. Unfortunately, a decent townhome there would run almost $300,000, so paying cash for a home was still far-fetched.

Finally, the separation day had arrived and with our savings and leave and separation pay we had enough to pay cash for a home in Missouri and keep nine months of savings in the bank! It was a tough decision to be so far from family, but we are thrilled to have a home that is completely paid for–and a wonderful church community close by.

Kelly Logan is a 27-year-old homeschooling mom to four little ones 5 and under! She loves going to church, exercising, organizing, saving money, and being a blessing to her family, friends, and strangers alike. She blogs at The First Commandment.  

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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    • Heather says

      We are in Missouri also- st.Louis area though.
      You are truly blessed. I wish we could have the same… My husband works two jobs and we are paycheck to paycheck- we have four beautiful boys and another baby on the way. God has blessed us with children but never with money or our own home…Praying all the time, just don’t think its meant for us.
      Congratulations and thank you for sharing. Truly blessed
      And thank you to your husband for serving :)

      • says

        Wow 4 boys, I really thought that was going to happen to us, but the 4th was a girl! Keep praying and working hard at being the best steward and in due season you will reap =)
        Galatians 6:9
        And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

  1. says

    Amazing! I love that you decided to move to be able to pay cash for your home. I know that this decision isn’t for everyone but I love that you thought outside of the box (moving) in order to make your goal a reality!

    • says

      Thank you, I know that despite being away from biological family that I have my church @ Bible Baptist of Ash Grove to call family =) Would NOT have moved anywhere away from spiritual family =)
      Matthew 12: 48But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?

      49And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

      50For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

    • says

      Thank You,
      Psalm 28:7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

    • says

      Hey I am in Springfield too =) I just about choked when I saw how much cheaper homes were here compared to the Washington DC area! We were stationed at Whiteman AFB up in Knob Noster, MO and the homes there were not this cheap either!

      • Mandy says

        Oh that is so cool! I will definitely check out your blog. It’s funny you used to be in DC, that is where my sister lives. (Well, Manassas VA actually.) Her fiance was shocked at the prices of homes when he visited this summer. I hope you are enjoying the area! It’s a great place to live and to homeschool.

  2. Toni says

    Oh my gosh, Kelly, soooo inspiring. And at 27. You go!!! Thanks for sharing your story (congrats on this success) and please thank your dh for his service (thank you to you, his family, as well). I work so hard at helping my children to understand the need to be thankful for the enormous sacrifices our military men, women, and their families make on OUR behalf.

    • says

      Thank you, that is so sweet of you =) There was a lot of sacrifice he missed half of our children’s births with 3 deployments in a 4 year time period but Praise the Lord those days are behind us and he came home in one piece each time =)

      • Toni says

        Amen! My dh, due to his job being displaced, had to move from Cleveland to Chicago for work. He commuted home to us for 14 months and missed so much of our then 5 yo, 2 yo, and 1yo’s earliest days. He works for an airline and thus had the blessing of flying home each week. Even still, he missed so much. Yet, when I think of those in the military, who can NOT come home like he could, who are in harm’s way (which he was not), I’m pretty blown away by what it must mean for them and their families when they finally do come home. May God richly bless you all as you continue to move forward together.

  3. Liz says

    How exciting, Kelly! That is amazing that all your hard work and patience paid off and now you don’t have a house payment…God is good! I’ve been checking your blog several times a day and was surprised to find a new post from you on THIS blog, not yours, LOL. 😛 Thanks for your encouraging story.

    • says

      Thank You, we were in MO already at Whiteman AFB, but had relocated back to the DC area to be close to family during my hubbys deployment =) Missouri is a beautiful state and I have to admit when I first found out we were being stationed in MO I cried and didn’t even know it was a state…j/k =)

      • Jean says

        We were able to purchase a house almost debt-free on acreage. We are an enlisted family so saving cash has been quite slower for us. It took us almost 20 years to have enough to put about 75% down on a house in the country in Missouri.But, we did not have any student loans.

        Kelly, May the Lord bless you for sharing your inspiring story. Keep running the race.

  4. says

    Oh, my goodness. This sounds so much like my best friend’s story–she got out of the military under similar terms at about the same time as your husband!

    Congratulations on your new, paid for home! And your family is precious :)

    • says

      Thank You =) Yes, the military is having budget cuts all over the place and I am glad we were blessed with this advantage =) He was gonna get out anyhow after 3 deployments in a 4 year period!

  5. Kassandra Wood says

    I am so excited for you and just LOVE your story! We live in South Carolina and are now saving to purchase our first home with cash. So many people think we are NUTS! After searching on the internet, my husband and I found homes near our current location for as little as $35,000 – $65,000. We live on cash only and I am an avid couponer, stockpiler, play the drugstore games as well as have mastered the world of freebie activities for our family. :) It is stories like this one that inspire me to continue to pay for cash, continue to live in itty-bitty homes, continue to work odds and ends jobs and to press on! It is my hope that by the end of 2013 we will have enough money for a cash paid home. I have a feeling I will be referring to this post often for reassurance! thanks for sharing!!!

    • says

      Kassandra that is awesome! Don’t be discouraged ever about your prudent choice, I have some friends who are not on the same “page” as us with the whole not having debt thing and after we told them we bought a home in cash …the first question out of their mouth….How many Square feet? Our home is 1268 sqft. small for a family of six in America, but we are so blessed and have so much space, I love to organize and when you see the families in the Dominican that Crystal is visiting this week….is square feet even an issue???? I mean come on now we have running water, working electricity and floors not made of dirt! Praise the Lord I don’t ever want to be consumed by having more and putting our family in debt to get the more! Philipians 4:11Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

      • Lindsey says

        You are just too sweet! And all your bible verses correspond so well to what you are saying. Btw, it warms my heart to see a family that looks like mine with the same values to boot! This was my first year homeschooling too and sometimes it can be discouraging to be the odd man out in the conservative homeschool community as my children are biracial too and there just don’t seem to be too many minorities who homeschool, let alone mixed race families. So I’m so glad to see you on MSM today and will definitely check out your blog.=)

        • says

          =) I am a mixed child myself my father is from Honduras and my mom is “white” american , I just favor my mom more. So our children are just all mixed up! But I hardly think about it honestly, because I grew up in the Washington, DC area and there is sooo much diversity there =) I don’t even like the word race because the bible declares we are all of one blood =)
          Acts 17:26
          And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth,

          • andrea says

            That is true- there is no real difference among people-what people call race is based on a very few visible characteristics when we are actually so much more alike than “different”

  6. WilliamB says

    Excellently done – you did a great job of taking advantage of the benefits & serivces offered, and found a silver (gold?) lining in the uncertanties of an Afghan deployment. Most of all, excellent that your husband is home.

      • Liz says

        Neighbors? Sweet! 😛 Because my husband is a pediatrician, we sort of feel like we are “stuck” where we are…of course we could move someday, but it would be a huge undertaking…plus my dad is a pastor and we really enjoy attending “his” church and spending Sundays with our extended family. I am really enjoying your blog though, and will continue to!

  7. Jennifer C. says

    Thanks for your story and inspiration – and THANK YOU to your husband for serving our country! (and for your sacrifices too!) I also like that you have 4 kids age 5 and under…so do we!!! :)

  8. Richelle says

    What a wonderful story. I am working at being debt free, especially our mortgage. When do you work out and how do you do it with the four kids? I have three and find it hard, one of my three gets up really early and then by night time I am exhausted.

    • says

      I know what you mean ….my 13 month old still gets up to nurse around 5 am! So I usually feed her and then go back to bed til’ 6:30 then I get up read all or most of my bible plan for the day then go for a 2 mile run (about 24 minutes…I am a little slow…lol ) 5 times a week and then 1 day a week I will do a workout video before the kids wake up=) So all together it is only 2.5hrs week! I would like to do more but not in this season of my life =) If it doesn’t get done in the a.m. it rarely ever gets done later on especially after 8p.m. I think my brain shuts down after that time even though my body is still awake..lol =)

    • says

      Thank you, that is a blessing to know someone else out there has so many little ones too, sometimes I think I have done something mathematically impossible having all my kids so close together =)
      Psalm 127:3
      Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

  9. Mandi says

    Thanks for sharing your experience. My husband is currently deployed, but God has led him to separate from active duty when he returns in April. Deployment is hard on the family, but great on the wallet. We will have saved over a year’s worth of income, so that he can transition into a new career. God willing, he will quickly find a new job and that money can get us near paying off our current home.
    That’s amazing that you were able to take advantage of a paid separation! Would love if the Navy offered something like that.

  10. says

    I am sorry your hubby is gone =( I hated the deployment but loved that it brought financial freedom to our family. I commend him on his decision it is a tough one when the economy is down to walk away from a paycheck and great benefits, but when you are away from your family just as much as you are with them something must be done =) That would be awesome to pay off your home soon =) I didn’t realize the other branches were not aggressively trying to down size their forces too? You will get A LOT from the per diem reimbursements and cashed in leave =)

  11. Katie says

    Kelly- congratulations! I currently live in a townhouse in the DC area (not paid for! 😉 ) so I totally understand the crazy housing prices here! I wanted to comment and tell you that I just love your blue top in the photo you provided- it’s so cute. As are your kiddos :)

    • says

      Thank you Katie =), I grew up in Alexandria VA, but never lived there as a bill paying adult as I got married at 20 years old! So when we moved back to be near family during the deployment it was a bit of a shock! We were renting a townhouse in Springfield, VA for $2,100 a month plus utilities! I got the shirt from Macy’s at Pentagon City Mall, I wish it didn’t look that tight in the pic, but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t breastfeed for a couple hours…lol. =)

  12. Victoria Breakfield says

    I just spent the last hr reading Kelly’s blog, I just wanted her to know it was so encouraging to me. I felt like she and I were in similar times of life. I have four children (5, 3, 23months, and 4 months) homeschool, homebirth, trying to be organized etc. We are in the process of trying to be debt free, we have paid all our debt off except our mortgage. Thank you for the encouragement!

    • says

      Victoria, That is so awesome I am finding more and more women that can connect to my current season of life with many little ones around the same age =) I really wanted a home birth last time I don’t know if you read on my blog but it was going to cut into our getting out of debt as fast as possible plan as the military insurance won’t pay a penny of it, yet offer a “free” birth at their facilities =) May the Lord bless you soon in having a paid for home =)

  13. says

    Congrats! We have something in common! My hubby is in the Air Force (not sure if y’all are at/near the same base as us) but I remember when we moved to our first location years back, we were in debt. We didn’t know what we were going to do. But then we started to aggressively save soon after I was offered a second grade teaching position and we haven’t stopped saving since then! We were scared and worried but God did provide and always will. We just live by faith that everything will work out. Although we are continuing to stay in the AF, we received an offer that is literally too good to pass up, and we both think it’s His way of telling us right now that we need to continue to stay planted and grow where we are! Thanks for the post.

  14. says

    Congrats on becoming debt free! We are an Air Force Family and our first move several years ago had us a little worried because we were in debt. However, I read one book that changed the way I thought about money and we are now debt free also! We trust that God will always provide and He never lets us down. :) Good luck in MO!

    • says

      That is awesome, debt seems to hold so many families down that they don’t think it is a possibility to get out of it. Glad you changed your thinking…. what book was it??

    • Rebecca says

      My heart was stirred by all of the scriptures that you shared in the comments. God’s Word is so powerful and life transforming. I wrote down all the references to study in my own quiet time with the Lord. Thank you for taking your time to share these scriptures and encourage me in my walk with Jesus.

      • says

        That is great Rebecca I am so glad to be an encouragement =) which put another scripture on my heart =) Hebrews 10:24
        And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

  15. Sporksoma says

    I wish we could do this! We own our 2-bedroom home; it’s about 850 sq ft and it’s falling apart. For the amount of work that needs doing on it, well…we don’t have that time and the place isn’t worth it! So we’re about to go into debt to buy a new home (or a new to us home) and man…shopping for a house is so stressful! I’ve never done this before (my husband owned the home when I married him, and before that I lived with my mom) so it’s all new to me. Just wish we didn’t have to go into debt for it, but there’s no time (and no way) for us to save up $50k+ to purchase a new house.

    • says

      I understand what that is like Sporksoma, I grew up in government housing that was gross, and then we were evicted and lived with my grandmother in her home in Alexandria VA, which was paid for but was falling apart literally, no heat or air, roaches, leaks, missing plumbing you name it…. we eventually had to move because there was a hole in the roof! Praise the Lord I was engaged to my hubby already and we just got married in a court house instead of having a wedding and then went on this journey to pay debt back and purchase our first home =) So God is faithful in no matter what circumstance and know that He works all things together for good to them that love him and are the called according to his purpose! Romans 8:28

  16. Pat. P says

    I don’t understand something, the government pays soldiers to leave the air force? Why would the government try to get rid of its own soldiers? Have I misunderstood the wording? Can anyone please explain this program?

    • says

      It is called the voluntary separation pay program and basically the government is trading people for technology to save money….also remember the government DOES NOT pay for anything it is tax payer money =) Hope that explains a little bit. =)

  17. says

    Thank you for sharing your story – it was very inspirational and encouraging, although my heart hurt reading how long your husband had to be away. I could not imagine that, let alone giving birth 2x without him being there! May God bless your family!

    • says

      Rachel, It still gives me the chills just thinking about how much he was gone, and my kids sometimes ask if Daddy is in Afghanistan and want to see him on the web cam if he has a long day of work! God is faithful and I am so glad we don’t have to dread him coming home and telling us the next assignment dates!

  18. Hannah says

    What a great story! Paying cash would be very difficult in our expensive hometown of Seattle, but I still love this story! We would love to pay cash but will probably put down around 25% on our first home and hope to have it paid off by the time we’re 35. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Kelly Logan says

    Thanks Hannah =) 25% down on a house is a great goal, 20% down was our goal when we were looking in the DC area =)

  20. says

    We too saved money during a deployment (Army) then voluntarily separated … AND lived in Missouri (Ft Leonard Wood). We no longer live there but own a house there … soooooooooo if anyone is looking to move to a low-cost-of-living area, I have a HOUSE FOR YOU! 😉 (we rent it out but really really want to sell it). 😉
    Anyway, thanks for sharing your story.

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