We Paid Cash: A Truck For My Husband

We paid cash! Guest post by Sarah Mae

My husband has been dreaming of having a truck since I married him nine years ago. He not only loves the idea of having a truck, but it is actually quite practical for a handyman like my man.

But alas, we had no money to spare for a truck. We shared our used van and a motorcycle my dad gave to him as a gift early in our marriage. We lived on about $300 a month for groceries for our growing family of five, and every spare penny went to paying off school loans and collecting homeschooling supplies.

Did I mention my husband cut up all my credit cards when we got married? Oh, yes he did.

Of course, he had them paid off a few months later through his diligence with our budget and not spending what we didn’t have. There were nights I begged him to order a pizza because it was so much more convenient than cooking up a meal, but he stood his ground. We didn’t have the money, period.

My husband’s vision was that if we could scrape by, save, and not spend what we didn’t have in the bank, we would one day be able to pay off debt and have the opportunity to give more. His goal has always been to be able to be generous givers, but it wasn’t going to be possible if we were in debt.

So he worked hard, and he worked overtime, and he stayed focused.

Eventually, I began to earn some money through blogging, and that money went towards books for the babes while he continued to add whatever extra he made to our savings to plan ahead for the unforeseeable.

We had $12,000 of school loan debt and it felt like we were wasting our time just putting an extra $10 towards it here and there, but over the course of the year he was able to look back and see that we were making progress. I’m telling you, the man was diligent and determined.

I’m so proud of him.

The truth is, had I been in charge of our finances (I was for a while — bad idea), we’d be sunk. I’m the spontaneous “oh, we’ll get the money” type. I’d probably have ten credit cards and piles of debt by now.

Thankfully, that man of mine stayed true to taking care of our family and providing. I love him so much for his steadfastness. Because of his focus and self-discipline, our loans were decreasing and he kept us out of additional debt.

All of this allowed me to buy him a truck!

Wait, back up the truck (funny, no?). How did I possibly have the money to buy my husband a truck in cash?

The very fact that my husband kept us out of debt and paid down our debt every step of the way paved the way for the purchase. Through blogging and writing a successful eBook that led to publishing deals, I was able to use one of my advance checks to buy him the truck (a used truck, mind you).

I never would have been able to do so if we still had debt. By this time, we had paid off our used van and school loan debt. I had the freedom to give him a very special gift, one that I had always wanted dreamed of giving him.

Not only are we out of debt except for our mortgage (that’s next!), but he has his dream work truck and we now have the freedom to give more! It’s wonderful, and I have my husband to thank.

Sarah Mae is the author of several eBooks and two soon-to-be-published books, Desperate (Thomas Nelson) and Having a Martha House the Mary Way (Tyndale). She is the owner of the community site Allume.com and the co-host of the national Christian women’s social media conference, Allume Social. Sarah Mae spends her days homemaking, home-educating, writing, reading, and drinking smoothies (now that she’s given up coffee). Her family embraces life in the beautiful Amish countryside of Pennsylvania. You can find her writing almost daily at sarahmae.com.

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Comments

  1. Katie says

    This is the exact thing we are trying to do right now, except a minivan instead of a truck. Definitely brought encouragement at a time when it feels like we will never get there. Thank you!

  2. Lisa says

    Thanks for giving me a glimmer of hope-I can’t believe you could pay off debt and survive on the $300! We are a one income house with twin 3 year olds and my husband has had his hours cut back, our insurance went up and life is just happening like it does to everyone and I feel like we are never going to climb out of this hole. I panic what we will do if one of our 2 older vehicles dies and we need a new one, or we have a large home expense or illness. I just finished reading the total money makeover and have taken financial peace 2x and we have no debt except for our house. But it is still a struggle to cover everything on so little and it is so depressing to always go without, tell your kids no-I related to your not being able to order pizza! Thanks again for showing you can make progress little by little I needed a little hope and encouragement today.

    • says

      Lisa, I remember how those days felt, and I just let myself become content because “this was our life.” I could NEVER have imagined all that happened. Who knew my husband would get offered a new maintenance job right before his old one was about to have lay-offs? Who knew I’d write an eBook that happened to sell well? God knew. We never expected to have a truck, or to have extra income. We just lived. I’m blown away, and truly so thankful. You’ll get there, friend! There are always surprises around the bend. ;)

      • Lisa says

        I’m not the Lisa who left the original comment, but I wanted to say that my favorite parts of this are “I just let myself become content” and “We just lived.” I’m tucking those away. I grew up in a comfortable household – not well-to-do, but I never knew money worries. Married life with financial struggles is still a shock to my system and I could definitely stand to choose contentment and remember the God knows how it will all work out. Thanks for the reminder!

        • says

          Lisa, I can SO relate. I grew up in a well-to-do family and used my dads credit card all through high school and college; I was so spoiled. Talk about a shock to my system when I gave the credit card back to my dad and lived a completely spoiled-free existence! It was good for me though! ;)

          • Patty says

            Love your story. Love that you know you are able to gift your husband. You are ‘spoiled’ — a man who loves you and a God who loves you! Keep on plugging on! You’ve got your priorities straight

    • says

      Lisa,

      I remember taking my then 5-year-old to the grocery store. I had very little to spend, and I had my list with me. My son asked if I would get something. I said ,”No, that’s not on the list. We’re only getting what’s on the list.” A little further in the store, we saw cookies on an endcap. My son said, “Cookies! I KNOW those aren’t on the list!” I laughed and realized that it’s okay that we’re telling them no.

      When my oldest was 5 and I had 4 children, we stopped shopping for anything (no food, no tolietries, nothing) for over a year. At first my children asked for milk on their cereal. I had to use powdered milk that I had stored. Then the cereal ran out, and I switched to making oatmeal several times a week, or muffins or pancakes.

      The children were young, and they adjusted. It took some time. My then 2-year-old refused to eat oatmeal for 2 years. I did not offer something else, and he wouldn’t even try it. Two years later, he tried it–and LOVED it.

      Your children are young. They will get used to the changes. Try leaving them at home with your husband when you go shopping; it is easier to concentrate on getting great deals, and they don’t see anything at the store to ask for, since they’re at home (going in the late evening is easy for me).

      Make pizza at home once a month. Make a fancy salad for yourself and your husband. Try some new frugal recipes that bring your budget down. Trying something new (a new bean recipe, even!) sure helps my spirits.

      If you need a little more encouragement, here is what helps me on those days when I feel the frustration of little-to-no income: http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/frugal-living/encouragement

      • Lisa says

        Thank you all for the encouragement, I know I am doing the right thing for my family and we are doing the best we can and hopefully life won’t always be this way. Of course I never thought it would be this way in the first place-but no one anticipates hard times and struggles. Sarah I went to your site and I am your newest reader-I LOVED it. Thanks so much!

      • Natalie F says

        Prudent Homemaker – that was encouraging, thank you. Sometimes I have to remember it’s not only okay to say no to my son, but it’s GOOD to say know. I grew up early understanding the difference between “needs” and “wants” and having to go without – and I’m just fine!

        • Jennifer says

          We grew up well cared for. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, but we lived in a very nice home in a safe neighborhood. They split the bills. My dad took care of the “big” stuff and my mom took care of groceries and disposable stuff. I remember being at the grocery store with her, watching that total go higher and higher and asking her if she had enough to cover the bill. She assured me that she did. And then once we were outside she asked me to please, please never ask her that again in front of the cashier :). But she had raised me to know that money didn’t grow on trees and to watch pennies (or as my dad used to say, pinch every penny until it screams). I still worry about that cash register total, though not as much as I should. I need to get back into that mindset.

  3. says

    What I love most about this post is the loving way you speak of your husband.

    Your admiration for his standing firm in resolving to not spend money on things like a pizza is wonderful. Good for both of you!

    • Jennifer says

      Me, three! Your husband is a lot like mine and I’m a lot like you :) Thank God for his wisdom in putting us together.

      • Ginger says

        I was also struck by your praise for your husband. Such a wonderful testimony to your family and others. I also applaud your willingness to submit to his leadership. a

        • Melanie says

          I also thought this story illustrated the benefits of submission, possibly more than the benefits of a budget.
          Hi from a fellow Cental Pennsylvanian!

  4. Carrie says

    What a great story. You are very inspiring.

    P.S. Does you husband have a brother? : )

  5. says

    Indeed, miss Sarah Mae! By doing many of the same things we were able to be debt-free in our early thirties. It sure feels right to be the sort of money stewards that we feel God wants us to be.

    Thanks for sharing this story. (followed ya over from twitterland)

    Blessings.

  6. Lisa says

    I love this!! My husband is a truck man through and through. He has been driving a used sedan for the past two years due to his truck breaking down. One of our goals is to get him a new-to-us truck. With baby #1 due any day now, our financial situation will be in flux for a time, but reading this is great encouragement that we can indeed realize this dream for him!

  7. says

    Paying cash for a vehicle is SUCH a good feeling! We paid cash for our last two vehicles. Yes, it means that we buy older, used ones, but the relief of not having a payment is worth it! Because we won’t take out a car loan we only have the one vehicle to share, which does get a bit tricky sometimes, but we make it work. :-) I LOVE what you said Sarah Mae about letting yourself be content. That has been absolutely KEY for me!

  8. says

    It helps to have a good understanding of Need vs. Want during those times. When we are faithful stewards, and trust God to supply our needs, He is faithful to show himself gracious when we ask Him for the things we want :-)

  9. Jenni says

    I love this! My husband is such a wonderful provider for our family and lately I’ve been brain storming on ways I could come up with some money on the side. He loves motorcycles (has since he was a little boy) and I feel like owning a bike has been put on the back burner with our growing family’s financial needs. I’d love to stash away enough money that he could get a nice used motorcycle. And if I could surprise him with the motorcycle fund that would be the icing on the cake!

  10. says

    Can you buy a truck for me? ;)

    LOL…seriously this story is very inspiring! Sadly, my husband wouldn’t even want us to own a truck if we could afford to pay cash for TWO!

    I’m the truck wanter in this family ;) A big ol’ heavy duty truck is on my bucket list.

    Congratulations to y’all for prioritizing and committing fully to your debt free lifestyle!

  11. Jessica H says

    I love that you took the money and bought your husband a truck! It would have been so easy to spend the money on yourself. I’m sure he felt truly blessed to have a wife that would put his desires before her own! Congratulations!

  12. Natalie F says

    Thank you for such a great article. Not just encouraging about finances, but in regards to marriage too. We are currently figuring out how to adjust our finances/budget as we are so blessed to have another baby on the way. I’m sometimes discouraged when we have friends heading to Mexico or other things we can’t pay cash for, therefore will not be doing/buying. It’s always great to hear other people who refuse to go into debt for instance gratification and go without.

    • says

      Oh, I remember feeling discouraged when we couldn’t go anywhere it seemed! We had friends who went on vacation, while I was in the grocery store praying my debit card would get rejected.

      I’m thankful for those days, I’m glad I lived it. And who knows, I might again, we just never know. It’s why we hold it all loosely.

  13. says

    “I had the freedom to give him a very special gift, one that I had always wanted dreamed of giving him.”

    I like that part the best. Budgets can seem limiting, but in reality, they free us to do bigger and better things down the road.

  14. lee says

    I am inspired on so many levels. We are still struggling to get out of debt and sometimes it seems so far away. I am learning to be content. I am the money manager of us, and my husband used to have such an issue with us not having a lot to spend. This made me realize that although he occassionally has his moments now where he gets upset….it is me that is not content. That is not so easy to admit too.
    p.s. not far from you up in the state capital and the “having a Martha house the Mary way” that sounds like a good read!

    • says

      Being content is really the key to a life well lived, I think.

      Let me know if you like the eBook (if you get a chance to read it!)

  15. says

    Sarah,
    This is a great testimony to the value and reward of living diligently to be able to give to others…starting with your husband! It would have been a bummer to have used your book advance check to pay off more bills! You positioned yourselves in such a way that you didn’t have to! That’s a great feeling.

    Every husband’s dream is to have a like-minded spouse when it comes to finances (actually, when it comes to EVERYTHING!), but to have your wife buy you a truck…that’s taking it to another level!

    You rock, sister!

  16. says

    I just started reading Crystal’s book yesterday, and I also bought your ebook, Sarah Mae. You both are a huge inspiration! I think the awesome thing is that your husband stuck with his goal, and it all paid off in the end. I think it’s time for me to make some goals. Our only debt is our house, but somehow it still feels like we live paycheck to paycheck right now. I know there are definitely things I could change!

  17. says

    Sarah, thank you for such an inspiring and encouraging post. I admire how your submission to your husband and how you were able to bless him. I am the money manager and I hope one day to be able to bless my husband this way too.

  18. says

    Ha! I am like your husband. If I let him, my husband would buy things left and right. But I’m the budget-conscious one in our household. There needs to be one in each couple!

  19. says

    What a wonderful story! I just cut up my credit card yesterday!! We have never had credit card debt but I want to save money – not just use everything we make every month! Our only debt is our mortgage and it is low – we have been working on it for awhile – paying extra. But I want to pay CASH for everything and we have some big things coming up – a furnace, siding for the house, and I too would love to pay cash for a new truck for my hubby. Hopefully my little blog will someday make some money too – I’m just in the building-the-business stage right now!
    I’m so inspired by your story – so glad you shared!

  20. says

    Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for the encouragement. :) I have a question for you as the one who wanted to order the pizza… We have the reversed situation in our home, for a variety of reasons that I won’t go into detail here about I manage our $ and I’m the one who sees the joy of debt free life (we have no CC or car loans, just some student loans) and says no to the pizza or ____. I struggle with 2 things- being the wife saying no all the time to purchases and being frustrated with having a partial partner in the work to be frugal. I work from home and home school the children, my work currently brings in about 1/2 or more of our income. My husband isn’t working right now.
    My question is this, what were some things that your husband did to encourage you and bring you alongside the challenge. And as the one who struggled more what things were the most helpful and effective for you that I might be able to apply? Thank you for the help!

    • Jesse says

      Chara,

      This is Sarah Mae’s husband….one of the things that I felt helped the both of us was sitting together and talking about our long term goals, where we wanted to be short term and where we wanted to be down the road. That way when small things came up that we wanted to purchase we could make a decision based on how that would effect our goals. I would try to have some kind of allowance where we could get piazza or other insignificant things that way there always wasn’t a NO for everything. But through this we could together stay on track. I would encourage you and your husband to use this as a way to come together and work towards a long term goal that you both decide on so that it will be a team effort rather than a source of friction. Hope this helps!

      • says

        Thank you Jesse! I appreciate the input and the ideas- maybe working together on long term goals besides just “being out of debt” in general will be helpful! :) Having a little $ for a few yes’s is also a good idea- do you have a suggestion on how to keep that from going from a little yes category into a big problem with asking and demanding extra things? Thank you again!

  21. Marcela says

    I am so happy to read that so many sisters have the desire to treat their husbands with these kinds of surprises. It is very encouraging indeed! Sarah, I had to chuckle because my husband window shops for a truck several evenings a week. He gets a pretty good bonus each year but it always goes towards the kids’ activities and paying down debt. He never complaints and he is a hardworker. I dream of being able to give him that and so much more. He also loves to hunt which he’s only done twice in the 11 years we’ve been married. I would love to send him and my son on one of those hunting trips like the type we watch on the outdoors channel. He sure deserves it!!! I’m still trying to figure out what I can do for extra income but just wanted to thank you for this wonderful post!

  22. says

    Thanks for the encouragement! We have been sticking to a budget for about four years now, and were able to totally pay off our cars and a $78,000 education loan, as well as gather some money into an emergency fund. BUT, it can be tough! Just today, I was looking at our wonky chain-link fence and wishing for a pretty picket one, and realized that our money can’t go toward that just yet. It can take reading someone else sharing their story to keep it up and not give up. Thanks!