We Paid Cash: A New-To-Us Car

We paid cash!A testimony from Jessica who blogs at Jess and the Boys

In May 2009, my husband and I committed our first (of many) major money mistakes. I cringe as I even type this because looking back, I’m shocked that my common sense did not kick in at the time: we purchased two brand-new vehicles from a dealer on the same day.

We had just had our first son in March and I had quit my job as a case manager at girls’ shelter to stay-at-home with him. It’s safe to say we could not afford one new car, let alone two!

We were hit hard by a job loss that subsequently led to quite a bit of credit card debt and being several months behind on bills, but have slowly crept our way out of the red. One of our major goals, along with paying off the cards, has been to get rid of at least one of our car payments and pay for a car with cash.

In the fall of 2011, with the birth of our second son approaching, my husband and I decided enough was enough and sat down to discuss how we planned to get rid of the car. We knew if we sold it, we would want to buy an older SUV in cash and install a navigation system.

Here are some of the ways we saved:

  • We stopped pulling my husband’s sales commissions as they came and let them build until the time was right or a good deal crossed our path.
  • We scoured our budget to see where we were spending too much and made an action plan for reducing the overspending.
  • We automated our savings withdrawals directly to an online savings account.
  • We cut out all eating at restaurants, averaged the amount we spent every month and put that into an online savings account; we’ve learned to get creative with our at-home dates.
  • We reduced our monthly grocery bill by eating less meat, having weeks of eating from the pantry instead of shopping, and cooking based on deals at the supermarket versus what we felt like having.
  • We shopped around for car insurance to lower our monthly payment.
  • I started doing some work from home — designing invitations, websites, and other odd jobs for an old employer to earn extra income.

By chance, my cousin happened to be looking for a new vehicle last month and was inquiring about my car; I jumped at the opportunity to let her know it was for sale! After a test drive, she was sold — both my cousin and the car.

Later that month, it just so happened that we came across a stellar deal on a Chevy Tahoe, one of my dream cars. My husband had saved up enough commission to buy the vehicle in cash, and our growing pile of cash was enough that not only were we able to outfit the Tahoe with a navigation system, but we added a DVD player as well!

It has been three weeks now that I’ve been driving it and I love it, especially since it reflects the fact that we are learning from our previous mistakes. With a positive attitude and some resourcefulness, I know we will have our second car sold and move even closer to our number one goal – being debt-free.

Jessica is a stay at home mother of two who lives in El Centro, CA. She shares stories about her life, recipes, home projects and other things at her blog, Jess and the Boys.

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

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Comments

  1. Patty says

    Hi Jessica, thanks for this blog post. I saw that you live in el centro…I’m from there as well! However, it’s been 6 years since I lived there. I’m guessing you’re experiencing the heat now…make sure to keep cool (we liked to take walks in the mall during the day and would venture out when the sun went down). I hope you’re enjoying the Mexican food (one of my face places is asadero Jalisco).

    • says

      Hi Patty, the heat is extremely oppressive!! We’re doing lots of indoor activities and trying to stay cool. Definitely enjoying the food, though!

  2. Allison Voges says

    Awesome! It’s been about 5 years since I had car payment, and since then I’ve bought three cars with cash and I’ll never go back! Even an old paid-for clunker is less stress than a payment you can’t afford! (No I haven’t gone through 3 junky cars in 5 years….they are older but nice, I still have two, one is my boyfriend’s)

  3. LoriBeth says

    We also bought two cars at once, but our experience was a great one. My husband had a high car payment on his, my car (junker) was paid for. We traded them both in, got two (new to us, but certified used) vehicles for what his car payment on his alone was! They both ended up being great vehicles. The truck I bought 10 years ago is still going strong, although it’s now my Dad’s, since it was an S-10 and with two kids, I had to move on to a larger ride. He had an extended cab truck he had bought for next to nothing, did a little work on it (all it needed was a water pump) and traded it straight across to me for my S-10. The extended cab just hit 250,000 and is still going great, I love it.

  4. Sommer says

    Great job! My husband and I also ditched car payments and drive paid for ‘new to us’ cars. The freedom of not having a car payment is priceless!!

    Does anyone recommend any particular online savings accounts?

    • says

      Thank you! We personally use ING and love it. You can have checks and debit cards as well as open as many savings accounts as you want. I like it because it helps to budget for big things throughout the year that you know are coming, AKA – Christmas, birthday gifts, car maintenance, general savings account, etc. I’m sure there are many other accounts out there, but ING works best for our purposes.

  5. Kimberly N says

    Sounds like you made a change for the better. I do think it’so worth pointing out that loan rates are so low now that paying cash is not always slam dunk. Using cash for a car if you have credit card debt doesn’t make any sense. Other debts can be more expensive than a car loan too. It’s better for me to pay extra principal on my 4.5% mortgage than to use that cash to avoid a 0.9% car loan.