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 .
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