A testimony from Sylvia
My marriage has seen three promotions: the “purchase” of our first home, the birth of our first child, and the start of my small in-home pet-sitting business. Though the past four years have seen many great things, we were never able to go on a honeymoon nor have we been afforded time for just the two of us.
Between raising our daughter, my husband’s work schedule (training/deployment), my full-time college and pet-sitting schedule, and finding time for our family and friends, quality time together is pretty rare. In light of all of that, we decided to make it a priority to save money for a two-night getaway to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
After a few days of research, we came up with the figures:
- The cabin rental: approximately $600.00
- Gas: approximately $100.00
- Food, entertainment, and souvenirs: at least $200.00
Since we needed at least $900.00, we weren’t confident that we’d reach that goal in just two months. To our surprise, we were very wrong!
At the time, we were still in the process of building our emergency fund to $2,000.00 and paying off some of our debts. That said, I knew we had to get creative. My husband was deployed at the time, which meant we were receiving additional income (tax-free pay, hazardous duty pay, hostile fire pay, etc.).
So I purchased our small plastic “Travel Fund” jar from the dollar store and, together, we developed a plan of action:
- I began putting some of my husband’s deployment money in the jar = $400.00
- All of my earnings from my small pet-sitting business went into the jar = $811.91
- I sold many of the items we no longer had a use for  = $510.00
- Surprisingly, I found money in various places around our house = $57.72
Alas, the goal we thought would take us forever and a day to reach, was exceeded in less than two months!
Prior to this vacation, my husband and I had never even considered kicking our debit and credit cards to the curb  and dedicating three full days of our lives to a cash-only way of living because — like most people in today’s society — we relied heavily on debit and credit card usage. However, we were able to enjoy every single minute of our paid-in-cash vacation because we knew we’d be debt-free upon our return with the same amount of money in our checking account that was in there when we left!
A cash-only budget not only felt amazing but it also worked. In fact, we’re going to do it again.
We still had $731.00 left in our jar after we paid for all of our vacation expenses. We’ve decided that some of that amount will be spent paying off one of our credit cards and the remainder, plus some of the money we earn between now and then, will go towards two separate vacations to Florida to visit with our families later this year.
Sylvia lives in Georgia where her husband, Kevin, is stationed. They have one daughter, Mariah and two dogs and six cats. Sylvia attends college full-time and runs a small in-home pet sitting business called “The Wright Pet Sitter”.
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