We Paid Cash: A Cross-Country Move

We paid cash!A testimony from Laura

My husband was getting ready to graduate from college when we decided to move our family of four from Southern Oregon, back to our home state of Colorado — a 1,000 mile move!

Since we had been living on a college-student-sized budget, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on moving, but we were committed to doing it debt-free.

I went to a do-it-yourself moving company to get estimates, and found that to move all our stuff would cost around $2,500, including gas and lodging. But if we chose to pare down and move our stuff in a trailer that we could haul, we could move for less than $1,000, including gas and lodging.

The largest trailer we could rent from this company was 6×12. Yes, that is six feet by twelve feet (the inside of the trailer is just 11.7 x 5.5, don’t ask me how I know that)!

Since we had been living on a very tight budget, nearly all our belongings had been purchased used and they were looking quite used. We considered that the amount it would cost to move everything was not equal to the value of our belongings, and that if we chose not to move those items (and get rid of anything we weren’t in love with), we could fit into the trailer. Besides, if the Oregon trail pioneers could move a household in a covered wagon, then surely we had no excuse!

Once we decided to move, we had a month-and-a-half before the big day. Here is what we did:

I dug through every room in the house and ruthlessly purged. I kept only the items that we absolutely used and wanted, and everything else was either listed on Craigslist or went in a garage sale pile.

I listed our furniture and nicer items on Craigslist.

Then we had 3 garage sales. At the end of these three sales, we had sold almost everything we wanted to eliminate.

Between Craigslist and the garage sales, we earned $1300!

Then came moving day. When my husband went to pick up the trailer, the trailer wasn’t ready on time, so we got $50 refunded to us. What a great way to kick off our money-saving adventure.

I packed breakfast, lunch, and dinner food in a cooler to save money on restaurants, and then we camped one of the nights.

By the time we paid for the trailer, gas, food, lodging, and even a visit to a zoo along the way, we only spent $900 on our move. That meant we had a whole $400 to get us started in our new home.

Even though it was challenging to eliminate so many of our possessions, we have what we need to get started. And though we will need to spend money to replace items we originally sold, I am confident that we will find a debt-free way to do this as well!


Laura Coble blogs over at Short and Sweet Moments and shares her journey as a mom, wife, and woman learning to stress-less and live in God’s grace. She is a mom to two boys and wife to her best friend. Her move taught her a lot about minimalist living and practicing Eccl 5:15 which says “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us”.

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

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We Paid Cash: A Fixer-Upper Home

We paid cash!

A testimony from Katie

On May 8, 2014, a fairly new dream for us came true. My husband and I paid cash for a house!

We knew that our long term rental agreement would be coming to an end, but the thought of committing ourselves to a 30-year mortgage seemed very scary and frankly, suffocating. We were weighing our options for the better part of last year, all the while I was perusing a local real estate company’s website.

A house listed at $10k caught my eye, but because I thought it was in a not-so-nice neighborhood, I dismissed it. When the priced dropped to $8k I showed my husband. We drove by and were pleasantly surprised by the neighborhood. We made an offer that day and set the closing date a couple of months out so we could save up.

We are not wealthy at ALL. My husband works full time at a non-profit and I work part-time at a different non-profit. We have two kids of our own and are currently raising my two nephews after my sister lost her battle with cancer.

Even still, we were able to save up the $8000 and paid cash for our fixer-upper home!

Here is how we saved:

$2500 = Tax Refund

$2000 = Savings Account

$500 = Paypal cash earned from using Swagbucks. Yes, Swagbucks helped pay for our house.

$300 = My husband’s mileage and phone allowance. (He gets reimbursed monthly.)

$3200 = 3 months of my salary. I normally do not earn this much in 3 months but I have a very understanding boss who let me work extra shifts and also found some helpful but unnecessary work for me to do.

So all that amounted to $8500, which was the cost of the house plus closing. We lived off one income for those three months, we cooked everything from scratch, and did not so much as wish to turn on the air conditioning. It’s hot here!

We are currently restoring the house back to it’s 1940 glory — and we are NOT going into debt to do it! We will use my earnings to make needed updates.

For instance, the 1940’s electrical system is not up to code and we are currently replacing it. Everything we use to repair the house is recycled, upcycled, hand-me downs and we have had a few gifts along the way. We hope to spend this Christmas there.


MoneySavingMom.com has helped us immensely over the years and I would never have even thought of paying cash for a house if I had not been reading this site. If you are interested in following along with our house progress, you can do so at our blog, The 8K House

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

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We Paid Cash: A New Baby and HVAC System

We paid cash!A testimony from Kara

Almost a year ago, we found out I was pregnant AND that we needed a brand new HVAC system within a week’s time. The dollar signs and a small amount of panic crept into my mind.

My husband and I are very frugal and have been good with our money, but we hadn’t quite finished paying off my student loans. This meant that we needed to buckle down. We hate having debt (who doesn’t), and having student loans and a mortgage was more than enough.

Here’s how we managed to pay for our HVAC system and save for the new baby without incurring any more debt:

  • We we took the $1,000 we kept in our emergency fund and put it toward the HVAC system.
  • We asked the HVAC company about discounts — apparently joining their membership program saved us 10% (which is a lot when you are spending a lot) and the membership ended up being free because of my husband’s profession!
  • We looked for ways to cut costs. We started making our own peanut butter and bread, which also has the perk of being healthier. We also chose to cloth diaper so that the expense of diapers would be a one-time thing.
  • I sold stuff. I joined all of the Facebook garage sale groups in my area and I made some money.
  • We used Swagbucks. I worked hard to earn as many Swagbucks as I could and used those toward Amazon gift cards which are the best bang for their buck to buy baby stuff.
  • We lived on one income. While we usually like to use both of our incomes, we decided to put my total income towards savings instead of towards fun things. I work part-time, so it wasn’t a ton, but it was something.

When our sweet little girl came over a month early we were so glad we did this! The doctors have no idea why she came so early with a healthy pregnancy, but we were so glad God had prepared us.

We were able to pay for her NICU bill and use the extra we had saved to pay off our HVAC system in full! That was just over $5,000 we were able to pay in cash in 7 months of saving.

Plus, during that time of savings, we were able to pay our taxes, continue to pay our mortgage, and double our payment toward school loans.

Bringing home a healthy baby girl without the worry of paying her bills was absolutely priceless.


Kara is a full-time wife and mother to one, and a part-time instructor of psychology at a community college. In their free time, Kara’s family enjoys going on walks, reading, playing with their dog, and traveling.

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

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We Paid Cash: A New-to-us Minivan

We paid cash!A testimony from Kelly

Our family is expecting our third child this Fall. With that exciting addition, we have also come to need a larger vehicle. I’ve had my previous car since college (almost ten years) and it was time for the minivan.

My husband, Jesse, was able to work a side contract job on top of his full-time job for several months this year. Because of this, we were able to save much of the money he earned “on the side” to put toward our minivan savings goal.

Once we were ready to buy, we scanned Craigslist almost daily, looking for a good deal on a new-to-us  minivan.

We were thrilled when we found one within our budget that had lower mileage, plenty of room, was clean, with only one previous owner! It was very strange walking out of the bank with a whole envelope of cash, but it felt wonderful to pay cash for our new-to-us minivan!


Kelly is a wife and stay at home mom to two busy children, a four-year old girl and two-year old boy, with another baby boy on the way. Her blog, Fru-Gal.org, is focused on frugal living for the grace of giving. As a missionary/pastor’s wife, she strives to live a frugal lifestyle so that her family is able to pay the bills, but also so that they can live in greater generosity toward people in need.

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

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We Paid Cash: Our Escrow Shortage

We paid cash!

A testimony from Jill

About a month ago, my husband and I received a letter in the mail that the escrow balance on our rental home was short by $1351. After doing some research, we found that we had been paying taxes only on the land the home was built on and not on the home itself.

We had two months to come up with the money — and we were worried since we just completed an out-of-state move and I recently became a stay-at-home mom.

I started going through our home looking for anything I was willing to sell. I sold purses I no longer used, business supplies and products from a direct sales company I was no longer part of, a coffee table we had no room for, kitchen items I no longer used, a bridesmaid dress from a wedding I was in, and many other items.

After only 1 month, I had enough to pay the bill!

Here is the breakdown of how we saved up enough to pay this bill:

Put items in a garage sale at my parents’ house — $186

Listed items on local Facebook yard sale pages — $762

Carefully reviewed the escrow bill and called the mortgage company. We found that our homeowner’s insurance had been paid twice, and we received a check back from the insurance company for $562.

Not only did we have enough to cover the expenses, but there was money left over!

I am still listing items on the yard sale sites because I have learned that I truly do not need so many of the items I have in my home, and less is more!

Jill is a wife and a stay-at-home mom to her 8-month-old daughter. She loves finding deals, bargain shopping, and working hard to become debt free.

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

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We Paid Cash: $3700 in Medical Bills

We paid cash!

A testimony from Shawna who blogs at Not The Former Things

It’s not something you want to hear, but I expected it. When the pediatrician said I needed to take my son in for an evaluation for autism, I wasn’t surprised (I had done my research and had seen the signs and symptoms for years).

Then, to make matters worse, she said, “Your insurance will not cover the evaluation and they can be very expensive.”

After calling her top three referrals, I knew exactly how expensive: $1,700, payable in full and cash only. By God’s grace, I was able to make the appointment, knowing we had the money in savings.

Less than six months later, my youngest son was also referred to a neuro-psychologist for a dyslexia/neurological processing evaluation. We were also able to pay cash (a total of $2,000 this time) when our insurance didn’t cover the cost.

So, how did we do it?

1. We Dipped Into Our Emergency Fund

We paid for both, a total of $3,700, from our emergency fund. Because my husband is self-employed, we keep our emergency fund at $5,000. This helps us with fluctuations in his business and ultimately, is back-up in case he is not able to work.

It was tempting to just pay the doctors with credit card advances to preserve our savings, but we knew that God wouldn’t give us these boys with their unique needs, without providing a way to take care of them.

2. We Cut Back Our Budget (way back!)

In the months between and following the two evaluations, we worked twice as hard to build back up our savings to the $5,000 mark. I will admit, it was so frustrating to finally get close, and then have another expensive evaluation required.

We had to cut back on everything – the boys and I stopped eating out and my husband only did so as work required, my husband sold his car to fund our Christmas and increase our savings, we cut the grocery budget by 30%, and we didn’t take an anniversary trip we had planned.

3. We Encouraged Each Other To Focus On What Was Important

The thing about having your son diagnosed with high functioning autism and then your other son diagnosed with a learning disability/processing disorder is that it really puts things in perspective.

When one of us would get frustrated with our financial situation, we would remind each other how grateful we are to finally know what is going on with our boys, and how much help we are receiving as a direct result of those costly evaluations. This made the desire for a new couch, or even extras at the grocery store seem silly in comparison.

It may not have been easy, but truthfully, we would have paid more for the peace and direction these evaluations have given us. We now know how to help our boys and what resources are available to our family.

The reality is that we continue to dip into our emergency fund again and again for various, not covered by insurance, therapies for the boys. The good news is that we are getting more practiced at how to live in the flux, and accept this as part of our financial life.

I am so thankful that we committed to create and maintain that fund. Staying out of debt and funding that account literally changed our family’s life.

Big Mick and I

Shawna loves Jesus, her husband and her two, uniquely challenged little boys. She finds herself daily, required to live beyond the limits of herself and serve a wonderfully complex family…and she is crazy rebellious in this most of the time. She blogs about the messy and the beautiful at Not The Former Things.

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

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