How Our Boys Saved Up & Paid Cash for Their Own Kindles

We paid cash!A testimony from Stephanie at Mrs. Debtfighter

Everyone around my boys seemed to have a Kindle Fire — or their own electronic gadget. And every time they were around any of these people my boys would tell me how they wanted their own.

Finally, over the summer, my husband and I sat them down and had a talk with them. We told them they could have their own Kindles but that they would have to pay for the Kindles themselves.

We wanted them to know and understand that we aren’t just going to buy them something because they really want it. We also felt that they would take better care of them if they had to save up the money and pay.

After two months of hard work, here’s how they saved the money for their Kindles:

1. My oldest son saved birthday money — Granted, this made a huge dent in how much money HE had to save but he still had to give up receiving toys from family.

2. We sold the family iPod — Selling the iPod also made a big dent. My husband and I got the iPhone 4’s last year for $1 each when the iPhone 5 came out. The iPod pretty much became non-existent then so there was no point in hanging on to it.

3. We purged their closets and bookshelves — The boys went through their closets and found items that they did not like anymore and haven’t used in a long time. We listed the items on Craigslist and sold them $5-$15 each. We were able to do the same with books that they outgrew; selling them on Amazon $5-$15 each.

4. We waited for the better version to be on sale — When they began working towards their Kindles I decided to start researching them. The 8GB was $159 and the 16GB was $199. I knew to be able to put more apps and books on the Kindle, we would need the one with bigger memory. While they were saving, the 16GB went on sale for $159; however, they weren’t ready to buy yet. They finished saving the money and we had to wait for them to go on sale again. My older son asked why, and I explained to him that he would have to save $40 more if we didn’t wait. So, he got a little lesson in sales, too!

new kindles

The excitement and pride on their faces the day the Kindles arrived was priceless! They were so excited to tell their friends (they even shared how they had to sell things to pay for them)!

Stephanie is a mostly-stay-at-home-mom to two boys and wife to her best friend! She blogs about her debt-fighting journey at Mrs. Debtfighter.

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: New Bikes

We paid cash!A testimony from Jessica

My family and I live in a great house on the edge of town. Now that my kids are getting older, we decided that we should start biking more into town. The only problem was that no one but my husband had a bike!

We started looking on Craigslist to find a tag-a-long bike for my son (age 5) and a bike and trailer for myself and my daughters (age 3 and 1 1/2).

We were quite surprised to find a double tag-a-long that my two oldest could ride for $225. We also were able to find a good deal on a bike ($125), helmet (new from Craigslist, $25) and a trailer ($25).

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All of this took some time to wait for just the right items since we live in a small town and didn’t want to add the cost of gas to our purchase.

In order to be able to afford the $400 cost of our new bikes I worked hard to sell things that I was able to clean out of our house.

It took several months and some deep closet digging, but I did it! I learned a few things along the way that made the process successful.

Facebook Sale group

I got hooked up with a local sale group on Facebook, and this is where I had the most success. Living in a small town, it was great to be able to sell things locally. I also discovered that people would be willing to buy one or two shirts from me since they didn’t have to travel far to pick them up. Selling things $1 or $2 at a time takes a while, but it still helped.


Craigslist worked better for larger items that didn’t have much of a market in my small town. I would usually list items first on Facebook and if they didn’t sell within a day or two put them on Craigslist.

Word of mouth

I sold a couple of larger items to friends that I knew were looking for them. I am able to sell some of the clothes my daughter outgrows to my sister.

Jessica is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids (5, 3, 1) and wife to an amazing husband!

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 Staircase

We paid cash!

A testimony from Katie

In March of this year, my husband and I were able to purchase our first home. It was a newer home in great condition, but it needed some TLC. The previous owner chose some interesting paint colors and neglected to take care of minor maintenance issues. My husband, Nick, is quite the handyman, so we saw a home with great potential!

Nick works for a university, so he had some free time during the summer months that he was going to dedicate to home repairs/remodeling. Since the home only needed minor repairs, we knew we could tackle nearly everything completely on our own. We also knew that by doing the projects ourselves, we’d save lots of money in the process.

The one area of the home that we absolutely wanted to remodel (and as quickly as possible!) was our staircase. The previous owner had the walls painted a “lovely” forest green, and the staircase was pine. One word came to mind for me: YUCK!

When we sat down to decide how we planned to tackle the project and what our expenses might be, I was absolutely shocked when Nick told me that he thought he could do the entire staircase for $70 or less!

He estimated the following costs and supplies:

  • One can purple paint for the walls (approximately $30)
  • One can white paint (approximately $30)
  • One can stain (approximately $10)

So, after two weeks of lots of hard work on the part of my husband — prepping, sanding, planing, painting, and staining the wooden stairs and landings all by hand — we had a new staircase!

Our total expenses for supplies came in right around $70, just as my husband expected! He guesstimated that if we had purchased all new wood to complete the project, in addition to the paint and stain, our costs would have come in just shy of $600. And if we would have had a professional come in and do the work for us, it would have been even more expensive.

But thanks to some pre-planning, hard work, and creativity on the part of my handyman hubby, and some extra time over the summer to complete the project, we were able to pay just $70 cash for a brand new staircase!

Katie and her husband, Nick, are young professionals, both working full-time and pursuing graduate degrees at a local university. They enjoy remodeling their new home and saving money on anything and everything. In their spare time, they enjoy couponing (well, Katie does!), bike riding, taking their dogs to the dog park, 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 Roof

We paid cash!A testimony from Abbygail

Seven years ago, when my husband and I bought our house, we knew we would need to replace the roof (it had 4 layers including the original cedar shakes from the 1870′s). We didn’t think too much of it, figuring when the time came, we would get a loan or use a credit card.

That was before we heard about Dave Ramsey and our financial world flipped upside down. In the last four years, we have paid off almost $60,000 in debt, paid cash for two older cars, become a single (small) income family, and had two beautiful daughters.

We knew we didn’t want to add anymore debt, so last December we set a goal of saving $10,000 for our new roof by the end of May.

Some of the money was from our tax return, and our church also gave us a portion; but the majority came by hard work and prayer. We really didn’t do much differently than we had been doing since we began our debt-free journey, we just refocused where we were putting our money (saving rather than applying it to the debt.) My husband worked as much over-time as he could, and picked up a few yard mowing jobs and other odd jobs once the weather warmed up.

When I became a stay-at-home mom two years ago, I began babysitting to help pay extra on our debt. So during those 6 months, all that income got put in a jar in our bedroom to serve as motivation. God has been so good at providing opportunities for us. We have been so blessed.

By May, we had the money saved and started getting quotes. We bought the materials ourselves (to take advantage of sale prices) and chose a contractor. They did excellent work and finished in a week. (We are usually DIYers, but this would have taken us months of doing it a weekend at a time.) After returning unused material and getting the final bill from the contractor, we were $2,000 under budget! God is so good!

We gave the contractors a little bonus, gave some back to our church, and went ahead and paid cash for four windows that we hadn’t yet replaced. We also took a mini-vacation for the first time since the start of our debt-free journey (our 4-year-old was SO excited to stay in a hotel/waterpark!)

It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when you are a little frugal and a lot faithful!

Abbygail is a stay-at-home turned work-at-home wife to Robb and mama of two beautiful girls Melea, 4, and Graciela, 1. She does in-home childcare where she not only gets to love on and tell about God to her own babies, but to several other children and families. She loves rural, simple living, walking through the grass barefoot, baking, and above all, serving God.

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: TWO New-To-Us Cars

We paid cash!A testimony from Cristina

My husband and I were married in 2012 and decided to take Financial Peace with Dave Ramsey beforehand. It was one of the best decisions we made! It helped us get on the same page for budgeting and made us realize our goal of living as debt-free as possible. We immediately paid off the credit card with wedding gifts and stuck to paying cash for everything else from then on.

Other than school loans, we had no other debt and thought we were off to a good start. No sooner had we breathed a sigh of relief when a major car repair made it clear my husbands 2002 Corolla would need to be replaced.

We knew a car payment was not an option and would go against our goal of living debt free. We also had no idea how we would have enough time to set aside enough cash to purchase a reliable vehicle before his current one died.

We started immediately by cutting back on anything extra. We worked on saving gas money and conserving electricity at home. Instead of budgeting $40 for a date night we found more creative ways to spend time together. I found cleaning jobs in our neighborhood and did these after my regular job in the evening. We learned to enjoy the company of friends in public without always buying food to go along.

With much prayer, research, and careful planning, we were able to purchase a 2007 Toyota Yaris with 32,000 miles on it about 6 months later — for $8000 in cash!

It was the best feeling ever as we drove off the lot and still had our grocery money set aside to pick up food after.

Ironically, a short time after this my 2001 Celica began having issues as well. We knew my car would need to be replaced soon, but we did not know it would be that soon! Long story short, we started the saving process over again and in less than one year, we purchased another new-to-us cars in cash and avoided a car payment. We are creatures of habit and bought another Yaris, a year newer :)

Looking back, we were so blessed to have had the means to do this. We stuck with our way of life even after the cars and now have the cash to pay for the delivery of our first baby, which we are expecting any day!

Striving to live debt-free has brought us closer together as we focus on things more important in life than possessions.

Cristina and her husband live in Cleveland, OH. They are soon-to-be parents and are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their baby girl.

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

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My 9-year-old Paid Cash for Air Jordans

We paid cash!A testimony from Amy from Amy’s Peas and ThankYou

With the start of the new school year, my 9-year-old, Owen, wanted (and needed) new sneakers. This year was the first year he was brand specific — he wanted Nike Air Jordans, which are around $100 a pair.

My initial response was that designer sneakers are out of our budget and totally unnecessary. But then I thought maybe we could make this a learning experience, and Owen could have his pricey sneakers after all.

There are not a lot of ways a 9-year-old can earn money. He is too young and inexperienced to mow lawns or walk dogs, and a lemonade stand is a hard way to earn a buck.

However, Oregon is one of ten states that requires a refundable deposit for soda, beer, and water bottles, and I’ve noticed that most people let those sticky cans build up in their garages and dread the hassle of returning them. So we decided to offer to pick them up from our friends and family, giving them a cleaned out garage and Owen a chance to earn some money.

I posted a notice on my Facebook page stating that my son was working to earn money for his own shoes and if anyone had cans they had no interest in returning, we would gladly come get them. I was surprised how many people contacted us!

Over the course of one month, Owen and I picked up and returned cans from our friends and family. Owen would feed them into the machines and take his tickets inside to redeem. For a shy kid, I felt like he was learning his first lesson in thanking our friends and family and then conducting the transactions at the return centers.

By the end of one month Owen earned $161!  He earned his shoes — but more importantly to me, he learned the sense of pride in earning your own way, the value of delayed gratification, and the hardest lesson for him: to actually save his money instead of trying to spend it on every trinket and piece of candy that caught his eye.

Owen is now busy saving for his own Kindle Fire!

Wife to one, Mama to two.  Stay at home mom. Left behind an uninspired career in waitressing and retail management because my Dad was right and my Latin American Anthropology degree didn’t prepare me for a decent career.  I blog my love of cooking (and eating) at Amy’s Peas and ThankYou.

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

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