We Paid Cash: A New HVAC System

We paid cash!

A testimony from an anonymous reader

We’ve known for several years now that our HVAC system was dying. As a family, we were all uncomfortable and the unit often reminded us of its impending “death” with loud rattling that shook walls.

Knowing that we had waited and patched the units as long as we could, we began to get quotes for a new system. When the time came to receive our first quote I almost fell out of my chair when they handed me the paperwork showing a total cost of $12,000 to replace both our units and repair the duct work.

This company did however offer financing, and it looked like we might have to utilize the “financing option” to purchase the new HVAC system.

After a few more quotes and some discussions with the companies I started asking if we could get a discount if we paid in cash. To my shock, we were quickly offered discounts from 5-8% if we paid in cash! On a $12,000 bill that is not an insignificant amount of money.

With this new knowledge in hand, we put our nose to the ground and decided to save, save, save! We had less than one year to save before we would face another blistering summer in Georgia.

Here is what we did:

  • We held a family meeting
  • We examined our budget
  • We cut expenses on “non-essential” items
  • We planned to put our entire tax return to the new system

Our children are old enough to understand our budget and the need to replace the HVAC unit (they were hot!) After the family meeting, everyone was on the same page and we were all on board to save up for a more comfortable summer next year.

Already having a tight budget, at first we thought we would never be able to save enough, but soon, small decisions started adding up. Every time we saved any amount from a monthly bill, we diverted those funds directly into savings.

Because our budget was already tight we called our service providers for cell phones and internet and negotiated lower rates. The difference went straight to savings every month, we decreased the “food” budget which meant less eating out and we had very simple holidays. Soon we were on track to make our goal!

This weekend, we will have our new system installed and we will be paying CASH!

Our new HVAC system will cost us $8,000 — by paying cash and having the work completed before summer we were able to negotiate the best price, saving us $4,000. What a great feeling we have as a family to know that we all worked together to achieve our goal and we all be cooler this summer!

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 Vacation for Our Family of 7!

We paid cash!

A testimony from Colleen

A little over a year ago, we decided to pay cash for our vacation. I was especially excited since it was going to be the first time I had taken my mom on vacation… without her spending a dime.

I began setting aside whatever leftover money we had in our checking account. Thinking that I was already close to our goal, I asked my husband to guesstimate how much we would need to cover the cost for our family of 7. His total was $2800 — without doing anything fun!

Unfortunately, I hadn’t even come close to saving enough and it was May!

Then, I got creative…

Lodging

After endlessly searching for somewhere to stay, I was discouraged. Everything was just too expensive! However, my husband was pastoring a church at the time, and I remembered that many places offer a clergy discount.

I looked again and found a whole house in PA! It was a B&B at $580 for 5 days! Check the memberships you currently have: belonging to organizations like USAA, AAA, and Knights of Columbus can have an add bonus in travel savings!

Meals

Eating out was normally one of our biggest vacation expenses. To help with these costs, I cashed in some rewards I’d earned and got gift cards for restaurants in the area.

We also tried to max out the value of each card by eating a big, later lunch getting the same items we would at dinner for half the cost… AND, several weeks before the trip, I signed up for restaurant loyalty programs that gave coupons for free items which extended our savings.

Gas

To save on fuel, we mapped out our route and got gas cards to stations on the way. It didn’t cover all our fuel costs, but it certainly helped!

Entertainment

I ordered a guide for my family members to choose things they were interested in, and then found deals for them. Then, at rest stations, we gathered free guides with coupons for other discounted activities.

I also did some internet research for free or discounted events in the area. I discovered that it was National Ice Cream Day (free ice cream), Dress like a Cow Day at Chick-fil-A (free meals), and 7/11 Slurpee Day that week!

Just like our B&B, meals, and fuel, I looked for ways to extend my buying power. I used Daily Deal sites to buy deals that included Food and Entertainment. We also weren’t afraid to ask for discounts.

We discovered that on taping days, certain seats are discounted at Sight & Sound. We were able to take in a circus, visit a petting zoo, see a Broadway-quality show, watch trains — big and small — plus so much more!

Our grand total was $1600 dollars for a fun-filled, 5-day vacation for our family of 7!

It took some planning and a little ingenuity, but we definitely made a memorable, family vacation on the cheap!

Colleen  is a homeschooling mother of 5, former pastor’s wife, and avid couponer. She enjoys reading, writing, and baking gluten-free goodies.

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 Kitchen Remodel

We paid cash!A testimony from Christina

Growing up, saving money was always important to me.

My parents taught my siblings and me to save 60% of the money that we earned. I was naturally not a spender and saved closer to 80%. I remember at age 16, I had the goal of saving up for a down payment for a house! I wasn’t interested in the latest electronics, clothes, fads, etc, so I steadily built up my savings.

When I married my husband 3 years ago, I married a saver as well! While neither of us have college degrees (or college debt!), we are both hard workers. We have chosen to live simply, save as much as we can, and pay cash for everything.

When we bought our first home, we knew we were in for some major renovations. We found a great deal on a farmhouse foreclosure. The kitchen was in need of an overhaul as the only counter space was an island with a sink in it.

My sweet husband gave me an amazing gift: he told me to design my dream kitchen and he would build it for me – whatever the cost! It didn’t take me long to come up with the layout that I wanted. However, the quote for the cabinets alone was around $10,000!

For me, purchases aren’t nearly as fun if I don’t get a good deal on them —  so, we put off the cabinet purchase as we tried to decide what to do.

We are huge Craigslist fans, so I began searching for used stainless steel appliances. During my search, I found a set of appliances that looked nice and they were part of an entire kitchen that someone was selling due to a remodel. There were a lot of cabinets, so I had the thought of possibly purchasing the entire kitchen since it was such a great deal.

The cabinets were in nice shape – the problem was that they were dark brown and I was set on antique white cabinets for my dream kitchen. My husband and I decided that we could make it work somehow even though their kitchen layout was completely different. It was too good of a deal to pass up!

We figured and figured, and with God’s help, we were able to make them work for my original design! We bought the kitchen – cabinets, range, microwave, dishwasher, pendant lights, sink, faucet, and garbage disposal — all for $1,500. We found a fridge for $200 on Craigslist. We painted the cabinets and added new hardware and no one would know they were second-hand!kitchen renovation

I absolutely love my new kitchen! Besides getting the materials for a bargain, I love that I can LIVE in my kitchen and not worry about my children messing up $10k cabinets!

Christina is a full-time wife, homemaker, and mommy to three children ages 28 months, 16 months, & 2 months. She’s learning to live out her roles with dignity and to thrive where God has her.

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 Baby Boy’s Delivery

We paid cash!

A testimony from Jessica

Our “We Paid Cash” victory this past year came in the form of a baby!

I know, it’s a little odd for a “We Paid Cash” story, but as many other moms know, having a baby can be expensive! With no health insurance, and as a stay-at-home mom, we knew from the beginning that our 4th baby would be a stretch for us financially.

We were able to utilize a health discount program available in our state, with the only contingency being that all fees (doctor, hospital, lab work, etc.) were paid in advance. This meant that we needed to come up with roughly $5000 for my 4th c-section, in just 9 months, on an already very tight budget!

Here’s how we did it:

We continued to stick to our budget.

We worked hard at keeping our eating-out down, our spending minimal, and our grocery bill at $350/month for our family of 5.

I did a lot of freezer cooking and stock piled great deals from my local grocery stores.

I sold stuff.

I sold old books and children’s clothing on Craigslist and eBay. While it didn’t amount to a ton, it was something!

My husband took on extra jobs.

My husband was able to perform about 2 weddings each month. This money went straight to the hospital, and also gave us some built-in date nights as we celebrated with the lovely couples getting married!

Swagbucks.

I used Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards to pay for diapers, which freed up my diaper budget to go towards the new baby.

We sold our second car.

With my husband working 5 minutes from home, and with me homeschooling our children, we figured we didn’t presently need to be a two-car family.

This sale gave us cash in hand, as well as cut our monthly car insurance bill by $25.

My husband sold a guitar.

Sigh. This one was a little harder… BUT, the day after he decided he would sell his guitar to help pay for the baby, he was gifted another one that he really loves!

By the time our fourth child was born, we had paid off the doctor, the surgical assistant, the anesthesiologist, the hospital, all lab fees, two unexpected hospital visits, and the pediatrician!

The financial freedom after our little Levi was born was SO nice, and now we get to enjoy and love on the very best thing we could’ve ever “paid cash” for… our son!

our kiddos

Jessica is a wife and homeschooling mom of four children under 7. She blogs regularly about parenting, homeschooling, crafts, DIY, and yummy recipes at Mothering With Creativity.

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 Minivan!

We paid cash!A testimony from Kim from ProteanMom.com

We are big fans of paying cash for items. We use a cash envelope system (though for larger envelopes we actually keep the cash in our savings account) and we use a spreadsheet to keep track of how much is in each specific envelope.

We started using this system five years ago. And after we realized debt was going to limit our long term goals, we went to work on paying off our debt and changing our habits.

We paid off each account and celebrated our financial successes along the way. After working tirelessly for eighteen months, we paid off everything but our mortgage. And just in time, too! Our first child was born and we were so excited.

Because we were both committed to living debt free from then on, I was able to cut back my hours and stay home with our child.

Now we were debt free, but we didn’t have anything in savings.

Our vehicles, while still reliable, were already 7 plus years old. We wanted to be financially prepared for potential malfunctions or to replace the vehicles when the time came. So we pretended we still had a car payment – only we paid our “car payment” into our savings account and kept track.

When we began to seriously discuss having a second child, we realized we would have to replace my truck. We started researching cars and listed my truck for sale. We (thank the Lord!) managed to sell it for more than we had anticipated. That money went straight into the car envelope.

After some time we looked at our spreadsheet and we realized that we had met our goal. So we kept an eye out on local ads for a used minivan and found one that had the features we wanted – and it was in our price range!

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We called up the seller (a small used car dealership) and took the van for a test drive. After it passed inspection, we went to the bank and withdrew our car payment money. The dealer was so excited to be paid in cash that he gave us a discount!

All in all, it took us three years to save enough for our minivan. The discipline and happiness we have gotten from paying with cash has been worth every tear and penny. And our long term goals? They’re happening!

Kim is a wife, mother of two happy little boys, writer, family chef, and a whole lot more. She works in healthcare and blogs about finding fulfillment and better ways to serve in the variety of roles that life gives each of us at ProteanMom.com.

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 Camera!

We paid cash!A testimony from Tanja

My husband and I live in the US, but I am originally from Germany. In January of 2013, we made plans to spend Christmas and New Year’s 2013/2014 in Germany with my family. As you can imagine, it’s quite an expensive trip — especially during the holiday season.

I knew I wanted to take a lot of awesome family photos while spending time with family. But there was one problem, my ancient camera. It just would not live up the my crazy picture taking. I needed a new camera.

In November 2012, I signed up for UserTesting.com and MySurvey.com, but I didn’t complete any surveys and only 4 website tests (worth a total of $40). However, after booking our tickets in January of this past year, I realized UserTesting and MySurvey could be the path to my new camera.

I did my research on cameras and memory cards and decided I wanted to go all out and get a Canon Powershot G15 (average price $440) and a PNY 32GB HC class 10 memory card (average price $30).

Now I had a goal!

I hoped to do about one website test per week. But I could only get 2 to 3 tests per month due to my schedule and what I qualified for (PC and Android phone tests). I then decided to also do some surveys on MySurvey.

Fast forward from January 2013 to October 2013, I had completed 28 website tests on UserTesting (10 mobile website test at $15 each, and 18 PC website test at $10 each). This totaled up to $330. I also earned $60 from MySurvey — plus the $40 from before.

The grand total was $430!

I placed all the money in my PayPal account since it would allow me to order my camera and memory card from almost any website.

At this point, I enlisted my husband’s online deal searching skills and he found a great deal for me.

new camera

At the end of October 2013, I purchased a Canon Powershot G15 from EBay for $399 and a PNY 32GB HC class 10 memory card for $25 — which left me with $6 leftover! The camera and memory card were both brand new and included shipping and tax! Now I have about one month left to play with my new camera before our trip to Germany.

When people ask about my new camera, I tell them it was literally free… and they can’t believe it.

Thanks MoneySavingMom.com for showing me a frugal way to a new high-end camera!

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

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