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I Paid Cash… and You Can, Too!

new car

A testimony from Sarah from

I’m guessing that by now, you’ve read a few articles about how a family saves up to pay cash for a car. I myself always see those stories and get excited!

Maybe you get excited about the possibility of doing this yourself, but secretly think, “There’s no way I could do that. They are so much better off financially than me.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that you CAN!

You see, I’m a single stay-at-home-mom with an $18,000 per year income, and even still, I saved up $7,000 to pay cash for my new-to-me car in just one year. No loans, no financial assistance… and no welfare checks.

During the year I was saving for a car and didn’t have one to drive, a few kind people from my church sacrificially played car rotation and let me borrow theirs for a short time. It was an extremely difficult time for me, but their generosity was a huge blessing.

I was able to save for an entire year without having to pay for insurance… and after the year was up, I had a cool $7,000 to put down on a new (to me) car.

My point is simple. If I can do it, anyone can!

Don’t talk yourself out of your ability to make something happen. As the saying goes “Where’s there’s a will, there’s a way” and boy was I motivated! I didn’t have family to help me, just the kindness of a few church members and my belief that God would provide for my needs.

If you’re stuck in a place where you feel trapped, like nothing will ever change, don’t lose hope. No matter what life throws at you, you CAN make it. I stand here to inspire you, to encourage you, and to tell you that hard work goes a long way.

I believe in you… and sometimes, that’s all we really need. Just knowing someone out there truly believes in us, and I do!

You can do it! Don’t give up on your dreams of living within your means, no matter what the situation.

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. Her passion is showing other women in practical ways, how to quit the 9-5 and be able to be home with their little ones as well. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.

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

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  • Hope says:

    Congratulations on a job well done!!!!!! That encourages me just to keep going on my debt free journey.

  • Way to go!!!!! That is awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing and encouraging others! Off to check out your blog! 🙂

  • Valerie says:

    This post came when I have lost all hope. I am trying to be patient but everything keeps piling up. Your post is inspiring me to make some major changes and live within MY means. Thank You!

  • This is very encouraging, excited to read around her blog!!!

  • Jen says:

    What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing as I found it to be so encouraging. We have gotten out of debt and then it seemed Murphy moved in to stay. 3-6 mos of expenses is our next goal and it seems so daunting in light of a recent string of emergencies, but with God all things are possible. Thanks for the reminder to just keep at it and trust God with the rest. He loves to do the impossible.

    • Megan says:

      Thanks for this comment! We got debt-free last fall, and I figured all would be some sailing from there. It’s nice to know we are the only ones who have found the 3-6 months of expense hurdle to be nearly as big! Recent emergencies sums it up for us too. 🙂 I keep reminding myself that God has ALWAYS provided for our needs on this journey, He’s not likely to stop now.

  • Michelle says:

    Just wanted to comment and encourage anyone borrowing a vehicle to research/call an insurance agent to find out your state laws about insurance. I believe in our state even if you are borrowing a car “you” still need to be insured. It’s actually illegal to drive in our state without insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry and paying fines and other fees associated with breaking the law.

    • Great point Michelle. For most people, if you’re borrowing a car for say a week or a month or something, you don’t need to have your own insurance because it is the car that is insured (by the owner). In this case, it’s best to have a written letter in your glovebox stating by the owner that you have permission to drive the vehicle. However, because I borrowed a few cars for so long and because I felt I wanted a better peace of mind, I did have my own car insurance so my driving was doubly insured. It only cost me $4/month for that extra peace of mind 🙂 but yes, I agree 100% that each person would need to check with their local insurance agents and state laws.

      • Michelle says:

        Thank you for clarifying that you did have your own insurance. 🙂 You just didn’t have to pay full coverage for a year on your own vehicle, thus being able to save the extra on insurance.

        • Yes exactly Michelle. 🙂 The car insurance company would not allow me to just insure myself. They consider me a person and my car a car. lol. So, they had to cover a car to cover “me.” They used my old car. The one that died on me and covered that, so it covered me. Hopefully that makes sense. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    Can you give specific examples on how you were able to save $7,000 in a year?


    • Amanda says:

      Yes, specifics would be very helpful!

    • Pam says:

      Yes, please give specifics. I looked on your website for details and didn’t see any. Are you living with a relative? Do you get food stamps? I cannot for the life of me figure out how you did this but I sure could use some new ideas. We need a new car and also have college expenses for one (will be two next year!)

  • Emma says:

    Awesome job Sarah! I am subscribed to your blog now, I have been in a very similar situation the past two years and thought I was the only single stay at home mom out there! I am currently looking for employment since I spent the past year taking courses online and so far have yet to get a good job offer and may very well be staying home until my youngest is in school full time which is in another 2-3 years. Your blog came to me at just the right time!

  • Jen says:

    Congrats on the new ride! My husband and I have started a savings challenge to pay for six major expenses we have coming in the next two years. We have cut out many “extras” and have called all of our utility companies to ask for a reduced rate. We saved on cable, phone, internet, and trash services already! We menu plan every week, make our own cleaning supplies and detergents, use Swagbucks and online surveys to earn gift cards for gift giving, and really question every dollar that goes out. It helps to look at saving as a fun challenge instead of a difficult chore – and when unexpected expenses pop-up, you do what you have to do and get back on track.

    • Exactly Jen! Every single penny I spend, I question it as well. Can I get this thing for free? Can I get it cheaper? I generally only buy brand names because they last longer. It’s just a lifestyle to me, a fun challenge like you said. Living on next to nothing so that I CAN have the expensive toys I want, a beautiful home, etc. If I lived in an apt. I could live on $12k/year, but I like my house. lol. I think it was asked if I live with relatives, I don’t. 🙂

  • Angela says:

    Congratulations!!!! your store is so inspiring I too am a single mom but work and even with that there are times when things so difficult (financially) but reading your story give me hope

  • Jenni says:

    I think it’s great that you were able today for a car in cash, but it’s a bit misleading to say that you did it with “no loans.” You had to borrow other people’s cars instead of money. I’m not judging you at all, but sometimes I think there is a stigma against loans when really people borrow things all the time, and for those who have had to borrow money, I guess I just don’t want them to always feel bad for doing so. We all have different resources we have access to, some to help from family, others from a church, but there are people who have a hard time finding help even along those routes.

    • No one should feel bad for having to get a loan, for sure. Sometimes we have to, especially for a car or a house or something that is a huge amount like that. For me, it’s just a personal conviction. I don’t want any debt. When I was in $30k debt, I felt just like the Bible says, a slave to my lenders, and never want to feel like that again. Like I’m always sinking, one step above drowning. That’s what drives me. 4 years ago, I was homeless living in a shelter. I don’t ever want to go back! So, if I have to say no to this thing I want, then it’s worth it, until I have the cash to pay for it.

      As for the help. For the person that doesn’t have church or family, there are always a TON of resources in the community. Each state is different. My kids school told me about a 211 care help line here. I think it’s everywhere? Just dial 211 on your phone. So that even a lot of my medical bills are free or super low cost because my income is low! It’s not through welfare, but another program, I don’t remember the name though. There’s WIC if your kids are under 5 I think it is, there’s usually an energy assistance program that helps pay your power bill once a year. In our area, there’s another company called Love, Inc that helps. I’ve never gone through them, but our church supports them and I hear they are fantastic. You can get info from schools or I vaguely remember years and years ago, welfare had some sort of list or guide that really helped when I was living in the homeless shelter. Get ahold of that guide because it has everything in it. All the resources for everything, food, medical, housing, like everything.

      • Allison says:

        Typically if your medical bills are reduced it is because of a government funded program. Wic is also government funded. What is your definition of welfare? To me, government assistance to low income folks is welfare. Nothing wrong with using it for a tough season if you meet the criteria, but let’s call a spade a spade.

  • Stevi says:

    Jenni I think she was saying she paid for the car with no loans, I don’t see how borrowing cars has to do with paying for one.

    I would love to hear specifics of how you saved for it, like steps or tips and tricks possibly, please! I just started reading your blog (from this post!) And I look forward to reading it!

    • Stevi,

      Thanks. I actually started the blog BECAUSE all my church friends kept asking me HOW I’m doing it. lol. If you read long enough through my posts, you’ll get a fantastic idea of everything I do. Probably one of the most popular I’d say is when friends come to visit, they are in shock how nice my home is and want to know how I got all my expensive furniture. That post is here:
      If there’s anything you’re looking for specifically, just let me know. It’s mostly just a lifestyle, like I mentioned in another comment. When I want something, I wait until I have the cash to pay for it. Want something bad enough and you’ll make it happen! lol

  • Forest Rose says:

    Let’s call a Blessing a Blessing. I know Sarah and her life (through all the struggles) is nothing short of miraculous. She’s lost everything and has totally relied on God to bring her out. In doing that God has given her amazing wisdom and she is truly putting it all out there to help others. Love Love Love her!

    • Ah, you are so sweet Forest. 🙂 Yes, God has performed miracle after miracle after miracle. He is beyond good to me and my kids. I have literally given up my whole life to follow Him (my ex-husband asked me pointblank to give up God or he would leave our 14 year marriage) and God has rewarded that daily sacrifice beyond measure.

      As for the government programs, I know about them, but that doesn’t mean I’m on them, although I have no problem admitting I was on some when I was married and under his rule of our home. For the medical, I am not technically on it yet, though I hope to be approved. It is a special program for people who need particular types of operations. That is outside of my funds. For my daily medical bills, I am thankful to have my essential oils and pay cash when I need to see the doctor. As for WIC, I’m not a fan personally, so didn’t even use it when I qualified, but it can help others.

      It is my goal to inspire other women, not to get into the nitty-gritty of it all, but to encourage them, that they CAN do this. It’s possible, look, I’m living proof. I believe that God has put me in the place to be able to be an encouragement for many and I treasure it more than anything else. Thank you for all the kind comments, I appreciate them more than you know. To even think that I have the ability to offer someone hope, is, beyond words…to tears. Thank you as well to Crystal, an amazingly encouraging woman as well. 🙂

      Also, I would agree, there is nothing wrong with using the programs out there set forth to help people. I contribute financially to many of them.

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