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Living like no one else

I just got a less-than-nice comment from someone about our van situation. The basic gist of the comment was (I’ll edit the part out calling me a liar, etc.): "Why on earth if your husband is an attorney and you make money from home can you not just go out and get a new vehicle??"

Since there are quite a number of people who read this blog, rude
comments are pretty normal and I’m pretty used to it–it’s part of blogging in a public forum. However, after I deleted the comment, I got to thinking…

You know, we could go buy a vehicle. We could take our emergency fund money and go buy another used vehicle or even a new vehicle. We could take our house savings and go buy another vehicle. We could even do what most normal Americans do and just go take out a loan for a new car.

But here’s the deal: while we have money in our bank account, we don’t have money saved or allotted for a new vehicle or even a used vehicle. And guess what that means? We aren’t buying a new vehicle or even a new-to-us vehicle. Not right now at least.

We had money to pay for the car repairs, we don’t have money to pay for a new vehicle right now. We’re very hopeful that the mechanic will have our van in good working order by tonight and we’re very hopeful that after replacing just about everything there is to replace on it, the van should run beautifully like it used to.

What we thought was a small problem with the van has mushroomed into weeks of work. Just when we thought it was fixed, something else would go wrong with it and we’d have to take it back to the mechanic again. It has been a much longer and costlier process than we were ever expecting and yes, it’s been frustrating, but that doesn’t mean we just throw in the towel and go buy another vehicle.

Have we considered buying a new vehicle? Absolutely! Do we wish we had piles of cash sitting around without a name on them so we could just go buy a new vehicle and forget all the hassle of trying to get our much-used van fixed? You better believe it!

But you know what? Waiting until we can afford to buy something and trying to make do with what we currently have is how most people used to live. We’re learning patience, we’re learning flexibility, and we’re learning to be content with what we have.

We still have one running vehicle and if need be, we can go back to being a one-car family again. It’s not my first choice, but we did it for a few years and I’m willing to do it again.

Yes, we’re "living like no one else". Yes, a lot of people think we’re really crazy. Yes, sharing what I share on my blog means that some people aren’t going to understand, are going to question why we’re doing what we’re doing, and some people will say rude comments about our life choices.

You know what, though? While I don’t like car problems and I’d not have chosen the kinks in our plans they’ve resulted in the last few weeks, I’d much prefer to wait until I can afford something before I buy it. I much prefer not having to live paycheck-to-paycheck. And I much prefer not being slave to the bondage of debt.

We’re living like no one else so that someday we can live and give like no one else!

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  • Amy says:

    I totally agree and commend you for living like without the bondage of debt. I once had someone ask me why I was concerned about paying off my credit cards. This was shortly after my husband and I were introduced to the Dave Ramsey way of life. She said that everyone had credit card debt so why should I be any different? I can’t quite understand that way of thinking but I guess she couldn’t understand mine. Keep up the good work and I hope your van is fixed tonight. Blessings to you 🙂

  • Dawn says:

    I applaud your efforts in staying out of debt! I respect your blog and your way of life! It is refreshing to read about how you live life to the fullest while not breaking the bank! And I admire your obvious “attitude of gratitude.” You keep up the great blog. I enjoy tuning in everyday and you have helped me save lots of money and reminded me of whats really important in life! Thanks and God bless you!

  • Heidi says:

    I’m sorry that you had such a rude commenter. I think we should all agree to disagree on certain financial and life decisions instead of criticizing. One answer is not the right or wrong answer across for everyone.

  • Mrs. Querido says:

    I cannot believe the nerve of some people! You are so gracious to even mention the commenter who was so rude.

    And keep at it! We too are living like no one else so we can live and (very important) GIVE like no one else!


    Mrs. Q

  • gina says:

    I’m sorry that you get rude comments! I just want to say that because of this blog me and now alot of my friends are being purposeful about how we spend (and try to save our money). We’ve been able to provide things for our families that we couldn’t before and we are able to bless others even when we’re struggling ourselves. Thanks for being such an encouragement!!!!

  • Christi says:

    I’m an attorney, and it is a big misconception that all attorneys make boat loads of money. I encounter this every day! And, even if I did make boat loads of money, I wouldn’t necessarily spend it like other people would.

  • skunicorn says:

    What a goober. Maybe they should give you the money since it is such a simple thing to do…hehehe…you go girl

  • Rachel says:

    I commend you and your husband for your financial decisions. Like you, we have chosen to live a life like no one else…which is why most people don’t understand the choice. Our grandparents didn’t associate the American dream with debt, but today the two are almost one. Get what you want now…put it on credit…pay for it later. I choose not to live like that. You are absolutely right that inconveniences will come along, but they don’t result in financial tragedy. Keep up the great work. We’ll be living and giving like no one else like you some day too!!! God bless!!

  • Heather says:

    Kudos to you Crystal… You are truly living the Financial Peace lifestyle. It is a shame that the commentor was less than positive, but that is how people think when they don’t understand the sacrifice it takes to feel the freedom of never “owing the man.”
    No matter the amount of money one makes, there are tons of opportunities to be in hock for more. You are very lucky to have this all figured out so early in your lives ( good parenting goes far!) Keep it up and thanks for the daily inspiration in our personal journey to being debt free in 2010!

  • Teresa says:

    Good for you!! Just because other people are trying to keep up with the joneses, doesn’t mean you have to cave in and join them!
    I drive a 1997 Mercury Villager van. it is still going strong, and best of all it’s paid for! I had to spend a little bit on it last month, but it’s better than a $500 car payment every month! The insurance premiums are low, and the personal property tax is too…
    You are very smart!

  • Heather says:

    Yes, you are “living like no one else.” You’re living unlike the millions of Americans who have an average of $10,000.00 in credit card debt, a mortgage they can’t afford, two (or more) cars they don’t own outright and are still paying for (and are probably upside down in), and children who will never understand the value of a dollar because they can just “go out and buy” whatever they want when they want it whether they can afford it or not.

    My friends make fun of me all the time because I’m so budget minded and fiscally responsible. But, you know what? At the age of 29, I’m a single female (single income) who owns her own vehicle and doesn’t owe cent to anyone (no debt).

    So I commend you for not living like everyone else…which equates to living within your means and relying on the Lord to take care of you when life’s little uh-oh’s catch you.

    Keep up the awesome job!

  • Erin says:

    I’m new to your website and I have to say that I LOVE how you view your money. I have read Dave Ramsey Total money makeover and I love that you are “living like no one else so that later you can live like no one else.” Like Dave Ramsey says. I am a family of four while my husband works part time and goes to school fulltime and I stay at home with the 2 kids. It is hard but we have been working on Ramsey’s steps and although we only have the first one done and part of the emergency food storage every little bit helps. Our world is so backwards on how we view our money and its sad. We are in a buy now pay later world and I’m glad there are others out there like you that have their priorities straight and have learned to wait for things. Thanks for letting people everyday that they can live within their means and wait for things. You are an awesome example to so many people. May the lord bless you for your efforts!!!

  • Maria says:

    This is my first time commenting… I just wanted to let you know how much you have helped me (and, I’m sure, many others). I only found this blog a few weeks ago, and already I’ve learned so much! Thanks for being willing to share all that you do, even at the risk of rude commenters (whose negativity reflects on *them*, not *you*). 🙂

  • Laura J says:

    99.9% of us LOVE you & whole heartedly appreciate you!

  • Teresa says:

    Yay for you! You need to keep living like no one else, and keep inspiring us. I love your mentality…only buy what you have money to buy! It is wonderful and refreshing!

  • Brenda Hanley says:

    That person does not have a clue! I hope you realize all the good you do on your website.You are an inspiration to all of us! You should see all the wierd looks I get when I tell people we are living in a 38′ trailer so we can live like no one else later! NO MORE DEBT AND NO MORE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK! God bless you and your family!

  • Melissa says:

    {{{picture Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman pumping her fist in the air and yelling WOOF WOOOF WOOOOF}}}}

    beautifully put!! it’s funny how the people who think I’m nuts for putting all this time and effort into first getting my debt under control and now more recently getting on the coupon/bargin train (I had no clue this existed until a few weeks ago) but it’s even funnier that those are the same people who are reaping the benefits of my savings… if there is a product I get for free I pass it on to friends.. you wouldn’t believe the comments I’ve gotten from them!!

  • Katie says:

    You go girl! You are being responsible, and maybe if more people were responsible these days our economy (especially the housing market) wouldn’t be such a mess!


  • Jackie says:

    Crystal I just want you to know that our family loves you! Without your blog I wouldn’t be saving my family any money. Their are a lot of rude people out in this world. I commend you and your family for living the Financial Peace lifestyle! I hope someday we will be living that lifestyle:) Thank you so much for your hard work and encouragement everyday! Keep up the good work.

  • Cheri says:

    We also have no debt. None. Yes we use credit cards but pay them off every month. We pay cash for our vehicles. We shop for the best bargain whenever possible. We’re not crazy spending our money, but we buy what we truly want (or need). We are in no way deprived – and we’re happy. Happy, Happy, Happy!

  • Kim says:

    Wow Crystal . . you guys are WEIRD!! And as those of living in and striving for Financial Peace know . . that is a total compliment!
    We always have to keep a couple of the ground rules in mind:
    1. Weird is good.
    2. We don’t take advice from broke people.


  • Sonja says:

    People who THINK you/we should do something for some reason are often the people who HAVE done it and want you to be as miserable as they.

    I LOVE Dave Ramsey’s advice. I am a single mommy and Thursday I am going on a two week vacation (Spain followed by a cruise down the Mediterranean). I’m sure you guessed it, I’m paying CASH! That’s because I didn’t buy a new (or other) car when I didn’t have the $$$. I made due with what I had. I drove 3 summers with no A/C in the TEXAS summer heat, but we made it.

    Stick in there, one day this will only be a memory.

    Thanks for your Blog! I’ve learned a lot about saving money (and I’m an Accountant) from you! Keep up the great work and remember the sweet things people say to you. I just read something I like, ‘Do what you want, those who care don’t matter and those who matter don’t care.’ I believe from someone who posts to your blog.

  • Erin says:

    It must be icky to get rude comments, especially ones that are personal…though you said you are used to them, I will pray for your heart and mind to be protected and for your eyes to always only see what is True. You are a blessing to so many.

  • Vanessa says:

    Crystal, I have been reading your blog for the past month or so and just want to thank you for the inspiration you are. My husband and I have been married for almost a year and have made living frugally a huge goal for ourselves. Finding this blog has helped me to continue to adapt the way we live to be more financially responsible. We both have a car, we both have a college degree, and I am working on my Master’s to teach special education. And the only debt we have is a mortgage — which is well within our financial means. Thanks to what we have been learning on your blog, we will be able to pay that off within the next few years so that hopefully, by the time we have kids in a few years we will be COMPLETELY debt free. Thank you for your wonderful example! I appreciate all that you do!

  • Amy D says:

    Right on! Too many of us just go out and purchase new stuff because we can get the credit to do so. I have done this and still am guilty of it here and there. BUT, there is nothing better than the feeling of getting out of debt one day at a time and SAVING enough money to purchase what is really needed at the time you actually need it. Less debt = less stress and more money to save!

  • I’m with you, girl.

    It gets very frustrating when people think that because you probably make “x” dollars, you should be able to afford to do/buy “y”. I often feel like I have to explain myself. So frustrating!

  • Lyn says:

    Right on, Crystal!

    We live in such a disposable and materialistic society that the quick answer to everything is “just go buy a new one”. I respect your commitment to your plans.

    You’re right, in a way it would be easy to go and get a new car, but in the end, not really. It would just delay your bigger dream. It’s great that you have a good attitude about having one car only if need be. We have only one. It saves us SO much not having to pay taxes, repairs and insurance, etc. on a second vehicle.

    Sometimes we have to deny ourselves certain things for the greater good of our goals. The problem is that many don’t want to deny themselves anything.

  • Jesabella says:

    I am with everyone else that agrees with your efforts to “live like no one else”. I wish I would have learned these ways even just a year ago. But we are trying to dig ourselves out of the debt we have created so that one day, we can live like no one else. Good for you for making a stand!

  • Cynthia says:

    I’m so sorry that anyone would ever consider it acceptable to be rude to you (or anyone.) It seems they have forgotten the adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Perhaps this is not the blog for them to read, or they should just start their own if they know what is best for you and your family.

    What I treasure most about your blog is actually not the money-saving tips, or your amazing encouragement to be good stewards, but your amazing positive attitude. I have thanked God many times for your positive peer pressure!

  • julie says:

    Can you explain the idea of saving for a house and renting now? This goes counter to what I’ve heard before (especially because of the tax write-off of the mortgage interest).


  • i’m so sorry you get rude comments. your blog is one of my favorites, because of the info and because of your friendly tone. i have the feeling i could meet you in real life and instantly be friends.

    i think it’s great you aren’t replacing your van. we just did replace my husband’s car (the mechanic recommended it; it was 10 years old and the repairs would have been costly). instead of buying new, he found an even older car that was in great shape and checked out with our mechanic. so for us it was a “new” car with no car payment.

  • Dedicated says:

    Fabulously Put!

    The thing that bother me, is they thought it was okay to question your “personal” take on your “personal” financial decision.

    To each their own. Although, I prefer my 102k mile, paid off, used Grand Prix to a payment any day!

  • Christy says:

    Bravo! Well said! The rude commenter obviously doesn’t “get it”. I do “get it”, though. Thanks to you and your blog!


  • AMEN SISTA!!!!!!!!

    Dave would be SO PROUD of you! I love love love his quote “live like no one else so later you can live like no one else!”

    Way to stand your ground!

    Oh and by the way, I love your blog. You inspire/encourage me every day!

    Thanks for everything!


  • Beth says:

    I have learned SO MUCH from you and I hope you don’t change a THING! Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to this blog. You have helped my family begin our baby steps toward “living like no one else”. Thanks again and God bless!

  • Catherine says:

    Everyone’s got an opinion, huh? So just let me share mine and tell you how much I admire you. I’m an attorney and my husband is a data analyst. We have good jobs and we live a “good life” from all appearances. Our dirty little secret is that we are up to our eyeballs in debt. No…make that DEBT…with a capital D-E-B-T. Since finding your blog I have made a conscious effort to change my ways. It’s hard and, as your rude commenter illustrates, a lot of people aren’t up to the challenge. But I can’t thank you enough for the positive reinforcement you put out there every day that encourages me to stick with the money-saving. Thank you.

  • Becky says:

    Good for you Crystal.

    Though I’m sorry you had to defend yourself and your personal decisions, you did it well, in a Christ-like manner.

  • Melissa says:

    I just want to say that I LOVE checking your site each and every day. People who make rude comments like that simply do not understand the reality of living within their means. Your site has made it possible for me to help my family become more insightful about the way we spend our money. Thank you for your time and your effort. You really are appreciated.

  • Storm says:

    I so feel your pain on the car! I have been asked the exact same thing by friends and even my MIL the last few days! I am not going any further into debt just because the rest of the world is doing it. At this point I have replaced so much on the car that it is like a new car, lol, and it’s all ours! We paid cash up front for it, and we’ll do the same for next one.

  • linda says:

    Its that mentality that keeps people in debt and slaves to a lender and a J-O-B. This person probably will not ever know or understand true financial peace. And that is sad because being able to provide for your family without risk is going to be an amazing feeling. I will get there someday and I know you will too, Crystal. Hopefully this person will come back and read these comments and realize that there is another way to think about situations like this, and taking out a loan is not necessary.

  • Hannelore says:

    Gosh, I hate when people make comments like that. (I’ll bet that person just hasn’t done their homework when it comes to biblical stewardship). It happens that whenever you do something counter-culture people do not know what to make of it. We have faced that many times with biblical discipline, home schooling, staying at home, biblical roles, living in a smaller house than anyone we know, driving an average car, tithing-you name it. Sometimes its a good chance to give a testimony about how God is at work in your life-which I think you consistently do. 1 Timothy 6 says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” And it goes on. Pretty strong words! I think you (and your husband) are wise to heed these words and seek to live within your means, and if God wants you to have a different car- He’ll give you one. In the meantime, I commend your contentment and forbearing spirit. Thanks again for the way you serve all these families!

  • Terri says:

    That comment was very rude. Kuddos to you for doing the right thing! I’m proud of you girl!!!

    We share one car in my family simply because we prefer to spend our money on other things ie saveing for our children’s education. And…yes, we could have two if we wanted it’s just about choice. My husband is a Ph.D chemist and has a great job.


  • Aimee says:

    yeah for you! maybe you aren’t going out and buying a brand new car b/c you don’t HAVE to. you have the money in the bank to make the necessary repairs, and when you are ready, you can find a great deal on a vehicle and pay cash for it. that’s something to be proud of. there are so many people that end up over a barrel b/c their car breaks down and all they can “afford” to do is finance a new car at an outrageous interest rate. if that isn’t backwards, i don’t know what is. sorry, i just needed to rant a little bit. 😉 i get the weird looks too, and i just have to remember that “living like no one else” is a good thing.

  • abunslife says:

    I’m sorry you got a rude comment. Most people, unfortunately just don’t understand….We do have a mortgage on our house, but we put over 20% down, and that is our only “debt”. We pay cash for our cars which the dealers hate. We do use a CC for purchases just so we can earn all the cash back, but we pay it off every month. When the CC calls and asks us if we want to transfer balances they seriously don’t believe us when we tell them we have no debt to transfer. My neighbors look at me like I am crazy when I talk about the great deal I got here or there, and how I organize my coupons. They can’t be bothered with coupons….We are able to have all that we do and have secure financial futures because of sites like yours that help me save money for my family. THANK YOU!!

  • Trixie says:

    You really gotta look at getting a widget or something to allow for a larger font size in the comment section.

    Because I need to make my AMEN to your post about 20 times bigger (and in bold:)

    We too have some money saved for other things, and it makes absoluetly no sense for us to use that money for something else (like a newer vehicle). It’s an easy desire to want to give in to, though!

    Saving money and not purchasing something until you have enough specific money set aside for it is such a foreign concept in our country, many people honestly can’t wrap their minds around the concept. Speaking of that, I bet you get a good share of un- understanding comments on your admirable goal of saving for a house;)

    Great Job!


  • Kristina says:

    Unless you understand the need to live in a budget and have no debt, you cannot understand why a person would do something like this. I imagine this person would also not understand why you would wait until you have the full price of a house before buying a house. That’s okay. But, I’m sorry you have to put up with that. Mainly I’m sorry because I feel that your blog is not at all controversial. It’s all about helping people.

  • Rachel says:

    I am so glad you addressed the comment that was made. I totally agree with you. We are currently renting an apt. and there is a lot of pressure to buy. While I am not sure if we will be able to pay cash for a house, I have a greater purpose to save and I think about what I purchase more as a result of your blog. I am not sure the position of the person that made the rude comment but I pray that God will change their heart and if they don’t already they will come to know Him and experience the freedom that only He can give. I feel like once you experience that grace…I tend to be a little less judgemental.

  • Lisa says:

    I so appreciate your positive, grateful heart. Whenever I get a case of the gimmees, I look at your other blog and that world fades away. It’s so hard to swim against our cultures’ current and I think it’s wonderful that you keep both your blogs so kind and positive. I’ve been a casual fan of Dave Ramsey’s for years but because of your encouragement, I’ve gone “whole hog” with his program. We have mountains of debt but now we have a PLAN and HOPE. Thank you for sharing your ministry.


  • You go Crystal!
    I don’t like rude comments either, but I do like the fact that they keep me in line to remind me that only God can bring me true happiness! I love your attitude to shake it off!
    ~The Bargain Shopper Lady

  • Ashley says:

    You know, I’ve totally come to realize that we are NOT called to fit in, but to live as “strangers and aliens”. Sometimes we may think we know what that looks like and yet have no clue. Jesus said more about money than heaven and hell combined. I think that means He’s serious about us being good stewards. Thank you for living and giving in a way that truly honors the Lord!

  • Promises says:

    I understand what you mean – a lot of people are so used to debt and/or spending every cent that they make that they really do not understand how you live. I do understand – we are also very frugal.

    I am very careful about who I tell that we have an emergency fund to, b/c I feel that most people would respond that we should use that to buy a second car (we are down to one and saving to buy a “new to us” car.). It would be nice to have a second car, but we are refusing to go into debt again.

    Debt free is definitely a more peaceful way to live!

  • Jennifer says:

    As Dave says…. “Deb is NORMAL. Be WEIRD.” I was thrilled to see you were a Dave Ramsey fan and that you were truly living out the baby steps. We’re only on step 2, but your shopping tips are going to help us arrive at step 3 even sooner. We’re currently saving enough cash to upgrade one of our “beater” cars (a.k.a. our hooptie card). We don’t want to spend the cash we have saved toward our very-used replacement on other things either. Keep saving toward your dream! And you’ll be able to live like no one else.

  • Jennifer says:

    As Dave says…. “Deb is NORMAL. Be WEIRD.” I was thrilled to see you were a Dave Ramsey fan and that you were truly living out the baby steps. We’re only on step 2, but your shopping tips are going to help us arrive at step 3 even sooner. We’re currently saving enough cash to upgrade one of our “beater” cars (a.k.a. our hooptie card). We don’t want to spend the cash we have saved toward our very-used replacement on other things either. Keep saving toward your dream! And you’ll be able to live like no one else.

  • Melissa says:

    I’m so sorry that you received such a rude comments. I’m constantly amazed by the number of people that think that debt can’t be avoided and that we should all spend every penny we have. Thank you for being such a level-headed and inspirational woman.

  • cheapsk8mom says:

    while i don’t share your lifestyle, as far as saving money goes, i certainly don’t think badly of you for it. i’m married w/four kids to a man in the army, so you know we’re poor! and if we didn’t have rude jerks in our lives, the people who matter the most wouldn’t seem as perfect! 🙂

  • LisaMarie says:

    Good for you! I’m proud to include myself in the category of “weird” along with you. The only regret that I have is that we didn’t save up for our house and pay cash. But we are doing just fine with our only debt being our 15 year mortgage.

  • Katie says:

    I am relatively new to the whole no debt thing… own my house and my cars outright- it feels nice…. most people would be trading my 2004 minivan in right about now- but I am just gonna get it detailed…. it will at least be as clean as new- gotta love the little things…..
    Somedays I envy what my friends are able to do but than I think to myself- don’t want their bills every month 🙂 I would rather mine…..

  • Hillery says:

    Good for you! We recently experienced some similar problems with our car. Unfortunately it got to the point where it was going to need so much work, we couldn’t afford it and my dad didn’t want to fix it either. We were blessed that a family member stepped in and helped us buy a new car. Once my husband is out of school and has a great new job we will pay them back for it. I wish we could have fixed the old one and that we do as well as you do with money, but we are learning, and we will get there!

    Thank you for your “not like everyone else” blog that helps so many people. I used $30 of coupons today at the store, thanks to you!

  • Michelle says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all of your hard work – this week I scored diapers and wipes for just $.35 out of pocket thanks to your blog.

    If you think like everyone else, then you will be up to your eyeballs in debt like everyone else… you have to do different to get different results.

  • Rachel says:

    Well said, Crystal! That is the problem with most of America concerning money today – they don’t understand savings.

    Also, you have mentioned that your “attorney” husband has chosen a less stressful position (translate: less money) rather than make “big bucks.” I totally respect that. My husband has chosen the same thing right now, and I need to help him by working hard to stretch our money. Thank you, Crystal, for helping me do that!!

    :o) Rachel

  • Roxanne says:

    How rude! Why on earth would someone else make rude comments about how you and your family live your life and budget!??!! My gosh! Just keep up the good work! My family and I really appreciate your blog and the work you put into it. 🙂

  • Suzy says:

    Maybe when that rude comment-maker is destitute and living on the street because of a lifetime of poor financial decisions, you can drive by them in your brand new fully-paid-in-cash sportscar and toss them a $50 out the window.

  • Jenny says:

    “We’re living like no one else so that someday we can live and give like no one else!”

    Guess what – you already are giving like no one else! You are giving thousands of people a fresh, different perspective than what they’re seeing advertised on TV or what they’re hearing that their friends are doing.

    So I say, kudos to you! Preach on, sister!

  • Stacee says:

    What commitment ya’ll have! We are still not there yet, don’t even have our baby emergency fund yet since we’re currently getting caught up from being behind (closing our Home Remodeling Business) – but we’re getting there! I commend you for making the “right for you” choice!! Dave rocks doesn’t he, lol!

  • Michelle says:

    I was shocked to read that you receive negative comments. It is hard to imagine someone taking time to write those things…

    Anyway, I love hearing that you continue to use your cars as long as you possibly can. In my opinion, it is not only a financially sound decision, but an eco friendly decision as well!!

    Thank you for sharing your life with all of us! Your wise and frugal financial decisions opened my eyes to a new way of living.


  • Nancy says:

    I think it’s great that you don’t buy a new van with the money you have labeled for something! I am trying to learn to be stronger, like you. Right now, I am pretty much paycheck to paycheck. But I am trying to learn to do better. You are helping me do that! Thanks so much!

  • Sarah in Indiana says:

    I am so sorry someone was rude to you.
    My husband and I make well over six figures, but we too live below our means. My friends are surrounded by new things.. and mounds of credit card bills.

  • Sarah says:

    I truely admire what you are doing. I am a mother of 4 precious boys and we have been trying to make changes recently to become debt free. My husband has always been very smart with his $$$, but recently we tried to start a business, and we got in over our heads!!! Now we need a plan and fast!!!! So we are working toward the goal of being debt free. I commend your efforts and everyone out there for also trying to achieve the same thing! It’s not easy, it IS going against the grain of what society tells us. But talk to our grandparents, who lived through the depression. What would they say about all of this, living on borrowed money? What if something like the depression would happen again? Are we ready for it IF it happens? If you think it is so wrong to have an older vehicle, and to make repairs instead of living with a large car payment- go for it. But God bless those who want to make other things in life a priority!

    God bless you and thank you for this blog!!!

  • Courtney says:

    If it isn’t obvious, I think a lot of people DO understand why you are not buying another car. Ya know, it’s always amazed me how many things people “throw out” just because it’s broken. They don’t understand most cars can be fixed for way less than buying a new or used vehicle. We live in a ultimately spoiled society that thinks “If it’s broken DON’T go fix it, and just buy a new one instead”. I don’t know about you but I know we’ve spent many years and huge chucks of money out of our paychecks to pay off our van. I’m not about to spend another 5 or more years spending over $300 a month for another van when ours just needs TLC. Sure a $1,000 – $5,000 bill looks overwhelming and you think you could use that for a downpayment and drive something brand new. But then you’d still be stuck making huge payments every single month for YEARS (maknig the “bill” WAY more that what it originally looked like). I think it is wise to wait until you’ve actually saved the extra money to treat yourself to a new/used vehicle and pay cash. Not to mention, a lot of places will knock off a LOT of money anytime you have cash to pay for big purchases like that.

    Really though, I think you’re doing the right thing by just fixing the vehicle you’ve already spent so much time paying off than going out and doing it all over again, knowing the new vehicle would do the same thing in a few years. lol It IS possible to live completely debt free. A lot of people don’t understand that. It’s easier to do than winning the lottery.

    By the way, did you know you could take the money you’d spend on one month’s car payment and go on a cruise instead? If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is!

  • Sheila says:

    Crystal, You go girl! As an older woman with a daughter your age (who put me onto your site) I am so proud of you! At this stage in my life, my husband and I no longer NEED to pinch pennies; however it is now my CHOICE to be frugal because I see our money as belonging to God. I know I need to be the best steward I can be with His resources. We live very simply allowing us to give freely and I LOVE IT! God is blessing others through you. Keep it up.

  • Ladybugs' Mom says:

    You’re my hero!

  • Megan says:

    Wow, I felt so bad after reading this post. I come to your blog every day and mooch 🙂 all of your good advice. I actually depend on your blog for so many of the ways I save money. I send friend after friend here when they want to know how I bargain shop. I can’t believe someone would post something so hurtful and rude. It made me feel bad for never leaving a “thank you” comment before. I should at least take the time to do that. I hope that the rude comments won’t discourage you as I am SOOO appreciative of what you do.

  • Kudos to you. You are totally in the right! Why do people think the economy is the way it is??? We, as a nation, have lost the art of saving for a rainy day. I am in the same boat as you, somewhat. We are a one income family, but my husband as a very decent job as an engineer with great benefits. BUT we did just buy our first home (something we made sure we could afford) and STILL plan on saving! Keep up your WONDERFUL frugal attitude.


  • Jennifer says:

    We are the same way. We actuallly had the same types of car problems last year, spending a total of $10K on car repairs in a 10 month period. Anyway, I will frequently lament about how we don’t have any money. this is not accurate and I need to change the way I think. We have plenty of money (not rich at all though), but everything we have is already alloted to other expenses, needs or wants. if push came to shove maybe we could rearrange things a bit, but that isn’t what we ever want to do.

    The difference between you and that commenter? You have a plan for your money and think carefully before spending it. the commenter obviously takes the easy way out and doesn’t plan so carefully. Way to go Crystal, you are doing the right thing.

  • Sara says:

    Hi There,

    I’m new here and am enjoying the ideas and more importantly the moral support. My husband and I’ve made a point to live without credit card debt and currently have no car debt too, although we only have one car. We’re starting to be serious about staying in a budget and not giving our money with a name assigned to it to another account. Sharing a single car is taking some sacrifice, but I decided I’d rather stay home with my 12 month old than have strangers raise him, since we don’t live in a town with our family. Keep the good ideas coming and best of luck to you.

  • Kelly says:

    Right on Crystal! Don’t let the jealous and probably broke people get to you. Why are they on your site anyway?

  • Kristine says:

    So for those of you “living like nobody else” – do you have a point at which you’ll stop putting repairs into a vehicle and purchase a new one even if the vehicle fund isn’t where you want it to be?

    I recently replaced my vehicle. It had 150k miles on it, it was totally paid for, but we were looking at approximately $4000 worth of immediate repairs for a vehicle worth about $3000 in as-is conditions. And we would also need new brakes and tires before the end of summer, so another $1k or so at that time. We hit our break point. It was silly for us to keep pumping cash into a car that wasn’t worth it. We reallocated our funds to buy a new to us car, with remaining warranty on it.

    How do the rest of you justify repairing a car that might not be worth it? Or do you not consider the worth of the vehicle when doing repairs? Do you just consider the size of your repair fund and the size of the new vehicle fund instead?
    Money Saving Mom here: You got it, Kristine. It really depends upon the situation. We usually consider the worth of the vehicle, the costs involved in repairing it, the size of the repair fund, and the costs of a new vehicle.

    We had just bought this van last year and were hoping it would last us at least a good four years until it needed to be replaced. We’ve not spent anywhere close to what we’d spend to get a good replacement for it and everything we’ve put into it will hopefully allow us to be able to get more life out of it and then sell it for more in the next year or two. So we’re looking at it as an “investment” of sorts.

    Hope that helps! For us, it really depends upon the situation; I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, just that you shouldn’t ever get a loan for a vehicle and should really think through what you truly need and what you can afford and what your long-term goals are.

  • Melissa says:

    The last sentence that you wrote…those are the exact words that my husband has been saying the last few years! Right on sister!

  • Liz says:

    I can sympathize on the car front – we had both our older cars die in the same week last December. We had a great time driving around a series of ghastly beaters until then. We used to get the funniest looks and laugh hysterically over them!

    But you also have to remember that people have different priorities for their money. We skimp on cars so our daughter can go to camp, theater productions, and museums. We may drive $1000 rust buckets, but we paid for our daughter’s entire class to go see the symphony. We buy used clothes so we can go out for sometimes for authentic Thai, Indian, and Chinese foods we can’t replicate well at home. It is all about priorities and trade-offs and people just don’t see eye-to-eye on those because different things are important to them.

  • Peggy says:

    You are still waaaayyyy better off just getting it fixed – way less money and you still have a working vehicle. The person who said that is probably just jealous b/c they are miserable and saddled with a huge monthly payment for their new car – and guess what – they break down too!!!! You go Crystal!!! I’m with ya!

  • Shegazelle says:

    People like you are rock stars in my book. I wanna be just like you!

  • Michele says:

    Hi Crystal,
    This comment hits home for me! My husband and I graduated college and were blessed to get very good jobs. Even though we had great incomes for nearly 5 years, we chose to stay in the small family home that we owe very little on. Our colleagues and college friends would hassle us that we did not live in the fanciest suburb (our city is considered very working class and most of our “friends” would look down on us for being here). We have never owned new cars and used our income to pay off our student loans, a used car loan, and 70% of our house debt. We use credit cards each month only for rewards purposes and always pay them off each month. Now, people are shocked that I am able to stay home with my son (while waiting for my second baby to come), and we are not strapped or having to take out more debt. Part of the reason that we are doing well on our budget is due to all of the tips you share, and I am grateful for them. God’s blessings to you!

  • We get this also because of my husband’s job. “Why are YOU on a budget?” “What do you mean you can’t go __________?” and even “If you didn’t do __________ for the boys, you’d have money for yourself”. We hear this all the time.

    Anymore, I just tune it out. Although when there are days when I can get into a pity party mode when “everybody else gets to pay retail” happens.

    Ah well, my husband is smart, certifiably smart. I trust his judgement. We’d rather sacrifice fancy wardrobes and cars so our children can get swim lessons, music, or whatever… with a MOM who stays HOME. It means we don’t go out to eat often, although I’d love to LOL. We don’t shop retail.

    Our neighbors have “everything”… including piles and piles of debt. Guess where all the kiddos on the property want to play?? At our house with our second hand toys and blow up pool! Every day! Having everything isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    If having a new car is meant for you, your husband will surprise you with a brand new Odyssey or something fun. You just wait…


  • Heather says:

    Nicely stated. Even positive things (this post) can come out of negative things (the comment @ your car situation). It’s strange what inspires us to write on our blog sometimes!

  • Beth says:

    Congratulations on choosing to do what most of American has NOT chosen to do . . . live without DEBT!!

    We are big fans of Dave Ramsey and thanks to his advice and our hard work, we are debt free – but it took some work and we got some really weird looks from people.

    I’ll never forget trying to book a spa appointment in Nashville, TN and the receptionist needed my credit card info. to keep on file (basically to have in case I didn’t show so they could charge me). I told her I we didn’t have credit cards so I couldn’t provide that data for her. She said it was impossible to not have a credit card and that I was lying. “It’s impossible to live w/o a credit card,” she said. No, it’s not . . . I obviously didn’t make my appointment at that spa – they wouldn’t hold my appointment w/o a credit card. How sad! Keep up the hard work!

    JUST THINK what kind of responses/looks you’ll get when your home is PAID FOR! Imagine how good it will feel to not have a mortgage/rent payment!

    Good luck!

  • Good for you!! I know what it’s like to get a rude comment. I got one last week for my Quiverfull post. You are doing the right thing, and you are doing what your husband wants you to. I think more women need to get under their husbands and follow them instead of leading!! and more of us need to get out of debt!!! God will bless you for your efforts, pray you get some more miles out of your van!

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m just going to say “Ditto” to all the above comments. Good job!

  • Jennifer says:

    Good for you! It takes a lot to keep saving and not go out and buy something just because it would be more convenient! You are a great role model!!!

  • polly says:

    You did an excellent, gracious job of ‘responding’ to the rude comment. I always think it’s kind of funny how people assume attorneys rake in the $$. I am one, although I’ve worked part time for several years and am now going to put the law work on hold for several more. We are “strange” b/c my husband drives a 1991 car w/ 350,000 miles {volvo} and I drive a 2000 vehicle w/ 200,000. no debt, mortgage almost paid.

    it’s a good feeling–strategically saving!

  • Jolene S. says:

    You Go Girl! So sorry about the offensive comment. I just got on the “budget and coupon bandwagon” a few weeks ago. I didn’t think I had the time or patience, BUT I want to handle our money the way The Father intended. I want to make my husband proud in knowing that I am not squandering our money, while he works his bootie off day every day! AND I did not realize this alternate world my family and I could be living in. I have already seen the FREEING benefits of living a purpose driven, debt-free and frugal life. Thanks for providing support and encouragement! I can’t wait to see what lies around the next corner!

  • Beckie says:

    You go girl! I am giving you props. You will live like nobody else someday for sure. It is worth it you keep pressing on. These are little sacrifices that are laughable later.

  • Sheila Smith says:

    You are just plain WEIRD…but in a good Dave Ramsey kind of way. 🙂

  • Allison says:

    You are my role model! I aim to live debt free. I have learned so much in the short months reading your blog. Keep up the good work.

  • Marianne says:

    In our culture, striving to be debt-free is like running the wrong way in a marathon…it always feels like someone’s trying to push you down.

    As always, you blog here with grace and joy despite the negative comments. Thanks for sharing from the heart.

  • Susannah says:

    I agree with you on the car situation. We’ve been having car issues of our own and have gotten comments about just going out and buying another car. But like you, we don’t have the money to buy a car at the moment, but we do have money for repairs. So we fix it.

    My husband is also a lawyer and I have to say that it is a HUGE misconception that all attorneys make a boatload of money. It just isn’t true. However everyone thinks that because of my husband’s profession, we should have a ton of money to do whatever we want to.

    I really enjoy your blog. Thank you!

  • You are doing a fantastic job and don’t let rude comments get to you. Thank you so much for everything you do on this site. I know it takes a lot of time and energy and effort and I for one am very appreciative.
    Thank you!

  • Sarah says:


    We too have chosen to live like no one else so that later we can live like no one else AND give like no one else.

    We are in the process of buying a fixer-upper house and we are going to do all the repairs and painting in cash. Sure, people think we are crazy to deal with that neon green someone put in one room but we would rather deal with it until we can paint it our own color using no credit. It will be a long process but it will be OURS…not a credit card companies. We are living like no one else.

    I remember hearing Dave Ramsey say that if you friends think you are crazy, you are probably doing the right thing. So, there you go.

    Keep Going!

  • Raquel says:

    bravo what a great post, thank you for all the hard work on this blog becasue of it i have learned how to save my family lots of money!

  • Tiffany says:

    We are a one-car family, and have had MANY people think we’re strange for not running out and “just buying” a second one. But like you, we don’t have the money set aside yet; we aren’t financially there yet; we don’t want to go in big debt for it. It’s hard…we live in a very small rural area with nothing really in walking distance… I’m housebound all day everyday during the week. But I know we’re doing the right thing by waiting….thank you for standing up for us weirdos!

  • SarahMay says:

    Keep it up, Crystal, you’re an inspiration and encouragement. People have looked at us strangely because we’re unwilling to go into debt for a bigger vehicle (we’re “at capacity” with three kids in our current sedans) or take out a bigger mortgage for a bigger house (720 square feet for the five of us). I’m learning not to care about what they think, because they’re not the ones living our life and we’re quite happy with what we have, thank you!

  • Jennifer says:

    I think you are doing something wonderful with your blog Crystal, but I still know how reading one negative comment can outweigh a bunch of positives.

    While I do not do all that you recommend or do, I appreciate the fact that each of us are unique, and God intends for us to each take care of our own families in the best way we can … not to judge others for how they manage their families.

    Through your blog, I have started couponing, and I now have saved money in addition to stockpiling a bunch of free merchandise that I can donate to local organizations. I have also been encouraged to be a better wife and mom and live a little more simply.

    You will never know how many lives you have changed b/c of sharing your thoughts, ideas and good deals. Keep it up … you will be blessed by all of the women you have encouraged.

  • Denise says:

    I agree with the 80 or so other comments and felt compelled to say so to you because you have said something here so timely and so perfectly!!! Way to go!

  • Amy says:

    Thank you for helping me serve my family by saving money (and having fun while doing it!). I will never understand the people who have the need to share their every opinion even when it does not edify anyone (we always say that those people need a hobby!). God is using you to help many people. (Just this morning I read some verses that just came to my mind: 1 Peter 2:11-12, 20-23; 3:14-17; 4:12-19.)


  • Tina says:

    It is hard not to live as everyone else does. The temptation to live beyond our means is so BIG sometimes. I commend your choice…thanks for all of you postings.

  • Hey girl, just remember…debt is normal. Be weird. 🙂

    Good for you sticking to your guns and pursuing the goals. Go Gazelle, Go!

  • sherry says:


    Good for you and your husband!
    The Lord graciously allowed my family to become debt free 18 years ago, and we feel so free!!!
    Just last week we were surprised to learn that our 15 passenger van was in need of $1200.00 dollars worth of work.
    Having to spend that amount of money really interfered with a savings goal that we have,but I am so grateful that we are able to have an emergency fund to be able to make such repairs. I’m also reminded of the fact that we make our plans (save this many $$ this month) but God is in control.

    Blessings… love your blog!


  • Abbi says:

    Great post! I think you are very wise in how you are dealing with your vehicle sitiation. I think cars are one of the big items that people think are important to have one that looks nice and new. Car debt is one of the worst kinds however as the vehicle is continually losing value and if you got a loan than you will probably owe more than it is worth.

  • Kris says:

    Sing it, sister.

  • We’ve been doing Dave Ramsey’s program for a couple of years now. We don’t have credit cards, we don’t have car payments, we bargain shop and coupon clip–but we’re happy and we love each other and we’re content.

    We don’t need all kinds of new stuff to polish our pride. Just tonight, my (wonderful) husband got off work and went to the Tractor Supply parking lot to change the brake calipers on my car because on my way to the grocery store yesterday, one of them locked up. It cost us about $50 for both and took him less than 2 hours. Why should we consider buying a new car?

    I’m with you girl. We’d rather live like this than be stressed out worrying about money.

  • Julie says:

    I understand how you feel about trying to fix what you have. Its so expensive to buy a new or should I say new used car. We have done the same thing. My husband and I both driving cars with broken a/c’s in them. Yes its hot however there both paid for! We also just fix other problems with them as it comes up. I don’t want the car payment. I hope to save money to buy a new car or new used car. But until then I am using what we have too. I really appreciate all that you do! Sorry for the rude comment that you recieved. Julie @ couponsavingfamily

  • Dawn says:

    You live your life as you want to, not as others believe you should. Thank you for giving us your wonderful advice and for taking the time to think of all of us when you come across all the amazing deals you find!

    You are a valuable part of my day!

  • meggan says:

    Is your emergency fund for situations like this, or do you have a car repair fund? I *just* got some Dave Ramsey books from the library yesterday, and I haven’t read them yet, but I was sort of under the impression that you should be saving what you would put towards a car payment in order to pay for your next car when you need it.
    Of course, I understand that your saving for your house instead, but I am curious. Do you have very specific amounts for the car repair, or is more of a freedom account ala Mary Hunt?

    Money Saving Mom here: We have an emergency fund plus a car repair fund. These repairs ended up exceeding our car repair fund, so instead of using our extra money we normally put into our house savings, we used that to fund our car repairs.

    We also recently set up a car savings fund and are hoping to have it fully funded by the end of the year, if not sooner. We’re doubly motivated right now about funding it!

  • Heather says:

    Bravo! I am in the middle of Dave Ramsey’s book and already get where you are coming from. It’s such a brave way to live, I applaud you and thank you for sharing your experiences.

  • terri gavrillen says:

    I have learned a lot from reading here. I suppourt myself and my elderly mother on a very small income. I have learned a lot here. I have passed on the things i’ve learned in the last few months since i have found this site to my friends, co -workers and family. I am trying to live on a cash only basis. I may not be able to pay off my debt and have savings but we are able to eat much better than ever before using coupons and all the tips learned here. I also give some of the things I am able to get for free or pennies to charity or friends who need it more than I do. I also sell some of my stockpile on ebay to help keep us going. I thank you and everyone who post that has taught me a different way of thinking.

  • Sharyn says:

    This reminds me a bit of our television situation. We actually have 2; one is an old one that we got via freecycle to put in a guest room for my mom. (It really helps keep the peace.) The second one (which is really the only one anyone watches) was purchased in 1985. It’s the big bulky furniture-style type of t.v. Yes, we could go out and buy a humongous flat-screen, digital whatever, but we choose to save our money. I also believe that repairing things and not purchasing the latest and greatest is also an important part of our stewardship, to take care of the earth and environment and ultimately ourselves.

  • Heather says:

    Preach it!!

    If I got rude comments regularly, I would probably want to shrivel up and stop blogging. Thanks for keeping on!

  • Lacy Reyes says:

    Wow! I just have to say I love this! I love how you are handling this! This is what your children will pick up from you, and your are doing a wonderful job! I agree that you are too gracious to write about this, maybe giving the ‘commenter’ an even higher high, But those kids being pulled in that wagon! They are happy! These are the moments they will remember the most, and the moments that will have a huge impact on them on day so that they may never have debt and only live within their means.

    hehe, ive got chills cause im just in awe of how you have handled this! Kudos to you!

  • Tara says:

    It is terribly unfortunate that people have to often resort to being rude to be heard.. Crystal, I have read many of your post the past few months, and I think you have a lot to offer and some really sound advice. Do I do everything you do? Of course not.(I am a dummy when it comes to CVS lol) Do I agree with what you do financially? Some things I do.. and some things I choose to do differently. I am a christian and my husband and I have chosen to do things a certain way for us.. That is the bottom line really.. is making sure what “you” are doing is what God wants “you and your family” to do.. It’s not a template for everyone’s God’s perfect design for “you”. So be confident in what and where God directs will I in my family. And lastly, everyone has an opinion even the unkind ones and you hold the power of the “delete” button. You should of come over to my blog and link to my Soap Box Thursday with this post lol

  • AMEN, Way to go! Some people just don’t get it. What gets me is how THEY can’t get it! Ever since your class Supermarket savings 101 we have saved $300-$400 every month!!!! Why wouldn’t you want to live like that?

  • Here, here! I totally agree, Crystal! We would do the same thing as you guys! 🙂

  • Why would you want to put yourself back into debt? The nerve of some people. This is what got our country into the mess it is in now, people spending what they dont have.
    I take pride (and only with my husband’s help) knowing that I dont have any major bills to pay and no credit card debt. While I see my friends struggling, I am sitting pretty. I may not live in a million dollar house but I have a roof over my head, food in my belly and with the help of this site, money in the bank.
    Keep doing what your doing and forget the people with negativity. Your doing an awesome job!!

  • Marsha says:

    Actually, I feel sorry for the person who attacked your way of life. The American consumption-crazy culture has brainwashed them. He or she is probably drowning in debt.
    My husband (who earns over 100K a year) drives a ’95 with 160,000 miles on it. It gets him to work, which is all he cares about. I drive an ’02 van that is PAID FOR. We have much higher priorities–giving a double tithe to our church, paying off our mortgage, stashing away retirement savings, and getting ready to send our two sons to college. Our 15-year-old wants to be a doctor. Should we spend $25,000 on a new car for my husband, or should we keep the money in savings, ready to help our son with medical school costs? Hmmm….Not really a hard decision!

  • Bridgett says:

    We are going through a similiar situation. The lock on our driver door jammed. So, now the driver must crawl in and out through the passenger door. It’s a $300 part needed at my bro.nlaw’s discounted price. In six months we will be debt free besides my husband’s student loans. That then we will be able to pay double on and have money left over to losen up a few things! So.. we’re leaving the door for now. (Our car also has 250k on it) My fathernlaw called my husband & offered him a car that would cause us monthly payments and we turned it down. He was upset and still bought it but wants us to pay for it! We were like um, no. He hounded us w/all kinds of y’s. Y isn’t bridgett working? Y don’t you sell that car & buy this car? Y this? Y that? You know all the answers! We ended our conversation w/eachother w/ how you ended your blog: We live like no one else today to live like no one else tommorrow. (&that doesn’t mean Rich, it means financial freedom & peace) God’s Got UR Back! :O)

  • Crystal says:

    Most people do not understand! You are very gracious in your actions, maybe they will re-read your comments and see you are not alone! We are planning on running our vehicles “into the ground”, or atleast until they are beyond reasonable repair! It is hard sometimes when everyone has new, running vehicles but my husband reminds me “a few hundred dollars in a car repair is alot cheaper to get us by, than going and spending thousands or worse getting a loan that will cost you hundreds every MONTH for SEVERAL YEARS! Keep up the good work!

  • Margaret says:

    Wow. Some people are just unbelieveable. I agree with whoever said it was probably a “misery loves company” thing–I pay four hundred a month for my car, why shouldn’t you?

    You are doing the right thing. Debt is a burden, even if you can “afford it”. We drove our rattletrap 94 dodge for many years past the time it should have been scrapped. In the meantime my husband searched and investigated every possible van to replace it, and when he finally found one for a decent price, he spent a month bargaining for an even better price. We then paid in cash. It was so, so worth the wait!

    I also think you are right to be saving up for a full payment for a house. There is a lot more cost to owning a house than one thinks–utitlities, repairs, taxes, etc. It seems counterintuitive but the right rental I’m sure would be better than being under a mortgage.

  • Stephanie says:

    I a sorry that you get those rude comments. There are people of all kinds out there who think that their opinions are the only ones that are valid. I absolutely love your blog because you encourage me to shop better and manage my finances better. I am one of those stupid people who felt like I had to have a brand new car and my husband had to have a brand new truck. Each week when it comes time to fill them up with gas, we panic, wondering how to divide up our weekly pay into gas, groceries, utilities, etc. And when those two monthly payments come in (totaling $1100 a month) we are extremely nauseous. We don’t live on a budget because my husband does not believe in budgets (after 15 years, I’ve never had any luck convincing him that we need one…he doesn’t want someone or something telling him what he can and cannot spend whether the money is there or not). Needless to say, while I try to do better managing the finances, it’s hard when I’m met with reluctance, so I cave in and spend money we don’t really have. What’s worse is that we rent our home (our previous home was foreclosed on 4 years ago) and have no money whatsoever in savings so I don’t anticipate owning a home anytime in the future.

    I guess my point is that I am extremely jealous (in a good way) of your frugal lifestyle and ability to save money and pay cash for things. I wish I could be like you, and for someone to critize your choices, well, they need to worry about their own financial decisions and not judge anyone elses.

    Keep up the great blog!!!! And please pray for my husband!


  • anna lebresh says:

    Shake it off sweetheart. That person (or people) is just jealous. You are doing awesome and just like you said, living like no one else does. (quite honestly, I too am jealous but instead of rude comments, I strive to live like you are). I just wanted to say that new cars are not all they are cracked up to be. Seven and a half years ago we bought a brand new car and since then have paid over $8000 into repairs on it (no, that is not a type-o). We also have a “new to us van” and have had issues with that too. Does not matter what you drive they break down and need to be fixed.
    Happy day…hang in there. There are more people that love you than hate you, I promise.

  • I really admire the way you stick to your goals. You are right, some day you will live like no one else,and just remember how wonderful it will feel to own a home with no mortgage and to have no debt. That is a goal worth sticking with, so don’t let the negative thoughts get you down. Keep smiling! I love your blog, I visit every single day and have learned so much from you. Thank you for all that you do, and God is going to bless you for it all!

  • Elizabeth Rudd says:

    I am so sorry you got rude comments. Why would someone who is visiting a “moneysaving website” critisize how you are trying to SAVE money by not going out and buying a new vehicle and either have to get a loan or take away money that is meant either for a house or oh my gosh maybe a true emergencey! I love your frugal ways and good for you to be willing if it came down to it to have one less car on the roads!

  • MoCat says:

    Hi Crystal:

    Some people are so shallow. Kudos for you on taking the high road!

    Thank you so much for both of your blogs. Your advice and links further sharpened my frugal shopping and have saved me hundreds each month.

    Let’s all give Crystal a hand: she has ad links to click and eBooks to buy.

    Crystal, have you ever considered starting a podcast? I can give you some advice to start (I’m in video/audio production).

    BTW, as I say often to my equally money-concious spouse, “I wouldn’t trade any of the hard work and effort I put into frugal shopping for the lifestyles of my peers.”

  • Mary in Ohio says:

    I applaud your efforts! We also do not drive new cars/trucks, I drive a 1996 Grand Caravan and dh drives a 1991 Chevy S10 (needs a truck for his work) I am truly blessed that my dh can fix anything (and I mean anything!) I am very happy to say that we have NEVER had a loan for a brand new or used car! We buy the best vehicle we can afford to pay cash for and keep them running until they are unfixable. (takes a long time to get to that point.) Dh really wants a hybrid vehicle but even though we could afford to take out a loan for one, we will not do so we will wait until we can pay cash for it (long way down the road) and just cut back on where we go and ride our bikes or walk!

  • Crystal,
    You have so many comments that you may not even read this, but for what it’s worth, I want you to know that you are a personal inspiration to me. We have gone through the Dave Ramsey’s FPU and are striving to live like no one else. But, we have only just begun….saved a $1000 in our emergency fund and are paying off debt. We have a lot in school loans still, but we have paid off a line of credit and a credit card. Where you and your husband are at is such an encouragement to me and my husband. You guys are proof that being good stewards of your money will pay off in the end. Thank you for being so vulnerable with how you guys are doing financially. The rude comment was probably from someone who isn’t on a budget and may not even really know the state of their finances. I am finding the the nay-sayers we encounter are the ones who are bummed that we won’t just drop a load of cash on something they want to do with us (whether it’s going out to eat whenever, shopping, etc…). My hubby’s a youth minister so the salary scale isn’t high, but we are learning that it doesn’t matter how much you bring in, all that matters is if you are living within your means. If my two-year-old daughter can pick up these saving methods by the time she gets an after-school job, it will all be worth it. We also will be out of debt by then and can hopefully give to other people, as well. Thanks for being a personal blessing to this stay-at-home mom, Crystal. God is blessing you, obviously, and He will continue to as you wait on Him, live for Him and are a good steward of all He has given you. Isaiah 40:31 gets me through at these times.

    Thanks again,

    Jessica Sheets

  • Mamosa says:

    Good for you! We are in the same position, and while we would love to have a new car (or a/c unit for our home), we’d much rather prefer to keep our cushy little emergency fund for nothing other than a real emergency!

  • Tara says:

    The attitude of some never cease to amaze me. Why they feel it is their place to criticize your very responsible decisions is beyond me. I appreciate the words you bring to us everyday. You show us that life may not always deal us what we planned, but that we can make the best of it without doing something impulsive and foolish.

    I was in a church parenting class several years ago and the older gentleman teaching (he was a father, grandfather, minister and also a college professor with a doctorate in psychology, I think) brought up the point that when we rush to replace something that is broken we teach our children that it’s okay to be impatient and impulsive. If we can fix it or do without we are teaching them to live a life of patience and gratitude. I didn’t fully understand this concept until my kids toys would break and they immediately wanted to go buy a new one. After a couple years of talking and living by example, my kids now bring me a broken toy and ask me to glue, tape, or nail it back together. If it can’t be fixed they slowly come to terms with doing without AND being more careful next time. Life is not always going to allow us to replace things.

    Another lecture we attended brought up a point I share with people who don’t live what they believe because they think that the “social norm” is okay since it is the norm or what the majority is doing. His point was that in our democratic society we have come to believe that the majority is right. They are not right though, they are just the majority. When you think about it, that statement holds so true when talking about many things that go on in our culture today. I want my kids to see me living the correct way, not the way the majority live. Thanks again for your willingness to share your life to bring an example to others.

  • Becky says:

    Just wanted to write a note to encourage you. We also went through a time early in our marriage when we only had one car. And we lived in the country which meant I couldn’t walk to anything (except cow pastures!). I did my grocery shopping one evening a week and if I had an appointment (I was pregnant at the time and had midwife appointments) I would drop my hubby off at work and pick him up that evening so I would have the car during the day.

    Those lean times were good for us and I kinda miss them in a way! I am so impressed that you’re willing to do something so “drastic” as go down to one car in order to be financially secure. Most people these days do not even consider that as an option. It used to be commonplace for families to only have one car. I think moms entering the workforce has made having 2 cars more of a necessity. But in my opinion it’s a luxury for a SAHM to have a car during the day. And I’m thankful the Lord has given me this luxury!

  • Marcia says:

    I think over 100 posts have it right…Thank you Crystal for all that you do. In these hard times you are helping me keep my family afloat. God Bless you and your family

  • Rachel R. says:

    Even if you have the money for it, and it’s appropriately designated, who wants to shell out for a new car right AFTER having poured money into the current one?! Might as well just throw away the money you just spent to replace all of the bran-new parts.

  • Ann says:

    People are always going to tell you you’re doing the wrong thing. I admire your life and your willingness to go another way, which reflects a deep trust in God. Good for you. (and your children are beautiful).

  • Cindy says:

    When my husband and I lament the car repair bills for our vehicles (13 years and 5 years old), two seconds later, we both say, “Well, it’s cheaper than a car payment.”

    Repairing a used vehicle is usually less expensive than buying a used vehicle, ANY day of the year. There is a lot of use left in your van…we should stop buying in to the consumerism of the world that says we always have to have new things. Ok, I have to remind myself of that too, when I covet the brand new minivan of our neighbors!

  • Amanda says:

    I think the rude comment embodied why so many people have finacial problems. If you dont have the money set aside or a new budget set up, you should not just go and buy a vehicle because you technically can. I think it is so great to see a person live “under teir means” and save!

  • JennT says:

    Amen! We lived in a little apartment for years so we could pay off school loans, enabling us to both buy a house AND for me to stay home when we had a baby. Those first few years were WELL worth the sacrifice. You are encouraging us to consider more sacrifices as well!

  • ade says:

    I’ve been a financial planner for eleven years and there is such a thing as good debt. Owning a home for one and with the buyers market were in it’s the best time to buy. Even autos with all the zero percent interest deals you really can’t go wrong. It’s all about balance.

  • Jessica says:

    YOU GO GIRL!!! I have just recently started reading and loving your blog, and admire your goals and achievements. We are also starting Dave’s program and can’t wait to be where you are now! Hit delete with pride to e-mails like those!

  • Joy says:

    I am so happy to hear other people saying things like what you said here. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one in America not using a credit card, making an outrageous car payment just so I can show off, etc. Thanks!

  • Jennifer K. says:

    Yay Crystal!!

  • Carol says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of that rude commenter. What is right for one might not be right for all, but ultimately you need to do what is right for your family, and it seems that you have a pretty good handle on that 🙂 I sure hope you don’t let people like that get you down!

  • Deann says:

    I think no matter how much you do it is impossible to please everyone. Somebody somewhere always has to find fault with the choices we make in our day to day lives. I am sorry that these people never learned the lesson “if you can’t say something nice then do not say anything”. I have so many nice comments I would like to leave you, Crystal, for all the hard work you do in making this the best money saving blog around!! But I will keep it short and sweet and just say THANK YOU!! You are wise beyond your years and you have helped me, and dare I say countless others, in our quest to save money.

  • Andrea says:

    People seem to feel the need to draw others in to their misery. I know people who make more money than us with fewer or no kids who say we have no mortgage(now- but we are older now and kids almost grown) and no car payments because we must make more than they do(never true from the people who say it) or other say in a snide manner(as if it is a bad thing) well, you must be really careful with your money. Look at some of the really rich people in financial trouble- Ed McMahon and Burt Reynolds- they must have made fortunes but were poor stewrds of their money.

  • Melissa says:

    I am so glad to see that others don’t run out and buy new cars too! I feel like everyone does because new cars in driveways are the norms in our neighborhood/community. We run our cars into the ground – 180,000 on our last car, 230K before that. Then we bought a new/used car to replace it with only 15,000 miles but was 4 years old. It was a great deal for us! We are also a family of 4 still driving around in, yes, a 4 door car because it gets better gas mileage. Thanks for the post of encouragement for those who drive in cheaper transportation, yes I see those nice cars people drive but don’t want to interest rates or stress of paying for them.

  • Darla says:

    AMEN to that Crystal! Seriously, some people need to GET A LIFE and stop the judging everyone. Sheesh.

  • Stephanie says:

    You’re not living like “no one else.” There’s at least one other family out there that’s choosing to save instead of spend – us! You’re not being strange and stubborn if you choose not to buy a new vehicle; you’re being wise and economical, which are fast becoming lost values. It’s great that there are people who still choose to live within their means.

    Rock on!

  • marie says:

    I will say upfront that I have not read all the comments. However, as an attorney, I must pipe up. NOT ALL ATTORNEYS MAKE A BUNCH OF MONEY!!! I am fortunate enough to make a comfortable–not lavish–living. Attorneys who go into public service (prosecutors, public defenders, legal aid, court clerks, etc.) frequently make very low salaries–and these people often have staggering student loans.

    Having said that, bravo to you for refusing to go along w/ the consumerist herd!

  • Sonja says:

    Okay, so I found another expression for ya:

    “Mediocrity always attacks Excellence”
    Heard that little gem on Oprah. Love It!

    “Sometimes when people criticize you, they are on to something.
    Sometimes when people criticize you, YOU are on to something.”

    I still say keep doing what you are doing. I spent $14 @ CVS yesterday and got $35 worth or products, THANKS TO YOUR TEACHINGS!!!!!!

  • claire says:

    Amen, Sista! 🙂 It’s your life and I think you’re fully entitled to live it the way YOU choose! Not only that…but if everyone went out and bought a “brand new something” every time something went wrong with their “used something” then we would be an even more wasteful society than we already are! Good luck with the van and good for you for sticking to your goals!

  • Amen Sister!

    Having been on the side of having credit/loans for cars, house, etc. and then in one fell swoop having a good paying job yanked out from dh’s feet with NO savings was a HUGE wakeup for us. We lost one vehicle, almost lost the other, and most importantly almost lost our home. We ended up in bankruptcy. Not a pretty road to travel down.

    It’s was a long 5 years … read as struggling from paycheck to paycheck. We still have our house mortgage to pay but that’s it now. I am going back to the frugality mindset I once had before the loans and such came into effect. We now drive a used 12 passenger van that we paid cash for ($1,500) and hubby has a company truck he drives to work. He has a farm truck that was given to us by a former boss that he usually around the property occasionally.

    I’ve always been frugal but I got lax on it for a while honestly and I am determined to stay on track now.

    We still don’t have savings but that will change too as we will start doing our best to put money into it as well as stickign to a budget (regardless).

    Frugality isn’t always easy but it can be fulfilling to know that you’re not “blowing” money for something just because you can get credit or whatever. (we couldn’t right now if we wanted too… that’s a blessing that we can’t!)

  • Precious says:

    I am so sorry that this person was rude to you. I am APPLAUDING you for your lifestyle and all of you young people that GET IT! My DH and I retired at 54 and 53 with no debt what so ever- a paid off brand new home and car and plenty of money to get us to the ages of 100 without worry – even in this rough economy right now. We lived on our own terms and didn’t care about what the JONES were doing. Although I often wonder if the JONES are retired early or even now. Bet they aren’t! So Crystal and everyone else who GETS IT, do your own thing and be proud of it!

  • Eva says:

    First of all I have to say it’s none of the rude posters business how much money you have. Sometimes people speak or type before they think.

    Your doing a great job. I commend you.

  • Eden C. says:

    amen! and we don’t think you are crazy! you go girl!

  • Patty says:

    People say ugly things when they are jealous. Hopefully we can all pray for that person that they will find real happiness.

  • Chris says:

    Good for you guys. Dave would be proud.

  • Susan says:

    It is unfortunate that the “normal” thinking of people is to go buy new cars, bigger houses, etc. when you get a good raise or have a promising career. I believe that is why our country is in the financial shape it is in. My husband earns a substantial amount; and we could have purchased a house twice as big and replaced his 21 year old car. Instead like you, we have chosen to keep the car, live in a smaller house and SAVE our money. Good for you not letting the rude comments influence you. Those are usually stated by those who are either not content or unsatisfied with their own life. God Bless you & keep up the great work!

  • Kari says:

    Good for you Crystal!! My husband and I are in a similar situation – he is an engineer and I am a stay at home mom to our little girl with a second blessing on the way. Of my mommy friends, I was the only one who even considered not going back to work as soon as my maternity leave was up (we get one year in Canada). I constantly get comments from everyone on how “lucky” I am to be able to stay home, as they don’t realize that engineers don’t make a boat load of money, either, and that we make use of coupons and deals and frugal habits to allow me to stay home. And we only have one vehicle, which is definitely an anomaly to everyone we know. We find it difficult when even things like going out to dinner come up (when we have not budgeted for the expense). Thanks for the encouragement, and knowing that we’re not alone in the pursuit of serving the Lord first and not looking to others to determine what we “need”. 🙂

  • Amy says:

    Can I just say that it saddens me that you would get ANY mean comments with all the good that you are trying to do here? We also are trying to live like no one else and we make choices that I am sure people might not understand, but that is perfectly ok. We love our life just the way it is and I am proud of you for being so willing to share your heart with us!

  • Chin up, my friend. You’re doing just the right thing.

  • Jen says:

    I agree with you totally! People think we are nuts because we live in a trailer (mobile home), have two used cars, no cable, no cell phone (trac phone for emergencies) and don’t have a lot of credit card debt. But then I laugh at people I work with who HAVE to work overtime (up to 80 hours a week) just to make their MINIMUM payments.

    Thanks for being brave! God Bless!

  • mama k says:

    Thanks for this post. We have always lived finantially responsibly and I admit, it gets old sometimes. There is no major debt hanging over our heads (just the mortgage and some old student loans w/ a low low rate), but there is also no money for much other that the bare basics. It is easy to feel like a “have not” sometimes because we really are living like “no one else.” I just keep reminding myself that I wanted to stay home and raise my son and that is the most imporant luxury of all!

  • I can relate to your situation, and I think you made the right choice. I too am an attorney, and people do automatically think we “get paid the big bucks”. Oddly, they never seem to focus on how much it cost me to get to be an attorney. I graduated in 2001 with $97K in student loans, and it was paid off, while working for a low-paying government job, by Sept. 2006!!! Now I am married, have my own solo practice, and we live debt free. We rent (it is half the price of owning) and are saving to buy a home without a mortgage. We are a one car family; my husband commutes via bike year-round (and we live in Madison, Wis). Keep with your plan, but accept that the majority of Americans will be puzzled and possibly hostile. It is worth it though, once the bills are gone and the funds start rising, a calm peace of mind takes over. Best wishes!

  • kelly says:

    I like your idea of “living like no one else”. I think as parents – we need to be leaders in our homes, and set the standards. We have chosen to live frugally on one income. My husband is a professional. One day I woke up in debt and realized that were weren’t keeping up with the Joneses– we were the Joneses!! I changed that morning. We have taken a radically different path– and I feel so much freer. I don’t really care if someone thinks I should have a new car. My old Saab runs just fine thank you very much. I think that I am more easygoing now and can relax a bit more and really enjoy my kids more. We live frugally now- but better. We eat better quality food, which is cheaper than processed food. We play in the park and go swimming in the river and fly kites & today I picked blueberries. I guess I would just encourage people to take a risk and just follow your heart. Being able to afford staying home to raise my kids has been such a blessing for our family. We sacrificed my income– but we gained so much more.

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