A testimony from Katie
On May 8, 2014, a fairly new dream for us came true. My husband and I paid cash for a house!
We knew that our long term rental agreement would be coming to an end, but the thought of committing ourselves to a 30-year mortgage seemed very scary and frankly, suffocating. We were weighing our options for the better part of last year, all the while I was perusing a local real estate company’s website.
A house listed at $10k caught my eye, but because I thought it was in a not-so-nice neighborhood, I dismissed it. When the priced dropped to $8k I showed my husband. We drove by and were pleasantly surprised by the neighborhood. We made an offer that day and set the closing date a couple of months out so we could save up.
We are not wealthy at ALL. My husband works full time at a non-profit and I work part-time at a different non-profit. We have two kids of our own and are currently raising my two nephews after my sister lost her battle with cancer.
Even still, we were able to save up the $8000 and paid cash for our fixer-upper home!
Here is how we saved:
$2500 = Tax Refund
$2000 = Savings Account
$500 = Paypal cash earned from using Swagbucks. Yes, Swagbucks helped pay for our house.
$300 = My husband’s mileage and phone allowance. (He gets reimbursed monthly.)
$3200 = 3 months of my salary. I normally do not earn this much in 3 months but I have a very understanding boss who let me work extra shifts and also found some helpful but unnecessary work for me to do.
So all that amounted to $8500, which was the cost of the house plus closing. We lived off one income for those three months, we cooked everything from scratch, and did not so much as wish to turn on the air conditioning. It’s hot here!
We are currently restoring the house back to it’s 1940 glory — and we are NOT going into debt to do it! We will use my earnings to make needed updates.
For instance, the 1940’s electrical system is not up to code and we are currently replacing it. Everything we use to repair the house is recycled, upcycled, hand-me downs and we have had a few gifts along the way. We hope to spend this Christmas there.
MoneySavingMom.com has helped us immensely over the years and I would never have even thought of paying cash for a house if I had not been reading this site. If you are interested in following along with our house progress, you can do so at our blog, The 8K House!
Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.
Patti Healy says
This is just awesome! I’m so excited to follow along on your journey. The amount of joy and love you will feel in this house will be immeasurable.
Jennifer C. says
Very cool and inspiring. I of course, went immediately over to your blog. My husband and I have been talking about buying a fixer-upper. I like how you have a tally of the amount of money spent so far. I am amazed you got $500! from Swagbucks. I must not be utilizing it the best that I can…
Please take pictures of your house remodel. I think we all would love to watch the progress. Congrats!
My goodness! You couldn’t get an empty lot out here for less than 10 x that much. Wow!
Good for you and congratulations! Many blessings to you and your family.
Can I just ask what state that is? It’s so cute !! And I like 8000!! Awesome!
Ashley, we are in Alabama.
D Lamb says
That’s incredible- an $8K house. Very inspiring. We live in a relatively affordable area but you can’t even buy land for that price. That’s awesome and the house is super cute!
Wow! What a cute house with lots of potential! Bet that front porch will be nice! So happy for you and your family. Also, I was very touched about your raising your sister’s children, you know the verse about true religion is taking care of orphans and widows. You’re awesome!!!
Love what you’re doing. Keep up the good work!
Love this!!!! We bought our current home that we live in for just under $10,000 and stripped the insides out ourselves and rebuilt it. It was so much work but so much fun too. It took way longer than it thought it would, but my husband and I learned so much about how to do repairs inexpensively along the way.
That is so awesome, Victoria. We naively thought we would be moving in before Labor Day. It is slow going but we’re enjoying it and learning so much too.
Soooo inspiring! Thanks for sharing Katie!
I have been following your blog from almost the beginning. I am just amazed at what you and your husband are doing!
I wanted to read more so I went to your blog and found out you are just 10 minutes from where we live… you can get this in alabama! How exciting that you paid cash and can’t wait to see the final product.
Wow Stacey. Glad to know there is a fellow MSM reader close by!
teri goodman says
Glad to know I’m not the only one redoing an old house–mine is a 1920’s craftsman–using swagbucks. So far I have gotten paint for my living room, plants and gardening tools, mulch for my flower beds using Swagbucks (Home Depot gc). Also gotten curtain rods, upholstery fabric extremely cheap by watching sales and using coupons. I have to be extremely careful with money due to being on SS disability.
Your home sounds lovely. Swagbucks is helping us with the 8K house and I tell everyone I know to sign up.
I’m on SS disability as well, and being extremely careful with money is the only way to survive financially. I get a little about 50% of the average amount that people on it receive.
Congratulations! My dream is to own a house but I will have to wait until we move to an area where I can afford it. Apartments (not houses) sell in our area for $400,000, with even the deed-restricted condos selling for around $200,000! I moved here because of work but I pray to find a job just as good, if not better, in a more affordable area. God willing.
Sarah M says
Where do you live that there are 8-10K houses?
Good for you!
Sarah @The Teacher's Wife says
I was wondering the same thing! 🙂 $8k wouldn’t even buy land in my area, but I think this is still a great testimony of where a lot of hard work and determination can get you! Good luck! 🙂
We live in NE Alabama. Land, homes and taxes are very affordable but pay is low so there is a trade off.
Way to go, Katie! That is incredible because you will never have to make a house payment. I can’t wait to read your blog!
Great story Katie, thank you for sharing! Best of luck to you and your family!
I have been watching your progress this summer and I’m still cheering you on! Keep up the hard work and you will accomplish you goal.
Be careful about the DIY wiring. In my city, code stipulates that rewiring be done by a licensed electrician with correct permits pulled. I know licensed electricians charge a costly hourly rate but it’s worth it for your safety. My city code also requires permits for hot water heaters, new windows, etc… just something you may need to look into.
Another Jessica here, with the same message. Where we live, you are not allowed to so much as remove a tree or have a fence erected without a permit from the village! 🙂
And GOD BLESS YOU for raising your nephews. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. May your sister rest in the Eternal peace of our Savior. Hugs and prayers going out across the miles to you.
Congratulations! That is such a cool story and what a cute house!
Bless you and your husband for raising your nephews. I wish all of you peace and love.
Sara Furlong says
I hope to see some updates on this! Would love to see how the house turns out. Congratulations!
My husband and I once owned a house for which we paid cash. I don’t remember exactly what we paid for it (it was in 1985), but by the time we had finished buying land around it until we owned 5/6 of a square block (the other 1/6 wasn’t for sale) including the house and a mobile home, both of which had a detached garage, we had paid a total of $10,000. He and I had both worked full time for three years and had saved one person’s paycheck and lived off of the other. That was possible because we didn’t yet have any children.
We have always bought everything on a strictly cash basis. We may not have a lot compared to many people, but what we have is ours free and clear.
Mrs. W says
That is so neat! Thanks for sharing this. I will check out your blog.
This is amazing! I just finished reading, “Buying a House Debt-Free”….this story could have been included! God Bless your efforts and keep you safe!!
Loved reading your story, and went to the blog to read the rest….y’all are an inspiration! I love the fact that you are redoing an old house, imagine what all it has seen, especially here in Alabama since the 1940s. Houses like that are full of character.
Thank you all for the encouragement and thank you to MSM and her awesome team! This site is so helpful and inspiring.
Beth- We love the house even though it drives us to exhaustion. It was once very loved and we see that the more we work on it. The neighbor has fond memories of the original owner and we love learning the house’s personal history.
JT WIlliamson says
This is the most inspiring story! My husband and I are currently trying to get a home and have a few things to pay off beforehand. Kudos to you for giving me hope!
Woohoo Katie! What a great story! You go girl!
Very inspiring story! I love it! That will be one special Christmas, Katie! 🙂