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We Paid Cash: A Kitchen Remodel

We paid cash!A testimony from Christina

Growing up, saving money was always important to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Zoya says:

    Wow! Good job on your remodel, the kitchen and cabinets look beautiful!

  • CJ says:

    I love it when people get creative and some money!!! Your kitchen looks gorgeous. No one would be able to guess how much you actually spent and as a bonus you were able to be a little “green” too by making someone else’s old cabinets work for your home. Wonderful job!

  • Molly says:

    that is amazing and it’s such a beautiful kitchen!

  • Ang says:

    Very nice kitchen and I’m so happy god helped you and your husband through the process

  • Sabrina says:

    Great post! That is wonderful that you can save so much. I am a saver as well though my family was not growing up. Now, my kids are at the age where they are becoming savers too. It’s wonderful to see that what I am doing, they are doing also. Thanks again for sharing.

  • Lucy says:

    That is amazing!! The price obviously astounds, but the design is also beautiful. Great work!

  • Deana says:

    Would like to know what you used for countertops and the backsplash.

  • Linda B says:

    Beautiful! And what a great thing that you could pay cash for this big project. Love it, and very inspiring!

  • Jen says:

    This is awesome! We also always pay cash for remodels. We have redone two bathrooms, a living room, one bedroom and are currently in the process of converting one long and narrow bedroom into two smaller rooms. Plus we have also fully insulated, sheetrocked and plumbed/heated a 3 car garage, all with cash. We have added a half a kitchen full of cabinets for $150 (a craigslist find), replaced our fridge and stove with clean-steel appliances (a friend was foreclosing on his home and sold us his one year old appliances for $100 each!) And we have fully furnished an office/craft room with two walls of countertops, 4 filing cabinets with accessory drawers and several wall cabinets for free (also a Craigslist find, a dental office closed and the new tenants didn’t want them anymore). Love getting deals!

    • Ashley says:

      @Jen- thanks for mentioning you finished your garage. Can you give more details and approximate cost? We want to finish our garage too!

  • Britnee says:

    I love, love this kitchen. Great job! Very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  • Michelle H. says:

    Gorgeous! For anyone else remodeling their kitchen, if you go with black appliances you can find great deals on Craigslist. When we remodeled our kitchen a few years ago I was able to get a brand new, never used stove and dishwasher for less than the price of a lower quality dishwasher in the store. The seller had just purchased a new house and wanted stainless steel.

  • Maria says:

    I wish I could be this disciplined with my finances it seems impossible to me but nothing is impossible for GOD so I put my trust in HIM alone!! Congratulations it looks wonderful!! May The Lord continue to bless you and your family!!

  • Bella says:

    Beautiful kitchen! Congratulations ! We just remodeled our kitchen this year as well. But we did get the new cabinets. I should have looked harder. But, we did pay cash for ours as well. We’ve been saving up for a few years. Enjoy the fruit of your labor!

  • Jenny says:

    AMAZING- what a gorgeous remodel at a great bargain!

  • Becki says:

    How about your countertops? What are they? They are beautiful!!

  • Julie says:

    Looks fabulous!!! Did you refinish the original island counter top? It looks the same size as the original; would love some hot tip on affordable counter tops. 🙂

  • Teresa Thompson says:

    I love that you were able to do that so cheap. We are in the middle (by middle I mean we have been renovating for the past three years) and we have been paying as we go. Which is why it is not finished. But in my husbands defense, we also have two sons in college and are paying for their schooling. So money is tight right now. We got our cabinets on clearance at Lowe’s. We have an older home so we didn’t do high end countertops but they look nice. We haven’t bought new appliances yet and craigslist is a great idea. We have bought many cars on that site so it wouldn’t be a stretch to get them on there.

  • mary says:

    I would love to know how you painted the cabinets. Did you have to strip off old paint what products did you use? Even what type of paint. I have a beautiful kitchen but my cabinets need to be repainted. I have four kids and need to do the “remodel” on the cheap too! My email is if you don’t mind sending me the details.

    • Ellen says:

      I’m sure there are several sites that can walk you through the steps of painting cabinets, but one site I really appreciate is Young House Love. They’ve tackled a lot of DIY projects, including painting kitchen cabinets, and they’re always really thorough with instructions, materials lists, cost breakdowns, etc. Hope that helps!

      • mary says:

        Thanks! Did you use any products you would or possibly would not recommend?
        Did you spray or hand paint? Your cabinets look fabulous! You did a great job. I am so afraid mine will look like I did it and I will have to pay someone to fix them LOL

  • MDavis says:


  • Kim says:

    What a gorgeous kitchen! I love how it looks – and the price tag was unbeatable. Way to stick to your budget (or super below it)!

  • Kate says:

    What a beautiful job. It’s so light and happy. I’m curious about the kitchen countertops. Since you reconfigured, I’m assuming you couldn’t reuse the original countertops (although I may be assuming wrong!!) Is the island part of the kitchen package too? Lots of work, I’m sure, but so worth it. Enjoy.

    • Christina says:

      No, we weren’t able to use the original countertops for this project, but are saving them for another use! Yes, The island is made up of cabinets from the kitchen package as well. 🙂

  • Becky says:

    Great job! We did the exact same thing (except our cabinets didn’t come with appliances). It’s amazing what you can find on craigslist. Our cabinets are beautiful with solid surface counters. So much better than our old 1977 kitchen! And so much cheaper than buying new. The only downside is that my husband and a friend had to lift all those cabinets – twice – once for moving them and once to install them. They were heavy!

  • Esther says:

    That’s amazing ! WAY to go !!

    We are doing the same thing….remodeling the whole house, one room at a time. ALL on cash only !
    I enjoy our house even more knowing that it is paid for with cash and I have no debt (other then our mortgage) :).
    We are a family of 4, living on one income….YES it’s doable !

  • Denise says:

    gorgeous!!! I love the green paint in the background and I love the new countertops and all the white!

  • AmyR says:

    Beautiful! Awesome God’s provision!

  • Julie says:

    Your new kitchen is beautiful! And the great deal makes it that much better! Like a magazine! 🙂

  • AMY says:

    Great job! Looks wonderful.

  • Analisa says:

    Wow! Your kitchen is gorgeous! I love how you said a purchase isn’t as fun if you don’t get a good deal on it. I am exactly the same way. There is just something about the thrill of a deal that makes the purchase that much sweeter.

  • Michelle says:

    I love how your kitchen turned out! We are getting ready to remodel our kitchen and I told my husband I am going to keep an eye out on Craigslist. There are definitely ways to save on a remodel.

  • Shailynn says:

    That looks great! We too paid in cash to re-do our kitchen. Ours is so tiny though. Your kitchen looks great. That’s awesome you only pay cash — that is the only way to go in our house

  • Marci says:

    Could you please tell me the color & brand of the green paint used on the walls?

  • Sonja says:


  • Katie Lindblom says:

    Thank you for your post. I really needed to see this today! God bless you!

  • Pauline says:

    Very nice! We peeled wallpaper within our own kitchen, got rid of the fake panelled half walls, painted years ago a beautiful linen color, and husband painted our kitchen cabinets going from vintage dark colors, to beautiful white with washing the hardware that was original in a solution which awoke them!
    Major difference! Bought tile at a discount store, stored it for 8 years, saving to do our kitchen floor later.
    This past year, repainted kitchen a nice spring green color, miss the linen color, yet amazing what one can do to update at little cost~!
    Your kitchen is stunning! Enjoy and great work!

  • jennw-m says:

    I have to say this is probably one of my most inspirational ‘We Paid Cash’ posts that I have read! What a wonderful job. Got to love Craig!

  • Heather says:

    Love your kitchen! Did you seal your backsplash with anything to protect it from splashes, etc?

  • Amber S says:

    We also used Craigslist while building our house, doing all the building ourselves, and paying cash. The cheapest I could find cabinets were off-the-shelf at Home Depot and they were over $3000 just for my base and upper cabinets. On Craigslist, I found a cabinet company that was discontinuing a particular line of cabinets and got all those I had priced plus base and upper cabinets for all three bathrooms plus a 36″ pantry cabinet and all molding, trim, etc- for $1600. They were brand new, solid wood, and taller than those I priced (which is what I actually wanted). Plus, they were beautiful and fit exactly what I had in mind for the kitchen! We also bought our kitchen flooring from Craigslist- $1 a square foot for real-touch laminate that retails around $4 sf because a contractor was tired of paying storage fees for it. It’s amazing what you can find and how God provides!

  • Sandy says:

    Love your kitchen and it truly is this beautiful. You have received such a gift from your family in living within your means and also with being such a generous hostess willing to open your home.

  • Steve & Mindy Peterson says:

    Christina and Trent…This is very impressive. We are so proud of you. Your kitchen is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story.
    Aunt Mindy & Uncle Steve.

  • Lety says:

    WOW! What a beautiful job! And the price makes it so much nicer! Enjoy your lovely kitchen 🙂

  • Great story & love your new kitchen & know you love it even more.

  • Lee says:

    Christina, would you mind contact me off site? I’m interesting in hearing more about your process for refinishing the cabinets etc.

    you can reach me at lee (dot) laughlin (at) gmail (dot) com.
    Thanks so much!

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