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Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash: A Swing Set

We paid cash!A testimony from Lena

9 years ago (when our oldest child was only 16 month old), we purchased a used swing set from a friend of a friend. We knew it was something that she could grow into and would get lots of use out of, as well as her 3 siblings who followed in the next few years.

It was worth the great price, but the swing set was definitely starting to show its wear. It was starting to rot and wobbled so much that it made me nervous when all our kids were on it.

We decided to look into purchasing a new, stronger set. However, after lots of research and shopping I couldn’t find a pre-made set with everything that we wanted for less than $2,000 — and we were not willing to spend that much!

As a family, we decided to start saving for this large purchase — and here’s what we did:

  • We put all our loose change and $1 bills in a jar. When it was full we would each take a guess at how much was in it before taking it to the bank.
  • We had a rummage sale and set all of that money aside for the play set
  • We took our time and shopped around for the best deal.
  • We built our own to save money.

Once we had the money, we did some more shopping and finally found a hardware and instruction kit at a big box home improvement store. We decided to purchase the kit online by using a discounted gift card (purchased from, a cash back rewards program, and the store’s free shipping offer for a total cost of $145.

Another home improvement store regularly has an 11% off everything sale, and that was where we went to purchase all of our lumber and screws.

It took us about a week to build the play set with much of it getting done in the evenings after supper. Our four kids helped us measure, cut, and screw everything together during that time. Then I stained the whole thing and we were ready to enjoy it!

It’s a comfort to me knowing that this play set is SO much stronger than the previous one — I know that it will last us a good long time.


In the end, the whole thing cost us just under $700, with a little over $300 of that being saved in our change jar!

The kids were proud knowing that they had played a big part in saving for, and building the set — and we were thrilled at how much we were able to save by being willing to take the time and effort to build it ourselves.

Lena lives in a small town with her husband of 11 years and four children, whom she homeschools. They’ve been debt-free for 3 years and loving it! They love to share their story and encourage others who are seeking financial freedom.

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


We Paid Cash: Our Wedding

We paid cash!

Testimony from Akaya

My husband and I got married in September of 2014. He proposed in June, so we had just three months to plan and pay for our wedding.

My husband bought me a gorgeous engagement ring, we had a wedding with around 300 guests, and then we flew out the next morning to embark upon an exotic honeymoon adventure.

And… we managed to do it all without borrowing money! How did we do it?

1. We set aside our tax refund.

My husband allocated the majority of his unusually large income tax refund in order to pay for my engagement ring and wedding band.

2. We embraced DIY

For our wedding, I browsed to look for ideas that I liked. Then I showed those ideas to some of my creative friends, and they re-created them for me.

One dear friend handmade all of the bouquets for my bridesmaids and me! I also decided to personally hand-make all of the party favors for our guests.

3. We shopped sales.

I purchased my wedding gown for $100 at a wedding dress clearance sale. Some stores have these bi-annually, so I took advantage of it (just days after my husband proposed!)

4. We accepted help.

Even though we didn’t expect our parents to pay for our wedding, they certainly chipped in and helped us in a big way. We received just over $2,000 from our parents.

We had other friends jump in and help in huge ways, too. One friend made our wedding cakes, one made and served punch, and yet another planned out the details of our wedding for us.

We even had one family member pay for our hotel stay for our honeymoon. We initially planned to take a short domestic trip, in order to stay out of debt, but ended up going on an exotic honeymoon adventure to the Riviera Maya, and only had to pay for our flights and food!

5. Skipped what wasn’t necessary

We identified some wedding planning traditions that weren’t necessary for us. One of those was formal invitations. We had what I called an “open invitation wedding”. If you knew us and wanted to be there, you were welcome!

We invited friends on Facebook, and printed 4” x 6” photo invitations through Shutterfly to hand out to friends at church.

6. We remembered what was most important.

The most important things we wanted to remember were that we were joining in holy matrimony, and that our friends and family wanted to celebrate with us. So we took time to intentionally be thankful to the Lord and to our friends and family for this occasion.

Akaya is happily married to her husband, Lee, and the couple resides in Little Rock, Arkansas with their dog Joy. Akaya enjoys public speaking, writing, and hiking, and she is currently pursuing a master’s degree in communication.

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

We Paid Cash: TWO Used Vehicles!

We paid cash!

A testimony from Keelie of Love Hope Adventure

At the end of 2014, our van developed the habit of leaving us on the side of the road. The first half dozen times we were in the shop, we were in denial about the situation. Once the denial wore off, we made a game plan of how to pay cash for a pre-owned van.

We Set a Goal of Saving $10,000

We felt that $10,000 would be enough for a used van. Unfortunately, we had barely been scraping by off of our salary.

We did have about $4,000 in savings… but that was due to extra money I earned back in 2013, and was originally being saved for a potential move.

In 2015, my husband and I both worked to increase our earnings. Since we don’t normally sell our old things, we had to get creative.

How We Earned More

I beat my head into the ground for years trying to find ways to earn money from home. Finally, I broke into the freelance writing market — and while the money I earned writing was meeting our basic needs, it wasn’t giving us the extra that we needed.

The number one thing we did to increase our earnings was to let other people know we wanted extra work. Over many months, we were offered money-making opportunities like:

  • Childcare for a MOPS group
  • After school care at a nearby child care center
  • Babysitting for different Bible studies
  • Babysitting at our home
  • Watching kids overnight
  • Increased writing assignments
  • Paid speaking engagements
  • I even had someone ask me to make a few scarves

Both my husband and I were offered ways to earn, because people knew we were looking for work.

Then We Had to Replace Both Vehicles Within a Few Months

After saving for 11 months, we hit vehicle crisis. We were driving home one night and ran into a deer with our van. Thankfully, we were fine, but our van wasn’t. The very next night, we were driving our second vehicle, and it started acting up — turns out that the transmission was starting to go on it.

We immediately started looking and found a used van that was under $9,000. Since we had saved up the $10,000 already, we were able to put the remaining money toward saving for something to replace our car.

Our current car was drivable for a few more months, but one day, we went out to start the car and it wouldn’t work. At that point, we had saved up a total of $5,000, and within a few days, we found a used car in our price range.

used cars

I’ve been very thankful that Crystal has done so much to push us to go beyond just spending frugally. She has encouraged us to find creative income-earning ideas, too. Earning more has made all the difference for us.

Keelie is married to her high school sweetheart and is the mom of three awesome boys. She is a creator and loves sharing with the world around her. One of her biggest passions is to help married couples fall deeper in love with one another. You can read her marriage tips at Love Hope Adventure.

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

We Paid Cash: A New Steam Washer and Dryer

We paid cash!

A testimony from Leah from Simple.Home.Blessings

A while back we decided to say goodbye to credit cards for big purchases, and since then, we have been saving up and paying cash for everything (including big ticket items).

I have found it is actually more FUN for me to save up and dream for a while before purchasing big things for our home!

Just recently, it was finally time for us to make our next big purchase: a steam washer and steam dryer!

A little background information.

We previously purchased our front-loader washer and dryer over nine years ago and I have been using them in spite of their quirks (developed over nine years of use). I even figured out how to give my dryer a tune-up last year and did it myself to save money on a repair man! However, they were really showing their age.

Then I got a serious case of “I want it” fever when we were staying at my in-laws house and using their new steam units. We needed to save up for it because they are not cheap!

Here’s how we saved up and paid cash for our new steam washer and dryer:

1. We set a goal.

We decided we would like to purchase our appliances and hoped to purchase them by the end of the year. Meanwhile, we were on the lookout for a great price all year long.

2. We saved our $5 bills.

This is harder than it seems! But we tucked away each and every $5 bill that we saw and put it aside for our dream washer and dryer. When we finally had enough to pay for our purchase, we went to the bank and cashed them in for larger bills.

3. We shopped around – A LOT!

We are notorious long-lookers before purchasing. We like to do our research and really know when we are getting the best price on the item we want.

In fact, we went to look at washers and dryers once again on November 30, and found the ones we wanted at the price we wanted. We talked with the salesperson and he said this would be the best price on the pair until July of next year! The only problem was, we didn’t have our cash with us.

We planned on going back the next day, but a mere hour later, my water broke and our third baby was born that night. So we had to shop another day.

4. We remained patient.

I was kind of bummed thinking that we had missed out on our window to purchase our dream washer and dryer at the price we wanted… but, I told my husband to keep watching the prices.

Then a couple of weeks ago, he texted me a picture from another local big box store with the exact price we were looking at back in November, but it was for an upgraded set of washer and dryer! Our patience had paid off and we were rewarded with better appliances for the same price!

new laundry appliances, we paid cash!

Today, we are really enjoying the laundry appliances we purchased. We run at least two loads of laundry a day, and I am so happy that we were able to save up and purchase them at just the right time!

Leah is a wife of almost 12 years and mama to three precious little ones. She loves to wake up early to a cup of coffee and a quiet house. In her spare time, she leads a local Bible study and writes about the joys of homemaking at Simple.Home.Blessings.

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

We Paid Cash: A 10-Day Family Road Trip

We paid cash!

A testimony from Rosanna who blogs at The Four F’s

We hadn’t been on a major vacation in seven years, so we decided to take our family on a road trip to British Columbia, this past June. We spent time seeing many attractions along the way, as well as when we got to our destination of Vancouver, British Columbia.

My husband, Bernd, and I have always enjoyed road trips, and now that our three children are getting older — ages 10, 7, and 5 , we thought we would like to attempt this with our family.

We believe in building memories with our family, but obviously these memories come at a cost. We are a one-income family and my husband is self-employed. That means that he doesn’t get vacation days or holiday pay.

That said, here are some of the things we did to pay cash for our big family trip.

1. We continued have monthly budget meetings and told our money where to go.

2. We have a sinking fund for different categories, one of which is vacations. Though our sinking fund payment wasn’t that high, we hadn’t gone on a large vacation for a long time, thus we had a head start on this one.

3. I sold items we no longer needed.

4. Every time I had extra money left in a budgeted category, I put it into a glass jar and eventually brought it to the bank.

However, our budgeting didn’t stop there. In order to make this vacation work, we needed to be careful on our trip too. 

Here are some of the ways we saved money during our trip:

5. We brought most of our food along, stopping at grocery stores along the way to stock up. We only ate out for three meals, not including continental breakfasts in hotels.

6. We booked most of our hotels at, which enabled us to get a much better rate most of the time.

7. We chose to bring our tent and gear and camped for two nights instead of using a hotel room.

8. We chose to do the activities that were most important to us, not every single available thing.

9. We were able to visit the Vancouver Aquarium for free because we went with some relatives that had a pass.

The total of our trip came in around $1800, and it was worth every penny!


We look forward to the day that we are completely debt free so that we can do these kinds of trips more regularly.

Rosanna is a wife and homeschooling mom of three. She loves writing, worshiping Jesus through song, and chatting with her husband. You are invited to follow along with her on her journey at The Four F’s

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

We Paid Cash: A Two-Week Family Road Trip

We paid cash!
A testimony from Todd who blogs at Team Made Family

We took our family of five on a two-week road trip this past spring. We spent one full week was in D.C. and the remaining time traveling across the country, visiting many attractions along the way.

We have always valued the experiences from our vacations, and wanted to make sure we made the most of this trip. Driving allowed us additional family time together to and from our destination. Car travel also enabled us to see many things we otherwise would have missed.

The lifelong memories created on our family vacations are priceless, but they are not free.

In order to ensure we prioritize travel, we designate a portion of our annual budget to it. We are a one-income family, and we must sacrifice money in many budget categories so that we can vacation.

This includes:

  • Virtually no eating out at restaurants
  • Keeping our grocery budget to $350 a month
  • No cable/satellite television
  • Buying clothing second hand or on an extreme sale

Budget tightening was not enough for this trip, though. We also researched insider tips on saving money while on the road:

  • Extended Stay America was our hotel chain of choice during the travel week. They have large rooms at reasonable rates, plus breakfast is included.
  • Our local zoo membership gained us free or reduced admission into zoos throughout the country.
  • The Creation Museum was on our travel route. Friends shared their free guest passes with us!
  • City parks are free. Frick Park in Pittsburgh has a wonderful playground area, as do many others. We stopped at several whenever we needed time out of the car.

When we arrived in D.C., we wanted to see all of it: the monuments, landmarks, Smithsonian Museums, and government buildings. The kids wanted to go to the International Spy Museum, too. We needed several days in the city, and in order to make that affordable, we focused on travel economy.

To save costs, we employed several strategies:

  • A vacation rental home gave our family a more comfortable space at a significantly cheaper rate than a hotel when staying in D.C.
  • Cooking homemade meals in our rental home for the week cost about as much as two meals at a restaurant.
  • Pre-purchased snacks and brown bag lunches for the entire trip cost less than a few meals eaten out.
  • Using points earned from Swagbucks to purchase gift cards reduced prices when we did have to eat out.

Our total trip was right around $4800 trip — all in cash and worth every penny!

DC Monument

Todd and Melissa have been married for nearly 15 years and have three beautiful daughters that they homeschool. They are a single income family, trying to do the best they can with all the Lord has provided. Follow their journey on their blog Team Made Family.

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