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Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash! :: A Trip to Singapore to Meet My Navy Submariner

We paid cash!Story submitted by Kristen

My husband, a Navy Submariner, is deployed. On submarines, communication is extremely limited — no phone calls, IM’s or Skype sessions. We get email, but we go weeks, even months, without it. But there is one upside – port calls!

In the past, I would fly out to meet him in port, and charge up a storm to get there. This time, I made a goal that if the chance arose, I would be prepared, pay in cash and not touch my savings.

How I Did It

When he left, I:

  • Shrank the grocery bill and shopped in my pantry.
  • Ate out less, and split meals with friends.
  • Grouped errands together to save gas.
  • Read books when I was bored instead of shopping.
  • Worked longer hours so I could go home for lunch.

With only one person home, these small changes added up fast!

The Goal

Soon I learned he would port in Singapore. I cringed. Singapore is expensive!

I researched tickets, studied exchange rates, read about cheap/free things to do and sought advice on prices for everything.

When ticket prices dropped, I bought them straight from the checking account. Then I bought travel insurance that covered military cancellations. If there is one thing you learn in the Navy, it’s that the schedule is written in the sand, and the tide is coming in fast! I wanted to be covered in the event of a change.

The next big purchase was the hotel. I watched every day, and when prices dropped, I paid in full, saving me $220 per night! I chose carefully – free Internet, breakfast and drinks in the room, none of which is common there. It was also strategically located by the transit system, the cheapest way to travel.

Then it was budget crunch time. Meals, drinks and events are all more expensive in Singapore. And, I wanted to be able to shop for unique items.

For the first time, I successfully used the envelope system! Every time there was money leftover, I put it in a jar. Two days before the trip, I took the jar to the bank and had $250 for traveler’s checks!

A Great Trip Plus…

We Paid Cash Meeting My Submariner HusbandWhen it was time to go, I had $3,000 for food, taxis, shopping and sight-seeing for eight days and two people. But we didn’t spend near that much; I returned with an extra $1000!

Some may think this is too extravagant of a trip. But to see my husband, touch his face and talk to him, it’s worth every penny. To do it all with cash, stick to a budget and come home with wonderful memories and leftover money too? That is icing on the cake!

I should be clear – I’m not a mom, unless two big black dogs count. I read MoneySavingMom because the advice is practical, and the stories are motivating. Someday, I hope to be a mom. For now, it’s just me and the dogs, waiting on our sailor to come home safe! ~Kristen McDonald

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

We Paid Cash! :: Medical School

We paid cash!Testimony from Sara

One of the best pieces of advice we got before my husband and I married, was to read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. We became huge fans of Dave’s advice and because we both came from frugal families, we felt equally yoked for our financial future — even knowing my husband wanted to go to medical school.

The Preparation

About six months before we got married (going on six years ago now!), my husband was accepted to medical school. Because we had a goal of staying debt free, we immediately started to devise a plan.

I had been working for a few months at my first “real job” and was already starting to see savings build little by little. Neither one of us had any previous debt as we had college paid for by scholarships, and I had worked my way through graduate school as a Graduate Assistant. So we were already off to a good start.

We knew how much medical school tuition would cost, and added in some extra for books, equipment and miscellaneous items he might need. And we really started to pray. We prayed for God’s direction, for discipline, and patience. After all, I’d just finished school myself, and after working hard to get through it, it was tempting to want to splurge.

You know what? God provided!

First, we found out a few months after his acceptance that my husband had received a scholarship to cover the first semester — what a blessing! It gave us a little more time to save. Secondly, God blessed my work, and we saw little savings grow more and more into reaching our goals!

The Result

By staying the course and keeping to our commitment, at the end of my husband’s second year of school, we had already saved enough for all four years! After counting tuition, fees, equipment, National testing, and all the books he needed, we paid around $50,000. God is so good! We can look back and see His hand and blessing the entire way.

The Bumps in the Road and God’s Provision

Not everything came without some sweat — literally.

First, at the beginning of the third year of school, my husband’s car just went kaput. You couldn’t drive it over about 50 mph without feeling like you were trying to use your body to hold down the steering wheel. The tires were worn out, the engine needed some serious work and it had no air conditioning. And let me tell ya, here in Mississippi, that was a big deal! Rob had just started clinical rotations and was dressing up for work so he would leave before daylight, to keep himself from sweating too badly. Eventually, we were able to pay cash for a used car for him.

We paid cash for medical school!Secondly, and very sweetly, our first little bundle came into the world the middle of the third year (our second came a month before Rob graduated). I never knew I’d want to stay home with him so badly. I cried and cried, thinking in my heart that God’s timing was not right for me to stay at home — especially while we had no other income.

The month I went back to work, the company I worked for announced that, for the first time ever, wanted to hire someone part-time in my area! God was so faithful. He gave me the desire to be home with my son, and He provided the means!

So, I worked part-time until January of this year when I quit my job to stay home full-time. By saving up enough for medical school early and living frugally along the way, we were able have set aside enough money in the bank to supplement my husband’s income until he finished residency.

You want to know the cool thing? It’s been eight months, and we still haven’t used a dime of our savings!

And the Rest of the Story?

My husband is in his second year of residency now, and we stay committed to our goal. Rob doesn’t make much as a resident, and still has three years to go. However, we know that living frugally now gives us a peace about where we’ll be in the future.

We are so happy and so thankful to be debt-free! So many of my husbands friends and classmates came out of school with six-figure debt. God has taught us a lot through the past six years; it’s not always been easy, but it’s been so worth it.

Sara and Rob, with Rhett (2) and Colt (1), live in Jackson, Mississippi.

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

We Paid Cash! :: My Diamond Wedding Ring

We paid cash!

Testimonial from Heather

We paid cash for my new wedding ring — today!

The Background

My boyfriend and I knew each other for 8 years and dated for a year before we decided to get married. Money was very tight so we invited close family to a small ceremony at the courthouse with a Justice of the Peace.

We didn’t have any money for a nice wedding ring since my now-husband had recently lost his job with the city. I bought a solitare ring and matching band from Claire’s that totaled less than $30. Very cheap, but hey, it worked and you wouldn’t believe the compliments I got on it!

Diamond Wedding RingOver the past year I have had to replace the cheap “costume jewelry ring” a few times but it was what the ring symbolized that was important to us.

How We Did It

We’ve saved little by little during the last 11 months hoping to save enough by the time our anniversary came up on August 26th.

My husband, after a year of unemployment, has decided to join the military and since we can take only one car with us, we sold the old clunker we rarely used and got enough to buy a new ring and have some leftover for fun money!

The Deal

The ring I found after shopping around was originally priced at $1500, on sale for $899 and I talked the sales rep down to $799 INCLUDING lifetime warranties for the gold and diamonds. $870 out the door cash for a brand new 1-carat diamond ring!

Good things come to those who wait! : )

Wedding RingHeather, husband Chris, and daughters Allison and Brooke live in Phoenix, Arizona where they live debt-free. In addition to their recent wedding ring purchase they have paid cash for their 50″ Panasonic plasma tv, new leather furniture, second car and have never paid full price for diapers!

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

We Paid Cash! :: Our Adoption

We paid cash!Testimony from David and Melissa

The best piece of pre-marital advice we ever received came from my Dad just over nine years ago. He suggested that if we ever hoped to be a one-income family giving me the freedom to stay home with our children, we should budget only on that one income from day one.

We decided to take that advice to heart and right from the very beginning, my income (I’m an elementary teacher) went straight into our savings account. Over the years we’ve used those savings to help pay cash for several different things; the biggest of which was for the adoption of our daughter.

How we paid cash for adoptionThe Background

We struggled with infertility for over six years before adopting our daughter this past January. During that time we spent literally thousands and thousands of dollars on fertility treatments (including IVF). However when all of those treatments left us with only broken hearts and two miscarriages, we decided it was time to explore adoption. God came through in a truly remarkable way and provided a beautiful baby girl for us almost immediately.

Adoptions are expensive no matter how you look at them. Ours cost us in the ballpark of $15,000. I am pleased (and still a little surprised and amazed) to say that because of our sacrifice of that second income for the last 9 years, we were able to pay cash for the entire amount.

How We Did It

  • Living within our means based on my husband’s income only.
  • Never seeing what our lifestyle would feel like with two incomes.
  • Putting the second income (minus tithe) entirely into our savings account.
  • Using extreme self-control and resist the temptation to take annual trips to Disney World with those saved funds. 🙂
  • Don’t spend the money until enough has been saved.
  • We have made the personal choice to pay cash for everything except our house. If we don’t have the cash for it, we don’t buy it.

Next Steps

Now that I’m finally a mom, it was a real dilemma whether to now stay home with our daughter or return to work.  Knowing that our ability to adopt again is based on being able to raise another $15,000, we made the decision for me to work at least another year so that our next adoption can also be paid in cash.

We are David and Melissa Gafford and we have a 7 month old daughter named Addison. You can read more about our adoption story on our blog.

We Paid Cash! :: White Picket Fence

We paid cash!

Testimonial from Tawra

We paid cash for my beloved picket fence!

My DreamWe paid cash for our picket fence.

Ever since we were married almost 16 years ago I have wanted a cute little house with a white picket fence. I know it sounds corny but gardening is my passion! I especially love cottage gardens so the fence was always a dream of mine.

When we first got married we weren’t able to do it right away because we couldn’t afford it.

In the first five years of our marriage, we paid off  $20,000 in debt and medical bills on $22,000 a year average income. In the years following, we endured a job loss, the selling of one house and the buying of a new one in the country.

We paid cash for our fenceHow We Did It

Finally, after working and saving for 13 years, my picket fence was going to be our first big “fun” purchase. We hadn’t been on vacations (except to visit family), didn’t eat out and were ultra frugal. I was excited!

In six months, we were able to save up enough cash to pay for it! And we paid $800 for fencing that should have been $1500.

Our store offered a coupon where when you bought $50 or more you would get $10 off. Each time you purchased something, the register would spit out another $10 off of $50 coupon.

It took us three hours to go to two stores for all of the supplies. In all, I made twenty transactions but saved $200 in coupons and another $500 because the fencing was on sale. $700 for three hours of work is a great savings in my book!

I kept telling people who would get in line behind us that we were going to be a while and they were all fine with it and found another line.

One lady decided to wait and I told her what I was doing. She said, “Cool, I’ll have to do that!” She had about $600 worth of stuff in her basket so she was glad for that tip!

We paid cash arborWe installed the fence ourselves, saving another $2000 and now I have my wonderful, long awaited  picket fence! You can see that the flowers already love it!

Tawra Kellam, along with her mom, runs www.LivingOnADime.com and are the authors of Dining On A Dime Cookbook. In the three years since they’ve paid off their debt, Mike and Tawra have also paid cash for lots and lots of plants, a car, a baby, a riding mower, furniture for their new house, plus paid down 50K on their house.

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

We Paid Cash! :: A new computer

We paid cash!
In 2009, my husband and I were becoming exhausted with our dreadfully slow desktop computer that we purchased in 2004. With that, we decided we wanted to purchase a laptop. We saved for weeks. We researched at Consumer Reports. We waited for the perfect computer for us. We faced a few temptations:

::We really wanted a Mac. A Mac would have been hundreds of dollars more than the Toshiba that we were going to purchase.

::We played around with financing a portion (if we did decide to purchase a Mac). We justified that financing a portion of the cost was worth it because a Mac was a better computer and, in the long run, would be worth it. Truth be told, we did not have (nor would we have) the remaining balance to pay off what we would finance. It would make much more sense to put that extra money toward other things.

My husband ultimately made the decision to purchase the Toshiba and pay in cash. To my shame, I sometimes struggle with following him as I enjoy having what everyone else seems to have.

By supporting him in this decision, however, we experienced the freedom of knowing that we didn’t owe one single penny on that computer. This especially helped when my 5 year old decided the computer needed a shower. Could you have imagined if we were still making payments on a useless computer? Funny thing is, we purchased the exact same Toshiba because we loved it so much.

A Toshiba that, if I may add, I talked down from $650 to $450!

We paid cash for our computer

We are David and Mandy King. We live in Lexington, Kentucky. We have five small children: 4 boys and, FINALLY, a girl! Noah (6), Sammy (5), Simon (3), Kaedmon (1), and Clara (3 months).

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