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Tag Archive: We Paid Cash

We Paid Cash: A New TV

We paid cash!A testimony from Sally

In 26 years of marriage, we had never owned a brand new television. Our home worked like a giant magnet, pulling in used TVs from friends and family… and we got what we paid for!

One day, we discovered we had saved $93 in coins without even trying. We were inspired. Over dinner that night, we dreamed about what to put this money toward. Something responsible, like a home repair? Or something frivolous, like a new fancy flat screen TV.

Can you guess which we chose? Yep. The TV!

Initially, we guessed $300 would pay for a reasonably-sized television with a quality image. But, one walk down the TV aisles at Sam’s Club revealed otherwise — a TV­­ that didn’t look like a large desktop monitor, would cost $500.

Our new purchase felt far away.

We didn’t know how long it would take to “find” $400 more (frivolous) dollars, but we had one rule: the money for the TV must be “found”. No dipping into budgets.

This is how we “found” another $400 in 6 months:

1. We Made An “New TV” Envelope

We slid the first $93 into a large manila envelope labeled “New TV”. Each time we found money from any of the methods below, we added it to the envelope.

2. We Continued to Save Loose Change

Since routinely adding ALL our spare coins to the quart­-size mason jar worked as an effortless way to save, we stuck with it. Over the next 6 months, we collected another $85.

3. We Redeemed Soda Bottles and Cans

We diligently collected and redeemed aluminum, plastic, and glass bottles, totaling $100.

4. We Sold Books and Household Items Online

All commissions we earned from selling books and household items through went into the TV envelope. We added another $100 this way.

5. We Used My Wellness Product Sales

I earned $125 passive income from my Garden Valley Essentials wellness store. It all went into the envelope.

Then An Amazing Thing Happened

Just as we reached our $500 goal, a Sam’s Club sales flyer arrived in our mailbox showcasing a full-featured $700 Samsung TV for $499­­ with free shipping! We’d written off this model before as “out of our reach”… but, now it was affordable!

With the cash safely deposited in the bank, we ordered the TV the next day. Seven days later our new high tech television arrived at our home!

We Paid Cash_Money Saving Mom_Sally Olson_TV

We realized that we were more likely to reach our goal since we were in it together. We agreed on a purpose for the money, we worked together to reach our goal, and we celebrated our accomplishment.

Sally Olson is a writer, blogger, wife, and battle-­proven homeschooling mom to sons. God, good words, good coffee and honest country living refresh her soul. She blogs about apples and country life at Garden Valley Homestead.

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


We Paid Cash: Our Boys’ Bathroom Renovation

We paid cash!A testimony from Jennifer who blogs at A Healthy Mix

My husband and I purchased our home in July, 2012.

We paid $21,000 for an 1800 square foot home and 2-acres of land. It needed a lot of work, but we made the decision to remodel our home debt-free. It has been a work in progress ever since.

At the beginning of the year my husband received a $1,000 bonus and we knew we wanted to use that money for our latest renovation project — our boys’ bathroom.

We weren’t sure how we were going to remodel an entire bathroom on less than $1,000, because normally, bathroom remodels are expensive. We began by searching Pinterest for a look we desired and set out to achieve it on a small budget.

Getting Started

We knew we would have to refurbish as many items as we could.

We were able to salvage:

  • the shower
  • the toilet
  • a large mirror
  • the shower fixtures
  • other bathroom fixtures

We searched the internet for hidden treasures. We found a brand new pedestal sink ($25) on a yard sale page. Then we went to Lowe’s to match our wants with the right price.



We were able to totally transform the old shower by using CLR and a lot of elbow grease. We decided to change the look of the shower by adding sheets of galvanized tin ($12 each) for the walls.

We used wood trim ($3 each) to finish the look. We soaked the old shower fixtures in bleach overnight, and they looked brand new. We did purchase a replacement shower faucet ($10).

Floors and Walls:

We installed the tile floors ($0.62 each). We painted the walls ($25). We used floor molding for both the floor and ceiling. We purchased the contractor pack ($72) since it actually cost less per unit and the leftover pieces could be used elsewhere in our home. 


We purchased a glass cutter and cut the large mirror in half. We used left over pieces of the shower trim to trim out the mirror that was placed over the pedestal sink.

We splurged on a curved shower curtain rod ($42) since our kids were not getting a new shower. This was an inexpensive way to make their shower feel larger. We also purchased a new shower curtain ($30).

Since our boys had a pedestal sink instead of a vanity, we made holders that attached to the walls out of wood and mason jars that would hold their toothbrushes, hand soap, etc. We used jars we already had and scrap wood so it only cost $2 to create extra storage.

We changed the light fixture in the bathroom by screwing in a Mason jar into the old fixture. It completed the country look and cost us nothing.

We were actually able to complete the project for less than $500! It was amazing to see what was once the worst room in our home be transformed into a nice space on such a small amount of money.

bathroom reno

Jennifer is a wife, mother to three handsome boys, a lover of homesteading on a smaller scale, and an aspiring writer. She loves sharing what she learns with each passing day and encouraging others to chase their dreams while she is busy chasing her own. You are invited to come along on this journey with her at A Healthy Mix.

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

We Paid Cash: Starting A Blog

We paid cash!
A testimony from Abby from Winstead Wandering

I’ve been blogging off and on since May of 2011. And in January of 2015, I decided to finally start the new blog I’d been brainstorming for months.

I had just suffered a miscarriage and I needed something to take me out of my own head. I knew, though, that I wanted to be serious and intentional in how I went about starting the new site; I wanted to buy my domain, I wanted to be self-hosted, and I didn’t want a free cookie cutter blog design.

After crunching numbers and spending a good portion of my Christmas break doing research, I decided I needed $200 to buy the things I wanted: my domain name, 36 months of hosting, and a blog design.

I know it’s completely possible to start a blog without spending a penny, but it was important to me to treat my new site seriously — like the business I eventually hoped it would be — right from the beginning.

I also hoped that working hard to earn the money would make the commitment more real to me.

Here’s how I earned $200:

Selling Textbooks

I took four college classes in the summer of 2014, and while I’d always intended to sell my used textbooks, I never got around to it. Needing blog money was the motivation I needed to finally list them on ebay. My timing aligned with colleges resuming classes after winter break, so my books sold quickly, earning me $125.

Teachers Pay Teachers Store

As a high school teacher, I have a Teachers Pay Teachers store where I sell the random forms, worksheets, and activities I prepare for my classes. I typically bring in $30-$40 in passive income each month, but seeing as January was the beginning of a new semester, I was able to set aside my entire $75 paycheck from that month.


I’ve used Ibotta to earn cash back on groceries since the app was first introduced, but I rarely cash out. I prefer to allow my savings to build up and then cash out when I have a specific purchase in mind. Because it had been a while since I’d done that, I was able to deposit $40 from Ibotta into my PayPal account.

It took me less than one month to earn the cash I needed to start my blog. I used the extra — and I continue to use the cash generated from my TpT account — to participate in giveaways and buy odds and ends like pretty dishes to photograph my recipes in.

My goal, of course, is that my blog will eventually bring in a small part-time income to supplement what my husband and I make as teachers. For now though, I love knowing that I started this adventure without tapping into my family’s monthly budget!

new blog

Abby is an Oregonian-turned-Mississippian, teaching high school Business and Technology. When she isn’t learning cool new slang at school, she likes to hang out at the golf course with her husband and aspiring (L)PGA toddlers. Abby blogs at Winstead Wandering.

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


We Paid Cash: A Homeschooling Room

We paid cash!

A testimony from Mandy from

The day had come when I had had it with storing all of our school supplies, projects, lesson plans, and books in our kitchen drawers and cupboards. For years, I was using the kitchen island and drawers for homeschooling our kiddos and it just was not working.

I had an “a-ha moment” when I looked at our hardly-used formal living room…it was the perfect space for a classroom!  When I saw it in my mind I knew it could be done.

But we didn’t have the extra cash to transform an entire room in our house into a school room. How in the world could I afford the furniture and supplies to make the conversion?!

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Sell the formal living room furniture — the couches, tables, lamps, and decor. Then, USE that money to purchase the items I need for our school room!

Voilà! A school room paid in full, without using credit cards.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. I listed my formal, living room furniture on Craigslist.
  2. I sold smaller items on eBay.
  3. I purged my entire home of unused, unwanted items, readying them for a garage sale. (Any items that didn’t sell on Craigslist and eBay were sold in the garage sale.)
  4. I planned and orchestrated a successful garage sale.

After my efforts to create some extra cash, I found that I had over $1,000 cash IN HAND. So, I set out to get some deals!

How did I do it?

  1. I shopped garage sales for furniture pieces.
  2. I shopped discount stores for decor, teaching supplies, classroom supplies, manipulatives, and games.
  3. I researched curriculum to invest in. I found coupons and deals to purchase curriculum.
  4. I scoured the internet for deals on things that you simply can’t find locally.
  5. I sought the internet for my “dream, can’t live without” pieces. (Mine was a double-sided whiteboard easel on wheels!)
  6. I shopped for discounted paints/supplies at my local hardware store for decorating my school room space.

Once all of my hard work had paid off, I sat back and prepared to design our homeschool room knowing that we paid CASH for it!  It was the greatest feeling in the world. (Here’s a look at our finished room).

Full Shot of Kidspace #2 is the creation of Mandy Mae; wife, mother, teacher, and frugal-DIY-enthusiast. Hoping to inspire mothers to take action in making a positive influence in the lives of their children with simple, DIY, crafting, thrifting, and teaching projects, Mandy Mae enjoys sharing both her successes and hiccups with easy-to-follow tips & tutorials.

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

We Paid Cash: A Debt-Free Summer

We paid cash!A testimony from Sarah

Each summer, our family’s income drops dramatically. My husband is a graduate student, and his funding stops during the summer months. While I am still earning money, it is simply not enough to pay all of our bills and living expenses.

In the past, we have used credit cards to help us through the summer. This year, however, we have committed to paying off our debt, and we refuse to add any more to our credit card bill.

Back in October, we sat down together and examined our finances. We decided that we would need $700 for each summer month (June, July, and August) to be able to pay all bills and live comfortably. That is $2100! That number seemed almost unreachable at the time, but we committed to trying.

Imagine our excitement when we had saved that much by the end of March!

Here’s how we did it:

We Saved All “Bonus” Money

We decided to view any “bonus” money as money earmarked for our summer fund. This included:

  • $500 end-of-the-year bonus from my employer for having an advanced degree
  • $200 gift at Christmas from family
  • $500 from our tax refund

It was tempting to view this money as fun spending money. However, since we were committed to our financial goal, we immediately put it in our summer account.

I Picked Up Extra Work

I am a full-time teacher, and my school asks for staff to tutor in the afterschool program. This program pays $25 an hour, so I decided to work two hours a week.

From this relatively small time commitment, I ended up earning $700!

There were many days when I was exhausted by the end of the school day, but I knew our goal of a debt-free summer was worth the effort.

We Saved Money Leftover from our Budget

Our family has a written weekly budget that we keep a close eye on. We have decided how much we will spend each week on groceries, household items, gas, fun, etc.

We actually have a chart on our refrigerator where we record everything that we spend in those categories each day. Therefore, it is easy to know if we are over or under our budget at the end of the week.

My husband and I decided to take any money leftover from our budget and transfer it to our summer fund. For example, we budget $70 per week on groceries for our family of five. If I spent $65 one week, we moved $5 into our summer account.

I wasn’t sure if it was worth it to save a few dollars here and there, but I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I listened to my husband, because we saved $200 this way!

It was an amazing feeling when we realized that we had reached our goal. We are looking forward to our stress-free, debt-free summer. We’ll be able to enjoy it much more knowing that we will not be paying for it for years to come.


Sarah is an Orthodox Christian, wife, mother of three small children, full-time teacher, and writer. She blogs about faith, family, and frugal living over at The Orthodox Mama.

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

We Paid Cash: Training for My Coaching Career

We paid cash!A testimony from Sue who blogs at

About 2 years ago, while I was working full time, my husband and I decided to put aside a regular portion of my salary toward a savings fund. Although it was tempting to spend the money, we knew it was a responsible and right thing to do to make sure we had a good sized ‘emergency fund’ in place.

So a few months into 2013, we set aside £1,000 (about $1,560) every month into this savings fund. By the end of the year, we’d done it! We had £10,000 in the fund.

In 2014, after finishing my work contract, I found myself thinking about something I’d wanted to do for years – to become a coach, as I have a passion for helping people. I found a very comprehensive course, which involved a fairly large investment of both money and time, but would enable me to become a qualified transformational coach.

If it weren’t for the savings that we had built up, I would not have been able to take that course, and probably wouldn’t be a coach today!

We paid cash for the course and I started it in August 2014, completing it end of January this year.

We achieved our goal by doing a number of things:

– We set a specific goal to have £10,000 (about $15,600) in our emergency fund by the end of the year, and tracking our progress kept me motivated.

– We set up a direct debit so transferred the money straight into a separate savings account as soon as my salary had been paid. This was crucial – if the money was left in our current account, we would have found something to spend it on!

– I did weekly meal planning and bought only the groceries we needed for that week. It reduced the habit of buying things just because they caught my attention – that would result in spending more than I intended. I would buy only the items on the grocery list created for the week’s meals. Also I often ordered groceries online, and this reduced impulse buying.

– During that year I read very few magazines, kept no catalogues in my home and barely ever went window shopping. Magazines have many adverts and images in them that cause us to ‘aspire’ to get more. Same with catalogues. Window shopping makes you aware of all the items on offer and makes you want things you don’t need! I am a person who gets drawn by ‘shiny’, new things, so curbing those distractions by not feeding myself with them via magazines and catalogues really helped me stay on track.

– I read blogs and books on personal finance which inspired me to keep saving rather than spending. Goals help me to keep going when the initial excitement of something wears off and the going gets tough.

It felt so good at the end of that year to know that we’d achieved our goal!

Sue Sundstrom is a coach for women who want more out of life. She is on a mission to help women achieve their goals and live a life of significance, all whilst enjoying a sense of adventure and fun! She can be found blogging on parenting, family fun, productivity and goal setting at

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