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We Paid Cash! :: A Car Engine (with a twist)

We paid cash!

A testimony from Meagan

The Background

My husband and I got married young, while we were both still in college. Our first year together married, we lived in a tiny basement apartment that didn’t even have heat, much less a washer or dryer. I began to loathe going to the laundromat, and started daydreaming about being able to someday own my own washer and dryer.

After that first year, we found a new apartment that had hook-ups, and my husband agreed that we could use the summer to save up for a pair of energy-efficient washer and dryers.

How We Did It

My husband got a fantastic internship in a city 1500 miles away from where we went to school, so we spent the summer there, saving money for my dream washer and dryer. We even picked them out and scheduled them to be delivered a week after we were to arrive back at school.

However, on the way back to school, in the middle of a New Mexico highway, our car totally broke down. After spending a night sleeping by the road, my husband and his brother managed to tow our car to a repair shop, where it was determined that the engine was un-fixable and we’d either need to replace it or give up on our car.

We Paid Cash Car Engine

We decided that our best option would be to replace the engine with a refurbished engine. It turned out that the new engine cost only $200 more than the washer and dryer we had been saving for, and we had enough left over from our summer moving budget to make the difference.

This all happened the day before we were to have the washer and dryer delivered, so I canceled the delivery and cried because I was so sad.

The Best Part

I was so bummed about not getting my washer and dryer that my husband suggested looking on Craigslist for something cheaper to use while we saved up for nicer ones.

I found a washer and dryer set for free! The owners didn’t know if they’d work, and they were in pieces, but when we put them together (using a generous amount of duct tape and other odds and ends), they both worked. And it’s been three years and they have still kept going!

We paid cash Care engine with a twist

They are not even close to as nice as what I was hoping for, but they get the job done, even with two kids and cloth diapering. We consider every day our washer keeps running a miracle.

Meagan and her husband Tyler currently live in Little Rock, AR while Tyler attends medical school. Meagan stays home with their two daughters and is having a blast learning how to be a mom.

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

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  • Meredith says:

    Now this was a good “We Paid Cash” story!

  • Megan says:

    I love it. We’ve had an AMAZING secondhand washer and dryer set for a year and a half now. Paid around 200 for the set, never have had a problem. I had to replace my transmission in my Stratus with a used transmission – that was in April 2009 – and it’s worked fine to this day. Bonus – a family member is a mechanic and graciously replaced it for next to nothing in his spare time. Life isn’t always easy but if we’re patient then we always get what we need!

  • Kelly says:

    That was a great story, best one yet in my book!

  • Kacie says:

    I agree — this is a great story! Way to go 🙂

  • Lyla D says:

    I read all of the “We Paid Cash” stories because they are so inspiring, and somehow manage to give me an extra boot in the britches that helps to keep me on a savings plan. However, I have to agree that this is one of the best.

  • Debbie says:

    What a great story. I love how God just gives us little (and big) surprises that keep encouraging us to stay the course.

  • Amy says:

    This story really made me smile! I loved it! I really love the picture of your washer and dryer complete with duck tape! Thanks for sharing your great story!

    • Meagan says:

      @Amy, Thanks for the compliments. We love our washer and dryer even if they are quirky. We were very blessed in this instance, and we continue to be blessed as my husband goes through school. I’m glad you all liked our story!

  • Erica says:

    “Generous amount of duct tape”- this cracks me up! Love this story:)

  • Lana says:

    I love your story! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Heather says:

    I never get tired of these stories. How awesome that you were rewarded with what you wanted after making the hard and wise choice of giving it up.

  • Mandy Tillette says:

    Best we paid cash story so far…very inspiring.

  • What an awesome story!

    Those lovely new colored high efficiency washer and dryer sets sure look pretty, but they do the same thing as any older, used, or worn out washer will–they wash the stinkin’ clothes!

    I am so impressed that you guys have managed to use these old duct taped machines for 3 years! Good for you! What an inspiration! And imagine how much money you have saved.

    I live in an apartment and am DREAMING of the day when I get my own washer and dryer. DREAMING. capital D. But now reading your story, I’m going to see if the house we buy either has a perfectly good one or maybe try to find a used one.

    Thanks for such an awesome post!

    • Meredith says:

      @Ammie @, I’ve had a “clunker” washer and dryer for 8 years now. We’ve had it since we got married. Look and call around, they aren’t that expensive to fix, especially if you do it yourself. You can find step by step instructions online and can order parts fairly easy. Believe it or not, washer and dryers last for YEARS. My mom’s is 30 years old and still going. I bet you could find something sooner than you think!

  • Love the free washer and dryer! What a gift from God!

  • It hurts so much to let savings go, even for an emergency, but better than not having anything saved at all. I’m so glad you got your washer and dryer anyway, even if it’s duct taped together. 🙂

    I’ve been hand washing our laundry for a year, and now moved up to a bucket and plunger. I know I’ll cry tears of joy when I finally get a real washing machine.

    • April W says:

      @Joanna @ Starving Student Survivor,
      We use the ole bucket and plunger, too. We splurged and paid $82 dollars for a countertop spin dryer. It spins all the water out of the clothes and then they dry that much quicker. Amazing. My whole family loves it (there are four of us and a lot of laundry.) It helps extend our laundromat trips to every other week. That saves me three hours and twenty dollars a trip. It paid for itself in two months. Love it, love it, love it. Ok, not as much as I would love having a washer and dryer, but hey, bloom where you’re planted.

      • @April W, I looked into the spin dryers but haven’t purchased one. I wish I could even find an old-fashioned hand-crank wringer, but it looks like they cost more than the electric spin dryers. Wringing the clothes out after washing them is often the worst step in the process, especially for large items.

  • Becky says:

    Our first washer and dryer we bought from someone at the side of the road for $35. We didn’t know if they worked or not but prayed that they did. After the hubby put on a new plug they both worked. We had to prop the dryer closed with a board, and for the last couple of years the washer only went swish instead of swish-swash but I’ll tell you, they washed our clothes for 5 years until we were in position to buy new ones.

    Great story Meagan

  • Love this! We have been dealing with a stinker ole’ washer that gives us problems but reading this (and the comments) makes me grateful for it!

  • Melinda says:

    I LOVE your story! God is such a great provider and has great timing! Anytime I’m purchasing something big I always look on craiglist or I go on ebay and do a local search. We bought almost all of our appliances, fridge, dishwasher and even an front-loading energy efficient washing machine on ebay using the local search option.

  • I literally said, “Awwwwwwww!”. We, too, are recipients of freebies and things other people pass down. I, too, am at home with our children. My husband works full-time as a carpenter after losing his “career” of 11 years as a draftsman (structural steel design). We’ve had to repair vehicles, repair our home, I’ve resurfaced ugly furniture, couponed, thrift stored… you name it. And I’ve NEVER regretted a second of it. Thank you soooo much for sharing your story! I LOVE it and it is the best so far!

  • Afton says:

    Thank you for posting this! It inspired me to check craigslist today- and I was able to find a gently used washer and dryer for $50! I love your blog- it has been a true blessing to me and my family. Keep up the great ministry!

  • What a great testimony, thanks for sharing!!! We have received several free / second hand items and love being able to use them for years (household items, clothes, electronics, etc…). It is easy to want the “shiny” new items, but life is so much more then “stuff”. Our lives may not always go as planned, however, we have much to be thankful for even if we have to use a little duct tape every once in awhile! =)

  • What a fun story to read! I always feel like God opens up his blessings when we are working hard and being responsible.

  • Abbie says:

    This was my favorite! It just sounds like something that my husband and I would do. 🙂 The number of things we have put together over the years using tape, playing cards, caulk (we have caulk stories that would make a professional builder cry!). Great story, thanks for sharing it.

  • Charity says:

    Love this story!

    My husband and I were married very young also (everyone thought we were crazy and we had no support system at all) and we rented a little 900square foot house for less than $200 a month with no heat and no air. We had no washer or dryer for about six months and while we saved our money to buy them, I washed all of our clothing by hand and hung it out on the clothesline. I remember the exact day that we had enough money saved to go buy our washer and dryer…we made a real date of it! We had to have had the biggest smiles on our faces of anyone in the appliance section at Lowes. Our simple, bent and dent clearence washer and dryer still make me smile now, nearly six years later, and, I don’t think I’ll ever complain about doing laundry after washing it by hand for that long 🙂

  • Kim H says:

    Awesome story! Hello to another AR mom. Our washer and dryer are from my hubby’s grandparents basement. When they became to feeble to maneuver the winding steps down to the very old set they bought a new set for the upstairs mudroom. When we married 3 1/2 yrs ago we “borrowed” them and they are still going strong! I would love a front loading set but we are trying to get things in order to build our dream home near his grandparents!

  • Heather says:

    This story made me cry!! God provides!

  • Erin says:

    This story and all of the reader comments really convicted me. It is so easy to take for granted the modern day luxuries like a washer and dryer. Thank you for helping me to see that I was guilty of that. My husband’s parents generously bought him a set before we were married. I have to say that I think the older types actually have fewer problems and are built better than the newer models. Ours have had two electronics problems in just 3 years, and they were the supposedly the upgraded models!

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