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We Paid Cash: A New Roof

We paid cash!

A testimony from Scott who blogs at In Due Sea$on

As followers of Dave Ramsey, my wife and I live, eat, and breathe avoiding debt. We have been following the Total Money Makeover plan for over four years, and always pay with money we have, versus money we plan to have.

Early in the program, with the threat of a possible job loss, we began to save as much cash as possible, for what Dave Ramsey referred to as the “rainy day fund”. With storm clouds looming, we temporarily halted our debt snowball and socked away as much money as we could for several months. After a job change and a more stable income, we were prepared to put that money back towards paying down our debt.

However, our 27-year-old roof saw to it that our savings would go elsewhere. We tried to hold off as long as possible on the repair. However, once it began to rain in our kitchen, we knew we couldn’t hold off anymore!

After pricing quality roofers in our area, we found a great contractor to do the job for $20,000. For the extensive amount of work we needed, that was actually a good price.

But we wanted better. It’s hard to part with your emergency fund money, even for an emergency.

So, when drawing up the contract, I broached the question, “What will you take for the job if we pay in cash?” A surprisingly quick “$17,000.” was the response. Still painful, but it was encouraging to realize we could have bought a decent used car with the money we saved by “going green”!

That expense set us back close to a year on our Total Money Makeover progress, but I can tell you that it’s a good feeling to pull into our driveway everyday and look at that roof, knowing that it’s paid in full. Had we financed the roof, it would probably have to be replaced again by the time we finished paying off the interest and payments!

 Scott Kerzner blogs at In Due Sea$on, a site based on the life of a Dave Ramsey follower. He and his family just finished Baby Step 2 of the Dave Ramsey plan and have paid off $100,000 of debt… even after many setbacks along the way! 

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

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  • Mike says:

    Dave is awesome. I love getting his emails and listening to the recordings of his radio show.

    In one of his FPU videos he tells the story of the lady who went to one of his book signings and was very upset. She was working through the steps but on the way to the book signing found out her truck needed $1500 of work.

    Dave asked how much she had in her Emergency fund and she replied $3,000. Dave then asked why she was so upset. He pointed out the emergency fund is there to pay for emergencies, and there was more than enough to cover this emergency.

    She kind of had an “Oh yeah…” moment and cheered right up.

    I agree that even when you have the fund, you still don’t want to spend it, but that’s why it’s there.

  • Brandy says:

    What an encouraging post! Thanks!

  • That’s great! I know it is totally hard spending that money, but at least you saved yourself tons money since you paid cash. That’s much better than most Americans can say.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • brenda says:

    I love all the saving money blogs and love to hear how people paid cash for things but..what happenes if you don’t even have enough money to pay all your bills each month? i mean I have NO credit cards, no loans, no car payments. I always pay for cash for christmas and burthday gifts. buy things on ebay or lay them away but I have no savings no college fund for my grand daughter nor did I for my 2 children I am on a medical from work I get 60% of my pay which wasn’t very much in the first place-I am $200.00 short paying just my rent, utilities, and car inusrance each month. I do get food stamps which covers 94% of my food each month so how does a person like me make it so I can pay all my utiliy bills and save a little becase to me if you make enough and already dont have credit card debt it can’t be doen.
    thnak you

  • Meredith says:

    Great story! We’re Dave followers here, too:)

  • Mindy says:

    why did a roof cost so much? labor? we did ours and our garage and it cost 4000. We paid cash too. We did do it ourselves though and our neighbor paid 10000 for his with labor. Our house isn’t that much smaller than yours if any. I hate that prices fluctuate so much in different areas. It’s not fair.

    • Heather says:


    • skottydog says:

      Here’s the technical answer: Apparently we have a 12-8 pitch on our roof, which means that for every 12 feet across the angle of height change is 8 feet.

      Therefore, not just ANY crew can do this job. They need special equipment, anchors, and even different roofers with experience in steep roofing jobs.

      Also, the Florida hurricane coding changed during the time we did the repair. The black-thick base paper that goes between the plywood and the shingles had to be waterproof to be resistant to heavy rains. That also made it more expensive.

      Believe me, it still hurts! But it beats payments! Then it would hurt even more!

  • Sarah says:

    I am reading your encouraging post under our almost finished new roof. We paid cash too however ours was slightly less money. A tornado the next town over cause hail damage so our roof was replaced by our insurance company so all we had to save up for was the $1000 deductable. A blessing truly because we were looking at replacing the roof sometime in the next 5 years. But while they were replacing the roof we had them rebuild a actual roof over our porch instead of the aluminum cover which had been there previously- another $2000. Lastly the concrete block was deteriorating on our front porch so we figured while the crew as here they could fix that too, for another $500. We did it by setting big savings goals and cutting spending, we also gave ourselves quite a few months (it worked out to be about 10 months) to set aside a money each month. It’s hard to write the checks and see the savings account dwindle but it’s nice to know that all our hard work is paying off and our savings isn’t completely drained. Thanks for sharing your story makes me feel better about our $3500.

    • skottydog says:

      Like Dave Ramsey always talks about, when you have the money in savings, you only have a “roofing” problem. When you DON’T have the money, you have a roofing problem AND a money problem!

      Stress aside, it changes the way you choose your roofer. When you’re not at the mercy of financing or how cheaply you can get it done for, you can think more clearly when deciding on a quality contractor.

      Sounds like you did well for your $3500! It’s nice to have it available, even though it’s tough to part with!

      • Sarah says:

        I agree. We greatly diminished our stress level knowing that we had the funds to tackle the issue and our only stress was finding someone to do the work! We went through quite a few contractors until we found somebody we thought would do a good job at a fair price. It was especially difficult because our area was flooded with roofers from all over the US because there was so much damage from this tornado. We wanted to find someone local who would keep our money in the local economy, and be here if something ever went wrong with his work. The contractor we found is excellent and he is an Iraqi war vet. He started his own company after his tour of duty so it makes us feel even better knowing our money is supporting a guy who put his life on the line for our country.

        As tough as the money is to part with, it’s nice to pull in the driveway and know that it is taken care of and we are not in debt over it!

        I took time to check out your blog- good stuff, I’ll be reading more frequently from now on!

  • J says:

    Our last roof, two years ago, cost us a bit over $12,000. We received a discount for cash but the underlayment had to be replaced in parts and it was off-season or it would have been even more. The year before we had to replace our furnace and water heater. Ugh.

  • We had to have the roof on our old house re-done. The contractor who looked at it saw signs of hail damage (not noticeable to us—we had hail every year but never anything dramatic) and suggested we see if our homeowner’s insurance would cover it. The insurance co. sent an appraiser, found evidence of damage, and paid $7ooo of a $13,000 bill (we had a deductible of $6000).

    So no guarantees but definitely worth asking your contractor if there are signs of storm damage!

  • bryan a says:

    so inspiring Scott, thanks for sharing. Crazy how it’s all about perspective. Most folks could never look back at that and think of anything positive, kudos to you for doing that and for living like no one else to get rid of that debt!

  • Elizabeth says:

    Great story! I see you were the gentleman who called in recently on TDRS to do your debt-free scream and they played your call from last fall! Congratulations!

    • skottydog says:

      Thank you. Glad you got to hear the call! We were so excited to be there and sign the wall! Can’t wait to go back and do it again when we pay off the house!

  • “Going Green”
    Love it!

  • Susan says:

    Awsome that you were able to pay for a new roof in cash.

    But boy that seems like a steep price tag. I had my roof replaced a couple years ago, and it was only around $6000 for the whole thing, including labor. The house/garage is 1500 square feet, so not sure how that compares to the size of your home, but my roof also is also somewhat steep. I got several estimates, and this one was up the middle. I went with them not only because of price but also because of references.

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