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We Paid Cash! :: A New-to-Us Car

We paid cash!Testimonial from Christina

Last month my husband and I bought a car in cold hard cash. As a young couple, it was our first big purchase and a very stressful one.

The Background

For the holidays last year we decided to skip the gifts and pay off all the random credit cards that we had been ignoring. Once we were debt-free, my husband and I started to save money as our New Year’s Resolution.

We tracked every penny we spent in a nice little excel spread sheet. Eventually our drive-thru breakfast and Chinese take-out habits had stopped and we ate a lot of pasta dinners.

Our Goal

In May he started a new job with a long commute. His beat-up car was getting the job done but then the summer heat really kicked in and his lack of air conditioning made the 45-minute drive on black leather seats unbearable.

At this point, we had about $10,000 saved. After much research, we decided the best thing for us was to buy used, but we didn’t want to spend all of our savings in one place. We agreed on of a budget of $6,000 total off the lot, and so the hunt began…

We paid cash for our car!Our Purchase

After about two dozen used car lots, half a dozen pushy salesmen and one potential buy (the car was mysteriously “sold” when we asked for the car facts), we found her in one of those free used car magazines at our grocery store.

The next day we went to take a look, even though the dealership was closed for Memorial Day weekend. Our little gem was in a packed lot outside of an auto body shop and boy, she was a beauty. A blue 2002 Volkswagen Jetta with 70,000 miles.  Her price tag: $6,000.

After a week of bargaining, we got her for $6,000 including taxes, fees and we even got them to throw in a 90-day warranty.

What We Gained

I was grateful we found her. I was starting to get discouraged and our 6 grand seemed like pennies in the overwhelming world of car shopping. But we stood our ground, hit the pavement and didn’t let anyone talk us into anything we weren’t comfortable with.

Christina, 23, and Michael, 25, live in New Jersey, have been married for two years and are expecting their first child in September.

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  • Ira says:

    A Volkswagen Jetta is a great car, even a used one. Congrats on paying off your credit card bills and saving the money to pay cash for your “new” car. Your sacrifice will pay off. Good Luck!

    p.s. I like the blue.

  • Carrie says:

    Good for the two of you!!! What a nice car, congratulations on your accomplishment!

  • Heather Tenney says:

    Congratulations! We’ve paid cash for cars for several years now–it feels totally different driving that paid for car! Enjoy the Jetta–my dad had one for work–put 100,000 miles on it and then gave it to my brother, who has put another 60,000 miles on it while he delivers pizzas as he pays off his debt. Car still runs great!

  • Tahirah says:

    Yay! I’m excited for you two. Congratulations and keep up the good work, it is an encouragement to bear witness to this blessing.

  • Jaclyn Rubly says:

    It feels great paying 100% cash for a car. It’s also great because now you won’t have payments to worry about making. My husband and I in 2008 traded our fully paid for (in mint condition) 1998 Ford Taurus for an SUV and well, behold… jobless 6 months later. We ended up giving it up and lost the SUV.

    Oh, love your blog by the way. Beautifully designed 🙂


  • Barbara says:

    Great job on paying all the credit cards & saving up! That is so awesome!!! 🙂 And by the way, the car is a beauty & a beautiful shade of blue.

  • Linda says:

    Congrats! That is absolutely wonderful!

  • Alison says:

    Congratulations! I’m glad you were able to find exactly what you were looking for and didn’t have to budge from your set amount. Enjoy your beautiful blue car.

  • Courtney says:

    Congrats, that’s great!

  • chris says:

    Congratulations! Great story, very similar to what we did this spring, only we had to get a van since we are still moving kids in and out of the dorm. I think you got a good deal, and hope the car lasts a long time for you.

  • Carrie says:

    Wow! Congratulations on multiple jobs well done (cutting the fat, paying off debt, saving the cash, sticking to your budget AND getting the car!!). It’s so encouraging to hear stories like this!

  • Jen says:

    What a great thing to do at such a young age! When my husband and I purchased our first new car after getting married 7 years ago, we didn’t even consider saving up and paying cash. In all fairness though, we did pay off that loan in less than a year (that was easier to do when we were both working full time before we had kids). 3 kids later, we just bought a brand new minivan for cash. 🙂 It was a great feeling!

  • Beth says:

    Congrats, Christina! We’re saving to pay cash for our next vehicle right now. We need to upgrade to a larger vehicle as our plan is to have one more child and our current car will be a very tight squeeze with car seats. Since my husband just received a raise, we’re living off of the old income and saving the difference. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Mary Ann says:

    Congratulations! We’re saving now to buy our next car in cash. I can’t wait for our dream to become a reality!

  • AmyLauren says:

    I *LOVE* your new-to-you car! I love Jettas, especially that design/model. I don’t like the new ones as much. Plus it was a great find for that price and with so few miles on it :). Congratulations on being able to purchase it with cash too, so as not going into debt!!! Awesome!!!

  • Sandra says:

    Good deal! I wish I was that wise in my twenties.

  • Aimee - AR says:

    Congratulations, Christina!!! She IS a beauty! I’ve always loved the Volkswagen Jettas – very cute.

    And, kudos to you and your husband for starting fiscal responsibility so early in your marriage. Congratulations on your first child – you’re in for a wonderful blessing as a parent!

  • Wow-thanks for the encouragement…we are off to search for our first car that we will be paying cash for. We usually buy new and then pay them off fast but after taking Dave Ramsey’s course, we are going to buy a used car.

    The car you found is really lovely!

  • Claire says:

    Wonderful! This is so encouraging!

  • Elizabeth says:

    We bought my husband’s new-to-us Volvo with cash 3 years ago. The one thing I would caution people out of our experience, is to not use any of your emergency fund for the car. We broke into ours, and then I lost my job. It has taken me 3 years to get our emergency fund built back up– I wish we had paid cash for the part we had and financed the rest and just paid it off fast. It is hard to save ON TOP of the emergency fund, retirement fund, 529 funds, etc. I make a “car payment” to myself each month now, so that we can pay cash for at least a good chunk of the next car.

  • Trixie says:

    Awesome! My husband and I did this last year — it’s such a wonderful feeling!!

  • Lynn Oyama says:

    Thank you for the awesome, encouraging story! We are on a five year journey on paying everything off (except the mortgage) and then the mortgage after that. These kind of stories give me the encouragement I need! Congratulations!

  • T says:

    Good job! My name is Tina and my DH is Michael too! LOL! We are working to pay off his old debt(about $20,000). It is very stressful(i.e his family incurred the debt before we ever knew each other, but has never offered to help out with it) but I know we can do it! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Jenny B. says:

    Congratulations! What a beautiful purchase and what a great price!! I love VW’s…they are good cars, but usually come at quite a price. Thanks for sharing your financial victory and your great find! 🙂

  • Heather says:

    Congratulations! My $6,000 new-to-me jewel is now 11 years. I hope yours lasts a long time.

  • Chad says:

    If its a TDI Jetta – HOLY CONGRATS! If its a 4 cylinder 2.0L Jetta, congrats 😛

    TDI would get about 35-45mpg with reports of over 50.
    2.0L is lucky to get 25

    Having owned both, they are all around great cars but I currently own the TDI and having the extra gas money lying around is 😀

  • Anitra says:

    A Jetta is a great car, but I do want to warn you – when something breaks, the parts can get expensive. Make sure you budget to put away some money towards car maintenance/repairs each month. If you don’t use it, great! Roll it over to the next month.

    Also, it says you’re expecting your first child soon. If at all possible, TEST OUT car seats before you buy to make sure they will fit in the backseat comfortably. Rear-facing car seats take up a lot of room.

  • Crystal says:

    Congratulations! We owned a Jetta for 8 years and never had a single problem (just regular maintenance). You can even fit 3 carseats in the back of a Jetta – it’s a tight fit & once they are latched in, I wouldn’t recommend moving them, but it can be done 🙂

    • Karen says:

      @Crystal, I’ve never been able to get 3 car seats in the back of my Jetta. But I’ve only tried with 3 booster seats. I just have an infant seat & booster right now. I love my Jetta, but I do agree with the other commenter too that said to put money aside for repairs. . mine thankfully doesn’t have stuff go bad in it much but when it does it is costly. mine is a 2000 jetta.

  • Jen says:

    Truely impressive for your ages! If you can keep up that mentality you will have a smooth financial future. Keep it up and stay focused!

  • I love that you guys were able to pay cash, and didn’t get tempted to use the money as a down-payment for something more expensive.

    By the way, your new car is beautiful!

  • k and b's mom says:

    Not to rain on your parade – but once upon a time I had a Jetta, a black Jetta (2001) and the thing was a money pit, although I loved it. I had a 1,000 repair bill about every three months or so. I traded it in when it had 60,000 miles because it was cheaper to have a car payment. There are known problems that go wrong and they don’t issue a recall and the best part if a tail light goes out your car locks up and won’t start and there is no way to override it. I had to have mine towed for a tail light out b/c I had no clue why it wouldn’t start. Good luck and start saving for many repairs – now I have a suburu!

  • k and b's mom says:

    I just looked it up and this is the part that breaks about every 20,000 – catalytic converter – and it costs about $500 – but that was many years ago so it’s probably more. And you have to take it to the dealer for an oil change b/c the drive in places can’t do it and then there are the foreign parts….. the nightmare is coming back. The parts break off easily too so becareful – a plastic part from the sunroof fell on my head one day while I was driving.

    • Laura says:

      I have a Ford Freestyle and was shocked when the drive-in oil change place couldn’t change the transmission fluid. Said Ford requires a special tool. I had to pay about $200 more. Hmph!

  • k and b's mom says:

    Sorry to keep raining on your parade – did they tell you that you have to put in the better gas? I think it’s 91 – but they only sell 93 around here. Man those money pit nightmares are rushing back!

  • Laura says:

    Good for you, Christina! You are on the right path at a young age. You’ll make great parents! All the best!

  • kara says:

    Congratulations!! My husband and I purchased a car for him using cash only this week also! Isn’t it such a great feeling? To be handed the keys and the title the same day? It’s such a great feeling of blessing and accomplishment rather than wondering how that bill is going to work in the monthly budget!

  • KIM says:

    Thanks, I love these cash only, debt free testimonials! They are very inspirational! Congrats!

  • Carrie P. says:

    Great pick and way to be disciplined! We also pay cash for our cars now. Once you have no car payment…you just can’t go back! My husband has an 03 VW GTI. One piece of advice he offers for anyone who buys a VW: you have to be meticulous about maintenance. Keep to the exact schedule in the car manual. He is a car geek. His sister has the same exact VW as you-color and all!

  • Renee says:

    Wow, that’s awesome! Thank you for sharing this great story! We buy all our cars in cash, and my dad fixes them all up. We save so much money by doing all the repairs ourselves. It’s great to see that you paid cash and got a great deal! Enjoy your beautiful “new” car! 🙂

  • Kim says:

    What a great story! We had a similar experience – after we closed on a home last fall,we got the $8,000 first-time home buyers “rebate”… my husband’s car sounds just like yours, 22 years old, no a/c and not going to last much longer! We started looking for a mini-van since our other (paid for with cash) car is a small 4-door sedan and our children are growing rapidly. After much diligence we found one for $6,ooo through a private seller. My husband tells people it was the ultimate coupon deal. We bought a home and got a new dining room set, bedroom furniture, and a 2002 Honda Odessey in excellent condition for free!

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