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We Paid Cash :: A New Vacuum

We paid cash!

A testimony by Crystal from A Simple Heart for Home

A few months ago I was vacuuming our couch when it suddenly shut off. I guess I had sucked up one too many Cheerios and after my husband’s multiple attempts to fix it, we found that our vacuum had finally bit the dust.

We are in the process of building a new home, and with five small children and brand-new carpets, a good vacuum is a necessity. I did some research and finally decided on the Shark Navigator. The $199 retail price didn’t fit into my budget, though, so I knew I needed to start saving.

How We Did It

We have a coin-counting jar we keep on top of my dryer. When I find change in my husband’s pockets, it goes in the jar. It didn’t have very much in it at the time, but I went through the house and found all our little coin collections — the container in the kitchen, a piggy bank in our bedroom — and I dumped it all in that jar.

The total started rising and it was named my “Vacuum Fund”. It was so motivating to see the amount with just adding in the change from around our house!

It was also during this time that my husband and I decided to use cash only. We rarely used credit cards, but we were debit-card-dependent and it had become too easy for us to just swipe that card and not think about the money that was leaving our bank account.

We started paying cash for groceries, gas and spending money and wrote checks for everything else. If we ran out of cash, we had to stop spending until payday.

Now that we were using cash, my husband was coming home with handfuls of coins everyday and my vacuum fund doubled in a month!

My kids were even excited about it and I caught them a few times dumping their piggy banks into my change jar. I told them not to worry about it but they wanted to help. It became a family project.

It was hard to be patient. I had a huge pity party the day the hamster cage was knocked over and there was bedding and hamster food all over the floor. My old vacuum just pushed it around and I found myself on my hands and knees picking it out of the carpet. But I knew that the sacrifice of a few more weeks in a dirty house would all be worth it when I finally met my goal.

The day finally came and my jar was full. I took it to our bank’s coin counter and walked out with $191.03 in cash! I was able to find my vacuum at a discount and I had a 20% off coupon making it only $143!

I have to admit, until now I didn’t think much of a penny, but now I’ve seen that every little bit counts.

Crystal is happily vacuuming after her husband and their five children ages 7, 5, 3, 2 and 4 months. Check out her new blog, A Simple Heart for Home.

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

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  • Shannon says:

    I love these We Paid Cash articles! After looking at one too many high credit card statements, I have been moving toward paying cash.

    What sweet children to add their piggy bank money! Goes to show you that an entire family can get excited over a financial goal.

  • Sharon says:

    I love the We Paid Cash series also! The stories are very inspiring. Recently, I’ve begun to collect all our coins each month and take them to a Coinstar where I can get an Amazon gift card with the change. It adds up so fast and it really helps.

  • Jason says:

    While I agree that paying cash may feel good because you didn’t incur “debt” to buy something, there are advantages to using credit cards – if you use them wisely, and basically not charge anything that you won’t be able to pay off in full the next month. My wife and I have accumulated over $700 in Cash Back rewards from our Chase card and we can often use these rewards to buy merchandise and restaurant gift cards at a discount on the Chase website, effectively double-dipping on the benefit. All the while, we have never once carried a balance. So all I am saying is that credit cards are not NECESSARILY inherently evil!

    • Crystal L. says:

      It may not be inherently evil, but it is certainly laced with temptation. It’s wonderful that your wife and you are able to use cards in such a rewarding way, however as a recovering debt-a-holic once I swipe I start going down a slippery slope. It’s like offering chocolate to someone strictly on a vegan diet – six months from now, they’re gonna be 40 lbs overweight and miserable. I think that’s why a lot of people enjoy these we paid with cash series – we were not as blessed as others with our resolve not to spend, spend and it’s nice to empathize with those who share our struggles.

  • jen b says:

    We bought a Shark Navigator last summer to replace our old vaccuum. We used money made from our annual garage sale to do buy it and a new Kodak printer (sold the old working vaccuum and printer as part of the garage sale). We found the vaccuum for the best price at Costco, and then 1 week later their new coupon book had a $30 off coupon for it, so I took my receipt and coupon back to the store and they gave me a price adjustment! It felt like we were getting it for free considering all it cost us was the time to declutter, set up and hold the garage sale 🙂 By the way, I LOVE that vaccuum

  • Jamie says:

    I LOVE my Shark Navigator!! It’s Mommy’s toy!!hahaha It is the best investment along with my Shark Steam Mop–LOVE SHARK!! Good for you!!

    • Debbie says:

      Great story! We save our coins in a jar and when it is filled to the top, we cash it in and use that for our gas and food money on vacation. It always seems to time just right — when it’s filled up, it’s vacation time!

      Also LOVE my Shark Navigator. Best vac I’ve ever had and I’ve had Kirby and Rainbow in the past as well as $100 Hoovers and Dirt Devils. Got mine for my birthday last year and yes, hubby paid cash for it AND waited until it was on sale AND used a coupon! He’s such a good boy! When he wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas, the Shark Steam Mop was at the top of my list. Love them both!!

  • Kara says:

    I LOVE this series as well. It was one of these articles that made me decide to pay cash for my next vehicle, and I’m not moving on it. We have gone strictly to cash for Dh’s hair cuts, grocery and gas. When its gone, its gone. Have to wait till payday.

  • dani says:

    I love the “We Paid Cash” posts! Thanks for showing us how simple and fun saving can be with the right attitude!

  • Amy says:

    Wow, I know very few people that would be willing to go weeks without a vacuum. That is dedication – good for you! Well done!

  • Busy Mama says:

    Love the series, too! But, truth be told, I think the mess from the overturned hamster cage would have broken my resolve. Or, at the very least, I would have borrowed a vacuum!

  • Lee says:

    having been a hamster mommy myself the cage would have been the end of the line for me. This year when our vacuum went I was very fortunate to have my mother in law gift us the money for a new one. She knows we are using every last penny to get out of debt.

  • Rachel says:

    I am also shopping for a vacuum. How is the Shark Navigator working for you?

    • Sarah says:

      I got mine soon after they came out, so I’ve had it for about a year. I LOVE it! It picks up a lot, you don’t have to worry about different height settings, it has a hard floor setting where the bristles don’t move. I also really like the pet attachment (though we don’t have pets) for stairs and furniture- it does a great job. I also like the long cord. If I plug in at a good place, I can get to most of the house without switching outlets. The only downside I’ve found is that it has a wide body, so if you have many short things to vacuum under (ex. we have a papasan), it doesn’t get it- you’ll have to move the item or just forego doing that section (my default! :)). As far as price, I agree that Costco has the best price I’ve seen- wish they carried it when I was looking for one! Hope this helps. 🙂

  • marney says:

    To save wear and tear on my vaccuum I use an old-fashioned carpet sweeper for small pickups. Works great on the kitty litter my cats seem to track all over the house!

    • Laura says:

      I looked at one of those once and was shocked that they were over $100! I would’ve loved to have one, too, for small jobs and to introduce my children to vacuuming. (They are older now & able to handle the regular vacuum.)

  • Rachel says:

    I’d also love to know if you are enjoying your new vacuum! I need a new one too! {I also need to start saving so I can pay with cold, hard cash!}

    • Louann says:

      Start looking into the Hoover WindTunnel T-series. They have a few different models, but the Pet Rewind is what I ended up deciding on, and I don’t know how I lived without it. I read reviews saying it picks up more than Dyson models that cost 3 times as much. It supposedly never loses suction. One of the best parts is the cord that rewinds into it for storage. And my model has a handle that folds down for storage too. All the attachments are On Board. Most powerful vacuum I’ve ever owned, it picks up dirt you can’t even see on the rugs.
      I got mine from Home Depot for less than $150. Hoover often has deals if you order directly from them, and you can find out about them on their facebook. I saved more money shopping thru Shortcuts though, which was at 6% during the holidays.

  • Shantique says:

    I love this series too. I have not moved to an all cash life (it goes against my years of training in the financial services industry!!). I did, however decide to ditch the debit card for “personal money” Hubby and I get paid every two weeks, but opposite of each other, so we have money coming in weekly, which really helps us budget. We are each given “blow money”. This is for any lunches, snacks coffee etc we want to buy for the week. Once it’s gone, it’s gone (this is esp important for him, because he will just keep spending without knowing if there is money!!). I have found that I load my Starbucks card (to get all the benefits) with $20 and I usually have the rest left at the end of the week. I’ve decided to save up for a new laptop and for the first time ever, I will WAIT until I have sufficient funds in cash to buy it.

  • I love the Shark, too. However, when I went home for Christmas my mom let me try out her Hoover Hard Wood vaccum/mop. I LOVED it so much that it is now on my wish list. 🙂

    Paying cash is great. The credits are what get people into trouble! Its so much harder to hand over cash vs. swiping a credit card! Its a mind thing!

    The Frugal Free Gal

  • photojenic says:

    Loving this series too! Please keep it up, it’s very inspiring. I’ve had a similar experience, except with our AC during blistering hot Texas summers. Ooof!

  • Gaby says:

    I love this series too! My boyfriend and I started a “fun fund” so we always have cash on hand if we ever want to go on a trip or have a nice dinner. This is in addition to our emergency funds. We put in $1 bills and spare change and also money from recycling. In just two months, we’ve been able to collect over $600! Read more about it at:

    • Stephanie says:

      My husband and I also save all our change and it really adds up. We paid for our hotel stay last summer at the beach for 3 nights with that change! $600 in 2 months WOW that is impressive on your part!!

  • Ginger says:

    Five years ago, I paid $30 for a used Hoover off of Craigslist from a guy whose vacuum shop went out of business. It’s a great vacuum and is still going strong. I don’t buy undergarments or mattresses used, but pretty much everything else.

  • What an awesome post! Very motivating! We have been doing something similar here lately. We have been watching every single purchase. Thanks for sharing!

  • Sakura says:

    I purchased a Shark Navigator last year when Target had them on sale with an additional gift card. I loved it for the first 6 months, but then it stopped sucking up everything. I was very sad. For Christmas I purchased a Dyson Animal, so I no longer use the Navigator. We used giftcards that my husband had earned over the course of 3 months from work. Hopefully your Shark will have a longer life than mine. I really did love it while it worked.

  • grammy says:

    change jars come in very handy. we used ours recently on emergency vet bills, something you just can’t budget for.

    • Shantique says:

      All the spare change I get (including what I will happily pick up from the ground!) goes into my kids piggy banks. When they r all overflowing I bring them to get cash which I deposit into their college funds. Usually twice a year I get $300 out of those piggys.

  • Amy says:

    To Jason’s comment above, studies have been done on people, their spending habits, and the pain centers of the brain. When people use credit cards, the pain centers of the brain are not activated (according to the study). People quickly pull out credit cards and are more inclined to spend because there is no immediate consequence. When people pay with cash, the pain centers of the brain are actually activated and they hesitate, putting more thought and decision into purchases (and ultimately spend less money overall). Using credit cards puts you in a position to over spend and most people are not resistant to that pull every time.
    Additionally, (as Dave Ramsey has pointed out), people that build wealth and are truly successful financially didn’t do it with credit card reward programs. Dave Ramsey has interiewed thousands of people who have built wealth, and not one says they got anywhere on credit card points or rewards.
    Credit card companies are in it to take your money, so any “rewards” they are offering is just incentive to build the spending habit. They are operating on the premise that if you use a credit card enough (even if to buy things you intend to pay off each month), eventually you will use it for other things. That’s why using credit cards is simply a bad habit. The rewards do not outweigh the risks, nor do they encourage good financial habits.

  • Crystal says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my story! I do love my Shark. It had everything I was looking for.

  • Rachel says:

    Loved reading your story. Last year we really needed another bookcase. I homeschool and we were running out of room for our books. We had been saving our change for nearly two years without much thought. One day I counted it up and we had over $250!!!! I was able to buy a solid wood Amish made book case.

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