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We Paid Cash! :: A Second Car

We paid cash!

A testimony from Liz at e squared.

When my husband and I got married in 2005, he had never been in any kind of debt. He was working his way through college and paying his school bills without the use of student loans.

While he had some savings and some mutual funds, I had a small car loan, $11,000 in student loans and no savings. I sometimes joked that he brought all the assets into our marriage, while all I brought were liabilities!

We only had one car, and although I would have loved to buy a second one, we made the decision to make do with one car until we could afford to pay cash for a second car. This meant paying off the loans I currently had — which were driving my previously debt-free husband crazy! — before we could even start saving for another car. Back then, it seemed like quite an impossible goal.

How We Did It

  • The first 18 months of our marriage were spent just making ends meet. My husband’s paychecks covered his school bills, and we lived on my income as a medical secretary. We lived in an old trailer, which kept our rent very low. We clipped coupons and stuck to our grocery budget. I was often motivated by my husband’s offer of a treat at Sonic if I stayed at least $5 under budget that week – that was a great incentive not to add things we didn’t really need to my shopping cart!
  • After my husband graduated in May 2007 and began his career, the temptation was great to upgrade our lifestyle a bit with the added income and move into a nicer apartment. However, we stayed in our trailer and all our extra money went toward my student loans. By doing this, we were able to pay them off in less than one year!
  • In August 2008, we began looking into purchasing a home. We made it our goal to keep our mortgage and other “necessity” expenses within my husband’s income, so that much of my income could be saved.
  • During this entire time, we have tried to live frugally to save as much as possible. At times, this was really difficult. We often felt left out having to turn down invitations from our friends who ate out frequently. We made do with only having one car, and while I’m thankful we were able to do this, it didn’t come without frustrations.

The Result

new carIn July 2010, we finally had enough saved to buy a used car, and after searching for a few months we were able to purchase a 2006 Ford Fusion for $8000.

We are both incredibly thankful for God’s grace and provision. I’ve learned much about patience, contentment and stewardship in the past five years. Although reluctant to this whole idea at first, I’m glad for the wisdom my husband had financially and so thankful to not have a car payment!

Married for five years, Eric and Liz live in Madison, WI. Eric works in retail management while Liz works from home as a medical transcriptionist and does her best to keep their blog, e squared, updated.

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

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  • Angie says:

    I love this series! My hubby and I just started our Total Money Makeover and these stories are going to help me “keep the faith” and see what will happen as we go thru this process. We, too, are living in a trailer house until we can afford to pay cash for our own home. It’s going to be totally worth it. Thanks for sharing this story!

  • Christy says:

    I feel your pain about feeling left out. When we first got married, we had trouble making friends with other young, married couples because we couldn’t afford to go out to eat, movies, weekends away with them. Now we have a great group of friends, but often are left out of activities b/c we dont’ want to pay an arm and a leg for a sitter and possibly dinner out!

  • Emily says:

    I went to Junior High and High School with Liz 🙂 Congrats guys! Way to go!!! We’re saving for a new car now and praying that my husbands 1991 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 225K plus miles on it doesn’t die in the meantime 🙂

  • great job! we just paid cash for a second car too. it’s a great feeling but it sure was hard going a year and a half with only 1 car.

  • Priscilla says:

    I would like to know more about the medical transcriptionist position. How did you get started? I am looking to contribute to our budget by working from home. Are there websites you can direct me to? Thank you!!

    • Nicole says:

      I too am interested in medical transcription. I’ve worked at hospitals as a CNA for the past 5 yrs (taking the last 1.5 to stay home with my kiddos!) and am interested in being a transcriptionist as a career. I’m having trouble finding out exactly where the programs are. Thank you for any information you can give me about the schooling process.

    • Liz says:

      Hi Sarah and Priscilla! About the transcription, I took some medical terminology classes in college as well as a basic transcription course so I had a bit of background in it. After working some clerical positions in a hospital and clinic, I decided to look more seriously into transcription and knew I’d need more training. It was somewhat overwhelming when I started looking into training courses – there are a lot of scams out there! The AHDI has a list of approved training programs on their web site here:

      I ended up choosing Career Step and was pleased with the training. You work at your own pace, which is nice. It is a lot of hard work, but it ended up being worth it for me, as I love what I do now! Please feel free to email me at if you have any questions at all. It’s not a career that’s for everyone, but I love it!

      • Kathy says:

        I second Liz. I also went to Career Step while working full-time, pregnant with my daughter and then after she was born. I’ve been working from home as an MT ever since and really love it. The industry has its challenges and I’m not getting rich, but it’s a great way to stay at home and Career Step is a very solid and respected program

  • Hannah says:

    Great story! We are saving to pay cash for a newer car also. We have two cars right now, but mine is over 20 years old and on it’s last legs. Thanks for the inspirational story!

  • Kim N. says:

    This is so inspiring! We are currently saving to purchase a larger vehicle with cash. We are hoping to have another child and can’t make 3 car seats work in the back of our Toyota 4Runner. It’s hard to save but we are working hard to save every penny! Thanks for sharing your story and thank you Crystal for sharing the story of buying your home with cash. It really helps me to believe we can do it too! 🙂

  • Camille says:

    Congrats! We are currently saving up to replace our 11 year old van. It’s still kicking, but we know it will need to be replaced soon. It’s also our only vehicle. It is tough b/c I”m home with our 2 kids and I can’t go do the stuff my other friends do (storytimes, play groups, etc), but it’s worth the sacrifice to pay cash for a new to us car soon.

  • Chelsea says:

    What a great story! My husband and I are currently trying to make ends meet as I quit working to stay at home with our first baby. I keep telling myself- we just have to do this through this one last semester of school, then God-willing his career will take off… once it does… our goal is to save for a new-to-us car. But for now, it’s not a priority, just something we look forward to. 🙂

  • Ryan DeLeon says:

    My wife and I drove my dads 97 Chevy Astro van without A/C in the middle of summer while we saved up to pay cash for a car. It was quite the motivator!

  • Janine says:

    Great job!!! We are paying for our wedding, so I know how it can be!!

  • Ginger says:

    Wonderful! Inspirational! I’ve got a huge smile plastered across my face. I love that you continued to live in the old trailer, even though you could have afforded to move up in lifestyle (and I’m sure very much wanted to). I don’t know if you’re a follower of Dave Ramsey or not, but this is exactly what he’s talking about when he says you’ve got to sacrifice to win.

    P.S. I’m a medical transcriptionist too. 🙂

  • Rosie says:

    We’re working on saving up cash for our 2nd car too! We’re debt free and have been a 1 car family for our whole almost 7 year marriage (my husband just finished grad school about a year and a half ago). We DESPERATLY want a van (can’t fit a 3rd child in the back of an Elantra!). Every purchase decision is a question of “do we need this?” and reminding myself how much I want a van. Hopefully we’ll be buying one this summer!

    • Allison V. says:

      Ah, three kids in a car! I’m finally getting my van this tax season, two years after our third child was born! You never know, depending on the ages and types of car seats, you might be able to do it! We had two toddler seats and the infant seat/base in the back of a Honda Civic hatchback (that’s got 2 doors, not 4), and I’ve been driving an Olds Aurora for two years with all three in their bigger seats now. My 2-yr-old is still rear-facing, and I’m pretty sure his seat wouldn’t fit if I turned it around. Don’t know how the Elantra compares in size, but you might be able to swing it. Good luck, I know how you feel!

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