A testimony from Stephanie, who runs Lilybean
My husband and I have not used our credit cards in some time, but we were still debit card addicts and never realized how those little purchases made it difficult to make ends meet at the end of each month.
Several months ago, I began using coupons and following a couple of money saving, frugal-living blogs. Something that always drew my attention was the ability for people to pay cash for large purchases (a concept that still seemed very unattainable for us due to the lack of extra funds at the end of each month).
We had wanted a sectional couch for our downstairs ever since we moved in two years before, and I asked my husband if he would be up for the challenge of going debit card free, using only cash for all expenses to begin saving for a couch.
He was excited at the prospect and we went shopping for couches to celebrate! We tried out as many as we could that were $1,000 or less. We figured we could put aside $100 a month, so it would take us less than a year. We narrowed our choices and got to work at home saving money.
Here is what we did:
- Continued to coupon, made a shopping list, and stuck to it
- Filled envelopes labeled by category (gas, groceries, etc.) with cash for the month. We agreed that once the cash was gone, it was gone and debit cards were not an option
- Put our debit cards in our fireproof box to make sure we weren’t tempted to use them–this tactic helped the most!
- Sold items on Craigslist — a large chair that we never sat in and would clear space for the new couch (along with some additional odds and ends) and set this money aside for the couch
- Cooked large quantities of dinner and used the leftovers for lunches to avoid eating out — shopping in bulk and only buying meat on sale helped with this
- I upped my Etsy Store presence to bring in some additional cash flow — I would take a slice of sales and put them toward the couch.
We had been saving for four months when my husband emailed me a link from Craigslist he spotted while posting an item to sell — it was the exact sectional we wanted and it was listed for less than 1/3 of the cost of new. It also included the ottoman which we had not planned on buying due to the additional expense!
We took a look and it was spotless, well taken care of in a pet and smoke-free home, and barely used.
We happily gave them the money we had been saving and used the extra for the hauling cost. It felt like such an accomplishment to snuggle and watch a movie as a family on a sectional couch that was paid in full!
Stephanie Van Horn is a wife, mom to an infant daughter and chocolate lab, and an elementary teacher. She lives in Colorado where the best part of waking up is the mountain view. In her occasional free time, she runs a baby boutique, Lilybean, named after her daughter.
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