A testimony from Carrie from Natural Moms Talk Radio
Today we drove our “new to us” Ford Expedition (with room for eight passengers) off the lot. We’ve been waiting for this day for over two years and we’re so excited that we paid cash for it!
You see, we have six children and ever since our youngest was born 16 months ago, we have not fit into my beloved Toyota Sienna minivan. This means that when we went somewhere as a family, we had to take two cars–a major inconvenience.
During my pregnancy with our sixth, we saved all the cash we could, and thought we would be able to buy a bigger car by the time baby was a few months old. Unfortunately, the tax man came knocking that year, and we wiped out every cent of our savings.
My husband and I are both self-employed, but with several little deductions we weren’t expecting to owe much in taxes. Sadly, we miscalculated and ended up having to pay a lot more than we were expecting. However, we had a very good year! While on the one hand we were thankful that we were able to pay our taxes by stroking a check to Uncle Sam, we were so disappointed not to be getting our larger car anytime soon.
We were back at zero. It was discouraging at first.
My husband and I have weekly budget meetings, so we hunkered down and started thinking of all the different ways we could cut spending and get our savings back up.
Here’s how we rebuilt our savings:
- Had a yard sale.
- Sold a ton of stuff on Craigslist.
- I reduced the grocery budget by: couponing, shopping at ALDI twice a month instead of weekly, and eating less meat.
- We limited eating out to once a month, and only where kids eat free.
- For entertainment we did inexpensive stuff like: stay at home movie night with old fashioned popcorn, visited the library a lot, and played board games.
- Made lattes at home.
- Stopped spending on clothing unless it was half price day at the thrift store.
- Sold a ton of books on Amazon.com.
- Started eBaying again — even the kids got in on it and made money selling old toys!
My husband and I are so relieved to have a car that fits everyone in our family and no debt! In fact, once we sell our Sienna, we’ll have a nice sized “car savings” account again.
Financial Peace University graduates, we ascribe to Dave Ramsey’s “How to Drive a New Car with No Debt” plan. We’ll continue to put money aside each month, and buy a newer large family vehicle every six months or so, until we’re driving something with low miles. And who knows, in a few months we may need a nine-seater!
Carrie is a wife and homeschooling mom of six, a writer and reader of great books. She blogs about living more naturally at Natural Moms Talk Radio.
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