Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cash Versus Credit


We live on a tight budget. Duh...I KNOW. But I just felt like I needed to start with that little reminder. Because when my washing machine started to make the spinning noise but wasn't really moving....I jimmied it up to get it to spin and continued to wash my clothes. And when it decided to fill and fill and fill and just never stop, flooding my basement and my new master suite (that sounds fancy...but it's just a converted rec room) I cleaned up the mess and learned to stand over it and manually stop it every time so I could continue to wash our clothes.

These are just the things you do when money is tight and you still have dirty underwear to wash.

But when my husband decided to try and "fix" it and actually brought about it's final demise, I knew we needed to purchase a new one.

So I stalled for about a week and searched Craigslist for a used one. And then I took a trip to the laundromat. I used all eleven top-loading machines in the place, wasted four hours twiddling my thumbs, and spent $40. Then I went to Sears and picked out the best front loader set I could find on sale and went home to talk it over with Chris.

We thought our only option was credit. We knew better, but in desperation and our culturally trained mentality of "give it to me NOW", that's what we concluded. I wanted a front loader that would save us on electricity and water and wash twice as many clothes. But then, of course, I wanted my dryer to match. So we thought we'd charge it on a no-interest, no-payments for 12 months card. Sounds like a great deal, right?

But we both felt sick about it.

We spent a good 48 hours trying to justify it before actually committing.

"We can pay it off before the 12 months is up and have a washer RIGHT NOW!"

"Don't I deserve a nice one? I mean, geez, I do a ton of laundry."

"You know, our last Kenmore lasted 14 years. We need new so we don't have to repair an older one."

"It's 40 percent off, free delivery, and a PUD rebate but the sale ends in two days. We need to do it NOW!"

But in the back of my mind was this...

"Who knows what the future holds. What if something happens and we can't pay it off in 12 months?"

"I don't want the pressure of knowing I have a payment every month."

"How can I really enjoy it, knowing that we don't really own it."

So finally, we reminded ourselves that debt is presuming on an uncertain future. There's no guarantee that we'll have the money to make the payment later. And with that, we chose cash-only or to do without.

We decided to take a deeper look at our finances. We pulled a little bit of money from here, and little bit from there, sold some stuff we didn't need, decided to put off some things that could wait till later and lo and behold....we had managed to come up with enough to buy the matching set for cash.

The money was there the whole time, we just had to use a bit of creativity and patience.

Living on a cash-only system can be inconvenient, I admit. But I can't tell you how good it feels to know that there are no strings attached. And when my beautiful new babies are delivered on Monday they'll be mine.....all mine.

29 comments:

~Sara said...

Good for you. What an inspiring story. It can be so easy to jump into credit because we want something right NOW. You should feel very proud of yourselves!

Sharon said...

That is great! Good for you!

I feel your pain!
I just bought a used Kenmore dryer and my washer is acting up so it will need replaced soon too. I have to stand over mine when it spins because it gets off balance. I would love to have a front load washer!

Anonymous said...

You made the right decision! Well done. -Franci

Rita said...

What a great reminder! My husband and I are finding this cash only thing to have it's own certain challenges we didn't anticipate. BUT, it does make you feel in charge of your own future. And, by the way, I have a front loading Kenmore (the cheapest one from 6 years ago) and I love love love it. Congrats on yours!!

Sheila said...

Wow, I'm impressed! What a great choice you made, and I admire the way you and your husband worked it out together.

Ann said...

I am so happy that yall were able to find the cash and not have to do the credit thing. Those credit cards will get you every time and no matter what kinds of promises theses companies make they are only looking out for number 1, themselves.
I hope you enjoy your new washer and dryer, I am sure it will make things easier on you and save you money in the long run :)

Julie said...

Well this made me smile this morning. Good on you both for being so committed and creative. I'm inspired at 7:50 AM on a Sunday - that's saying something.

Great story.

Camille said...

Yea for you!! It is so hard sometimes to make a tight budget work and it gets tiring to have to try and find the cash for something that really is a necessity. Congrats!

Liz said...

amen sister! the new washer may even be so fascinating that some of the kids might like doing laundry for you until the "newness" wears off!

Trish said...

Boy do I hear ya sister!
DH and I have been on the Dave Ramsey plan for 22 months now. 12 more to go till we're debt free!
And I have a version of that conversation with myself at least twice a week over my van.
But still I press on....

Way to go! Thanks for the inspiration to keep at it.

karen said...

Congratulations!! You are going to love your new washer! Lots of people ask me about using the home made laundry soap in it. I just throw it in the washer, not the dispenser. And I've had no problems. And it's made such a huge difference in the amount of water we use, and my clothes are so clean. You will love it.

ruthieredneck said...

Fantastic! It is a testament to your determination and sheer will-power. Yep, credit is easy in the beginning until later it jumps up and knocks you on the head.

Congrats on a job well done and let us know how the new set works out. Front-loaders...I'll have them some day too!

Melissa and Jeff said...

We are going through the exact same thing! Our clutch went out on a 10 year old unit. Went to Home Depot and - while it went against our nature- we got the additional 10% off the unit by signing up for one of their cards. On the way home, we went by the bank and pulled out the cash for the bill as soon as it gets here and stashed it away. After rebates and all, a $699 front load 4.0 cuft GE will be ours for $366.00 A savings of 48% or so.

halfdozendaily said...

Good stuff!! We've been in dire need of new furniture, with 4 kids, it's been used & abused. I saved for the last 6 months and just ordered a new couch and am going to buy a loveseat cover for our loveseat that's well loved, but still very usable, just needs to be prettied up!! I always feel better knowing what we own, we *OWN*.

$5 Dinner Mom said...

Proud of you! We are "switching off" the credit mentality and have gone all cash now too. Amazing how difficult, yet rewarding it really is!!! Thanks for being an inspiration!

Erin

Emily and Tom said...

We are a "cash only" family too. Most of my friends think I'm a bit crazy, but secretly I know they are jealous because we have virtually no debt. It is so nice to hear that other people are as frugal and tight (and smart) as we are!

SwapSavers said...

Great story--thanks for sharing. It reminds me of the this article I wrote
http://www.swapsavers.com/group/moneysavingarticles/forum/topics/top-5-reasons-i-love-cash-in

Crazy Daisy said...

wow. that is awesome and inspirational! My husband and I are working on lowering our dependence on credit. It IS just too easy. Thank you for the reminder to always look for the cash

Angie said...

I haave to say that we have in the past used the no interest payment system and thought we were being really smart. Thinking about it the way you put it(who knows what will come in the next 12 months) made me really think about it and the truth in that statement. We need a new couch but we will be using the old one until I can pay cash now. Thanks!

Amanda (The Healthy Frugal Home) said...

You are so right. Inspirational as usual.

After getting through at least one washing machine a year for about 5 years in a row we decided to rent and that worked really well as every time it broke down they came and fixed for no cost. We finally gave in and bought a brand new machine and kept the rental for £20 as a back up 'just in case'.

However, I'd do it your way every time now.

Anonymous said...

You had me nervous at the buy now pay it later route you looked like you were heading down with this story. Of course, you and your husband are financial whizzes and probably would have stayed focused and committed but I just don't like the idea of it and am happy to see you stay cash only.

What I am trying to say is good for you both for finding a way to make this work out so you still don't have a payment due. And enjoy the new appliances!!! I'm jealous.

Andrea

Sara said...

Thank you for the inspiration! We are also running a cash only house on the Dave Ramsey plan but have several years to be debt free. We aren't adding debt but sometimes it takes seeing posts like yours to remind us that it is possible to not add debt any longer!

Michelle said...

Wow. We have so been in that place - it is such a knee-jerk reaction to fall back on credit, isn't it? Even when you know better and work so hard... Great, great job to both of you! I know you will enjoy those babies so much more and have NO guilt when you use them - bad enough to have to do laundry - who needs GUILT when they have to do laundry?!

We are limping our dishwasher along. At least we have some warning and can save up now, plus that is much less expensive than a washer/dryer combo - I know because we replaced those over the last two years. We paid cash for each and they did not match for a year... on and on. But, in the end, we completely remodeled our laundry room, got our new wash and dryer and paid cash for all of it. But, it was worth it because even though it took 2 years and felt like it was without end, I love it and know that I don't owe a dime for it every time I use it.

Tracy said...

AMEN sister!!! This is so hard to remember but so true...thanks for the reminder.

Teeter said...

Thank you for this story. I am needing to cut some things and it is so hard to do.

Blakely said...

Way to go! We buy a bag of ice twice a week because the ice maker went out in our freezer could we get a new fridge, yes, but this one works except for the icemaker. So we will keep it. There is no way I'm going to charge my next fridge.

Jennifer said...

This is an inspiring story. Those little thoughts do tempt us don't they? Good for you being patient and finding a better way. We are nursing our washing machine along as well. Really don't want to buy a new one, when we also have a furnace, well pump, lawn mower, dryer and dishwasher on their lasts legs as well. Ugh! I have started an appliance replacement section to our savings account, but it isn't being built up fast enough.

Sera said...

Hey - this was very timely . want vs need . this is what our foks did in th 50' and 60 's . it worked for them it can work for us

Katy said...

Such a great story to remind the rest of us that it really can be done! We just have to get out of the "instant gratification-I need it now" mindset. Great blog!