How I Save... Vehicle Edition.

Two years ago we got rid of Bryan's two door Honda civic (that was paid for, ugh, bad, bad, bad decision) and bought a brand new SUV with all of the bells and whistles. It was pretty, it streamed music straight from my iPhone and it had a panoramic sunroof. Our parents (mainly my dad:)) told us that it was too expensive and too small. We didn't care, it was our money and we liked how fancy it was... our parents were RIGHT (always, ugh).
I loved it, but it was expensive and SMALL. About 6 months after we bought it, we decided it didn't have enough room (I was pregnant with Rhett at this point) and we needed something with a 3rd row. So we traded our VW Tiguan in for a pretty Mazda CX-9. We got it "barely" used and thought we were making a smart financial decision after making a very poor one and spending way too much money on a brand new SUV with all the bells and whistles.
We cut our car payment down $100/mo in that change a year and a half ago.

But after reevaluating our budget, talking about how much we were spending in gas and really wanting me to be able to stay home with the boys more we started talking about selling our SUV last fall.

We have a Nissan Sentra that my parents bought me right before we got married that Bryan had been driving. It gets great gas mileage. So we started throwing around the idea of getting rid of our SUV and me driving the car and getting Bryan something older to just drive back and forth to work.
This is a stock photo because it is winter and my car is covered in dirt. ha!
A few weeks passed and I was talking to a friend who mentioned that they had an old truck they were selling. It was a perfect fit. It's always scary buying a very used car from someone you don't know, so this was perfect. Our friends had been driving it for several years just around town and had no problems with it. We decided this was the decision we needed to make, Bryan sold our SUV on Autotrader pretty quickly and we basically broke even on it.

And then we paid cash for the truck.

We eliminated our car payment completely, cut down on our monthly gas bill and cut our car insurance almost in half. This has ended up saving us close to $500/mo.

This decision isn't a popular one or one that the "world" tells you to make. I struggled with pride at first, I loved my SUV, just like all the other moms in town drive. When I thought about it, and what it could mean for our budget and that we could live comfortable with me only working one night a week and staying home basically full-time with the boys, it was a very easy decision. Realistically all of the arguments I had had about needing extra room is silly. I even managed to get my two 50 lbs labs to the vet in the little car with the boys too, so it is do-able!

And honestly, the financial freedom that it has given us is amazing. I have no problem driving the car with the boys and Bryan loves his truck.  I got over the pride thing very quickly when I saw how much easier this made paying our bills every month. I realized that we could throw more money at student loan debt to hopefully get rid of that nuisance quickly!

I know this decision isn't for everyone. We were fortunate enough to have a dependable car that I could drive safely with the boys already paid for. I just hope this inspires you that you don't need to biggest and the best of everything, because it feels so much better not having that debt than driving a shiny car that streams my music without a cord, ha.

So, that's how we cut $500 out of our budget permanently. We are hoping to drive the truck as long as we can, and start saving some money to buy a used Honda Odyssey in a few years with cash.


  1. i'm so proud of you guys! I couldn't agree more. New shiny cars just are not worth it. duke and i decided we will only pay cash for cars. we're kind of big dave ramsey fans. I'm a little more of the free spirit who wants to spend, but its good for me to have him. Although sometimes I hate how much duke insists we save. But as dave says- live like no one else, so you can live like no one else!

  2. Great thing to sacrifice for your kids!

  3. Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed to hear. I have always wanted the newest, shiniest car too. I am one year away from paying off my Honda CRV, and it's not the prettiest car anymore. ;) I have been itching to get something new, but know in my heart I should pay it off and keep it and ENJOY having no car payments. Thank you!

  4. Way to go Momma! We just traded our smaller SUV (CRV) which I LOVED and might be regretting just a little...for a 2009 Honda Odyssey. I like the van, but I admit that I really am missing my CRV. The van will be so nice with two kids though, and our payment is MUCH lower. My hubby also has a two door car that's paid for, but we are looking for something with 4 doors that we can trade/pay cash for to accommodate two car seats. Car shopping is so stressful!

  5. We needed a van when I was pregnant with our third (my Rav4 wouldn't fit the car seats that I felt were safest for three kids), and we went to Enterprise and got a "new" van for over half the cost. By the time I traded in my new Rav4, we only owed a small payment every month. And the Odyssey only had 14,000 miles on it!

    1. I had no idea that they sold their cars! How did you find out about this?

  6. We had this experience from brand new Honda Pilot to hand me down Toyota sedan from my uncle until the machine dead and we put it into junk yard. Finally used Honda Civic "new to us " paid in cash. We miss our Honda Pilot but not the payment :)
    We are grateful for not having cars payment ( we have two and both bought used )


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