Celebrating Easter Traditions

When I was growing up in Maryland, Easter traditions included dyeing hard-boiled eggs, Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts at my grandparents’ house, eating my Grandmom’s Chocolate & Butter Cream Easter Eggs, Easter clothing, family photos (usually in front of a giant yellow forsythia bush), and a big meal at my grandparents’ house.  Here in California, we don’t have any family nearby and our kids are still little.  We have not had a lot of luck establishing any Easter traditions yet, but we have tried several different things!

Sometimes we dye eggs (even if it’s a few days after Easter),

Dyeing Easter Eggs

and sometimes I make my Grandmom’s Chocolate & Butter Cream Easter Eggs.  (which are just as amazing as I remember them!)

Grandma's Chocolate & Butter Cream Easter Eggs

Once we had a mini Easter Egg Hunt in our backyard on Saturday,

Backyard Easter Egg Hunt

and another time we participated in our church’s Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday.

Church Easter Egg Hunt

Sometimes I just dress the baby up in bunny ears and take photos.

Baby Easter Bunny

More than our Easter traditions though, what matters most is that we remember what we are celebrating:

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.  Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”  But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said.  “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  See the place where they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee.  There you will see him, just as he told you.’”  –Mark 16:1-7

The Bible tells us that there is no greater love than to give your life for your friends (John 15:13).  God loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son Jesus to die for us, while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).  God did this so that everyone who believes in him will not die, but will have eternal life (John 3:16). 

Did you know that Jesus loves you so much that he died to give you life?  When he rose again, he gave us victory over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:57).  Nothing can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).  If you confess your sins, he forgives them and cleanses you from everything you’ve done wrong (1 John 1:9).  If you would like to invite Jesus into your life, you need only declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved (Romans 10:9). 

This Easter I hope you will reflect on the greatest love story ever told, and the One who paid the debt of your sin when he died on the cross.

Happy Easter!

 How does your family celebrate Easter?  Do you have any Easter traditions?

 

What We Did Right When We Went $238,000 In Debt

What We Did Right When We Went $238,000 In Debt

I talk a lot about all the things Brad and I did wrong prior to reading Dave Ramsey and Crystal Paine in 2010, but I don’t talk a lot about all of the things we were doing right during those first four years of our marriage.  Despite the fact that we entered our first year of marriage with $70,000 in student loan debt, a new house (with two mortgages) worth $150,000, and a used car loan for $18,000, we were doing a lot of things right.  Now, once you’ve finished laughing at that statement, you can read on!

  • I paid off my car one month before we got married, only two years after I purchased it for $13,000.
  • Brad’s parents covered his first four years of college, and my parents covered a significant portion of my Bachelor’s degree.
  • Brad and I applied for and received a lot of scholarships and financial aid throughout college.
  • I lived with my parents for the 2 1/2 years between college and marriage.  Although I had a long commute, I saved significantly on housing costs.  Brad also lived with his parents for a year, and then for a few more months right before our marriage.  During the summers between semesters in China, we lived with our parents and worked as lifeguards at a summer camp.
  • Brad often supplemented his income with acting at a local dinner theater, coaching soccer, tutoring math students, lifeguarding, and buying and selling items on eBay and Amazon.
  • When Brad and I got married at the end of 2005, we qualified for a house that cost twice as much ($300,000) as the one we bought ($150,000).  We opted to buy a house that we could afford on one income so that if I became pregnant, I could stay home with our kids.
  • Since we only needed one income to support ourselves, for the the first 1 1/2 years of our marriage we put the entirety of our second income into paying for my Master’s degree up front each month, incurring no interest.
  • When we couldn’t sell our house in 2007 for anywhere near what we paid for it, we rented it out.  We’ve been renting it out to the same renters ever since.
  • When we received tax refunds, we used them to pay our mortgage ahead by a month, and then by two months.  This was very helpful in 2010 when we suddenly found ourselves unemployed.
  • While we were in China, we used our tax refunds to pay our loans out a year in advance.  We still incurred interest using this method, but it gave us a year of relief from that debt.
  • We always paid our bills on time, and we never carried a balance on our credit cards.  We paid up front for everything, from large purchases to vacations.
  • We communicated openly with one another and others about our financial situation.  We were always seeking input and sharing with others what we were doing to pay off our debts.
  • From the time we got married, we lived frugally, cooked from scratch, meal-planned, declined cable TV, and set aside as much money as we could to cover our debts.  When Brad wanted to buy a treadmill, he sold his CD collection to pay for it.  I have packed my lunches since I was in the third grade, and we’ve always packed our own food when we travel.  I shopped for household items at Goodwill and yard sales, and often used gift cards for purchases.
  • The $18,000 pick-up truck we bought has been a very reliable vehicle for us.  We’ve had it almost 8 years, and it has only rarely needed maintenance.  I owned 3 different cars prior to our truck, and it’s been the most reliable of the four.
  • We have always chosen to live close to work, saving on fuel expenses.
  • I had a purebred Shetland Sheepdog for 15 years who passed away just after we left for China.  Although I love animals and grew up in a house full of animals, we’ve held off on getting any more pets since then.  Pets (especially large pets) can be very expensive.

Starting off our new marriage by going deeply into debt was not wise, but year after year we have chosen to tackle our debts head-on.  Although it may seem like we have paid off a lot of debt in the last four years, we began with a strong foundation of frugality, hard work, saving, and team work.  Our parents also gave us a great foundation on which to build a debt-free life.  In hindsight we can easily see the mistakes of the past, but it is also good to remember our successes along the way.

Now it’s your turn to brag!  What did you do right when you found yourself in debt?  What choices do you look back on with relief and gratitude?

 (Today I am linking up with Thrifty Thursday…I mean Friday!)

How to Find Encouragement When You Are Discouraged by Debt

How to Find Encouragement When You Are Discouraged By Debt

On March 31, my husband received his monthly paycheck, and it was $510 less than usual.  We were not surprised, as we had been anticipating this hit for awhile, but it still hurts our budget.  We will be on reduced salary for the next several months until we can raise our ministry budget.  That same week we found out that our tax refund would be significantly less than the previous years, and received an unexpected $400 medical bill in the mail for some routine blood work.  When a family member mailed us a $25 Visa gift card in the mail, we had to use it for a long-overdue oil change.  I was disappointed and discouraged as I looked at the numbers and realized that it would be nearly impossible to be debt-free by August as I had hoped.

How can you find encouragement, when the road to debt-freedom can be long and painful?  When you look around you and see all of your friends buying bigger homes, dining out, going to the movies, buying name-brand clothes, and taking expensive vacations it can be hard to stay optimistic.  I won’t lie to you–it’s hard.  The road to debt-freedom is an uphill climb, and you’ll probably want to give up more often than not.  Here are a few ways I find encouragement in the journey:

1. Take Action–When you are at your lowest, turn your frustration into motivation.  In the past 2 weeks I’ve made $118.57 on eBay, $2.38 on Recycling, $21.48 on Amazon, $29.79 on Rewards, and I’ve substitute-taught 5 times for $90-$110/day.  So I’ve made about $672 in the last 2 weeks!

2. Count Your Blessings–Today as we drove by a local church distributing food to the homeless, my kids had a lot of questions.  As I explained to them how sad it is for some people who have no home, no food, and no job, I was reminded how much we have to be grateful for.  I told my children (and myself) that we should always thank Jesus for giving us a place to live, food to eat, and a job we love.

3. Talk About It–You may laugh, but this blog is great therapy for me.  Not everyone has the patience to sit and listen to me share our 4 year road to debt-freedom.  Talking about our struggles and triumphs here helps me to stay accountable, reach out to others, and look for the good in what has been a difficult journey.  Thanks to my blog, I now have random people stop me on the street to tell me about their debts.  It’s so encouraging to me to hear that my words have helped someone else in their journey!

4. Find Some Frugal Friends–One of the things that I loved about my church when I moved here was that our pastor’s family knew more about Dave Ramsey and debt-freedom that I did.  My church is now on their second year of Financial Peace University, and it’s fun to have more and more friends “get it.”  They’ve just recently started a support group for FPU Alumni, so that they can continue to support one another after the class is over.

5. Celebrate Big and Small Accomplishments–As you pay off your debts, keep track of your progress.  Post a chart in a central location, and update the numbers each month.  Set goals for yourself, and then celebrate when you reach them!  When you feel down, remember how far you’ve come from when you first started.  Also imagine how you’ll feel when you accomplish ALL of your goals!

6. Budget for “Fun”–You can try to go for years without spending money on anything fun, but it will just make you miserable.   Eventually you’ll long for the old days when you could binge on whatever you wanted.  So budget for fun.  What makes you happy?  What makes you laugh?  How do you like to relax?  Make sure that you and your spouse both receive a small allowance to splurge on whatever fun you like.  Just this week I used a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks and $1.56 of my “Fun” money to purchase some contact paper to decorate our bathroom medicine cabinet.  Sprucing up our house always makes my day brighter.

7. Find Spiritual Encouragement–I try to read my Bible and take time to pray every day.  I also like to read books that encourage my faith in Jesus Christ.  It is rare that I do not walk away from my Bible feeling encouraged.  Lately I’ve been working my way through Nehemiah, Esther, and Job.  I love reading about these heroes of the Bible, and I so am inspired  by their examples.  The Bible is also jam-packed with wisdom on the topic of money, so you’ll learn a lot while you’re studying!

I know that the road to debt-freedom is not easy, and may take longer than you want.  I know that you may wish your life looked different, or that you could spend your money differently.  However, when you look back on these years you will  be so glad that you pressed on toward the victory, and achieved your goals!

How do you find encouragement when you are discouraged by debt?

(Today I am linking up with Thrifty Thursday…I mean Wednesday!)

60 Free (or Almost Free) Activities to Do with your Toddler or Preschooler

60 Free (or Almost Free) Activities to Do With Your Toddler or Preschooler {The Abundant Wife}

Do you ever feel like your life is dry and boring because you can’t spend any money on anything?  It can be difficult (especially at first) to think of free activities to entertain your little ones while you’re on the road to debt-freedom.  Well, just because you’re poor, broke, or in-debt-up-to-your-eyeballs doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun!  Here are 60 free (or almost free) activities we have done with our toddlers and preschoolers over the last 4 years:

  1. Play in Dress-Up Clothes
  2. Hammer Nails into Scrap Wood
  3. Make Paper Bag Clothing
  4. Laugh at Yourself
  5. Write Your Kids’ Names with Pancake Batter
  6. Color in Coloring Books
  7. Make Homemade Play-Doh
  8. Organize Art Supplies with Ice Cream Tubs
  9. Wash the Dishes
  10. Fold the Laundry
  11. Play with Legos
  12. Make Leaf Rubbings
  13. Put Multi-Colored Ice Cubes in the Bath Tub
  14. Print Morning & Nighttime To Do Charts
  15. Paste Tissue Paper Leaves on your Windows
  16. Make a Jack-O-Lantern using Construction Paper, Tissue Paper, and Markers
  17. Draw on Butcher Paper
  18. Visit a Museum
  19. Build with Toothpicks and Marshmallows
  20. Go on a Field Trip
  21. Paint Faces
  22. Play with Play-Doh
  23. Go Outside
  24. Make Handprint Flowers
  25. Play in the Sandbox and Water Table
  26. Draw with Sidewalk Chalk
  27. Mix up some DIY Finger Paints
  28. Paint a Thank You Note
  29. Remove the Couch Cushions
  30. Do a Science Experiment
  31. Visit Your Relatives
  32. Play with Animal Magnets
  33. Recycle Plastic Containers
  34. Make Homemade Cards
  35. Make a Gingerbread House
  36. Play Outdoors
  37. Put Glow Sticks in the Bathtub
  38. Assign Age-Appropriate Chores
  39. Play with Found Objects
  40. Make an Oatmeal Container Straw Game
  41. Trace Sidewalk Chalk Outlines
  42. Draw on Hard-Boiled Eggs
  43. Paint an Autumn Tree
  44. Assemble Chocolate Acorns
  45. Make Homemade Pizza
  46. Create a Box-of-Fun
  47. Practice Counting
  48. Play Beauty Salon
  49. Make the Best of a Rainy Day
  50. Play in the Pool, Play House, or Climber
  51. Dig in the Garden
  52. Read a Book
  53. Hang Balloons in a Doorway
  54. Throw a Party
  55. Take a Nap
  56. Put on a Movie
  57. Bake Cookies
  58. Decorate the House
  59. Go on a Stay-cation
  60. Visit the Library

Entertaining your toddler or preschool-aged child need not be expensive, time-consuming, or even well-planned.  Many of the activities listed above were spontaneous, accidental, or planned the same day.  As often as possible, I try to use what I already have on hand so that I don’t have to go out shopping for more supplies.

This list is not exhaustive by any means!  What free (or almost free) activities do you like to do with your toddlers and preschoolers?

14 Ways to Make Easy Money Using Swagbucks

14 Ways to Make Easy Money Using Swagbucks

One of my favorite ways to make easy money is by using Swagbucks.  Today I checked my Swagbucks account, and found out that I have earned 15,873 Swagbucks over the lifetime of my account.  For every 450 Swagbucks I earn, I purchase a $5 Amazon gift card.  So I have earned 35 Amazon gift cards, worth $175 total.  That’s good money for very little work!  I usually use my Swagbucks to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts for my family, and I get free shipping by ordering more than $35 of qualifying merchandise at one time.  You can purchase hundreds of other items with Swagbucks too.  The best part is, it’s incredibly easy to use Swagbucks.  Here are my 14 tips for making easy money:

  1. Make Swagbucks your Default Search Engine–Every time you do a search, you increase your chances of winning Swagbucks!
  2. Download the Swagbucks Tool Bar–The tool bar makes searching with Swagbucks a piece of cake.  I love the “Check for Swag Code” button, and the bubble with my current Swagbucks total.
  3. Shop through Swagbucks–Every time you make a purchase on-line, click through Swagbucks to get to your shopping site.  You will earn a certain amount of Swagbucks per dollar you spend.
  4. Answer the Daily Poll–Answer one question each day for 1 Swagbuck.
  5. Finish the Daily NOSO (No Obligation Special Offer)–Click “skip” through an advertisement or two, enter the captcha, and earn 2 Swagbucks a day.
  6. Invite your friends–You can earn Swagbucks every time a friend you invited earns Swagbucks.
  7. Check for Swag Codes–Use the “Check for Swag Code” button on your Swagbucks toolbar to see if there is a code available.  If there is, enter it in the box at the top of the Swagbucks home page, and earn Swagbucks.  You can also find Swag Codes on their Facebook, Twitter, and Blog page.
  8. Complete Special Offers–Click through Swagbucks to make a purchase from another website, and earn Swagbucks.
  9. Buy Daily Deals–Like completing special offers, earn Swagbucks for puchasing Daily Deals from other websites.
  10. Take Surveys–Answer questions, and earn Swagbucks.
  11. Watch Swagbucks TV–Earn Swagbucks for watching a wide variety of TV options.  If you don’t feel like watching TV, mute it and let it play on you computer or smart phone while you do something else.
  12. Play Games–If you like to play games, play them to earn Swagbucks.
  13. Perform Tasks–You can earn Swagbucks for performing various on-line tasks like searches, categorizing, and completing surveys.
  14. Recycle Used Books & Technology–You can earn Swagbucks by trading in your used books, phones, games, and more.  Books worth at least 600 Swagbucks ship for free.

Once I have downloaded the Swagbucks tool bar, and made Swagbucks my default search engine, I forget about it.  I may do the Daily Poll and daily NOSO for awhile, but mostly I enjoy the residual rewards of searching and friend referrals.

Have you ever used Swagbucks before?  What are your favorite ways to earn Swagbucks?

“Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without”

Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without

During the Great Depression, a popular aphorism was “Use it Up, Wear it Out.  Make it Do, or Do Without.”  If you have spoken to or spent time with someone who lived through the Great Depression, you will notice that many consider frugality a virtue.  Our grandparents learned the hard way how to make things last.  Getting through hard times means changing your mindset.  If you want to get out of debt and live within your means, you have to stop buying new things.  In fact, you may even have to do without some things.  What follows are some of the things we do without, or have done without, during our eight years of marriage:

Although you may not be able to do without all the items on my list, you may have some things in your home or lifestyle that you could do without.  Could you learn a new skill (like hair-cutting), cut an unused service, or refuse to replace something when it breaks?  Don’t try to give up everything at once, but instead choose one thing at a time.  It will take time to adapt to your new frugal lifestyle, but you may be surprised by how much you can do without.

What are some things that you have had to (or chosen to) do without over the years? 

 

7 Ways to Save Money on Landscaping

7 Ways to Save Money on Landscaping

With the advent of spring, our family has been spending a lot of time outside in the yard.  This is our third spring in this home, so it’s very satisfying to see all of our efforts from the previous years paying off.  Trees, bushes, and bulbs are blooming in the right places, and our lawn is bright green with new growth.  What follows are 7 ways that we have saved money on landscaping:

  • Use What You Have–Who needs to buy plants when you probably already have them in your yard?  I spent this past weekend transplanting dozens of bulbs from our back and side yard to the front yard.  Brad has transplanted a number of small trees and bushes since we moved in.  You can also transplant plants from your friends’ homes (with their permission of course!)
  • Find Free Stuff–We have been given a lot of free things for a yard over the years, including sod, firewood, tomato plants, a play house, a climber, a grill, insect sprays, and picnic tables.
  • Utilize Free Labor–There’s nothing cheaper than doing the work yourself, but you can also ask friends (or your children) to help you.  A friend helped Brad build our grape arbor, and his guys’ Bible study helped him trim back some large trees.  We pull our weeds by hand, and a friend seeded our front lawn for us when we first moved in.
  • Fertilize Your Gardens with Compost–We love our nutrient-rich little compost pile and spread it over our flower beds and around our bushes.
  • Shop Yard Sales–Most of our gardening equipment originally came from yard sales.  Go out first thing on a Saturday morning and see what you can find!
  • Shop Store Sales–Buy things for your yard when they are out of season, or otherwise on sale and you’ll save big!
  • Fix It Instead of Replacing It–When our 8-year-old lawnmower died this spring, we tried to fix it ourselves, and then we paid $74 to have it fixed rather than purchase a new lawnmower.

What landscaping tips would you offer someone landscaping on a budget?

 

Why You Need to Call Your Service Providers Regularly

Why You Need To Call Your $ervice Providers Regularly

One of the things I have had to learn over the years is how to be more confrontational with bill-collectors.  I am not talking about being angry or mean on the phone to a perfect stranger.  I am talking about politely calling a company to question a bill, and request a better deal.  As the protector of your pocketbook, you need to advocate for your family’s finances.

When I first subscribed for Internet with AT&T, it cost me $38/month.  However, about every 6-12 months my Internet bill goes up again.  Today I received a bill for $46/month.  Whenever this happens, I call AT&T and talk to a representative.  The same thing happens every time; after a few minutes on the phone and a brief explanation of the charges, the representative offers me a great promotional rate.  Sometimes I get faster Internet, or an even cheaper rate than before the increase.  Today, my phone call brought my bill back down to $39/month and tripled my Internet speed.

Never hesitate to make a phone call when you receive a questionable bill.  I pay my auto insurance bill every 6 months.  One year ago the bill was $477.  6 months ago it was $431.  This month my auto insurance bill was $503!  I called my Auto Insurance company with my concerns about the $72 bill increase.  My insurance representative explained the reason for the increase, and then asked if he could call me back in 20 minutes.  When he called back he had found the same coverage with a different company for $444.

I can’t promise you that every time you call you will see results, but keep it up.  Call your service providers (Insurance, TV, Internet, Cellphone, Medical, and Utilities) regularly to see if you can reduce your expenses.  You might be pleasantly surprised!

How have you gotten results when you called to question a bill?

 

 

33 Reasons it’s Great to be 33

33 Reasons It's Great to be 33!

I recently celebrated my 33rd birthday.  An older woman at church that Sunday wished me a happy birthday, and then followed it up with, “You don’t have to tell me how old you are.”  I laughed and told her I’m 33.  For some people I guess 33 is a sobering (or embarrassing) number.  If I live to be 100, I’m about a third of the way through my life.  But for me, 33 is a wonderful number.  I am not ashamed of my age.  I have lived a full, beautiful, amazing life.  I wouldn’t want to lose any one of those 33 years, or the things I learned along the way.  At 33 years old I am doing what I always dreamt I would do.  In fact, I wish I could freeze time and stay 33 for the next 67 years because I love these “little years” with my children.  Here are 33 reasons I think it’s great to be 33:

  1. 1 Fantastic Husband
  2. 2 Great Parents
  3. 3 Incredible Children
  4. 4 New Shirts From Twice.com
  5. 5 Amazing Siblings
  6. 6 Kids’ DVDs to Distract My Kids
  7. 7:15am Waking Up to Naomi & Oliver Singing “Happy Birthday!”
  8. 8 Years of Marriage to my Wonderful Husband
  9. 9 Years Since Our First Date
  10. 10 Adorable Fingers & 10 Adorable Toes on my Baby Girl
  11. 11 Countries I’ve Visited in the World
  12. 12pm Phone Call from my Sister
  13. $13,000 Until We’re Debt-Free!
  14. 14 Years Pimple-Free
  15. 15 Years Since I Graduated From High School
  16. 16 Years Since I Grew Out My Perm
  17. 17 Sprinkle Pancakes
  18. 18 Months Living in China
  19. 19 Years of Schooling (Elementary, Middle, High, UnderGrad, Grad)
  20. 20 Days Until Our Taxes are Due…Which Means Tax Refund!
  21. 21 Minutes on the Phone with my Sister Last Week Hearing about her New Baby!
  22. 22 Bags of Frozen Pumpkin & Squash Still In Our Freezer
  23. 23 Days in Arizona This Summer
  24. 24 hours since I was Exempted from Jury Duty
  25. $25 Birthday Check from my Grandmother
  26. 26 Candles on my German Chocolate Birthday Cake (that’s all we could find!)
  27. 2720 Miles from California to Visit our Family in Maryland every Thanksgiving
  28. 28 Years Old When I Found Out I was Pregnant with Naomi
  29. 29 Inches Tall: Evelyn’s Current Height
  30. 30 Years Since my Parents Moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland
  31. 131,598 miles on our Truck (which has been paid off for 4 years)
  32. 32 Years Since I Became a Big Sister
  33. 33 States I’ve Visited in the United States

If you’ve celebrated a birthday recently, or will be celebrating one soon, I challenge you to generate a list of reasons why it’s great to be your age.  You might be surprised by how much you have to be grateful for!

“Do not regret growing older, it is a privilege denied to many.”–Unknown

3 Kids in 1 Bedroom: New Bunk Beds!

When our family moved to California from Maryland, we knew that one of the primary ways that we could save money was by finding an affordable place to live.  We planned on having more children, so that meant fitting a lot of people in a small space.  When Brad saw our house, he knew it was the perfect fit for us.  It has 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, a garage, trees, a fenced-in backyard, a fire pit, and it’s only 2 blocks from the high school where he works.

3 Kids in a Bedroom: Before & After New Bunk Beds 1

At the end of 2012, Brad moved everything from his office across town to our house.  All of his office storage is in our garage, and he began working exclusively out of our home office.  So when our third child was in early 2013, we knew she would eventually need to share a bedroom with her older sister and brother.  During her first two months we wheeled her bassinet back and forth between our master bedroom and the office.  Eventually she upgraded to the pack-n-play in the kids’ room, where she slept until she was almost 9 months old.

3 Kids in a Bedroom: Before & After New Bunk Beds 2

I had been daydreaming about bunk-beds for years, but we had to put off the purchase until it became a necessity.  In 2013 we bought a third car-seat, paid off the hospital delivery bill, paid off both of my surgeries, and put new tires on our truck before I could finally shop around for bunk-beds.  I knew exactly what I wanted, so when I saw these bunk-beds (with mattresses) on Craigslist for $250, I was sold.  We borrowed a trailer and trailer hitch from a friend, and drove down to Sacramento with cash in hand.

3 Kids in a Bedroom: Before & After New Bunk Beds 3

Transporting bunk-beds is not as easy as you might think.  We had to dismantle them in Sacramento, and reassemble them in our house.  As with many “used” purchases, we had a few hiccups along the way.  One of the drawers broke in transport, and a couple of the bolts were stripped from dismantling and reassembling the beds.  Eventually I had to repair three out of the five drawers with wood glue and screws.  Still, because the bed is solid wood, we can make repairs as needed.

3 Kids in a Bedroom: Before & After New Bunk Beds 4

Purchasing bunk-beds for our kids’ room definitely increased the floor space and storage.  Saving our money for  bunk-beds was definitely the right move for us financially.  Our crib was a gift from my mother-in-law, our pack-n-play was a gift from my parents, our bassinet was a hand-me-down from a friend, and Naomi’s mattress was once Brad’s.  So we waited more than 4 years after the birth of our first child to purchase beds for our kids.  We are more than satisfied with our purchase, and the kids love their new beds.  They were worth the wait!

3 Kids in a Bedroom: Before & After New Bunk Beds 5

Have you ever saved up to pay cash for a large purchase?  What did you buy, and what did you learn in the process?

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