There’s Beauty in Your Ugly Stroller

Our stroller is ugly. 

It’s faded, worn, and stained.  There are scratches in the plastic and a few small tears in the fabric.  It’s endured 8 years of soggy little o’s, spilled drinks, and extra toddler riders perched on top.

You know what else?

It’s functional.  It’s safe, and apparently it’s rather comfy.  It gets the job done. 

Truth be told, few would have questioned our decision to buy a new stroller for our fourth baby.  The money is there, and it’s not that much, anyway, I suppose.  Some would likely consider it a need.  But here’s the thing:  replacing a fully-functional, albeit ugly stroller for a sleeker, less embarrassing model is not a need. 

We have some rather lofty debt-free living goals to achieve on a relatively humble income, and replacing ugly strollers simply isn’t part of the equation.  Neither is replacing our 16 year old, good as new, tube tv, or our 1994 “just keep truckin’ ” faded, dented, pick up, rolling over 152,000 miles.  (Felt ceiling falling on your head, anyone?)

Ugly?  Yes.  Humbling?  Definitely.

Managing our money well to gift our family a debt-free life is a choice that has us frequently asking “How ugly is it?”It’s a choice that encourages us to swallow our pride, look past the ugly, and see the beauty.

There is beauty in driving paid-for vehicles!

There is beauty in passing on the new tv and paying cash for the orthodontic work!

There is beauty in looking past minor imperfections in our home in order to maintain a fully-funded emergency stash!

Pushing an ugly stroller?  It’s beautiful.


What beautiful ugly things are helping you meet your financial goals? 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.


  1. Our driveway. It was/is asphalt. It is falling apart. The neighbor kids come over and pull up entire strips of it before I can stop them. It is virtually a gravel driveway at this point. We got an estimate at one point and it would be close to $10,000 to fix. Well, a beautiful driveway turns out to be a want. A new, non-leaking roof is a need, braces for my son is a need, etc. One day I imagine we will get to the driveway, but in the meantime I try to ignore the neighbors comments and their perfect driveways.

    • Blerg. We did the roof one year after moving here. Paid for phase 1 of the braces last month. I feel your pain! I think it’s harder to ignore the outside stuff because I “know” everyone else is looking!

      • “I think it’s harder to ignore the outside stuff because I “know” everyone else is looking!”

        I tell my neighbors all the time…”sorry you have to look at my ugly house but I live on the inside not the outside” They totally understand that we chose to repair the inside first.

    • You are slowly turning your asphalt driveway into a gravel one. Gravel ones are “greener” so you are improving the earth. The neighbors can just deal. 🙂 (p.s…..we are in the same position with our driveway, too….).

  2. Amen….

    I have recently spent too much time pondering the “benefits” of a less materialistic lifestyle and have come to the conclusion that having a little nest egg in the bank gives me a much warmer, fuzzier feeling than a new car ever would…

    Good for us!

  3. I’m saving this post and tagging it frugal_inspiration. We too have some financial goals, and it’s sometimes easy to lose our picture of what we are trying to do. This is a great reminder.

    • Thanks, Jen. We lose sight sometimes, too, and the truth? We sometimes wish our tv would just “die already!” so we can get a new one. LOL All in good time. 🙂

      • Your TV will go out at the exact time a fantastic deal comes up on the TV you want. Perfect time, perfect price. 🙂

      • Amy, we feel the same way about our tv. It’s 17 years old and still going strong. We’ve never had any problems with it, but sometimes I really want a new sleeker model.

  4. Absolutely! It’s also a testimony of what you value! We should value the eternal, not the temporal.

  5. Well, first of all, who on earth is even looking at your stroller with that bundle of adorableness in it??? 🙂

    Our kitchen… was so rough. In a land of all granite, stainless, and cherry, we moved into the house with battered cracked countertops, old 60’s stained cabinets, and ancient appliances. Everyone advised us to update it ASAP. We had innumerable business cards for various granite/soapstone quarries pressed into our hands. People volunteered such things as, “Our kitchen is about this size and we were able to replace the cabinets for right about nine grand!”

    My kitchen is beautiful now. We painted the cabinets, installed new hardware, and found some clearanced “faux granite” countertops. The old flowered wallpaper came down, as did the yellowed old curtain. Do I have an HGTV kitchen? Nope. And I don’t need one. 🙂 But I’m happy to have the extra ten to twenty grand in our account…

    • I hope people see Mr. Chubs when they look at the stroller, too. 😉

      I know where you live, and you really ARE in the land of EXQUISITE. Stand firm, friend, and if you ever get sick of it all I may know of a home or two in Kansas… LOL

  6. We are building a house. People keep asking me if I am going to get this or that… let me just say that their this and that cost LOTS!!!!!!! I don’t want things that will cost an arm and a leg! (plus that hurts) I want functional. I told DH that I want the new house to be “nice” but it doesn’t have to cost so much. We went to an auction and got windows and doors (USED VERY LITTLE) for WAY LESS than new! They will work as good as new! I am loving how much we are saving! I give the Lord thanks and praise for His goodness over this house project! 🙂 Today we are heading to the same kind of auction to look for kitchen cabinets!

  7. I needed to hear this. In general I’m okay with our hand me down furniture ( we have wicker couches for our living room) or the fact that I use a dresser to hold books instead of clothes. What I have a hard time with is paint. The paint the house came with is VERY cheap and you cannot whip down walls without making it look worse. So In our living room/kitchen area it looks horrible. We can’t afford to paint so we just live with it but every time someone new comes over I have to take a big piece of humble pie. Our Priest and Deacon are coming over for dinner on the 15th and I’ve been freaking out about how ugly our walls look. Thanks for reminding me about what is really important.

    • Well, I think most people (at least those who actually matter ;)) are able to easily look past walls. BUT… if it’s really bothering you a lot, you might have success doing what Amy did here: I don’t have personal experience with this, but I remembered her post just as soon as I saw your comment!

      • Ladies, I so appreciate your helpful tips. Our problem is that we have high vaulted ceilings which require professional painters. With a 30ft ladder we have trouble changing the smoke detector so I’m not sure how we could paint up that high. Has anyone dealt with high walls/ceilings and painted successfully on their own? I would love any advice you could give.

        • Well, I don’t know if this would qualify as an “ideal” solution, and I don’t really know the layout of your home, but one idea might be incorporating a border. According to the designers, I think borders are out, but I don’t worry too much about that stuff. 😉 You may be able to put a border up at, say, 8 or 9 feet– “typical” ceiling height. If you painted the space beneath it (as long as it didn’t clash with the upper color), it would probably really freshen it up and, really, most people don’t look UP a ton in a room. 🙂

        • I have some clients that have moved into 3 rental homes in the last 5 years. Each time, the wife cuts a small swatch of the wall paint in an inconspicuous spot. Then she takes it to Lowe’s and has it color matched. Then they just go over the areas that look dirty or have marks on them. She says doing it this way works like a big eraser, so you wouldn’t necessarily HAVE to go all the way to the ceiling… you could just go over the rough spots. (as long as you aren’t repulsed by the current color, lol!)

          • Debt-free Mama to 3 says:

            That works perfectly…I have done it many times. I am also known for buying the mis-tinted paints and using them in rooms that are scuffed up but where style isn’t that important…like our pathetic laundry room. $5 later it looks great and since I spend as little time in there as possible I don’t care that it isn’t my favorite color ever. Most people pick bland, safe colors…so I have a beige laundry room as a result. Whatever! No more peeling paint all over the laundry works for me.

        • Network if you can. If you only need the very highest part done, see if you can find a friend or a friend-of-a-friend to do it. We had someone else do just the top 4 feet of our entry hall (2 stories high) then I finished it off with a ladder and a long roller handle extension. It only took him about a half hour & we “paid” him by having his family over for dinner. 🙂

        • Nora,

          Our ceilings were exactly the same way and my husband and I painted them ourselves. The quote to have the rooms painted was over $2,500 (+ the cost of paint!) which we could not afford. To paint our whole house ourselves only cost around $550 (2100 sq feet, plus those huge vaulted ceilings!). What we did was use a 30 foot ladder with a 20 foot extension pole. On the extension pole, we put one of those flat paint pads like this one ( You have to go very slowly and carefully, but you can do it! Our paint job looked great and we sold our house just a few months later in a terrible market. Good luck!

      • Good golly, I had forgotten all about that post! Still love my yellow back porch, though. 🙂

    • I totally agree with JessieLeigh… and if you can’t find enough oops paint to do a whole room, maybe you can find a couple of colors that look good together and paint each wall a different color. 🙂 BTW, when I painted my daughter’s room, I used those styrofoam paint pads with the fuzzy velour on them… about a $1.50 and disposable! I used 2 or 3, and a disposable pan as well. with the paint pads, you could even use an old pie plate or something. I didn’t have to tape or use a dropcloth either, because the pad didn’t drip like rollers and brushes do… I just threw an old sheet under the spot I was standing to catch any errant drops. 🙂

    • You know, I was just organizing the leftover paint in my garage and found a full can of red that I knew I wasn’t going to use. I decided to put it up for free on craigslist but first did a search for paint, and there happened to be a woman looking for exactly what I had. I was able to bless her with something I didn’t need but that she couldn’t afford to buy new. Perhaps you could search craigslist and post your own wanted ad. Not that you’re going to get it done before the 15th, but at least you’d have a plan!

      • Love that, Elin! I love to use Craigslist (both to buy and sell) and I recently discovered Freecycle. It’s also a wonderful place to find stuff like that! 🙂
        Good luck, Nora- <3

    • Yes, that would be frustrating! Especially with little people running around, walls do get a workout.

    • Tall ceilings can still be a do it yourself paint job. You can rent a ladder at your local feed store (it might be an orchard ladder) or at your local equipment rental place for less than buying. Or you can rent one/barter one from a neighbor that happens to be a professional painter. I had a previous owner that used very cheap paint that would come off it you rubbed your hand on it. After I washed the walls with trisodium phosphate, I was able to paint without primer and afterwards it was great. Also, check your local home improvement store for the discarded/reduced paint. If you find one in a fairly light shade, they may still be able to add color to it to make it a shade that you like. I think that someone also mentioned taping off already. You can get blue painters tape and carefully make a level border at a desired height on your wall and then just paint below that tape. Painting has the biggest bang for the buck, especially if you do it yourself.

    • For what it is worth my husband is a minister and NEVER would notice what your walls look like. 🙂

  8. I have started thinking more this way! Thank you for the reminder to continue to separate needs vs wants.
    I couldn’t help but laugh because the sponsor that just so happened to be at the bottom of this post is LOL

  9. Millicent says:

    I needed this. Thank you!!!

  10. Thanks! I needed a reminder this morning especially since we drive a paid for vehicle and drive ugly strollers. They are paid for and I need to rejoice in that 🙂

  11. Yes! Yes! Yes! We have a very similar stroller, having seen many a better day – 10 years old, 3 of my own children and at least 5 daycare children. It is an eye sore, embarrassing, clunky old thing. BUT it IS paid for, works well, and is clean….all that really matters. 🙂 I’ve been tempted, especially in the last year or so to buy a replacement. I will never buy one now that I know there is someone, somewhere pushing another sorry stroller around and is happy about it! Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, we adore our paid for vehicle too – he even has a name: “Bruce” and has become a member of our family. 🙂

    • Ah, I *know* the temptation, believe me. 🙂 It DOES help knowing that we’re not alone in our own little frugal world, huh?!

    • One more reason NOT to trash the 10 year old stroller. They don’t make them like they used to. I regret recently throwing away my 10 year old stroller. It had stained mesh sides with holes hanging out. I splurged on a new one and it is a severe disappointment. End doesn’t handle like the old one, doesn’t fold as easily and quickly, isn’t as sturdy, doesn’t turn on a dime or go through gravel like the old one etc. I’d switch back now if I could!! LOL

      P.S. My van has 187,000 miles on it and I’m NOT trading it in. (I’ve seen the new version). LOL

  12. Found you through Like Merchant Ships and love your point. Our house was built in the 70’s and has mostly the original fixtures. There was water damage in the master bath so we had to redo the bathroom – I love how luxurious it looks now. We sprang for expensive tile, since for an extra $600 or so it’s all the difference in making it spa-like.

    Looking at the bathroom, I couldn’t help thinking that the REST of the house COULD look just as nice. But my husband and I agree that we will only make improvements as needs arise, because we are shooting for paying off the mortgage and/or sending the kids to private school. At least we’re on the same page, as you are too 😀

    • You bring up a good point. When you do need to fix something, do it right and be happy with it! And by pushing an ugly stroller around, I could be $100-$200 closer to that NICE tile. 😉

      • I realize the point of your article – If we replace / buy everything we want, the money adds up. But I frequently pick up used items in very new condition second hand. I found a basically brand new stroller for $35 a few weeks ago, rather than $100-$200. Other things, such as major home repairs and vehicles, truly are big ticket items – no way around it.

      • Agreed! The only thing I would caution, as it just came to mind, is that with kids items especially, you’ll want to make sure they haven’t been recalled in the intervening years. Otherwise, who cares if it’s ugly as long as it’s functional? Like Jessie Leigh said, no one’s looking at the stroller as long as your cute kid is in it anyway!

  13. when I worked as an Avon rep, I was inside all kinds of houses. My favorites were those that were super clean. (probably because I can’t achieve that in my own house, lol!)– anyway, it had nothing to do with how nice or expensive their stuff was- in fact, one of my favorite places to visit was an apartment in an older complex. she had a ‘vintage’ table, apartment grade carpet and formica counters, and only had two chairs in her living room… but it was always so CLEAN. So, I’m trying to strive for that, rather than buying something new thinking it will make my hopelessly cluttered house look any better. 🙂

  14. So many live a highly materialistic lifestyle and “worry” what other people think of them, their home, their vehicle, their kids, ect. if it all isn’t perfect. It’s the reason our economy is in the shape it’s in. 😉 I for one think it’s so refreshing to know the difference between a need vs a want and to truly be happy with what you have.

    Great article!

  15. Bless you, Amy, I definitely needed to hear this. The mobile home we moved into a year ago has stained, deep, dark, forest green carpet in the living room.
    I don’t do deep, dark, forest green carpet. It doesn’t go with anything. And it shows dirt.
    I’ve been praying God will provide some free carpet as He did for the office (that had deep, dark, stained mauve carpet). But I would definitely rather pay off the piano studio we built, or save for a baby, or pay dental bills than pay to replace that ugly carpet. I needed this post. Thank you, friend.

  16. Your baby is precious and he was what I was looking at in the picture. Most people may not even notice your well loved stroller. There’s so much we’d like to do in our home with updating, but me staying home with our three kiddos is the priority right now. Great post!

  17. I so needed this today. Great reminder! We are trying to finish an addition/remodel project with just cash so we are using the same stroller for our third child as for the first two, as well as same playpen (chewed-up side and all), etc. And you know what? The baby sure doesn’t care! And the only time it bothers me is when we go for a walk at the mall and I start focusing on all the brand-name strollers. So whose problem is that? Mine! Great post.

    • Oh, and we’re doing this on a pretty meager teacher’s income too, so I know right where you’re coming from. Keep up the good work!

    • “And you know what? The baby sure doesn’t care!” Yes! I think parents tend to lose sight of that as they fill the perfect nursery with the full, beautiful wardrobe etc. etc. The baby does NOT care! 😉

    • the funny thing is, we are always looking at the pretty, new strollers… the thing with the old beat up strollers? They disappear. You probably passed three others at the mall, and just didn’t notice, because it wasn’t red and shiny and $400. So, nobody is thinking ‘ewww…look at that old stroller!’ they are just thinking ‘what a cute baby’ instead of ‘what a nice stroller’! Don’t ever let your stroller upstage your baby. 🙂

  18. AMEN! Good timely post! Thank You!

  19. Love the stroller….looks like ours!

  20. I so much loved this post. This is the season of life God has us in right now, but I will admit, is still a struggle at times. We have gotten to the point that we want our debt GONE so we have more freedom in serving our Lord. I would love to share this post on my blog if you would not mind. It is where my heart is exactly right now! Please let me know if that would be okay. Feel free to check out my blog to insure you are okay with me sharing!

    Thank you!

    • Thanks for asking! It would be great if you could quote a few lines and then link back to the post for the “rest of the story.” Thanks! 🙂

  21. You are right, it is all a matter of priorities. And contentment. Keeping our focus on where it needs to be, not where we wish it could be.

  22. Oh, thank-you! You’re making me feel sooo much better about my ugly living room–couch, chair, carpet–most folks would have replaced them a long time ago…but living within our means is more important than that.


    • I, too, have extremely old and ugly furniture. They are all hand-me-downs from family and close family friends. One is/was a leather couch, only one of the cushions is somehow has a HUGE tear in it. It looks so ugly and gross. It looks like some creature came over unexpected and bit into the couch. I will never forget my mom coming over and asking if the dogs had chewed on them. No, they didn’t! It was the kids who messed with them. I have wanted to get new furniture for such a long time now, but I know they are perfectly functional and we need to live within our means.S

    • Definitely more important. Surely your friends and family are coming over to see YOU and not your furniture. 😉

  23. We’re past the stroller days, but I had a *beautiful* double stroller that I bought at a garage sale for $7. A trick I learned to make it look better? power wash it. If you don’t have your own, take it to the do-it-youself car wash. It made the stroller look much better. Although it was still blue and green with teddy bears on it! =)

  24. Great Point! We have an ugly love seat. We inherited it from a sister as newly weds. My plan was to use a slip cover to hide the ugly material and holes.

    When I started looking and saw the price tag on slip covers, I quickly changed my mind. Instead we live with a very comfortable love seat that has seen a lot of use. 🙂 It is amazing how a look at the big picture can change your perspective.

  25. When my now 18 year old was a newborn I used a hideous outdated but perfectly safe stroller a friend of mine rescued from the side of the road for me. It was heavy and the fabric was faded but the wheels were good and the locks worked. I had a few people wonder why I wouldn’t buy a brand-spanking new stroller for my brand spanking new baby but I didn’t care. There were other brand-spanking things he needed and I couldn’t afford everything! I thank God so much that for the first 6 months of his life I was fortunate to have hand-me downs from my shipmates (I was a single-mother in the Navy). To this day he doesn’t feel the need have to have perfect and shiny-new things.

  26. Amen! It is SO, SO, SO BEAUTIFUL! Right on!

  27. What a great post! This actually applied to me today. I was sitting on the aisle with my two kids thinking they “needed” new lunch totes and thermos’s because it’s the beginning of the school year. Well, the lunch totes were $8 and $14 and the thermos’s were $12 each. Now I’m ahead by $46 and my kids’ won’t even care if their lunch totes are stained and thermos’s are scratched. I’m the one so focused on getting them what they want instead of focusing on our financial needs. So here’s to patting myself on the back! Thanks for this great reminder!

  28. We are in the same boat, but enjoying the much lower stress life than our indebted friends/family. Our paid for vehicles, old 36″ tv, hand-me-down furniture (for the most part) and home we’re starting to actually own make us feel so much more at peace in this difficult economy.

  29. I agree, Beautiful! Beautiful!

    I am 50 years old, and we’ve lived like this too. My last kitchen was repainted and re-knobbed and looked wonderful. My country club neighbors probably thought we were poor, we drove older cars not renewing them every two years, our driveway had cracks that would rival the Volcanes Vault! lol But ya know? Through the Lord firstly and secondly through wise choices and keeping priorities in His sight we were able to buy acreage and build a home while still living at the country club house with the cracked driveway. This new home in the country doesn’t have custom cabinets, we decided the prefabbed ones at the home improvement store painted off white would be very much the same as custom. My hubby added trim and they are just as nice, we will add hardware when we sell country club home. I know the country club neighbors are scratching their heads. : )

    What a blessed little baby you have to have such common sense smart parents! We have 4 daughters, ages 17 to 28 and they live the same way too, no spoilties here! ; )

    God is good. Blessings!

  30. cheryl beuning says:

    My mother used one high chair through all 7 of us kids.
    Today I look around and there is nothing in my living room that didn’t come to me second hand – but I think it all looks fabulous together. In fact, except for my bed there is very little in my HOUSE that didn’t come to us second hand.
    The cars are paid for, the bills are paid, the kids are provided for. The garden grows and the chickens eat the bugs. I like this life.

  31. My DH and I had this conversation last night. We were talking about my BILs gorgeous home. They have granite counters, exquisite hardwoods throughout, gorgeous detailing at every turn. We have a pleasantly sized, very functional, rather boring home. I love the details. We moved out of a 90 year old home that was needing lots of help in the big areas, and was just very small for our family (2 bedrooms, 5 kids at the time). But it had details in spades…. french doors, push button switches, glass door knobs, picture and plate rails, etc. I don’t miss the size of the house or the neighborhood, but I miss those details. They’re frivolous and unnecessary, but I loved them. Still, I love having room for our family more. And even more than that, I’ll live with no screens on the windows for now, and no windowsills, and thin ugly doors, etc. My DH even suggested that we could “put it on the card” when I said it would be nice to have something as simple as windowsills. But no, I’ll take the ugly, beat-up plaster around the windows over going into debt.

    Ok, that was mostly for me. Thanks for the reminder that I really do want to be out of debt more than I want those lovely details.

    • Ooo, you would love the story of our house. Long story SHORT, when we moved here there were TWO houses available. The one we wanted sold the day we made an offer. This one? We hated. But we bought it because it was available. Now? LOVE. It’s not big, but it was built in 1913 and it has those nice details, including hard wood floors that were buried under 20yo nasty brown carpet! Score!

  32. SimpleSaver says:

    I actually thought the stroller in the picture looks pretty nice The basket on my stroller broke on one side so I have to tie it up with ribbons to keep my purse from falling out. The hood folds out crooked and no matter how often I clean it it keeps sprouting new cracker crumbs:)

    We can afford a new stroller, but like you there are so many other things that matter more to us.

    Thanks for a great post!

  33. So true and preach it, sister! I couldn’t agree more.

  34. Love this post. We are still trucking in our 1996 jeep, I love it, it has taken us through a lot. We also have a microwave that is older than that, my mom wants me to get a new one, but it still works. We are a trade in society and there is something new every month it seems. I like my old things, I am very use to them and enjoy they way they work.

    Edwards Granddaughter

  35. Kristin B says:

    When I saw the title of this post, I knew I had to read it, thinking of my own old, beaten up stroller. Then I saw the picture. What a coincidence…it’s the same as yours 🙂

  36. We have an 80’s kitchen with the original countertops and cabinets. Most of the ceiling fans and light fixtures are rocking the 80’s, too. Our minivan is used and has a big dent in the bumper. Our tv is an old tube one that works just fine…

    But… I will not push a dirty, worn out stroller. I have a “thing” about it. I feel about it like I feel about clothes. I would not wear or put my baby dirty, stained, or torn clothes because that is not the image I want the world to see of me as a parent or frugal person. The stroller is the same. Old is fine… worn out is not.

    We’ve all got our priorites, even in frugality. So if you’re a mama who is feeling guilty because you want a new stroller, you might not need to feel that way. Just figure out how much it means to you and why, and let something else go… =) Just my two cents.

    • Ahhh, that’s another blog post in the making. I think it’s absolutely fine for everyone to have a “thing.” Mine would be the big dent in the bumper. It would bug me. As long as we don’t get in a big money hole because EVERYTHING is a thing, we should be good to go. 😉

  37. If you see this comment more than once…sorry, I am having issues posting over here! Loved this post! You are so right, that “ugly” stroller is truly a thing of beauty! Thanks for the encouragement to keep on keeping on 🙂 Tonya

  38. Thanks so much for this post. I to have an ugly stroller. I got in as a baby shower gift for my 1st daughter that is now 4. The rubber on the bars is torn, and there are stains all over. I would love a sit & stand stroller for my 4 year old and 2 year old. However right now it works great laying the seat all the way back and my 4 year old sitting in the back when she is tried of walking. Ment to be a double stroller NO however it works so why spend over $100 on a new one?

  39. Loved this post! I never bought a new stroller for any of my kids though I desperately wanted one. I dreamed of pushing my first born in a gorgeous, brand-new, fancy European pram. Shortly before he was born, my in-laws sent us a check to help with the baby. I could have bought that luxury pram but we did the frugal thing and stashed the money aside for other expenses. Now, due to our frugal ways, we enjoy debt-free living, having paid our mortgage off. My oldest sure wouldn’t have remembered that pram but he does remember having a mommy around for his whole childhood. And that pram? When my 3rd child was a baby, I found one at a yard sale dirt cheap. It wasn’t shiny or new but I enjoyed every minute of pushing my son (and then the foster baby who followed) around in it and living out my fantasy……debt free. Keep on with the frugality. It works.

  40. Jessica Valentino says:

    I pushed a double stroller for three years which was definitely this stroller’s big sister. It was a second hand stroller that we received for free when we most needed one. It was always beautiful to me because every time I saw the stroller it reminded me that we had been blessed when we needed it. It did the job too, and kept me humble.

  41. Great post. I am in the same situation as you are in. I need to replace my child’s push chair too but the thought of not clearing my debts is making think twice again.

    • Like a few other commenters have said, there is hope in finding a nicer item for a “steal” at a yard sale or on Craigslist. Maybe you could hold out for such a bargain?

  42. Thank you for these great comments. We became debt-free three years ago after a years of yard sale furniture, thrift store clothing, going without and driving 200K milage cars. Our friends thought we were crazy. (They are still paying huge mortgages.)
    My only regret is not putting more aside for the kids to go to school. If you have young children and can save even a little, it will add up over time.
    PS. Planning on a Goodwill run this morning for back to school clothes for a growing teen!

  43. Amy, I am a first time reader, following a link from I am so glad that I clicked on this link. You have blessed me today more than you could know.
    Just last month, my husband and I moved back to FL to be closer to family. When we made the move, we both felt that it was very important for me to stay at home with the kids for as long as possible. We cut our income down by about 45%, and cost of living in FL is higher than it was in GA. We are currently living on an extremely tight budget, but we have been blessed. My husband drives a beat up car that was given to us 3 years ago after our car was totaled. We were told that the owners only thought it would last a couple of more weeks, but that it would help us through the transition. Here we are, 3 years later, and we haven’t had a single problem with that car other than changing the tires and one little $4 part. There have been so many times we have talked about trading up in vehicles, but we have valued not having a car payment so much more. We have the Old Tube TV, the second hand furniture, and a jumble of mismatched towels and washcloths. Sometimes I look around and think that I would like to have nicer things, but then I remember the wonderful opportunity that I have been given to stay home with my kids, and suddenly the nice possessions don’t mean quite as much. So, thank you for this post. It reminds me that we have More Than Enough, and our financial stability is more important than a flashy car or perfectly matched towels. Bless you.

  44. Amen! I know what you mean-I have an ugly, but functional PAID FOR old Honda Civic…but it is functioning so no need to replace it just to keep up with the Jones’ 🙂 I am putting a link to your post on my blog . Thanks so much!

  45. Thanks for this post! I find that I often will flip through an Ikea or Crate & Barrell catalog and think, “well, my house just doesn’t measure up. I need to buy this beautiful new couch because my saggy couch that we got for free from my friend doesn’t quite look as nice.” But then I look at the price and realize how it is absolutely not within my shoe-string budget. So I begin to envision ways I can (as an adult) set up a lemonade stand outside my house with a sign that says “Please help me buy a beautiful couch so I can feel better about myself.” Wait…did I just put my self-worth into a couch? And how many people actually see my couch in a week? Pretty much just me, my husband, and our dog. So does this really matter? No. I just need to vacuum the dog hair off the couch, Febreze it, straighten up in the living room, and voila! It’s MY living room which is fit for MY life and MY budget. And I love it.

    As I write this I keep thinking of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” song.
    Truly, gratitude is wanting what you have.

  46. Cathy Edmonston says:

    Hi, Amy:

    I found your blog via Money Saving Mom.

    Thanks for your post. My husband and I have made a commitment for us to live debt-free, which as you know, often means choosing/ accepting something used over something new.

    I’m now considering whether or not to return a double jogger that I purchased (and haven’t used yet). I have a double stroller already that my mother in law found for $25 or less at a garage sale. I’m a runner and have already put a lot of miles on the double regular stroller and lately started thinking that I NEEDED a double jogger. I’m prayerfully reconsidering. Do I really NEED a double jogger, or am I just trying to live up to what I think others expect of me? You may have helped me to find the beauty in the used, double regular stroller! Thanks, again!

    • Cathy — I can so appreciate the thought you’re putting into something that many people would simply “hand over the plastic” for. Only YOU can know if it’s a need. I’d say if you’re a jogger and the stroller makes your exercise time more enjoyable, it might be worth it. Is it a retail stroller? You may be able to find a nice double jogger through Craigslist or something. I was blessed to buy a hand-me-down double jogger from family for just $50 a few years ago. It sure does move around nicely!

  47. Kristen Trappett says:

    My living room, it has no furniture and minimal on the walls, why? because we moved into this bigger house and now had two sitting places and one ugly collage couch and chair. We kept the ugly furniture and put it all in one room. The living room is still empty except for a quilt rack ( you know the important things) Actually it makes a great play room for the kids! We can wrestle, set up the train which can take the whole room, love a good garage sale find, or just run around which seems to be a favorite game the kids play. So we don’t have that drop dead gorgious living room, but we have less debt.

  48. I am SO grateful I learned to sew when I was young. When I was pregnant, my husband was out of work. He found a temporary job right before she was born, and money was VERY tight for the next 2 years. Through Craigslist, garage sales and secondhand stores (as well as couponing) we managed to stay afloat. One thing I was able to do… I got a high chair free at a garage sale- the cover was hideous and torn- so I made a pattern from it and made a new cover from some denim fabric I had in my stash. It looked great!

  49. That stroller in the picture looks better than the one I had for my kids the day I bought it at a garage sale! God, I was so poor! It’s funny how some people (including myself in a better financial position now) strive to live like I was forced to back then.

    • Ah, yes. My husband and I laugh about that sometimes. “You know, we really COULD buy a new ______” but it’s more fun to sock the money away, or plan for a trip, or be prepared for braces (well, that’s not fun…)

  50. Our camper.

    It’s not brand spanking new. It has its blemishes. The interior is dated. BUT it has no functional issues, it’s the right size for our family and it’s been well taken care of by the previous owner. Some of our friends and family have purchased campers recently, most of them brand new. Those came with a payment, in some cases that they can’t really afford. Would it be nice to have something with that new camper smell? Sure. But this is perfect for us and we paid cash for it. It’s ours, free & clear.

  51. My car is an 02 with 100,000 mils on it. At the last oil change and new tire purchase, they never put my hubcaps back on. As chance would have it, we were loaning it to someone for a few weeks so we did not pick the car up ourselves to notice it. The person borrowing it had no idea they were supposed to be there. Anyhow, we did not find out for a month and after that long the mechanic said it was not their problem. Soooooo I have a jenky looking car. My Dad hates seeing it like that, but really who am I trying to impress? I am certainly not putting NEW hubcaps on a nine year old car that is used only for trips around town.

  52. Jennifer says:

    Live like no one else *now* so you can live like no one else *later*. Name that tune:) It’s a daily struggle, isn’t it? Keep up the good work!


  1. […] ::There’s Beauty in Your Ugly Stroller — “Managing our money well to gift our family a debt-free life is a choice that has us frequently asking ‘How ugly is it?’. It’s a choice that encourages us to swallow our pride, look past the ugly, and see the beauty.”Amy’s post was spot-on. […]

  2. […] Aug18 I read this morning that I wanted to share with all of you titled “There’s Beauty in Your Ugly Stroller.” If you only have time to read one post right now, read hers and skip mine. Its a great […]

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