Young Newlyweds $0 Cash,No Food…Our Most Humbling Story

Photo: Our Very First Condo Town-home

We All Have To Start From Somewhere: Our Most Humbling Story….

My husband Johnny and I (Zayba) were only 24 years old when we got married in Mississauga,Ontario.  In both of our cultures, it is customary for the newly married couple to live with the husband’s family. My husband’s family is Macedonian and Trinidadian and mine are from East India. Moving in with the parents, well that didn’t work out so well as we only lasted a few weeks before my husband said he wanted to move out.  We looked for a house within our budget but he miscalculated the closing costs in our budget and we were short $750.

We didn’t feel comfortable asking my parents for the money so we took a small loan out to cover the cost which we eventually paid back. We ended up purchasing a 1100sq ft condo town-house  in a not so desirable area but it was all we could afford.


As you are all aware the first trip to the grocery store can get quite expensive, so I opted for a discount grocery store.  I spent two hours shopping, the cashier rang it all in and told me the total.  I handed her my credit card (as we had zero cash) only for her to respond, “Sorry we don’t take credit!”  I called my husband and told him the situation…..his response….”Walk away…we have no cash!”  Keep in mind that there was a line of people behind me.  All I could do after two hours of shopping was to say, “sorry, I can’t pay cash!”  I ended up going to a more expensive grocery store and got what we needed.


That was the most humbling experience in my life.  Since then we have learned to appreciate the value of a dollar even more than we did before.  We both learned very quickly that our furnishings could not be brand new yet second-hand, that our dinners out needed to be cut back, anywhere we could save we did.

When I speak to new couples that feel that everything in their first home has to be brand new, I have to say, it bothers me.  Everyone has to start from somewhere.  The only new items in our first home was our bedroom set that was a gift from my parents and our kitchen table that was a gift from my brother. My dining table, coffee table, side tables, guest bed, couches were all either second-hand or from the curb!  With a little TLC they looked designer!!!!!

Ten years and three houses later, I am proud to say that we are happy with what we have accomplished. We now live in a 2400sq ft detached home in an area we just love. We managed to purchase new furnishings and items for our home, go on vacations and outings and still manage to save!

We were able to put stamped concrete in the front of our home, a new deck and hot tub paying cash or paying the debt with-in 6 months time.

Other Ways We Like To Save Money

We’ve been blessed with my husband’s success with his career as a VP of a major telecommunications dealership, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to save a dollar if we can! We have also been blessed with 2 beautiful little girls Serena Age 8 & Rayanna Age 4.  When the time comes we plan to teach our children about money so they understand the value of a dollar.


Now when I give a housewarming present, it’s usually a grocery store gift card!   They look at me a little weird, but I usually get a call after they have used it thanking me!

So always remember we all have to start from somewhere!

If you have a Success Story you would like to submit and share please email it along with any of your own pictures to

You can also find me on Facebook HERE always chatting up a storm or Tweeting on Twitter HERE… Come check us out! Cheers Mr.CBB

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  1. Congrats to you both for having the strength to change the lifestyle you had become accustomed to. I know several couples who have chosen to maintain it, even if it means more debt followed by bankruptcy.

    1. That’s the hard part when couples chose to do nothing about it or very little at all . If you spend more than you earn you will keep building debt, end of story! Thanks for your comment Barb! Mr.CBB

  2. Nice of you to share your story but I am sorry, I cannot feel that it was that tough for you. I am jaded maybe, but when I was first married, we couldnt buy a house, we didnt have credit cards and already had one mouth to feed, that turned into three in a short time. I had no job, with no formal education it was tough and my husband at the time had minimum wage jobs. Then I became the single mom, unemployed and raising three young kids, trying to keep a roof over thier head and clothes on them and food in thier tummy. I went without. I was at times almost without housing, had utilities cut off and I certainly didnt eat every day. That was a tough time, humbling to say the least. I wish I had been in half the position you were when you started out. I went out late at night, collected bottles and saved that money to feed my kids. I went to the food bank. I had to pick through church clothing piles for clothing for my kids as they grew and seasons changed. We had no phone, no tv. We had matresses on the floor and used/abused furniture. HOWEVER, it was that tough time that made me strong, bonded me with my children in a way I cannot explain and made us all appriciate the value of a single penny let alone a dollar.

    1. I’m sorry to hear how your situation was tough for you. I tend to believe that where one person believes their situation was tough there is always someone else who has it worse. There will be someone reading your story and saying that’s great she got to eat,or she had a roof over her head I have to sleep in the streets. I’m sure you see my point. What one person believes another may see differently. We need to see the moral of the story here which is not the fact that she had nothing or more or less than you had or have but the fact that they set reasonable goals for themselves in order to never be in a situation that they felt uncomfortable.

      We need to take ownership of our lives and do something about it just like they have. Sometimes it may seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel but there is. It will never happen over night, it may take years but if you have a goal, set out to achieve it and you will succeed. We are in charge of our own lives, and how we manage them is the path to our final destiny. I’m happy that in the end of it all you and your children understand the value of money as many children today struggle to understand money and finance.

      Thanks for your comment. Mr.CBB

  3. Thank you everyone! It was hard for a bit, but neither of us wanted to go through life struggling. I feel so proud looking around my home seeing what we have accomplished. Sometimes I’ll enjoy a coffee on our deck in silence and just smile 🙂 If there is one thing I’ve learned through the years, it was to never give up. You can achieve your goals! Anything is possible if you put your mind to it! Thanks again everyone for your kind comments! I wish you all success in your future 🙂

  4. Glad you shared your story Zayba! I think this story will open up peoples eyes on saving, and working hard for what you have. You have to start small, things don’t come overnight. Good things come to those who wait!!! Enjoyed reading this.

  5. Thanks for sharing this personal and inspiring story. It has been many years since I was a newlywed and wish I would have had the commitment that you did to make things better over time. Congrats on staying with it and getting through the difficult times. I hope many are inspired by your story.

  6. Great story Zayba! Good for you guys for not just going more and more into debt! I wish I had tried harder when I was a young newlywed! Congratulations!

  7. This was an awesome and moving story, that truely makes you think about what you spend. loved it and shared hoping it will motivate someone who is struggling with debt to find a way out!!!! Thanks so much for sharing Zayba!!

    1. I agree, we tend to always here the I’m in debt up to my eye balls stories so it’s nice to read success stories. I’m glad Zayba was willing to share her personal story with the world. Mr.CBB

  8. terrific story!! my friend and i were just discussing her brother as he is getting married at the end of this month and he and his wife seem to think everything will be easy. they have both always lived at home and have no idea of the costs of renting or owning let alone the day to day costs of groceries and normal bills but there is just no talking sense to some people and unfortunately they will learn the hard way. thank you for sharing your story!!

    1. that’s usually when it hit’s them… once they are out on their own and have to pay bills.. life begins.. and they should pray they had the guidance to make the right financial decisions along the way. Sometimes JoAnne all you can do is watch people go bankrupt or lose their house etc… “You can’t teach a budget to love it’s owners an owners have to love their budget”.. if they spend more than they earn, they have to learn the hard way.. unless they turn it around.. sad but it’s true. Cheers JoAnne! Mr.CBB

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