Crackin me up.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

This site had me cracking up. Here’s the link. Free internet giggles for all!


in Just For Fun
Oh, Suze!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Every once in awhile I’ll be flipping through the channels when Suze Orman’s show just so happens to be on. I have no idea what day or time it’s on. I only know that it’s on at night. I catch her show completely randomly and totally through no fault of my own so I was happy to see that now there are approximately 70 full length episodes of her show available for download, for free, on itunes as podcasts.

Being the good little student I am and wanting to learn something throughout this Spending Fast year I downloaded all 70 episodes. See, I told you moderation has never been my thing. It took a couple of hours to do (while I slept the computer worked away) and now I’ve got some watching to do. Hopefully something she says will rub off and I’ll be a financial guru before too long and CNBC will be calling me up for my own show and then I’ll be denying $85,000 Maserati’s.

Really, the minimum I’m hoping for is that by watching these episodes I’ll be more prepared for January 1st, 2011 when the Spending Fast is over and I go back to my non Spending Fast life.

one comment

in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
The Book That Helped Change My Relationship With Money
Author: Anna Newell Jones

A wonderful reader suggested a book that I’ve finally started to read. The book is called Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century
written by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. (Here’s a link to their official site.)

I must admit I’ve been reading it slowly since I usually check out about 5 books and a movie or two all at the same time from the library. The first part of the book has really struck me. In a lot of ways it’s in the same vein as what I’ve been trying to do with the Spending Fast and the voice of the book is similar in a lot of how I feel about money and life and it all being a complete unit working together and that ones financial life isn’t set apart in some separate compartment doing it’s own thing. Some of the pages seem to be plucked right from my very brain. They nailed it in a lot of ways. I kept finding myself thinking “Yes!”, “Yes! totally!”, and “Oh yeah, that’s exactly how I feel”, and “Well, said!”, and “THAT’S what I’ve been trying to articulate”. So far, it seems to be a good match. I haven’t started the 9 step process and am not looking forward to that but we’ll see how it goes, I may not decide to even do them. Most likely, I’ll take what works and leave the rest.

The part from the beginning of the book that I’ve really been struck by are the diagrams (see below) and concept behind the Evolution of the Fulfillment Curve: Enough. I remember before the Spending Fast (and even now) there was never enough. I would buy the item of my desires only to have that desire replaced moments if not seconds later. What I had just bought, what I had just thought would make my life perfect and complete wasn’t enough. It was never enough. My wants and made up needs were insatiable.

Online I found the diagrams. The below information is re-posted from this site.

The Fulfillment Curve (see inset illustrations) shows the relationship between the experience of fulfillment (vertical axis) and the amount of money we spend — usually for more stuff (horizontal axis). In the beginning of our lives, more stuff did indeed mean more fulfillment. Basic needs were met. We were fed. We were warm. We were sheltered. When we were uncomfortable, when we cried, something came from the outside to take care of us. Our needs were filled. We survived. Our minds recorded each such incident and remembered: Look outside yourself and you will be fulfilled. 

We then went from bare necessities (food, clothing, shelter) to some amenities (toys, a wardrobe, a bicycle) and the positive relationship between money and fulfillment got even more embedded. Remember your excitement when you got your Captain Midnight Decoder Ring or baseball mitt or Barbie doll? If our parents were being responsible, they soon taught us, “Those things cost money, dear. Money that we go out and earn for you — because we love you.” We got an allowance to learn the value of money. We could select and purchase happiness ourselves! And so it went, year after year.

Eventually we slipped beyond amenities to outright luxuries — and hardly registered the change. A car, for example, is a luxury that 92 percent of the world’s population never gets. For us, however, our first car is the beginning of a life-long love affair with the automobile.

Notice that while each new acquisition may have still been a thrill, it cost more per thrill and the “high” wore off quicker. But by then we believed that money equals fulfillment, so we barely noticed that the curve had started to level out. On we went into life. House. Job. Family responsibilities. More money brought more worry. More time and energy commitments as we rose up the corporate ladder. More time away from home. More to lose if we are robbed, so more worry about being robbed. More taxes and more tax accountant fees. Therapist bills. Remodeling bills. Just-keeping-the-kids-happy bills.

Until one day we find ourselves sitting, unfulfilled, in our 4,000-square-foot home on 2.5 wooded acres with a hot tub in the back yard and Nautilus equipment in the basement, yearning for the life we had as poor college students who could find joy in a walk in the park. We hit a fulfillment ceiling and never recognized that the formula of money = fulfillment had not only stopped working but had started to work against us. No matter how much we bought, the Fulfillment Curve kept heading down.


There’s a very interesting place on our curve — it’s the peak. Part of the secret to life, it would seem, comes from identifying for oneself that point of maximum fulfillment: ENOUGH. Enough for our survival. Enough comforts. And even enough little “luxuries.” We have everything we need; there’s nothing extra to weigh us down, distract or distress us, nothing we’ve bought on time, never used and are slaving to pay off.














Enough is appreciating and fully enjoying what money brings into our lives, yet never purchasing anything that isn’t needed and wanted. It’s a powerful and free place — the launching point for cultivating the kind of fulfillment that money can’t buy.   When personal needs and wants are fulfilled, our locus of interest expands.  We seek to address the needs and comforts or family members and friends, then our community, our nation, our world.  Our personal freedom allows us the opportunity to be concerned for others, our surroundings, and our affect on the world as a whole.  In short, we find the freedom to devote our life energy to participate in the larger circles of life.  We call this participation SERVICE.


When we recognize ourselves as part of a larger whole, the entire picture shifts. We are not “just one person.” We are part of Life – one thread among millions in this unfolding that is already whole.

When we do, we see opportunities where before there were only obstacles. We find hidden talents and hidden reserves of energy. We begin to know ourselves as sufficiently creative, noble, industrious, wise and wily to get the job done. Through a commitment to service, we learn right relationship with all of life – how we “fit,” what we’re “fit for” and what choices are “fitting.” Service to others and to the planet provides the perfect tempering environment wherein individuals of real mettle are forged. It is the obvious and essential follow-through for people who have taken the first step of personal lifestyle change.


in Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Take Action!
Well, Month 7 You Were Interesting. Weren’t You!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Yesterday’s post told you about how July went so I was really surprised to see that despite my feelings of messing up in July that I somehow saved MORE in July then in June. Not much more- $8.61 more but still, how’d that happen? So strange. I guess since I have one less bill to pay since I paid off  my last credit card in June that it might affect my finances more than I had anticipated.

July’s total savings were: $790.69 (For my total Spending Fast Savings since the start in January 2010 click here.)

This is July’s savings distribution break-down:

  • $263.57 to my parents for an old college loan that they took out for me. This loan has been a monkey on their back (and mine) for a while now. Hope to pay it off before too long…
  • $263.56 to my college loan company. Again, hope to get that paid off… someday…
  • $263.56 into my savings account! Actually having money stay put in my savings account has been a goal I wanted to attain since the start of the Spending Fast so this is exciting!

It’s strange how the numbers shook out for July. I guess you never know!


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
This is me being imperfect.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

This month has been one of the hardest month’s yet, apart from Month 1. Throughout the whole Spending Fast I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to do great, be perfect and not mess up and to write about my successes and failures on this here blog. The blog – the accountability- has been a HUGE asset to my progress because, as I mentioned in previous posts I definitely would’ve thrown in the towel long before if I was all on my own. Because, most of the time, this Spending Fast is just, well, not fun. At. All.

Since I paid off my consumer debt last month (still unbelievable) it’s been so hard to want to save. And, I found that I actually wasn’t doing much savings as a matter of fact. Wanna know what I did? Ok. I convinced myself – totally justified this- that I need some 100% UV protection, very dark sunglasses because I’ve been having some “SUN issues” this month. Yes. It’s been ME vs. THE SUN. And, I’m losing. Big-time losing. I’ve got a new desk at work that faces West so with the white desk and direct sun the sun has basically been burning my eyes out of their sockets. I figured I needed new sunglasses to help with this problem. Plus, if I was going to be wearing sunglasses at my desk, while working, I should AT LEAST be stylish and comfortable and well, I deserve it right! I work hard! Also, we’re going to Martha’s Vineyard (to shoot a wedding) and to Montreal at the end of the month so these sunglasses were beyond needed. Ok. I just tried to justify my purchase to you. Yes, I just said what you thought I said. I bought them. Now, these weren’t cheap $4.50 Forever 21 sunglasses, oh no! I went BIG. I decided if I was gonna do this. I was gonna DO THIS.

I bought these:

$190 Ray Bans.

Yes, I am on a Spending Fast.

Yes, I justified it.

Yes, I am nuts.

Yes, my husband reminded me of this.

Yes, I wore them for 2 days and I tried to remain in my state of justification and figure out a way to NOT mention them on this blog. Because of the GUILT! OH! THE GUILT!

Yes, I returned them.

Yes, I was happy I did and happy to see that money back in my account and wow, really, what was I thinking!??

They were cute but they weren’t even THAT amazing and not even THAT dark! Which was one of my main requirements (and justifications) for these expensive new sunglasses. When I went to return them I handed them over reluctantly but in a way, enthusiastically… complex, I know. That’s just how I roll folks. And, I just said, “I can’t afford these! I need to return them.” Kind of a little of a TMI vocal vomit there. The sales lady was like, “Whatever. I don’t quite care Miss.” She didn’t actually say that but I imagined that’s what she said in her head.

SO, also, this month I went over the Niceities-for-the-Husband $35 Allowance that I gave myself by oh, let’s see, like $150 bucks. We went to dinner, ate some ice cream, ate some more dinner out, ate some more ice cream out, saw Body Worlds, went to some movies, saw more movies. Yeah, I basically went hog-wild with reckless abandon and the hub couldn’t have been more pleased to not hear about the Spending Fast every time he suggested something that we could do. I have to admit it was nice to not be so strict with myself too. July felt (and was) more of a Spending Diet then a Spending Fast. The guilt that I’ve felt about all this has been horrible. I set out to do this and look what I did. I did great for 6 months and then jacked up Month 7.

I’m thinking that I need to be a bit more gentle with myself. I should focus on how good I did in Months 1-6 and not give up AND beat myself up because of July’s craziness. Was I unconsciously celebrating my consumer debt pay-off from June? It is highly likely.

Pretty much, it comes down to the fact that the only thing I’m perfect at is being imperfect. I guess I need to realize that I need to give myself a freaking break already and realize that I can always do better the next day and that wherever I’m at with this is okay. It’s kind of a process.

It’s ok self. Breathe. Save. Don’t buy $200 sunglasses and then breathe some more. And save some more.


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
Author: Anna Newell Jones

The hub surprised me with a few pounds of unexpected coffee! He done goooood.


in Gratitude, Spending Fasters
Author: Anna Newell Jones

If I’m being “good” I make a huge salad at the beginning of the week and portion it out through out the week for my lunches. Usually, I need more than just that for lunch because if I try to eat just that by 3 to 5pm I get glazy eyed and just can’t seem to think straight. Big shocker huh.

So since I try to get the maximum life out of these “Monster-beginning-of-the-week” salads I’ve found certain “fixins” – as my families-childhood-friends-mom (wow. that’s a mouthful) would say, “We’re fixin’ to leave”, or “We got the fixin’s right here” or “I’m fixin’ to give you a whoopin’, so don’t move”.

Ingredients that last for a MONSTER Veggie Salad:

  • 3x washed spinach (I’ve noticed it can still have sandy grit on it if its not washed A TON. Be sure to shake it dry as this aides in its ability to last) *
  • Carrot chunks *
  • Walnuts or pecans *
  • Raw broccoli heads
  • Mushroom slices
  • Wait to add the dressing until you’re ready to eat the salad

What doesn’t stand the test of salad-time:

  • Cucumber halves
  • Pineapple chunks- they get tasteless very fast
  • Anything that can get slimy usually will

Test it out. This is obviously not a comprehensive list so let me know if you have any ingredients that last a long time in salads.

* my faves



in Food, Groceries, & Recipes, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I can hear the jokes now “Your arm pits are ripe” hardy har harrrr…

Groceries started off as my biggest savings obstacle and continue to be so. In the winter I was doing really good eating my way through the cabinets. Like the roach I am. So, when we moved across town in mid-April I had eaten just about all of my canned soup and had only a couple boxes of miscellaneous rice and falafel and hummus mixes left. It seems old habits die hard. I glanced in the cupboards the other day only to notice that my subconscious “Emergency-bomb-shelter-canned-and-boxed-food-kit” have suddenly started to breed while left unattended… despite my stern warning that they stay put and keep their hands to themselves.

I even realized that I had a jar of Wheat Germ that somehow became 1 year old! erm.. Happy B-day.

That Wheat Germ (short for germination) was bought with the best of intentions and there it sat for a year (maybe more) un-opened and heavily refrigerated. I dumped some on my salad in a effort to justify the Wheat germy purchase. Who doesn’t like an “Excellent Source Of Vitamin E & Folic Acid”? I can assure you, I do. For those of you who haven’t heard of Wheat Germ it’s kind of like the tofu of the wheat sprinkle world. It doesn’t really taste like anything. It was a hit in the 70s and it’s rumored that it makes skin look like glow-y. Who knows. Oh, also, another fun fact- it can go rancid so smell it and if stinks don’t use it. d’oh.

So you ask:

1) why the apricot photos?

2)Why the “Ripe” post title?

3)Why the Wheat Germ talk?

Your not thought out answers:

1) I’ve recently acquired a ton of apricots from my buds apricot tree. Truly, too many to actually eat before they go bad. This is a great way to cut down on fruit costs. Even though fruit is cheaper this time of year than any other. But why spend when you can save? Yeah. Exactly.

2) Cause I couldn’t think of anything else.

3) Wheat Germ! Such a strange name. Plus, I’m eating some right now as I write this post. It is on my salad and a friend saw it and wondered what in the world it was. So there you have it a little Wheat Germ tribute salute. To the one I faux-love.

Below is a bit more info about wheat germ:

Nutrients in Wheat Germ

Wheat germ contains many essential nutrients and is a good source of:

  • B vitamins such as folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6
  • Calcium
  • Complex carbs
  • Fiber
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Phosphorous
  • Potassium
  • Protein
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc

Health Benefits of Wheat Germ

Wheat germ contains phytosterols which have been shown to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. In addition, wheat germ contains high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from damaging free radicals. Wheat germ is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, are important for nervous system functioning, and help elevate mood. Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber which has many benefits including improved bowel function and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and prevent weight gain.

Yay for free fruit off of friends tree and using old stuff from your cabinets.



in Food, Groceries, & Recipes, Practical Solutions, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Uncategorized
  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Also! We're building a Tiny House and we're going to be on Tiny House Nation. Follow along!!

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