Chelsea Chelsea
Author: Anna Newell Jones

We were driving by the Denver Performing Arts Complex and a certain brassy blonde ladies face caught my eye. It was none other than my favorite loud mouth Chelsea Handler’s face on a billboard. Turns out she’s coming to town (!) to promote her new book (Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang) and to do a comedy show.

When I saw that huge sign my heart skipped a beat then it cried. Let me correct that. My heart didn’t cry it started to weep. Yes. It weeped salty red bloody tears of pain. Because I remembered all too quick about the ol’ Spending Fast and knew I wouldn’t be going see her. I pouted. Then I pouted some more. And. Some more.

Then I looked up ticket prices to see how much I would really be saving. My mind starting racing trying to find some loop-hole so I could go. Maybe there was some contest I could win to get in free? Or maybe I could answer some trivia? Maybe I could even write her a fan letter professing my love for her garish sense of humor that gets me in all the right places and has me giggling in glee (because surely no one has ever tried that before).

Turns out the cheapest tickets are $45 bucks. A price I would’ve happily paid to see my favorite funny person. Though upon my purchase I would’ve said something like “Oh, I never treat myself” Or, “I’ll really enjoy this even though it’s a little expensive”. Which of course would totally justify it.

So, a sad $45 bucks will go unspent and my dramatic heart will continue to weep and until I think up a master plan of how to get in for free the aching for Chelsea will continue everytime I see those signs as they mock me reveling in my pouty pain.


in Spending Fast
Simple things meaning more. Day 48.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Valentine’s Day was the 1st holiday were I was expected to buy something for someone. I mentioned in this post about a certain problem I was running into with gift giving and getting expectations and about how I imposed the $3 limit to get the conversation to end.

Holidays and B-days are gonna be tough on me because I like to give gifts and I like to think of items that would mean something to the person to let them know that I really listen to what they say and care about what they will enjoy. Its really easy to be like “I want to give the person this thing so that’s what I’m gonna get them regardless if they’ll actually like it or not”. I try to avoid that though it does happen sometimes. Because, you know, sometimes you gotta risk it.

For example I noticied that the hub always stops the channel on the Little House On The Prairie show whenever it is on. He has told me that he really loves that show. And he sits there and watches it and seems to bliss-out as he happily gazes into tumble weed infested prairie land. I didn’t understand it but I was trying not to judge. “It’s a little odd but it’s just what he’s into” I thought.

Look who’s being all accepting.

So imagine my glee when around Christmas I had heard that the play Little House On The Prairie was coming to town and none other than Melissa Gilbert herself was going to be playing Ma in the musical! Also, a lady at work just so happened to be selling two tickets. “This will be a dream come true for him!” I thought. “He has hit the jackpot and will be overcome with joy! I’m going to be a hero” I thought.


Not so fast there Lady Stallion.

When the time came to surprise him with the tickets I expected (and wanted) him to be jumping with joy that he was going to get to see Melissa Gilbert live and in person- in Little House On The Prairie! Tonight! Yes! Tonight! Him and Melissa Gilbert in the same room! Look who’s a hero! Me! I’m a hero!

His response was slightly less excited then I had hoped for. He said that he better be careful what he says he likes because he might end up at a musical for it. I admit he better watch out if a musical for This Old House comes out because I would be tempted to get him tickets. It’s true. It was a semi-risky gift but that’s an element of gift-giving that one must take sometimes.

So. No more musicals for the hub. I get it.

With Valentines Day and the $3 gift giving limit I was a little stuck on what to do. I made a heart shaped sugar cookie cake for him (see it above) using ingredients (and decorations) I already had in the cupboards and wrote him an oh so heartfelt note on a card I already owned. I added the “A” for his first name to make it personalized. How special. And. That should’ve been enough but I would’ve felt like a dead-beat Valentine even though I know better- much better. Plus, I know that not even other real-life dead-beats like their fellow dead-beat Valentines.

They are THAT despised.

So, I felt like he wouldn’t/couldn’t know how much I really dug him if I didn’t spend more… it’s a jacked way of thinking I know and that’s part of my problem… part of why I spent so much before this Spending Fast started. Spending money for emotional reasons.

I told you I would tell you if I messed up on this Spending Fast thing and I have to tell you… I slipped. I had a moment of panic and confusion and impulse that I couldn’t control and I ended up buying him some very practical and admittedly unromantic though thoughtful business cards for Valentine’s Day too. They were $20 bucks with the shipping and handling and they are for his movie review site Quickie Review. Surely, there is some deep-rooted problem I have where things equate to how I show love and to how much I feel loved. I logically know that it’s not true… that things don’t equal love and I imagine this is going to be another thing I’m gonna have to face this year. How to say “I love you” and “I like you” and “I wanna be around you” to others and how do I hear it myself without a tangible item telling me it’s true?

I had been doing so good and have continued to do really good after that “slip”. I have to tell you I feel almost slimey about it. $20 in this new world where I don’t splurge on well, anything is quite a lot of money. It’s like that $20 bucks is really $200 in this new non-spending world of mine. I feel irresponsible and like I failed a little. But I’m human and it happened and I may be being really hard on myself right now so stop me at anytime. So. It happened and I told you I’d admit to it. So there you have it. And. Let’s move on shall we?

The hub took me out to dinner at my favorite restaurant and gave me a 1/2 a pound of Dunkin Donuts coffee which I have been enjoying and savoring ever since. I feel like I can really appreciate what I have now. Gifts mean more and the little luxuries I really took for granted mean a ton more.

That dinner out- Divine.

That coffee- Heaven-sent.

Turns out a little self-imposed poverty really makes me appreciate stuff. Who knew.


in Gratitude, Personal, Simple Living, Societal Pressures, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
Soap Saver
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Below is a little tip on soap saving from the lovely Boutique L’Amore.

“I have a little savings tip that I want to share. If you have empty foaming hand soap dispensers instead of tossing them you can save big bucks by reusing them. Foaming dispensers use so much less soap than regular pump dispensers so you can make a big jar of refill soap last a very very long time.

Rinse out the dispenser and fill 1/8 of the way full with your refill soap of choice. It really takes only a small amount otherwise the foaming mechanism gets clogged. Then fill the rest with water, replace lid and shake.

Voila, the same foaming action you love, a lot less moolah.

*be sure to buy the large refill soap in a fragrance you love, because you will be smelling it for a long time to come.”

one comment

in DIY
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Hey cuties! Hope you have a great Valentine’s Day!



in Personal, Seasonal
Homemade Haircut? Day 40.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

photo by Collen YancyThe past few years I’ve had the lucky fortune of getting my hair cut by the crazy talented Tina McKeever who is the owner of Vain Salon.

She’s got a God given talent.

Yes. She is THAT good.

Short or long she will nail the cut and you will find yourself walking out of that salon looking cool. Because they ooze cool and it rubs off on you when you enter and then you’ll have a haze of it around you for a good hour or longer after leaving. It’s a nice side effect. Just saying.

Since fancy, awesome haircuts no longer fit into my Spending Fast budget and since my hair is starting to get quite unruly I’ve been trying to decide what I should do with it. Do I let it keep growing and try to stretch my last professional cut to the absolute limit (which it is nearing) or do I try to cut it myself?

Since my hair is long I think a DIY homemade haircut is something that I could handle without it looking too wacky. I’m not gonna be trying to cut my hair into a bob or a pixie cut on my own. It’d be funny to see the results of that though huh.

Do you cut your hair yourself or know someone that does? Would you be willing to share your tips with me? It would be most appreciated.

one comment

in DIY, Practical Solutions, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
Author: Anna Newell Jones

One of the best things about this Spending Fast process has been the possibility of getting to a point of being autonomous and not owing anything to anyone. How great would it be to not owe money to credit card companies, school loan companies, banks or parents?

Oh. It. Would. Be. Amazing.

For me, autonomy is about being personally independent. The reality is if you’re accepting money from someone they get a say in how things happen. Or, at least they’ll think they get a say in how things happen which can sometimes render more grief than if they actually had their way. Really, I’m finding that I can’t be all that independent if I’m financially dependent on someone or some bank or some line of credit.

That line of credit, that “bail out” is just a big fat white collared anchor attached to your leg; a ball and chain that has good grammer and has been looked over 20 thousand times by a lawyer charging $300 bucks an hour; it’s someone jumping out of a plane with no parachute and asking you to hold their hand on the way down. Geez. that’s more depressing then I intended it to be.

If you need to borrow anyone’s money, have ever borrowed anyone’s money or currently owe anyone money the people/businesses probably have a say (or want) a say in how things go down. Who doesn’t know a father that gave money to a daughter for her wedding but put stipulations on that money? They want a say in who can and can’t be on the invite list,  if you are allowed to live “in sin” before marriage or not and even if alcohol is served at the reception or not. Or what about the gift that is given with strings attached? If you haven’t ever been given money or a gift with strings attached than you are probably in denial to the whole situation while everyone talks about it behind your back or you are a lucky chap who also just so happens to be a leprechaun with a pot of gold at your beck and call.

Really, money brings up all sorts of feelings and expectations for people and how people spend money shows where a persons priorities lie in life. So, then that brings up feelings and emotions and deep down things that we thought we had already talked to death about but turns out, we hadn’t dealt with it like we had thought.

Autonomy is a concept that came into my world a few years ago. Never knew what it meant before then because I never had a reason to care. And I didn’t decide to act on it until now. Since now I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I want to be free of that. I want to be self-governing. I want to be able to make decisions based on my best interest and not what is in the best interest of the people or organizations that I owe money to. I want as many financial strings as possible to disappear.

This Spending Fast is helping me get to a place of autonomy in the long run. It’s hard to remember all this when I’m in the moment and want to buy something that would make my life easier for the moment.

My motto has always been “You either spend time or money” and now, I’m spending the time to get my stuff in order and paid off and develop a life being autonomous.

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in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!
The dedication continues
Author: Anna Newell Jones



Just since month 1 of the Spending Fast has come and gone please don’t think my dedication is wavering. Just check out the shotty camera phone pics above. This shows you one of my recent lunches. This is a “delightful” vegan can of chili that has been in my cupboard for over a year. It looked like dog food and didn’t taste much better. It tasted like something a contestant on Fear Factor may have been dared to eat. I thought about plugging my nose while eating it and actually gagged a little towards the end of the bowl but came out victorious over that blasted nasty chili.

Only 4 canned soups remain and 4 cans of fruit (eww. why did I ever buy those?) are left. Maybe I can wipe them out this week.


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized)
The Clearout
Author: Anna Newell Jones

image by Justine Smith

Clearing out is something I can definitely get behind and have always (most always) been a fan of. There is something so freeing and liberating about not having the attachment to material things. My best friend can vouch for me that I am constantly trying to get my space more cleared out and more minimalized. I wouldn’t officially call myself a Minalmilst but more of a Not-a-lot-of-stuff-around-ist.

My best bud once came over to see that my kitchen table was gone from its usual spot. She rightly asked “Where did it go?” Me: “The basement. It took up too much room.”

And while that lasted about 2 hours since I couldn’t handle the ridicule any longer (ha) it was a defining moment that said I’d rather have less around than more because I just feel better without so much junk.

The excerpt below is a little goodie about clearing things out by Maria Alexandra Vettese (also known as MAV).  I found it on MAV and Stephanie Cogdon Barnes awesome blog 3191 Miles Apart .

I hope you enjoy these tips as much as I do.

image by Simon Hoegsberg

“Here’s a peek into my thinking about the closet/dresser clear-out. Get ready for some serious hard-line tough love goodness! You’ll thank me for it, I swear.


Notes: Give yourself a few hours to go through your clothing; don’t be in a rush. Take out every single item and throw it on the bed or the floor. Make your way through the pile using ‘The Rules’ below as a guide for your decision-making. You will have one hell of a mess on your hands but you’ll feel amazing afterward and the Salvation Army (and thrifters alike) will thank you!

1. Ask yourself, ‘have I worn this in the last six months?’ For me it’s ‘three months’ but let’s say six for non-clear-out-addicts. Obviously this does not mean that seasonal clothing should be gotten rid of. What I am trying to say is that if you have not reached for it in the last six months you’re not going to reach for it. Trust.

2. Ask yourself, ‘does this fit?’ and ‘does this make me feel like a million bucks?’ Don’t save clothing that is the wrong fit/size. Whether it’s the huge sweater you used to wear in middle school (although perhaps this falls under sentimental value, of course) or the skinny jeans you bought on sale because you figured you’d fit into a 29 someday soon, if it doesn’t fit, it just doesn’t fit. Clothes that fit make you feel like you; why wear anything else?

3. Ask yourself, ‘do I really need another t-shirt?’ Feel free to swap out the word ‘t-shirt’ for ‘tank-top’ or any other basic item you might have too many of. T-shirts and basics are major culprits for clogging up the closet or dresser. Why bother? Trim down and try having just a small stack of basics. You can rotate them in, take care to wash them well and love on them all the more. Also consider the case of your t-shirt from Disney Land circa 1979 … you don’t wear it anymore but there is something sentimental about it. Why not trim/rip out the graphic (and that of any other t-shirt you feel this way about) and make a nice stack of worn cotton swatches that can sit nicely with your photographs? A great way to remember those trips/college days/boyfriends/girlfriends without having those memories taking up so much space!

4. Ask yourself, ‘how often am I really going to go to a black tie New Years Eve party?’ Feel free to swap out ‘NYE party’ for any fancy event of your choosing.My point? It’s great to have some fancier items in your closet, everyone needs them, but don’t keep that horrible bridesmaids dress that your friend made you buy for her wedding and you’re still hoping you can talk yourself into wearing at another event someday, maybe, hopefully?! Nah. You’re not going to wear it. Ladies, keep your sexy dresses and men, keep your swanky ties but just keep ones you LOVE. It’s all about the love when you’re going through your closet/dresser to be sure.

These tips should help you trim down and pep up about your clothing. And the best part is seeing in front of you only what you need and what you wear quite often. It will help you layer creatively and come up with interesting, and complimentary, ways to wear your clothes. It will also help you appreciate what you have … and we certainly could use more of that in the world, don’t you think?


one comment

in De-Clutter, Do Without, Minimalism, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
  • 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. Let's do this!

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