The Year of the Hustle – A Spending Diet Update

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This is a post by Melanie who has been doing a Spending Diet since July 1, 2014.  Follow select Spending Fasters/Spending Dieters here. – Anna

I’m over halfway through my Spending Diet! At this point, I’d love to tell you all how wonderful it feels to have saved $7,600, but January had me in a slump. I managed to save my goal of $1,000, but I got paid early in December and I kept thinking I had more money than I actually did.

For some reason I also schedule all my doctor, dentist and my dog’s vet appointments for the beginning of the year. I don’t know why I do that, they all seem to just fall on the same month. I’m so lucky to have insurance, but a $30 dollar doctor’s appointment, a $50 dentist appointment for my husband and myself and a $235 vet appointment adds up quickly. And although I was bummed to spend over $300 on preventative care, I know that preventative care is just that–preventative and may help me save on medical care in the long run.

This month I also went back to having just one full-time gig. I had taken on teaching a course in the fall at the community college where I work and I had earned a bit of extra money each month for it. I really enjoyed empowering my class with my infinite wisdom (ha!), but the stipend was very low and I am currently planning a conference at my full time gig. I just didn’t feel I had the time or sanity to take on both. With the stress that comes with planning a large-scale event, I’m also preemptively worried that when things get too stressful, I’ll spend, spend, spend. I’m hoping these past 7 months have taught me that the thrill of seeing a bigger number in my bank account is better than the thrill of any stressed-out sushi lunch. Read More »

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in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
FitFin + Enter to Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card!
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This is a sponsored post, but, as always, my opinions are my own.
“I’m trying to help solve the personal debt crisis that’s going on in the world. If we can integrate budgeting into people’s everyday lives, in a natural way, they’ll be more likely to do it. It’s like exercise: If you want to get in better physical shape, you exercise regularly and watch what you eat. If you want to get in better financial shape, you watch your budget regularly and watch what you spend. That’s where the name FitFin came from (Fit Finances).” 
FitFin is a website and app that is three tools in one: a budget, an expense tracker, and a shopping list—and they all work in sync. You set up your budget(s) in seconds. You can create budgets for things like groceries, dining out, etc. You can also set temporary budgets for vacations and the holidays. Both individual budgets and an aggregated budget are summarized on the Budgets Overview page. You get to know where you stand in seconds. It’s all about building money-consciousness, and it’s about seamlessly (and easily) integrating money management into our lives.

A few of my fave features:

Historical Charts: To help monitor spending over time. Use this tool to find problem areas, and monitor them.

Expense Tracker: This is great because you can add anexpense quickly, take a picture of your receipt, and attach it to the expense (no more receipt piles!).

Shopping Lists: According to Reader’s Digest, eighty percent of what webuy at the grocery store is purchased every week. Rather than write milk on a piece of paper 52 times a year, store it permanently (and never leave it on the counter!). You can also save an item’s price andquantity. Then when you activate items on your list,FitFin will give you an estimated spend total for the entire list. To get the most out of the shopping list feature, you’ll enter the item, its cost, and thequantity of the item that you normally buy. You can even createseparate lists for each store.

– Something else that’s nice: the Check Budget feature that’s right within the Shopping List section. Use this to see what you’re going to spend ahead of time and how it the purchase will affect your budget. If you don’t like what you see with how your budget will be affected you get to make the decision before the purchase so you don’t get yourself into a mess by overspending.

 

Q&A with FitFin Creator, Rick Portillo… (Enter to win the $100 gift card at the end of this post)

 

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in Sponsored
The Life and Times of a Sub-Par Perfectionist (Part 2) – Using Affirmations to Change Your Life

am i perfect yet andthenwesaved.com

The other day in this post: Real Talk: If Only Perfection Could be Bought on Amazon (Part 1), I talked about how I’m always on the hunt for something to make my life easier and better. I want it to be something I can buy on Amazon and have mailed right to me. Easy, right? With just a couple clicks, and after a zillion dollars spent, I’d be totally perfect!

I came to the conclusion that I needed to be easier on myself, and I realized that I’ve been waaaaay over-committing. The past few days I’ve been going through every part of my life. It seems the technology part has really gotten out of control so I’ve been unsubscribing and cancelling things. It’s so easy to forget about the mental clutter that “little”, seemingly insignificant things take up. Physical clutter is easier to spot. I worked really, really hard to get out of debt, and the whole reason I wanted to get out of debt was to have be able to have freedom and some choices, not to be even more stressed out!

In addition to adopting a Minimalist Mind I’m taking action (in the corniest way possible. I’ll be the first to admit this whole “affirmation” thing feels corny as all hell). You may have noticed a LONNNNNNNNG delay from Part 1 of this post to today’s Part 2. I knew that if I put this post up I’d have to start doing these affirmations. I’ve been avoiding this but, today’s the day.

Instead of buying to zone out and make myself feel better I’m going to do some work, internally. Below are a whole bunch of affirmations. Most are ones I’ve completely made up. Those represent my ideal life or situation. With others, they’re true but I find myself forgetting about them. Others are more of a wishful thinking situation… almost like, if I believe it to be true, it will be, type of thing.

From the research I’ve done, the key with affirmations is to try to truly believe what you are telling yourself. Act as if it’s true. Feel what it would feel like if it were true. Let your face and body experience what you’re saying as if, “Of course, there could be nothing more true in the world!”. Fake it till you make it, right? It’s not about simply repeating a list super quick, and breezing through it just to check it off your To Do list. Also, saying some of the confirmation’s there’s a tendency to want to tell yourself things like, “Uh, yeah right!”, “Pshaw!, hardly…”, or, “That’ll never happen!” Apparently, you’ve got to just go with it. Believe it.

The key, so I hear, is to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself these things. I’ve also heard that if you want to “super-charge” your self-esteem, confidence, and really change your internal thoughts about yourself you should say these to yourself as often as 3x a day. Or, in the alternative, you can take what is called the “lazy-man’s” method for changing your life. This approach is when you record the affirmations, put the recording on a loop, and place the speaker under your pillow so all the positiveness seeps into your sub-conscious while you sleep.

Pick a few from the list that truly resonate with you. Pick ones that represent your ideal life. Or, use the below examples as a guide to create affirmations that truly mean something to you.

I’m going to pick 5 of the most vital ones to start with and see how that goes. Also, I hear it can take up to 6 months to feel different so hang in there if you don’t notice massive changes right away.

I’ve included a printable PDF of both of these lists. The link to that is at the bottom of this post. 

Alright, today’s the day.

 

MONEY-POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS: Read More »

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in Minimalism, Personal, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!, Things To Do
February’s Collective Savings Totals are In!

spending fast and spending diet collective savings

For the month of February we all saved a total of $58,182.48!! That is a hell of a lot of debt to pay off! The amounts you all are saving, this is concrete evidence that the Spending Fast and Spending Diet work!

We have now collectively saved a total of $379, 597.37!!!! 

To add to the Collective Savings total be sure to include your savings on this page so your savings can be included for March!

You all are doing so amazing knocking that debt out. With every penny that gets paid off it gets you that much closer to a new life. You can do this! If you want to get out of debt too take The Get Out of Debt Pledge and get started today. Might as well change your life on this fine Thursday, right?

 (If you’ve sent me an email your savings have been included in the savings total, by the way.)

 

How has it been going for you so far this month? What successes, obstacles and challenges have you encountered?

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in Savings Total, Spending Diet, Spending Fast
Cloth Diapers – Massive Money Saver?

how much money do cloth diapers save andthenwesaved .com

Before I had a baby I never would’ve guessed how much I’d end up talking about bodily fluids and functions. It all begins with the pregnancy, and it just continues on. It’s strange because throughout your whole life, it’s like, “okay, avoid these topics,” and then BOOM! All of a sudden you get to talk about all the gross stuff your 10 year-old self wanted to talk about back in the day.

Once the baby arrives, there are all these stages of poo that you have to be on the lookout for, too. You constantly get asked about the color, frequency, quantity, and consistency of said poo. Strangely enough, I’ve found myself bonding with friends over the messiest details of life. Asking them for advice. Asking if things are “normal.” Finding out what my friends know, then sharing what I know. It’s like this whole messy, beautiful, circle of life, kumbaya bonding experience with us ending every conversation by saying, “I never would’ve guessed we’d be talking so openly about poo.”

Aaron and I made the decision to use cloth diapers with Henry in an effort to save buckets of money. DiaperDecisions.com reports that “you need about 8,000 diapers from birth to fully potty trained. That equals approximately $2,500!”

We have 20 diapers and made an initial investment of $400 for all of them. If we were to do it again I would have hunted for these diapers used. Read More »

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in Kids, Sponsored
All the Insights About Insurance You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

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This is a sponsored post, but, as always, my opinions are my own.

Insurance is one of those things that is NOT super fun to talk about. It’s right up there with the dentist, and prying yourself off the couch from a Netflix marathon to go out in the freezing snow for a 15 mile run followed by 700 sit-ups. It’s like, the very last thing on the TO DO list, ever (at least for me). Plus, I always feel like, “Am I getting the best deal? And, freakin’ a – how the hell am I supposed to know how much coverage I even need?!!” It can be a dreadful process but dealing with insurance is just one of those things that come along with being a straight-up Certified Adult.

When we were looking for homeowners insurance we went with the company our real estate agent recommended because we were in a time crunch. We had to have coverage by the closing date. Because we were in a rush we didn’t shop around, and we didn’t do our research. That’s definitely not an ideal situation so once things settled down, we went back, shopped around, found out that we were paying WAY TOO MUCH, and we ended up switching to a company that gave us far better customer service, along with, and most importantly, better coverage at a way better price.

Insurance is, no doubt, an important part of solid financial planning. We know this. We need to find the perfect combo of THE BEST DEAL POSSIBLE, and, ideally we would have an expert looking out for our best interests. Trusted Choice is a company that is basically what would happen if your best friend turned into a super knowledgable, trust-worthy, insurance agent. They know the ins-and-outs, they ask you all the right questions, they set you up with the best coverage at the best price and then come over and share a pizza with you, while watching The Bachelor. You know I just made up that last part but they would do that if they could:P.

So, here’s the deal- Trusted Choice connects you with an insurance agent based on your location and needs. The insurance agent then connects you with the best insurance policy (or policies) at the best price. Also, since their agents aren’t limited to writing policies for any one carrier they skip the sales pitch, and just get right to helping you as quickly as possible so you can hurry up and end the insurance misery, and get on with your life already.

I got to ask them a few questions about insurance, and about how they work. While it is a bit lengthy it’s def worth the read. Tons of great info.

Btw, the agent who answered these is named Paul Martin. Here’s a bit about him: Paul Martin, CPCU, is a 30-year insurance professional. Over the course of his career, Paul has focused on advancing the insurance industry, and has excelled in a variety of positions including independent agent, commercial underwriter, company manager, association director, and industry educator. Paul’s professional mission is to make members of the insurance industry better equipped to serve the public through education.
Just a heads up. If you have any questions about insurance that aren’t answered below you can send them a tweet (@askanagentTC), or submit a question and an agent will respond.

 

All the Insights about Insurance You’ve Ever Wanted to Know…

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in Sponsored
Real Talk – If Only Perfection Could be Bought on Amazon (Part 1)

am i perfect yet part 1 andthenwesaved

Am I Perfect Yet? The Solution Won’t be Found on Amazon – Part 1

Lately, I’ve been getting down on myself. Mainly because I’m not “perfect”. The list of things I expect myself to be able to do daily:

  • Have a spotless, sanitized, perfectly organized house
  • Have everything checked off my To Do List
  • Work out
  • Meditate
  • Play with Henry for a good part of the day
  • Teach Henry something new and stimulating each day
  • Read to Henry, a lot
  • Be patient, kind, and loving to my husband and every single friend I have
  • Write a blog post for this site, and for my photography site
  • Keep the plants alive
  • Pre-plan and eat healthy, home-cooked meals (that I spent as little as possible on, of course)
  • Read all the books on my nightstand (14 of them. omg)
  • Read all the articles I have bookmarked
  • Keep myself groomed and presentable
  • Walk or ride the bus everywhere
  • Plan ahead
  • Listen intently
  • Be thoughtful
  • Remember ALL THE THINGS
  • Respond timely to every email, comment, message, voicemail, etc.
  • Recycle
  • Go to bed early so I can get at least 8 hours of sleep

To say that I put a lot of pressure on myself would be a total understatement… Read More »

4 comments

in Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Personal, Societal Pressures, Things To Do
$321,414.89 in Debt Paid Off!

spending fast savings total andthenwesaved.com

If you’ve visited the site this week you’ve probably noticed a cool new thing up there at the top of the site. That right there is the total amount of money that has been saved/debt that’s been paid off as a result of doing a Spending Fast or Spending Diet. That amount is the total from all the readers! I went through all the older and recent emails that I’ve received along with all the posts on this blog, tweets, Facebook messages, Facebook posts, and Instagram comments (all of it!) to get the total amount of debt paid off. Now, of course, this is subject to human error and there’s no way it’s going to be 100% accurate since everyone is self-reporting, and since I don’t have a staff to fact-check but I think we can take it for what it is, and be happy with the slightly imperfect, but completely encouraging and inspiring amount of debt that we’ve all paid off as a result of the Spending Fast/ Spending Diet. If you’ve somehow communicated to me an exact amount of debt you’ve paid off then that amount is included above. If you’ve contacted me with a success story (those are the best, btw! I live for those!) but didn’t tell me an exact amount than it’s obviously not included in the total because I wouldn’t know the amount to include.

On the 1st of every month I’ll update the total at the top of the site to show our collective savings. All you have to do is comment on the Collective Savings page with how much you’ve saved/paid off as a result of your Spending Fast or Spending Diet. You can report back everyday, every week, every month, or at the end of the year. Then, I’ll tally it all up so we can all see the total amount we’ve saved.

It’s so incredibly inspiring to see how much all that hard work has been paying off and to see that the Spending Fast and Spending Diet really work, and it’s really changing lives. Every single penny that’s getting paid off is one more step closer to the Freedom Land!

If you haven’t already, consider taking The Debt Free Life Pledge.

I’m so excited about this, and I hope you are too!

4 comments

in Savings, Savings Total, Spending Diet, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
  • 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!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.

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