Not Giving Up
Author: Melanie Gnau

not giving up

“What winning is to me is not giving up, no matter what’s thrown at me, I can take it. And I can keep going.”

There’s going to be pitfalls on our path to saving. During my spending diet, I had a wedding, a broken air conditioner and so many little temptations thrown at me. But even when I messed up, even when I spent more than I intended, I knew that I could keep going. I could pick myself up and do better next time. And you can too. Keep going.

How are you persevering in your money saving journey? Talk to me in the comments!



in Motivation
Frugality Includes All The Other Virtues
Author: Melanie Gnau

frugality includes all the other virtues

“Frugality includes all the other virtues.”

People often think of being frugal as being cheap. But they aren’t interchangeable. Being frugal is saving money on things you don’t care about, so you can spend money on what’s important. It’s bringing your lunch to work so you can go out to eat with a special someone on the weekend. It’s forgoing the newest fashions so you can take that dream trip to Bali with your best friends. And it’s using those 2-for-1 coupons so you can buy one canned good for yourself and donate the other.

Do you agree? Does frugality include all other virtues? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Living Tiny: Ethan’s Tiny Vermont Abode – Home Tour
Author: Melanie Gnau
Living Tiny: Ethan's Tiny Vermont Abode - Home Tour

Photo c/o Rikki Snyder

Hi! Melanie here! At ATWS we’re interested in challenging the norm of debt and spending. In the “Tiny Living” column, we interview people who who have gone to (what some would say) extreme means with their living situations to get out of debt, save money and live a simpler life. Today we have Ethan with us. Ethan is a writer in Vermont. Take it away, Ethan!

My name is Ethan Waldman and I’m a writer and tiny house owner. I live in my tiny house in Vermont. My girlfriend often stays there with me too. I finished building my tiny house around September 2013. I have been living in it ever since. Read More »


in Living Tiny (Home Tours)
Empty Pockets Never Held Anyone Back
Author: Melanie Gnau

empty pockets never held anyone back

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Being broke and in debt can take a mental and emotional toll. It can make us feel like we can’t do anything. “I can’t get in shape because I can’t afford a gym membership.” “I can’t eat healthy because I can’t afford healthy foods.” “I can’t have a social life because I don’t have any money.” All those thoughts have run through my head. But they’re just excuses. It’s true, being broke makes almost everything more difficult, but it also makes us more creative. It forces us to think about the things we can change. We can eat healthy on a budget. We can exercise outside of a gym and we can have a social life with a limited income. It just takes a little creativity, know-how, effort and time.

How are you overcoming the mental and emotional challenges of saving? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Sure-Fire Ways to Save Tons of Money on Everything Baby Needs
Author: Valerie Rohde

How to Spend and Save Wisely During Pregnancy and Your Baby’s First Year |

This is a guest post from Valerie Rohde. I couldn’t help but add a few notes throughout the post. :) – Anna 

Diapers, bottles, and booties, oh my!

How sweet it is to dream and prepare for your new baby! It is so easy to get caught up in all of the adorable little bitty items and the parenting magazines that suggest all of the items you’ll need for your baby. The coupons and fliers begin filling up your mailbox, e-mail inbox, and you even start getting text messages to alert you of the latest baby sales in every local store. The sales seem great, and the pressure to measure up to others and have the latest baby gear can become quite overwhelming. I hope this guide helps to dispel some of the myths regarding what you really need to have, and what you should splurge on.


Worth the Splurge (if You Can):

Childbirth/Breastfeeding Classes

The childbirth class my husband and I took was worth every penny, and I would take it again and spend the same amount of money with no regrets. It was a 12-week course offered by an organization outside of the hospital setting. I highly recommend that you look into a class other than the short class on a Saturday that is typically offered by your local hospital. (Take advantage of the free tour your hospital or birthing center offers in order to learn about their specific policies.) Otherwise a comprehensive birth class is the way to go.

Read More »


in How To, Kids, Pregnancy
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Having an Inexpensive Funeral
Author: Aaron Jones

Creative Ways to Save on Funeral Costs |

My sister, Christine, is a nurse and she suggested a book to me. It was called Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty. Caitlin is a mortician and she also writes a blog called The Order of the Good Death. Her book was an eye-opening read and she is really changing thoughts and ideas around death and dying. She’s got a young, relatable voice, and the book is a memoir about her time working at a crematorium. It’s hard for me to think about death and I don’t like to do so. I know that this is not something that is unusual or unique to me. When I was reading her book I noticed that I felt like crying a lot, and I realized that I have a lot of anxiety around this topic. This isn’t very surprising considering death and dying isn’t a topic we openly discuss in our culture. Caitlin Doughty’s book got me thinking about this uncomfortable topic in a different way, and while it feels completely awkward to think and talk about this stuff, I know it’s important to do so. – Anna


I started down the morbid path awhile back when I wrote the post Your Body Is a Gold Mine (If You So Choose) – Selling Body Parts for Cash. And, not too long ago I decided to walk down the path a bit further and look into ways that your corpse can save a family money. Hey, anything to save a buck, right? One of the inevitable facts of life is that one day, life will end for all of us. Yes. It’s super depressing, and it’s a thought that most people don’t like to linger on for too long, but when is the last time you really thought about what type of funeral you want to have? Never? Okay. Maybe today is the day to think about it or, at least, think about thinking about it…

In western societies disposing of a deceased body has come down to two main choices: burial and cremation. Even though cremation is an excellent, inexpensive option, more choices are available. When I stopped to think about it for more than a fleeting moment, I realized that I don’t want my awesome corpse to be a financial burden on those I leave behind. reports that the average cost for a traditional funeral (embalming, casket, tombstone, etc) is roughly $8,000-10,000 dollars. Imagine, with inflation, the cost of your funeral. The majority of the cost of a traditional funeral comes from the funeral home itself and you’ll pay for every service they provide. Most services also have a way to be up-sold as well (did you know most caskets are marked up a ridiculous 900%??!). Imagine the savings if you can cut out that middle man altogether. There are ways to do this and save a bundle.

Also, your religion, if you have one, may have rules that dictate how a body must be treated after death. It’s also understandable that people would need closure when a loved one dies, and, granted, not all of the proposed burial practices will provide that.

Obviously no specific means of burial is “wrong” and it’s a personal decision, but if you (and your family) are open-minded and want to save some cash (and possibly become a piece of art) consider one of these alternatives to a traditional funeral.

Read More »


in Family, Friends, & Relationships, How To, Social
How to Determine Your Values
Author: Melanie Gnau

We Can Tell Our Values By Looking At Our Checkbook Stubs

“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.”

What we spend our money on says a lot about us. Do you value healthy eating? Then your bank account (who uses a checkbook anymore?!) should reflect that. You should have deductions for the grocery store, not the drive-thru.


I want to challenge you to think about your values and then look at your bank statement. Is your money spent a reflection of your values? If not, what can you do to change? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Considerations for Couples: Accepting Money from Parents
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Accepting Money from Parents |

Hey Anna, My partner and I come from families that handle money very differently. His family will give us money with seemingly no strings attached but then they’ll expect things from us. Mainly, they want us to inform them about our decisions and take their loud opinions into account even on issues that (I think) have nothing to do with them. Are we obligated to take their thoughts and feeling into consideration if we’re accepting money from them? Should we stop accepting money from them even if it’s a “gift”? Are these two issues even related to each other? What do you think?

– Want the Money but Not the Drama



Managing money in a relationship is difficult all on it’s own but then when you throw parents and other people into the mix it gets that much more complicated. Then, add another level of difficulty when each half of the couple comes from different financial backgrounds. It’s not uncommon for one half of the couple to be completely financially independent from family while the other is happily used to receiving frequent financial gifts from mom and dad. There are several factors to consider in this situation — how gifting is received by the partner, how the money is used, and the expectations each person (within the couple) has.

Read More »


in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Hey Anna (Reader Questions)
  • 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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