How to Retire With an Extra $1,000,000 in the Bank
Author: Anna Newell Jones

How to retire with an extra million dollars in the bank |

Are you looking for an easy way to add an extra $1,000,000 to your retirement bucket? It’s simple — go vegan. If you become vegan, not only will you be helping to save the planet from worldwide food shortages within thirty years but, you’ll also save an average of $2,600 a year on food expenses (and about $7,500 a year if you have a vegan spouse and two vegan kids). If you only reinvest your $2,600 in the stock market every year and earn an average return of 8%, after 44 years, you and your spouse will retire with an extra $1,051,000. And if you wait 45 years, you and your spouse will retire with an extra $1,141,000!.

So why is going vegan so much cheaper?

Read More »


in Do Without, Environment, Food, Groceries, & Recipes
No Pessimist Ever Discovered The Secret of the Stars
Author: Melanie Gnau

No Pessimist Ever Discovered The Secret of the Stars -And Then We Saved

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” -Helen Keller

I’m not a naturally optimistic person. For me, it takes a lot of work to be optimistic. But optimism has been essential for my saving journey. To stay optimistic, I kept (and still keep) a gratitude journal. Each day I write down three good things that happened to me that day. When saving money and times get tough, I look back at all the glorious things I have to be thankful for.

How do you stay optimistic? Let’s chat about it in the comments.


in Motivation
Paying Down Student Debt: Is It Best to Barrel Through?
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Paying Down Student Debt |


Hey Anna,

My question is about balancing saving, spending, and debt repayment. I struggle with deciding how much to spend on myself and things I enjoy, and how much to save when I have student debt I want gone. I’ve got $22K in student loans (no other debt), $5K in emergency savings, and $32K in retirement accounts. I feel rather safe with my current savings levels, but am considering stopping retirement contributions for a year as I won’t have an employer match for that amount of time. But is this wise?

On the spending side, I do not want to burn out. I’m projecting paying off the debt completely in 1.5 years, which isn’t a long amount of time, but I’m 25 and I want to live life — travel, eat at yummy restaurants, explore my city, take yoga teacher training, etc. What would you recommend? Right now, I’m trying to only spend $200 per month on non essentials, but even that feels low (some months, other months I’ve got crazy motivation to kill the debt). How do I find balance? Do I just keep my head down for a year and a half and get it done?

How would you attack this?

Balance or Not?


Hi BN,

Read More »


in Hey Anna (Reader Questions), Paying Off Debt, Student Loans
6 Suggestions To Help You Work Multiple Jobs at Once
Author: Anna Newell Jones

6 suggestions to help you work mutliple jobs at once |

Working two jobs is an excellent way to add more income into your life. Whether you are saving up, or trying to get out of debt, however, working two jobs is not always easy. Taking good care of yourself is a complete necessity if you want to avoid burn out.

On and off, for years, I have worked two jobs. I have done so either to just make rent, while still pursuing career aspirations, or to pay off debt faster (which is what I am doing right now). Here are my suggestions to succeed at more hours in your work week so that you can be more productive and accomplish your financial goals:

Suggestion #1: Don’t lose sight of yourself
You have decided to finally pay off those student loans, save for a vacation, or build an investment portfolio! Working more is a great way to accomplish these goals. However, you are a person today with people who you love and other (non-financial) goals. Continue to meet friends for board game night and work on perfecting your Downward Dog. It is all too easy to get swept up in work mode, while congratulating your savings account. It can become addicting—and fast. If you are offered what would cumulatively be your 9th day of work or overtime—think about it before jumping to the numbers in your checking account. Sometimes (when you can) say no, and go home or meet friends for pizza. Your work will actually benefit from it.

Suggestion #2: Stick up for yourself (to piggyback on Suggestion #1)
If you have already made plans and you get a call to come into work, don’t skip out on those plans just to add the hours to your paycheck; you will know the situations when you’ll HAVE to skip out of plans and head into work—but it should never become the norm. Get time for you, no matter what it is that you’d like to do. Read More »


in Career & Work
17 Ways to Have a Cheap Holiday Party
Author: Anna Newell Jones

17 Ways to Have a Cheap Holiday Party |

If you are living the frugal life by choice or by necessity, it doesn’t mean you have to totally cut off celebrations and fun during the holidays. There are plenty of ways to cut corners and still throw a memorable party with your friends and loved ones. In fact, having your friends and loved ones around you during the holidays is the most important thing regardless of what kind of food you serve or what type of decorations you hang.

Here are 17 ways to throw a holiday party on the cheap…

1. Get Menu-Specific 

Food is usually the most expensive part of planning a holiday party so nip this expense in the bud by tailoring your party to a specific type of food. Only serve hors d’oeuvres and drinks for a few hours or make the party menu dedicated only to desserts. You can also warm up a cold afternoon party with several types of soups and breads.

2. Stick with Finger Foods and Carbs 

If you plan to do a more extensive menu or plan on having a larger group of people, consider having only finger foods that promise to be filling laid out buffet style. Finger foods you can make in bulk can be laid out with smaller-sized plates or make large quantities of cheaper meals like spaghetti.

3. Do the Work

When you are shopping for your party foods, don’t cave to convenience. Buy produce for the veggie tray that is not pre-cut and therefore more expensive. Use ingredients you already have at home to make homemade desserts rather than spending a fortune for already-made items in the bakery aisle. Read More »

one comment

in Seasonal, Social
The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It- And Then We Saved

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln

We can’t predict the future and we can’t control everything that will happen in the future. What we can do is create a system that will set us up for future success. We can do things like making small, automatic contributions to our 401ks and Roth IRAs. We can put just $50, $25 or even $10 into an emergency fund each month. We can create a safer, more comfortable future today.

How are you creating your future? Let me know in the comments.


in Motivation
Reader Question – Spending Diet #Fail
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Spending Diet Fail |

Hey Anna,

I love your blog and all of the great ideas you share! I have been trying to follow a Spending Fast/Diet for probably around 2 years, and can never last more than 2 weeks. I signed the Get Out of Debt Pledge on April 1st and well…guess how long that lasted? Thankfully, I don’t have much debt but my goal is to pay off what I have, build my savings and learn to live with less. I am getting married this fall, as well as returning to school, and being a part of a few of my friends’ weddings this summer.

I guess my question is, How can I make this commitment and actually follow through when there are things I “need” to spend money on? I have been saving regularly for my wedding and trying to stay within my budget, but then there are wedding gifts, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, etc. for the other events I am a part of.

Sorry this turned into a ramble, I am feeling pretty defeated and just don’t know where to start!!

Where am I going wrong? I’d appreciate your help.
Discouraged but Committed



I totally hear you with the struggle. I would recommend that you do the best you can and forgive yourself for any “slip-ups” along the way. Stay committed to the Spending Diet for the entire length of time you commit to. Even if “mistakes” happen, keep going. Even if the Spending Diet isn’t done perfectly (and there’s no way it could be done perfectly, by the way) you will still be better off at the end of the time period than if you never started the Spending Diet in the first place. It’s kind of like that saying, time is still going to pass if you make efforts to change your life, or not, so you might as well make some changes! (I completely paraphrased and butchered that quote but you get my point;)

Read More »


in Hey Anna (Reader Questions), Spending Diet
Real Life Spending Faster: Katie
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Real Life Spending Faster |

My name is Katie. I’m 25 years old and I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Currently I work in the vocational field, helping people with disabilities find integrated employment in their communities! I make about $35,000 a year, which is less than my graduate degree actually cost to earn. (Big sigh.) Right now I have about $83,000 of debt — about $73,000 of that is federal school loans, and the other $10,000 is a loan that I took out to purchase a vehicle this past January when my old car was on its last leg. I have no children and live on my own, but I have a long-distance boyfriend. I rent my one-bedroom apartment, which is about $725 a month. My upcoming plans are to move in with my boyfriend, get a job that allows me to advance my professional career, and start the next grown-up chapter in my life!

I started my Spending Fast last summer (August 2014), so I’ve been in it for about a year. After attending graduate school to become a professional counselor, my goal was to find a job that would allow me to work toward my licensure (you have to have so many hours of work in before you can get the state license to practice). I’ve taken a job in the related field of vocational counseling, but without my license, I have been making less money than I will in the future.

Read More »


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
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