Dealing With More Than Financial Burdens
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Dealing With More Than Financial Burdens |

Hey Anna,

I’ve found myself in both a moral and financial pickle, and I would like to hear other people’s opinions on this. Any advice or comment would be greatly appreciated!

First of all I need to say that in my family, we don’t discuss things. My upbringing has been pretty authoritarian — my parents often used phrases like “You can’t do that because I said so”, and they never talked to me about sex, death or money. I had no idea how much they earned, how much it cost to run a household, how credit cards work — I was pretty much financially illiterate. Only later I realized that my parents are not that good in managing money, either. I’m not saying I blame my parents for my own financial stupidity, I’m just trying to illustrate where I came from.

Anyway, when I went to university, I badly wanted to study in the capital. My parents said: OK, go, we’ll manage. I had no idea that their idea of “manage” was to take on a loan. When I left school after two semesters, they didn’t say anything. Only a couple of years later, my mother confessed that they had to take a loan to keep me at school. I was horrified and told her I would have never dreamt of going there if I knew they had to pay for it like that, but she just shrugged and said, “You wouldn’t have listened.” Well, I bloody well would have! Since then, she’s shoved this in my face several times in an argument, to which I’ve always said: “Don’t you dare blame me for something I had no idea of!” I felt betrayed. Read More »


in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Hey Anna (Reader Questions), Paying Off Debt, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Student Loans
And Then We… Went Tiny
Author: Anna Newell Jones

and then we saved tiny house nation anna newell jones

This just might be the craziest thing I’ve been able to persuade Aaron to do with me yet. We are going to build a tiny house! You may have seen this coming with all the tiny house posts here on the blog and on social media, and if so, you, my friend, are very perceptive. ;)

Ever since we went to check out the Tumbleweed tiny houses last spring in Colorado Springs, I haven’t been able to shake the idea that going tiny is something we needed to do. Going tiny feels right.


By going tiny we will be able to take every single area of our life to the next level.


There are so many reasons we want to go tiny. Here are our top 4 reasons:

1. Rental income. Denver’s real estate market is insane right now. Tons of people are moving here each month (approx 4k). We’d love to rent out our current home but we wouldn’t have anywhere to go! By going tiny we would be able to rent out our current home when we’re traveling in the tiny house. Then, when we are in Denver for wedding season we can rent out the tiny house. Either way we will be able to make income from the place we’re not living in. We see going tiny as a way to have an investment property without spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to do it the traditional way. With the rental income we could make from renting out our current home (either with a long-term tenant or through a short-term rental site like Airbnb) we could pay for our mortgage, HOA fee, and the payment for the Tiny Home loan.

2. We want to expand our wedding photography business. Eventually, we would like to travel with the tiny house to warmer markets during Denver’s cold winter months.

3. We’re out here in Denver by ourselves (apart from my bro and sister-in-law in Erie, Colorado) and we want Henry to have a relationship with his cousins and grandparents. By going tiny we’ll be able to be by family more often; we’ll actually be able to become a part of their daily lives again.

4. Book Tour! When my book comes out we just might take the tiny house on a book tour! (Side note: my book will now be published on April 26, 2016 and this is exciting since I haven’t announced this here yet – the name of my book will be: The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living: How to do a Spending Fast and Get From Broke to Badass in Record Time)!


Building a house, even an itty-bitty one, has been a huge undertaking. Now, we’re technically not doing the actual building of the house ourselves, a local builder, Rebuild Right, will be doing it but there is still so much that has had to be done. It has also been a roller coaster of an experience in many ways but I’ll save all that for another post.

tiny house nation anna aaron photographers

While I can tell you that we’re going to be building a tiny house, I can’t share many other details, and there’s a good reason why: we’re going to be featured on the TV show, Tiny House Nation! Nuts, right?

It will be an hour-long episode and they will show the build, some down-sizing that we will be doing, and then the big reveal! The show airs on the FYI network. (Check it out here: We don’t know the air date of our episode yet but I will share it as soon as I know it. Also, we won’t be able to share pictures of the completed house until after the episode airs.


Here are a few things I can share:

  • Our tiny house will be around 200 square feet
  • The design is awesome!
  • We are paying for the house (not the show)
  • The tiny house has become way more expensive then we thought it would be
  • The house will be built within 10 days (!!!)
  • We will be filming for 6 days
  • We’ve been working on this with a the builder and Tiny House Nation’s production team since June-ish
  • I can’t tell you the exact dates we’ll be doing the filming and building but it’s sooner than later;)


One last thing, we need your help! 

There’s one other little thing we’d love your help with, we have a build site but we don’t have a spot in town to park our tiny house once it’s built. If anyone has any leads in the central Denver area about where we could park it we would love any leads you may have!


What questions do you have for me about the tiny house? I’ll try to answer the ones that I can/am allowed to.;) 


in The Book! (Spender's Guide to Debt Free Living), Tiny House, Tiny House Nation
Do Not Wait Until The Conditions Are Perfect
Author: Melanie Gnau

Do Not Wait Until The Conditions Are Perfect -And Then We Saved

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” -Alan Cohen

If you wait until conditions are perfect, you’ll be waiting forever. I know. I use this excuse all the time. “I’ll wait until it’s warmer outside to go for a run.” “I’ll wait until this work project is done to save more money.” “I’ll eat healthier when I have more money.” And on and on and on… But conditions are never going to be perfect. We have to work with what we have now. We have to begin now. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.

How are you working with imperfect conditions? Let me know in the comments!


in Motivation
By Failing to Prepare, You are Preparing to Fail
Author: Melanie Gnau

By Failing To Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail -And Then We Saved

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

Tough times are inevitable. We might fail. We might fall. Our car might break down or we might get sick. We can’t avoid bad things, but we can prepare for bad things. By preparing for bad things we make the fall less painful–like falling on to soft grass instead of falling onto unforgiving cement.

How are you preparing for tough times? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Living Tiny: Tammy’s Northern California Tiny Home
Author: Melanie Gnau

Living Tiny: Tammy's Northern California Home - And The We Saved

At ATWS we’re interested in challenging the norm of debt and spending. That’s why once a month we talk to people 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 a tiny house tour with Tammy Strobel. Tammy is a writer, photographer, and teacher in Northern California. Take it away, Tammy!

My name is Tammy Strobel, and I’m a writer, photographer, and teacher. I live in northern California with my husband, Logan, and my two cats, Christie and Elaina.

Why did you decide to move into a tiny house?
There were a lot of reasons we decided to move into our little house. Some reasons were financial, while others had to do with freedom. More than anything, we wanted to experience what it would be like to live in a tiny house on wheels. It’s been a great experiment and experience. With that being said, our tiny house isn’t our forever home.

Read More »


in Living Tiny (Home Tours)
September’s Collective Savings are In!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

andthenwesaved collective savings

September’s Collective Savings totals are in! In September we saved $31,652.91! That brings our Collective Savings to a whopping $868,008.21!! SO impressive!!

If you have been thinking about getting out of debt but just haven’t taken the leap yet why not do it today? Here’s the link to the Get Out of Debt Pledge. Why not change your life by getting the heck out of debt already? Finally getting out of debt is THE BEST gift you could ever give to yourself, and having the weight of the debt lifted is one of the most incredible feelings ever. You can absolutely have a debt free life too!


in Savings, Savings Total
Act or Accept
Author: Melanie Gnau

Act or Accept -And Then We Saved

“Act or accept.” -Unknown

It’s a short statement, but a powerful one. We have two choices in life, we can act on things or we can accept them. We can act on our debt or we can accept that we’ll be in debt forever. Which will you choose?

Let me know how you are acting on your debt in the comments!

one comment

in Motivation
The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Sometimes getting started on a project can be the hardest part– especially when it comes to saving money. As someone whose salary is less than the average mean wage, I can understand that it often feels as if every dollar is spent on necessities. But for most of us, there’s some money somewhere that can be saved. Could you cut cable? Could you establish “meatless Mondays?” Could you kickstart your inner cheapskate? By making that first move, you can snowball your savings into something significant.

How are you getting started on your savings journey? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
  • 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!!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.


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