“I Decided I’m Going on a Spending Fast for One Year. Today is Day 1.”

kelly newell scout dry goods omaha

Earlier in the month I got a text from my sister, Kelly, and it said, “I decided I’m going on a Spending Fast for one year. Today is Day 1.” Internally, I completely freaked out. But, I tried to keep it contained so I didn’t seem too excited (for the fear of scaring her off with my over-the-top enthusiasm). I replied with a simple and contained, “Whoa. Cool!” All of my family and friends have been hearing about the Spending Fast for a grip now, and I’ve never pushed it on anyone. My thinking is that they know I’ve gotten out of debt, they know how I did it, and if they want to ask me any questions or have me give them any support through a getting out of debt mission (Spending Fast or not) that I am totally there for them. You can’t force anyone to do anything because that’s just obnoxious, and it doesn’t work anyway so I don’t do it. Plus, the Spending Fast is hard, and it can really, really suck at times so you’ve got to be ready to deal with that if you’re going to take on a Spending Fast. (While it’s insanely effective, it’s not magic; hard work and sacrifice is required so, sometimes, other methods should be tried 1st.) All that to say that I am soooooooo, sooooo excited (I’m not gonna hold back now), and proud of my sister for making the decision to change her life by doing a Spending Fast. I’ve seen how powerful it can be in my life and in other people’s lives so I’m excited to see how it will end up changing someone’s life that I’m so close to. Plus, it’ll be interesting to be on the other side of a Spending Fast… 

 

Hi, I’m Kelly, Anna’s identical twin sister. My stats: 35 years old, business owner, recently divorced, 3 kids under 10, boyfriend, no pets. I’m currently embarrassed by how much debt I have so I’m not going to say the full number yet. I’ve been thinking about doing the Spending Fast for years, and now it’s finally time to do it. I’ve got credit card debt, lawyer debt, student loan debt (owed to a financial institution and to my parents), a car loan and another debt. I’ve seen Anna’s success with getting out of debt and with how quick she’s was able to do it, and I want to be debt free too.

I started the Spending Fast officially on November 5, 2014.

My biggest trouble areas are eating out and unfocused spending at places like Target.

Like Anna, after I decided to do the Spending Fast I felt instant relief, and then, about an hour after that I got notified that a tax return appeal that I was hoping for did indeed come through so I put that money directly on my number 1 priority bill: my personal credit card. I also redeemed awards from my bank for cash ($150), and put that money towards my credit card debt, as well. 3 days into the Spending Fast, and my personal credit card was completely paid off! $6,884.21 saved! Had I not decided to do the Spending Fast I would’ve spent that tax return money on random stuff, like usual, and my debt would still be there.

 

Other things I’ve done this first week to save money…

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in Kids, Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Student Loans
Introducing a New Spending Faster!

Jenn Davis Spending Fast andthenwesaved.com

The #1 thing that you all told me you wanted more of on the reader survey were stories from people who are in the process of doing a Spending Fast so, you guessed it… your wish is my command! I added a new category called Spending Fasters so you can find all the Spending Fast (and Spending Diet!) stories in one place!

And, with that, I would like to introduce, Jennifer, who will be sharing her Spending Fast story with you as she goes. The ups, downs, struggles, successes… all of it. I hope you enjoy following along, and that you find motivation and encouragement in these posts to see that getting out of debt crazy fast is totally possible! And, maybe, you will find that you want to change your life and become a Spending Faster too! 

Also, while the site is primarily read by women I’d love to include a male Spending Faster’s experience through and out of debt. If you’re a dude and interested in sharing your story send me an email: hello@andthenwesaved.com – Anna 

Hi all! My name is Jennifer and I just turned the BIG 3-0 last month! If that’s not a birthday to make you think about where you’re at in life, I don’t know which is! I made the decision to take out a mortgage for a house almost a year ago, here in Florida. Currently, I have a roommate and three dogs living with me. I make a living as a Production Artist at a publication company.

My total debt is 16,027.84 not including my mortgage. This what makes up my debt: I have $4,584.95 (started as 6,000) in credit card debt that I racked up in college by not living within my means. (I was paying my bills with a job I had but I was living off credit cards. It’s been following me around since 2010. I don’t even want to think about how much money I have wasted on interest!) I also have a car loan of 11,442.89.

My goals for the Spending Fast are to, first, save an emergency fund of $1,000 (this differs from what Anna did btw); pay off my credit cards and my car loan. The last few years I have gotten better with my spending habits, but it’s turned into a sort of yo-yo effect of doing good and then erasing the good by doing bad. The time has come to just get it done and I need your help to keep me held accountable throughout this process. With your help, the support of my friends and family, and a boyfriend who is on board, I can’t think of a better time to do the Spending Fast, than now. I want to not only pay off my debt but have a substantial nest egg for me to be able to have more freedom and time in my daily life to do something I really enjoy, whatever that may be.

You know the drill, so here is the breakdown…

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in Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Take Action!
Declutter. Save Money. Do Good. Here’s How…

declutter. save money. do good. andthenwesaved.com

I love how when the holidays roll around charity work gets highlighted, and everyone is a little more kind and giving.

So today, I’d like to introduce you to a new, online clothing store called 15each.co. Today just so happens to be their Grand Opening and they’re one of the most charitable companies I’ve come across. The site was created by Bryan Harmon. He’s an entrepreneur who’s motivated by giving back to the people. Harmon has an interesting and eclectic background. He’s a disabled vet who served in the Marines and then he transitioned into eCommerce because he saw a lot of opportunities for improvement.

15each.co provides jobs to veterans (veterans are very close to my heart since I came from a long-line of military), and college students. Currently, they’re donating $3 from each item that’s sold on the website to help the flood victims in Pensacola, Florida. (A major storm dropped several feet of water on the city, and caused some of the deadliest floods ever. The city was rocked with flooded homes, collapsed highways and submerged cars. See images of the flooding destruction here.)

Here’s how 15each.co works
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Saving $1,400 a Month With a Spending Diet – An Update From Melanie

how to save 1,400 a month with a spending diet

Melanie is sharing her Spending Diet adventures with us, and she’s got her October update for us below. I’ve got to say, I am SO incredibly proud of her! I love that she’s chosen to change her life, and whoa. Just whoa. It’s so awesome how much she’s been able to save in such a short amount of time. This is what the Spending Fast and Spending Diet is all about. Getting the hell out of debt ASAP. – Anna

After the roller coaster of money emotions that was September, I was hoping for more stability in my savings for October. And the good news is that with my second job’s back pay, I was able to save $1,400 in October! So good, right? Well, yes and no. I managed to save $1,400 which is $400 over my savings goal, but I still went over my $100 Spending Diet limit. (Insert sad trombone.)

In some ways I’m super proud of myself. I saved $1,400 in one month. ONE MONTH! Let’s go ahead and get personal, that’s over half of my paycheck (after taxes and insurance is taken out). But I’m ever the perfectionist and as much as I try, try, try to stay positive, I always seem to be a glass half empty type of gal. Why didn’t I save more?!?!

Well, there’s a few reasons:

1. I managed to get some great deals on pants at the thrift store, but I have a wedding to attend and I didn’t feel that I had an appropriate dress to wear. Could I have borrowed something? Maybe. Could I have found something cheaper? Maybe. I did use a coupon and I felt like I got a good deal, but I still spent money that I didn’t allocate to spend.

When I added that dress to my online shopping cart, I also added a skirt and a top. I justified that I could wear them to work and it was “Buy two, get one free!” It was a moment of weakness.

2. I forgot my lunch a few days this month and I had to go to the grocery store at lunch to pick something up. That was kind of unavoidable, but the nitpicker inside of me wants to say “But you should have backup snacks in your desk at work for this situation!”

Nitpicker be damned! I’m proud that I’ve managed to save over my savings goal this month. I know this holiday season is going to be difficult though. My $100 Spending Diet includes gifts. I’m currently formulating a plan for holiday spending that includes coupons, starting my shopping early and handmaking what I can. And as always, I’m trying to stay positive.

 

How will you, my budget-friendly friends attack your holiday spending? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! -Melanie

7 comments

in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
Let’s Talk About Layaway!

let's talk about layaway andthenwesaved.com

let's talk about layaway andthenwesaved.com

let's talk about layaway andthenwesaved.com

I’m teaming up with Kmart on some upcoming posts. This is a good match because I always find myself at Kmart if I need (of all things) inexpensive planters and potting soil. And, if I get a craving for my favorite childhood food, Little Cesar’s, I know can get some pizza pizza there.

Kmart is also a place that we used to go to ALL THE TIME when I was I kid. I distinctly remember being in line one time, and thinking about how I could be a millionaire when I grew up if only I could save every single penny from that moment on. That didn’t happen (obviously), and instead, I went ahead and bought my mini gumball machine with my birthday money. I even wrote a post about that experience a long time ago (here it is if you’re interested: Switching Over). Needless to say, I’ve got a whole bunch of Kmart memories. Another day I’ll have to tell you the story about the baby bird.

But today, I want to talk about a topic that I, surprisingly, have never covered on the blog before: Layaway.

So, when I started thinking about this topic I started asking everyone I know if they’ve ever used Layaway, and if so, what did they buy, and why did they use that method to make the purchase. Aaron told me that he bought his parents a ping-pong table for Christmas and used Layaway to buy it for them. That was 15 years ago and that thing is still going strong in my in-laws ice-cold basement.

On Facebook, a whole bunch of readers told me how they’ve used Layaway, and not surprisingly, it seems that it is primarily used to buy Christmas presents.

I know it feels a little early to start thinking about the holidays but I’ve found that the earlier I make my gift shopping list and get the “errands” part of the holidays taken care of the more I can actually enjoy what the holidays are all about: eating until you’re so stuffed you can’t move. Nah, seriously though, it’s about spending time with your loved ones, and I would much rather do that than be stressing out about what I’m going to get everyone.

Morale of the story: if you start early you can spread the cost of the holidays out and also avoid a ton of last-minute stress.

Alright, so let’s talk about details of Layaway in case you’re not familiar with how it works.

  • As mentioned above, you can spread the payments out over a period of time.
  • You can set aside purchases so you don’t have to worry about things being out of stock when everyone else starts their holiday shopping. (Frozen dolls anyone?)
  • If you miss a payment it won’t impact your credit score.
  • The 8 week contract at Kmart, has a service fee of only $5 which is awesome (They’re offering no-money down layaway until 11/15/15 as a special promo). Especially when you compare that to what it would cost to put the purchase on a credit card. (The average credit card APR from 13.02% to 15.59%. That’s completely outrageous.)
  • Since there is a little bit of a process involved with getting set up with Layaway you’ll be able to think through your purchases more and, hopefully, avoid impulse shopping.
  • You can take advantage of sales even if you normally wouldn’t be able to make the purchase when the sale is happening.
  • Kmart offers Layaway year-round so if there is a special occasion, like a wedding, or other big event you can plan ahead rather than taking a hit on your wallet all at once.
  • Oh! And now, you can even do layaway online so you don’t even have to leave your house if you don’t want to. (I reaaalllly like that.)

 

Enter to win 75 Bucks! -GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

So, get this… Kmart is giving away a $75 gift card to one reader to help you get a start on your holiday shopping! All you have to do is tweet about some of the items you’ve put on layaway. Be sure to use the hashtags: #KmartLayaway and #ATWS so your tweet can be found, and so you can be entered to win. The giveaway will end on Monday, November 10th at 6pm MST. Good luck!

 

This is a sponsored post, and I am a Kmart K-Club blogger. But, as always, my opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this site possible! xo, Anna

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in Sponsored
28 Stupid-Easy Costume Ideas to Make with What You Already Own

28 stupid easy halloween costumes

If you’re anything like me you’re probably half-way freaking out right about now, thinking, “OHHH, this Friday is Halloween? Uhhhh… What am I going to be?!” (Baby Henry is going to either be the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man or a Mischievous Monkey. I’ve been thinking about his costume for faaaarrr too long.) Let me tell ya, there are SO many costumes that you can create in 2 minutes flat from what you already have in your closets. OR, if you must buy something to create a costume make sure it can pull double-duty so you can wear the items from the costume in real life after Halloween.

Maximize the money. That’s what it’s all about.

My twin sister, Kelly, owns a buy-sell-trade store in Omaha, Nebraska, and it’s called Scout: Dry Goods & Trade. She recently posted some shots to her Instagram of all these costumes that can be created using clothing items from her store. They’re all easy to find items, and have that versatility thing going on for post-Halloween wear.

Easy and inexpensive = hell yeah.

 

28 Stupid-Easy Costume Ideas…

1. Girl Scout

With a tan collared shirt and skirt, a strip of paper sack for your sash, a “flight attendant” paper cap (here are some origami instructions on how to make your own girl scout cap), a low bun, and your 3 fingers in pledge position, you’re set.

Inexpensive, DIY, Last-minute Costume Ideas andthenwesaved.com

2. Cruella de Vil

With a furry collared coat, light jeans DIY-ed with splotches of black paint, red lipstick, a sassy expression, and a long, DIY cigarette holder (how to make your own cigarette holder) you’re instantly transformed.

Inexpensive, DIY, Last-minute Costume Ideas andthenwesaved.com

3. Wednesday Addams

Center-parted hair into pigtails, long-sleeve short black dress, black shoes, red lips, vacant stare.

Inexpensive, DIY, Last-minute Costume Ideas andthenwesaved.com

4. The Dancing Emoji Lady

Red dress, red heels, and stiff dancing pose.

 

Let’s keep the party going with even more Super-Easy Costumes Ideas…

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in DIY, Practical Solutions, Seasonal, Social, Things To Do
12 FREE Family-Friendly Activities in New York City & Brooklyn

12 free family friendly activities in brooklyn and new york city andthenwesaved.com

This is a guest post by the awesome Sarah Ann Noel who recently left us here in Denver for New York City. – Anna

Well, we have just moved from Denver to New York City with two toddlers. No, seriously. One is three and one is two, and I’m trying to keep straight which way is which on the G train while making sure that both those little wanderers get on the same train as me too. Are we crazy? Perhaps. But we are making our way in our little corner of Brooklyn.

Of course, even though you have the knowledge of the expense of New York, it’s still a shock to come here and try to function in it. I’ll admit to living a little large when we first moved, just trying to take advantage of it all; but that’s just not feasible for every day life. So below are twelve free activities that we use often!

 

12 Free Family-Friendly Activities in Brooklyn and NYC (& how to find more!)…

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7 comments

in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Kids, Practical Solutions, Things To Do
Save $1000 + Melanie’s Spending Diet Update

painlessly save $1000 with this simple solution andthenwesaved.com

Melanie is sharing her Spending Diet adventures with us, and she’s got her September update for us below. – Anna

After the air conditioning fiasco of August, I yet again recommitted to saving more through the Spending Diet. And September was all about recommitment. This month I recommitted by pulling my $100 out of the bank at the beginning of the month and sticking to it.

There was a lot of temptation, don’t get me wrong. The weather is changing and several pairs of my pants were threadbare. You could literally see-through a pair of my work pants– embarrassing and definitely not work appropriate. I also didn’t want to blow my entire $100 bucks on one pair of pants. So I visited my local thrift shop and invested a whopping $19.41 on seven (count ‘em), seven pairs of pants. It reminded me of how much fun it can be to search among the Spongebob pajamas and Aunt Edna’s knick-knacks for gold.

I’m all about saving money, but I’m also all about the living small. We live in an Airstream, for god’s sake, so I love a good purge. This month my husband and I also made a little bit of money by selling our wares at the flea market. And what we didn’t sell, we gave away to a thrift store. I’m feeling much lighter and more committed and renewed to the saving cause.

With all that done, I also tackled one of the hardest things on my to-do list in September. I cancelled my (kind of) expensive gym membership. I had said I would cancel my gym membership to offset my cost of groceries, but I really didn’t want to do it, so I had been putting it off. I hated signing my gym cancellation papers, I felt poor and ashamed, like I had somehow failed. But it was just one of those hard cuts that I needed to make to get me closer to my dream of owning a house. With my gym membership cut, I’ll be saving almost another $1,000 per year. I’ve also been trying to keep my spirits up by looking on the brightside and working out at home. (I, of course, turned to this article on on ATWS about Losing Weight Without a Gym.)

This month was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. Saving can be hard on the emotions sometimes, but overall I feel good about my decisions. I managed to save $1,200 this month which is a little over my monthly goal! This month also reminded me of how important it is to recommit to savings on a monthly, weekly, daily and sometimes even hourly basis! To remind myself of my ultimate goal, I like to keep little pictures around of my goal. I keep a picture of a cute cottage in my wallet. That little reminder has definitely helped, but I’m looking for more ways to remind myself of my savings goal.

 

What little reminders do you use to keep you on track?

P.S. The Minimalist Challenge is great for clearing out clutter, and here’s another helpful no-more-gym-no-more-fees(!) post: 9 Free and Simple Ways to Stay Healthy and Fit Without the Gym.

10 comments

in Do Without, Paying Off Debt, Practical Solutions, Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Things To Do
  • 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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