Melanie Vs. The Spending Diet

Airstream Family Spending Diet

I’m so happy Melanie is sharing her Spending Diet adventures with us! I’ll let her take it from here. xo, Anna

Hi ya’ll! My name is Melanie, I write over at Love Library, and you might remember me from some of my guest posts here at And Then We Saved. I try to save in all aspects of my life, from my wedding to my living situation. Currently, my husband, George and I live in a vintage (and paid-for!) Airstream trailer. It’s a little unconventional, but we make it work. We moved into the Airstream to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and so George could focus on his art work. We’ve now saved enough to get us out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle. We have an emergency fund, George had a chance to really expand his business and we’ve even had the chance to travel.

But I also realize that for us, living in the Airstream for the rest of our lives isn’t going to be a viable option. I love the ol’ Airstream, but I can’t imagine hobbling around our humble abode when I’m 80. After all our hard work, I also don’t want to plunge ourselves into 20 or 30 years worth of debt either. (Even if it is good debt and all that jazz.) My dream is to pay for a house in cash. Sound insane? Yeah, it is insane. But I have delusions of grandeur and the Spending Diet is going to help me reach those goals.

I started the Spending Diet on July 1st, 2014 and I am hoping to continue it for a year minimum. I chose the Diet instead of the Spending Fast because I don’t do so well when I feel too constrained. For instance, If I’m told I can’t have cookies, I’ll eat ALL THE COOKIES. So for one year, I will be giving myself an allowance of $100 for the wants on my list. My husband gets his own $100 allowance. We don’t share so well.

First up is the Needs List, you might notice we don’t have rent or water. We live rent-free in our Airstream that is parked on family land and we have well water. Our cars are also paid off.


    • Electric
    • Cell phone
    • Internet (my job and my husband, George’s job requires it)
    • Food (from pre-paid CSA only)
    • Gym membership (local gym, it’s reasonable and health is important)
    • Doctor co-pays
    • Medicine (prescriptions and off-brand over the counter stuff)
    • George’s healthcare
    • Car and motorcycle insurance
    • Gas (Busing isn’t an option where I live)
    • Art supplies (for George’s job)
    • Website hosting costs (very low)
    • IRA contributions

The following is my Wants List. I listed many of the same wants as Anna. I put my big vices in italics. I love a good coffee shop coffee, expensive food (hello, Whole Foods!) and heading into a craft store feels like Christmas morn to me.


  • Travel (le sigh!)
  • Gifts
  • Coffee at coffee shops
  • Clothes
  • Books
  • Craft stuff
  • Unnecessary food
  • Self-improvement stuff (e-books, e-courses, etc.)
  • New make-up
  • Eating out
  • Movies
  • Shoes
  • Haircuts
  • Books
  • Jewelry (sad!)
  • Pretty much anything else

So, that’s it. Each month I pull out $100 in cash from my bank account and when that’s done, it’s done. I’ll be updating you all each month with my progress. Talk to you soon! Melanie


in Do Without, Goals, Minimalism, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet, Take Action
Couponing Made E-A-S-Y

couponing made easy


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

If something is tedious I won’t stick with it. It’s one of those things I’ve learned about myself over the years. To stick with something over a period of time (like the Spending Fast, or anything else), I’ve got to make things really easy on myself. For most things if something is over-complicated I’ll be over it in a hot second… along with my commitment to it.

Coupons typically always fallen into the, “Nope. Not messing with them, not worth my time!” category. As much as I wish I could get behind clipping, gathering, and organizing I’m just not into it so I try to not make myself feel bad for not being into it. Even though I KNOW there is money to be saved, and great prices to be had because people are clearly super successful in the saving money department if they have their couponing act together.

My thoughts about the whole “couponing-thing” started to change when I checked out BluePromoCode, which just so happens to be “the web’s most reliable search engine”.

couponing made easy with blue promo code

First of all, the site is super attractive. I know that’s kind of a weird thing to say about a website, but it just is. If you’ve gone to most coupon or deal sites they are cluttered messes, and the first thing I find myself thinking is, “Ugh.” Quickly followed by, “Nah. Not worth it.” So, I was pleasantly surprised to see super a nice, clean layout.

If I was you, I would be wondering, “Alright. Coupon site. What makes it special?” I know these things because I asked myself that exact thing when I was approached to write a review about the site.


Here’s the lowdown:

  • After you sign-up you are prompted to follow stores. I would only recommend following stores that you would buy from anyway. We all need household items, and since they’re going to get bought anyway you might as well save some money on them (Target, Home Depot, etc.). They have coupons for just about everything, along with coupons for some more unique stores too. Like for one of my all-time favorite sites, Etsy. (I’ve never seen coupons offered for Etsy before so that kind of blew my mind.)
  • As you follow stores you are creating your Personal Feed.
  • When you go to the site you’ll see all the deals and coupons for the stores you’ve followed in both printable and electronic versions. That’s an expected feature but what I really like is that you can choose to receive emails that highlights your deals on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. (I like that they don’t bombard you will a ton of emails everyday if you don’t want them).
  • You can “clip” coupons by clicking the little heart that’s within the coupon square, and then it will be saved for future use. The “clipped” coupons are saved under “My Saves” so you can be reminded about the deal before the coupon expires.
  • They also give you extra info with “Inside Tips”. It’s really interesting because they tell you things that you don’t get to see elsewhere… like how many coupons the store has per month, the store’s average deal duration, and the average savings provided by the store’s coupons. I think that’s pretty cool because I’m a Virgo, and Virgo’s are into stuff like that.


All in all, BluePromoCode is a solid, good-looking;) resource for saving some bucks in a quick and easy way!

Thank you for continuing to support the brands and sites that help to make this site possible! xo, Anna

one comment

in Sponsored
How to Make Money Selling Your Old Stuff – Tons of Tips

yard sale

make money on your junk yard sale

I got a whole buncha questions about how I was going to make money on all the stuff that I just got rid of through The Minimalist Challenge so a post is definitely in order. Throughout The Challenge you saw that I labeled each of the items as: SELL, DONATE, or TRASH. Wanna know how I made the most of  “a bag of clothespins” or “miscellaneous postcards from 15 years ago”.

Read on for the full scoop (after the jump)… Read More »


in De-Clutter, How To, Make More Money, Minimalism, Practical Solutions, Take Action, 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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