Save $1000 + Melanie’s Spending Diet Update

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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
I’m Basically a Genius – Here’s Why (Hint: It involves Pumpkin Spice Lattes)

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If you’re a lady in the U.S. there’s a good chance that you go ape at any mention of Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Starbucks. If you’re not in the U.S. then I’m sure you’ve heard allllllll about them all over the internet because (they’re delicious!) every year when the weather starts getting even the teeniest, tiniest bit chilly that’s all anyone can talk about. These Pumpkin Spice Lattes have pretty much got us all under their spell.

These limited-time, seasonal drinks have already been out for a bit this season but, I’ve got to tell you, I felt like quite the genius (it doesn’t take much;) when I thought up a way to save about $2.50 per drink.

Alright, so a medium, Pumpkin Spice Latte is about $4.50. That’s a lot of money…especially if you think spending money on fancy coffee drinks is a waste of money, which I do.

So, what’s a girl to do? Well, this is what. Order your coffee, and then have them put the pumpkin spice syrup in the coffee! Sure, it’s not exactly the same but it’s close! You get the flavor you want, AND you get to save 40%-ish on your coffee. That’s win-win if you ask me.

Also! If you like vanilla lattes then just have them put vanilla syrup in your coffee. Just a heads-up they do charge .50 for the syrup.

Do you have an expensive coffee drink habit? Think this is a trick you might start incorporating? Got any other tricks/tips that you can share with us?

16 comments

in Practical Solutions, Social, Things To Do
The Pay Off Debt App + Giveaway!

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This is a sponsored post but, as always, my opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the companies that help make this site possible. – Anna

Awhile back I shared Jackie Beck’s story of how she and her husband got out of $147,000 in debt (!!! nuts, right?!). They were persistent and committed to the process of getting out of debt and, not surprisingly, it worked!

Jackie has created a great app that is appropriately called: Pay Off Debt . Pay Off Debt is an iPhone and iPad app that has helped tons (tens of thousands) of people pay off debt by using the snowball method.

Let me tell you, I really wish this app was around when I was going through my Spending Fast and Spending Diet (not that I had an iPhone then but still…) because it would’ve made it so nice to see the progress I was making and how far I had come. I also would’ve really enjoyed seeing how my pay off date was changing based on the aggressive payments I was making every month. I think that would have been so fun to see it getting closer and closer!

There’s even a feature with the app that let’s you email your snowball information to yourself. I would’ve printed out my progress reports every month, and taped them all over my house, so I could be simultaneously thrilled and horrified/motivated at how far I had come, and how far I had yet to go.

 

Here are some my favorite features that the app offers:

  • You can prioritize your debts in the way you prefer (lowest balance, highest interest, or you can select a custom order)
  • You can see your planned debt-free date, and then compare and contrast how long it’d take to pay off all debts if you weren’t using the snowball method.
  • You can view progress bars for motivation and encouragement!
  • It takes interest rates into account when calculating estimated time left.
  • It takes taxes and insurance (escrow) into account when adding a Mortgage/HELOC type debt.
  • It lets you change the additional amount you have available to put toward the first debt in your snowball at any time.
  • It lets you set payment reminders to appear when the app is running, if desired, and then once the due date has passed, the reminder will no longer appear.
  • You can select your currency: dollars, euros, pounds, yen or a custom currency.

 

Jackie also mentioned that she often gets asked why the app costs $2.99 instead of offering it for free. She said that the reason it isn’t free is because she doesn’t want to have ads on the app, and she didn’t want to have it set up to cost $10-$15/month for a subscription type of service in order to access all of the features. She said she would much rather just sell the app up-front for a few bucks, and get on to helping people get out of debt!

 

Jackie is giving away a copy of the iPhone/iPad Pay Off Debt app to 3 readers! To enter leave a comment below, saying how you would feel if you were debt-free!

 Be sure to fill in the appropriate email, name, etc., fields so we can contact you if you win. The giveaway will end on Friday, October 17th at 5:00pm MST. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Update 10/14/14 Apologies to Jackie. In the original post I mistakenly called the app by the wrong name. It has now been corrected.

58 comments

in Sponsored
Out of Sight? BUY MORE! (No don’t)

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We were cleaning out the kitchen cabinet, and realized that we have 2 or more of a lot of things that we don’t need 2 or more of.

I don’t see everything we own so I think we don’t have what we need so then we buy whatever it is again, and then we don’t realize what we’ve done until we go through things again!

We have:
– 3 containers of counter wipes
– 3 bottles of dish soap
– 2 bottles of hand soap
– 2 massive sponges
– 2 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner
– 2 bottles of multi-purpose non-toxic concentrate cleaner
– 2 containers of wood floor solution

Morale of the story: clean out the cabinets more often, keep similar items together so you can easily see what you have, look in your cabinets before you before you buy, remember what you own, keep in mind that you tend to forget what you have (talking to myself).

4 comments

in De-Clutter, Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Things To Do
Flying with a Lap Baby – Is it Worth the Risk to Save Hundreds?

flying with a lap baby is it worth the risk to save hundreds of dollars? andthenwesaved.com

Y’all, you know me. I (obviously) like to save money. With the holidays coming up we’ve been throwing around ideas about what we should do. We’re planners, we’re Virgo’s, we’re Type A (well, Aaron is more than me;), and we also know that the earlier we buy our plane tickets the more money we can save. I’ve even heard that for each day you wait to buy it’s an average of $5 that’s added, per day, to the price of the ticket.

 Find Cheap Flights for Over 450 Airlines!Save up to $15 with Code CHEAPAIR15 

One of the ideas we have is to go visit my family in Lincoln, Nebraska. We’d probably fly because the tickets are so inexpensive, (relatively speaking), and the flight is a mere 1 hour long. If we drive then it’s close to 8 hours (or, it can be done in 7 hours if you only stop 2 times, and go 7 to 10 miles over the speed limit the whole time. Not that I would know.).

When thinking about flying with our little guy, Henry, (his 1st airplane trip) we definitely did not even consider the possibility of buying him his own seat because, I mean, duh. Babies under 2 can fly for free! So you better believe we were going to take full advantage of the chance to save some money!

 

What I didn’t realize though was that there may be risks to not getting him his own seat. I thought things like:

– “He’s so little it would be no problem to keep him on our laps. He might will be squirmy but it won’t be for long so it’ll be fine! Let’s save money when we can!”

– “That’s such a waste of money to be going and getting all spread out and luxurious on the plane! We’ll just be scrunched up for a little bit! It’ll be fine! Let’s save money when we can!”

– “Only people with money to spare (like lots of it) would ever buy their baby their own seat. I mean, come on. There’s money to be saved here so let’s save it! We’ll be fine! ”

 

I never thought about not going with “baby flies free” option because I never had a reason not to. You see, the other day I joined a Facebook group called Car Seats for the Littles. I was scrolling along thinking about how complicated this whole car seat thing is when it really shouldn’t be that hard, right? And then, this article pops up about changing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations for kids under 2. My first thought was what it had always been: “Oh hell no! SAVE THE MONEY!”

But then, I read a this: Babies Have a Right to a Safe Seat with Proper Restraints – The Infant Seat Exception Should be Abandoned, and that completely changed everything.

Now, I feel like if we do fly anywhere before the baby’s 2 years old there’s no way I can justify not spending money on a seat for him after knowing what I know now. If, heaven forbid, anything were to happen I would never be able to forgive myself for not buying a seat just to save some money.

To me, it just isn’t worth the risk. I’ve got to say, there are some things that are far more important that money, and this is one of those things.

 

So, I have a hundred (6) questions for you: What do think about all this? Did you know about the risks associated with having a Lap Baby? Is it worth the extra couple hundred bucks?  Am I over-reacting? Why isn’t this something we hear about more? Why isn’t this a bigger deal to people? 

10 comments

in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Practical Solutions, Societal Pressures, Things To Do, Travel Cheap
Melanie vs. The Spending Diet – Update

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

If you remember, I went over last month’s spending diet allowance. It was so much harder than  I imagined! In August, I committed to do better. I immediately took my $100 cash allowance out of the bank when I was paid and I stuck to it. But lo and behold, we had an emergency. Our air conditioning system stopped working on one of the hottest days of the year. And when you live in a tin can in the South, going without air conditioning is not an option.

Don’t emergencies always seem to happen at the most inopportune moments? Just when you think you’re doing better saving (or in life) BAM! something comes along to knock you down. Luckily in the past year, George and I have managed to get an emergency savings fund together. I consider 95 degree heat an emergency, so we had to dip into the emergency savings to fund a new air conditioning system. I really hated to do it, but I can’t sleep in that kind of heat, my husband can’t work and my poor pup was just plain uncomfortable.

I did experience some buyer’s guilt. I thought things like: “People for thousands of years went without air conditioning!” “It’s already August, it will be fall soon. We will only have to suffer for another month!” “I can’t spend $300 on a new air conditioning system, I’m on the spending diet!!!” But after a few days without air conditioning, I was whistling a new tune and I was ready to dip into those savings. Let’s just say that sweating immediately after stepping out of the shower is not a fun experience.  I’m not happy about it, but sometimes life is going to get in the way of a savings diet or savings fast. I just feel lucky that we had an emergency savings account to dip into.

Next month I plan to sell a few things in order to build my emergency savings account back up. I also signed up to teach a class for extra pay and for the first time ever, I’m receiving a small raise. (High fives for me?!) I know that I can get back on track with my savings but emergencies, man, they are really cramping my savings style!

 

How do you build your savings back up after an emergency? Let me know in the comments! 

16 comments

in Do Without, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
10 Very Good Reasons to Get Renter’s Insurance

10 reasons to get renters insurance andthenwesaved.com

Many renters think a benefit of not owning a home is skipping out on the costs of insurance. However, as a renter, insurance should still be a consideration. One incident such as a fire or a burglary could seriously jack up your financial life. There’s no reason for that kind of stress when it’s really a pretty inexpensive thing to get considering all the peace of mind you’ll have in return. Trust me, after our recent car theft I am thinking about how awesome insurance is these days!

 

10 Way Good Reasons to Get Renter’s Insurance…

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14 comments

in Practical Solutions, Take Action!, Things To Do
Can We Want What We Already Have?

can we want what we already have andthenwesaved.com

I’m just gonna go ahead and leave this here. A little something  to think about.

Is the grass always greener? Is it possible to have enough? What is it that makes us want more, more, more?

8 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. Let's do this!

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