Living Tiny: Leah and Kelsey’s Tiny Kentucky Homestead
Author: Melanie Gnau
Living Tiny: Leah and Kelsey's Tiny Kentucky Homestead

Photo by Sylva Zhang

At ATWS we’re interested in challenging the norm of debt and spending. In our column, “Living Tiny” we focus on 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 Leah. She’s a freelance artist and homesteader and tiny house builder living in Kentucky. Take it away, Leah!

Hi! I’m Leah Nixon. I’m currently sitting on my tiny house porch in rural Kentucky, watching the rain fall and waiting for my boyfriend Kelsey to come home from work. Kelsey is a metallurgist at an aluminum plant. We live with our two dogs, cat, two goats and a handful of free-range chickens. Obviously the goats and chickens don’t share the tiny house, but the dogs and kitty do! Read More »


in Living Tiny (Home Tours)
Garner Some Extra Cash by Selling Your Phone, Tablet or Wearable
Author: Anna Newell Jones

make money selling old iphone

Do you have a phone or tablet that’s reached retirement age? Don’t assume it’s time to throw it out, toss it into the recycling bin, or forget about it in the ol’ Junk Drawer. Or maybe you bought a wearable device, with the best of intentions. You wanted to count your steps and your calories, but maybe the device was too complicated or the novelty of it simply wore off and maybe your good intentions faded. (It’s okay — it happens to a lot of us!) Regardless, the device has been sitting unused collecting dust and guilt everytime you glance at it. I would like you to release yourself from the guilt and sell it! As Marie Kondo of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up would say, “thank the item for teaching you what you don’t like (or won’t use) then let it go.”

There are plenty of options if you’d like to de-clutter and make a little extra money. (In some cases, you can still make some money even if the device is broken!)

Read More »


in Sponsored
The Man Who Moves A Mountain
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Man Who Moves A Mountain

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius

Paying off an extra $20 a month on your debts or saving $5 here and $10 there doesn’t seem like much. I know. When there’s a mountain of debt to move, it can be overwhelming. When there’s so little in your savings account, it’s easy to justify spending over savings. But the big things happen when you start carrying away those small stones. One day at a time, you can move mountains.

Tell me how you are moving mountains in the comments!


in Motivation
August’s Collective Savings!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

andthenwesaved collective savings

Drumroll please… August’s Collective Savings totals are in! For August we saved/paid off $28,350.19! That brings our total to: $836,355.30!

August’s savings were quite a bit lower that previous months savings and I’m guessing that has to do with summer vacations and a lot more activities and social events happening. Or…  maybe people just forgot to add their amounts to the page.;) Either way, we’ve got another month ahead of us to buckle down and get some debt paid off!

If you’re new to the site and have no idea what in the world I’m talking about, lemme fill you in. Every month we all add what we’ve saved/paid off to the Collective Savings page and then at the end of the month we get to see how much everyone’s saved, collectively. It’s a fun way to stay motivated and know that you’re not the only one out there on a mission to end your debt, because, lordy, I know it can feel that way at times!

Be sure to add your savings so we can include your accomplishments to next months total. – Anna


in Paying Off Debt, Savings Total
Insider Tips for Selling to Buy, Sell, and Trade Shops
Author: Anna Newell Jones

insider tips for selling to buy sell trade shops andthenwesaved

I haven’t let it be a secret that my identical twin sister, Kelly, owns a store in Omaha, Nebraska called Scout: Dry Goods and Trade. It’s a buy, sell, trade store (here’s the link to the online version of her shop). Twice a year when I switch out my clothes for the new season I create a pile for the items I’m no longer into. If I’m not planning on having a massive yard sale then I bring those items to my local buy, sell, trade store. As I’m sitting there waiting for the staff to go through my items, hoping that they want to buy it all (and for the highest possible price – obviously) I can’t help but think that there’s gotta be some insider tips on how to get them to buy more of my stuff! After all, that is the point in bringing the items in in the first place!

I asked my sister to answer some questions about how to get the “buyers” at the buy, sell, trade shops to buy more of the items that are brought in. Kelly and her shop manager, Emma, answered my questions.


Insider Tips for Buy, Sell, and Trade Shops

And Then We Saved: Please tell us a little about what Scout is and what Scout does.

Scout: Dry Goods and Trade: Scout is an independently owned and operated buy-sell-trade business providing the Omaha area with men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories.

ATWS: How does the buy, sell, and trade system work? Read More »


in Bartering, Clothing/Accessories Swap, Make More Money
Considerations for Couples: Save or Invest?
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Saving vs Investing (as a couple) |

The other day I got a question from a reader and she was wondering, “How do you approach managing money when one person prioritizes the security of having an ever-growing emergency fund in the bank and the other person would rather use the ‘extra’ to invest?”

I don’t know how it is y’all but for Aaron and I, when we have a difference of opinion on a topic, a seemingly small “problem” can quickly grow out of control. When you start talking about money. Then, whoa, Nelly. Shit’s about to get real.

Experts have long recommended that couples discuss their money values and beliefs before they even walk down the aisle because they say that by having an upfront discussion about how you plan on managing your money can help couples keep their financial priorities straight from the very start. Speaking of… here are 30 Money Questions to Ask Before You Get Married. 

Now, not seeing things exactly the same isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. But it could be a red flag and it could mean that you need to hash out some details before you decide to continue on together. Nobody wants to think of money or money issues being such a big deal that it’d cause a relationship to go under. I totally get that.  And, unless you’re super practical and if you haven’t been married before then it’s really easy to have the mindset of, “we’ll figure it out later”.

Read More »


in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Hey Anna (Reader Questions), Investing, Savings
That Man Is Richest Whose Pleasures Are Cheapest
Author: Melanie Gnau

That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest

“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”

During my spending diet, I learned to take pleasure in small things. A good cup of homemade coffee, free hikes at a local park and reading on a rainy day. It’s cliche, but the best things in life are free.

What are your favorite cheap pleasures? Chat with me in the comments!


in Motivation
The Prepaid Card Grocery Experiment – Update!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

prepaid grocery card experiment update

Last month, I wrote about how we were going to start a prepaid card grocery budget experiment in an attempt to get our ever increasingly out of control grocery budget under control. We’ve been doing the experiment for a month now, and today, I have an update for you on how things have been going.

As I mentioned in the first post we decided to use the Prepaid Visa® RushCard because of its clear fee structure and we can use it everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

At the beginning of the month I transferred the designated grocery budget amount onto the card online. That amount was $250. The one-time $3.95 fee for the cost of the physical card was deducted from our balance along with the $7.95 for the monthly fee of using the card (the fee would be $5.95 if we were directly depositing our paycheck…). That meant our starting budget went from $250 to $238.10.

Let’s talk about some of the PROS and CONS that we’ve encountered so far with using this system.

Read More »


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