Changez
Author: Anna Newell Jones

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I’ve made a few changes to the look of the blog. Just keepin’ it fresh. Just keepin’ it real.

Happy Saturday.

Off to the park…

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in Just For Fun, Things To Do
Spending Diet- Month 4 Complete!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

image via jamiers on etsy

The totals are in from Month 4 of the Spending Diet.

It wasn’t too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

April 2011 Savings: $1,243.37!

whoooooo

The disbursement break-down:

$ 512.87 put right into savings account

$ 730.50 from tax return- also put right into savings

(See the Total Savings from the tippy top start on January 1st 2010 to today right here.)

image via letter cult

While I’m super excited about the savings that I made this month I can’t help feel like I can still do better. I keep thinking about how I didn’t spend money for an entire year on anything but “needs” so now whenever I go over my monthly “non-need” limit of $100 that I gave myself at the beginning of the Spending Diet I can’t help but feel like I didn’t quite do my best.

Maybe that sounds weird.

It feels weird to say that.

Like, how can I possibly not be happy enough with THAT kind of savings!? In a way it feels like my savings expectations are now insatiable! … like my spending and shopping once was.

(It’s SO weird to have that reversed)

April is a notoriously spend-y month for me. Last April I managed to save only $30.93 dollars! nuts.

The thing that keeps coming up in my life is the whole “Balance” thing and how I’m no good at all. Really, I’m really-really-super-super-super-no good at it. Before, I was bad at keeping money IN my pockets and now all I want to do is save more and more and more and what I DO save isn’t good enough for me (because it’s not the goal of only spending $100 on non-needs and therefore not “perfect”).

That’s freakin’ whack, right?

I know huh.

I feel kind of like a mess and I think some good ol’ fashioned balance might help.

Oh, Balance! You unwieldy beast.

What are your tips for keeping balanced? How do you keep things in perspective?

Also, I think it’s important to note that despite not feeling like I’m nailing the Spending Diet perfectly that it’s about making progress. It’s about making those choices every day to decide to keep going forward despite set-backs and it’s about realizing that those little choices WILL and DO add up over time and it’s about sticking with it.

It’s all about the stick-to-it-tive-ness.

oh hey sticky bun. what’s up.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter The Giveaway!

5 comments

in Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Giveaway, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet, Spending Fasters, Staying Out of Debt, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!
A Giveaway! (CLOSED)
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Since the Spending Fast and Spending Diets have respectively begun I’ve entered a lot of contests and giveaways. I figured if I couldn’t buy something then, well, maybe I could win something? Then if I were to actually win I could either keep what I won if I needed it or give away the winnings as a gift rather than feeling the pressure to spend money or taking the time to make a gift. I love making gifts for people but it does take time and sometimes time is more valuable than money.

Can I get an Amen!?

So far, I haven’t won anything but like the Lotto says “you can’t win if you don’t play” so I’m continuing to enter into giveaways and contests. Maybe I’ll win something one of these days…? and, maybe not.

Soooo… now I am super excited to do my very first giveaway! Whooo hooo!

I’ve got this little etsy shop filled up with zombie portraits, onesies, banners, shop labels, cupcake toppers (a whole bunch of random stuff):

On Monday, May 9th at 8pm Mountain Standard Time a winner will be randomly picked. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to my shop!

All you have to do to enter is follow me on Twitter here and then leave a comment below telling me ya did it. That’s so easy huh.

If you already follow me on Twitter (thank you!) then simply tell your buds to follow me and then leave a comment below.

For an extra chance to win share this giveaway link on your blog and/or twitter/or facebook and leave another comment below.

Good Luck Ya’ll!

25 comments

in Giveaway
Gettin’ Guesty (and Money Wise) with Kari Merriott
Author: Kari Merriott

We have ANOTHER great contributor this week for Gettin’ Guesty!

Please help me welcome:

Kari Merriott of Small Change

Kari describes herself as “a normal girl living in a smallish Canadian city” she says that “for some reason money has always seemed mysterious and interesting to me”. Kari goes to school to study business and accounting in particular, so she knows a thing or two about “the language of business”. She also writes on her hometown newspaper’s website about making small changes financially to have a bigger impact in the long run.

She’s a girl after my own heart!

image courtesy of the author

Young & Money-Wise

Most people inherit the spending habits of their parents. If your parents are savers then you’ll grow up knowing the value of a dollar. If your parents are spenders then you might burn a hole through your wallet without even noticing. Or if your parents believe in investing money then you’ll probably be more informed about mutual funds than the average Joe. So what happened with me? Well, my parents have always instilled in me the importance of saving my money. I’m only 20 years old but I’ve had a part-time job from age 14 on and have been making decisions with my money ever since.

I am currently in college, working part-time, living at home debt-free, and enjoying life to the fullest! I wasn’t always this savvy with my money though. Going from having no income to making a couple hundred bucks every two weeks when you’re just 14 is a BIG deal. I remember in high school I would spend money at the cafeteria, blow ten bucks easily on junk food and candy, and go to the mall almost every weekend. I mean, without any living expenses, what else is a kid supposed to spend her money on? After months and months of wasting my hard earned dollars on nothing, I decided it was time to smarten up. So what did I do? I set up a separate savings account at my bank so that half of every pay cheque would go directly into the account every other Friday. It was the best decision I ever made as a teen. Within a span of time, I had accumulated several thousands of dollars in savings on an income of less than $400.00 a month.

That’s where my love of saving began….now flash forward a few years to 2011. I’m still constantly saving for my future goals and pursuits. I want to buy a used car in the next 6-9 months…$2500 budget…cash. And yes I realize that cars are money pits, but you kinda need one in the town I live in. I’m also saving to go on my very first all inclusive vacation with my girlfriends next winter. I’m REALLY excited for that. I previously saved enough money to redecorate my entire bedroom on a budget (IKEA helped), buy my college textbooks (which can be extremely overpriced) with cash, and go on an amazing week long trip to New York with my best friend. I did all of those things without going into any debt. How? 1. I knew that I needed to spend wisely on the things that weren’t as important to me.  2. I had clear goals in my mind of the things I wanted to accomplish with my money. 3. I waited till I could afford to pay for them with cash. It was really as simple as that.

So what don’t I spend my money on? Well just like most young women, I do like to go shopping every once in a while. But I have learned to not to be overly concerned about clothes, shoes, bags, make-up and electronics. My outlook on my closet and the things I already own has definitely changed for the better. Whereas before I would go to the mall a few times a month to buy new clothes…now I might go to the mall once every few months. I mean, you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time, right? Also, I don’t have a fancy smartphone but rather I use a prepaid phone that costs me about $30 bucks a month. I’m easily saving $20 to $30 right there. Travelling is something that interests me greatly so I’d rather save for trips to exotic locations rather than blow my money on some flashy designer handbag or the latest gadget. Like a lot of personal finance bloggers will tell you…it’s all about knowing what your financial priorities are and sticking to them.

Being smart with my money comes naturally to me now. It’s part of my lifestyle. So when I have to leave home and face the “real world” and get a “real job” I am confident that I won’t struggle completely.  While money makes the world go round…it’s hard to know how to use it wisely. So here are some tips to get u started on the path to becoming a financial know-it-all:

  • Check out the free resources that your library has about finance and managing your money wisely….did I already mention that they’re FREE?
  • Use the internet to research about different ways to budget, save your money, and even for great online deals.
  • Read personal finance blogs to learn from the experiences of real people and how they deal with their money issues. (Umm, And Then She Saved…anyone?)
  • You can always go to your family and friends for advice…especially if they are smart with their money!

All of this financial jargon mumbo jumbo sounds really awesome but saving money is so difficult, right? Yes, it is. I realize that and as cheesy as it sounds, most things in life that are truly worth it take some degree of effort. Being debt-free is an amazing feeling and it is worth all of the sacrifices you will have to make. Trust me. Soon enough you’ll only be spending your money on things that add to your well-being and happiness. I genuinely believe that being happy and content is the ultimate goal to achieve!

Kari Merriott of Small Change ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then She Saved!

If you would like to be considered as a contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at: Hello@AndThenSheSaved.com

one comment

in Environment, Family, Friends, & Relationships, Guest Interviews
5280 5280 5280 5280 5280
Author: Anna Newell Jones

If you ever need a sure-fire way to NOT spend money get a dose of food-poisoning. I got a big helping of it on Saturday night.

I barfed no less than 7 times and lost count after that. Every 1/2 hour the bathroom and I met up again.

It. Was. Terrible.

Food poisoning is definitely NOT the recommended way to save money.

The icky-ness from the icky-ness is starting to fade luckily.

In the mean-time here are some pics from the article I mentioned a week or so ago that was published in the May 2011 issue of 5280 magazine and the link to the story is right here.

the cover

table of contents the story! 

10 comments

in Press & Interviews
Debt Be Gone!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

You can end your debt too. It CAN be done!

5 comments

in Motivation
People Watching: Free Entertainment
Author: Anna Newell Jones

What are your favorite free/low-cost forms of entertainment? I love people watching. It’s so easy to zone out in an airport or other busy spaces and just watch and watch and watch. It gets meditative too in a way. That’s for sure one of my favorites.

 

What are your favorite things to do for free entertainment?

5 comments

in Things To Do
Gettin’ Guesty with Zoë Cullie of Haiku Ambulance
Author: Anna Newell Jones

We have ANOTHER great contributor this week for Gettin’ Guesty!

Please help me welcome:

Zoë Cullie of Haiku Ambulance

We sat down (virtually) and chatted about how to dress great without spending major bucks. She a lover of thrift stores, style and is a fellow Denverite!

I’m pumped to share her Q&A with ya’ll.

image courtesy of the guest

And Then We Saved: How do you craft your outfits? Where does your inspiration come from?

 Haiku Ambulance: Each outfit is entirely built out of spontaneity and is inspired by any number of things. Most importantly these things: the weather, my mood, anything I’ve recently seen in a movie, online, or read in a book. But my real inspiration mainly comes from other blogs and the items I find in the thrift stores. 

ATWS: What are the biggest “tricks” and tips that you use when buying/looking for vintage/thrift items?

 HA: I think that hands down, the number one best trick is to look in every section. Some of my best pieces have come from either the children’s section, plus size, or lingerie. Try to think about it logically: you aren’t in a store that is selling the same piece in every size. Looking for a shrunken blazer? Look in the children’s section or sizes smaller than you. Looking for oversized items? Search a few sizes up. And always remember that the people in the thrift stores aren’t putting everything back properly. Either way it will pay off for you to look everywhere even if it seems time consuming. And also keep in mind that vintage sizing is wildly different than today’s, so a lot of the best vintage will be several sizes larger on the tag than what you are today. Also buy books on collectible items- things you would never imagine to be worth anything are sometimes the crap that sells for thousands. Read up and you will make better “investments.” 

ATWS: What is the best/worst thing about buying vintage/thrift?

 HA: The thrill of the hunt is one of the best feelings ever in the whole entire world. Knowing that you and you alone, were the one to find a certain item is incredible. Especially when that item is usually $2-$9. I think the overall “yuckiness” of thrifting is the worst. I have definitely gotten pink eye from a thrift store and wore trousers that smelled like manure because I failed to wash them prior to wearing. Always take hand sanitizer: that’s another great rule.

ATWS: What are your wardrobe basics/essentials?

 HA: For me the essentials are a perfectly fitting/feeling: blazer, pair of jeans, and high waisted skirt. And obviously you would need to throw some shirts and shoes in the mix, so you aren’t walking around with your boobies and dirty bare feet hanging out. 

ATWS: What’s the greatest item you’ve found while thrifting?

 HA: Oh goodness. The greatest item I have found… Boy. I have some really fantastic fur coats that are just insane. But I think that each item has the potential to be the best. At least at its own time, each item makes me just as excited as the last. And if we’re judging by how much use an item has received, then hands down it is my black blazer that did indeed come from the children’s section.

ATWS: When you buy new items what are you on the lookout for/what strikes you when you’re shopping “new”?

 HA: When I buy new things I seem to buy more trendy items. I also have pretty much decided that (for the most part) I will continue buying new shoes. My feet are an awful wreck from buying vintage shoes that never quite fit right. 

ATWS: How long does it take for you to get your outfits together? How do you motivate yourself to take pics in the morning outside when it’s freezing out!?

 HA: I wake up with roughly an hour’s time to get ready. I never plan anything ahead of time, so that certainly causes some chaos around the house from time to time. I honestly take the blog photos in all of four minutes before we go to work, so the freezing temps don’t matter all that much when it goes by so quickly! And when it’s cold it we can expedite the process in like two minutes.

ATWS: Have you always been into fashion? If not, when did you become interested in it?

 HA: I’ve always been a thrifter and I’ve always been into clothes. I think that getting into fashion itself actually came later in life. I have had an affinity for theatre and costume design, but my style was a bit more campy and silly until a few years ago. I’m glad to see that I’ve come a little ways since then.

ATWS: How long have you been blogging? Your biggest features/honors?

HA: I have been blogging for well over five years now, but I did my first ever outfit post a year and two months ago. I feel like every feature is an honor. I was exceptionally thrilled to be approached by stylepantry.com and certainly 303Magazine was one of the most exciting things ever to happen. 

ATWS: You are the recent recipient of the 303 Denver Style Award! (Congratulations!) How did that feel to get that award?

 HA: Totally bizarre. It was a series of happenstance that ended up being utterly amazing. My dad was there when I accepted the award and it was truly awesome to see him so proud of me over something that I started as a hobby. And 303Magazine is such a great publication—it really puts out some great and gorgeous issues so I couldn’t be more humbled to be acknowledged by such a killer Denver institution.

Zoë Cullie of Haiku Ambulance ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then We Saved!

If you would like to be considered as a contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at: Hello@AndThenWeSaved.com

2 comments

in Fashion & Style, Guest Interviews, Make Do & Mend, 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!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.

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