Put in the Effort – Get the Payoff

put in the effort get the payoff andthenwesaved.com

The Spending Fast method for getting out of debt is usually portrayed in the press and articles about me, and the blog, as being a super easy, and quick way to get out of debt. And while it IS a VERY quick, and efficient method (especially in relation to other methods), and while it IS simple, it is not easy.

While it would be amazing to be able to take a pill or snap your fingers to get out of debt instantly, it doesn’t work that way. And, we all know that. It takes time, and effort to do anything worthwhile, much less to get out of ALL OF YOUR DEBT!

To paraphrase the saying, time is going to pass whether you take the chance or not.

You might as well give this the absolute best shot you possibly can. Put in the effort. Get the payoff. Seriously, you can do this. You can do hard things. xo, Anna


in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Struggle, Take Action
Minimalist Challenge Update / 05

day 30 minimalist challenge andthenwesaved.com

Sooooo… drumroll please! The Minimalist Challenge is officially COMPLETE!

I had so much stuff hiding away that I was able to get rid of a total of 496 items!! Aaron did an undocumented version of The Challenge, and apparently he doesn’t have as much random crap as I do so he was able to get rid of 252 items! That means that we collectively eliminated 748 items that were no longer useful to us!!!!!


I had NO IDEA that we would have that much extra stuff to get rid of, and the crazy thing is I don’t even miss (or even remember most) of what we got rid of!

Day 30, Get rid of 30 items:

  • SELL 1, TRASH 1 – Mop heads x 2 (from a failed DIY attempt :/)
  • SELL – Humidifier
  • SELL – Dress
  • SELL – Books x 4
  • SELL – Art
  • SELL – Gel eye mask
  • SELL – Sunglasses
  • SELL – Ring
  • SELL – Chai tea
  • SELL – Breast milk storage bags (ended up donating these)
  • SELL – Breast pump (ended up donating this)
  • SELL – Angeled baby bottle
  • SELL – Baby headband
  • SELL – 1/2 full cocoa
  • SELL – Decorative accordion craft fan
  • SELL – Socks
  • SELL – Baby rice cereal (ended up donating)
  • SELL – Kiddie stickers
  • SELL – Practically full bag of Epsom salts
  • SELL – Large bag of clothespins
  • TRASH – Old computer program CD’s x 5
  • TRASH – Metal thing (I have no idea what it does)

day 31 minimalist challenge andthenwesaved.com

Day 31, Get rid of 31 items:

  • SELL – Clothes x A Zillion (23)
  • SELL – Cute winter hat x 2
  • SELL – Bikini x 2
  • SELL – Screen-printed mini-bag
  • SELL – Sneakers
  • SELL – Thin tin box
  • TRASH – Box of month-old tomato soup (I was hard up for the 31st item)



We did a Yard Sale on Saturday so I’ll be posting about that soon.

Have you been doing The Minimalist Challenge too? If so, how has it been going, and how many items have you gotten rid of so far? How does it feel? 


in De-Clutter, Do Without, Minimalism, Simple Living, Things To Do
A Free Education is at Your Fingertips – 12 Ways

free ways to get an education andthenwesaved.com

With the new school year right around the corner, and with higher education costs growing at staggeringly high rates it’s a prime time to discuss some ways to get a free education by some less than traditional methods (Related post: Is College Worth the Expense? My Husband’s Story). This is a guest post by the lovely Melanie. xo, Anna

12 Free Ways to Get an Education

In the fourth quarter of 2012, total student loan debt reached $966 billion dollars. I can’t even comprehend that much money. I can’t even comprehend the average student loan balance of $24,803. Once upon a time, I was a student and I also work at a community college so I understand the debt struggle is real. It’s a complicated problem that I could write a novel about, but today we’re going to scratch the surface with a few free ways to get an education!

1. Open Education Consortium

The Open Education Consortium (OEC) is a group of higher education institutions and organizations from around the world. Last time I checked, the OEC presented 25,082 courses from 78 providers! The OEC is a great place to start looking for courses because they work with some of the most innovative educators in the world to compile and create awareness of massive-open-online courses (MOOCs).

2. Coursera

Coursera is another great place to start looking for MOOCs. Similarly to the OEC, Coursera works with global universities to offer courses in almost every subject imaginable. Personally, I cannot wait to take the e-Learning Ecologies course offered from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

3. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a bit different. Khan Academy doesn’t offer formal courses, but it’s a wealth of quick educational videos and great for learning at your own pace. Khan Academy offers introductory-level videos for mostly math and science, but they’ve also branched out to American Civics and Art History. They even offer explanatory videos on finance and capital markets!

4. University of Redditt
University of Redditt isn’t taught by professors, instead it’s crowdsourced. University of Redditt doesn’t just have a traditionally academic focus either. There’s classes on Cooking for the Single Life, An Introduction to Magic the Gathering and Lucid Dreaming, among the more traditional academics like Music, Philosophy, Science and Technology. Who wants to learn how to lucid dream with me?!

5. YouTube

I’ve learned so much from YouTube. Seriously, I don’t know what I ever did without it. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve learned how to do my makeup for my wedding, how to make beeswax candles and how to properly poach an egg! Discover the magic of YouTube, people.

6. SchoolTube

SchoolTube is just like YouTube, except it’s solely designed for students and educators. SchoolTube has a K-12 focus, but there are some seriously amazing teachers who have put up seriously creative and entertaining content. I recently used Mr. W’s Virus Rap to brush up on my biology.

7. iTunes U

This app makes learning super convenient. You can download it on your phone and then learn wherever it is convenient to you– whether that’s on the bus or in the bathtub! iTunes U contains courses from major universities, like Yale, and also claims to be “the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content.”

8. Academic Earth

Academic Earth was the first player in the free online college course game. Today they offer highly curated course links from some of the nation’s top schools– Stanford, Harvard and MIT, just to name a few. Academic Earth is a wealth of knowledge with “curated links to over 750 online courses and 8,500 individual online lectures,” yet still remains an easy-to-navigate site.

9. Wikiversity

Wikiversity, one of the Wikimedia Foundation’s projects, is devoted to learning projects and resources, research and is caters to all levels from preschool to the university. What I like about Wikiversity is that it has a familiar interface. It looks just like Wikipedia!

10. Carnegie Melon Open Learning Initiative

Many large universities (and even small ones!) are jumping on the open learning bandwagon. Carnegie Melon’s initiative is definitely one of those worth mentioning. Through the Open Learning Initiative, you learn at your own pace through modules created by volunteer instructors. Notable courses include argument diagramming, responsible computing and STEM foundations.

11. GCF’s Learn Free

The Goodwill Community Foundation’s Learn Free is a favorite of the Office Systems Technology instructors at my school. It’s great for introductory computer classes like Facebook 101 and iPad basics and the Microsoft Office Suite. They also offer modules in resume writing, career planning and money!

12. The Library
Frank Zappa once said, “If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” And I couldn’t agree with him more on both accounts. Bazinga! But in all seriousness, your local library is a wealth of knowledge and information that is right there– free for the taking. (You can find your local public library here: http://www.publiclibraries.com/) There’s knowledge that exists in books that you can’t find on the Internet– crazy, I know. But libraries aren’t just about books. Many libraries offer educational classes and programs on a whole host of things. I’ve seen everything from yoga classes to computer classes to knitting and 3-D printing. Interested in more ways to save money with the library? Check out 18 Ways the Library Can Help You Save Money.


Happy learning!


Have you used any of the free education resources mentioned? Do you know of others that weren’t mentioned in the post? Would love to hear about your experience with non-tradional education methods!

Melanie is a recently married librarian living in an Airstream with her husband. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Find out more about their life at Love Library.


in How To, Practical Solutions, Societal Pressures, Staying Out of Debt, 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!

    Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

    Total Savings
  • Sign-up for Free Updates!

  • ModCloth
  • Featured On/In:

  • advertise on and then we saved

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Search

  • Wanna Know More?

  • And Then We Saved® and Spending Fast® are registered trademarks.
    All Rights Reserved.