Melanie vs. The Spending Diet – Update

spending diet andthenwesaved.com

 

Melanie is sharing her Spending Diet adventures with us, and she’s got her July update for us below. We’ll get August’s update up before you know it, and then we’ll be back on track in no time for September. I’m telling ya, we’ve got a plan, folks. She’ll take it from here. xo, Anna

 

Ok, so first things first, this was so much harder than I imagined. I went over my allowance of $100 in the first two weeks! I am ashamed and to be honest I was a little shocked. (I feel like I’m such a saver!) But I learned from my digressions and I’m ready to get serious.

 

I went $100 over my spending limit in July for two reasons:

 

#1 – I didn’t immediately get cash out of the bank at the first of the month like I said I would.

Hey, I’m lazy and I hate making trips to the ATM. Instead, I told myself I’d just write down what I spent. What a joke. If I’m too lazy to go to the ATM, I’m too lazy to write down everything I spend. Now at the first of each month, I am vowing to get out my $100 spending budget and stick to only spending cash on my “Wants.” I’m also leaving my debit card at home so I can’t be tempted by that trickster. (I’m keeping my credit card on me for emergencies.)

 

#2 – I was too strict with my food budget.

I just simply didn’t budget enough for food. I hate buying food even though it’s a necessity. I thought by giving myself a super strict limit, I would spend less. Wrong! I spent more because I ran out of food and had to make extra trips to the grocery store. I’m going to give myself $50 more to spend on food each month because a girl has to eat. To even out the budget, I’m cutting my gym membership. I love it but I don’t use it often enough. I ordered some infomercial DVDs a while back and I’ve been hitting those harder than I ever hit the gym.

 

I still managed to save $1,000 this month which I consider a success. I also got real with myself. Looking back on this month, I realize that I spend more money than I should going out with friends. Instead of going out with friends, I’m going to convince my friends that we should cook at home– even if that means I do all the cooking! I’ve even started fermenting my own wine which has been super fun and much cheaper than wine at a bar or restaurant.

I have high hopes for next month. I’m taking on a side job to earn more income and I took out my $100 allowance as soon as I got paid.

Here’s to hoping next month’s spending diet report looks better than the last! Melanie

13 comments

in Do Without, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
Thrifty Weekender – Start Your Weekend Off Right / 06

thrifty weekender - start your weekend off right - andthenwesaved.com

 

It’s been a little while since I did a Thrifty Weekender post, but, I think we should just get right back into it. Whattya’ say?

 

Here are some posts/things on the web that stood out to me this week:

  • I’m always on the look-out for inexpensive wedding dresses for other people. Partly because I shoot weddings, partly because of my recent obsession with Say Yes to the Dress (anyone else into that show?), and also because when I got married I scoured the internet, and local stores to find a reasonably priced dress, and there was nothing cute out there. So, what’d I do? I ended up settling for a dress, and then had it altered so I would like it more. That was a bad idea because I ended up spending almost as much as the cost of the dress justy on alterations! Not recommended. If I were to get married again, to Aaron;), I would be completely into these dresses: Gilded Grace Dress (this one is my fave), Alight of Heart Dress, Are You Gonna Be My Pearl? Dress, Romance with Me Dress (that just so happens to be 70% off), and Outshine the Sun Dress. I could go on and on but I should probably stop now. With a lot of the weddings we photograph the brides will also wear a short white dress for the rehearsal dinner, engagement shoot, and bridal shower so I could see a lot of these dresses being used for those purposes too.
  • We’re all so, insanely rushed, and busy ALL THE TIME. Can you do nothing for 2 minutes? Let me tell you, I really suck at it.

 

What are you up to this weekend? We have to go to Home Depot to get some parts to try to fix of garbage disposal, and Aaron’s birthday is Sunday so I’m going to bake him a huge, chocolate chip cookie “cake”, and then I’m going to frost it with a shitload of buttercream and sprinkles. We’ll eat too much of it, regret it, then vow to get healthy again on Monday.

I hope you have a great weekend, and keep that spending on lock down! Read these get out of debt pledges if you need a kick in the ass/jolt of motivation. I read them very often to keep myself in check. xo, Anna

8 comments

in Student Loans, Thrifty Weekender
Well Aren’t You Fancy, “Name Brand” Hand Soap

mrs meyers hand soap hack andthenwesaved.com
We’ve had lots of family in town lately which has been awesome. Right before our guests arrive we go through our place, and tidy up. Part of that process includes refilling the hand soap containers. There’s something about “name brand” hand soap that just feels luxurious or something. It’s got it’s pretty package, it smells good (like, REALLY good), and, oh yeah, it costs like, $7 bucks a bottle (booo).

I always imagine that wealthy people just buy the name brand, great smelling hand soap without thinking twice about it. Which is awesome, IF you want to spend your money on soap. Me? I’d rather spend it on other stuff.

I know this idea isn’t ground-breaking or anything, but this is what I do to still have my good smelling soap but without the cost…

Read More »

39 comments

in DIY, How To, Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions
The Cost of Having Our Car Stolen

impound lot andthenwesaved.com

impound lot andthenwesaved.com

Last week I posted about how our car got stolen. Well, it was recovered about 5 miles from our house near the football stadium in town! As expected, all of the baby stuff was stolen. The car seat, the car seat base, the car seat carrier/stroller thing, as well as, Aaron’s prescription sunglasses, the stereo face, a multi-tool, a wood-cutting axe (super random, I know), and a few mix CD’s that I had made. (Hey, at least the thieves have good taste in music? ;) They also took the 10 month sticker off of the license plate. Really, though, I’m just SO incredibly relieved to have the car back. All of the things that were stolen from the car ended up being less than our $500 deductible so we ended up withdrawing our insurance claims since it wouldn’t’ve paid out anyway.

We had to pick up the car from the city’s impound lot (the above pics are from our multiple visits there), and then we’ve had the car at the auto repair shop since last week to see what, and if, anything was missing internally from the car, and to make sure it was safe to drive. We didn’t want to put the baby in there until we knew, for sure, that it was totally safe.

Today, we found out that there was nothing wrong with the car (!), all the parts were still in it, and there was, shockingly, no external body damage! I’d say as far as having had a car stolen goes we pretty much lucked out!

 

Cost of having the car stolen:

– New car seat (we went with one that he’ll be able to use until he is 65 pounds): $160

– New prescriptions sunglasses: $250-ish

“Club”for the steering wheel: $40

Total: $450 + a lot of time

 

I’ve learned to never leave anything of value in the car, and to always keep the auto and home owner’s insurance paid up!

Thanks for all the kind thoughts, support, and good vibes y’all threw my way on the last post! All that goodness really worked. xo, Anna

37 comments

in Personal
And Then Our Car Got Stolen

green honda crv stolen car andthenwesaved.com

It’s been a little quiet on the blog this week since it’s been super crazy/chaotic-ville over here on the other side. On Saturday night/early Sunday morning, our car got stolen right out of the parking spot we park in every night. Our parking spot is right behind our building, and we’ve always felt pretty safe parking it there. It is right off of an alleyway but we didn’t ever feel concerned about that since just about every parking spot in our neighborhood is either on a busy street or off of an alleyway. Plus, we don’t have a fancy car. It’s a very modest, used ’98 Honda CRV. It’s a solid car but nothing like a shiny Lexus or BMW that screams, “Hey, right here! Steal me!”… or so I thought.

Aaron went out Sunday morning to take the baby on a walk, and had to stop by the car to grab his sunglasses. I stayed back to work on some things, and that’s when I got the call… Read More »

47 comments

in Personal
Tell Me What You Think – ATWS Reader Survey! – CLOSED

andthenwesaved.com reader survey

I want to know more about you, and I also want to know what I can do to make your experience on And Then We Saved even better so it’s time for a survey!

This is a quick 25 question survey, and most of the questions are multiple choice. As a thank you for taking time out of your day to help me out I’ve made an instant downloadable poster available for everyone who completes the survey!

Make Do and Mend was my motto during the Spending Fast and I still live by it today so I thought you might like it too!

Here’s what the poster looks like:

Make Do and Mend poster

You will be given the instant download links at the completion of the survey. Copy the web address for the size you would like (8″ x 10″ or 11″ x 14″), and then paste the link into your browser. The high-resolution poster will appear, and then you can print it out or you can even make it a screen saver on your phone or desktop!

Here’s the link to the survey: ATWS Reader Survey. The survey will close on Monday, September 1st at 10:00pm MST.

Thank you! xo, Anna

one comment

in Reader Survey
Colorado Public Radio Interview

colorado public radio anna newell jones interview andthenwesaved.com

On Monday morning I was on Colorado Public Radio to join in the discussion about how some FICO credit scores may be getting a boost soon because medical collection debts won’t be getting weighed as heavily as they have in the past. (This is such great news!) I talked more about my story and how I got out of debt while Chad Gentry from Mpowered talked about the nuts and bolts of how the change will affect consumers.

We were interviewed by Ryan Warner, and I’ve got to say, his voice is amazing. I might have to have his interviews on repeat, so I can listen to them whenever I need to relax. Smooth and soothing with great questions mixed in.

anna newell jones on colorado public radio andthenwesaved.comAnyway!

The very first question he asked me is, “What is your credit score?” When I was getting ready for the interview it dawned on me that when I was in the thick of my debt I used to have NO IDEA what my credit score was! I was completely ambivalent. It was partly because I wasn’t applying for any car or home loans so I didn’t really have to know.  (Just wanted to clarify, in the article on the CPR site they said that I just recently found out my credit score, which is not correct. I just recently looked up my current score. While I don’t have my past credit scores memorized, I was aware of what it was after I got out of debt.)

I’d love for you to listen, and tell me what you think about the new FICO model. Do you think medical debts should be weighed as heavy as other types of debt? Do you agree or disagree with the change?

Here’s the link to the audio recording: Consumer Credit Scores Could Soon Get a Boost – on Colorado Public Radio. (My part starts up at the 6:36, if you’re rushed for time.)

 

Have you had medical debts go to collections? Will your credit score be going up?

2 comments

in Press & Interviews
13 Ways To Convince Your Partner That Frugality Is The Way To Go

how to convince your partner that frugality is the way the way to go andthenwesaved.com

Your partner/spouse may have vastly different ideas about how your joint personal finances should be managed. It seems that in relationships this is usually how the combo’s usually work out:

– One half is more in-tune with financial matters, and deals with all the money matters while the other is happy to stay out of the fray and focuses on other things that impact the relationship.

– One partner is the Spender and one is the Saver (that’s how me and Aaron are. He’s the Natural Saver and I’m the Natural Spender.)

OR one partner used to have different (more frugal) ways about money when you got together, and has, over time, changed their ways, and has started to make financial changes that you don’t necessarily approve or agree with (“Let’s spend ALL THE MONEY!! YEAH! SHOTS FOR EVERYONE!”). Now, that’s a very sticky situation.

Ideally, both people in the relationship would agree on money matters, and work towards a frugal, savings-focused financial life but what if you see things differently? Maybe you’re ready to start living in a new way, and get your debt wiped out once-and-for-all but your partner wants to keep ordering pizza every other night and is totally fine with having the mega-channel, cable package that you are convinced you don’t really need. How do you get on the same page with money much less convince your partner that being frugal is going to be TOTALLY AWESOME? Well, here are some ideas.

 

13 ways to convince your partner that being frugal is the way to go…

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3 comments

in Family, Friends, & Relationships, How To, Practical Solutions, Savings, Societal Pressures, 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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