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 »


in Sponsored
Not Giving Up
Author: Melanie Gnau

not giving up

“What winning is to me is not giving up, no matter what’s thrown at me, I can take it. And I can keep going.”

There’s going to be pitfalls on our path to saving. During my spending diet, I had a wedding, a broken air conditioner and so many little temptations thrown at me. But even when I messed up, even when I spent more than I intended, I knew that I could keep going. I could pick myself up and do better next time. And you can too. Keep going.

How are you persevering in your money saving journey? Talk to me in the comments!



in Motivation
Frugality Includes All The Other Virtues
Author: Melanie Gnau

frugality includes all the other virtues

“Frugality includes all the other virtues.”

People often think of being frugal as being cheap. But they aren’t interchangeable. Being frugal is saving money on things you don’t care about, so you can spend money on what’s important. It’s bringing your lunch to work so you can go out to eat with a special someone on the weekend. It’s forgoing the newest fashions so you can take that dream trip to Bali with your best friends. And it’s using those 2-for-1 coupons so you can buy one canned good for yourself and donate the other.

Do you agree? Does frugality include all other virtues? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Living Tiny: Ethan’s Tiny Vermont Abode – Home Tour
Author: Melanie Gnau
Living Tiny: Ethan's Tiny Vermont Abode - Home Tour

Photo c/o Rikki Snyder

Hi! Melanie here! At ATWS we’re interested in challenging the norm of debt and spending. In the “Tiny Living” column, we interview people who 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 Ethan with us. Ethan is a writer in Vermont. Take it away, Ethan!

My name is Ethan Waldman and I’m a writer and tiny house owner. I live in my tiny house in Vermont. My girlfriend often stays there with me too. I finished building my tiny house around September 2013. I have been living in it ever since. Read More »


in Living Tiny (Home Tours)
Empty Pockets Never Held Anyone Back
Author: Melanie Gnau

empty pockets never held anyone back

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Being broke and in debt can take a mental and emotional toll. It can make us feel like we can’t do anything. “I can’t get in shape because I can’t afford a gym membership.” “I can’t eat healthy because I can’t afford healthy foods.” “I can’t have a social life because I don’t have any money.” All those thoughts have run through my head. But they’re just excuses. It’s true, being broke makes almost everything more difficult, but it also makes us more creative. It forces us to think about the things we can change. We can eat healthy on a budget. We can exercise outside of a gym and we can have a social life with a limited income. It just takes a little creativity, know-how, effort and time.

How are you overcoming the mental and emotional challenges of saving? Talk to me in the comments!


in Motivation
Sure-Fire Ways to Save Tons of Money on Everything Baby Needs
Author: Valerie Rohde

How to Spend and Save Wisely During Pregnancy and Your Baby’s First Year |

This is a guest post from Valerie Rohde. I couldn’t help but add a few notes throughout the post. :) – Anna 

Diapers, bottles, and booties, oh my!

How sweet it is to dream and prepare for your new baby! It is so easy to get caught up in all of the adorable little bitty items and the parenting magazines that suggest all of the items you’ll need for your baby. The coupons and fliers begin filling up your mailbox, e-mail inbox, and you even start getting text messages to alert you of the latest baby sales in every local store. The sales seem great, and the pressure to measure up to others and have the latest baby gear can become quite overwhelming. I hope this guide helps to dispel some of the myths regarding what you really need to have, and what you should splurge on.


Worth the Splurge (if You Can):

Childbirth/Breastfeeding Classes

The childbirth class my husband and I took was worth every penny, and I would take it again and spend the same amount of money with no regrets. It was a 12-week course offered by an organization outside of the hospital setting. I highly recommend that you look into a class other than the short class on a Saturday that is typically offered by your local hospital. (Take advantage of the free tour your hospital or birthing center offers in order to learn about their specific policies.) Otherwise a comprehensive birth class is the way to go.

Read More »


in How To, Kids, Pregnancy
  • 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. Also! We're building a Tiny House and we're going to be on Tiny House Nation. Follow along!!

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