Spending Fast: In the Trenches with Chelsea

Chelsea's Spending Freeze

I’m so excited to introduce Chelsea! She recently started her Spending Fast®, and she is going to be our new Spending Fast columnist reporting weekly about her getting out of debt journey! I’m so happy she’s going to be sharing her story with us! 

Not spending money for a whole year sounds a little ridiculous to most people. After many failed attempts at paying my student loans, I decided to get serious. I had stumbled upon And Then We Saved’s post on how to cut your own hair. Once I read the tutorial I started exploring the site and was amazed at what I found. If Anna could do a year-long Spending Fast, I figured I could at least attempt to do the same.

My name is Chelsea Overton and I am a 25 yr. old lady living in Columbus, Ohio. I am from North Carolina and recently moved to the great state of OH-IO last August. Before moving, I had been able to make all my minimum student loan payments and keep my credit card balance paid. In August, I left my full-time salary job behind and with it I left all hopes of financial stability. Before I knew it I was having to choose which bills to pay each month. I would pay student loans one month and the credit card the next. At least with this method, neither account would go into default status. After the new year started I knew it was time to get my finances in order. Finding ATWS seemed like a pretty large life sign.

I started my Spending Fast on January 28, 2013 and it has already changed my life. When I started this I had a grand total of $24,996.98 in debt. Wowza! After one month, I have successfully paid $1,229.58 towards my debt and put $100 into savings. I had decided not to look at the total amount paid throughout the month. I made payments towards my credit card as the money came in and at the end of the month I was beyond surprised! My current debt total is $23, 767.40.

So, what did I do to go from not being able to make minimum payments to putting over a grand on my debt? I froze my spending! I started packing my lunch and saved the $5 a day I was spending. I cleaned out my closet and sold unused items on Craigslist and eBay. I realized I enjoy writing and started freelancing my skills through various online sites.

I used to spend money on things like nail polish and snacks because, well, “I deserve it.” After only a month of the Spending Fast, I have realized that I deserve to be debt free. I expected this year to be hard, but I had not expected to discover so much about myself this quickly. Gaining control over my spending has created a sense of peace in my life that I haven’t felt in years. I am nervous about how the rest of this year will go, but I now have confidence in my ability to change my habits.  I look forward to finding new ways to save and watching my debt shrink each month!

Each week I’ll be writing about my Spending Fast and getting out of debt journey. I hope you follow along with me!

58 comments

in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Student Loans
How To Stay Motivated Throughout the Entire Year

how to stay motivated

As with many resolutions, made at the New Year and beyond, we start out strong towards a goal. But as time goes by and glitches in the road trip us up, we tend to lose our steam. When our path to debt freedom is sidetracked by an unexpected expense or we fall off the wagon when we see something we just ‘can’t live without!’ we tend to get down on ourselves and blow our commitment towards getting out of debt and staying there.

Staying motivated is possible for all goals – but you have to work at it.

How To Stay Motivated To Get Out Of Debt For The Whole Year…

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16 comments

in How To, Motivation
Make Cute Jute Twine Containers for Only $2.50

jute twine diy

Here is a simple DIY that every thrifty person should have in their arsenal. It uses jute twine that you can buy a roll of it for $2.50 at the craft store (or even better, use a 50% off coupon to purchase it – most craft stores offer them regularly!). One roll of twine has lasted me for a couple years. The best part – the uses for it around the home are endless. I often use twine for garlands and gift wrapping, but you can also use it to make some cool home decor pieces. Check out these jute wrapped storage containers I made for literally pennies and in under an hour a piece!

With a little jute and some hot glue I transformed some hot cocoa tins into great storage containers for craft supplies, kitchen utensils, toiletries, etc. You can decorate them with a little craft paint for an added touch. Here’s all you need to make them:

  • Empty, clean tin cans (from soup, coffee, hot cocoa, etc.)
  • Jute twine
  • Hot glue
  • (Optional) Acrylic craft paint, foam brush, painter’s tape and/or cardboard stencils

How To Make Cute Jute Twine Containers for Only $2.50…

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6 comments

in DIY
  • 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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