Minus 1 Ticket
Author: Anna Newell Jones

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on January 26, 2010).  

The Northwest is a place that speaks to me for some reason. With its lush green trees, misty grey air, inherent outdoorsy-ness, cool style, coffee (yumm!) culture and artsy, laid-back vibe it’s an area of the US I’ve always wanted to live in and I have always welcomed any and every oppurtunity to go there.

Ever since a childhood trip to Seattle to see cousins and aunts and uncles I’ve been smitten, I mean straight out full-blown IN LOVE with the lovely Northwest.

I think it was the hike that we took when I was there for the 1st time. I was probably around 11 or 12 and it was a hot late August day. We geared up and took a hike through the wooded green greens of the Washington coast to ultimately end up at a snowy mountain with snow caves (!) and people were sledding.


Seriously? Yes. So. So.  Serious.

Basically, I was awestruck that there was snow anywhere near this time of year. I was even more surprised that people were enjoying it and most likely missing school ALL THE TIME here. no?

The only thing I could think was that these Washington kids HAD IT MADE!

Washington state became a place in my mind where dads and uncles and aunties walked with their kids and nieces and bow-legged dogs to seemingly exotic snowy locales hidden away deep behind mosquito riddled woods, made detours at the neighborhood pool, ate gooey ice cream sundaes while watching movies and then camped out in the backyard just for the fun of it.


It’s with real sadness that I find myself passing on an upcoming trip to Portland with the hub to see the bro-in-law and his girlfriend. Two very cool people, that do cool things and seem to be all cool all the time because it comes so easily, of course.

The other day said cool bro-in-law asked why I wasn’t coming out to visit them. Thought to self: “Waaaahhhhh!” But actually said: “Because of the spending fast I can’t spend the $138 bucks on the ticket.” Him: “Oh.”

Bummed. Bummer. Bummer. bummmer. I want to go. hmpf. I’m just gonna whine now. wahhahhhhhagain.

ok. over it. sorry.

Not going. Saving $138. Check out that dedication!


photo Le Love


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
Author: Anna Newell Jones

(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on February 9, 2010).  

One of the best things about this Spending Fast process has been the possibility of getting to a point of being autonomous and not owing anything to anyone. How great would it be to not owe money to credit card companies, school loan companies, banks or parents?

Oh. It. Would. Be. Amazing.

For me, autonomy is about being personally independent. The reality is if you’re accepting money from someone they get a say in how things happen. Or, at least they’ll think they get a say in how things happen which can sometimes render more grief than if they actually had their way. Really, I’m finding that I can’t be all that independent if I’m financially dependent on someone or some bank or some line of credit.

That line of credit, that “bail out” is just a big fat white collared anchor attached to your leg; a ball and chain that has good grammer and has been looked over 20 thousand times by a lawyer charging $300 bucks an hour; it’s someone jumping out of a plane with no parachute and asking you to hold their hand on the way down. Geez. that’s more depressing then I intended it to be.

If you need to borrow anyone’s money, have ever borrowed anyone’s money or currently owe anyone money the people/businesses probably have a say (or want) a say in how things go down. Who doesn’t know a father that gave money to a daughter for her wedding but put stipulations on that money? They want a say in who can and can’t be on the invite list,  if you are allowed to live “in sin” before marriage or not and even if alcohol is served at the reception or not. Or what about the gift that is given with strings attached? If you haven’t ever been given money or a gift with strings attached than you are probably in denial to the whole situation while everyone talks about it behind your back or you are a lucky chap who also just so happens to be a leprechaun with a pot of gold at your beck and call.

Really, money brings up all sorts of feelings and expectations for people and how people spend money shows where a persons priorities lie in life. So, then that brings up feelings and emotions and deep down things that we thought we had already talked to death about but turns out, we hadn’t dealt with it like we had thought.

Autonomy is a concept that came into my world a few years ago. Never knew what it meant before then because I never had a reason to care. And I didn’t decide to act on it until now. Since now I don’t want to owe anyone anything. I want to be free of that. I want to be self-governing. I want to be able to make decisions based on my best interest and not what is in the best interest of the people or organizations that I owe money to. I want as many financial strings as possible to disappear.

This Spending Fast is helping me get to a place of autonomy in the long run. It’s hard to remember all this when I’m in the moment and want to buy something that would make my life easier for the moment.

My motto has always been “You either spend time or money” and now, I’m spending the time to get my stuff in order and paid off and develop a life being autonomous.


in Do Without, Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Family, Friends, & Relationships, Make Do & Mend, Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Personal, Societal Pressures, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Take Action!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Rather than look online at all the pretty items that I wanna buy I decided to switch gearz and look at free pictures that make me chuckle instead.

How’s that change!?

The answer: Pretty good. Pretty. Pretty. Good.

via fxxxes

via slithr

via moonbrains

one comment

in Do Without, Just For Fun, Spending Diet
Clean ‘Er Up On The Cheap
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Since the homemade laundry detergent recipe was such a hit that I wanted to share this homemade toilet bowl cleaner with you.

Yah ol’ hippie.

Patricia’s Recipe: 

Here is a great natural way to clean your toilet bowl.

– Pour vinegar into the toilet bowl. Add baking soda. (When the baking soda hits the vinegar it will FIZZ)

– Scrub with toilet brush

Toilet bowl will sparkle and just think – no stinky, harmful-dangerous chemicals needed to tackle the task.


in DIY
Hey Ya’ll
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I hope your Valentine’s Day is awesome.

via tumblr


in Just For Fun
Variety Smariety
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Oh, Variety.

When I was on the Spending Fast I dreamed of all the wonderful outfits that I would be wearing if only I wasn’t on the Spending Fast. I imagined myself dressed amazingly everyday and just wearing some really cute clothes. In a way I found myself feeling fashionably victimized by the ol’ fast. Every day I would put on my black pants (that had been re-dyed to give ‘em new life- read post here). I’d wear the same shirts over and over and I felt I was being forced to wear all these old horrible clothes because I couldn’t buy anything new because of the Spending Fast- don’t you know!!

At the end of the Spending Fast and before the start of the Spending Diet I went shopping and “refreshed” my wardrobe. I bought some new work pants and a couple new shirts. Imagine my surprise when I recognized the fact that when I would get dressed in the morning I was actually continuing to select the same clothes I wore during the Spending Fast.

Oh, touché.

Look who WASN’T being FORCED to wear all that black after all!

Turns out, this whole variety/not varied thing isn’t much of a shock to “the experts”. I remember reading a stat that most people only wear 1/3 of the clothes/shoes/accessories that they own and actually THINK they like variety far more than they really do. This whole – wanting variety but not really utilizing the variety thing was quite a revelation. That means that I’ll just about always gravitate towards what I know. For me, that means: wearing what’s comfortable, wearing what looks generally decent, I’ll pick items that are easy to wear and ones that I know I won’t adjusting all day or be self-conscious in.

When I go on a trip and I want to pack light I just admit the fact that I’m not going to be busting out any new outfits and getting all adventurous with my clothing. Most likely, I’ll wear the same thing over and over: hat, jeans and switch out a t-shirt or two but it will generally be a variation of the same outfit throughout the vacation.

So why the need for variety? Why constantly be on the hunt when the likelihood of it getting worn is slim? Optimism maybe? I like to THINK that I won’t wear just about the same outfit everyday… but I find that I do.

Maybe you’re one of the people that wears every single thing you own.

If so- Bravo. Bravo.

If you’re not sure there are a couple of tricks/tips to use to really see what you do and don’t use in your closet.

One tip: Face all of your hangers pointing “IN”. When you go to hang an item back up face the hanger “OUT”. After a month or two (or however long you decide to survey) evaluate the items with the hangers still facing “IN”. If you still haven’t worn it there’s a likelihood that you’re just not that into the item (and that’s okay).

Another tip (this is the one I use): Pants on the left. Shirts on the right.  As I wear an item I replace it on its respective side placing the shirts to the far left of the shirt section and the pants to the far right of the pant section. The way this works is that the items that are worn the most end up in the center and the ones that don’t get used end up on the ends of the closest.

Things I think about when clearing out: Do I really need the item? Do I even want it? Do I even like it?

I guess variety isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- at least for me and at least regarding clothes. I’ll have to remember this when I’m tempted to buy all those beautiful clothes out there.


in Fashion & Style, Spending Diet, Spending Fast
How To Be A Cheap Valentine Without Being A Cheap Valentine
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Valentine’s Day is right around the bend and that means that the pressure will be on from loved ones to do something for them. Besides, it’s a good time to show you care and how much you’re in love with your sweetie even if the point of Valentine’s Day gets a bit lost in all that commercialization. No matter… it’s fun to eat sweets and look at hearts and see red and pink and white and doilies and get some extra cuddling in.

Last year, I was tempted to just be a full-blown dead beat Valentine and just OWN it. I ended up bailing on that idea when reality set in and I decided I didn’t want to be a total a-hole. I ended up making my husband a sugar cookie shaped into a heart that I proceed to decorate obnoxiously I mean, awesomely. Here’s the link to that post.

Since I don’t have a kiddo (just nieces and nephews that I am completely smitten with). The below list is focused on ideas for adults. I was thinking about what I liked when I was a kid and what I would have liked to get for V-Day when I was a little youngin. Here’s what I remember liking: doing crafts, eating sweets, being told I’m loved. I guess I haven’t changed too much since all of that still sounds awesome.

Free or nearly free ideas for your love. Mix and match. Do one or a couple or all.

  • Go through your closet/house and find things to sell. Trade in your clothes at Scout: Dry Goods & Trade or a similar store for money or items from their shop. Pawn other items you’re done with at a pawn shop and use your newly acquired money to get your sweet heart something.
  • Cook a romantic dinner using pre-existing ingredients from your cupboards
  • Make your Valentine breakfast- again using ingredients or mainly ingredients you already have
  • Give a full-body massage
  • Straight up tell them why you dig them
  • Make 365 reasons why you love them and give them 1 a day for the whole year
  • Decorate your place with hearts you cut out of computer paper. (Here’s a link for some fancy heart cutouts if you wanna get fancy like that. Here’s a link to another paper decoration idea here.)
  • Swap houses/apartments with your friends for the night. You have a date at their house while they have a date at yours.
  • Have a movie marathon and make ice cream sundaes with all the fixin’s
  • Clean the entire house for them
  • Send steamy texts
  • Make homemade chocolate-covered strawberries: 1) Melt a package of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double boiler and add a small amount of oil 2) Remove from heat and quickly dip the strawberries into the chocolate 3) Place on wax paper and refrigerate for several hours until chocolate is firm
  • If you’re hitched: read your wedding vows to each other/watch your wedding video/look at your wedding album
  • If you like giving cards there are free versions you can print out online (here’s a link and another one here for some cute ones) and if you want a “real” card check out the dollar store
  • Make them a mix CD of songs you love that you think they too might love
  • Call in sick together, then cuddle and watch movies/trashy day-time TV all day
  • Make them a cake
  • Make them cookies
  • Look through photographs of when you 1st got together. Have 1 printed and put in a frame (perfect re-gift opportunity with the frame).
  • Compliment them when others are around
  • Decide to give them an ongoing Valentine gift. This is where you do a little nice thing for them each day for an extended period of time. For example: listening intently, picking up a piece of candy for them, do something unexpected for them, give them your full attention when they talk, forgive quickly, add something they like to the grocery list and surprise them with it. Tell them what you’re up to or not. They might be shocked by the extreme niceness you’re dishing out. This will make them feel loved and appreciated which is the goal of Valentine’s Day if you ask me.
  • Reminisce about how you met
  • Send them a secret admirer letter. When it arrives – you know nothing about it. They will be both flattered and maybe a little freaked out, but hopefully mainly flattered.
  • Give your Valentine a homemade spa night. Face mask, massage, mani/pedi, scalp massage. Guys love this even if they won’t admit it.
  • Get naked. Proceed. Ewww. TMI.

What do you do for your loved ones that is free or costs very little?


in DIY, How To, Personal, Practical Solutions, Seasonal, Spending Fasters, Things To Do
Advice and Stuff
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I’ve gotten a few emails asking for advice on how to stick with a Spending Fast/Diet.

#1 piece of advice: Keep going even when it sucks.

image via jblyth




in Spending Diet, Spending Fast
  • 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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