SOO CLOSE!

lunar calendar by dmtv.org

It’s hard to believe the Spending Fast will be coming to a close in 4 DAYS!! I’m excited to share the Year-End Savings with you, reveal something NEW! and get started with the Spending Diet!

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!!

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in Spending Fast
Did It

by marco casse

Awhile back I wrote about Debtors Anonymous in this post. I’ve been quite curious about it for awhile now. Well, since I wrote that post it’s been in the back of my mind. I think since the Spending Fast is coming to a close rather fast now I’m getting more worried about what my financial future holds. It’s not like I think I’m going to become possessed with some wild rage and urge to go into a shopping explosion frenzy but I don’t know, maybe I’m nervous for nothing. Maybe, I’m getting in a tizzy just because I don’t quite know what to expect. I mean, really, I’ve never been in this situation before so it’s a bit strange. I’m trying to be on guard and educate myself and stuff so that I can be prepared for real life spending again in 2011.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Suze Orman’s free video podcasts and finishing up some financial books that have been checked out from the library for FAR TOO LONG and generally trying to get prepped up for my Spending Diet. For some reason, the Spending Diet is scarier to me than the Spending Fast. It’s scarier since I’ll have discretion again. I’ve said this before but I’m worried I’ll get into debt again. It’s easier for me to “cut myself off” than to be able to spend. AhhhhhhhHHHHH!! I’m just freaking out for nothing. I’ve got to chill out. I mean, I did this for almost an ENTIRE YEAR! I can be on a SPENDING DIET! I CAN DO THIS! I’VE GOT TO FREAKING BELIEVE IN MYSELF ALREADY. Snap out of it girl! Get yourself together!

All that to say that I looked up a Debtors Anonymous meeting and actually went to it. Maybe I shouldn’t say I went to it because of the, you know, anonymous part. But, I think it’s okay since I don’t officially identify myself as a member and also because maybe me talking about it might help someone. I don’t know, maybe not. Either way, I just wanted to tell you I went and it was interesting. I have a friend who HATES it whenever I say something is interesting because she thinks that means that I think it sucks or that I’m trying to not say what I mean. The reality is that I truly DID think it was interesting. It was interesting to hear people’s stories about their spending and shopping and that they were so open and honest about it all. And it was quite weird to be able to relate to some of it… quite a bit more of it than I’d like to, to tell you the truth. They talked about getting their financial lives in order and about record keeping and managing money and about how much their lives had changed and it was really very hopeful and encouraging.

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in Spending Fast
Worthy or Not

There’s this gal at work who infamously says “Is it calorie worthy?” This time of year she asks this question quite a bit. She waits for someone to take a bite of whatever dessert is around. She asks her question. She waits for the verdict. If the answer is “Yes, definitely!” She takes a piece or a bite of whatever she’s been eyeballing. If the answer is “Ehh…” or “Uhh no!” then away she goes. No bites taken. No pieces consumed.

Once I noticed the pattern this lady had I started to think about her approach to desserts in relation to the Spending Fast. (Just follow me with this one). I started to think about how maybe her “Is it calorie worthy ” question might be used in my post Spending Fast life.

The question I could ask though is: “Is it expense worthy?”

Granted, this is a question I should have thought about long ago. Pre-debt and before things got bad enough to HAVE TO do something as drastic as a Spending Fast. But. Well. I didn’t.

I imagine that once January 1st rolls around and I’m on the new Spending Diet I’ll be out and about and an item might catch my eye. I’m going to go through these questions in my mind to see if the item should be purchased:

#1. “Do I NEED it?” If the answer is “YES” then go to #2 below. If the answer is “No”. Then the process stops there and out I go without any money spent. But. That’s best case scenario. Let’s see how this plays out…

#2. The next question will be: “Do I already have something like it?” If the answer is “Yes”. Then the process stops right there. Not a penny spent. If the answer is “No” then go to #3 below.

#3. “Is it well made? Will it last a long time? Is it a classic style that I won’t get sick of? Is it a neutral color that will go with what I already own? Do I LOVE it!? DO I?!! DO I!???!!!!” If the answer to all of those questions is “YES!” then go to #4 below. If the answer to any of those is “No”. Then I’ll stop right here and walk right on out of that store!

#4. Here’s the big daddy question here: “Is it expense worthy? Do I want to spend an hour or 2 hours at work (or more) to pay for this item? Is it REALLY worth what they are charging? Can I find it somewhere else cheaper? Can I find something else that’s just like this but NOT this and cheaper? Is the item REAAAALLLY worth the expense? Huh?! HUH!??” If the answer is “Yes” then go to #5. If the answer is “No” then that’s fine. Out I’ll go knowing that I’m not missing out and a lot closer to paying off all that debt.

#5. Sleep on it. When I wake up I’ll ask: “Do I REAAALLLY LIKE IT still?” If the answer is “YES” Then I’ll go through those questions above again. If the answer is still “YES” then -Whoa. Off to the register I’ll go. Whoa. That feels weird to say. If the answer is “Nah. Not really.” Then that’s that.

Really, I used to be a very impulsive shopper. Something sparkled or would catch my eye and that’s was that. I was done. My debt was built on the foundation of impulsivity. It’s nice to know I now have a plan in place to deal with the main thing that got me to the point of being in my overwhelming amount of debt. It’s nice to know I don’t have to go down that road again.

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in Spending Fast
An Interview of another sort

And Then We Saved sat down with Aaron Jones, husband of And Then We Saved’s writer/saver Anna Newell Jones to see what it’s like to be married to someone doing a year long Spending Fast while you’re not.

(It’s kind of fun to be the interviewer and see the Spending Fast from someone else’s eyes besides my own. Some of his answers had me cracking up. Like, really? Really! Really? Formally interviewing someone who is very close to me is very insightful and is something I might have to do more often. Like, “Hey you, I have some questions for you. How bout you think about them and get back to me. Anddd. Thanks.” Okay. Now back to speaking in third person.)

by krista palmu

And Then We Saved: What was your 1st thought when you heard about Anna going on the Spending Fast for a year?

Hub: Fearful concern. Anna has a tendency to be an all or nothing kind of person. I knew she would dive head first into this thing and dedicate herself fully to the idea. Not only was I concerned about the tension it might cause between us, but also how it would affect our daily life, not to mention my personal pocketbook. 

ATWS: What has been the hardest thing for you throughout this year regarding the Spending Fast?

H: The beginning of the Spending Fast was the hardest, probably on both of us. Until Anna figured out how to make an “individual” spending fast work for a married person I noticed that I was spending more money on the things that she didn’t want to buy. I added it up one week and figured out that I spent an additional $25 on such things. I was worried that by the end of it all, I would be in debt due to her spending fast.

ATWS: What has been the BEST thing about the Spending Fast?

H: Actually there have been many great things about the Spending Fast. First, is seeing Anna succeed and get her debt paid off.  By her not spending money, I actually was able to save money myself (it’s no fun eating dinner out by yourself) and because we don’t eat out nearly as much as we use to we are much healthier now than we were at the beginning of the fast. And rather than always doing things that cost money, we do free things like take walks or pack a picnic lunch and go to the park. In the end, I think it brought us closer.

ATWS: And, what has been the WORST or hardest part of the Spending Fast?

H: Truthfully, I think the hardest part for Anna was trying to find a way to balance the spending fast and keep a happy marriage. I know it was tough on her (and me) to find that happy medium between saving money and still having a fun, fulfilling marriage. 

ATWS: How has your opinion of the Spending Fast changed? From the beginning to now? 

H: My opinion gradually changed throughout the Spending Fast…I went from being fearful (of many things…my sanity, my own savings account, our relationship) to reluctant acceptance (it quickly became apparent that she wasn’t going to quit, so I had to change my attitude) to being a big fan of the spending fast. 

ATWS: Think you’ll ever do a Spending Fast?

H: I consider myself to be a saver, so I don’t know if I would benefit from an intense year long spending fast. I’m not opposed to trying a Spending Fast for like a month or so to see were I could really pinch the pennies, but overall I am fairly happy with my financial situation. Almost no consumer debt, no car debt, no mortgage. I would like to start paying more on my student loan. Thanks to watching Anna put extra money towards all her debt has inspired me to start doing the same towards my student loan.

ATWS: Since you seem to be a natural saver and fiscally responsible and all that what can you share with those you don’t have those skills naturally?

H: I think a huge step to becoming a saver is to first cut back on personal possessions. Don’t be so materialistic. Don’t buy the things you don’t truly want. I tell myself “No” a lot more than I say, “Yes”. When I do allow myself to buy something it usually ends up being something I truly want and don’t regret spending money on it. Just like an electric bill or mortgage payment, I find it helpful to think of putting money in savings each month as simply another bill that must be paid. I don’t think twice about it. But the biggest hurdle to becoming a natural saver is: truly committing to saving. Don’t save up a small amount then instantly blow your wad (Anna used to do that all the time. It was kinda frustrating to see) …don’t even start to save with something in mind to buy. That’s not truly saving, that’s just waiting to buy (and while that is more financial responsible than putting it on a credit card) you will never become a natural saver with that mentality. I recommend viewing your savings as not even yours, that way you are less tempted to spend it. 

ATWS: What do you think? Another year of the Spending Fast? Up for it?

H: Another year? Sure. The Spending Fast has reached a level where the benefits now outweigh the negative consequences.  Besides the occasional scuffle, the Spending Fast doesn’t necessarily impede on our daily lives anymore.  We have both grown accustomed to life while spending fasting. Also, I’d like to see how far Anna can take it. CNN today, book deal tomorrow? 

ATWS: What would you recommend to anyone who is thinking about doing a Spending Fast. You saw a year long Spending Fast actually go down. What did you learn from an “outsiders” perspective?

H: Be sure to hash out specifics with your significant other. There’s no use in being rich, but divorced, by the time it’s over. I’d also recommend slowly building up to the extremes that Anna went to almost immediately. Had it been a less committed person, they would have failed immediately. I am not sure going cold turkey on your spending like she did is the proper approach for a successful spending fast- that’s hard to do. I’d say: identify unhealthy spending patterns first and start there. Slowly work up to the extremes of dying your clothing and eating 2-year-old canned pineapple. 

ATWS: What can you tell other spouses (that’s kind of a funny word) who have a spouse going on a Spending Fast? Tips?

H: First, have a discussion about it rather than blurt out one day “I’m going on a spending fast for an entire year!” Perhaps you both can agree to go on a Spending Fast or some modified version of one. Hash out the details and guidelines before hand. Don’t figure them out mid-fast because it will only cause turmoil. It’s like stepping out to buy a fire extinguisher after a grease fire is already consuming your kitchen. Set boundaries as well. There is a fine line between “asking” and “mooching” and remember someone can only “treat” you so many times before they expect a “treat” in return. It’s not tit for tat but you can’t take-take-take without giving a little. 

ATWS: So, do you think the Spending Fast has been overall GOOD or BAD? Huh? Huh?

H: It has definitely been good, (it sure hasn’t been easy) but it’s definitely been good. Not only because Anna has all of her debt paid off (except for an old college loan) but also because of the unexpected side affects. We are physically healthier due to not eating out, the environment is a little less polluted thanks to Anna’s bus riding and we have found new and interesting was to be more “green” by reusing items instead of instantly trashing them. Plus, I was able to save money as well. 

ATWS: Any funny Spending Fast moment?

H: There have been many memorable moments from the Spending Fast…some good, some bad, some funny, and some sad. But here are some of my favorite highlights. 

- Watching the faces Anna made while preparing and eating the most disgusting looking lunches and dinners made from old canned food in the cupboards, I believe she referred to some as dog food.

- Watching her actually wash, dry and then reuse a sandwich baggie.

- Coming home to see her dying clothes in a pot on the kitchen stove (why the clothes had to be boiling in water, I’ll never know).  

- (Sad one here but shows her dedication)…turning down a trip to Portland, Oregon because she didn’t want to spend the money on a plane ticket. 

ATWS: Anything you want to share that you haven’t been asked?

H: Yes…moochers! Mooching is a power keg waiting to explode between spouses and the spending faster. A big part of a Spending Fast is personal sacrifice. You may want an ice cream cone but just because your spouse stopped off to get one doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is willing to buy you one as well. Accept the fact that you will be hearing “No” a lot during your spending fast year. And when you are hit with the enviable “No”, accept it with a smile and move on. Remember YOU voluntarily choose to do the spending fast, not your spouse. 

ATWS: Are you ready to not hear about the Spending Fast ever again?

H: I must admit, it will be nice not having to hear the verbal sufferings of a year long-spending faster, but that is/was all part of the ride. You have to take the good with the bad and in the end the good outweighed the bad, so it was worth all the sufferings and tough times. 

ATWS: Thanks for your time Mr. And Then We Saved. It’s been a pleasure! I’ve heard you’re quite a movie buff. So I must ask what is your favorite movie?

H: My favorite movie is the Back to the Future Trilogy.  Yes, I know that’s technically three movies but I no longer considered them separate. If I watch one, I must watch all three.

2 comments

in Press & Interviews

Feeling quite overworked and very ready to shop.

That’s all.

this cheered me up. i always wanted to be a mermaid.

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in Spending Fast
Hat Trick POW

The last time I visited my sister she had this bag full of yarn and feathers and felt and little balls and glitter and glue and other fun stuff. She wasn’t using some of the stuff anymore so I asked her if I might be able to have some of it. Sure enough, she said yes! This little yarn ball was in the bag and it made my old poof-less hat a lot more fun. I was thinking this would be another really easy way to make the old new again (kinda like this dye idea). The yarn poof balls are sooo easy to make. See the instructions here. Attach the pom pom poof with a safety pin and you could switch them out to make your hat new again. I plan on doing this often.

Very nice indeed.

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in DIY
Despite not shopping in a year…

 

images by sam potts

The other night the hub and I went to a Super Hero themed Going Away Party where everyone was literally dressed as super heros and saying goodbye to this one nice funny fellow and his equally nice and sweet lady. While we were there this guy came up to us and was all “Hey! You’re in 303 Magazine (a local mag)(the November issue)!”. We were all “What!?” and “No way!?!!”

Apparently, yes way.

We went to check it out the next day and sure enough. There we were. You see? Right there at the bottom on the left? There we are looking completely nerdy.

The reason I bring this up is because when I heard we were getting put on the guest list (yay! for free tickets to fun and different events!) and then I heard this (and I swear it was almost in slow-mo) “Oh, by the way there is going to be a red carpet with photographers”. Um. Excuse Me?! I LITERALLY HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!

I LITERALLY HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!

It needed to be repeated. It needed it.

SO.

I scoured my closet and came up with my old stand by black scoop neck cap sleeve shirt. It works dressed up or down and it was one of the best purchases ever since at this point it’s paying me to wear it since I’ve worn it so much.

SO.

I had a shirt that was good. A shirt. Undies. And that’s all I had. Quite the outfit.

Eventually, I came up with this mixture of stuff that I wasn’t completely stick of and I guess it ended up working out.

Oh, I need some new clothes. For real.

All that panic of having nothing to wear was for nothing. And there you have it. Proof that new clothes aren’t needed to get put in a mag for the clothes you’re wearing. That’s good to know. Good to remember. I’ll have to try to remember that.

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in Personal
PechaKuchaPechaKuchaPechaKuchaPecha

I’ve been meaning to/wanting to/thinking about posting about PechaKucha for a grip now. Since like oh, July. Since July is when the hub and I went to PechaKucha night.

If you haven’t heard about PechaKucha Night here’s a bit about it:

It was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.

It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit chat”), it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds.
It’s a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

Early in the night we rode our bicycles up to the Denver Art Museum, parked our hogs at a tree and found a spot to sit in the open space area. I had been to one of these PechaKucha nights before so I knew they got packed quick. The event was going to be projected onto the side of the museum so we found a good spot and didn’t budge… not even when people started to get all up in our business and wanted us to scoot over so they could have a seat (which would be fine) but would’ve placed us right in view of a tree. Erm. No thank ya.

The presentations started and it was completely awesome. Just as expected.

Free. Enlightening. Entertaining. Fun. Doesn’t get much better than that. Maybe your city has one too? Check out their site here to learn more about it if you fancy.

Oh Denver. I love you so.

one comment

in 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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