Author: Anna Newell Jones

“A year from now you will wish you started today.” -Karen Lamb



in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Take Action!
Darning Those Socks
Author: Anna Newell Jones

image via craft zine

Does anyone else have a few hole-y socks tucked into their sock drawers? I have a few for sure! All of a sudden I’ll feel the heel of my foot sticking to the inside of my shoe and then I know that I’ve got a hole in the sock. The sticky foot is a sure sign indeed.

Darning socks seems like a bit of an urban legend to me. I don’t think I’ve even met anyone who’s ever darned a single sock and if I did well, I take that back, maybe I HAVE met someone who darned a sock and maybe we just didn’t discuss it.

“Hey, guess what I did on Monday night? I darned my socks AND IT WAS GREAT!”

Nope. Doesn’t happen.

But, that doesn’t mean sock darning is any less useful or money saving.

I’ve got some socks I’m going to be darning up here any minute so now you can say you met someone who’s darned one. Where I would’ve tossed those socks in the trash in the past now they are getting new life.

This handy tutorial found over at Craft Zine tells us how to get the job done.

image via craft zine

That’s so cute! Who knew!


in DIY, Do Without, Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions, Things To Do
Author: Anna Newell Jones

via health girl tumblr

Don’t give up.


in Motivation, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

When I was thinking about this post I was thinking “Yeah, I totally mentioned that already”. Then I couldn’t find it when I searched my site for it and I since I couldn’t find it I guess I didn’t mention it like I thought I did. So if I did already mention it and just couldn’t find it, well, my apologies.

And on with the story.

This Spending Fast Tip maaaayyy be a little ghetto/oh my/no she didn’t/yes she did/I hadn’t thought about that.

Those are the best tips (and best things in general) though- when they are on just this side of crazy.

Can I get an Amen.

this image is on just on this side of crazy… there are no words… image via tumblr

When I started the Spending Fast proper all the fancy coffee at coffee shops immediately left my days. If I wanted coffee I was brewing it up myself. I used up the old frozen coffee grounds that had been in my freezer for years and I started to notice the places that offered free coffee (the YMCA and meetings are great places to find free coffee).

With all this coffee I was brewing up and finding around town I needed a way to transport it. I needed a way to keep it with me.


At the time I didn’t own one of those cool travel coffee mugs and thought carrying around an open ceramic mug from my house might get a little messy on the bumpy bus rides and walks around town. Normally at this point pre-Spending Fast I would’ve just BOUGHT a travel coffee mug.

I mean, I needed one. It was obvious. BUT. Things were different now. Things ARE different now.

So. What did I do? I searched for the closest Lost and Found box that I could find and dug in.

I never knew until that day but my “day job” just so happens to have a gravitational pull to travel mugs. I had reached the end of the rainbow and it was pure gold.

If I didn’t know better I would think they were breeding in that box while people looked away. There were THAT many in there.

After rummaging around for a bit I found the perfect travel mug. It was burgundy, had a handle, had a lid and only vaguely smelled. I asked if I had been there long. I wondered if the rightful owner was on there way. I asked if maybe I could have it? “Yes, you can.” So, I took it. I figured with a little sanitation it would be as good as new. And. It was.

Some mornings as I sip up my coffee I feel a little rough using my “pre-loved” coffee mug but then my thoughts drift back to that lovely Lost and Found box, all the the lost stuff in it and all those mugs just waiting for a new lease on life and a little sanitation.

Shameless frugality wins again!



in Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions, Shamelessy Frugal, Spending Fast, Things To Do
My Kind Of Coupons
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Coupons have always been a little mysterious to me. When I think of coupons I think of a long envelope style plastic binder with separators in it and bunches of little pieces of paper organized by category.

Like this one. Yes! Just like this one:

I think about sitting on the floor tearing along the perforated lines ripping out the little pieces of colored newsprint paper. Oh, and it would start on a Sunday morning and last all day.



I seem to have some semi-suppressed childhood memories bubbling up.

The whole coupon acquistion process seems to take a VERY long time for not that big of result. I see the end result as: me with a bunch of name brand items I wouldn’t normally buy and maybe 25¢ off the one thing I normally would buy.

With coupons my “Time or Money” philosophy comes to mind. If you’re not familiar with my “Time or Money” philosophy it just means: you’re gonna pay for it with your time if not your money or your money if not your time. So you have to decide which one you wanna spend because you’re gonna be paying one or the other.

After seeing all sorts of buzz on Twitter last night about this show called Extreme Couponing (youtubed it since we only have the most basic of basic cable – so we can get clear reception – and we don’t get that channel) can only make me assume that my past couponing technique has been all wrong.

That show looks INTENSE. If I was gonna coupon I think that’s the kind of couponing I could really get behind.

You know, since moderation isn’t really my thing. Have you noticed?

Do you use coupons? Do you think coupons are worth the trouble? How do you manage them? What’s the most you’ve ever saved? What do you think about this show? Did you see it?


in Coupons, Staying Out of Debt, Things To Do
We’re Gettin’ Guesty!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I’m SO happy to start up the NEW Weekly Guest Writer/Contributor Section!!

It’s called Gettin’ Guesty and I’ll be featuring people who are tackling the debt/living simply/living frugal world from all angles.

I’ll showcase all sorts of different stories and experiences and it’s gonna be all sorts of awesome.

SooooooOOOOOooooOOooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooOOO without further delay… I am so pumped to introduce our VERY 1st contributor!

Kelly Newell Owner of SCOUT Dry Goods & Trade

Kelly just so happens to be my identical twin sister but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t have to go through the rigorous contributor process, because she did. I may have even grilled her a little more than the others to make sure she was up to snuff.

Can’t just be havin’ riff raff up in here!

SCOUT Dry Goods & Trade is located in Omaha, Nebraska and is situated right in the middle of the majorly cute Dundee neighborhood. Scout is at 5019 Underwood Avenue in case you wanna go right there and just check it out yourself.

And Then We Saved: What is the concept behind Scout? Tell us all about it. 

SCOUT Dry Goods & Trade: We buy, sell and trade cool clothes. We stock men’s and women’s vintage and modern clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories. We’ve also got some really great cards, posters, books and stamps. We love art and creativity and we feature several local and handmade items.

ATWS: For those who aren’t familiar with the Buy-Sell-Trade concept can you tell us what that means?

SDGT: Our concept is really similar to a consignment store except you don’t have to wait for your items to sell. We’ll give you store credit or cash before you leave and the whole deal doesn’t take long at all. Scout is all about recycling your old fashions to get new to you items. It’s a way to freshen up your style without spending a single cent. It is completely possible to have style without debt.

ATWS: How does your store help those looking to save money/spend less?

SDGT: All of our items are about 70% less than what they would sell for brand new. We only buy items for the shop that are currently fashionable and in excellent condition. We put out about 100 new items each day and have really great turnover so there is always something amazing in. People looking to save money can find the cutest stuff for a lot less.

ATWS: Rumor has it that you have an amazing $1 sale on Sundays. What are the details on that? That sounds really great!

SDGT: Yes! Every Sunday from 12n-5pm we have a $1 Sale with completely different items each week. The $1 items are items that people bring in to sell to us and we have to pass on them for one reason or another – not in season, too many currently in stock, slightly damaged, that sort of thing- and the person bringing them in also doesn’t want the items anymore so we put everything in our $1 Sale and then whatever is left over goes to a local not-for-profit organization the next day. Win-Win for everybody! I know lots of people that plan their Sundays around our $1 Sale- it is quite the compliment!

hey! that’s princess lasertron aka megan hunt in scout gear!

ATWS: What are the biggest “tricks”/tips you have for people buying vintage/thrift?

SDGT: Shop in all the sections, men’s, women’s and in all the sizes. Something may not be in the section you would normally look in but would be perfect for the look that you’re going for. You never know what you’ll find when shopping vintage/thrift. There is a lot of style to be had without spending a lot of money. It’s all about how the outfit is put together. 

ATWS: What are your greatest tips for putting together inexpensive outfits?

SDGT: Invest in items that are core to your style-if you always go back to the black short sleeve boat neck top with the equally low back-invest in one in a quality material-you’ll get your monies worth. Shop your favorite 2nd hand stores often and sign up for their emails. It really is all about timing, we get so many new items every single day. I’ve seen it time and time again where a customer will wait to purchase an item and come back to find it sold and is totally bummed. So, if you see an inexpensive item that you love snatch it up right then! We also have Secret Sales that we only tell people about through our emails. They are kind of a little “thank-you-for-being-so-awesome-and-opening-our emails-and-paying-attention-to-us” present so that’s another way to buy inexpensively with us.

ATWS: What is the best/worst thing about buying vintage/thrift?

SDGT: Best: the variety, the uniqueness and the history behind each piece. Worst: Items damaged beyond repair and overpriced items.

ATWS: What’s the best item and worst item that has come through Scout?

SDGT: The first year we were open we used to see a lot of underwear (!) that was kind of gross:) Now that we’ve been around for a bit people have a better idea of what we buy and sell. One of my favorite things is getting to know which customers sell us really good stuff and then seeing them come in the door with a load of stuff to sell! How cool is that?! Amazing items just walking through the door and gets set right in front of us?! I love my job! As far as my favorite item that I got from Scout- it is a vintage necklace with an intricate black, white and gold penguin made from diamonds and it hangs on a long gold chain. When the penguins’ stomach opens there is a little gold fish dangling there! It is the cutest thing.

ATWS: Anything you regret selling?

SDGT: Not really-its kind of a karma thing. My feeling is: “Gotta let awesome go to get awesome back.”

ATWS: Anything else you’d like to share that you haven’t been asked? 

SDGT: Come to Omaha and go shopping with me!

Find Scout online at: www.ILoveScout.comon Etsy here and on Twitter here and here.


SCOUT Dry Goods & Trade ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then We Saved!

If you would like to be considered as a contributor for Gettin’ Guesty send me an email at:


in Guest Interviews
Oh. Yes. This Is Awesome.
Author: Anna Newell Jones


in Fashion & Style, Just For Fun
Permanent. Semi-Permanent. Not Permanent At All.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I have something to admit. It felt weird to say last week:  “I am now debt free.” It felt awesome- don’t get me wrong but also weird. I didn’t want it to seem like I was all “Oh, hey! LLookkk at me!! I’m DEBT FREE!” and, I especially didn’t want to make anyone feel worse about THEIR debt situation.

The Spending Fast, The Spending Diet and this very blog started just to try to get myself out of credit card debt. It all started as just a way to keep me accountable in my credit card debt elimination process. When this all started I had no readers. Zero. My mom didn’t even read it. She still doesn’t but that’s okay. She’s got her money so she’s happy.

I never ever thought that through this process I would ACTUALLY become debt free. That thought never crossed my mind. I thought I would die with my college loans. I thought I would MAYBE pay them off a little bit before I started getting a senior citizen discount but even that felt optimistic.

Living a debt-free life wasn’t a possibility for me. It’s wasn’t even remotely fathomable. Can not compute.

I thought those loans and that debt was as attached to me as much as my arms are.

They were there. They always would be. That was that.

1 year and 3 months ago I was $23,605.10 in debt and it feels a shit load better to be on this side of it.

I tell you all this to let you know that there is hope.

There is a way out of debt.

It can be done.

I was able to pay off my debt faster than I ever imagined possible. In a lot of ways it really feels like a miracle happened.


in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Spending Fast, Take Action!
  • 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!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.


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