Why Struggle? Stick With What You’re Good At
Author: Anna Newell Jones

“Money comes when you do what you’re good at and work hard at it.”


in Motivation
Confession: I Touch-Up My Shoes With a Sharpie
Author: Anna Newell Jones

I’ve been pretty happy with my ankle-high-made-outta-faux-leather boots that I bought from a low-cost chain store about 3-ish years ago. They’ve held up well for all the use I’ve given ’em. I had bought a black pair and decided that since they were such a good set I’d buy not only 1 pair in black but another pair in dark brown and well, okay one more black pair.

This went down pre-Spending Fast… see how my brain works in it’s natural habitat?

It’s like THAT. Like, I like it. Give me more. One is not enough Dear Friend.

For $35 I have had those work shoes for the past 3 years. Not too shabby. I’ve used shoe polish to freshen them up and make them look “new” again, and then the other day I used a black sharpie marker to fix some knicks that appeared on the heel of the shoe. Just colored ’em right on in. I figured it would only be noticeable if someone actually looked closely and it’s true, from eye-height no one noticed a thing.

I thought that was pretty slick. Oh, so, so, slick.

Slick. That’s a word my mom would use. She likes that word and she likes the word “sharp”. Actually, if she says something looks “sharp” it’s quite possibly the highest compliment that she might EVER give you.

Being called “sharp” or hearing “that is JUST so sharp” from my mom translates in my head to the holy grail of compliments. It’s basically right up there with what it might be like if Oprah called me herself and asked me to come eat cookies with her, play with her puppies and then having her insist on giving me a crisp $1,000,000.00 bill.

Yes. A Million Dollar Bill.

So, I thought everything was going so great with these slightly-ghetto-but-totally-still-passable shoes. Turns out they are only okay in dry weather. I found this out the hard way. These frugal-beast-babies had developed some holes in them that had gone un-noticed but once they got hit with yesterdays day-long downpour of rain they turned into sandals.

My feet weren’t just damp but completely soaked. I thought “Why the hell am I still wearing these pieces of shit!!?? I need shoes! I need to go shopping! Yes! THAT!” Once I peeled my socks off and dried up my soggy feet it got me wondering, a little more logically “When should shoes be tossed? When is ENOUGH ENOUGH!?”

Despite my very moist foot experience I decided that I’m going to hold strong. Hey, wet feet can be dried, knicks can be colored over, and fresh coats of polish can be given- over and over and over again.

Basically, now it’s a battle of wills. Me VS. THOSE Shoes.

And. It’s On.

The shoes will remain with me though I might just wear them from here on out when the sun is shining and the rain clouds are no where in sight.


in Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions
Gettin’ Guesty with Michael Newman
Author: Michael Newman

I feel like I say this every week, but I have to because it’s true: we have yet ANOTHER great contributor this week for Gettin’ Guesty!

Feelin’ pretty lucky up in here.

Please help me welcome:

Michael Newman

He’s the very first gent to share his story here on And Then She Saved and I’m so happy he’s joined us. Hey, I’m all about equal opportunity and man, woman, girl, boy, don’t matter, money and financial issues abound for us all, am I right!?

Money issues don’t discriminate one bit.

Michael tells us all about his financial struggles, and how he’s overcome them.

And to that I have to shout out, “Bravo! Bravo!”

(Also, I hear that it’s his birthday tomorrow! Happy Early B-day!)

image by Keith Huang. diggin’ this photograph!

My story is familiar to many: I have a lot of debt. At my peak, I had $140,000 in student loans and $9000 in credit card debt. In the last six months, I’ve cut my credit card debt in half. Although I will still have my student loans for many years, it feels good to know that by this fall, I will have no more credit card  debt.

The most significant way I have paid down my debt was to change the way I spent. I had to do more than simply say, “I’m not going to buy these things.” I had to permanently change my spending habits. It’s like going on a diet to lose weight. Eat nothing but grapefruits and you will lose weight. But is this sustainable? What should I do if I craved a hamburger and fries? What could I do to make sure the weight-loss was permanent? I would have to adopt a different way of thinking with regards to how I spent.

There are things I want and there are things I need. I need to pay off my credit card so as I started making larger monthly payments. Then I pay all my essential bills and I cling on to my money and make sure that I don’t use my credit card at all until my next paycheck.

And I want so many things. I could easily spend hundreds of dollars at the comic store. I want an iPad and a cable TV subscription with all the fixings. I want an expensive gym membership, a personal trainer, and large amounts of protein so I can become a huge man. I want to be able to follow any whim like, “I want a deluxe cheeseburger and three beers,” and then go out and get it. For awhile, I was indulging in many of these things, but I couldn’t do them all without using my credit card. Some things had to be cut. And for some things, I would find other ways to do them.

Now I cook at home and bring my lunch to work. I carry snacks with me so I won’t buy food on impulse. My girlfriend and I often make dinner or we’ll take turns if we order out. I eat more things like plain oatmeal, rice, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables; these are very nutritious and are not expensive (especially at a grocery store like Trader Joe’s). I used to drink a lot of Diet Coke, but not so much anymore. If I drink coffee, I make it at home or drink the free coffee at work. I don’t buy coffee at coffee shops (unless I have a desire to be tweaked, but for the most part, I rein in my tweak desires). When I reached my goal weight, I ended my gym membership. I plan on finding other ways of working out; for example, I just got a deal on a month of Bikram yoga, which was cheaper than a month of my gym membership. I go to the library for books and music. I haven’t bought new clothes in a while. A few months ago, my black shoes fell apart and I thought about getting new shoes. Then I thought, “Let me alternate between the four pairs of shoes I have and when they all konk out, I will get new shoes.” I have seen a few shows, been out to eat with my girlfriend, and had occasional nights out, but I have been able to do so without being broke before my next paycheck.

These little changes in how I spend aren’t revolutionary. They take some getting used to, but they haven’t been that difficult. It takes awareness and a different frame of mind. I realize someone could say, “Hey, is that all?!” or “Hey, I can’t live like that! I need X and Y!” For me, it’s simple accounting: this is how much I make, this is how much I can give to my debt, and this is how much I have at the end of the month. What compromises can I make so I don’t add to my debt, but that I’m still satisfied, healthy, and happy? I can exist with sacrifices, but deprivation can be draining. Every day is a little struggle, but I breathe a little easier.

Michael Newman ● THANK YOU ● for being a part of And Then She Saved!

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


in Guest Interviews, Student Loans
Author: Anna Newell Jones


Sarah is THE WINNER of THE $50 Etsy Shop Gift Certificate GIVEAWAY! 

Congratulations Sarah! I’ll be in contact!

We had a lot of fun pulling the name of the winner from the literal pot.

My husband was Vanna White for the night and pulled out the name. He liked that.


in Giveaway
Knit iPods + Wood Laptops – Making What You Want
Author: Anna Newell Jones

When I think about “making what I want” I 1st think about making the kind/amount of money I want to make and then the 2nd thing I think is along the lines of “make the LIFE I want”- that type of thing.

What I don’t usually think of is LITERALLY making what I WANT. Like, OH, I want a new ipod, so I’m gonna make myself one or I want a new laptop so I’m going to make myself up one. Probably, mainly, because they’re electronics and most people can’t just whip themselves up electronics… crafty DIY things are a little different. I totally try to make those things. BUT these two artists: Justin Beard (of Denver) and Kimberley Elderton (of the UK) thought about what they wanted a little differently. They didn’t let a little thing like money stand in the way.

These two decided to actually CREATE the items they wanted but couldn’t afford. Justin wanted a MacBook laptop so he made 150 wood and paper fake laptops and then sold them for $10 each. He ended selling enough of the “laptops” to buy the new laptop of his dreams.

(Below is an excerpt from an article about Justin from Denver Connects)

Justin Beard is “Pinocchio’s” Gepetto for the digital era.

For Denver artist Justin Beard, finding the funding for a MacBook computer took creating 150 “laptops” of his own out of wood and paper, with the ultimate dream of turning these into a real, working laptop.

“I call it the Gepetto Effect,” laughs Beard, explaining that his wood-and-paper creations are similar the wood-and-strings “son” created by the mythical puppet maker. “We both hope to get the real version of what we’ve created.”

Well-known in the Denver area creative community, Beard is often recognized for his ingenuity with materials as well as his artistic humor. As an artist, Beard realized he needed a computer to take the next step in his artwork, yet lacked the funding for such a large purchase.

“I didn’t want to move backwards to move ahead,” says Beard of how he concocted the plan to raise the funds for a laptop via creative means.

Creating his artistic computers out of wood, paper, and duct tape, Beard has crafted 150 remarkable mimics of real laptops. The wooden laptop doppelgangers even hinge open to reveal a paper keyboard and paper screen.

To display the laptops, Beard even constructed a full-size laptop shop out of similar materials, complete with a wood-and-tape “security camera” and display rack.

Here is a full story on Justin. 

So. Awesome.
artist just beard in his laptop store

And Kimberely Elderton of Knit What I Want wanted an ipod, profiterols and a new bikini for a vacation so she knit them up!

Um. Excuse. Me. But. That’s. Awesome Too!

artist kimberley elderton’s profiterols

These artists prove that there is a different way to think about their wants.

They made it happen by actually creating it.


Have you heard of any other similar projects? I would completely love to hear about them!

Thank you to the reader who sent me the lead about Kimberley’s project… I hadn’t heard of it and well, I love it. 

one comment

in DIY, Do Without, Things To Do
Author: Anna Newell Jones


I’ve made a few changes to the look of the blog. Just keepin’ it fresh. Just keepin’ it real.

Happy Saturday.

Off to the park…


in Just For Fun, Things To Do
Spending Diet- Month 4 Complete!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

image via jamiers on etsy

The totals are in from Month 4 of the Spending Diet.

It wasn’t too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

April 2011 Savings: $1,243.37!


The disbursement break-down:

$ 512.87 put right into savings account

$ 730.50 from tax return- also put right into savings

(See the Total Savings from the tippy top start on January 1st 2010 to today right here.)

image via letter cult

While I’m super excited about the savings that I made this month I can’t help feel like I can still do better. I keep thinking about how I didn’t spend money for an entire year on anything but “needs” so now whenever I go over my monthly “non-need” limit of $100 that I gave myself at the beginning of the Spending Diet I can’t help but feel like I didn’t quite do my best.

Maybe that sounds weird.

It feels weird to say that.

Like, how can I possibly not be happy enough with THAT kind of savings!? In a way it feels like my savings expectations are now insatiable! … like my spending and shopping once was.

(It’s SO weird to have that reversed)

April is a notoriously spend-y month for me. Last April I managed to save only $30.93 dollars! nuts.

The thing that keeps coming up in my life is the whole “Balance” thing and how I’m no good at all. Really, I’m really-really-super-super-super-no good at it. Before, I was bad at keeping money IN my pockets and now all I want to do is save more and more and more and what I DO save isn’t good enough for me (because it’s not the goal of only spending $100 on non-needs and therefore not “perfect”).

That’s freakin’ whack, right?

I know huh.

I feel kind of like a mess and I think some good ol’ fashioned balance might help.

Oh, Balance! You unwieldy beast.

What are your tips for keeping balanced? How do you keep things in perspective?

Also, I think it’s important to note that despite not feeling like I’m nailing the Spending Diet perfectly that it’s about making progress. It’s about making those choices every day to decide to keep going forward despite set-backs and it’s about realizing that those little choices WILL and DO add up over time and it’s about sticking with it.

It’s all about the stick-to-it-tive-ness.

oh hey sticky bun. what’s up.

P.S. Don’t forget to enter The Giveaway!


in Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Giveaway, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet, Spending Fasters, Staying Out of Debt, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!
A Giveaway! (CLOSED)
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Since the Spending Fast and Spending Diets have respectively begun I’ve entered a lot of contests and giveaways. I figured if I couldn’t buy something then, well, maybe I could win something? Then if I were to actually win I could either keep what I won if I needed it or give away the winnings as a gift rather than feeling the pressure to spend money or taking the time to make a gift. I love making gifts for people but it does take time and sometimes time is more valuable than money.

Can I get an Amen!?

So far, I haven’t won anything but like the Lotto says “you can’t win if you don’t play” so I’m continuing to enter into giveaways and contests. Maybe I’ll win something one of these days…? and, maybe not.

Soooo… now I am super excited to do my very first giveaway! Whooo hooo!

I’ve got this little etsy shop filled up with zombie portraits, onesies, banners, shop labels, cupcake toppers (a whole bunch of random stuff):

On Monday, May 9th at 8pm Mountain Standard Time a winner will be randomly picked. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to my shop!

All you have to do to enter is follow me on Twitter here and then leave a comment below telling me ya did it. That’s so easy huh.

If you already follow me on Twitter (thank you!) then simply tell your buds to follow me and then leave a comment below.

For an extra chance to win share this giveaway link on your blog and/or twitter/or facebook and leave another comment below.

Good Luck Ya’ll!


in Giveaway
  • 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!!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.


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