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

57 Comments

  1. Jolleen // March 12, 2013

    Thanks for sharing! You’re doing great, look forward to reading about your journey. Nothing we buy will satisfy us like the feeling of being debt free!!

    Jolleen

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Jolleen!
      You’re right, paying off debt feels better than anything I could buy. Thanks for the encouragement!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      Isn’t that the truth! Nothing feels as good as being debt-free does!

  2. Jane // March 12, 2013

    Hi Chelsea–

    Impressive lifestyle changes in such a short time! Congratulations.

    It can be amazing to experience how making changes in one area of life can lead to so many others, both external and internal. I like to think of that as personal evolution.

    Jane

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Jane!
      Personal evolution is such a great term. I am definitely going to hang onto that one!

      -Chelsea

  3. Anna // March 12, 2013

    Thanks for sharing your story! My family moved across the country to a more expensive area and we brought a load of debt with us. We’ve made some major changes in the way we spend money and it’s been so good to feel in control.

    I look forward to reading about more of your spending fast journey.
    xo,
    –Anna

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Anna,
      Moving is tough, especially across the country! That’s awesome that you have made changes to your spending. Being in control of your finances positively changes your life. Keep up the good work!

      -Chelsea

    • suri // March 16, 2013

      Anna,
      I have similar situation!! I am working on paying those expenses right now.

      Feel free to share your tips with me as well please!

  4. Sue Overton // March 12, 2013

    Thank you for inspiring me to start my spending freeze on March 1st!! I am amazed at how many times a day I stop myself from frivilous spending…….soft drink……snack…….sweet tea………..raffle tickets…..etc. Thank you for helping me realize how negligent I have been with my money!!!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Sue (mom!)
      I am so pumped that my spending habits have helped to change yours. I’m excited to hear the totals at the end of the month!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      Hi Sue (chelsea’s mom), It’s so cool that Chelsea’s Spending Fast has helped you already! What a cool family! xo!

  5. Shannon // March 12, 2013

    Best of luck Chelsea! I’m excited to read more about your success!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Thanks for the excitement Shannon! It helps me stay motivated!

      -Chelsea

  6. Julie // March 12, 2013

    Proud of you, Chels! Can’t wait to hear more about your success!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Thanks Jules!
      You initially inspired me to write so…thanks!!
      Miss you!

      -Chelsea

  7. Ashely // March 12, 2013

    Thanks so much for this post! I agree ATWS is an inspiration and having just read your post, I’m going to join you. If you can pay $1K in a month, so can I! Here’s to accountability and I can’t wait to learn from you as you go through this challenge.

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Ashley!
      ATWS is a HUGE inspiration both in the beginning for me as well as now. I started on the very first page and have been making my way through. I am SO excited to hear you are starting a Spending Fast! I would love to continue to hear about your progress! Keep in touch and good luck. You got this!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      I’m so happy for you Ashley! I fully believe you can succeed on the Spending Fast too if you truly want it! Hey, you deserve it!

  8. Jenna // March 12, 2013

    This is so exciting!! Best of luck to you, Chelsea! Congrats on an already AWESOME start!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Howdy Jenna!
      It feels great to share my story and have so much positive feedback. Thanks!

      -Chelsea

  9. Jennifer // March 12, 2013

    Ok, ok….ok!! I’m officially inspired to the point that I’m going to try this spending freeze out!

    I will need your help which I shall seek on your blogs of course! lol

    But, after this vacation is over….of course…. haha

    But really, I don’t even want to divulge my situation and numbers….too outrageous the hole I’ve dug for myself!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hey Jenn!
      I am beyond pumped that you have decided to start a Spending Fast/Freeze! I would love to help in any way possible. The hole may be deep but you’re deciding to crawl out of it and that’s incredible. Can’t wait to see you after your vacay!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      I’m super excited for you too Jennifer! We’re here to help when you’re ready! xo!

  10. The Norwegian Girl // March 12, 2013

    You`ve done a lot of big changes! good for you! Looking forward reading more about your getting out of debt journey!
    I`ve made a shopping ban, no clothes, no shoes, no accessoires until June. And who knows, maybe when I get there I`ll continue the no spend fast!:-)

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi!
      Thanks for the positive feedback! Doing a shopping ban is serious business, good for you! I’d love to hear how you are doing along the way!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      You’re doing it girl! You’re doing awesome! I’m curious, are you feeling free, constricted, or a mix of both?

  11. amb // March 12, 2013

    Yay! I love reading along with someone tackling the same thing as me. I just started to the spending fast as well. I’m 3 weeks in so far!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi AMB!
      Welcome to the Spending Fast world! Three weeks may not seem like a long time but it is! Congrats! You’re going to do great. I’m excited I have a fellow Spending Faster! Let’s do this!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      I’m glad you’re finding Chelsea’s story inspiring! You’re going to do amazing on the Spending Fast too Amb!

  12. Olivia // March 12, 2013

    Your story is so inspiring! I am going to make it my goal to go on a spending freeze. Eating out and getting my hair done is where I spend my most money- I know I can make changes to be debt free also! Thanks

    • Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

      Hi Olivia!
      This is awesome to hear! When I finally sat down and looked at my finances I was blown away at the amount of money I spent on food! Even now, the grocery store is my biggest expense! Thanks for the positive words, it’s awesome to know saving can inspire others!

      -Chelsea

      • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

        I gotta agree, the grocery store is our biggest expense too! So discouraging. We’re always looking for ways to cut back on food costs.

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      You can definitely do it Olivia!!!

  13. Eims // March 12, 2013

    I’m looking forward to following your progress! I’m a college student at the moment with very little money to live off, so I’ve frozen my spendings too and I feel liberated rather than restricted. I don’t need pricey beauty products, for example – I’m using my cheapest-of-the-cheap moisturiser to remove my makeup and now my skin is in great condition (not dry like it used to be). I’m so glad I was forced to spend less in college, it’s valuable knowledge I’ll take with me in life. I wish you the best in your debt reduction and hope you feel like a champion every time you chip away at it. Good luck!

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      I have to echo your feelings Eims when I decided to stop my spending cold-turking it was the most liberating feeling which is kind of crazy because I expected the complete opposite. While it was tough at time (no doubt about that!) it was more empowering then anything!

  14. Chelsea Overton // March 12, 2013

    Hi EIMS!
    It is so cool that you are reading blogs like ATWS while still in college…I wish I would have cared then! I totally get not having much to live on. Isn’t it crazy how some cheap brands actually work better then the more expensive ones? Thanks for the encouragement, it does make me feel like a champ!

    -Chelsea

  15. Meg // March 12, 2013

    Way to be Chelsea! I love that your mom is joining in.

    Anna, awesome pic for your first columnist! :D

    • Chelsea Overton // March 13, 2013

      Hi Meg!

      Hahaha yes, mom has started and it’s so awesome to watch! Saving money is contagious!

      Thanks!
      Chelsea

  16. Brit // March 13, 2013

    This is awesome! Over $1,000 in just one month! I only have about $10,000 worth of debt and about $8000 that I want to be saved! I can do this!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 13, 2013

      Hey Brit!
      Yea I was blown away when I figured out I had paid that much. Month 2 is not quite to that level yet but I have a little over a week left in it. Only 10k? Thats a great start! You can do this! Hopefully my journey can help you along your way.

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      Hi Brit! That’s SO AMAAAAZZZING! Yeah, you can TOTALLY do this!

  17. Gabrielle // March 14, 2013

    Great job Chelsea!

    My spending freeze was supposed to start Jan. 3 but it’s not going so well. As soon as I figured out my budget and found out how little money I get to have for things I want, such as coffee, snacks, etc. (really the things I don’t need), I got majorly stressed out. I find money very stressful. What do you say to yourself to stop the small impulse purchases? I always say “it’s only $2.00″ when I buy a cup of coffee. But $2.00 a day ads up.

    Keep up the good work. I’ll be following you.

    Gabe

    • Chelsea Overton // March 14, 2013

      Hey Gabe!
      Thanks so much for the feedback. I do struggle with that whole wanting to spend a little all the time syndrome too. I will see something and try to rationalize spending in my head. That’s why budgets didn’t really work for me. The Spending Fast has been different since I’m not spending money for anything extra. I have a “all or nothing” personality and it seems to be easier now to not spend. Also, I have been doing something were I pull out the cash from my paycheck for things like groceries and gas and put them in envelopes.If at the end of the week I have extra money in those envelopes then I “treat” myself. I had some leftover last week and bought a frozen pizza, something I would never consider “legal” otherwise. Using the envelopes allow me to see exactly how much I spend and also prevent me from ever spending more than I intend. Perhaps trying something similar would be helpful? If you have an extra $2 in your grocery fund at the end of the week then you can justify using it for coffee? This has only happened once in a month and a half but it helped me stay sane (and guilt free).

      -Chelsea

      • Gabe // March 14, 2013

        Thank you so much! I think the envelopes are a great idea. I’ll give it a try and let you know how it goes.

        Gabe

  18. Jane // March 14, 2013

    Hi Gabe–

    Two things that might help. First, try to reframe what you tell yourself to reflect the positive outcome. For example, “This $2.00 will help me live debt-free.” Secondly, try to allow yourself to budget for a little treat that you especially want, just not too expensive and not to often. If a $2.00 coffee, maybe once a week makes you happy, then plan for it. Total deprivation leads to total regression :)

    Jane

    • Chelsea Overton // March 14, 2013

      Hi Jane!
      I totally agree! Reflecting on the positive is what has gotten me this far. Not only am I having to reevaluate how I think about money, I am also learning how to become a more positive person. I think the joy that comes from paying debt is worth more than anything. Thanks for sharing!

      -Chelsea

      • Jane // March 18, 2013

        Hi Chelsea–

        You are welcome. Glad to be part of your journey.

        Jane

    • Gabe // March 14, 2013

      Thank you Jane. Yes I agree with flipping the negative into a positive and I’ll try to do that. I think, with time, that it will get easier to say no to those things and it will become empowering.

      Gabe

      • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

        Oh my gosh Gabe, saying “no” gets a million times easier over time! Stick with it!

    • Joy // March 18, 2013

      Reframe is right on. When my kids were young, McDonalds Happy Meals were really being marketed, so every time we drove by McDonalds, they would beg to stop. I started telling them we could stop for a happy meal or we could make lunch at home and save that money to take a vacation to the beach. So at a young age the learned small purches add up. They are all very financially responsible young adults WITH NO DEBT! It’s all about what that inner voice tells you, so make sure that inner voice it screaming FREEDOM!

      • Jane // March 18, 2013

        How wise to teach your children early that so much of life revolves around the choices they make and that sometimes the easiest is not the best.

      • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

        What a cool story Joy! I love how you showed them with a real-life example how cutting back day-to-day could mean a big (and fun!) pay-off!

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      I agree with Jane, it’s all about thinking about things differently. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m so broke and can’t get anything I want!” Change it to, “I could get that coffee but I’m CHOSING not to so I can change my life.”

      By switching your mindset from having to, to wanting to it will make all the difference.

      Also, for treats, an idea is to hang onto any gift cards you might get at Christmas time (or other times throughout the year) and use those when you need a little boost or treat. xo!

  19. Lydia // March 14, 2013

    Loved this post! Thank you Chelsea and I’m excited to read more from you. I completely agree with the “I deserve it” standpoint. I find myself slipping into that mindset of “I work hard. I deserve this 16 ounce chai latte … every day.” And it’s a total lie. Thank you for pointing that out. We truly deserve debt-free lives. Love it. Thanks again!

    • Chelsea Overton // March 14, 2013

      Lydia!
      THanks for your kind words! Everyone has their own “I deserve it” weakness. Mine used to be nail polish! I was spending way more than I thought. How silly! Thanks for sharing!

      -Chelsea

    • Anna Newell Jones // March 21, 2013

      The best gift and reward you can give yourself is a debt-free life- it’s truly worth the short-term sacrifices in long-run!

  20. Rachel // March 18, 2013

    Chelsea! You are my new hero! You are doing exactly what I am trying to do – but you are succeeding. Here is my question – I am a very good writer (I really am – normally I would be more modest, but this is a small space), so I tried freelancing to make some extra money to pay off debts. However, I think I was looking in the wrong place for jobs. I spent hours working on web advertising drivel – you can’t even imagine the topics – for pennies. Where did I go wrong?

    Thanks so much for sharing your story! I will be anxiously awaiting your next column.

One Trackback

  1. By Trenchin’ Chelsea | No Debt Brunette on March 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    [...] My first article ran Tuesday! Check it out here. [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

  • 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!

    Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

    Total Savings
  • Sign-up for Free Updates!

  • advertise on and then we saved
  • Featured On/In:

  • Sponsors!

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Search

  • Wanna Know More?

  •  
  • And Then We Saved® and Spending Fast® are registered trademarks.
    All Rights Reserved.