We’ve Got Some Big News, Y’all!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

baby announcement

I’ve been bursting with nerves and excitement waiting for the perfect time to make the BIG announcement, and today is finally the day!

We’ll be having a baby in November!

I remember sitting in the bathroom with THE STICK and seeing the result and not believing my eyes. I was thinking I should probably look at Pinterest to find some clever way to tell Aaron but yeah right, there was no way I was going to be able to wait. I was shaking when I walked into the living room to show Aaron what I had just seen. I looked at him with stunned eyes and pushed the stick in his direction. We were both like, “Uhhh… no way!”

I proceeded to take 3 more pregnancy tests and Aaron took one too just to make sure it wasn’t a weird batch we had gotten. Aaron’s not pregnant;) but all of mine said the exact same thing as the first.

The whole thing has felt really surreal and I still don’t even feel like it’s actually me when I hear myself say, “I’m pregnant”. It’s really an out-of-body experience. I’ve been wanting to have a baby for a really long time… it’s always other people who are pregnant… not me. My heart would ache a little when I found out others were pregnant, and not because I wasn’t happy for them, of course I was! But, I was also a little sad for me. For the mamas still waiting for your babies to come, I’m sending you a hug, and please trust that your baby will come when the time is right…

We’re going to go for the big surprise and not find out the sex of the baby and we’re also going to try to do the minimalist baby thing (bare minimum on the baby gear, 2nd hand and used items) so, we’ll see all that how that goes!;)

We’re so happy to share this news with you all, and I’m looking forward to hearing about all the tips you have for me about what stuff we really need and what stuff we totally don’t need…?

With love… feeling happy and blessed, xo, Anna

p.s. isn’t this funny


in Personal, Pregnancy
The Unhandy Man’s Guide to Exposing a Brick Wall
Author: Aaron Jones

how to expose a brick wall

how to expose a brick wall

This my husband Aaron’s 1st post! :D

I’m semi-handy, I guess, and I’ve never attempted a full-scale home renovation project, because I never owed a home until now. In our new place we had a damaged wall, so I decided to do the stupidest thing I have ever attempted to do (to date) and expose the brick under the damaged plaster. Exposing a brick wall isn’t fun or easy, and it creates a terrible mess. I wouldn’t choose to do it again but I am glad I did it because it saved us some money. Exposing a brick wall is easy to do it you’re mildly handy, have three to four days you want to kill, an urge to expose a brick wall, and the guts to give it a try. This is how I exposed a brick wall for about $120.

The Unhandy Man’s Guide to Exposing a Brick Wall…

Read More »


in DIY, How To
Confessions of A Mooch
Author: Anna Newell Jones

photograph by miles aldridge

One word I would be okay with never hearing again would be the word Mooch. Being a Mooch isn’t something I ever set out to do- or be- but the word attached itself to me once I started doing my year-long Spending Fast the subsequent Spending Diet and began living my newly and drastically frugal life.

Whether I wanted to admit it or not (and whether I liked it or not) I found that money interjected itself into just about every relationship I have.

When I started my Spending Fast in 2010 my goal was to eliminate my $23k-ish in debt. I naively thought that my goal would not affect my relationships with others. My reasoning was that since I was the only one doing the Spending Fast and since I didn’t share a bank account with anyone (not even my husband) that I would do my financial thing and they would do theirs. Same as always, right?  I’m sure you can tell where this is headed and I’m sure you can see that what I’m going to say is “I was completely wrong” and I was.

Announcing my plan to eliminate all my “non-need” spending elicited VERY strong feelings from those closest to me. While out and about my friends would empathetically say “I’ll get it”. They felt sorry for me and I would have to reassure them that I chose to do this. I reminded them that I WANTED to do whatever I had to do to get rid of my oppressive debt and even though I would still participate in the most free way possible I knew that the dynamic of the room had changed, at least for the moment, and I only hoped that the strain on my friendships wouldn’t be long-lasting.

Doing without my frivolous spending meant I had to get creative about ways to be with others without being in “money-spending situations” and I had to find ways to be okay with not spending money even if I was surrounded by spending. I had to stand strong and hope that even though I was going through a lot of awkward social situations that it would pay off at the end. I didn’t want to be the person who “could never do anything fun”. I wanted to do the same things I did pre-Spending Fast but without the spending money part. It was as difficult as it sounds. I was happy to discover that as I got more used to my new frugal way of life so did my friends and family. Once the getting-going-beginner-glitches got sorted out things the Spending Fast got increasing easier.

While I insisted on not accepting money or things from friends my view on accepting things from my family was the exact opposite. They bore the brunt of any mooching my friends didn’t. The person who got the bulk of my mooching was my husband Aaron. He says that I mastered the “non-verbal” mooch which includes: a long face and sad eyes. He says I also expertly perfected the “subtle mooch” which was well, subtle, I hoped.

Here are some mooching examples from my husband:

  • Upon a suggestion of doing something Anna would say “your treat!?” It was not so much a question as it was a statement.
  • She would say “you fly, you buy!?” 
  • Sometimes Anna’s mooching would have a purposeful aloofness to it. Here’s an example: I would ask if she wanted to go see a movie and she would pretend not to be interested in it. She would say, “I don’t want to see that movie. I’ll go, but you have to pay because I don’t want to pay for a movie I’m not into.” She’d do the restaurant version of that too. Saying: “I don’t want eat there but I’ll go if you pay.”
  •  Other times we’d be at a clothing store and she would admire an item and say “I’ll LET you buy it for me”. Gosh, thanks.
  •  Anna would also do the classic extremely-slow-wallet-pull-out so she’d hopefully get me to cover the bill. It worked, sometimes.

Despite my natural inclinations to mooch from my husband I eventually settled down with it after the first couple of weeks of the Spending Fast for the sake of our relationship. Saddling him with spanking new mountains of debt while I hopefully had none at the end of my Spending Fast was definitely not part of the plan.

I guess I’m a Selective Mooch and not so much of a General Mooch. Either way, I’m getting better and better at balancing my sometimes shamelessly-frugal-money-saving-techniques with my desire to keep my relationships intact and learning how to remove mooching in all of it’s forms.

How do you feel about the M word – Mooching? Have you ever mooched? Has anyone ever mooched off of you? Is is REALLY all THAT bad? What are the boundaries? Would love to hear your thoughts! 


Here’s another post about The Social Side of the Spending Fast that you might like.


in Mooching, Personal, Social, Spending Fast
Oh Hey 2 Years, What’s Up.
Author: Anna Newell Jones

anna newell jones

2 years ago today I married Aaron (!), then 6 months after that I introduced him to my Spending Fast idea and then 1 year AFTER THAT I introduced him to the Spending Diet idea.

Oh, ideas!

All my ideas and all the changes that come along with said ideas can probably make being married to me hard sometimes. Aaron has been a trooper. He does interviews whenever they are requested of him, he adapts, he willingly pulls the name of winners for giveaways and well, he can grow a pretty mean mustache (see below).

I’m happy to have you by my side as I think up stuff and do it and think up more stuff and then do that. You’re a good and very smart fellow Aaron. Happy Anniversary Mr. Jones.



in Personal
  • 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!!

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