PNC Bank Achievement Sessions Video

spending dietA few months ago I went to New York City to shoot a couple of videos for PNC Bank’s new website. It’s pretty cool how the videos turned out and to see the paper illustrations mixed in with each instructor’s talk. My fellow instructors were Luke Landes of Consumerism Commentary, David Ning of Money Ning, and Galia Gichon of Down to Earth Finance.

I was a couple of months pregnant when the videos were shot but I wasn’t telling anyone at that point. I squeezed my bloated, nauseous body into a pair tights that the production team picked out for me and I tried to keep it all together. I had big plans to wander around New York City and go to Donut Plant and to see Stefan Sagmeister’s The Happy Show Exhibit (remember that time he kissed me? that was fun) but do you wanna know what I did instead? I stayed in the hotel room to sleep, be near a toilet (for any renegade barfing that might occur), and to watch a marathon of whatever was on Bravo. Since we don’t get that fancy channel it sounded like a perfectly sane way to spend my time in New York. And it was, totally was.

pnc bank new york trip

new york

new york trip

My 1st video is called The Spending Diet, which you can see along with all the other PNC Achievement Session videos by following that there link.

pnc bank screen shots

My 2nd video is called Setting Goals to Save More and will be released before the new year. I’ll let you know when they post that video. All the videos are solid and have a ton of useful info. I hope you get a chance to check them all out. xo, Anna


in Paying Off Debt, Personal, Spending Diet
“How I Curbed the Urge to Spend on My 20 Year Spending Diet”

how i curbed the urge to spend

I have been on a spending diet for the past 20 years. It started abruptly when I was laid off from work the day after I found out I was pregnant. There’s nothing like seeing your family’s income cut in half to motivate you to tighten up your budget. The spending diet became permanent eight months later when my husband and I decided I should stay home with our new daughter.

Now, that same daughter is a sophomore in college and her sister will be a freshman in August. My husband and I aren’t wealthy and we have some work to do for retirement, but our daughters will graduate with little to no debt because we were able to scale back and save for their education.

A lot of you are at the beginning of your journey to financial health. It may feel like it will be impossible to maintain a 20-year spending diet. Not only is it possible, somewhere along the way you reboot your wants and needs. At some point in the journey the diet becomes the norm. The more you save, the more motivated you become to find new ways to save.

I may sound positive and cheerful about it now, but trust me there were times when I felt like I was missing out. It’s hard to watch friends enjoying the outward expressions of financial success while you’re being practical and saving for multiple college educations.

About 15 years ago our closest friends both bought large, expensive homes. They were getting promotions, spending tens of thousands on furniture and decorative improvements. My husband was also getting promotions, but we chose to sit tight in our starter home and continue to save.

Six years ago we finally made the move. It was pretty bad timing, but because of the size of our down payment our mortgage is not under water. Our home is valued at more than we paid for it and we’ve ridden out the financial downturn pretty well. If we had allowed our egos to lead us into a home purchase before we were ready I honestly do not believe we would have fared as well.

Nothing we do is extraordinary. We exercise patience and we use as much common sense as we can scrape together when making financial decisions. We find joy in simple things and we relish experiences rather than things.

Here are five tips we used that helped us curb the urge to spend…

Read More »


in Guest Interviews, Paying Off Debt, Spending Diet
It’s an And Then We Saved Sketch Video!

I’m thrilled to show you this short sketch video that Becoming Your Own Bank created for And Then We Saved. If you haven’t done so already (or if you want to re-new your pledge) sign-up for the Debt Free Life Pledge right here. I don’t get anything out of you taking the pledge. I really just want you to have a debt-free life too! xo, anna

Thanks Becoming Your Own Bank!


What do you think does the sketch video tell my story and the And Then We Saved story well?



in Just For Fun, Motivation
Let’s Talk Morality – How Far Would You Go to Pay Off Your Debt?

how far would you go to save money?

When I was on my Spending Fast® and Spending Diet I wanted nothing more than to pay off my debt, and I wanted it done quickly! I had opportunities where I could’ve taken advantage of the situation and put my dishonestly accrued “savings” into paying off the debt. Desperate times, call for desperate measures, right? And when you are very serious about saving money, living frugally and/or paying off debt – you may find yourself tempted to steal or do other bad acts in an effort to reach your financial goals. I’m curious would you steal? Would you not tell the cashier if he accidentally forgot to ring up something? How far would you go to save money and get that debt paid off?

How Far Would You Go to Pay Off Your Debt? Would You Steal, Be Dishonest, or Do Other Bad Acts? 

Read More »


in Paying Off Debt
How to do a Spending Diet

how to do a spending diet

This week I’ve been thinking about how The Spending Diet should work. I thought I had it figured out and then I didn’t and then I did and well, I wanted to have a plan that would work for me for life. Not something that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. So. I think I’ve got it sorted out now and I’m ready to spill the details.

The other day I was talking with a pal I hadn’t seen in awhile and he’s all “I’m doing the budget thing too” and I’m all “Oh, I’m not budgeting” then he’s all “Yeah, you are.” Me, “No, not really I wasn’t spending any money at all.” Him “That’s budgeting.” Me “Uh, no it’s not”. Him “Uh”. Me “Uh”. Him “Uh”. And so on and so on for like 5 minutes maybe more, and then we said our “goodbyes” and that was that.

Since budgeting is something that I tried pre-Spending Fast and since I didn’t have success with it I never considered that what I was doing was a budget technique. I don’t know, maybe it is? Maybe it’s just the word that I don’t like. That is a possibility. It’s kind of like the word “networking”. That word is scary but that’s all that’s scary about networking. Anyway, that’s totally off the topic. So, for me budgets weren’t a fit. I don’t like the category thing and defining a certain amount for each category and then going over or under categories and what if a certain thing goes into 2 categories?! Then WHAt!? Then WHHAHHHHATTTT!!!?? PANIC!!

Budgets work for millions of people and that’s cool. There’s a ton of different ways to do the same thing.

Anyway, here is my Spending Diet plan that I don’t think of as a budget:


How to do a Spending Diet

1. Make list of my NEEDS. These are things like: shelter, phone, food, utilities, mortgage/rent. See my original Spending Fast Needs list here. I’m going to re-do this list. Re-evaluation is a good thing.

2. Out of my NEEDS list figure out where costs can be reduced.

3. Stop spending money. (simple but not easy!)

4. When a NEED from the NEEDS list pops up I’ll spend money on those. Those are NEEDS. Those are okay.

5. Since this is the Spending Diet and not the Spending Fast I am allowing myself a $200 $100 limit on “non-needs” for the month. Things that go into this section are things like: clothes, make-up, entertainment, dinner out, other random “non-needs” stuff. I’ll follow this criteria for purchases so I don’t go buck wild buying corn dogs and bubble gum.

6. I’ll keep a running monthly tally of the money I’m spending on “non-needs” and once the $200 $100 is hit then that’s it. I’ll stop spending money and go into the Spending Fast mode for the remainder of the month.

There you have it! My Spending Diet Guidelines!

With this plan I hope to have a life long livable plan that works for me. I’m hoping with this plan I will be able to live in the world of “Enough” and not feel the deprivation I felt with the Spending Fast and also I won’t feel the tedious-ness that a budgeted life makes me think of.


in How To, Paying Off Debt, Practical Solutions, Spending Fast, Staying Out of Debt, Take Action, Things To Do
Cuddley Suze Orman & My New Love of Personal Finance Books

Never thought I’d say this but I’ve been reading financial books before I go to sleep!

My fave has been a paperback Suze (is it pronounced Suzy or Suz? I’ve heard both) Orman book. The 2009 Action Plan to be specific…despite it being 2010 I think it may have some good tips.

I’ll find myself going through my normal nightly routine and then bam! Suze Orman basically hops into bed with me as my new cozy, financially responsible cuddle bunny.

Never. Ever. Thought I’d see the day. But… here it is upon us in all its glory.

That book is tricky too because it’s shaped like a fun book- you know small and soft and novel sized and then there it goes talking all about being responsible and 401(k)’s and equity and taxes and saving and spending and everything else.

I got a whole other stack of other financial books from the library too. A book about how to Live Large on a Budget (I was excited about that one), a book about getting out of debt, a huge one that is at least 700 pages and some other ones that have been wanting some attention and have been getting desperately ignored. I can guarantee that these books will get a good flipping through… though actually reading them and following the advice given is a whole other story.

one comment

in Paying Off Debt, 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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