December + January’s Collective Savings Totals!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

andthenwesaved spending fast collective savings

It’s that time of the month where we get to see how all the hard work we’ve been doing with the Spending Fast and Spending Diets have been paying off! Today, I’ve got both December and January’s Collective Savings amounts!

In December we saved $19,547.95!

In January we saved $22,087.81!

That brings our Collective Savings total to $952,779.11! Um. That’s amazing! Almost a million dollars paid off/saved because of doing Spending Fast/Spending Diet!??! SO AMAZING.

Not sure what I’m talking about with this “collective savings” talk? Welllllll… if you have been thinking about getting out of debt but haven’t taken the leap yet why not do it today? Here’s the link to the Get Out of Debt Pledge. You can change your life by getting the heck out of debt ASAP then get on with your life. Finally getting out of debt is THE BEST gift you could ever give to yourself, and having the weight of the debt lifted is one of the most incredible feelings ever. You can absolutely have a debt free life too! Then, after you’ve saved/paid off some money even if it’s just $1 be sure to go to our Collective Savings page. There you can log your savings and have your hard work added in with everyone else’s!

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in Savings Total
Happiness Dwells in the Soul
Author: Melanie Gnau

Happiness dwells in the soul | And Then We Saved

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” – Democritus

Happiness doesn’t depend on stuff. It doesn’t depend on other people, and it doesn’t even depend on money. Happiness comes from within.

How do you cultivate happiness? Talk to me in the comments!

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Keep Your Face Towards the Sunshine
Author: Melanie Gnau

Keep your face towards the sunshine | And Then We Saved

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and the shadows will fall behind you.” – Walt Whitman

It’s easy to get discouraged on your saving journey. Maybe you don’t think you’re saving fast enough or maybe there’s been a few unexpected obstacles. It’s ok. Keep focusing on the good. Keep focusing on what you have saved and what you can save. Focus on the sunshine.

How are you keeping your face towards the sunshine? Talk to me in the comments!

 

 

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Don’t Let Life Discourage You
Author: Melanie Gnau

Don't let life discourage you -And Then We Saved

“Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” – Richard L. Evans

It’s so easy to get discouraged when doing a Spending Fast. Life “stuff” creeps in and disrupts our perfect plans. But in those moments when life gets you down, take solace in beginning. Everyone who has had even the tiniest bit of success has struggled to get where they are today. It’s not about luck, it’s about resilience.

How are you remaining resilient? Let’s chat in the comments!

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in Motivation
People Who Say It Cannot Be Done
Author: Melanie Gnau

People Who Say It Cannot Be Done - And Then We Saved

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” -Unknown

We’ve all got that one person (or people!) in our lives that tell us it cannot be done. We can’t save more money, we can’t get out of debt, we can’t achieve our dreams. But those people don’t know how truly powerful you are. Don’t let them interrupt you. Keep doing it.

How are you ignoring the naysayers? Let me know in the comments!

 

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Everything is Hard Before It Is Easy
Author: Melanie Gnau

Everything is Hard Before It is Easy -And Then We Saved

“Everything is hard before it is easy.” -Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

We were all beginners at some point. We don’t remember it, but it was hard to crawl and it was hard to walk. It was hard to learn to read and write. It was hard to learn how to save. But over time, things become easier. Saving money gets easier, I promise.

Has saving money become easier for you? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
5 Easy Ways to Recycle Old Stuff Online (For a Profit!)
Author: Melanie Gnau

5 Easy Ways to Recycle Stuff Online

When I was a kid, my sister and I would collect aluminum cans from everyone in the neighborhood. We’d spend hours collecting, sorting and smashing the cans– the smashing was the fun part! Then, when we had filled enough trash bags to fill the back of my dad’s truck, we’d take them to the local scrap yard. One truck load was about $100. As a kid that $100 bucks felt like a million.

Today I’ve got less time on my hands, so I’m always on the lookout for easy ways to recycle my old stuff online. We’ve all heard of old standards, like Amazon and Craigslist, but those sites require listing your item, shipping costs and possibly meeting with a stranger. Here’s a couple of safe and easy ways I’ve found to recycle my old stuff online for a profit.

1. Recycle Clothes with ThreadUp
With ThreadUp, you order a “Clean Out Kit” via their website, pack it full of your old brand name clothes and return it via mail. You’ll receive store credit on their website, you can donate the money or you can get cold, hard cash (via Paypal). ThreadUp has pretty high standards, so not all of your clothes will make the cut. The clothes that don’t make the cut will be passed on to third party sellers or repurposed into new items like carpets and pillow stuffing.

Read More »

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in Clothing/Accessories Swap, De-Clutter, Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt)
If All You Can Do Is Crawl, Start Crawling
Author: Melanie Gnau

If all you can do is crawl, start crawling -And Then We Saved

“If all you can do is crawl, start crawling.” -Rumi

When I first started my Spending Diet, I looked at my finances and thought, “I don’t make enough money to save anything!” At the time, I was being a touch dramatic, but more than anything I needed to change my mindset. I needed to know that the small amount of money I could save adds up over time. And once I started crawling toward saving more money, I used that momentum to learn to walk, and eventually run to my savings goal.

How are you learning to crawl? Let’s chat in the comments.

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in Motivation
Never Leave That Till Tomorrow Which You Can Do Today
Author: Melanie Gnau

Never Leave That Till Tomorrow Which You Can Do Today -And Then We Saved

“Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.” -Benjamin Franklin

I’m a terrible procrastinator. I procrastinated on getting my savings in check for years. YEARS! That procrastination cost me money and a whole lot of worry. Save yourself from the procrastination demons and set up an automatic savings plan today. It takes just a few minutes, and you’ll feel so much better afterward.

Do you procrastinate saving money? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
No Pessimist Ever Discovered The Secret of the Stars
Author: Melanie Gnau

No Pessimist Ever Discovered The Secret of the Stars -And Then We Saved

“No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.” -Helen Keller

I’m not a naturally optimistic person. For me, it takes a lot of work to be optimistic. But optimism has been essential for my saving journey. To stay optimistic, I kept (and still keep) a gratitude journal. Each day I write down three good things that happened to me that day. When saving money and times get tough, I look back at all the glorious things I have to be thankful for.

How do you stay optimistic? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

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in Motivation
The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It- And Then We Saved

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln

We can’t predict the future and we can’t control everything that will happen in the future. What we can do is create a system that will set us up for future success. We can do things like making small, automatic contributions to our 401ks and Roth IRAs. We can put just $50, $25 or even $10 into an emergency fund each month. We can create a safer, more comfortable future today.

How are you creating your future? Let me know in the comments.

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in Motivation
Personal Responsibility
Author: Melanie Gnau

Personal Responsibility - And Then We Saved

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” -Jim Rohn

The hardest change happens within ourselves. It’s easy to get stuck in our ways. It’s easy to get into the habit of spending above our means. But we can change. We can turn over a new leaf. We can pay off our debt and start saving. We can start today.

How are you taking personal responsibility? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Jenn’s Spending Fast Update (Months 7-9)
Author: Jenn Davis

Note from Anna: Apologies for being behind in getting Jennifer’s post up.

Where to start?

My last update was in April.

I fell off the wagon and spent some money on clothes—and overall I wasn’t successful in paying any debt off for the month of May (month 7). Falling off the wagon happens to everyone, but I find that I especially have trouble. Whether with the Spending Fast, fitness goals, or goals in general, I have to find patience. Patience with myself, and with how long it takes to see results. I want results right away, usually right after a declaration of a goal.

With that said, I’ve found that these tips have helped me to develop being  patience:

Read More »

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in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters
The Grass is Greener on The Other Side of the Fence
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Grass is Greener on The Other Side of the Fence - And Then We Saved

“Too many people are thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, when they ought to just water the grass they are standing on.” -Amar Dave

In today’s Internet culture, it’s so easy to think that everyone but yourself has it all together. Everyone else is traveling and hanging with friends and enjoying good food and is #blessed. But it’s important to remember that most often we just share the best parts of our lives. There’s bad parts too, but they don’t make for a good Instagram photo. Let’s spend less time (or on social media) and start watering our own grass.

How are you “watering your own grass?” Let’s chat in the comments!

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in Motivation
When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time
Author: Melanie Gnau

When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time. -And Then We Saved

“When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time.” -Unknown

Maybe you’ve tried to complete the Spending Fast. Maybe you failed. Maybe you had an emergency or just fell back into your old habits. It happens. But the best part is: you can start again. You can try it one more time.

How are you trying to save “one more time?” Talk to me in the comments!

 

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in Motivation
Don’t Go Through Life, Grow Through Life
Author: Melanie Gnau

Don't Go Through Life, Grow Through Life -And Then We Saved

“Don’t go through life, grow through life.” -Eric Butterworth

I strongly believe in life-long learning. I believe in learning from our mistakes and becoming a better person because of it. The money mistakes I made in the past were a blessing because I learned from them. I intend to grow through my life.

How are you growing through life? Let’s chat in the comments. 

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in Motivation
Do Not Wait Until The Conditions Are Perfect
Author: Melanie Gnau

Do Not Wait Until The Conditions Are Perfect -And Then We Saved

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.” -Alan Cohen

If you wait until conditions are perfect, you’ll be waiting forever. I know. I use this excuse all the time. “I’ll wait until it’s warmer outside to go for a run.” “I’ll wait until this work project is done to save more money.” “I’ll eat healthier when I have more money.” And on and on and on… But conditions are never going to be perfect. We have to work with what we have now. We have to begin now. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.

How are you working with imperfect conditions? Let me know in the comments!

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in Motivation
By Failing to Prepare, You are Preparing to Fail
Author: Melanie Gnau

By Failing To Prepare, You Are Preparing to Fail -And Then We Saved

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” -Benjamin Franklin

Tough times are inevitable. We might fail. We might fall. Our car might break down or we might get sick. We can’t avoid bad things, but we can prepare for bad things. By preparing for bad things we make the fall less painful–like falling on to soft grass instead of falling onto unforgiving cement.

How are you preparing for tough times? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
Act or Accept
Author: Melanie Gnau

Act or Accept -And Then We Saved

“Act or accept.” -Unknown

It’s a short statement, but a powerful one. We have two choices in life, we can act on things or we can accept them. We can act on our debt or we can accept that we’ll be in debt forever. Which will you choose?

Let me know how you are acting on your debt in the comments!

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in Motivation
The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Sometimes getting started on a project can be the hardest part– especially when it comes to saving money. As someone whose salary is less than the average mean wage, I can understand that it often feels as if every dollar is spent on necessities. But for most of us, there’s some money somewhere that can be saved. Could you cut cable? Could you establish “meatless Mondays?” Could you kickstart your inner cheapskate? By making that first move, you can snowball your savings into something significant.

How are you getting started on your savings journey? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
Start Where You Are
Author: Melanie Gnau

Start where you are

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

I feel like this quote should be the tag line for this site. Whether you’re in debt or savings-less, whether you have a lot or have a little, whether you’re time-poor or time-rich, you can start where you are. You can use up the things that you have lying around your home. You can do what you can, even if you are the busiest of bees. You can start a Savings Fast. You can do it today.

How are you doing what you can? Let’s chat in the comments!

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in Motivation
Setting Goals
Author: Melanie Gnau

setting goals

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

While on the Spending Fast I had a goal to save $15,000. I didn’t quite make that goal, but having a tall bar to reach for motivated me to save, save, save. Goals help us to visualize the intangible. Goals help us to make things that seem impossible, possible.

Do you have a lofty savings goal? Let’s hear it in the comments!

 

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in Motivation
The Man Who Moves A Mountain
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Man Who Moves A Mountain

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius

Paying off an extra $20 a month on your debts or saving $5 here and $10 there doesn’t seem like much. I know. When there’s a mountain of debt to move, it can be overwhelming. When there’s so little in your savings account, it’s easy to justify spending over savings. But the big things happen when you start carrying away those small stones. One day at a time, you can move mountains.

Tell me how you are moving mountains in the comments!

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in Motivation
August’s Collective Savings!
Author: Anna Newell Jones

andthenwesaved collective savings

Drumroll please… August’s Collective Savings totals are in! For August we saved/paid off $28,350.19! That brings our total to: $836,355.30!

August’s savings were quite a bit lower that previous months savings and I’m guessing that has to do with summer vacations and a lot more activities and social events happening. Or…  maybe people just forgot to add their amounts to the page.;) Either way, we’ve got another month ahead of us to buckle down and get some debt paid off!

If you’re new to the site and have no idea what in the world I’m talking about, lemme fill you in. Every month we all add what we’ve saved/paid off to the Collective Savings page and then at the end of the month we get to see how much everyone’s saved, collectively. It’s a fun way to stay motivated and know that you’re not the only one out there on a mission to end your debt, because, lordy, I know it can feel that way at times!

Be sure to add your savings so we can include your accomplishments to next months total. – Anna

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in Paying Off Debt, Savings Total
That Man Is Richest Whose Pleasures Are Cheapest
Author: Melanie Gnau

That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest

“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”

During my spending diet, I learned to take pleasure in small things. A good cup of homemade coffee, free hikes at a local park and reading on a rainy day. It’s cliche, but the best things in life are free.

What are your favorite cheap pleasures? Chat with me in the comments!

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in Motivation
Not Giving Up
Author: Melanie Gnau

not giving up

“What winning is to me is not giving up, no matter what’s thrown at me, I can take it. And I can keep going.”

There’s going to be pitfalls on our path to saving. During my spending diet, I had a wedding, a broken air conditioner and so many little temptations thrown at me. But even when I messed up, even when I spent more than I intended, I knew that I could keep going. I could pick myself up and do better next time. And you can too. Keep going.

How are you persevering in your money saving journey? Talk to me in the comments!

 

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in Motivation
Frugality Includes All The Other Virtues
Author: Melanie Gnau

frugality includes all the other virtues

“Frugality includes all the other virtues.”

People often think of being frugal as being cheap. But they aren’t interchangeable. Being frugal is saving money on things you don’t care about, so you can spend money on what’s important. It’s bringing your lunch to work so you can go out to eat with a special someone on the weekend. It’s forgoing the newest fashions so you can take that dream trip to Bali with your best friends. And it’s using those 2-for-1 coupons so you can buy one canned good for yourself and donate the other.

Do you agree? Does frugality include all other virtues? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
Empty Pockets Never Held Anyone Back
Author: Melanie Gnau

empty pockets never held anyone back

“Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.”

Being broke and in debt can take a mental and emotional toll. It can make us feel like we can’t do anything. “I can’t get in shape because I can’t afford a gym membership.” “I can’t eat healthy because I can’t afford healthy foods.” “I can’t have a social life because I don’t have any money.” All those thoughts have run through my head. But they’re just excuses. It’s true, being broke makes almost everything more difficult, but it also makes us more creative. It forces us to think about the things we can change. We can eat healthy on a budget. We can exercise outside of a gym and we can have a social life with a limited income. It just takes a little creativity, know-how, effort and time.

How are you overcoming the mental and emotional challenges of saving? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
How to Determine Your Values
Author: Melanie Gnau

We Can Tell Our Values By Looking At Our Checkbook Stubs

“We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs.”

What we spend our money on says a lot about us. Do you value healthy eating? Then your bank account (who uses a checkbook anymore?!) should reflect that. You should have deductions for the grocery store, not the drive-thru.

 

I want to challenge you to think about your values and then look at your bank statement. Is your money spent a reflection of your values? If not, what can you do to change? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
The End to a Year Long Spending Diet – Melanie’s Report
Author: Melanie Gnau

The End to a Year Long Spending Diet | AndThenWeSaved.com

I am happy to report that at the end of June I finished my Spending Diet! For a year, I spent only $100 each month on unnecessary stuff. I can’t believe it’s over! There for a while, I thought it would never end, but now it feels like it went by so quickly.

For the most part, I succeeded in my plan. There’s been some unexpected expenses along the way, life’s all about unexpected expenses, am I right?! But overall, I stuck to my guns and drum roll, please…

I saved $12,441.99 on my Spending Diet!

I was hoping to save $15,000, but considering that I saved about half of my paycheck each month, I consider this a huge success. I also don’t plan on going back to my old ways, so I think I’ll hit my $15,000 goal in a few months.

I know that everyone’s life is different and different money tricks will work for different people. Here’s some tips and tricks that worked for me during my Spending Diet.

Read More »

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in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters
The Small Seed From Which Fortunes Spring
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Small Seed From Which Fortunes Spring

“One penny may seem to you a very insignificant thing, but it is the small seed from which fortunes spring.”

It’s easy to disregard small amounts of money. I’ve done it. “It’s just a dollar.” “It’s just five dollars.” But we never know how small amounts of money can spring into fortunes. Remember Ashley’s story?

 

How have you made your pennies grow? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
Self-Education Will Make You a Fortune
Author: Melanie Gnau

self-education will make you a fortune

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

Math was never my strong subject in school, but I learned enough to get by. But money is another story. I learned more about money in my first month of living on my own than I ever learned in my first semester of Algebra. Teaching myself through trial and error, failure and even online classes has been more enlightening and helped me save more than a formal education could.

How have you been pro-active and taught yourself about money? Let’s chat in the comments!

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in Motivation
Our Collective Savings for June
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Our Collective Savings | AndThenWeSaved.com

This post is a wee bit past due (anyone else’s summer just CRAZY?!) June’s Collective Savings were incredible! Together, in ONE MONTH, we’ve saved/paid off ANOTHER $61,901.84. Whaaattt…

This brings our Collective Savings to a WHOPPING $755,351.70! Do you know what this means? Together we have saved/paid off OVER 3/4 of 1 MILLION DOLLARS in ONLY half a year!

Completely mind boggling!

I’m blown away watching our numbers add up! And I’m totally in awe of our incredible group!

Join us by taking the Get Out of Debt Pledge and then add your savings so your hard work can be added to July’s total!

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in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Savings Total, Spending Fast
The Art Is Not In Making Money, But In Keeping It
Author: Melanie Gnau

The art is not in making money, but in keeping it

“The art is not in making money, but in keeping it.”

Sometimes making money can be a challenge. We work hard for the money, right?! But the art is being able to hold on to the pennies in your pocket. The art is putting those pennies into a savings account. The art is waiting to cash in those pennies until we truly need it.

What clever or artful ways have you kept your money safe? Talk to me in the comments!

 

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in Motivation
Do Not Spoil What You Have By Desiring What You Do Not Have
Author: Melanie Gnau

Do Not Spoil What You Do Have By Wishing For What You Don't Have | AndThenWeSaved.com

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you do not have. Remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”

When you’re in the midst of a Savings Diet or a Spending Fast, it’s easy to think about the things you are missing out on. Good ol’ F.O.M.O. But it’s just as important to remember how far you’ve come and how much you saved. Six months, three months or just a month ago, you were wishing that you could save some money and now you have! You’re doing things that you only wished for. You’re amazing! Don’t spoil that!

How have you remained grateful during your saving journey? Let’s chat in the comments!

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in Motivation
Never Spend Your Money Before You Have It
Author: Melanie Gnau

Never Spend Your Money Before You Have It | Andthenwesaved.com

People get into debt for a variety of reasons, but one of the big ones is spending money before you have it. And it’s so easy to do, right? We whip out that credit card one too many times and suddenly we’ve got a bigger balance than we can pay. It happens to the best of us. I’ve recently taken to leaving my credit cards at home so I don’t have the temptation to swipe recklessly.

How have you stopped yourself from spending money before you have it? Talk to me in the comments!

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in Motivation
The Man Who Craves More
Author: Melanie Gnau

The Man Who Craves More | Andthenwesaved.com

Perspective has so much to do with wealth. If we are the man (or woman) who craves more, we’ll never be wealthy and we’ll never be happy. We’ll always be looking for that next bigger, shinier toy or that new and improved thing-a-ma-bob. During my quest to save money I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching. I’ve had to find out what is important to me and I’ve learned to be more grateful in the process.

Has changing your perspective changed the way you think about wealth? Talk to me in the comments.

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in Motivation
12 Good (Financial) Reasons to Get to Know Your Neighbors
Author: Anna Newell Jones

12 Good Reasons to Get to Know Your Neighbors | AndThenWeSaved.com

Some people are very fortunate to have great neighbors that they interact with every day. I happen to be lucky in that area. There are for owners in my particular area of the building, and we all like each other and get along really good. We are part of a bigger complex (2 buildings total), and there is an HOA involved with the management of the property. I shared some of my experience with our HOA in this post: Belong to an HOA? Dude, I Feel Your Pain. How to Cope…

If we didn’t live in a condo I doubt we’d know many of our neighbors. Most of our friends don’t know their neighbors. I don’t know about you but it seems so easy to just stay in a little bubble and not interact with people much. A sign of the times, maybe? When I was a kid growing in Newport News, Virginia, we knew all of our neighbors and hung out with them ALL THE TIME. It was fun, and helped build a sense of community.

If you’re one of the many you also has no idea who their neighbors are, I would like to suggest some benefits of befriending them.

Here are 12 reasons why it can be highly beneficial (and financially-wise) to introduce yourself around your neighborhood and get to know your neighbors:

Read More »

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in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Social
Beware of Little Expenses
Author: Melanie Gnau

Beware of Little Expenses | AndThenWeSaved.com

“It’s just a $5 latte.” “It’s just a $10 lunch.” “It’s just a $20 t-shirt.” It’s so easy to justify small purchases, but we all know those small purchases can add up. Beware of those little expenses. Don’t let small leaks sink your big dreams.

Let me know how you are making small savings count in the comments.

5 comments

in Motivation
Our Collective Savings
Author: Anna Newell Jones

andthenwesaved spending fast spending diet collective savings

May’s Collective Savings were INSANE!! Together, in ONE MONTH!, we have saved/paid off $149,322.25! 

Now, our Collective Savings have grown to close to 1 MILLION DOLLARS! We’re up to $693,449.86! My eyes are popping out of my head in disbelief right now!

Join us by taking the Get Out of Debt Pledge and then add your savings so your hard work can be added to June’s total!

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in Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Savings Total, Spending Fast
Simple Money Rules
Author: Melanie Gnau

Simple Money Rules

According to Warren Buffett, the rules of money are simple. “Rule number 1: Never lose money. Rule number 2: Don’t forget rule number 1.” And yet, we often break the rules. We lose money on bad investments or that late-night TV gadget. We lose money in the pockets of old jeans and from mindless online shopping. And the worst part about losing money isn’t just losing money, it’s losing your pride.

Have you ever broken Warren Buffett’s simple money rules? Tell me about it in the comments.

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in Motivation
Real-Life Spending Faster: Nancy
Author: Nancy

Real Life Spending Faster Stories | AndThenWeSaved.com

I’ve got some exciting news! Starting today we’re going to start featuring some real-life Spending Fasters! We’ll still be following along with Melanie, Jenn, and Kelly’s Spending Fasts and Spending Diets but this new column with be more of one-off posts. We’ll get insights on how these Spending Fasters got started with their Fast, why they decided to take the Spending Fast or Spending Diet approach, how it’s been going, what the future plans are, and other fun stuff like that.

I get so many awesome emails from you all, and it always blows my mind what you’re accomplishing with the Spending Fast and Spending Diet. I’m super excited about sharing more of the awesome getting of of debt inspiration with you! (Btw, if you’d like to share your story in this new column shoot me an email with the subject line: Real-Life Spending Faster! to hello@andthenwesaved.com)

Today, we’re going to get the party started with Nancy! – Anna

 

Real-Life Spending Faster: Nancy

My name is Nancy. I’m 40 and have been teaching in the same district for 12 years. I take home about $1,000 a week, which is decent pay, but I live in Westchester, New York. In case you’re not familiar, Westchester is a suburb of NYC, and living in Westchester takes serious money. My awesome husband works in the city.

After two years of expensive (and exhausting) fertility treatments we still have no children. (We do have one round, sweet, old kitty cat.)

My husband and I have our finances semi-separate. We have access to each other’s accounts but we each maintain our own except for an emergency savings fund that we make joint decisions on. Both of us pay any credit card charges in full at the end of each month – YAY!!! We have no car payments thanks to our thrifty philosophy about vehicles (to be expanded upon at a later time…)

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in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, Take Action!
What Should I Register For? Baby Shower
Author: Anna Newell Jones

Registering for a new baby: What do you really need? | AndThenWeSaved.com

Hey, Anna!

My husband and I are expecting our first baby in August, and as I’m going through the “Must-Haves” on the registry site, I’m seeing a lot of things that seem more like “wants.” I know every family and every baby is different, but I was wondering—What were you told was absolutely required, but that you found completely unnecessary? What were you hesitant to get, but once you had it, you wondered why you waited so long?

Thanks!!

Thrifty Mom to Be

 

Dear Thrifty Mom to Be, First of all congratulations!

Every baby is completely different but for us, here are a few of the things we’ve found unnecessary: Read More »

5 comments

in Hey Anna (Reader Questions), Kids, Pregnancy
Money Is Not The Only Answer
Author: Melanie Gnau

money is not the only answer andthenwesaved.com

Money is not the only answer. I could always use more money, but I also feel like I need more time. I need more time to spend with my family and more time to work on my dream projects. And sometimes money can help me buy more time. I recently (begrudgingly) shelled out for a personal trainer to show me how lift weights so I’m not wasting my time during my workouts. It’s made a huge difference in how I workout. I now don’t waste time wondering what I should do.

Do you struggle with needing more time? Have you ever exchanged money for time? Talk to me in the comments!

3 comments

in Motivation
8 Quick Tricks to Get Yourself to Eat at Home More
Author: Anna Newell Jones

8 quick tricks to get yourself to eat at home more andthenwesaved.com

 

We all know eating out is expensive but do know exactly how much more you’re getting charged than if you were to cook at home? Restaurants.com reports that pop is marked up 800%,  potatoes 977%,  pizza 600 to 800%, salmon 900 – 1000%, chicken noodle soup  has a 1650% markup, and since eggs wholesale for less than 10 cents apiece — and are one of the least labor-intensive dishes — they are one of the absolute most marked up restaurant foods with the average egg dish costing $5-$12.

Eating out is easy, fun, and quick but if you find yourself indulging a bit too much you may be pushing your wallet to the limit. Today, I’ve got 8 quick tricks to get yourself to eat at home more.

8 Quick Tricks to Get Yourself to Eat at Home More…

1. Don’t let yourself get too hungry or tired.

Who hasn’t been on the way home after a long day at the office and you know the last thing you want to do is cook a meal. Be sure to take an actual lunch break and eat snacks throughout the day if you need to. Also, resist the urge to stay up late scrolling through an Instagram black hole into the wee hours of the night so you get all the sleep your body requires.

2. Plan ahead.

Having a plan in place will help you end that omnipresent question: “What should we eat for dinner?” Pre-planning your meals for the week really doesn’t take that long (use these free meal-planning calendars) but it makes a huge difference with how much time and money you can save by doing so.

3. Make it fun. Read More »

10 comments

in Sponsored
There Is Nothing So Habit-Forming As Money
Author: Melanie Gnau

There is Nothing So habit-forming as money

Starting a new habit is hard. Starting a new habit when you’re busy and broke, that’s even harder. But there is nothing so habit-forming as money. It can be a great motivator. I hate running, but I know I’d run faster if I saw a crisp $100 bill at the end of the finish line.

Have you ever tried to use money as a motivator to help you reach your goals? Let me hear about it in the comments!

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in Motivation
Melanie’s Spending Fast Update
Author: Melanie Gnau

spending diet andthenwesaved.com

Below is Melanie’s Spending Diet Update. See all the Spending Diet and Faster’s Updates here. – Anna

This past month I celebrated my birthday. Prior to the Spending Diet, I would have probably bought myself an unnecessary gift… and treated myself to a fancy dinner… and then maybe to overpriced cupcakes and wine. This year was a much quieter affair. My birthday wasn’t a “big” or significant birthday. I didn’t go on vacation. I didn’t even take off work. My husband made me a nice dinner and a fruit cake– literally a cake made completely out of fruit. It was impressive and super thoughtful. Read More »

8 comments

in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters
Living Tiny: George and Melanie’s Airstream – House Tour
Author: Melanie Gnau

Living Tiny: George and Melanie's Airstream - House Tour andthenwesaved

Hi! I’m Melanie. I’m a librarian by night and a blogger by day. I live with my husband, George and my dog, Bambi in a 1978 Airstream Sovereign. I’ll be working on a new column here at ATWS about people living tiny for financial reasons. We’ll be showing house tours and answering all the questions you always wanted to know, but were afraid to ask! As a tiny houser, I’m going to be introducing the column with my story.

Almost two years ago, George and I were at a crossroads. We were recently married, I had a new job opportunity in a new area and we were broke. We didn’t have an extravagant wedding by any standards, but we did spend the majority of our meager savings on the event. We took a look at our budget, started looking at apartments in the new area and we were instantly discouraged. We knew that we couldn’t get ahead financially by renting an apartment. We also knew that we wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage. We had no credit and almost no savings. We saw an endless cycle of debt in front of us and we wanted out. Read More »

26 comments

in DIY, Living Tiny (Home Tours), Minimalism, Simple Living
Is Saving Money Wrong?
Author: Melanie Gnau

Is Saving Money Wrong?

If you are from one of the many planets that Captain Kirk discovered during his travels, you might think that saving money on planet earth is a bad thing. We live in a world where we’re told to spend, spend, spend. We’re rarely told to save, save, save. But in this case, I think William Shatner is right. We need to save before we can spend.

How are you working towards saving before you spend? Let me know in the comments!

8 comments

in Motivation
Financial Fitness
Author: Melanie Gnau

financial fitness

Financial fitness takes time, effort and dedication. Just like physical fitness, there is no magic pill, no overnight success and no easy route. Financial fitness is a lifelong journey, but the trip is just as important as the destination.

How do you sustain longterm financial fitness? Let me know in the comments!

8 comments

in Motivation
People Who Are Rich
Author: Melanie Gnau

People Who Are Rich

There are two kinds of people in this world, people who have money and people who are rich. Personally, I’d much rather be someone who is rich. I feel rich when I think of my small, messy home. I feel rich when I look at my imperfect family. And I feel not only rich, but wealthy, when I can spend my money on experiences, not things.

Do you think of yourself as “rich?” Talk to me in the comments!

-Melanie

8 comments

in Motivation
17 Ways to be Happier (Because Feeling Down is Costly)
Author: Anna Newell Jones

17 ways to be happier (click through) andthenwesaved.com

It’s Tax Day — a notoriously un-fun day. But what if debt or other life events have been making you feel down on other days too? Quell any feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness by continually seeking out reasons to be a little more content each and every day. Feeling down can affect your finances in ways you may not even realize. For instance, when you feel down do you really want to make the effort to bag a healthy lunch or do you want to get the quick fix? I always go for the quick fix when I’m feeling shitty. What about when you’re not feeling 100% at work? Do you want to do what it takes to go the extra mile, and take your business to the next level or to be a super nice team-player? Nope. See, feeling good really does impact how much you make, how much progress you make each day, and how your employees and co-workers see you. So, if you’re feeling down, here are 17 pick-me-ups that you can take advantage of.

17 Free Ways to Feel Happier Right This Minute…

Read More »

3 comments

in Gratitude, How To, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Things To Do
The Life and Times of a Sub-Par Perfectionist (Part 2) – Using Affirmations to Change Your Life
Author: Anna Newell Jones

am i perfect yet andthenwesaved.com

The other day in this post: Real Talk: If Only Perfection Could be Bought on Amazon (Part 1), I talked about how I’m always on the hunt for something to make my life easier and better. I want it to be something I can buy on Amazon and have mailed right to me. Easy, right? With just a couple clicks, and after a zillion dollars spent, I’d be totally perfect!

I came to the conclusion that I needed to be easier on myself, and I realized that I’ve been waaaaay over-committing. The past few days I’ve been going through every part of my life. It seems the technology part has really gotten out of control so I’ve been unsubscribing and cancelling things. It’s so easy to forget about the mental clutter that “little”, seemingly insignificant things take up. Physical clutter is easier to spot. I worked really, really hard to get out of debt, and the whole reason I wanted to get out of debt was to have be able to have freedom and some choices, not to be even more stressed out!

In addition to adopting a Minimalist Mind I’m taking action (in the corniest way possible. I’ll be the first to admit this whole “affirmation” thing feels corny as all hell). You may have noticed a LONNNNNNNNG delay from Part 1 of this post to today’s Part 2. I knew that if I put this post up I’d have to start doing these affirmations. I’ve been avoiding this but, today’s the day.

Instead of buying to zone out and make myself feel better I’m going to do some work, internally. Below are a whole bunch of affirmations. Most are ones I’ve completely made up. Those represent my ideal life or situation. With others, they’re true but I find myself forgetting about them. Others are more of a wishful thinking situation… almost like, if I believe it to be true, it will be, type of thing.

From the research I’ve done, the key with affirmations is to try to truly believe what you are telling yourself. Act as if it’s true. Feel what it would feel like if it were true. Let your face and body experience what you’re saying as if, “Of course, there could be nothing more true in the world!”. Fake it till you make it, right? It’s not about simply repeating a list super quick, and breezing through it just to check it off your To Do list. Also, saying some of the confirmation’s there’s a tendency to want to tell yourself things like, “Uh, yeah right!”, “Pshaw!, hardly…”, or, “That’ll never happen!” Apparently, you’ve got to just go with it. Believe it.

The key, so I hear, is to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself these things. I’ve also heard that if you want to “super-charge” your self-esteem, confidence, and really change your internal thoughts about yourself you should say these to yourself as often as 3x a day. Or, in the alternative, you can take what is called the “lazy-man’s” method for changing your life. This approach is when you record the affirmations, put the recording on a loop, and place the speaker under your pillow so all the positiveness seeps into your sub-conscious while you sleep.

Pick a few from the list that truly resonate with you. Pick ones that represent your ideal life. Or, use the below examples as a guide to create affirmations that truly mean something to you.

I’m going to pick 5 of the most vital ones to start with and see how that goes. Also, I hear it can take up to 6 months to feel different so hang in there if you don’t notice massive changes right away.

I’ve included a printable PDF of both of these lists. The link to that is at the bottom of this post. 

Alright, today’s the day.

 

MONEY-POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS: Read More »

2 comments

in Minimalism, Personal, Struggle (Hopeless, Demoralized), Take Action!, Things To Do
Scandalous (and Semi-Scandalous) Ways to Get Free Stuff
Author: Anna Newell Jones

scandalous ways to get free stuff (click through for the juicy scoop!) andthenwesaved.com

I’ll admit it. I’ve considered doing some scandalous/shady things in an effort to save money. Semi-scandalous stuff I’m usually okay with but I would never rip someone off or do anything illegal to save money ’cause, you know, that’d be stealing. Which is obviously not cool. The key is going right up to the scandalous line but not crossing it.

If you are extremely frugal, you are most likely ALWAYS trying to find new ways to get things completely for free or totally cheap. After all, there’s no point in shelling out your hard-earned money for something you can get for free! While there are a variety of ways to score free goods, some of them may be borderline immoral or perhaps even illegal so use your judgment.

 

Scandalous (and Semi-Scandalous) Ways to Get Free Stuff…

Read More »

10 comments

in Shamelessy Frugal, Things To Do
Birthday Loan Officer
Author: Anna Newell Jones

birthday loan officer episode portlandia

A friend sent me this link to the Portlandia sketch called Birthday Loan Officer that originally aired a year-ish ago. (I don’t know how in the world I’m just seeing this now!) Raise your hand if you can relate. (I’m raising my hand over here, btw.:P)

2 comments

in Just For Fun, Social
Spend to Save – Legit or Just Wishful Thinking?
Author: Anna Newell Jones

8 ways spending money helps you save andthenwesaved.com

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of spending money to get money but Dave points out 8 situations where spending actually helps you save- helping you to ultimately get out of debt quicker.

Dave B. is a small business owner who resides in Atlanta and writes about strategies to save money and get out of debt. – Anna

When it comes to getting out of debt, it seems obvious that the first thing you should do is save money, right? And the best way to save money would be to spend less of it, correct? Well, yes and no. Actually, there are some instances where spending more money can actually help you get out of debt. Once I finally wrapped my head around this idea, I managed to conserve more money than ever before and ended up getting myself out of debt much faster. Here’s a list of things that worked for me on my quest.

 

8 Ways Spending Money Can Help Get You Out of Debt…

1. Down Payments

The zero-down offers made by car dealerships are tempting, but you might pay more in the long run. For example, I recently purchased a car for $15,000, and put $5,000 down. I financed the rest for 60 months at 4% interest. In total, I’m going to be spending approximately $21,575. Had I put $0 down, this number would be $22,100. That’s $525 I saved just by making a significant initial payment. The same is true for money put down on a home. Bumping up your down payment from $6,000 to $10,000 on a $200,000 30-year fixed mortgage with a 4% interest rate saves you almost $3,000.

2. Insurance Premiums

In the past, when my auto insurance bill came in the mail, I just made each monthly payment and moved on. After I took a look at it, though, I found that I could save a full month or even more by paying it all off at once. My provider had a discount program in place where I essentially got one month free by paying it in full. I also noticed that I was being charged a $3 processing fee each month, so by paying the full balance I saved another $36 for the year.

3. Large Purchases

If you spend $400 on a 46-inch flat-screen TV made by a lesser-known manufacturer, you may think you’re getting a deal. However, if the TV malfunctions a year after you buy it, you might be left out in the cold. Most of the time, it’s cheaper to replace these high-end items rather than pay to have them fixed. If the power supply or picture tube on your flat-screen TV goes out, plan on spending $400 or even more to have it repaired.

That’s why it makes sense to spend a little more on quality. In most cases you can get yourself a mid-level flat-screen TV for about $100 extra, which is money well spent. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a Sony or a Samsung, but stay away from the really cheap brands like Seiki, Westinghouse, and Dynex. The same holds true for laptop computers and any other major purchases.

Read More »

5 comments

in Paying Off Debt, Practical Solutions, Savings
24 Date Night Ideas for $10 or Less
Author: Anna Newell Jones

24 inexpensive date ideas for under 10 dollars (click through!) andthenwesaved.com

Having more Date nights showed up on my list of things to work on in 2015. (We went out the other night and we saw The Theory of Everything. It was amazing. Try to see it if you haven’t already. If Eddie Redmayne doesn’t win the Oscar I’ll be shocked. He’s so talented.) Dates are such a great way to connect with your loved one whether you are married or still enjoying the early stages of a relationship. However, being on a debt free quest or making the decision to live frugally can sometimes throw an old monkey wrench in the romantic liaisons department. While thrifty thinking can change your automatic date instincts it definitely doesn’t mean that all those fun nights together have to end. Oh heck no. Just like with most things, when you’re being careful with your money you just need to get a little creative with your plans.

Here are 24 ways to celebrate a date night for $10 or less…

Read More »

5 comments

in Family, Friends, & Relationships, Social
Melanie’s Spending Diet Progress Report
Author: Melanie Gnau

How I Saved 1K in a Month (click through for more!) andthenwesaved.com

Below is Melanie’s December Spending Diet update. See all the past Spending Faster updates here. – Anna

December was the month that I had anticipated a spending spree. With the holidays in full swing, I always have the tendency to overdo things– more gifts, more food, more spending and ultimately, more regret! I had been (fairly) good all year, but I was afraid that somehow the spirit of St. Nicholas would possess my body and credit card. But lucky for me, I’m a planner, I had planned and purchased most of my gifts before December ever rolled around. I had budgeted just $100 for holiday gifts. I did use $100 separate from my $100 Spending Diet fund, but it was $100 none the less. It was still a challenge. I did obsess over the $100 gift budget. I planned sales, I planned coupons and I did more math than I had done in the last 5 years. I also had a strategy. Here’s some things that helped me…

Read More »

3 comments

in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters, Things To Do
The And Then We Saved Book! Update
Author: Anna Newell Jones

anna newell jones spending fast book andthenwesaved.com

spending fast book anna newell jones andthenwesaved.com

Last Thursday was a big day because that was the day I handed over my book manuscript to the publisher!

Last week was intense. Monday I worked on it 17 hours. Tuesday 14 hours, and Wednesday, another 17 hours. On Wednesday I didn’t go to sleep until 5:30 am, and then I woke up at 7:30 am to get right back to work. Even though I’ve been working on the book for the past year there were just all these little things that I wanted to tweak to make it just right. 65,000 words of Spending Fast goodness were handed over at 4:30pm EST. I was so wound up from adrenaline that I was buzzing around the rest of the day. Then, I crashed on Friday, and spent the next couple of days recovering! :)

Now, all sorts of things will take place leading up to the book’s publication which will be in January 2016. Another few rounds of edits will take place. The cover will get designed, the illustrations will be put into place (you’ll LOVE them, btw!), and the layout with be laid (?… lol).

It’s all so exciting! Thanks for being a part of the process, and for letting me share this big accomplishment with you! xo, Anna

11 comments

in Personal, The Book! (Spender's Guide to Debt Free Living)
Make More Money Through Craftiness – A Spending Fast Update
Author: Jenn Davis

making more money through craftiness andthenwesaved.com

making more money through craftiness andthenwesaved.com

Hi! Below is Spending Faster, Jenn’s December update. She’s doing so amazing! See her past updates here and here. – Anna

 

MONTH TWO OF THE SPENDING FAST

Even with Christmas, I was able to save some money in the month of December! It’s been a busy month for me, but not with buying gifts and focusing on the holiday. My family and friends understood this, relieving me of the stresses of the holiday season. Aren’t they great?  I am truly grateful for the people in my life, because they all genuinely want what’s best for me.

I did, however, give my mom some framed artwork of mine and my dad and friends some of those DIY ring dishes from A Beautiful Mess (the ones Anna made are pictured above).

In December, I focused on ways to bring in more money. This is what I did:

Ebay: I have listed some items that I don’t use anymore and am continuing to do so. I have sold $250 so far, but you have to minus the shipping cost and cost of using Ebay. I would still say not too shabby.

Society6: I started up a society6 account to sell some art prints as I work on my passion for painting abstract art.

Etsy: I also just opened an Etsy shop today and my first items for sale are two of the jewelry dishes leftover from the Christmas gifts. I will be adding original artwork for sale on this site.

I also received a Christmas bonus of $300 at work. And it was saved instead of spent on gifts.

This month has been about combining passion with income. I definitely feel like I am taking a plunge and putting myself out there so to speak. But I have a newfound sense of excitement and purpose. I have a new appetite for education and learning that will enhance my passions. It is coming to my attention that nothing happens overnight, and that my impatience for things to happen overnight is a notion I have to let go of to keep moving forward.

 

Total saved for month two: $400

Which went into a savings account for an emergency fund. My impatience has, however, gotten me to say the amount of $400 will my emergency fund (instead of the 1,000 I set out for in the beginning). In the interest of time and my sanity, I feel like this is an ok amount to set aside for now and to begin on throwing the money at my debt.

 

Spending Fast Stats:

Started November 2014

Total Saved to Date: $400

 

What have you done to increase your income? 

7 comments

in DIY, Make More Money, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters, 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. 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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