The Life and Times of a Sub-Par Perfectionist (Part 2) – Using Affirmations to Change Your Life

am i perfect yet

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.




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

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

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…

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in Shamelessy Frugal, Things To Do
Birthday Loan Officer

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)

one comment

in Just For Fun, Social
Spend to Save – Legit or Just Wishful Thinking?

8 ways spending money helps you save

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.

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in Paying Off Debt, Practical Solutions, Savings
24 Date Night Ideas for $10 or Less

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

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…

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

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

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…

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in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Things To Do
The And Then We Saved Book! Update

anna newell jones spending fast book

spending fast book anna newell jones

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


in Personal, The Book!
Make More Money Through Craftiness – A Spending Fast Update

making more money through craftiness

making more money through craftiness

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



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? 


in DIY, Make More Money, Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Things To Do
Leaving the Past Behind

i've decided to put the past behind me

Saw this on Instagram the other day (from user @f*ckjerry), and it had me cracking up. Had to share.


in Just For Fun
64 Insanely Easy Ways to Save Money Around the House

64 ways to save money around the house

There are people that will always say “there’s just no money to save!” (I know because I used to be one of those people!). Luckily, there are actually A TON of ways to get some cash back into your pockets by doing a few simple things around the house. We all know there is no better time than right now to start saving more money!

I’ve compiled a massive list for you, and I’d love to hear what you do to save money around the house. Let me know in the comments, and tell me if I missed anything! I always love hearing what you all do to save because y’all are always coming up with clever ways to save money that just blow my mind.


64 Ways to Save Money Around the House…

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in How To, Paying Off Debt, Practical Solutions, Things To Do
Stay Cozy + Happy Holidayz

merry christmas

If you’re reading this, I’m thankful for you! Stay cozy, eat tons of cookies, and if you’re thinking ahead to New Year’s Resolutions… make 2015 the year you finally get out of debt! xo – Anna


in Seasonal
Enter this Holiday Decorating Contest & Make Some Coin on Those Skillz

how to make a million with your christmas decorations (click through for more!)

This post is part of my ongoing collaboration with Kmart. – Anna

I’ve really been enjoying the Christmas season this year despite it being unseasonably warm this year here in Denver.  So, I’ve been staying up late at night  to put on Christmas music, bake, and pretend its snowing outside. Baked goods are such an inexpensive little gift to give so I’m planning on giving the goodies to neighbors and friends. I’ll put a few treats in a plastic baggie, tie some yarn around the top, print out some holiday tags, write a little note, and call it good.

Last year Baby Henry was just about 2 months around this time but this year he’s old enough to really enjoy all the lights and wrapping paper. We’ve kept our decorations pretty simple because we knew his crabby little baby hands would have a hard time resisting low ornaments on a tree so we went with a sweet, mini tabletop tree, wrapped a bunch of colorful lights around it, and filled it up with all of our “vintage” macaroni and toilet paper roll ornaments from me and Aaron’s childhoods.

Decorating for the holidays is a tradition like none other—from decking the halls to trimming the tree—every family has its own unique way of getting their home ready for the season.

A survey was recently conducted that found… 

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one comment

in Sponsored
How To Minimize Gift Giving (Without Being a Scrooge)

how to minimize gift giving without being a scroogeGift giving can so easily get out of hand. People often want (or feel obligated) to give more than what they really can actually afford. In some families, gift giving becomes sooo overblown because people end up feeling guilty or frustrated they can’t spend what others can. Don’t worry about them. You do you. While Christmas is the season of giving, you should never give more than you have. It truly is the thought that counts… even if you feel pressured to spend a certain amount. Make an effort to find ways to reduce your spending, and stress, by trying to focus on enjoying the togetherness of family and friends. And getting that to be enough.


You can successfully cut down on your holiday gift giving without being labeled a Scrooge by…

  • Checking Your List Twice. If you have a traditional gift list, take it out and review it carefully. You may be surprised to learn just how many people you buy gifts for each year. If you don’t have an official list, now is the time to make one. Be honest about writing down each and every person that you plan on buying gifts for. Then, take the time to review it carefully. Some people you may be able to talk to (like siblings, for example), and just ask them if you can skip the gift exchange this year. My sister, Kelly, is on a Spending Fast, as you know, and she had this conversation with all of us. Also, my husband, has this arrangement with his siblings every year, and it works out great.
  • Making Christmas for the kids. As a family, make the suggestion that adults should only buy gifts for the kids of the family. Set the kid age limit from 0 to 18 or 21 so everyone is on the same page.
  • Deciding on an adult name swap. If your family isn’t happy with just the kids getting something to unwrap Christmas morning, agree to name swap among the adults. Each adult’s name gets put into a hat and drawn by the other adults. Or, if you’re all in different states one person will be the leader by putting everyone’s name in the hat, pulling the names, and informing everyone of who their gift recipient is.
  • Skipping the stockings. Unless your family has a strong tradition surrounding the stockings hung by the fireplace, leave them empty. The extra candy and junk toys likely won’t be missed and you can save additional cash by focusing on the larger gifts wrapped under the tree. Or you can go back to the days of old and fill stockings with fresh fruit (or coal;).
  • Setting affordable spending limits. Set a reasonable spending limit everyone can afford. This can be a great way to set a limit (say $30-ish), give 1 person something they really want (rather than them getting lots of small things they don’t really care for), and everyone ends up spending quite a bit less overall.
  • Asking for a wish list. To prevent spending money on gifts no one likes, ask for a wish list from everyone with three or four things listed in the right price range to help point people in the right shopping direction.
  • Banking cash for family trips. For families that don’t have small children to give to, perhaps an all-year around savings plan can be put in place towards group holiday family vacations. Stop spending so much money during the holidays and invest it wisely in a vacation fund for next year. As a family, choose the destination together. With a great trip on the horizon, people likely won’t even miss not having gifts under the tree. (Make a tasty breakfast then volunteer Christmas morning if you’re worried about their being a hole where you’d normally be opening gifts. OR, this is one of my favorite ideas, write each other letters telling each other things you love about one another, put them all under the tree, and read them silently or to each other. Guaranteed tears, people.)
  • Planing a party. If an annual family vacation isn’t in the cards, try saving gift money to go towards a big holiday party. Focus on the people that are invited, and not on the decorations or material things. Make it a time to really remember for each of your friends and family members invited. Have everyone chip in for the food so the financial burden isn’t left to just one person or the family where the event is being held.
  • Opting out at work. Work-related expenses can be a large burden and also the cause of hurt feelings. Suggest that co-workers move to a Secret Santa idea with strict spending limits for gift-giving to cut down on expenses. You may also want to consider opting out completely of holiday gift-giving. Bring your co-workers homemade cookies or some other treat instead. I did this in the past by adding a nice note, a cute free printable holiday tag, and it worked perfectly.


Do you make an attempt to keep the gift-giving reeled in or do you go hog wild and deal with the consequences later? Do you have any tips for keeping costs down during the holidays?

P.S. Have you tried these pumpkin spice cupcakes with browned butter cinnamon buttercream? Omg. So good.


in Seasonal, Societal Pressures
Earn Up to $300 in Extra Holiday Cash with these Side Jobs

holiday side jobs

Making some extra cash for the holidays is a good way to feel better about the spending you do. You can limit the debts you’re creating and hopefully move into the New Year with a clean financial slate. Consider earning extra holiday cash to pay for the gifts you buy or for the party you plan to throw. The holidays are a prime time to take advantage of other people’s very busy schedules. A lot of times people will be willing to pay you to lighten their load by taking care of things they cannot. Win. Win.


9 Creative Ways to Earn Extra Holiday Cash… 

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in Make More Money, Seasonal
Make a Mocha at Home for Pennies

Brew your coffee like usual. Pour in a packet of hot cocoa (or a few spoons of the canister cocoa). Then, stir and bam! Super cheap mocha.


in Food, Groceries, & Recipes
The Perfectionism Curse – A Spending Diet Update

the perfectionism curse spending diet update

Melanie is here with an update on her Spending Diet progress, and she is absolutely killing it! – Anna

With the holidays here, the Spending Diet is getting harder and harder. I was hoping to spend my allotted $100 Spending Diet budget on gifts, but that didn’t go as planned. I stuck with my budget of $100 for my Spending Diet allotment and but I also spent an additional $100 for gifts, and that’s not what I intended to do. It’s becoming harder and harder to resist temptation.

I don’t usually go shopping. At all. I stay out of stores to resist temptation, but the holidays have forced me to go into stores (coupons in hand) and actually shop. During a recent shopping excursion, I bought a fleece jacket as gift for myself. I had a coupon, it was a super discount and I used my Spending Diet allotment, but had I not gone into that store, I would have never known about that jacket.

I know what you’re going to say at this point– I could make all the gifts. I’ve told myself that several times. But craft supplies cost money too and as a working girl with two jobs, I have a time budget. There’s only so many hours in the day and making beautiful gifts for almost 20 people isn’t my priority. My budget (and my family!) is my priority. Yes, I’ve planned to make a few gifts, but the majority have been or will be purchased.

And yes, I know that the holiday season isn’t all about consumerism. It’s about spending time with the ones you love, spreading joy, helping others in need and eating way too many holiday cookies. I plan on doing all of the above and spending lots of time with my loved ones (whether they like it or not!), but I also would like to show my appreciation through a token.

This month I’ve been fighting a bit of an internal battle. I want to be giving and I don’t want to be selfish, but I want to stay on budget. I want to save for me and for my future. This month has also forced me to think about my struggle with perfectionism. I try my best at everything in life. My perfectionism has helped me in certain aspects in my life, but with budgeting, my perfectionism often tells me that I’m failing. I managed to save another $1,000 this month and that’s amazing. I’ve saved $5,600 in just 5 months. A couple of years ago, I saved nothing at all. This holiday season let’s all tell perfectionism to get off our backs, ok? We have a budget, but we’re not going to beat ourselves up about it. Can I get an amen?



Month 5 Savings: $1,000

Started the Spending Diet: July 1, 1014

Savings to date: $5,600


How do you let perfectionism go, and be happy with your accomplishments even if they fall short of your goal?

P.S. See all of Melanie’s Spending Diet updates.


in Spending Diet, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!
3 Incredibly Easy Ways to Share the Goodness this Holiday Season

easy ways to give back st jude hospital

Continuing on with my Kmart partnership, I’m sharing something that is super important to me, spreading kindness! If you are short on ideas or just need a boost of inspiration here is a post called 134 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas that will give a great list to start on.

This holiday season, it feels like people I’ve run into have been especially kind. People have held the door open for me when I’ve had my hands full with Henry, and groceries, they’ve been letting me into traffic even when the traffic is thick and busy, and there was the clerk at the grocery store who went out of his way to help me out with something, and all that goodness that I’ve been fortunate to receive reminds me to spread the love too. I always try to, of course, but sometimes, it’s so nice to have those reminders.

I’m so thankful to have all of those in my life who are healthy and happy (especially my baby son), and I really want to give to those who are not. Kmart makes it easy to give back because between 12/7 and 12/13 (today!), Kmart is donating $1 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every Fab 15 toy that is purchased (up to a max of 25k). Kmart is one of the all-time leading St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital fundraising partner, and they have already donated more than 10 million this holiday season alone (!!!).

Here are a couple other ways you can support St. Jude through Kmart this season…

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in Seasonal, Sponsored
You’re Kidding, Right? Black Friday Madness Videos

black friday
Have you seen these terrible videos from the chaos and fights from Black Friday? Oh my word. I had absolutely no idea it could get that violent and chaotic. I naively thought it was just some pushing at the most. :/ These are making me sick. 

A Black Friday fight where a person gets tasered…

Video from the store that cops got called to..

This brawl is the absolute worst one in my opinion. It’s just insane, and it’s all because of some underwear!…

This video of The Worst Black Friday Disasters is actually completely disgusting, and, really, very disturbing…


Were you out on Black Friday? If so, did you see any of this craziness?! What can be done to end this chaos?


in Seasonal
7 Advantages Extroverts Have When it Comes to Money

7 advantages extroverts have when it comes to money

A few days ago we talked about the advantages that introverts have with money so today, let’s talk about extroverts. Extroverts are of the personality persuasion that is boisterous and enthusiast, and they feel energized by being around people which is the complete opposite of their quiet counterparts – the introverts. Those with an extrovert personality may appear to be apt to spending more and being frivolous with their cash in general. However, the qualities that go along with an extrovert personality may actually give this type of person some advantages in the personal finance department.


Here are 7 advantages extroverts may have when it comes to money…

1. They May Have Better Job Prospects

Extroverts may be inclined to go after and accept a larger pool of job opportunities. While introverts may prefer more low-key, solitary, behind-the-scenes work, an extrovert may view a variety of job opportunities and figure out way to make them work to their own advantage. They can find success in a variety of industries and often feel comfortable with adapting to new and fast-paced environments.

2. They May Have Better Networking Success

For extroverts working in sales and similar jobs, their ability to be socially adventurous and confident can provide more opportunities for earning and investing money. So much of business revolves around making the right connections and networking with the right people. Because extroverts are not wallflowers by nature, they are more likely to jump right in and get to know everyone. They are also more likely than their counterparts to even show up for networking events.

3. They May Be More Successful at Entrepreneurial Pursuits

Extroverts are more willing to take chances if they feel it will be worth their while. This quality may help with entrepreneurial ideas and actions. Extroverts may be more likely to take business risks that earn them more money and power in the long run.

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in Uncategorized
Get Yourself a Free Thanksgiving Turkey! Here’s How

get yourself a free turkey! - here's how

On Thanksgiving day, I won’t be partaking in the turkey eating because I’m a Vegetarian/Pepperotarian (a Pepperotarian is someone who avoids all meats except for pepperoni on pizza. The Pepperotarian is a not so distant cousin of the Baconotarian. Basically, I’m a super shitty Vegetarian), but for the large majority of people, a Thanksgiving turkey is the centerpiece the holiday dinner. Turkeys are typically sold by the pound so if you have a big family to feed, the turkey cost can be on the high side. For people who are in dire financial straits, there are ways to get access to a free turkey and other meal staples through local food banks and churches. For people who want to be frugal, there are other ways to score a free turkey without taking anything away from those who are financially disadvantaged.


Here are 5 ways to get your Thanksgiving turkey for free…

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in How To, Seasonal
Out of Sight? BUY MORE! (No don’t)


We were cleaning out the kitchen cabinet, and realized that we have 2 or more of a lot of things that we don’t need 2 or more of.

I don’t see everything we own so I think we don’t have what we need so then we buy whatever it is again, and then we don’t realize what we’ve done until we go through things again!

We have:
– 3 containers of counter wipes
– 3 bottles of dish soap
– 2 bottles of hand soap
– 2 massive sponges
– 2 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner
– 2 bottles of multi-purpose non-toxic concentrate cleaner
– 2 containers of wood floor solution

Morale of the story: clean out the cabinets more often, keep similar items together so you can easily see what you have, look in your cabinets before you before you buy, remember what you own, keep in mind that you tend to forget what you have (talking to myself).


in De-Clutter, Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Things To Do
10 Very Good Reasons to Get Renter’s Insurance

10 reasons to get renters insurance

Many renters think a benefit of not owning a home is skipping out on the costs of insurance. However, as a renter, insurance should still be a consideration. One incident such as a fire or a burglary could seriously jack up your financial life. There’s no reason for that kind of stress when it’s really a pretty inexpensive thing to get considering all the peace of mind you’ll have in return. Trust me, after our recent car theft I am thinking about how awesome insurance is these days!


10 Way Good Reasons to Get Renter’s Insurance…

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in Practical Solutions, Take Action!, Things To Do
Can We Want What We Already Have?

can we want what we already have

I’m just gonna go ahead and leave this here. A little something  to think about.

Is the grass always greener? Is it possible to have enough? What is it that makes us want more, more, more?


in Motivation
Well Aren’t You Fancy, “Name Brand” Hand Soap

mrs meyers hand soap hack
We’ve had lots of family in town lately which has been awesome. Right before our guests arrive we go through our place, and tidy up. Part of that process includes refilling the hand soap containers. There’s something about “name brand” hand soap that just feels luxurious or something. It’s got it’s pretty package, it smells good (like, REALLY good), and, oh yeah, it costs like, $7 bucks a bottle (booo).

I always imagine that wealthy people just buy the name brand, great smelling hand soap without thinking twice about it. Which is awesome, IF you want to spend your money on soap. Me? I’d rather spend it on other stuff.

I know this idea isn’t ground-breaking or anything, but this is what I do to still have my good smelling soap but without the cost…

Read More »


in DIY, How To, Make Do & Mend, Practical Solutions
The Cost of Having Our Car Stolen

impound lot

impound lot

Last week I posted about how our car got stolen. Well, it was recovered about 5 miles from our house near the football stadium in town! As expected, all of the baby stuff was stolen. The car seat, the car seat base, the car seat carrier/stroller thing, as well as, Aaron’s prescription sunglasses, the stereo face, a multi-tool, a wood-cutting axe (super random, I know), and a few mix CD’s that I had made. (Hey, at least the thieves have good taste in music? ;) They also took the 10 month sticker off of the license plate. Really, though, I’m just SO incredibly relieved to have the car back. All of the things that were stolen from the car ended up being less than our $500 deductible so we ended up withdrawing our insurance claims since it wouldn’t’ve paid out anyway.

We had to pick up the car from the city’s impound lot (the above pics are from our multiple visits there), and then we’ve had the car at the auto repair shop since last week to see what, and if, anything was missing internally from the car, and to make sure it was safe to drive. We didn’t want to put the baby in there until we knew, for sure, that it was totally safe.

Today, we found out that there was nothing wrong with the car (!), all the parts were still in it, and there was, shockingly, no external body damage! I’d say as far as having had a car stolen goes we pretty much lucked out!


Cost of having the car stolen:

– New car seat (we went with one that he’ll be able to use until he is 65 pounds): $160

– New prescriptions sunglasses: $250-ish

“Club”for the steering wheel: $40

Total: $450 + a lot of time


I’ve learned to never leave anything of value in the car, and to always keep the auto and home owner’s insurance paid up!

Thanks for all the kind thoughts, support, and good vibes y’all threw my way on the last post! All that goodness really worked. xo, Anna


in Personal
And Then Our Car Got Stolen

green honda crv stolen car

It’s been a little quiet on the blog this week since it’s been super crazy/chaotic-ville over here on the other side. On Saturday night/early Sunday morning, our car got stolen right out of the parking spot we park in every night. Our parking spot is right behind our building, and we’ve always felt pretty safe parking it there. It is right off of an alleyway but we didn’t ever feel concerned about that since just about every parking spot in our neighborhood is either on a busy street or off of an alleyway. Plus, we don’t have a fancy car. It’s a very modest, used ’98 Honda CRV. It’s a solid car but nothing like a shiny Lexus or BMW that screams, “Hey, right here! Steal me!”… or so I thought.

Aaron went out Sunday morning to take the baby on a walk, and had to stop by the car to grab his sunglasses. I stayed back to work on some things, and that’s when I got the call… Read More »


in Personal
Tell Me What You Think – ATWS Reader Survey! – CLOSED reader survey

I want to know more about you, and I also want to know what I can do to make your experience on And Then We Saved even better so it’s time for a survey!

This is a quick 25 question survey, and most of the questions are multiple choice. As a thank you for taking time out of your day to help me out I’ve made an instant downloadable poster available for everyone who completes the survey!

Make Do and Mend was my motto during the Spending Fast and I still live by it today so I thought you might like it too!

Here’s what the poster looks like:

Make Do and Mend poster

You will be given the instant download links at the completion of the survey. Copy the web address for the size you would like (8″ x 10″ or 11″ x 14″), and then paste the link into your browser. The high-resolution poster will appear, and then you can print it out or you can even make it a screen saver on your phone or desktop!

Here’s the link to the survey: ATWS Reader Survey. The survey will close on Monday, September 1st at 10:00pm MST.

Thank you! xo, Anna

one comment

in Reader Survey
How to Make Money Selling Your Old Stuff – Tons of Tips

yard sale

make money on your junk yard sale

I got a whole buncha questions about how I was going to make money on all the stuff that I just got rid of through The Minimalist Challenge so a post is definitely in order. Throughout The Challenge you saw that I labeled each of the items as: SELL, DONATE, or TRASH. Wanna know how I made the most of  “a bag of clothespins” or “miscellaneous postcards from 15 years ago”.

Read on for the full scoop (after the jump)… Read More »


in De-Clutter, How To, Make More Money, Minimalism, Practical Solutions, Take Action!, Things To Do
Use It Up

use what you have

“Use what you have.”

How many of you are guilty of going out to buy something new when there is an event coming up? I used to do that ALL THE TIME, and can still fall into those old patterns if I’m not being vigilant and super careful. Rather than looking in my closet to wear what I already owned I thought I needed to go buy something new every time there was some place to be. It’s also so easy to go get take-out instead of eating the stuff that’s already in the cupboards… especially when I’m hungry.

Morale of the story: eat before you get too hungry, and stay out of the stores (and offline) because you probably, most likely already have what you need… :)


in Make Do & Mend, Motivation
6 Easily Adoptable Traits of People Who are Nuttily Successful with Money

traits of people who are successful with money

Nuttily successful with money? Yes. You know the ones. They never have a problem buying impulsively, they have their retirement plan totally figured out, they have zero debt, and money in the bank. Basically, they just have it together money-wise, and not in the it-just-looks-like-they-have-it-going-on-in-the-financial-department but they legitimately do.

So, what personality traits make some people successful with money while others seem to struggle financially… sometimes for their entire lives? You may think people who are successful with money have uncovered some secret to wealth or maybe they have just popped out of their mama’s vajayjay knowing how to save. It seems people who reach their financial goals tend to share common character traits – rather than secret knowledge or an innate know-how.

Here are common character traits people who are successful with money share – so, luckily, if you don’t currently have these traits, you can work to develop them in order to reach your own financial goals (I’m a natural-born Spender who has changed their ways so I know it’s possible;).

6 Easily Adoptable Traits of People Who are Successful with Money:

1. They Embrace Frugality

Believe it or not, some of the richest people in the world are also some of the most frugal. For example, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, is still known to drive a moderately priced Acura sedan, despite being a billionaire. People who are successful with money lead meaningful lives that are not generally based around material belongings and don’t base their self-worth on material items which allows them to save more money than people who need “things” to feel better about themselves.

2. They Have Patience and Perseverance

People who are financially successful tend to be patient and will stick to the plan instead of changing course at the first sign of trouble. Investors who spend time researching an investment strategy, and then have the patience to stick to that strategy tend to do better than investors who panic and then sell at the wrong time. In 2008 and 2009, when the market took a serious downturn, Fidelity research shows that investors in 401(k) plans who remained invested were rewarded in June of 2011 with a 50% return – while those who panicked and sold or moved their money ended up with only a 2% return in 2011. People who remained invested and continued to contribute to their plans gained an average of 64% during that same time period – so it pays to persevere and have patience.

3. They Have a Healthy Tolerance for Risk

People who are successful with money don’t hide from risky situations – instead, they understand what the risks are, and then use various strategies to take advantage of it. Ultra-conservative investors rarely see big returns, but ultimate risk-takers often lose it all in a blink of an eye. There has to be an understanding of the risks for each situation, and a good balance between safety and risks when it comes to what you do with your money. Having a healthy tolerance for risk in general, is also useful for people to advance in their careers or become successful business owners.

4. They Have the Ability to Ask for Help

Financially successful people are not the type to feel they need to do everything themselves and learn everything there is to know about every last detail in life. Instead, they tend to be the type of people who can ask for help when they need it. Most people who are successful with money have sought outside advice from a financial advisor or use CPA’s for their tax returns to find areas for saving that they themselves may be unaware of. People who have success financially recognize that people with specialized knowledge, and experience are more likely to know details about things that they themselves may never know – and they could be missing out from that lack of knowledge. In terms of investing, a study by Hewitt Associates and Financial Engines shows that investors who get outside advice and assistance are 2% richer annually than those who do it all on their own. Damn.

5. They Have a Never-Quit Mentality

Whether you are looking to reach financial goals or personal goals, one character trait will serve you well: don’t give up. So many people are quick to walk away from anything that becomes difficult, challenging, or confusing. If the road to success was an easy one, everyone would be successful. Learn to embrace challenges, and learn that fighting through something when you’d rather give up is the exact thing you need to do to overcome the obstacles and reach your goals. That being said, if something isn’t working for you — even if it’s just a book you’re reading that you’re no longer feeling — don’t keep going with it just to say you finished. You’ve got to trust those gut instincts so you don’t waste your precious time. Really, this comes down to knowing when to throw in the towel, and when to keep going despite difficulties. These skills get honed more and more with time, and take practice to get right.

6. They Have a Go-Getter/Entrepreneur Mind 

People who are successful with money have to learn ways to make more money, and often that leads them to a path of entrepreneurship. When you are an employee, you have income limitations and ceilings that prevent your growth. While it is still possible to invest and become successful, as an entrepreneur, the only limits you have are the ones you place on yourself. Financially successful entrepreneurs have another set of traits that the average population may not possess which lends to their success:

  • They take action – Entrepreneurs don’t wait for someone else to do something – they take action and get it done themselves.
  • They’re not afraid to fail – People who create and start things from scratch are not afraid of failure. In fact, entrepreneurs are generally the type of people who embrace failure and see it as a stepping stone that brings them one step closer to success.
  • They able and willing to change – Entrepreneurs and financially successful individuals are not afraid to change. They recognize when things are not going well and learn when it’s time to change direction to avoid wasting money with ideas that are not fully developed.


What traits do you have and which ones do you need to work on?


in Practical Solutions, Social
The Less You Have the Better

the less stuff you have the better

“The Less You Have = The Less Stuff You Crave = The Less Money You Need to Live”

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much my little family consumes quite a bit lately since doing The Minimalist Challenge, and from clearing so much out. (Well, I always try to keep it on the top of my mind but you know, life stuff happens and wiggles in, and sometimes it moves lower on the list of priorities than I would like it to.)

I started thinking about it like this, the less stuff you have = the less stuff you crave = the less money you need to live. I think the key is to fill the time up with other things than shopping and consuming so keep yourself BUSY! Check out 56 Things to do Instead of Spending Money for some ideas.

Start with clearing out, being grateful for what you have, and continue that cycle so you need less money to live on. Then, you don’t have to be stuck doing a job you hate to be able to afford all the crap you don’t really need.


What do you think? Do you find that you crave less when you keep things simple and then throw a dose of gratefulness into the mix?

**Post update: I removed the graphic so I can fix the mistake in it! D’oh. Thanks to Angela for pointing it out on Facebook! Fixed it:)


in Do Without, Gratitude, Minimalism, Motivation, Societal Pressures
Minimalist Challenge Update / 04

minimalist challenge

It’s time for an update on how The Minimalist Challenge has been going! Apparently, I’ve decided to take the “go at your own pace” approach.;) I got up to Day 29, and I still have our basement storage unit to go through so I will have absolutely, no problem making it to Day 30 of The Challenge. I’m curious how much stuff I’ll be able to get rid of once I go through that area.

So from Day 1 to Day 29 I have cleared out a total of 435 items! It feels so good!

Today the update is for Day 19 to Day 29. The bulk of this stuff is from the Craft/Catch-All Room.

Day 19, Get rid of 19 things:

  • SELL – Labels x 3
  • SELL – Pom poms x 3
  • SELL – Paper decorative fans x 3
  • SELL – Tape measure
  • TRASH – Card holders that you put in flowers x 4 (Uhhhhh… why do I have these!??)
  • SELL – Craft twine/ribbon
  • SELL – Miscellaneous craft supplies x 3
  • SELL – Bead organizer

minimalist challenge

Day 20, Get rid of 20 things:

  • TRASH – Cedar blocks that don’t smell anymore x 3
  • SELL – Ribbon
  • TRASH – Happy Birthday banner that is missing letters
  • TRASH – And Then We Saved banner that is also missing letters
  • SELL – Flag banner (with all its letters!:)
  • SELL – Notepad
  • SELL – Frosting cake decorating thing
  • SELL – Knuckle ring
  • SELL – Temporary tattoos
  • SELL – Headband
  • TRASH – A brass thing (I have no idea what this is)
  • SELL – Miscellaneous craft supplies x 7

minimalist challenge

Day 21, Get rid of 21 things:

  • SELL – Bag of feathers (counting this as 1 item)
  • SELL – Embroidery iron-on transfers
  • SELL – Notecards
  • SELL – Labels
  • TRASH – Fabric scraps and samples x 7
  • SELL – Fabric x 10

minimalist challenge

Day 22, Get rid of 22 things (this one was so easy;):

  • SELL – Embroidery floss x 22

minimalist challenge

Day 23, Get rid of 23 things:

  • SELL – Embroidery floss x 11
  • TRASH – Mardi Gras necklaces x 6
  • SELL – Small notebook
  • SELL – Letter stickers x 4
  • SELL – Empty box that you put baked goods in for gift-giving

minimalist challenge

Day 24, Get rid of 24 things:

  • SELL – More empty baked goods boxes x 2
  • TRASH – Random cake toppers x 6
  • SELL – Mini box of “A” stickers
  • TRASH – Rubber stamp block
  • TRASH – Cake decorating instructions and tips x 2
  • SELL (?) – One of my first weavings
  • SELL – Notecards/postcards/miscellaneous stationary x 11

minimalist challenge

Day 25, Get rid of 25 things:

  • SELL – Bag of blank paper hang tags (counting as 1 item)
  • SELL – Bag of clothespins (I only have one small clothesline in our place so I definitely don’t need all these! – counting as 1 item)
  • SELL – Baggie of homemade hair ties (don’t need these anymore since my hair is short now;) – counting as 1 item)
  • SELL – Baggie of blank small cards (counting as 1 item)
  • SELL – Little bag of homemade stickers (counting as 1 item)
  • SELL – TONS of cards and stickers that I just haven’t used in years x 20

minimalist challenge

Day 26, Get rid of 26 things (this day was easy too):

  • SELL – Postcards and notecards x 26 (I’ve had those Man Ray postcards – the black and white ones on the right – since I moved to Denver in 1998. STILL haven’t used them so it’s finally time to say goodbye.)

minimalist challenge

Day 27, Get rid of 27 things:

  • SELL – MORE random cards x 12
  • SELL – Random envelopes of all sizes x 14
  • TRASH – Customs form

minimalist challenge

Day 28, Get rid of 28 things:

  • SELL – Clothes x 3
  • SELL – Tea towels x 3
  • SELL – Door hooks x 2
  • SELL – Retractable key ring
  • SELL – Plate wall hanger
  • SELL – Hand sanitizer
  • SELL – Air freshener plug-in thing
  • SELL – Air freshener smell thing that doesn’t fit in the wall plug-in thing
  • SELL – Vitamins
  • TRASH – Box of hard raisins
  • TRASH – Almost empty bottle of cocoa butter lotion
  • SELL – Glass tray
  • SELL – Lanyard
  • SELL – Electronic cord
  • SELL – Bag of cords for Apple products (counting as 1 item)
  • DONATE – Unused mini lotion
  • DONATE – Unused mini tissue pack
  • SELL – Key identifier
  • SELL – Lens cleaning spray
  • SELL – Brass door knob plate
  • TRASH – Sippy cup that spills water all over the place
  • SELL – Tote bag
  • SELL – Square credit card reader

minimalist challenge

Day 29, Get rid of 29 things:

  • SELL – Metal containers x 3
  • TRASH – Miscellaneous little things x 9
  • SELL – Baby bath scrubby
  • SELL – Embroidered tea towel
  • SELL – Unused iPhone case
  • SELL – Clipboards x 3
  • SELL – Small muslin bag
  • SELL – USB drives x 5
  • SELL – Cast iron skillet (I’ve since changed my mind on this one, and have pulled it out of the pile so I’ll add another item to one of the upcoming days)
  • TRASH – Bag of paper straws (they’ve fallen on the floor a few times, and I’ve saved them for potential craft projects – counting as 1 item)
  • TRASH – Plastic disposable pie lids
  • SELL – Rectangle container
  • SELL – Striped box


Have you been doing The Minimalist Challenge too? If so, how has it been going, and how many items have you gotten rid of so far? How does it feel? 


in De-Clutter, Do Without, Minimalism, Things To Do
Be All In…

be all in

Be all in. There is no halfway.

Do yourself a favor and conquer the getting-out-of-debt part as fast as you humanly can so you can get to the living the freaking amazing debt-free-life part a whole lot sooner. Go all in! Decide that it’s okay to suffer a bit now so you can soon enjoy life without that massive, shitty, debt cloud hanging over your head. I mean, really. Plus, it goes by a lot faster than you think it will… I did it so I know these things! :)

You can do this!


in Motivation
All Things…

all things are difficult before they are easy

“All things are difficult before they are easy.” – Thomas Fuller

You hang in there. Getting out of debt and changing your life is possible. Please remember that when things are tough.


in Motivation
Money Isn’t Everything (or Is It?)

money isn't everything

Alright. I never thought I’d be quoting Kanye West on this here blog but there ya go, it went and happened.

“Money isn’t everything but not having it is.” Now isn’t that the truth…


in Motivation
8 Ways To Start Trusting Your Gut More

how to trust your gut more

Gut instincts are those feelings you get when you know something but can’t explain why you know it. It’s an instinctive feeling you get regardless of the facts of the situation.

I got myself into such a money mess because I constantly went against what my gut was telling me. My gut would say, “You really shouldn’t spend that money.” And I would say, “Oh, hush. I’m already in debt!” By continually going against my gut I not only got myself into a crap-load of financial trouble, I was also slowly deteriorating my ability to trust myself in other areas of my life, and let me tell you, that’s a pretty horrible way to live.

Trusting your instincts may be easier said than done, especially if you feel like your gut has led you astray in the past. Slowly though, you can start to change how you make decisions and get to living a more true and authentic life with not only your finances but with every aspect of life.

Here are 8 ways to start trusting your gut more and live a more confident, joyful life…

Read More »


in How To, Motivation, Social
Budget Bytes Cookbook Giveaway!

budget bytes cookbookI recently tried my hand at meal-planning (it’s going good by the way!), and one of the books I really enjoyed utilizing was Beth Moncel’s new cookbook Budget Bytes: Over 100 Easy, Delicious Recipes to Slash Your Grocery Bill in Half. I liked how the recipes used common ingredients that I already had in my cupboards, and didn’t have exotic ingredients in them. Also, I liked how the recipes were really easy to follow for a new cook, like me. I made the scones (seen in the meal-planning post) and I’ve got a lot of her other recipes on deck.

Tonight through 3/19/14 at noon MST you can enter to win a copy of Beth’s cookbook! Open to US residents only.

Happy cooking and entering! Good Luck! xo. Anna
a Rafflecopter giveaway


in Giveaway
Be Strong…

be strong


in Motivation
You’re Not Alone…

youre not alone

If you haven’t already, be sure to take part in the Community section. It’s a place where you can get (and give) support throughout your getting-out-of-debt mission! You can do this!


in Motivation
Let’s Plan Some Meals (+ A Whole Slew of Meal Planning Templates!)

making meal planning fun + meal planning  templates

meal planning templates If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been having a major sweet-tooth lately. There’s something about cold weather and baking that I just love! While I would eat brownies for breakfast everyday I try to resist the urge and instead I’ve been making this amazing blueberry, banana, cinnamon, and walnut baked oatmeal. Also, while I am definitely not even close to being a “foodie” I have been trying to get more into cooking actual meals and not resorting to my go-to’s: eggs and toast, a bowl of cereal, or just eating the other random foods I find in my cupboards.

I’ve found that if I actually make plans on what to eat I not only save money at the grocery store but I make way more creative and healthy meals. I’ve acquired a nice collection of cookbooks (most of which have been given to me as gifts) so a couple of days ago I pulled them all out went through them with a pad of little sticky notes and marked which ones look both tasty and like I might be able to pull off.

I looked for recipes that had common, everyday ingredients. If a recipe called for something exotic (to me) like: farro, pepitas, tarragon or harissa then they were no longer an option. I hate buying uncommon ingredients for recipes and then only using them once, twice, or never again. It just bugs me too much to waste food and money like that. Read More »


in Food, Groceries, & Recipes, How To
Having Everything…

having everything

one comment

in Uncategorized
Cease Fighting

cease fighting


in Uncategorized
No Need to Wait a Single Minute…

No Need to Wait a Single Minute

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to empower the world.” -Anne Frank

one comment

in Motivation
Happiness Cannot be Owned, Earned, Worn, or Consumed…

happiness cannot be owned, earned, worn, consumed

Happiness cannot be owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

That might sound like a tall order but if we can stop and be grateful for what we have then we’ll stop trying to hunt down material items so be can have more and be better. It’s okay to just be. You’re right where you’re supposed to be at this very moment. Even if you’re in a shitty place mentally, emotionally, or financially take a second to think of 3 things that are going okay with your life. Now, do that for the next 2 weeks and you’ll dramatically improve your quality of life, and it’s totally free.


in Gratitude, Motivation, Practical Solutions
The Decision to Try…

every accomplishment starts with the decision to try

Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. Make 2014 the year that you conquer your debt! You can do it!

Take the Get Out of Debt Pledge and change your life forever!


in Motivation
Don’t Give Up…

dont give up before the miracle happens


in Uncategorized
All Ships Rise…

all ships rise

one comment

in Uncategorized
Win Your Scoutfit Holiday Wish List Worth $500!

win your scoutfit wishlist
Scoutfit is a great resource for smart, money-saving shoppers. This is how it works: as you’re looking around online and you see items you like you bookmark them with Scoutfit’s easy bookmark tool. Then, when the item goes on sale you get a handy email that notifies you of the reduced price! This is such a huge timesaver and keeps you from having to continue to go back to each site over and over again to see if it’s on sale! If you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of this innovative tool.

And… guess what! This holiday season Scoutfit wants to buy your entire holiday closet! They’re buying one lucky Scouter’s closet, up to a $500 total value. All Scouters are eligible to win their closet by creating a closet called “My Holiday Wish List” and filling it with the items they are wishing for this season. Scout items round the clock between November 26 and December 13, 2013. Contest closets at 11:59pm Pacific Standard time on December 13, 2013.


Be sure to create your Holiday Wish List so you get a chance to win this awesome giveaway! 

This is a sponsored post but as always, my opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make this site possible! xo! 


in Sponsored
Lots of Giveaways – 24 Merry Days

24 merry daysAudrey from This Little Street blog clued me into this massive giveaway that is happening across 24 different blogs with 24 different bloggers. It’s called 24 Merry Days. If you’re anything like me you LOVE free stuff so I wanted to be sure to tell you about this. The giveaways include items from awesome places like: Public BikesSwedish HasbeensAnthropologieRifle Paper Co.The Land of Nod… the list goes on and on and on.

Go forth and enter!

one comment

in Giveaway
Don’t Give Up…

dont give up before you start


So many times I hear people tell me all the reasons why they can’t do the Spending Fast. Come on now, give it a chance before you give up! You can choose to give yourself the best gift ever this season- a life without debt! It is TOTALLY POSSIBLE! And really, please, don’t give up before you even start! You CAN do this!

Go ahead and take the leap… change your life with the Debt Free Life Pledge today.

one comment

in Motivation
Want to Get Out of Debt Faster? Here’s How…

want faster results? work harder“Want faster results? Work Harder.”

Debt sucks. If you want to get out of debt faster you can do it.

Here’s how:

  • Eliminate more items off of your “Wants” list
  • Find more ways to increase your income
  • Get creative and knock down the expenses on your “Needs” list

You can do this. You can get out of debt. Go big. Get rid of that debt fast and get on with your life. Don’t make yourself suffer through years of slow-repayment or painful budgeting. Have I told you how much I hate budgets?

I’m shouting at you now. This is time for some tough love. YOU CAN DO THIS!


in Motivation
May You Always…

may you always do what you are afraid to do

“May you always do what you are afraid to do.”

It takes a lot of guts to change your life… changing up your lifestyle and habits is not easy but you CAN do it. You can do hard things. Trust me. I know these things;).


in Motivation
Let’s Talk About Saving Money on Washers and Dryers

saving money on washer dryer

saving money on washer and dryer

This is a post from my husband, Aaron. – Anna

One of the things our new place really needed was a washer and dryer. Because our building is so old (circa 1907) we didn’t have a traditional hook up for the washer and dryer and had to get creative. Unfortunately in this case, “creative” also meant “expensive”.

The electrical system in our building is outdated and could not support the 220 outlet required by traditional electrical dryers, which meant we had to pay approximately $100 more for a gas dryer (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing – read on and you’ll find out why I say that). This also meant that we had to tap into the gas line and run piping from the stove (the nearest gas appliance) to the dryer. Being that we live in an old condo, we could not easily reconfigure the plumbing without major construction to both our unit and the unit below so the best and least expensive solution was to tap into the existing plumbing of the sink and dishwasher (luckily the water lines were accessible from the back of the wall).

Installing the washer and dryer was definitely a Frankenstein procedure with a lot of pipes and lines coming from all over the place to make it work. Long story short, the installation was a costly ordeal but something we deemed necessary (especially with a baby on the way).

Like A/C units, there are efficient ways to run your washer and dryer that can help save you money.  Being that the installation was pricey, we want to re-coup some of the “operating” costs, so we sought out ways to save money when using the washer and dryer.

A couple quick notes on how we saved money on the washer and dryer units themselves:

– We bought the units over Memorial Day weekend and got the already on clearance washer and dryer at an even more reduced price because of a Memorial Day weekend sale. (Of course if we had a more traditional set-up and space we would’ve just bought a used washer and dryer from Craigslist but there, unfortunately, weren’t any listings for small, high-efficiency, stackable washers with gas dryers. We did our best to make the smartest buying decision with the limitations we had to work with.)

– We got the service warranty on the washer but not the dryer because if there is going to be a problem it will most likely happen with the washer.

– We were able to buy a highly-efficient washer and dryer. At its maximum energy use the washer runs on just 9 amps of power. That’s less energy then it takes to run a 100 watt lightbulb! Look for HE units and you’ll start ahead of the game right from the start.

Denver Water offers a rebate on certain high-efficiency washers so we took advantage of that and made sure to get units that qualified for the rebate. The rebate is about $100 which doesn’t sound like much but it’s better than nothing and the process just involves filling out the form and sending along a copy of the receipt. (Note from Anna: I bought a washer and dryer a long time ago and the units were not on the approved rebate list. Denver Water still honored the rebate and sent me a check!)

How to Save Money on Washers and Dryers… 

Read More »


in How To, Personal, Practical Solutions, Things To Do
I’d Love Your Vote

FinCon12 Photobooth

This year FinCon (an annual personal finance conference) will be held in St. Louis, Missouri. Last year the conference was (awesomely and conveniently) held in Denver. It was my first conference ever and it was an amazing time full of smart, vibrant speakers and fun events. If you are at all on the fence about if you should or should not go, definitely go. All of your favorite personal finance bloggers will be there and it’s all around a great and informative conference.

I would, of course, be going but won’t be able to travel because of the little bun in my oven. Even though I won’t be able to physically attend I will totally be there in spirit. And by “be there in spirit” I mean, I will be obsessively watching and reading all the tweets to come out of the conference.

FinCon12 Photobooth

I’m pretty cool guys. See that picture? Total proof.

FinCon12 Photobooth

FinCon12 Photobooth

FinCon12 Photobooth

FinCon12 Photobooth

One of the things that happens at FinCon is they have they awards called the Plutus Awards. There are all sorts of categories and if you’re so inclined I’d love a vote.

The Freckled Nest Design team busted a move designing this blog and I think it turned out great. If you think it’s neat too, I’d love to have your vote in the Best Designed Personal Finance Blog category.

Also, I love that this site has been inspirational for people wanting (and needing) to get out of debt and am always in awe when readers send me emails about how it has helped them to achieve their goals. There’s an award for Best Debt Blog. Again, if you feel that this site is deserving I would love your vote.

Thanks for your support! xo! Anna

p.s. the above photographs are from one of the FinCon’s events last year. It was an 80’s party:) 


in Just For Fun
Make Perfectly Fizzy Ice Pops

fizzy popsicles DIY

Today I’m teaming up with Airheads Candy to make a fun, fizzy, and sweet ice pop. These fun ice pops are perfect for a summer party!

fizzy popsicles 1

fizzy popsicles 10

fizzy popsicles

How to Make Perfectly Fizzy Ice Pops…

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in DIY, Food, Groceries, & Recipes, Sponsored
Just When You Think About Giving Up…

hold on

Just when you think about giving up, remember why you’ve held on for so long.

Need a boost? Bring up whatever you’re struggling with financially here in the Community area. Trust me, you are not alone.

Need a kick in the pant’s kind of boost? Read through the Debt Free Life Pledges. These people have some serious hope and motivation, and they believe they can change their lives. I believe they can change their lives too. I believe you can change your life too. Do you want it bad enough? That’s the only thing you need to decide.


in Motivation
5 Very Good Reasons to Become a Cheapskate

5 very good reasons to become a cheapskate

The term ‘Cheapskate’ is not always thought of in a good light. However, in light of the economy and the need to consider your future financial situation, becoming a cheapskate is not an unreasonable goal to set. Whether you call yourself cheap, thrifty, frugal, or financially smart doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you are proactively saving cash or knocking out your debt so you can have a good future down the road.

There are plenty of reasons to become a Cheapskate today but here are 5 for you to consider upfront in case you have doubts about the benefits of living cheaply.

5 Very Good Reasons To Become A Cheapskate…

Read More »


in Paying Off Debt
“How I Paid Off All My Student Loans in Just 2 Years”

how i paid off all my student loans

This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg at Narrow Bridge Finance who is also a fellow Denver blogger that I got to meet last year at FinCon and at various local meet-ups before the conference. He’s a good guy, and I’m happy to share his getting out of debt success story with you!

In March last year, I proudly announced that I had paid off my student loans and requested a celebratory flyover by the Blue Angels. While the Blue Angels never came, it has been wonderful to spend nearly a year without paying a cent of student loan interest. Here is how I did it.

How I Paid Off My Student Loans in Two Years…

Read More »


in Guest Interviews, Motivation, Paying Off Debt, Student Loans
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!


in Spending Fast, Spending Fasters !!NEW!!, Student Loans
Don’t Give Up! You’ve Got This!

don't give up before the miracle happens

“Don’t give up before the miracle happens.” – Fannie Flagg

It’s easy to feel discouraged when things get tough through the getting out of debt process but I have to urge you to continue on. If you haven’t started your getting out of debt journey yet, believe that’s it IS possible to become debt-free.

Please, do not give up before you start. You deserve a debt-free life so let’s kick some debt-ass together and get on with some good living!

You’ve SO got this!


in Motivation
  • 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!

    ⭐︎Come back throughout the day for updates.

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