Keep your eyes on the prize. It’s all about becoming debt-free baby!
Sign-up for Free Updates!
Super Popular Posts
Do It Yourself!
Wanna Know More?
Keep your eyes on the prize. It’s all about becoming debt-free baby!
This post is by Chelsea who is currently doing a Spending Fast®.
Being on a Spending Fast can seem like such a drag! Since starting my third month of no spending, I have realized that being on this Spending Fast is actually awesome! I know what you are thinking, just hear me out. Obviously I wish that I didn’t have debt and could buy anything that I wanted. Instead, I have found that while on this year-long adventure, I have been able to do some really cool, unexpected things…for free!
Since my boyfriend and I aren’t going out on the town like we used to, I have become a little creative with my time.
The Benefits to Being on a Spending Fast…
I’m thrilled to show you this short sketch video that Becoming Your Own Bank created for And Then We Saved. If you haven’t done so already (or if you want to re-new your pledge) sign-up for the Debt Free Life Pledge right here. I don’t get anything out of you taking the pledge. I really just want you to have a debt-free life too! xo, anna
Thanks Becoming Your Own Bank!
What do you think does the sketch video tell my story and the And Then We Saved story well?
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!
Admittedly, old habits can seem hard to break. When you get into your own daily routines, you tend to wander along through your days without changing too much. This is because routine is comfortable and change is tends to feel very uncomfortable.
When it comes to money, people get set in their ways with how they do things just like we do in other areas of our lives. We pay our bills, put money into savings (ideally) or we avoid our bills and over-spend; everyday waking up and going to work so we can keep our lives moving.
Many times, when we have never-ending debts we tend to shrink away from our obligations because they feel so overwhelming. I know I was stuck in the cycle of doing just the bare-minimum to keep my head about water but when I started to make itty-bitty jolts of progress or when I had money in my pockets it felt weird. I was so used to being broke and struggling that having things go any other way were super forgein. I had to re-train my brain to get more and more comfortable with the idea of things not being how they historically had been. Who would’ve guessed that as terrible as being in debt felt that having money in my account would feel strange too.
Getting Out of Your Money Comfort Zone…
Whoa. It’s been 3 years (as of December 29th) since I started this site as a way to document my impending Spending Fast, and I always like to look back at the previous year to take it all in and appreciate what’s happened and the progress that’s been made.
The first year (2010) was all about the Spending Fast, and I managed to eliminate close to 18k that first year (!!).
The second year (2011) was all about the Spending Diet, and I managed to eliminate the remaining debt. It took a total of 15 months to knock-out the debt that I thought I would die with.
This third year (2012) has been all about trying to learn how to spend “normally”. Some months have been super easy and other months, super terrible. I guess that’s about as “normal” as it gets, huh?
Some highlights from the year…
I wanted to share some recent (super!) exciting news with you! If you take a look at the January issue of Self Magazine (page 72), and the February issue of Psychology Today (page 82), you’ll see my big ol’ mug staring back at ‘cha.
I’m so excited to be included in these magazines because it means that more people will discover that there really is hope to live a debt-free life!
Thanks for letting me share this with you! xo, Anna
p.s. Aaron really liked that I was given a ‘D’ by Self Magazine for not getting him on board with my Spending Fast plan from the beginning. D’oh… :)
This is super exciting! I am the proud owner of the Spending Fast ® trademark, and get to use the fancy *® *symbol now! ;) It was a long process so it’s great that it all worked out! Let me know if you have any questions about how it works, and if you have any questions about present or future usage of Spending Fast ® on your own site. xo!
Awhile back the lovely Charmel Delos Santos did a guest post for And Then She Saved (read her post here) and now she has written a book called High Heeled Traders. I was honored (and shocked) when she told me that she included me in the acknowledgements section of the book.
High Heeled Traders discusses why women are natural traders, and how being intuitive with trends is an asset with investing.
Charmel is giving 3 readers a paperback copy of the book and she is spreading the love by giving everyone a free preview of the book here!
**This Giveaway is now closed***
♥ To win a copy of the book just register on her site for a mandatory entry here and then leave a comment below letting me know you have done so.
The Giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 2nd at 8pm Mountain Time. When you enter please be sure to leave your email address in the fields where it asks for it so I can have a way to contact you if you win.
Thanks and good luck! xo anna
One day we took a day-long road-trip to a Gulf of Mexico beach and it turned out to be a very sunny but chilly and windy time. We got blasted with sand most of the day and did our best to ignore it. Hours later on the way home we realized we had gotten fried since we hadn’t re-applied the sunscreen like we normally would’ve on a typical hot sunny day. What the experts say is true, the sun can (and will) still burn you even if it doesn’t seem like it will. We poured vinegar all over our burns (it’s really does help with the pain, you know vinegar is amazing, right?) and took some pain relievers.
Lesson learned sun. Lesson learned.
It was fun to get away from my normal routine and to do things I normally don’t get a chance to do like (among other things): be roommates with a 13 month old, eat humongous spoonfuls of chocolate chunk cookie dough ice cream at 11pm, have late-night giggly/serious conversations, and watch movies on a nice/amazing/wow TV (ours is a 15 year old TruTech;).
While it’s fun to get away I can’t help but feel guilty too. I mean, I spent money on a plane ticket! A plane ticket that wasn’t a Need. Plus, I still have that frustrating medical bill that just won’t quit. I know I should be piling money onto that bill so I can get it over with already but I’m fighting it for some reason. Like, I just want to pay the $150 that I agreed to pay, for like, ever. There’s no interest accruing so that crosses my mind too, that it technically and officially wouldn’t “harm” me to pay it super slow. But, the fact that it even exists, that I even have to think about it and that it weighs on me, that’s a signal that it’s not cool. After doing the Spending Fast and Spending Diet I’m super tuned-in to the fact that I need to deal with it and knock that bill out already even if I don’t really want to (I don’t).
Part of me thinks that I shouldn’t spend any money at all since I write this personal finance/frugality/debt-free living blog. I kind of feel like I’m betraying this side of my life when I spend money, even though I did the work and got out of the debt that was weighing on me so heavily.
I was surprised when I got to talking to some fashion bloggers at a recent clothing swap and we were talking about this issue. I told them I felt guilty if I spent money and they were saying they felt guilty for encouraging consumerism and the “want, want, want” nature of our culture by doing their fashion and shopping posts. It was totally eye-opening to see that I wasn’t alone, and that the guilt runs rampant ;) throughout the blogging world, even in completely opposite blogs and sites.
But then I think, “Why did I want to get out of debt in the first place?” It wasn’t so I could have a life full of guilt! It was so I could have freedom! So I could have autonomy. So I could do fun stuff without the guilt of over-spending and getting into even more debt. So I didn’t have to have that cyclical remorse anymore.
More than anything I got out of debt so that I could have a good life. Now, without the debt hanging over my head and grabbing mega chunks of my paycheck every month there actually is more money for fun stuff and not the pretend credit money that I used to have and rely on.
Having a good, fun, nice, happy, autonomous life was the point, and continues to be the point for me with getting and staying out of debt. I want to be able to travel, buy new clothes, and live in a nice house if I want.
What’s the point of going to work everyday, working hard to get yourself out of debt, working hard to keep yourself out of debt, being diligent day-in and day-out if you can’t enjoy yourself once in awhile? If you can’t reap the benefits?
Life is about learning, and growing, and enjoying (and probably some other stuff). It’s not about work, work, work.
Set your priorities, set your goals, achieve your goals, live the life you want and don’t be bound to the crap you don’t need to be thinking about anymore (debt).
What kind of life do you REALLY want to live? What’s your biggest motivator to get out of debt?
I found a crazy good deal on a flight online (is there any other way these days?) so I went on a little trip to visit my very good long time friend and see her two cute little boys (one I’ve never even met before, and that was too sad). I’m staying at her and her family at their house and we’re eating from the grocery store. Since I won’t have hotel, restaurant expenses, or the cost of a rental car this will be an inexpensive trip. Heck yeah for good friends and budget traveling!
Since I won’t be posting here the first part of the week check out my Twitter @andthenwesaved, Facebook, as I’ll be linking to some of my favorite archived posts. I’ll also be on Instagram @andthenwesaved (what’s up Android users) so check those feeds out for updates.
Have a great Easter and I’ll see you next week! xo, Anna
p.s I’ve officially decided that the award for most filling, cheap, quick, healthy, and consistently available airport meal is the Starbucks oatmeal. I do mine with all the toppings (they don’t cost more so why not?) and I have them add a little extra water to make it less poridge-y. For $2.53-ish it’s officially the winner of Cheapest Travel Food.
I never play the lottery but last week I saw that the Mega Millions was up to $290 million so I bought a ticket. The slogan they have of “If you don’t play you can’t win” came right to my mind (that’s a sign of a great slogan, since it came to mind right as I was considering if I should buy a ticket or not).
So, I bought a ticket. Now, it looks like no one won last week’s drawing so the jackpot is up to $500 million!?!?!
With all the talk about the Mega Millions jackpot not being claimed last week it got me thinking about if I should put my name in the hat again this week. I can see this being a slippery slope since I don’t ever really do things in moderation. Have you noticed, moderation isn’t really my thing? I could see myself getting into a habit of wanting to enter every week, and thinking, “Well, it’s just a dollar!”
It’s so incredibly fun to day-dream about winning. How life would change and how it would stay the same (and if you would even want it to stay the same).
I freaked out when I found out an acquaintance of mine had won 6 million dollars in the Colorado Lottery 10 years ago. He keeps in on the down-low (for obvious reasons) and you would never guess that he won from just meeting him. He’s so down-to-earth and he’s a genuinely nice and kind person. He even let me interview him about THE BIG LOTTO WIN. I also like looking at this gallery of other former lottery winners and day-dreaming that I’m one of them;)
What would your plan be if you won? What would be the first thing you would buy? Who would be the first person you told? Are you buying a ticket?
Missed the Accessories Swap? Here’s a great video that Ben Simkins created for Handbags.com. I love the part when the swap opens and all the ladies are running and picking up items (at the 1:28 mark;)
I was poking around on the internet this morning and found some fun things…
Love this cheerful room. Neon and fringe unite!
A cheap way to add some personality to simple shoes. (Might suggest this idea to my sister for her wedding this fall;)
No need to buy speakers. This is a brilliant idea!
Some Saturdays (this one) call for this station.
Mad style in a denim suit.
It’s fun to day-dream about my Dream Home. (Do you have a Dream House?)
Remember this everyday.
What are you up to this weekend?
The Accessories Swap photobooth photographs are posted!
To view the photobooth photographs:
Then: Click on the Accessories Swap gallery
The photobooth just adds a little extra fun to any event. I love seeing all the shots after events to see what people did in the photos.
Next Wednesday, February 8th there is a Clothing Swap and Fashion Show happening here in Denver. It is sponsored by Goodwill, Inc. and Project Runway Denver-based design stars Mondo Guerra, Fallene Wells (check out her Kickstarter project), and Julie Tierney will be showcasing their re-purposed and upcycled fashions at the event.
I’ll be covering the Clothing Swap and Fashion Show for The Swapaholics (I love their slogan: “Retail Therapy Meets Recycling), and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be reporting back on the event, and if you’re going to go too be sure to say “Hi”!
And Then She Saved is on blazin’ hot!
Last month page views topped 49,105 IN 1 DAY!
With monthly page views reaching OVER HALF A MILLION! (say what!? so awesome!)
I’m so happy to offer advertising on And Then She Saved! My blog is a personal blog about my personal journey out of debt and since money touches every area of life and many different aspects of life my blog appeals to a lot of different people.
And Then She Saved readers are smart, pro-active and motivated. Readers are primarily college educated women between the ages of 25 – 34. This is one of the most powerful and influential groups of people out there! (It’s exciting!)
And Then She Saved has been featured on CNNMoney, Clark Howard, Yahoo, Business Pundit and a whole bunch of other places. Readership is high and is expected to reach even higher levels.
Big things are in the works! I can’t wait to tell you ALL about them!
Click here for more detailed information and to support And Then She Saved.
Today, I went to Walgreens to pick up a prescription and I found my old demons tugging at me. It’d be so much easier to not have to spend any money on anything. I find myself running into problems and bigger temptations when I’m spending money on something on my “allowed” list. (see “The Guidelines”)
The hardest part of the Spending Fast has been just changing my habits… so much of it is habit, habit, habit. Like, “Oh, I’m hungry after the gym/work so I’ll just go pick something up to bring home for dinner” or “I’m bored, I’ll go take a look in this store” or, “The bus is taking too long… I’ll go over to the coffee shop and get a little something” or, “I’ve been working so hard and I deserve a little treat… something new, yeah”.
This is a habit that is taking a bit of time to break… really a lot of rearranging of my thinking as been happening. The thing I’m really looking forward to at the end of this 1st month is being able to see how much money I can put into savings and how much extra money I can put into paying off my credit card. I’m hoping that will make these tough times worth it.
Something that has been helping me with buying the off-brand versions of foods at the grocery store is to put the generic version of the item in the old name brand package.
Like this for example:
Say you buy some Kroger oats (this is our local grocery store King Soopers generic brand) just go ahead and pour those generic oats into the Quaker oats container. Then when that white-haired Quaker fellow is staring at ya from the cupboard it doesn’t feel nearly as painful to eat those oats. At least for me. Plus oats are cheap! Even better.
Here’s another example for you: when you run out of your fancy coffee shop coffee go ahead and fill up that 1/2 lb bag with Folgers or whatever inexpensive coffee you have around and it instantly tastes better!
The power of suggestion really does seem to have magical powers.
Someone went and got crafty. You’ll never guess who.
Usually, when I start a new project and launch an idea I get a set of cards made so I can easily hand ‘em to folks if I happen to talk to them about what I’m up to. Makes sense to me.
So, since I recently started this site I found myself wanting some new cards to tell people all about what I’m up to now. Then, of course I remembered that because of this very project RIGHT HERE THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING that I wasn’t going to be purchasing anything anytime soon. hhmmmm. so now what?
Crazily, I started putting items together that I already had in my house. It was actually kinda fun because it made me think about the things I already had available but normally wouldn’t even think of using… cuz I’d normally just go and buy what I want. You can see who’s gotten out of the habit of being a crafty lass.
Soon, I was ripping through the recycling bin and pulling out old cereal boxes, a brown bag, and some other random cardboard pieces and other thicker pieces of paper. I pulled out some markers and scissors and was on my way to being straight up crafty. “These are gonna look great!” I thought. Until I started being crafty on the cards and they were looking a little weird and not at all good. If only I had thought ahead and KNEW I would want cards I coulda got em on 12/31! ugh. Then I remembered how I almost bought this great HUGE alphabet stamper:but refrained for some unknown reason. Ugh again. That thing would’ve so come in handy! But that’s before I remembered that uhhhh, duuhhhh, I ALREADY OWN alphabet stamps and had completely forgot about them! Once I remembered them I realized I didn’t like their “font” anymore and decided it was that or nothing so I sucked it up and started stamping and being crafty already.
There I was cutting cute roundy cornered cardboard and paper and stamping and cutting and stamping and you get the picture and the final result turned out to be the cards at the top of this post! that I actually like!
And there you have it… homemade website cards on varying shades of brown, tan and white and stamped with varying shades of brown, dark brown and bronze. There is also a special surprise treat for each card recipient… they will receive fragments of Count Chocula’s face or a close up of a Boca Chik’n patty! What lucky people!
Amount spent on new website cards $0. (!) saweet
8 hours, 17 minutes and 59 seconds left until the Spending Fast begins and 2010 is here!!
Happy (Almost) New Year!