BLOG Anniversary Feeeeeelings + A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

don't give up

If you can believe it (I can’t!) this blog started 5 years ago on 12/29/09! I started it just as a way to keep me on track while I attempted my year-long Spending Fast to try to get rid of my 6k in credit card debt (a task that I thought was insurmountable, btw). I never, EVER would have guessed that not only would I be able to absolutely CRUSH that $6,000 in debt but that just 15 months after I started the Spending Fast that I’d be completely debt-free (my mind is still constantly blown that it happened so fast!). And, who would’ve guessed that I’d still be typing away on And Then We Saved a whole 5 years later…!?!? (Not me, for sure.)

There are so many cool things I’ve got in the works for 2015 that I can’t wait to share with you. The main thing that I’ve been working on is my book that will be all about How to Do a Spending Fast! Writing it has been such a crazy experience: fun, tedious, rewarding, sometimes absolutely overwhelming but mostly completely fulfilling. Throughout the whole process, before I start writing, I’ve read this little yellow sticky note that’s taped to my computer screen. It says, “Please guide my words as I write so this book so it can be a channel to help the most people change their lives.” That’s the goal: make the book the vehicle for the Get-Out-of-Debt-as-Quick-as-Humanely-Possible-So- You-Can-Get-On-with-Your-Life-Already message! That’s the goal I hope to accomplish with the book. I absolutely cannot wait for you to read it, and have a tangible, complete and comprehensive Spending Fast guide right at your finger-tips! The book will be published in January 2016, and I’ll keep you posted about its status as I learn more throughout this upcoming year up to (and beyond) it’s release date.


A few other things I’ve got in the works:

– Developing an e-course (! can’t wait to share it with you! I think you’re going to love it!)

– Structuring a coaching program to help readers who need (or just want) more individualized attention and assistance through the Spending Fast or Spending Diet.

– Monthly updates about the TOTAL AMOUNT of debt our community has paid off or saved as a result of the Spending Fast or Spending Diet (I’m SO excited to share the current debt pay-off total with you. It’s unbelievably inspiring how much debt we’ve all paid off and put into savings so far!).

– Developing a few tangible items to help remind you of your goals every day!


Everything changed when I gave up, stopped fighting against my debt, and faced my excessive overspending. I put my hands up and succumbed (succumb?) to the reality of my reality. As soon as I realized that everything I had been trying to do to get out debt was failing miserably, and once I came clean with my friends and family about being straight up broke, and overwhelmed THAT’S when the real changes starting happening. When I gave up, when I let go, that’s when I got my power back. To gain power by giving up? Trust me, the irony is not lost on me.

I realized that I didn’t have to be a victim of my past choices, and when I made the choice to do the Spending Fast, I found that money starting coming TOWARDS me instead of being REPELLED by me. Everything got flipped around when I let down my “I’ve totally got all my shit together!” facade, and was honest about who I was and where I was at. I stopped agreeing to do things I couldn’t afford, I stopped getting myself deeper and deeper into debt trying to look more successful than I was, and I was able to just be who I really was… minus all the struggle, misery, and guilt.

This thing – the debt-free thing – is (excuse my language) F -ing amazing. (There is just no other way to emphasize my passion for it without swearing, I guess.) I want you to have this feeling too! I want you to be free from that horrible DEBT that is hanging over your head, and weighing you down.

I don’t have incredible willpower, and I didn’t do anything that you can’t do. You can start today, and you can change your life. There is nothing I want more for you than this.  You deserve this. You can do this.

To celebrate this blog’s anniversary I want to give a reader a poster (of the beautiful art above by shopannshen) with a saying that sums up what it’s all about: Don’t Give Up. When the Spending Fast is tough, when you want to quit, when you lose sight about why you wanted to get out of debt in the first place, when you get discouraged, when you get overwhelmed… I want you to always remember, Don’t Give Up. You absolutely can do this. YOU CAN BE DEBT FREE.

Thanks for entering! The giveaway is now closed.

I’m not going to make you sign up for anything or follow me on any social media channels, or anything. To enter, just leave a comment below telling me how And Then We Saved has helped you, and be sure to fill in the name and email fields so I can contact you if you win. Since we have readers all over the world this giveaway is open to international readers, as well! I’ll select a random winner on Monday, January 5th at 9:00 MST, and I will contact the winner shortly after. Good luck and thank you so much for reading my blog, and for being so amazing and supportive throughout the years. xo – Anna

The winner is Ashley! Congratulations! You’ll get an email from me soon! – Anna

P.S. You’ve got this. Take the Debt-Free Life Pledge.


61 thoughts on “BLOG Anniversary Feeeeeelings + A Giveaway! (CLOSED)

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  1. Morgan

    I’ve been following the blog since the beginning! I’ve been inspired by the blog and have used many tips to stay motivated & on track! Thank you so much from a stay-at-home Mum of three from small town, Ontario!

  2. Rachel

    This site has helped me think about my spending habits, how I save, and helped me kickstart a whole new way of thinking about money/debt.

    Thanks Anna!

  3. Nikki

    Your site is the hammer in my debt-free tool belt! I read your new article releases as soon as they come out and am excited for your new stuff too!

  4. Angelia

    This might be something you can incorporate into your blog – the importance of only walking around with minimal checkbooks/credit/debit cards, and of making front/back copies of credit/debit cards in your wallet so all the 1-800 numbers are all together if you have to call and cancel your cards. (Keep this list in a safe place, of course!) and also make a copy of insurance cards and ID. I am blessed that my Credit Union can make me a new debit card on the spot. The good news is that I found my wallet and I will not walk around with 2 checkbooks and multiple cards anymore, and I will be uber-careful from now on!

  5. Kristina

    I’m young yet, and don’t have any debt, but this site has a lot of great advice on money in general. Too many people assume that you can just get a credit card or a student loan without thinking of the consequences. Once I decide to go to college, I will definitely look to this site for alternative ways to save and how to pay loans off quickly.

  6. Lauren B

    I love that print! ATWS has helped me stay on track with useless spending. I luckily only have my car debt, but I plan to pay that off ASAP.

  7. Christine Treece

    I’m just getting started on my debt payoff journey but you’ve given me great tips and the motivation to begin. Thank you and happy new year!

  8. amanda s.

    Your blog is a daily reminder to pay attention to the way my man and I spend. We became parents this year and it’s been a constant struggle. January will be the first month we will actually diet (and hopefully soon fast) on spending. I know it’s redundant but new year, new outlook! Thanks for the tips and tricks and by all means, keep ’em comin’! <3

  9. Gina

    I’ve been reading the blog since around September of this year. I love reading about people paying down debt and their experiences. I’ve been inspired to set more realistic goals and to forgive myself for the hiccups along the way. Love the blog and even though I’m not quite ready to do a spending fast yet, I did try a spending diet for a month and it was actually pretty successful. Looking forward to more stories in 2015.

  10. Mandi

    When I began the spending fast in March, I wanted to pay off my husband’s £10,000 in credit card debt and my $60,000 in student loans. In 7 months we managed to pay off £10,000 ($18,000) and we were so happy! Unfortunately, my husband died suddenly after 7 months from a rare, aggressive illness leaving me a young widow. The spending fast helped leave me with considerably less debt that if we hadn’t undertaken it, but more importantly not spending any money for 7 months meant that my husband and I spent so much quality time together in those last few months making them the happiest of our lives. We worked together on improving our home with DIY to save and were constantly dreaming of what we would do when we debt free. Not spending money meant that we enjoyed the simple things in life every second of every day. I’m also grateful that the spending fast changed my relationship with money so that when I ended up having to live on just my income I didn’t really need to cut back on anything but the amount of debt I could pay off each month. My dream of being debt free has been pushed back without my husband’s income (we never considered life insurance as he was only 30) but I am dedicated to being debt free one day as a way of honoring his memory. I know he wants me to pay off my debts and is cheering me on.

  11. Erin

    I found your website while researching/procrasterbating personal finance blogs, and have committed myself to paying off my 27K worth of debt before I’m 30. I’ll be starting my first spending fast January 1st.

  12. Nicole

    Your blog has helped me SO much, where do I begin? I never even gave my debt a thought until I read your blog. I just figured it would follow me through life, or at least until I’m like 50. Then I read this blog, and realized that it doesn’t have to be that way. I can break free from the chains of student loan companies! This blog inspired me to start my own blog about getting out of debt. In 6 months, I’ve paid off at least $6,000! I have a long way to go, but at least now I’m doing something about it instead of burying my head in the sand.

  13. Sara

    I’ve been reading your blog over the last six months and I found your blog at a really good time – just when I needed it. I would sit with a cuppa tea and read away on those evenings when I felt trapped and in need of inspiration. Your posts of your spending fast and subsequent spending diet filled me with hope and I started to get a fire in my belly to face my debt and fears. I know I can get out of my high priority debt in 6 months and I’m like bring it – I know this whole fast thing ain’t gonna be easy but hey life ain’t easy and I’m stronger than I think. We don’t know our strength and sheer determination until we really challenge ourselves. I hope this time next year my partner and I are out of our high priority debt and starting to save for our wedding. I’m excited,nervous but I got that drive and I want to thank you for giving me that hope when I tnought I didn’t have it. Happy new year :))

  14. Arlene

    I subscribe to your blog through feebly and I love seeing your posts pop up in the dashboard! It’s a great reminder to stick to my money goals and get a little financial pick me up on a regular basis!

  15. Alexandra

    This site has given me great ideas and motivation for tackling my spending habits and student loans and working toward getting out of debt.

  16. Mary

    This blog has taught me that I’m not alone and that there is support and answers for getting into financial awareness.I’ve been inspired by the posts-I had a garage sale,cooked a ton at home and just started a faction savings fund with my kids.I am single mother and a college student so any extra encouragement I can get is much needed.I also must add it’s refreshing and endearing to hear common sense money advice from a peer(and not some old dude in a fancy suit) !
    ;) thank you so much for a hip,user-friendly,not intimidating site!

  17. Elizabeth Johnston

    I can’t quite remember how I found your site, but it was close to the beginning of your spending fast. Though I’ve been an avid follower since, I haven’t quite taken the leap to go all-the-way-in-water-over-head kind of thing. That changes now. It’s NYE and I’m so glad this year is over! Onward and upward to better things, and that includes a spending fast (while raising a 3.5 year old..eeeeppppp). Can’t wait to see what this next year has to offer. Thank you so much for this site!!!

  18. Ari

    I have been reading your blog weekly for several years. It has helped motivate me to curb my spending, budget, live frugally, and motivate myself to get out of debt quickly.

  19. Brenda Miller

    I’ve been reading the blog since almost the beginning, and it’s helped me stay on track by not going back into credit card debt and taking my family’s financial future seriously. Thank you so much!

  20. Angel Jem

    I’m just about to start a month long spending fast; I found your blog when looking for advice on how to complete one a couple of days ago and it will be a real source of inspiration and guidance to me. And I will never give up until I’m debt free again.

  21. Pieliekamais

    :) I believe this is the first blog that I read to do an international giveaway, yay! :) Thank you, that is very generous.

    What’s helped me most is you saying, “you can do hard things”. Now that’s something I’d want on a poster :).

  22. Ashley

    i love your site and your constant motivation to get out of debt. As a recent college grad it’s something i struggle with every day and I need all the advice I can get :D

  23. Sara

    This site has inspired me to complete my own year of “no spending.” And to feel confident and supported in my decision to choose to live in a mindful, responsible way with regards to money, spending, and acquiring stuff.

  24. Betsy

    I have over $50,000 in debt. I live in the middle of Boston with high rent and not so great income. I’ve been living paycheck to paycheck and reading this blog has given me hope that it is possible. 2015 is going to be my year!

  25. Kathy

    your sight inspired me to face my debt head on. It has guided me to a plan to get started that didn’t overwhelm me and set me up for failure.

  26. Katie

    I loved reading this post! This blog has meant more and more to me as time has passed and I’ve found myself underneath a mound of student loan debt-I don’t think I realized just how much I was in for until I actually had to start paying it back. And Then We Saved has helped me to take control of my situation and has inspired me to quit being a passive observer in my financial life. I’ve since met with a financial counselor, found ways to increase the money I bring in (started my own Etsy shop and got a second job), and made scheduled monthly payments toward my student loan debt. I haven’t 100% committed to a Spending Fast but I HAVE been following the model as much as I can these past few months. It doesn’t seem like that big of an effort until I type it all out!

    Now, with a handle on my path toward eliminating my debt, I can fully enjoy financial planning, saving money, and knocking down that number!

  27. C_Einer

    I discovered your blog and your Spending Fast® idea about a month ago and it’s just the challenge I have been looking for. I’ve signed the pledge for 2015, and am looking forward to the journey to financial freedom and peace. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  28. Jackie Gulbranson

    I struggled to pay off a large amount of credit card debt before I knew this site existed. I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when my balance was $0 but I still struggle with overspending and the impulse to buy things that are not important. That was how my brain was wired growing up, and to go against that has been an ongoing process. This site feels like the support network I needed and could have used a long time ago. Thank you, thank you.

  29. Rachel

    Your words have changed my life and thinking on how to pay off my debt. It’s purely inspirational to see your journey and evolution to guru of the spending fast.

  30. Maria

    I just stumbled across this site and I am so excited to learn and see more. I am tackling my debt as we speak and looking into doing the spending fast. Thanks for the support!!

  31. Heather

    While we aren’t ready to take the fast, I have been following some of the stories on the blog and using them as inspiration. We are doing okay, but there is certainly room for improvement!

  32. Stacey

    I don’t even remember how I came across And Then We Saved, but boy am I happy I did! I’ve gathered so many great tips about how to be frugal and save money in a smart way. My husband and I are focusing on saving for a house down payment in 2015, and I’ve contributed many ideas from ATWS to our plan!

  33. Meghan

    I found this blog through Pinterest and now I read it everyday. We’ve gotten out of debt and are now trying to save for the down payment on a house. My favorite posts are the ones about things to do without spending money! It inevitably ends up letting us spend more time together as a family!

  34. lesley

    I found your blog a few years back and have used it as inspiration especially when feeling a little hopeless about my debt. Thank you for bringing the process of getting out of debt into a positive and hopeful light!

  35. Val

    I love the transparency, Anna! I am agreeing with you – the best way one can achieve the impossible in any situation is to be honest with ourselves. I decided to “fess up” to myself, God and others in my life and found freedom and inner strength I’ve never had before. The future is bright for us as my family started the Spending Diet in the fall and having been living abundantly on half of what we used to spend! We will be doing the Spending Fast with you this year and really look forward to more of the support and encouragement you’re providing. I will be glad to share the successes as we go along. All the best to you and Happy New Year!

  36. Gabby

    I remember I saw this site published in a Self magazine article. I looked it up and read the about the Spending Fast (I read every post) and something clicked in me. I’ve since paid off about $28 000 of student loans, which I’m really proud of. It took a really long time and was a struggle but it got done :) I now follow a budget and am staying debt free.

  37. Ria De La Cruz

    this blog has kept me accountable. the community page has not only given me a place to ask questions, but to gain insight into other’s questions and realize that we all may seem like we’ve got it together on the surface, but have a lot of chaos going on underneath. sometimes I slip up during my journey to debt free life, and when I feel down about it, I visit ATWS and I’m inspired and motivated to keep going. Thank you thank you thank Anna. You seriously kick ass.

  38. Ronna

    Your blog has been really encouraging when trying to save money or watch what I spend. I love when you have ideas or tips for saving money but still living a fun, rich, and fulfilling life! You’ve also inspired me and my sister to start a spending fast this month. We haven’t sat down to plan it out yet, but it’s happening, and I’m excited! Thank you!

  39. Ali

    Just started a spending fast with my husband and I’m so excited for 2015!! I’m going to put it in my calendar to check every day just to give me some motivation to stay on task!

  40. Kayla

    Congratulations on the blogiversary!!! Your content has inspired my husband and I to start our own Spending Fast this year. So far so good!

  41. Ashlea K

    My friend referred me to your blog after an evening of wine and lamenting my student loan situation. After going back through years of archives, I was convinced to face this mountain of debt head on. I started my spending fast two days ago. So far I have resisted a variety of expenses, but probably the most telling, in terms of both personality and frivolous spending, is resisting the urge to buy a Groupon for an online animal psychology course for laughs. I just want to know what my dogs are thinking! Mostly kidding, but so far things have been going well. I have a strong support system of equally broke friends and family, so that helps. I’ve been loaned a crockpot and a sewing machine so making due and mending are about to become my new hobby. Now to attack 50K of student loans…

    Thank you for being such an inspiration!

  42. Kim Z

    This blog helps keep me inspired to do the work needed to live a debt-free life. I’m still a ways a way, but I’m learning that it takes time, perseverance, and lots of creativity! :)

  43. Abbie

    I think I stumbled upon your blog a couple of years ago when I was looking to do a no-spend challenge. (The fact that I had to do an internet search about is so, so sad.) It was great at the time, but I honestly wasn’t ready to change. I’ve been yearning for change for quite some time now, and I think I’m finally ready! Seeing the gym on your list made my heart a little happy because I do have a “need” item that would be on most people’s “want” list… but sometimes you need something to keep your sanity! I am going to tackle this debt once and for all! Seeing your plan laid out by month was really refreshing and has renewed my hope that it can be done.

  44. Melissa H

    I have been following your blog for over 4 years. It helped me take baby steps to accepting my debt and getting on a budget. Last year my boyfriend and I finally did a full out budget and wanted to use that time as a way to truly see how we were spending….holy cow! This december when we looked at our average spending and that we were overspending by about $577/month on top of debt really was a slap into reality. He’s adopted the spending diet with me for 2015 and we have a combined $100/month misc. $ after our needs are paid. We know it will be a rough year, but we can’t wait to see where we end up. Thank you for keeping this process fun and for all of your tips.

  45. Kate

    …and, squeaking into the last ten minutes…

    I’ve been really inspired by this blog. I’ve started my own spending fast and I’ve worked on a plan to pay off my $14k in debt (hoping to get it all done before I see 2017 on the calendar!). I’m two weeks into my fast and I’ve really enjoyed the challenge so far. I can’t wait to see where I’m at in a month (actually, I can’t wait to see where I’m at on Friday, when I get a paycheck with a ton of holiday pay on it!).

  46. Tyler

    Anna! I am so happy you are coming back in full force!!! I’ve been following your blog for the past few years, and it has been a source of relability in the debt struggle. You are an engaging writer and I appreciate that you don’t b.s. What we are doing IS hard, but like you say, totally doable, and totally worth it. Your blog has been a reminder of that, and an inspiration for me to whole-heartedly work to become debt free :) Also, I love your unique, creative ways to save, especially by doing things yourself. You are one impressive lady! Congrats on the blogiversary!!!

  47. debbie

    I especially liked the link about getting rid of things, 1 thing the first day, then 2, then 4…
    Boy did I clean out stuff! I love your attitude & the hints. It’s not about doing without, it’s about choosing the best things to spend on for YOU. And I don’t “deserve” anything I can’t afford. That way I don’t have to worry about paying for it later!

  48. Katie

    This blog has been an amazing example that it’s possible to get out of debt and stop the spending train. It’s a constant reminder to be mindful of my daily choices and how they add up.


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