“I Decided I’m Going on a Spending Fast for One Year. Today is Day 1.”

kelly newell scout dry goods omaha

Earlier in the month I got a text from my sister, Kelly, and it said, “I decided I’m going on a Spending Fast for one year. Today is Day 1.” Internally, I completely freaked out. But, I tried to keep it contained so I didn’t seem too excited (for the fear of scaring her off with my over-the-top enthusiasm). I replied with a simple and contained, “Whoa. Cool!” All of my family and friends have been hearing about the Spending Fast for a grip now, and I’ve never pushed it on anyone. My thinking is that they know I’ve gotten out of debt, they know how I did it, and if they want to ask me any questions or have me give them any support through a getting out of debt mission (Spending Fast or not) that I am totally there for them. You can’t force anyone to do anything because that’s just obnoxious, and it doesn’t work anyway so I don’t do it. Plus, the Spending Fast is hard, and it can really, really suck at times so you’ve got to be ready to deal with that if you’re going to take on a Spending Fast. (While it’s insanely effective, it’s not magic; hard work and sacrifice is required so, sometimes, other methods should be tried 1st.) All that to say that I am soooooooo, sooooo excited (I’m not gonna hold back now), and proud of my sister for making the decision to change her life by doing a Spending Fast. I’ve seen how powerful it can be in my life and in other people’s lives so I’m excited to see how it will end up changing someone’s life that I’m so close to. Plus, it’ll be interesting to be on the other side of a Spending Fast… 


Hi, I’m Kelly, Anna’s identical twin sister. My stats: 35 years old, business owner, recently divorced, 3 kids under 10, boyfriend, no pets. I’m currently embarrassed by how much debt I have so I’m not going to say the full number yet. I’ve been thinking about doing the Spending Fast for years, and now it’s finally time to do it. I’ve got credit card debt, lawyer debt, student loan debt (owed to a financial institution and to my parents), a car loan and another debt. I’ve seen Anna’s success with getting out of debt and with how quick she’s was able to do it, and I want to be debt free too.

I started the Spending Fast officially on November 5, 2014.

My biggest trouble areas are eating out and unfocused spending at places like Target.

Like Anna, after I decided to do the Spending Fast I felt instant relief, and then, about an hour after that I got notified that a tax return appeal that I was hoping for did indeed come through so I put that money directly on my number 1 priority bill: my personal credit card. I also redeemed awards from my bank for cash ($150), and put that money towards my credit card debt, as well. 3 days into the Spending Fast, and my personal credit card was completely paid off! $6,884.21 saved! Had I not decided to do the Spending Fast I would’ve spent that tax return money on random stuff, like usual, and my debt would still be there.


Other things I’ve done this first week to save money…

    • Cancelled Netflix – Savings: $9 month
    • Cancelled my internet at my home – Savings: $57 month. I cancelled it because my phone still works without it, and I noticed that the battery was just getting used up faster. Plus, I have an office and store with internet service that I can use when I need it.
    • I cancelled my membership to the YMCA because I never went anyway, and because I have a mountain bike, treadmill, and weights in my basement. Also, I have a membership to another gym that’s already been paid for in advance and that was only $50 for the year so if I REALLY want to go to a gym anytime soon I can go there. Savings: $54 a month.
    • I did decide to keep my Audible membership so I can have something to listen to while working out, and that’s $14.95 a month.

The next debt I’m going to tackle is to my lawyer, Bill. My debt with him is currently at 3,911.07. I did set up a payment plan with him but he added a 7% interest rate to the original amount because while we were setting up the payment arrangements apparently I missed a payment, and the 7% was the penalty he added on. That was not ideal but because of that high-interest rate he will now get paid sooner rather than later. So far, in November I’ve paid the lawyer $350, and I made an additional payment of $260.

I’ve got 3 little kids so, of course, I’m concerned about the upcoming holidays. My daughter is 10, and this year she is fully aware of the materialistic haul that is possible to come out of Christmas. She’s already said she wants: a computer, an iPod, a phone, and I stopped listening after that.

felt rainbow christmas ornament

I’ve told her about “mom’s Spending Fast”, and that we’ll still have an amazing Christmas but it might look a little different than it has in year’s past. I always get the kids ornaments for Christmas, and I just made my daughter hers the other night when I was at home distracting myself from the temptation to go out to eat. (It’s a rainbow with a cloud coming out of it, and it’s felt. It has a smiley face, eyelashes, and buck teeth. I also tucked a little handwritten note inside it with my hopes and wishes for her. Then, I sewed it shut.)

Something that will make this Year of the Spending Fast really interesting is that I am a small business owner. I own a clothing store in Omaha, and it’s currently in its 6th year. It’s hard to do a Spending Fast, and not have that penetrate every area of my life so my shop, Scout, will be going on a Spending Fast with me. I still have startup loan debt that I’d like to knock out, a line of credit with some debt on it, and an outstanding bill from my accountant.


Do you have any tips about how to save money with kids, and explain money issues to them? And, do you have any ideas about how to make Christmas special without spending any money?

Wish me luck! – Kelly

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp!


19 thoughts on ““I Decided I’m Going on a Spending Fast for One Year. Today is Day 1.”

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  1. Paula

    You inspired me 15 plus years ago, and your doing it again. Next Friday is my 35th birthday and will be the start of my spending fast!!!!!! Lawyer, debts, school loan (not that I will get that completely paid off in a year!!) I have done much more difficult things over the past two years so I am up for the challenge!!! You go ladies!!!!

  2. Lauren B

    This is going to be a hard, long journey, and you’re going to kick it’s butt! Just imagine the huge relief waiting at the end of it all.

  3. Shannon

    My parents went through spending diets when they had lots of credit card debt. The thing I will always remember is that my mom would redirect is a lot instead of just saying no. We wanted to go to a movie! How about we build a giant fort of pillows and make our own popcorn at home instead? It still felt special (we got a fort!) and not like we were missing out. For holidays, I would try to do something as a family for those less fortunate. That won’t make your own family feel like they are missing out…in fact it may make them appreciate the things they already own and not need to want all the things!

  4. Jenna

    Anna/ Kelly — I had no idea you were twins! My sister and I run a personal finance blog together. It’s fun. :) Congratulations on paying of so much debt within two weeks of starting this spending fast!

  5. Nicole B

    The way I, a wife and mother of two, get through the holidays is Opinion Outpost. I do quite a bit of surveys and get things like gift cards in return. I then use these to buy things or just give them as gifts on their own. Love your post

  6. Holly S

    I am going to be very interested in following your spending fast because the main reason I hadn’t tried this after being inspired by Anna’s is the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to work it with two teenagers in the house.

  7. Courtney L

    So excited to see how you do, best of luck! (Thank you Anna for adding more stories of people starting their spending fasts/diets, I find their stories so inspirational. I can’t get enough!)

  8. Christine Lamitina

    How inspiring! I am taking baby steps towards my own spending fast, hoping to start officially January 1.

    For Christmas gifts, I’ve been able to buy a lot of gifts thanks to basically-free coupons from JCPenney and Kohls. Both send me $10 off a $10 purchase.

    Swagbucks and other reward programs are a great way to earn gift cards in exchange for doing tasks, taking surveys, watching videos.

    Finally, check out Dollar Tree! There is some junk, but you can find toys, books, and other giftable items.

  9. Marianna

    You might be able to get audiobooks from your local library for free and be able to cancel your Audible subscription. (I just looked and the Omaha Public Library does offer this) That’s what I do, and I go through like 6 books a month. They don’t always have the book I want, but it’s gotten me into reading stuff I wouldn’t usually read. There’s also Librivox, which is not quite as equivalent a substitute, but the guy who reads the Mark Twain books is awesome.

  10. Cattis

    Hi Kelly! I´m really excited to follow your journey here at andthenwesaved. My kids are 6 and 8 yrs old and when they where 4 and 6 we saved up $13500 to pay of a loan. We had a staple on a piece of paper on our fridge, and everytime we paid of another part we took a big pen and painted the amount (also cheering and dancing everytime). The kids got really in to it and when summer came and we only had one tenth of the original amount left to pay they were ready to give up icecream and vacations to get to zero. But I had to put down my foot there and tell them to eat icecream and live a little as well ;) We try to involve our kids, but as you wrote it´s much easier when they´re smaller. Now their wishlist read something like your tenyearsolds…

  11. Ebonique

    I use an app called Overdrive instead of audibles. You can download ebooks and audiobooks to your device. All you need is your local library card.
    that would be another $14.95 /month saved

  12. Elizabeth Carole

    I’ll be honest… The idea of going on a spending fast with kids is frightening (even more frightening than just the spending fast itself)! I’m super excited to hear about the results. Might just have to make a decision by January 1st if I have the guts to do it too!

  13. Lisa | Happy By

    Good luck Kelly! Can’t wait to read your updates through your journey.
    I don’t have kids yet and I can’t give granted tips, but one thing I have to say is definitely explain your goals to them and involve them into your process. Don’t let them end up feeling miserable, but teach them to find joy in alternative ways. I so wish someone taught me (by setting an example) how to do smarter shopping and how to get the right option for something I needed. It will be hard for you, as I didn’t even have a Christmas wishlist as a kid, but not impossible. Your children will thank you sooner than you think.

  14. Kathryn

    Wow that is amazing! With so much done in those first few days you are going to rock this!!
    If you asked me what I got for Christmas when I was 10 or younger I couldn’t tell you! What I remember is being so excited that Santa had come (leaving sparkles in the fire place – clearly magic dust) and having drunk the milk, eaten the cookies. I think using these kinds of things to make it a special memory rather then spending lots of the gifts themselves is a great idea.
    Of course they will want presents, and you can still use a budget to make these things happen. Even if they get one main present and a few handmade things they will be happy.
    Most of the fun for Christmas is waiting for it to come, why not put together an advent calendar to boost the fun counting down to Christmas. Create some new traditions – I know one family that do a bit of a clean out of old toys they don’t use and they get their kids to donate them to childrens charities, this teaches your kids good habits of giving at Christmas as well as keeping the clutter down when new gifts start coming in.
    Hope some of these ideas help!

  15. andy

    Good luck Anna,

    I rang my bank (in Australia) today to query / attempt to get a fee waived – 10 minutes into the conversation, I’d negotiated my interest rate down by about 0.2% which was a much more significant saving than the fee in question.

    My point is – negotiate everything! Especially the big ticket items (and I’d also suggest taking up walking / running – it’s free and a good time to listen to audible and / or podcasts!)


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