Happy 3 Years! (& A Year-End Review)

happy 3 years

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…

Being able to go part-time with the state

The biggest thing that happened this year is that I was able to go part-time with my state job. I was only granted that freedom because I’m debt-free and therefore need less money to survive on. My husband and I still contribute the same amount to our joint account (that we pay our household bills from) that we did before I went part-time and other than that we still don’t “share” money. Being free from debt has given me the opportunity to pursue what I really love doing which is photography, and work more on this site. So far, being able to go part-time step has been the biggest day-to-day result of doing the Spending Fast and Spending Diet. Talk about a life-changer!

Blog re-design

The Freckled Nest crew made the site come to life in such a cute and organized way. I’m so happy with the work they did!

Readers and exciting press

And Then We Saved is now reaching close to half-a-million readers a month and has been featured in some very cool media outlets this year. It’s so awesome to be able to show people that getting out of debt is possible and that there is an extremely effective method of doing it. While the Spending Fast and Spending Diet can (admittedly) be completely terrible at times and seem like it is taking forever I would challenge anyone to find a more effective method for getting out of debt. Think about it like this, be okay with your life sucking for a year, suffer through it, and then your life is forever changed without the big debt cloud hanging over your head and angling all your decisions. Suffer now for a lifetime of freedom. The year seems crazy long when you’re in the midst of the Spending Fast but once it’s over it’s like, “That’s it!? That didn’t take long at all!” Seriously, life is way better on the debt-free side. Minor tangent there. Sorry, I just get so excited because I want everyone to have the freedom that comes with be debt-free!

Get Out of Debt Pledgers!

As of right now, 275 people have decided to change their lives by taking the Get Out of Debt Pledge! It’s beyond inspiring to read all the pledges and see how people are ready to change their lives for good! Whenever you are low on motivation head over there to get a jolt of “what it’s all about”.

Thriving Community

Seeing readers helping other readers warms my heart (not trying to sound cheesy but I can’t help it). To hear all the creative money-saving techniques you come up with and then to read as you support each other is beyond amazing. I’ve also just heard about a group of Spending Fasters who will be meeting in person to share their ups-and-downs with each other. That’s so amazing.


Thanks for being with me throughout everything, and I can’t wait to get started on 2013. I have a feeling it’s going to be really awesome! xo, Anna


What are your favorite posts from 2012 (doesn’t have to just be from this site), and what have been your best and worst financial moments of the past year?


13 thoughts on “Happy 3 Years! (& A Year-End Review)

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  1. Jane

    Hi Anna–

    Congratulations on being able to go part-time at your day job to pursue your passion!

    A way to help reduce the experience of suffering is to practice meditation and mindful living. What is more, frugal and mindful living go together almost seamlessly. Meditation/mindfulness has helped me choose frugal living as a natural extension. Of course, they are both works in progress, as am I.

    Happy New Year.


    1. Anna Newell Jones Post author

      Thanks Jane! It’s super exciting!

      Meditation is always something I want to be able to but I just can’t seem to get myself to slow down and do it. Gotta add that to my list of “things to work on”.

      1. Jane

        Hi Anna–

        Thanks for your response.
        I got started with meditation through reading and implementing “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. I have it on my Kindle. It made the whole process very doable. After 1 1/2 years, I am doing 30 minutes a day. What is more, mindful living (the application in daily life) is proving to be very helpful for me.

        Please let me know how I can be of help should you choose to pursue this more.

        Take care.


  2. Genine

    Hi Anna! Congrats for meeting all of your goals! You have inspired me to buckle down and stop making excuses for my spending habits. I discovered your blog through SELF magazine and I just had to learn more about the method you used to get out of debt! I absolutely LOVE this blog and am so excited for my Spending Diet (yippie!!!).

    Thank you for your awesome advice and motivational posts! I have a feeling 2013 is going to be a great year :)

  3. April C

    I’m so excited that I find you in Self magazine. I had JUST been googling for good non-boring money focused blogs and came up emptyhanded. I stayed up until 3am last night reading all sorts of interesting posts from you and guests. I can’t wait to catch up all the way.

  4. Anissa B

    Anna, you really have inspired me to start the fast today. I found your blog a month ago and I feel so empowered by reading all of your archives. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I just recently got a second part-time job based on your blog. I start this week. I quit my corporate job a few years ago and went back to school to be an RD and I should get my license in 5 months. I look forward to knocking out that education related debt! Keep up the good work.

  5. Gemma Teller

    Hi Anna,

    I subscribe to Self magazine in Australia and was pleased to see you in it. It’s exciting to see how far you’ve come and how you’re continuing. Keep up the great work.

  6. Alicia @HumbleFoodie

    Congratulations on a great start to the new year! I have really enjoyed reading your blog archives. Your site inspired me to set a monthly date with myself to make a cup of coffee, sit down, and transfer extra money to savings (I already have a direct deposit, but I realized I needed to be saving more for an upcoming move). Then I do a happy dance. So thanks for all your wonderful frugal tips and tricks, tough love, and positivity on this site!


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