How Andthenwesaved.com inspired me to crush my debt

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Anna Newell Jones is the creator of ANDTHENWESAVED.com. On her site, through her blog, and in her book The Spender’s Guide to Debt-Free Living, Anna inspired me through brutal honesty about how she stopped being someone who ‘kept spending even after the money was gone’ and got her sh*t together with a spending diet, foolproof debt repayment plan and a side of side-hustle, helping her ‘get from Broke to Badass. I didn’t follow every step she took on her journey, but the steps I did take helped me crush my debt way faster than I’d thought possible. A few of her brilliant tips:

Spending Fast – Cutting out non-essential spending and putting all savings on debt.

I committed to doing a Spending Fast for as long as it would take to pay off my credit card, student loans and car. I didn’t have a ton of money left owing on either of them [ Under $5000 each on my student loans and car, and under $1000 on my credit card ] but they were dragging me down, annoying me, and I was just so done with them.

What I loved so much about the Spending Fast was that I started to be creative again. I was going to have to if I didn’t want to go nuts. I had to figure out how to make the clothes I already owned work, how to get around without using my car so much, how to cook and eat good food with less money, and got back into arts and crafts using materials I already had. While I bought less, I realized I was meeting another goal I had of living greener by accident and I started to compete with myself to see how minimalist I could get.

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Side Hustle – Making extra cash doing whatever finds you

Andthenwesaved.com often highlights the fact that if you can make extra cash [ cash you weren’t counting on and don’t need ] you can put it straight on debt and get ahead faster. Anna lists all the random ways she’d done it which was the boost I needed to overcome any shame at being a MA graduate with a full time job who was ready to babysit, dog walk, and rake leaves for cash. I looked for part time jobs, writing jobs, ads for yard or farm work, cleaning jobs …

Before I got too far into the abyss of random tasks for cash I found a family who needed some one-on-one support for their 28 year old son. I got to start making an extra $30 – $40 each weekend for playing with someone, taking him out and having adventures. That $120 went straight to debt each month and I had found a way to get paid to have fun.

At the same time I was still making projects at home – sewing little doodads, and painting dishes, doing paper crafts. My friend Robin started a small local market outside a grocery store in town and I gathered my 5 seconds of bravery asking her if I could put in a table. Every second Friday I would go to sell [ not very many ] items and come home with $20 – $150 that I would take straight to the bank and put on my debt.

One of the vendors, Yolanda [ who is the mastermind children’s fashion genius behind  Nest and Nurture ] and I quickly became two weirdos who were meant to be friends and she approached me asking if I could help her out with sewing. Thus birthing side hustle #3.

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Debt Snowball – Paying your debts down in order of highest interest rate to lowest; continuing to include each debt’s minimum payment in your repayment plan [ along with all the extra money you’ve saved & earned ] to snowball your impact

I’d read a few ways to try to snowball debt and pay it down quickly:

  • Starting with the debt that has the smallest amount owing
  • Starting with the opposite and putting all payments into the debt with the highest amount owing
  • Consolidate it into a line of credit with a low interest rate and put all your money into paying it off

But I decided to try Anna Newell Jones’ suggestion from The Spender’s Guide to Debt Free Living and within 6 months of starting the journey, I’d gotten myself free and clear!

Disclaimer: I know I sound like a total groupie in this post and no, it is not sponsored. I’d read The Wealthy Barber and tried to follow the advice that some other gurus have, and I didn’t feel as jazzed or familiar as when I followed Andthenwesaved.com and Anna Newell Jones. So I guess I AM a groupie. A financially healthy one.

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