Personal Finance Interview with Anna Newell Jones on Going on a Spending Fast
When the $24,000 in debt she'd accumulated began affecting her relationship with her family, Anna Newell Jones decided it was time to do something about it.
To the extreme.
Anna went on what she's dubbed a "Spending Fast," only spending money on the necessities she needed to live.
"You have to go all-in," she says--no dragging your feet.
"Suffer through it, hurry up and get the heck out of debt so you can get to living the life you're meant to be living."
Anna, who documents her journey and offers personal finance advice on her blog, And Then We Saved, recently checked in with us to tell her story and offer some quick tips on kicking your debt to the curb.
Hi, Anna! Can you tell us a little about And Then We Saved? When and why did you start your site?
I started AndThenWeSaved.com on Dec, 28, 2009 because I decided to try to get out of my credit card debt by doing a Spending Fast. I thought that if I wrote about the process it would help me stick to it. Luckily, I was right and the blog provided just the accountability that I needed!
Who should be reading it?
Anyone who is struggling with debt, especially those who see no way out and are feeling hopeless. Also, if you think paying off debt and living frugally sounds painful and awful then And Then We Saved is probably a good match for you, too; I try to make paying off debt and living frugally fun because there are way too many boring finance blogs and sites out there! We don't need any more of that!
What do you think was the lowest point in your personal finance history? What made you decide to turn things around?
There were many low, demoralizing points throughout my financial history. One of the lowest points was when I couldn't talk to my parents without money -- the money I owed them -- constantly coming up in every conversation. Money and my debt to them had become the focal point of our relationship and that was a pretty horrible realization.
What's been your biggest financial victory so far? How did you achieve it?
By far my biggest financial victory has been eliminating all of my debt. Being debt-free is something I never thought would be possible for me. I achieved it by following a Spending Fast®.
What's the toughest part of going on a Spending Fast?
Changing your habits in the beginning. After that you get into a groove and it becomes easy -- well, easier.
What was the most surprising part of eliminating spending on wants from your budget?
Once I made the decision to do the Spending Fast I felt free almost immediately.
After paying off your $24,000 in debt via a spending fast, how did you revise how you managed your spending?
In lots of ways my entire attitude toward money and spending shifted. Doing a Spending Fast completely changes the way you approach money so it's hard to pin down one way that I revised my spending. Really, it made me conscious where before I was not.
What are some of your favorite ways to save money?
I have so many favorite ways to save money! Probably one of my all-time favorites is to cut my own hair. It sounds really scary at first but once you get it down it's amazing/a game-changer!
What advice or words of encouragement can you offer someone who's just starting out on their journey to be debt free? How do you get through the especially lean times? How does it feel when you've achieved your goals?
Know that you are not alone and know that there is a way out. Also, "mess-ups" and "slips" will happen ... it's just part of the process so don't beat yourself up over it. Get back up, stay committed, become a part of a like-minded Community (like the one on And Then We Saved), and think about how amazing it will feel once you're free from the weight of your debt!