Living with credit

Emily’s list: Going on a spending fast edition

Emily Crone

Could you pay off $18,000 in debt in one year? Anna Newell Jones did. She racked up more than $23,000 in debt, and when it became unmanageable, she decided to go on a spending fast.

In a first-person piece on CNNMoney, Jones explains how she financially fasted an entire year, purchasing only necessities and no longer indulging with things she simply thought she deserved.


She explains that she came to understand why others didn’t pay down their debt; it seemed impossible and it was easy to pretend it would just go away. “Debt is overwhelming,” writes Jones, a freelance photographer based in Denver. “When the number gets to a certain point it’s kind of like, ‘Ah, screw it! I might as well enjoy myself because I’ll always have this debt.'” Then her debt hit a number she was horrified with. She pulled her head out of the sand and took action — extreme action.

Jones stopped shopping, eating out and going to movies. She started riding the bus religiously, which she estimates saved her about $1,400 for the year. And after a year of total frugality, she ended up saving $17,911.89 in just one year.

It involved major attitude changes. “To get the debt paid off, for me, I had to become conscious with my money,” she says. “I had to rethink money. Rethink saving. Rethink spending. I had to see it in a different way. Also, I had to ‘simply’ stop spending money that I didn’t have and stop spending money that I did have.”

Do you think you could do this, too?

I hope you’ll get some money tips you can apply to your own life from this roundup of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.

1. Most of us carry at least one Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. But what about Discover Card? Ask Mr. Credit Card gives readers some basic information about Discover, this not-quite-as-widely used credit card.

2. Being too frugal can sometimes backfire. MoneyCrashers features a funny post about some of the awful food found at a dollar store that exemplifies why it’s sometimes worth spending a little more money.

3. Cash Money Life lists seven ways you can retire rich and on time, one of which includes shedding your major debt as early as possible.

4. My Two Dollars offers advice on nine ways you can improve and build good credit history.

5. Debt Management reveals the magnitude of the United States debt and discusses the financial lessons we can learn from it.

6. WiseBread discusses whether paper checks will disappear and advises what to watch out for if you decide to switch to debit cards.

7. Dough Roller explains why financial phobia is a real thing and provides advice on what to do if you fear your finances.

8. All Financial Matters discusses a recent article about why consumers should avoid credit and explains why that’s not necessarily true and how credit can actually benefit you.

9. Financial Samurai provides tips on what to do if you want to cancel one of your credit cards based on how many cards you have and what the rates are.

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  • Anna’s story is an awesome one…it’s so easy to just give in and admit defeat to debt when it becomes such a big number…but she turned it around…great story Emily! Also, thanks for including us in the roundup!