How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

How We Paid Off Almost $10,000 in 10 Weeks

Yes, you read that right. My wife and I paid off almost $10,000 in only 10 weeks and we have kept going from there. You know what’s even neater, though? You can do it, too. It’s not as hard as it may sound!

10 weeks- www.diyjahn.com

A few weeks ago, I got the amazing opportunity to guest post for one of my favorite blogs. Making Sense of Cents is a blog owned by Michelle. She’s an inspiration to me – she paid off her $40,000 in student debt and now lives debt free, writes her blog, and loves her life.

It’s not only that, though, that inspires me. She uses her blog to encourage other people to get out of debt, teaching them how, and giving them the steps they need. Basically – her blog does a lot of the same stuff that I hope to do with my blog (though we do have some differences).

Anyway, a few weeks ago I got the opportunity to post on her blog about my wife and I’s success with paying off almost $10,000 of debt in just 10 short weeks. And in this blog post, I give away all my secrets as to how I did it.

Do you want to read? I hope you do! You all are the reason I keep going – the support from you readers helps remind me that this IS possible – we can do it. Thank you for always supporting me along the way and I hope that you enjoy this post.

Click HERE to read the post on Making Sense of Cents

OR use this link: http://www.makingsenseofcents.com/2016/03/how-we-paid-off-almost-10000-in-10-weeks.html

I hope you enjoy the blog posts, but even more so, I hope you learn something that you can use to help you create your own debt free story. We are in this together, after all!

Fundraising Events: Where Does the Money Come From?

FUNDRAISING EVENTS

WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM?

Today I have a guest poster named Kristin here to tell us how to create fundraising events on a budget! As people who are looking to live frugally, why wouldn’t we carry that over into our work space and school space as well? Fundraising events can have a great impact on these amazing programs, but can be costly if you don’t know how to do them right. Let’s see what Kristin has to teach us!

Fundraising events are important to so many causes, from charities, to sports teams, to schools, and to various other effective programs. But the fact is that pretty much every one of these events is done on an extremely small budget. As fundraisers grow, it becomes easier to spend a little more money to make a bit more, but that typically does not happen until an event is well-established with a committed audience and tons of support – and it can take years to get to this point.

How can you maximize money raised at your fundraising event? I’m here today to outline all the ways you can look to bring in much-needed dollars at your event. Read on to find out where the money comes from!

Fundraising Events- www.diyjahn.com

Sponsorship

If you’ve ever planned a fundraising event before, you’ve probably thought about sponsorship. But were you able to bring any in? There are a few things you can do to increase the probability of landing sponsorship deals.

  1. Consider Your Audience – Think hard about who your event audience is. Now consider what companies would want to be put in front of this audience, and make a list of those to contact. If you’ve matched the potential sponsor with the event well, these companies should be relatively easy to sell event a small sponsorship to.
  1. Think About Your Benefits – Think about what can your event provide to potential sponsors. Is it social media promotion? A chance to present in front of an audience? A visual presence at the event? And can you throw in any extras such as event tickets, or giveaway items? Ask all of these questions and figure out which opportunities will matter the most to your potential sponsors.
  1. Make a Sponsorship Package – Now that you’ve thought about what all your benefits are, draw up an official and professional sponsorship package that shows your options. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but the advantages of sponsoring your event need to be clear. Pair this document with a cover letter on company/event/charity letterhead introducing yourself, and this will increase the perception of professionalism when it comes to your event.

Getting a sponsorship can be one of the most lucrative methods to maximize funds raised, so some time should definitely be spent on preparing, pursuing, and following up on any proposals submitted. Not to mention, once a company has signed on to do it once, there is a high possibility they’ll be a sponsor for years to come.

Discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts while you are booking venues or vendors for your event. The worst thing any company can say is no, and even if they won’t give you a straight-up discount, you may realize that the company you are speaking to is a potential event sponsor. Either way, discounts end up being money back into the cause’s bank account, and usually can amp up the experience of an event, since a vendor is willing to provide a bit extra if they really buy into what you are doing. If you explain why your cause is important, local companies are often open to supporting in any way they can.

Tickets

Ticket sales are perhaps one of the most obvious methods to make money at your event. Typically I try to budget so that the ticket sales alone will cover the costs of the event, meaning that the rest of these methods would end up as pure fundraising profit. It is also sometimes possible to build a mandatory donation right into your ticket price – check on guidelines in your area to figure out whether this might work for you.

Raffles

Raffles are a fun way to both add to the program and experience of an event while raising extra money for your cause. Unfortunately, raffles are not allowed to happen everywhere, and even if they are, they usually require proper licensing. Look into gambling laws in your area before deciding to run any raffles.

There are many different types of raffle that you can consider for your event. A 50/50 is often an easy one to run because no prize is needed – half of the money raised goes back to the cause and half goes to the person with the winning ticket. If you are able to get a large prize donated or purchased that people are excited, you can run a very successful raffle by leveraging that item alone and selling tickets to win it.

Merchandise Sales

This won’t work for every event, but if you have some cool merchandise that your guests may be interested in, this could be a way to raise a bit of extra money. For example, a car & music festival I have worked with over the past several years sells t-shirts and hats. They create a new t-shirt design each year, and it is exciting for the attendees to see the unveiling of the new design and to be able to collect the new version year after year.

Another example of this idea is selling something that might be useful at the event. I am currently working on a concert, which takes place next month, and the charity involved in the event has ordered some branded glow-sticks to sell on-site. They can price these a little higher than you may expect, because they’ll let everyone know that the proceeds are going back to support their valuable research.

Merchandise sales can also be a good opportunity to get your branding in front of people, so that is just an added bonus with this revenue stream.

Activities

Is there a possibility to hold a special activity at your event, for a fee or donation? If guests have the chance to participate in something exciting, they often won’t hesitate to open their wallets to do so. I recommend finding an activity that fits in with your event theme and would be fun to do, such as a game or competition. You could even provide a (preferably donated) prize for extra incentive to participate!

Auction Items

Holding a live or silent auction is a way to leverage items purchased or donated to raise money for your cause. This is similar to asking companies for discounts – perhaps instead they would be interested in donating something to your event that you can sell to the highest bidder. The best way to maximize your fundraising dollars through this income stream is to have as many items as possible donated. Even if you are selling items for more than you paid for them, you are actually taking a ton of money out of the room that might have been spent in other ways, including on cash appeals, which you can read about below.

Cash Appeals

Cash appeals are one of the most important income streams for fundraising events, but it is actually often ignored. When raising money for a cause, you should provide an option for guests to just give a donation. This can be done just with donation forms carefully placed on tables, or by asking people to raise their hands to donate.

Regardless of how you choose to do this, it’s necessary to put together the story of your cause in front of the audience to prime them. This can be done with a video, a demonstration, a guest speaker, a slide show, or in any other way you can possibly present your tale. Make sure the information you are providing is real, and that it highlights exactly why your cause is important. This strategy will get your audience ready to give, and might make them want to give even more than they would have otherwise.

Maximizing fundraising dollars at an event is all about creatively planning ways to engage your audience and to make them buy in to the cause you are raising money for. And when it comes to events, sometimes it’s worth just trying things to see whether the donations pour in or trickle. Planning an annual fundraising event means that you can learn about your audience from year to year and find out which revenue streams are most important for your project.

kristin-glass-events-kristin-glass

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

If you need some help planning your fundraising event and maximizing the money raised, contact me today. I offer event planning packages to fit your needs, from event consultation, to strategy sessions, all the way up to full coordination. In every one of these packages, I work to make your event a wild success. I’d love to chat with you!

Website: www.KristinGlassEvents.com

E-Mail: info@kristinglassevents.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KristinGlassEvents

Twitter: @KristinGEvents

Instagram: @KristinGEvents

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/KristinGEvents

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Financially Savvy Saturdays #134

Welcome to Financially Savvy Saturdays, a link up created just for personal finance bloggers! We love anything to do with personal finance here, so if you wrote it – we want to read it! Whether you’ve written anything from what does forex trading mean to budgeting tips for the perpetually broke, you’re invited to link-up.

If it relates to personal finance, we want to read it!

Financially Savvy Saturdays Blog Hop with Disease Called Debt and Broke Girl Rich

DIY Jahn

This weekend, we’re excited to welcome Cassie as our visiting co-host from DIY Jahn, an awesome site full of frugal living tips to get (or keep) your budget in the black!

Tweet about it. You can use #finsavsat when tweeting about the party!

Concerns about SEO? Recently many bloggers have decided to stop participating in events such as blog carnivals. If you’re worried about how participating in this link-up could effect your SEO, we’d encourage you to check out this article.

Interested in co-hosting? We’d love to hear from you! Being a Financially Savvy Saturday’s co-host could help you increase your blog traffic and engagement! Plus, it’s fun AND easy. Want to find out more? Get in touch with us via brokeGIRLrich(at)gmail(dot)com or info(at)diseasecalleddebt(dot)com with any questions. Or if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can sign up on this Google doc.

If you’ve co-hosted before and enjoyed it, please consider doing it again!

Feature of the Week

As this week’s visiting co-host, Cassie has selected the feature of the week from last week’s blog hop to be this week’s feature – Why I Made a $2 Debt Payment by Erin at Stay at Home Yogi.

Click here to read her post!
Click here to read her post!

If you submit a post, you could be featured in next week’s link up!

We do have a few rules for participation. Those who don’t follow the rules will have their link taken down and won’t have the chance to be featured.

1. Your post must be written in the past seven days, related to personal finance and not be solely a giveaway.

2. Be sure to include a link to one of your hosts by copying and pasting the html in one of the boxes below into your linked up post. You have the option of the button or a text link.

3. Follow your hosts. You can follow brokeGIRLrich on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed and Disease Called Debt on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, OR by subscribing to her RSS feed. Also, you can follow DIY Jahn on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook.

4. Comment on at least one post before and after you that have joined the party.

5. HAVE FUN!

Please copy and paste this button into the post you link up:

Disease Called Debt

OR copy and paste this code for a text link:

 <em>*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on <a href="http://brokegirlrich.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-134/" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a>, <a href="http://diseasecalleddebt.com/financially-savvy-saturdays-134/" rel="nofollow"> Disease Called Debt</a> and <a href="http://diyjahn.com/?p=1168" rel="nofollow">DIY Jahn</a>*</em>


10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

Today we have a guest post from Naomi about becoming a Thrift Store Diva. I’d love to spend some time introducing her, but she did a great job introducing herself so I’ll just let her take it away. Enjoy! 🙂

Hello, DIY Jahn readers! I’m Naomi from My Fair Olinda where I write super easy DIY and lifestyle guides. I’m so excited to be guest posting here today. Cassie has some seriously amazing tips for frugal living, doesn’t she?! Doing It Yourself it a passion of mine. I love a good deal, finding an awesome bargain and creating new things out of thrift store finds.

When it comes to DIYing on a dime I’m dishing out the skinny on successful Thrift Store shopping in this post! My home is full of all sorts of fun thrift finds, from the plates I use every day, to the records on my wall, to the chairs that sit outside on my patio. I’ve turned books into succulent planters, platters into wall decor and spray painted silverware for a fun pop of color. You’ll never know what fun thrift store treasures you will find or create from your finds!

10-Thrift-Store-Tips

Ten Tips To Be a Thrift Store Diva

(success is at your fingertips!)

1. Be ready to browse:

When you thrift, take your time. Meander through the aisles. Stare at the shelves. Browse through the books. The art of thrifting takes patience. So be ready to sift through things, to go slowly through things, and to not be in a rush. Sometimes those treasures get a little buried so be on the hunt.

2. Time it right:

Post Holidays and Spring cleaning are thrift store finds heaven. While everyone is clearing out their stashes and closest you’ll be grabbing those treasures up right and left! Contact your local thrift store to find out when they receive the bulk of their donations and when they put out their most recent donations. Get on their newsletter or email list to be in the know on discount days and special deals.

3. Find the cart with new items:

I love checking the cart they have on the floor as they restock the shelves. You’ll literally be the first person to see those items! Nab ’em before they ever get put out on the floor!  Seriously I look for that cart first thing to have first access to new items.

4. Go often:

The more you go, the more you’ll find. New stuff is constantly being put out and old stuff is constantly being marked down. If you are familiar with the thrift store you can make a quick pit stop to see if they’ve added any new big items that day. I scored a beautiful glass table with chairs, the day it was put out, when I was picking up another piece of furniture I had previously bought! I had them immediately put a hold sign on it for me and bought it within the hour.

(Bonus tip: Goodwill will reserve an item for you for a limited amount of time. So if you see a piece of furniture you want, have them hold it for you while you shop, and decide when you are ready to check out. If there’s a big item you’re considering buying at the shop you are in ask them if they will reserve it for you.)

5. Get eclectic:

Pair things together. An item by itself might not really shine until you partner it with other finds. I have a wall with all circular items hanging on it. It started with a cool vintage tin plate. Now it includes a small ceramic plate, a silver metal serving tray, two records and a chalkboard sign. Think about what you already have at home. Will it go well with another piece of decor?

6. Think outside the box:

Does the item you are considering have additional uses?  Will it fit with something you already have? Can you make something else out of it? Combine a plate and candle stick holder to make a cake plate, a silver tray displays your beauty products, tea cups make great jewelry and nail polish holders!

7. Give it a coat of paint:

Imagine it with a new paint job. I’ve spray painted vases, jars, plates, bowls, frames, lamp bases, trays and more. Paint has incredible transforming powers! I often look at the shape or body of an item. Perhaps it has a unique pattern or ridges that could be accented by painting it? Blend things into your existing decor by painting them to match your current theme. A group of chairs can be painted the same color to create a cohesive set. A collection of vases or bottles with different sizes and shapes can be brought together by one or two colors or even one color, but varying patterns.

8. Don’t overlook the books:

Yes, books get their very own tip! I love finding books at the thrift store. FIrst of all if it’s a best seller it’ll probably make it’s way to the thrift store. Beyond reading the books there are so many wonderful things to do with used books! The thrift store is a great place to find hardcover books to do crafts with or even to use on display in your bookcase or on your coffee table. Take a peek under the slipcover to find an array of colors. Hardcover books are just pretty! (Tip: If you are lucky enough to score a Reader’s Digest Condensed book – they have the loveliest hard covers! The slipcovers are completely uninspiring, but the hard covers underneath are magical.)

9. Know what you are getting for your money.

On my last trip to the thrift store I scored a Nate Burkus vase and two Crate and Barrel ceramic mixing bowls. Flip things over and read the brand on the bottom. I’ve seen dollar store plates for a dollar at the thrift store. Umm pass. So definitely look at labels. If you don’t recognize the brand look it up, do a little quick research on your phone to see if you are actually getting a good deal or not. Some thrift stores price by item type, while others hike up the price on brands or due to location. So this tip goes in both directions. Sometimes you are getting a steal and other times you need to leave that item on the shelf. (Tip: If you are on the road and have time to stop at a small town store, small town thrift stores can have some serious gems in them.)

10. Does it pass the regret criteria.

You are on the hunt for a great find! There is a lot of junk to be found at the thrift store. Don’t just buy it because it’s cheap. If it’s a great deal, you have a use for it, it pairs well with things you already have, you can turn it into something new or you just know you’ll regret it if you don’t bring it home with you then go for it!

Thrift Store Diva- www.diyjahn.com

10 Tips to be a Thrift Store Diva

Okay you frugal shoppers! Those are my ten tips for thrift store success! Did you find this post useful? Let me know!

Have a great Thrift Store tip of your own?

I need to hear it! Be sure to share with us all in the comments section!

Happy Thrifting

xoxo Naomi

INSTAGRAM | BLOG | TWITTER

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

Unexpected expenses can, unfortunately, wreak havoc on our financial lives. Everything seems to finally fall into place and then all of a sudden, the car breaks down, the kids get sick, or you get laid off of work. No matter what the case, having an emergency fund in place can help you to stay on your feet during a financial crisis. In this post, I’m going to give you 7 tips to get $1,000 in your emergency fund FAST.

Emergency Fund - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Last week, my wife was driving home from work. Every once in a while, she has to work out of town, and this just so happened to be one of those days. She got about halfway home when a dashboard light flashed. Ah, crap!

She continued driving and the car began to shake, the engine power lowered, and soon she was only able to inch the car along at around 20 mph on the highway. Definitely not a fun place to be stuck going so slow!

Thankfully, she made it safely to the mechanic and we had it looked at. Unfortunately, this meant an unexpected expense of around $450!

If this were a few years ago, or even a few months ago, this would have led us to a fully-fledged PANIC. Where would we get the money? How would we pay for this repair? What would we do?

No doubt we would need to borrow money to cover the expense – whether that means arranging to make payments through the shop, taking out a loan of some sort, or putting it on credit. Regardless, the end result was simple: more debt.

But this didn’t happen a few months ago, it happened last week. So, instead of taking out more debt to pay for the repair, we simply pulled out the cash and paid for it on the spot.

You may be thinking: Well, that’s great for them, but I live on a low income and can’t afford to just pay for things like this.

Don’t worry, we thought that, too. Until we made the decision to not allow ourselves to accumulate more debt. We made the decision to create an Emergency Fund and it has made all the difference in the world. No more panicking when unexpected expenses arise, no more living paycheck to paycheck, and no more “waiting” to pay off debt while simultaneously accumulating more debt.

So, here’s why you should start an emergency fund (CLICK HERE), but the real question is: How can you afford to build one when you are starting out by living paycheck to paycheck?

How to stay out of debt

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

While you’re working to stay on top of bills and make sure your family is fed, it’s important to start considering the unexpected expenses that may come up. Here are 7 tips to help you reach $1,000 in your emergency fund FAST!

Tip #1: Collect Your Loose Change

The first thing my wife and I did when we started budgeting was to work toward building our emergency fund. In order to do that, we realized that we really needed to use a cash budgeting system. It’s not that we didn’t trust ourselves not to stick to our budget… but… well, I guess we didn’t really trust ourselves to stick to our budget.

Anyway, we started using a cash budgeting system and fell in love. If you want to know how it works, you can visit our post Why We Love Cash Budgeting (& Why You Should, Too) CLICK HERE

Point is, we started to use cash to buy EVERYTHING. Then we created a new rule – we would use cash for everything, but we weren’t allowed to spend coins. You won’t believe how much money we saved up by not spending coins!

Soon, our jar was full and we had an extra $100 to add to our emergency fund.

Emergency Fund Start: $0
Emergency Fund Addition: $100
Full Emergency Fund: $100

Tip #2: Stay Home on the Weekends

One thing our friends love to do is to go out on the weekends. I don’t necessarily mean that they enjoy drinking (though some certainly do), but they like to go out and eat, go to the movies, or walk around the stores shopping.

All of that is fine and dandy, until you need to save money, of course. When my wife and I started skipping the weekend ventures, we realized that we were saving a lot of money. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t enjoy our friends’ company, of course, only that we got to enjoy their company in a frugal way.

Maybe we had some wine and cheese and played games, maybe we had a Redbox movie marathon instead of going to the theater, or maybe we found a new recipe to try instead of going out. In all cases, we always saved money and still enjoyed the company of our friends, who we loved dearly. Try staying home one weekend per month, and you’ll save an average of $30.

Emergency Fund Start: $100
Emergency Fund Addition: $30
Full Emergency Fund: $130

Tip #3: Start Writing a Blog

As you know (because you’re reading this now), I started a blog when I began my journey to become debt free. I didn’t start DIY Jahn to make money, though. Actually, this blog was started initially to track my journey and to keep myself accountable. On off-days, I would write about Adulting, a book that I love.

Soon after starting the blog, though, I realized that my passion was talking about finances and how to live a frugal life. I found myself excited to write on these topics, inspired by the stories around me, and enthralled in the response my readers were giving (thank you so much for that, by the way!).

An added perk of this lovely blog, though, is that I do earn a little extra for writing it. It’s not a lot, but I earn some and that’s what matters. Right now, I am on month six and last month I made a total of $222. On average, I’ve earned about $120 per month.

If you’re interested in starting a blog and earning money from it, check out our posts: How to Make Money Blogging (CLICK HERE) AND How to Monetize Your Blog and Quit Your Day Job! (CLICK HERE) Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to let me know!

Emergency Fund Start: $130
Emergency Fund Addition: $120
Full Emergency Fund: $250

Tip #4: Try a No Spend Challenge

In January, my wife and I made the commitment to complete a No Spend Challenge. What did this mean? Well, we were only allowed to spend money on regular bills, gas, and medical expenses. We ate the food in our freezer / fridge / pantry and made do with what we had.

Over the course of the month, we saved over $2,000 – you can read about our experience and all the tips and tricks we used by visiting our page: The No Spend Challenge (CLICK HERE)

We know that if we did the challenge again, we could save at least another $1,500. We had tons of readers join us for the challenge and work with us to save money for their own purposes. The average reader saved a total of $400 (many had rules that differed from our own). All-in-all, stopping spending for one month is definitely worth $400. What would you do for $400?

Emergency Fund Start: $250
Emergency Fund Addition: $400
Full Emergency Fund: $650

Tip #5: Find Some Extra Work

Whether you find work by looking online, find a job at a fast food joint, or simply go to help a neighbor out, working some extra hours can certainly help you to bring in the dough.

My wife and I work for a caterer during our spare time (whenever she needs the help) and we get $100 a piece for our four hour commitment. It’s an easy job, but she needs the extra help and we need the extra money – it’s a win-win.

I work online and earn some extra money by using apps like Ibotta, Ebates, or Epantry. If you’re interested in any of these (or other awesome online opportunities that have been legitimately checked by DIY Jahn) check out our page: Make Money Online Series (CLICK HERE)

Other ideas include: babysitting or pet sitting, helping a neighbor to move, giving someone a ride when needed, fixing items, building and selling furniture, baking bread and goodies to sell around holidays, etc.

Overall, if you put some effort into it, making an extra $200 is a fairly reasonable expectation for someone doing some extra work around their neighborhood, online, or in town!

Emergency Fund Start: $650
Emergency Fund Addition: $200
Full Emergency Fund: $850

Tip #6: Live a Healthier Life

Many times people will tell me that they simply “cannot be healthy because it’s too expensive” and while I agree that some health foods (especially organic) can be a little pricey, I disagree that being healthy is an expensive lifestyle change.

First of all, you need to view your health as preventative care. If you do not take care of yourself now, it will cost you an exponential amount of money in doctor and dentist bills later in life. Can’t stop drinking soda because you can’t afford tea? Wait until that root canal comes up or you need dentures. It’s a lot more than the $.50 you’ll spend now.

Second, being healthy is more than eating organic food. Being healthy means moving more, staying hydrated, and cooking from scratch. All of these ideas can actually SAVE you money (rather than cost you money).

Drink a 12-pack of soda a week? $16 / month
Driving to work instead of walking, biking, or taking the bus? $40 in gas / month
Eating store-bought bread and pasta instead of homemade? $30

The point is, there are many ways in which you can save money by being healthy. If you want some more ideas, read our post: Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle that will Save You MONEY! (CLICK HERE)

Emergency Fund Start: $850
Emergency Fund Addition: $86
Full Emergency Fund: $936

Tip #7: Sell Your Clutter

Finally, let’s not forget about decluttering our houses. Not only will decluttering your house give you piece of mind, but it will also help you to build that emergency fund up and get to your $1,000 goal.

Starting April 1st, my wife and I will be completing a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Basically, we’ll be doing a small task each day to help us to declutter our mind and our home. At the end of the challenge, we hope to have a significant amount of items to be donated or sold and less “clutter” filling our home.

Want to join our challenge? Visit our post to find out more information: Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals (CLICK HERE)

After selling a few items of clothing, a piece of furniture, and a couple of kids’ toys we could earn at the very least $75.

Emergency Fund Start: $936
Emergency Fund Addition: $75
Full Emergency Fund: $1,011

Emergency Fund - www.diyjahn.com

7 Tips to Build an Emergency Fund Fast

There it is! We have reached our $1,000 goal and now can begin putting our extra funds from these awesome money-making and money-saving ideas toward our debt or other savings goals. It’s as simple as that.

Now it’s time to go out and do – start building that emergency fund before the unexpected expenses start rolling in. Because we all know that they will.

Do you have any tips to reach your savings goals?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Saving Money on Groceries – How We Only Spent $200

Saving Money on Groceries

No matter how you slice it, in order to save money, you have to cut expenses. It’s the unfortunate truth of the world we live in. So many people have come to me exclaiming: “But there’s only so many things we can cut!” And for the most part, they have cut a lot from their expenses. They’re learning to live without shampoo, without cable, without the “luxuries” we normally allow ourselves. However, the area in which people struggle the most to save is when it comes to food. Saving money on groceries is HARD.

Why?

That’s pretty simple: food is an essential item. We need food to survive. We cannot simply cut food from our spending because it would be detrimental to our health.

It’s true. There isn’t a ton we can do to get rid of the expense. However, saving money on groceries is entirely possible and I’m about to tell you how my wife and I spend less than $200 per month for food. Here goes!

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com

Saving Money on Groceries

 There are many strategies to help with saving money on groceries, but I promise this won’t be a list of places to go cut coupons. Okay, I know that coupons could probably save me a ton of money. And I also understand that if you use them right, you can legitimately get free groceries.

The amount of time it takes to get the coupons, learn how to use them, and then drive around to multiple different stores is a turn-off for me though. I can’t help it. I’m sure that I will get to that point someday, where I’m not working a full-time (plus some) job and running my blog while still trying to work some side hustles to pay off debt. I’m sure I’ll get to the point where coupon cutting is worth the time for me.

That time simply isn’t now.

So, I’m here to say, for all you other busy, go-getters, for all you SAHMs / SAHDs, for all you entrepreneurs, for all you college kids, and for all you anybodies out there who simply don’t have the time to devote to coupon-cutting, there’s another way.

Last month, my wife and I spent less than $200 for groceries. This month? It should be the same – if not lower. How are we doing this? How do we feed ourselves, our dog, and buy housing supplies / cleaning supplies / hygiene products all for under $200?

It’s not that hard. Let’s break it down into three steps:

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Make it Yourself

One of the biggest things I notice when I am talking to people about budgets is that they complain that everything is simply too expensive. While I agree that inflation has sky-rocketed the prices of everything we purchase (it’s really hard to say no to that one, right?), I also think that people are paying for convenience more than they like to admit.

A friend of mine came to me and asked how I spent so little on food for the month. I responded with by explaining the three steps in this blog – I live without, I plan ahead, and I learn to make things myself. That’s when I was met with the response that makes me chuckle every time:

“Well, you still buy the basic essentials right? Bread, pasta, veggies, meat, milk…”

The list goes on, but you get the point. Without fail the items “bread,” “pasta,” and “milk” are always on this list. Why? Because our culture has become overwhelmed with convenience. We have been led to believe that convenience is a staple.

I do buy the “staples” but these are very different on my end than on yours. My staples include yeast and flour for bread and pasta, a box of dry milk which is priced astronomically cheaper than the refrigerated milk, and baking soda and vinegar to cover all of my cleaning supplies and hygiene products (for the most part). Basically, I’ve learned to make it myself and it has made all the difference.

Still not sure? Check out these posts for cost analysis and how-to:

Making Homemade Bread can Save You TONS $$

Homemade Pasta can Help You to Save $100 at the Store

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home (& Essential Oil Usage)

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge (& Homemade Shampoo / Conditioner)

Saving Money on Groceries means Living Without

The next thing people say when they ask about saving money on groceries is: “What about treating yourself?” Then they’ll go on to tell me about how they work such-and-such long, hard hours a week for their money and they deserve to eat this expensive food.

Which brings me to one of the most complicated points I strive to make: It is difficult for us, as humans living within this day and age, to live within our means. 

Why? Well, I could talk about that for another whole blog post, but I won’t. If you want to hear some of my why, I talk about it in another blog post HERE about How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD.

So, whether you deserve to eat fancy, expensive food all the time isn’t really the question anymore. Now it’s about whether you should treat yourself once in a while. Well, here’s my thoughts on this: I want steak. I love steak. Steak is on my top one lists of favorite foods that I can’t live without. In fact, meat in general is just one of my favorite things ever. Yet it’s expensive and I am in debt. So, what does this mean?

Simple: If we want to spend less on groceries and pay back our debt quicker, we have to give up some of our wants – even if that means having more meatless meals and eating steak less often.

Now, I want you to know that it’s okay to treat yourself once in a great while, but don’t go overboard and use your “fun” money to pay for it. Remember: if it’s not in your budget, it’s not worth it.

If you’re interested in more on this topic, visit this post on Huffington Post:

Should You Live in the Moment or Pay Back Debt?

Saving Money on Groceries means Learning to Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is the most essential way that I can tell you to start saving money on groceries. Keep track of the food you have in your home. Experiment with the food you already have at home and create meals you never imagined. When you run out, plan ahead before you buy more groceries.

Creating a meal plan means that you are more likely to stick to your budget for many reasons. First of all, you are less likely to eat out if you have a meal planned and ready to be made at home. Why? Because it’s easy. One of the top reasons that we grab fast food on the way home from work is convenience, right? We all know it doesn’t taste quite as good as home cooking, so that’s the main reason. So, if you have the food ready in a convenient way, you’re less likely to spend the money on fast food – even if that means doing some meal prepping over the weekend.

Second of all, if you plan your meals ahead and shop for those meals, you’re less likely to make grocery store trips. My wife and I go shopping once every two weeks and pick up the groceries we need for two weeks worth of menu planning and it works for us. The thing is: when you don’t shop for specific meals, it’s easy to say you’ll just run out and grab something to finish the meal which leads to more spending.

Both of these reasons prove the importance of planning ahead, but if you don’t believe me, check out this example:

Let’s say you decide make breakfast for dinner one night on a whim. You get off work and head toward home, but you realize that you don’t have all of the ingredients. You have three choices at this point:

  1. Go home and try to find something else for dinner (GOOD choice, but unlikely because we are conned into believing that convenience is necessity)
  2. Go to the store, head to the back to pick up your ingredients, see a bunch of other things you “need,” spend $30 by the time you leave the store.
  3. Head to the nearest fast food place and buy food for your family for $30.

It’s pretty clear, isn’t it? Planning ahead can make all the difference.

Plus, I’ve got this great post on how to make a really cute menu board to plan your meals, check it out HERE: Stylish DIY Menu Board

Saving Money on Groceries - www.diyjahn.com (1)

Saving Money on Groceries

Overall, remember that it’s important to work on saving money on groceries, but it probably won’t happen all at once and that’s okay. Start with learning how to make something from scratch, then try something new, and work your way up from there. Above all, remember that you can do this. Mindset is everything.

Saving money on groceries isn’t that hard when you implement these steps. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Learning to make things from scratch – like shampoo, bread, pasta, and more!
  • Learning to live without – you may want to treat yourself once and a while and that’s okay, but don’t go overboard.
  • Learning to plan ahead – make a menu for your meals and stick to it!

Follow the Frugal Friday Linkup HERE!

Would it be helpful if we shared our meal plans at some point?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

To start of the new year, my wife and I made the decision to spend absolutely NOTHING. Now, I know that sounds crazy, but we ended up saving well over $2,000 to put toward debt – definitely a winning situation. I wouldn’t say that it was easy, but I would definitely say that we learned many valuable life lessons from our experience. We gave you a recap of the No Spend Challenge about a month ago, but I wanted to tell you a little bit more about all the things we learned. Here are the 10 lessons we learned during our No Spend Challenge. Enjoy!

10 lessons we learned - www.diyjahn.com (1)

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). The goal of the challenge was to help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

If you would like to do your own No Spend Challenge, sign up for our e-newsletter below! We’ll send you tips and tricks to complete the challenge. Don’t forget to visit our No Spend Challenge page (CLICK HERE) to see what we did each day of the challenge!

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on at any point (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

This will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.



10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

When we started paying off our debt back in October, we thought it would be impossible. Our debt is almost three times our combined income – it’s definitely not going anywhere fast.

But then we started experimenting…

We found new ways to live our lives, we budgeted tighter and tighter each month, and soon the debt didn’t seem quite so daunting.

After less than four months we had paid off over $20,000.

That’s when we decided to take it a step further. Instead of budgeting tighter, we would stop spending entirely for 30 days.

So we did.

The results were amazing, but the lessons we learned topped those by far. Here are 10 lessons we learned by spending NOTHING.

Lesson #1: You don’t need money to be happy.

For the longest time, I have equated food with love. I know this is a problem that many people have and that I am not alone, but I struggle to find love elsewhere. I see food as the ultimate sign of happiness, love, security, comfort. So giving up eating the foods I want to eat for an entire month seems like somebody is legitimately removing love from life – it hardly seems worth it.

But the thing is: food isn’t love. And money isn’t either.

My wife and I spend many nights cuddled on the couch watching television or sitting at the table playing board games. We focused on painting. We spent time reading. We went on walks. Did these cost money? Well, you could say that they all did to some extent – while we don’t have cable, we do pay for Netflix and phone service to watch it. We may not be paying for it now, but at one point or another we bought the board games, the painting materials, the books.

The point is: we didn’t need to go out of our way and spend money to be happy. We were happy enough to do our own thing – there were plenty of free things to do in our community. And above all: making the choice to be happy is not a financial one.

Click HERE to read my post on Making the Choice to Have a Good Day.

Lesson #2: Getting out of the house is essential.

Of the 10 lessons we learned during our NSC, this one came the hardest. We did our best during the month of January to use as little gas as possible when going about our days. Other than my wife’s drive to work and our Tuesday dinner every other week with friends, we did not use any gas.

As someone who works near home (or lives at their work), this meant that I never actually left the grounds for my work / home. I never knew that this was an issue before – that it could be an issue – but I am saying this clearly now:

Leaving your home is an essential part of your life: whether you need to go somewhere or not, find time to get out of your house.

Lesson #3: Tell your friends, they’ll surprise you.

At first, it was scary to tell people that we were on our journey to pay back debt. Unfortunately, many people equate the accumulation of debt with an inability to understand finances. What I mean by this is that many people will say “well, it sucks that you’re in debt, but you did it to yourself so deal with it.”

I’ll admit that that’s true, I did take the debt on by myself. At the same time, it can really be frustrating when people invalidate you for making these choices. Which is why my wife and I didn’t tell our friends about our journey for quite some time (even though I tell you all on here).

But when we did tell our friends, we were surprised by their response. Most of them were supportive and excited to help us along. We had friends who bought us meals a few times during the month just to help us get through. One friend was amazing and bought us soda when we ran out (we have a horrible addiction). Most importantly, they asked how we were doing, they offered to help, and they cared to talk about the situation with us and make us feel like we were important.

So, as part of these 10 lessons we learned, I encourage you to tell your friends your struggles with debt, they may surprise you.

Lesson #4: You have more food than you think.

I used to look into my cupboards and see the food we kept and not realize how much it was. In fact, when we started the NSC, we stocked up on some foods that we considered to be essentials thinking “there’s no way we’ll have enough food to last us the entire month.”

Boy, were we wrong.

We got through to the end of the NSC and opened our fridge, our freezer, our cupboard: do you want to know what we found? MORE FOOD!

Even after an entire month without buying groceries we STILL had plenty of food to last weeks. In fact, it’s March 2nd and we are just now finishing up the food that we had. Finally.

I’ll write more about this on another day, but the point is: one of the most significant of the 10 lessons we learned was that we had far more food than we needed.

Lesson #5: Necessities and luxuries are different.

There are so many things in life that we consider necessities that truly are not, but we didn’t really realize this until we were about halfway through the challenge. Right about then we started running out of shampoo and conditioner. We didn’t know what to do.

We had always been the people to buy the more expensive versions of these things believing them to be necessities. We thought “if we want to work in the professional world, we need to look nice each day and that means that we need shampoo and conditioner.”

The problem is that that just isn’t true. There are many things we believe to be necessities that are actually simply luxuries. In fact, most things can be made on your own.

Lesson #6: Try making before buying.

Which leads me into the next segment: if you run out of something that you truly believe to be a necessity, try making it before you buy it.

Most importantly, do some research online before shopping. You would be surprised what kind of information is available for those who simply look. For example: I learned how to make my own ricotta cheese, evaporated milk, sweetened and condensed milk, and coffee creamer just by some simple research and experimentation.

Here are a few things we learned during our NSC that can be made easily at home (don’t worry, there are plenty more).

  1. Buying Bread at the Store VS. Making it at Home
  2. Buying Pasta at the Store VS. Making it at Home
  3. Using Store-bought Cleaning Products VS. These All-Natural Recipes
  4. Shampoo & Conditioner VS. the No Poo Challenge

Lesson #7: First world problems are for real.

Do you ever get home from work late? I know I do. The first thing that comes to mind is that horrible feeling of “Oh crap, now I have to find and make dinner.”

I open my fridge, my freezer, my pantry and see a ton of food staring back at me, but for some reason my mind registers all of it as “bad” or “inedible” or even “too much work.”

So, instead, I complain about having to eat fast food, pay for it, and drive out to get it.

That, my friends, is a first world problem in real life. If you have food and complain that it’s “not what you want” then it may be time to reconnect with your thinking and remind yourself: you are lucky. You have so much in your life. You are well fed, clothed, and loved.

So, for the 10 lessons we learned, here’s an important one: Feel blessed. And don’t complain about problems that aren’t really problems.

Lesson #8: Helping others comes first.

No matter what, my wife and I truly believe in the importance of helping others before ourselves. If someone were to come to us and ask us if they could eat at our house – we would accept them graciously and offer them the last of our food.

In fact, we had to do this a few times. Perhaps it was not because the person did not have the money, but they instead needed to feel wanted or loved. One of my college-aged friends came over and asked if they could use have some of our food. We watched a movie and served dinner. They ate all the food they were given, went back for seconds, ate a ton of dessert, stayed later, at more of our food, and by the end of the day they had eaten more food than we do on a normal basis.

Now, I know that that may seem frustrating and to be honest, we were pretty peeved about the situation, but at the same time, we note that food gives them a sense of belonging. They felt safe enough and welcome enough to make themselves at home.

We are always here to help those in need, even if it means less to go around.

Lesson #9: Some things are worth the money.

Let’s just say that there are things in life that should never be given up (or luxuries that are simply worth the money). The most important one that comes to mind is toothbrushes. It seems simple enough, but buying a cheap toothbrush can do more harm than good sometimes.

You need a good quality toothbrush to keep your oral hygiene good and keep you from expensive dentist visits later in life. Being proactive about healthcare is never something that should be skimped on.

Also, tampons, but I know that I have some male readers so I won’t get into that.

Lesson #10: Saving $$ doesn’t need to be hard.

There were days that we were beyond frustrated, sad, and tired that we simply wanted to go out and buy something. We knew we technically had the money so why couldn’t we go spend it? Well, the unfortunate truth is that we are so far in the hole we simply can’t waste our money right now.

Basically, that means that this is being forced upon us. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. Saving money – it absolutely doesn’t.

Saving money can be as simple as using different, less expensive items. It can mean giving in to your needs and avoiding your wants, but it can also be freeing.

Letting the control of money leave your life means grabbing hold of your non-financial life and letting it soar in the wind.

Of the 10 lessons we learned, I hope that you remember to do your best to save money. Remember, it doesn’t have to be hard.

10 lessons we learned - www.diyjahn.com

10 Lessons We Learned by Spending NOTHING

Ultimately, the No Spend Challenge taught us the important of living life to the fullest on our frugal, skimpy, and crazy low budget. These 10 lessons we learned will help us to continue our journey to debt-freedom.

What do we plan to do with that in the future?

Well, it’ll be awhile before we have enough food in our home to do a NSC again (and that’s probably okay). So, for now we are doing the following:

  • Limiting our budget to only $300 a month
  • Finding new and weird ways to save money each and every day
  • Working and side hustling for most of our free time to earn extra money
  • Paying off our debt as quickly as possible
  • STARTING A NEW CHALLENGE – the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – on April 1 (read more about this during our post on March 7th!)

That’s all for now, folks, but I sincerely hope that you will stay tuned, follow along, comment, and share our journey with your friends and family. Thank you for reading our 10 lessons we learned by spending nothing.

Follow the Frugal Friday Linkup HERE!

What’s the most important financial lesson you have learned?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

9 Weird Ways to Save Money TODAY!

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

If you’re working long shifts or have the kids at home, you’re probably running out of ways to earn extra funds. Now it’s time to cut down on what you are spending. Paying off debt and living life to the fullest is all about bringing in more than you are sending out (and using all that extra to pay down your debts). Sometimes, though, saving money isn’t as easy as it sounds. If you have already tried some of the “normal” ways to save money, here are a few weird ones to kick you into gear!

Weird Ways to Save Money - www.diyjahn.com

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

As some of you may know already, my wife and I are on a journey to pay down our giant sum of debt (to the tune of almost $200,000). We just set an official big, scary goal of paying it off in only THREE years (you can see that HERE). For the record, my wife and I have a fairly low income compared to our debt – in fact, our debt is well over three times our combined income which means three years is a little bit unrealistic.

But a goal is a goal and we are going to do everything we can to reach it.

We have cut our expenses like crazy, worked hard to earn some extra money, but our big, scary goal means that we need to go even farther – and maybe even get a little WEIRD – as we search for ways to save money.

Here are our 9 favorite weird ways to save money (so far):

1. Stop Buying Bread & Pasta Altogether

One of the first things I hear when people say that they are looking to save money is that food is SO expensive. They follow that up, of course, with the need to use fillers (such as bread and pasta) at over half of their meals each week. The thing people don’t realize is how expensive these two items are.

I know what you are thinking. You can pop over to your local grocery store and pick up both for less than five bucks, but what if I told you that by making them at home you can pay for both of them for only $1.19. Would that change the way you feel about purchasing bread and pasta?

Over the course of ONE YEAR that would save you a grand total of $396.24!

Want to know how?

Here’s a link to our post: Making Homemade Bread can save you TONS

& Here’s a link to our post: Homemade Pasta can Help You to Save over $100

Of our weird ways to save money, this is by far my favorite because it tastes SO good.

2. Stop Using Shampoo

Yes, you read that right and yes, it does seem a little crazy, but that’s the whole point, right? To get a little bit WEIRD with our ways to save money so that you can find NEW ways that you haven’t thought about yet. So, we have to include this one and it’s one of the most recent.

Toward the end of our No Spend Challenge (read about the challenge HERE), we ran out of shampoo in our home. I’ll admit, this caused a brief moment of panic because due to the rules of the challenge, we were not allowed to buy any shampoo to replace it.

We knew we still had to go out in public though for the remaining week of the challenge. How were we going to do that without shampoo? Wouldn’t our hair become unbearably greasy?

Nope!

We took the No Poo Challenge. We have been on it for a month so far and my hair feels better than it has ever felt. Want to try a natural way to clean your hair and a weird way to save money?

Check out our post: Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

3. We Went an ENTIRE Month Without Spending

As long as we are on the topic of the No Spend Challenge, let’s add that to the list. We went the entire month of January without spending ANY money. (okay, we did spend money on gas to get to work, but that was it)!

Over the course of the month we saved a whopping grand total of $2075.62!

Would you stop spending for an entire month to save that? We certainly would.

If you want to check out our No Spend Challenge or join in on the fun, read our post by clicking HERE!

4. We Changed Our Cell Phone Plan

We have always been the type of people to just stick with the familiar. It probably has to do with the fact that we are both from the Midwest and both attend a Lutheran church. Change…? What’s that?

That being said, our cell phone plan was charging us an outrageous $230 per month for two phones with unlimited talk, text, and data. WOWZA! That’s INSANE.

So, we decided to switch it up and go with a lesser known company. This company gives out phone plans for as little as $5 per month.  Yep, $5 PER MONTH!

You can read more about them by reading our post: Cheap Cell Phone Plan to Save You $3000

5. We Started Using a Cash Budgeting System

Of our weird ways to save money, this one may seem a little silly. You may think to yourself: whether you use cash or credit, it’s still the same amount, right?

Well, yes, you are right…. Technically… But think about this: When you swipe a card, you don’t really notice the cash leaving. If your account is empty, you can continue swiping – though the fees become outrageous and it’s not really recommended.

However, there have been studies that have shown that when handing over cash, there is an instant reaction of physical pain for a split second. It legitimately pains you to hand over cash – that’s why it’s so much harder to justify buying a soda at the gas station when you have to break a twenty for it as opposed to swiping your card.

Not only that, but it also is a very visible way to see where your money is and when it’s gone, it’s gone.

If you want to read more about this, we did a whole post – click HERE to read it now!

6. We Starting Growing Our Food from SCRAPS

We know a lot of people who grow gardens in their backyards and we always thought that was nice, but it sure looks like a lot of work. Then we started doing the math.

Whenever we go to a grocery store, the things that we pay the most for our produce and meats. Well, we certainly do not have the land, funds, or knowledge to start raising cattle and chickens, but we are doing well enough to start our own garden, right?

So, we took apart a tomato, a few onions, some celery and planted them. Soon we had our own garden sprouting up inside our home – in our DINING ROOM! How crazy is that?

And it’ll save us tons of money. Which is exactly what we want.

Read our post: Are You Ready to Learn How to Grow Your Own Food?

7. We Started Canning Food

Once our garden began sprouting we knew that we needed to find a way to preserve the food. Each week we found ourselves throwing out produce that we had not used up and the waste was killing us. It was time to find a change to fix the problem.

So, we learned how to can our foods and keep them for years! Now, I know what you are thinking: why is this on your list of weird ways to save money?

Well, let’s think about this. How many people do you know, under the age of 40, who still can foods? The truth is that most millennials know that canned foods are readily available for cheap at the grocery store so they don’t see a point in canning their own.

But it can save you TONS and cut down on your food waste tremendously.

Check out our post: Save Money on Food by Learning to Can

8. We Make Our Own Cleaning Products

Fun fact: It’s not just shampoo that you can make on your own. You can also make your own household cleaning products! We clean our toilets, our counter tops, our fridge, our carpets, and even our laundry with our own cleaning products that we made for cheap!

Let me tell you something: baking soda and vinegar can go a long, long way. 

Not only are these products cheaper, but they create a healthier environment at our home. We no longer are surrounded by dangerous chemicals for no reason – instead, our home is free and clear and that’s just how we like it.

Want to try it for yourself? Check out our post: Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

9. We Cut the Cord on Cable and Subscriptions

Do you realize how much money you spend each month for entertainment? Even if you set yourself an entertainment budget, you’re still going way over what you think you are. That’s because you’re probably including newspaper subscriptions, cable, and magazine subscriptions into your monthly bills instead of your entertainment fund.

And the truth is: by doing that you are wasting thousands of dollars.

We found ways to cut the cord on cable and subscriptions without missing out. We still see all our favorite shows and are caught up on all the news, but we pay only a fraction of the cost. And you can, too!

Check out our post: Cutting the Cord on Cable and Subscriptions

Weird Ways to Save Money- www.diyjahn.com

9 Weird Ways to Save Money

There you have it! A list of 9 weird ways to save money that my wife and I already use. Don’t worry, there are plenty more to come, but this list will certainly get you started if you are looking to save a ton of money and live your life to the fullest!

What’s the weirdest thing you have done to save money?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Shampoo is one of those necessities we all think we need. Every day or every other day you hop in the shower and allow the sudsy lather to strip all of the natural oils from your hair. Not to worry, though! We have conditioner to fix that, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. There’s this thing called the no poo challenge and it may just change your life.

Last month my wife and I completed our first No Spend Challenge. Toward the end of the month we started to run out of a few basic needs. We got nervous as we added the last roll of toilet paper to the wall, we held our breath when the butter got used up on the last slice of bread, and we sighed when we hopped in the shower to find the shampoo next to gone.

Of course, we couldn’t spend any money on these because that would go against the rules of the challenge. We just had to find a way to get by without them (and for the record, the toilet paper lasted plenty long enough to get us through to February where we could buy some more).

What did we do about the shampoo, though? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

No Poo Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

So, I guess this blog could have been more appropriately titled How We Took the No Poo Challenge, because the “Why” of the matter wasn’t really a choice. We originally decided to take the challenge because we simply ran out of shampoo and couldn’t buy more. That’s basically all there is to it.

On the other hand, we could have also titled the blog post Why We Continued to Take the No Poo Challenge Even After Our No Spend Month Ended, but that would of course, have been really long and obnoxious and you probably would have been bored before you even began reading the actual blog.

We started looking into the No Poo Challenge when we ran out of shampoo and then we started testing different recipes… Trying new ideas… and even making up ideas on our own. We contacted family members who don’t use shampoo (one who only rinses with water and has the softest hair her co-worker has ever felt). That’s when we came to the realization that shampoo is not a necessity. 

People will tell you over and over that shampoo is needed for good hygiene, but the reality of that matter is that shampoo is not healthy for your hair. It’s also just not cost effective. Do you even realize how much money you spend on shampoo each month? year? I bet it’s more than you care to admit.

So, what if I told you that you could stop using it entirely?

Well, it’s true. My wife and I have for about a month now and we’re loving it. Okay, we didn’t always love it, but we do now. When we first started, it was a struggle. I’ll admit that the first two weeks of losing shampoo is HARD. There’s grease and frustration and annoyance.

Your hair will take time to get used to being without shampoo.

Once you get there though, it’s definitely worth it. My hair is softer and smoother than it ever has been. It took many days to get here and a few mistakes in recipe to find the perfect combination, but I no longer have dandruff, my hair is always easy to brush, and I never need to use a straightening iron. It’s crazy, but it works. It’s just crazy enough to work.

The Recipe to Join the No Poo Challenge

Basically the No Poo Challenge is a chance for you to try not using shampoo for an extended period of time. You set the limits, you determine how long you’ll try it for, and you make the rules. You can even pick your own “no poo” recipe, but I’ll give you the one we use!

If you do decide to complete the no poo challenge – to save money and have healthier hair (without all the chemicals of shampoo products), here’s the recipe my wife and I use:

Mix 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda & 1 Cup of Water in a bottle. I usually also add a few drops of lemon essential oils just because they smell good.

Rinse your hair well in the shower before adding the baking soda concoction. You can use most of it in one shower for cleaner hair. Especially if you notice your hair getting greasy in between showers.

Don’t leave the shower yet though!

The baking soda takes away a lot from your hair in order to get it clean. We want to up the balance again. So, before you leave, pour some distilled vinegar and rub it into your hair.

Rinse the vinegar out and you’re good to go.

A few notes on the vinegar:

  • Be careful not to get it into your eyes, it burns like crazy. Just saying.
  • Rinse it well and your hair will be shinier and detangled!
  • The smell will go away once your hair is dry, don’t worry.

No Poo Challenge- www.diyjahn.com

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

That’s it! Simple as that. I know, it seems crazy. Almost like it shouldn’t be possible, but just think: before shampoo was created, people didn’t just run around with crazy dirty hair. There was something else that came before the chemicals.

Sure, the shampoos in the store are easy to use, not super expensive, and keep your hair fairly decent. Nevertheless, the no poo challenge is unbelievably inexpensive, ALSO super easy to use, and keeps your hair healthier than it’s ever been.

Can you really deny the good it does?

Don’t answer that until you try it.

What is a crazy thing you’ve done to save money?

Leave your response in the comments below!

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD!

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD!

One of the greatest struggles faced when paying off debt is the incurring interest. It seems like each month you put 89% of your payment toward interest and barely make a dent in the principle of the debt! Unfortunately, for those of us stuck making minimum payments, it can seem like a neverending cycle. Don’t worry – it’s not. We can teach you how to get out of credit card debt and stay out for GOOD.

Last month my wife and I made our final payment toward our credit card debt and I can tell you one thing: we will never rack that debt up again. After months and months of paying the minimum payment, we realized it would take over 5 YEARS to pay them off at that rate (and our credit card debt wasn’t even as high as most peoples’). We knew something had to give. We had to make a change.

And we did.

How did we do it? Well, that’s exactly what I’m about to tell you.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD - www.diyjahn.com

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD

When my wife and I first began our journey to debt freedom, we had no idea what all it would entail. Sure, we knew that it would take some hard work and a lot of time, but we didn’t realize all that went into it. You see, when you’re saddled with debt and stuck under the influences of a generation who truly believes they “deserve” to live better, it’s hard to know what truly qualifies as necessity and what doesn’t.

We spent plenty of time frustrated that we couldn’t buy fast food, order a pizza, get name-brand dish soap, or even buy produce all the time. When friends came to visit, it was a struggle to make them food that we ate every day instead of working to impress them with food we couldn’t afford. When we went out of town for work or visiting family, it was undeniably difficult to keep ourselves from purchasing sodas at the gas station or something to contribute to a family meal.

Why is it so hard for us, as a generation, to live within our means? 

Society has taught us that if you attend college, get a good degree, and land a good job you will be well off. And while I agree to a certain extent, there’s also a limit that the world often omits: debt has taken over.

I will be the first to admit that I completely understand that I took out the student debt, I used a credit card, I did this to myself. I got myself into this mess and it is my responsibility as a citizen to pay back my debts and work within our society. I will not whine that I cannot afford to live the life of my dreams because I am doing well: I have a good job, I have a home that, whatever quality, provides my wife and I with shelter, I have food on my table every day, and I have a puppy who I can love on and adore. I am doing well.

The thing to note is: if you spend your money unwisely, if you are flippant with your purchases, if you do not save and take care of your money, you will never find the end to the debt that is confronting you. It’s as simple as that. You must make a plan to take down the debt regardless of your income.

Just because you make a middle-class income does not mean you should live a middle-class life. 

I see so many people within my generation who are buying houses, starting families, buying the newest electronics, spending money on extras, etc. It’s awesome that they feel they are in that place and can afford those things. In fact, I’m happy to see that they are succeeding. The frustration exists when those same people complain about their debt payments (credit card or student) while ordering a pizza every Friday and going drinking on Saturday.

If you are in debt, it doesn’t matter how much money you make: it isn’t yours.

So, if you are anything like the majority of us – in debt up to your ears – you’re probably looking for some tips to get rid of it. I’m guessing you came to this site to find a fast and easy solution to your debt repayment so that you can truly start living the life you have dreamed about since you were a child. Learning how to get out of credit card debt is the first step and I’m not going to say that the whole process will be easy, but I can give you three easy tips that will most definitely help.

Here goes:

Make More than the Minimum Payments

I’m sure you have heard this a thousand times, but I’m going to say it again. The number one most important thing you can learn about how to get out of credit card debt is to make more than the minimum payment. Why? Because all the extra you put toward your debt gets to go straight to the principle.

When you make minimum payments, you payment is broken up in this order: All Outstanding Fees (late fees, etc.), All Outstanding Interest, Principle. Your principle comes last and I’m guessing that your interest payments are outrageous. Some people can barely cover interest with their minimum payment. If only $5 is going to your principle out of your $100 payment, it will take years for you to finally become debt free.

If you have time, check out a snowball debt calculator such as the one listed on Financial Mentor (click HERE). Add in your debts and whatever your minimum payment is. At the bottom of the checklist, add $5 and see how quickly your payments drop. Now try $10. A few dollars a month extra can make a HUGE difference on your debt repayment.

Talk to Your Debt Providers / Lenders

Whether it’s a credit card company or a bank, talk to them and discuss your options. Usually, providers will be willing to offer you suggestions as to how you can pay down your debt quickly. Sometimes, these even include lowering your interest rate, offering you a payoff amount, or simply working with you to make your payoff more manageable.

The thing to remember is that even though the companies may be frustrating, they are run by real people. They have the same innate human-ness that you do and are compassionate, empathetic creatures. Now, remember that I’m no professional and that not all people will be willing to help, but isn’t it worth a try?

This is especially true in situations that may make it difficult to pay more than the minimum payment, but in any case, it’s truly worth it to discuss your goals with your provider.

Create a Budget that You Can Stick To

Finally, don’t forget that one of the most important things you can do when learning how to get out of credit card debt is to create a budget.

Why?

There’s a few reasons. For one, if you have a budget that you can stick to based upon the income that you bring in, you’ll be less likely to take out more debt. I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but when you are trying to pay off debt never take out more debt. You’ll never escape debt’s grasp if you do. So, stick to your budget!

Second, though, and just as important, is that if you have a budget you can stick to, you’ll be able to easily find places to cut back on expenses. When you cut back on unnecessary expenses, you can put extra money toward your debt! You’ll quickly reach debt freedom, which is the ultimate goal, right?

Need help setting up a budget? Don’t worry! I wrote a whole post about how easy it can be if you follow a couple of simple steps. Check it out by clicking HERE.

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt- www.diyjahn.com

How to Get Out of Credit Card Debt for GOOD

Are you ready to learn how to get out of credit card debt for good? Are you ready to implement these three easy steps to bring you to debt freedom? It’s time! Don’t let debt hold you back any longer.

Here are the three easy steps we talked about:

  • Make More than the Minimum Payments
  • Talk to Your Debt Providers / Lenders
  • Create a Budget You Can Stick To

What is your #1 tip for getting out of debt?

Leave your response in the comments below!


Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.