Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to come at the cost of a healthy budget – though I’m sure many people think otherwise. It’s so easy to believe that when you are on a budget, you can’t afford all the good things in life. Today, our guest blogger and Registered Dietician, Lisa Rutledge, is telling us about how we can start making better choices on our frugal budgets (that don’t even have to be boring or hard to find!). Enjoy!

Healthy Body and Healthy Budget -

So many people want to eat well however there is a common myth that makes changing seem harder than it really is! When trying to make healthy changes to their eating habits, one of the most common difficulties I hear from people is how they struggle to eat healthy without breaking the bank.

Healthy eating is perceived as expensive (among other things such as time consuming and boring). I think this stems partly from the erroneous belief that certain specialty foods have to be eaten for health (I’m looking at you goji berries and protein powder!) as well as an overemphasis on fresh fruits and veggies.

The good news is that there are ways to eat well while cutting back on food spending and keeping your healthy budget. Before you give up on trying to eat healthy or worse, run into debt buying pomegranate juice and moon dust, hear me out.

Not surprisingly, there is middle ground between eating Kraft dinner and hot dogs every night and breaking the budget with boxed salad and wild, organic salmon. Sure, it may require a bit more planning and preparation than if you had an unlimited budget, but with time and practice any extra effort it takes now will soon be a thing of the past.

Related: Saving Money on Groceries has Never Been THIS Easy

In fact, money aside, many of these tips can help you eat a wider variety of food on top of eating more antioxidants, fiber and other healthy nutrients.

1.) Buy seasonally and follow the sales.

Sales change from week to week so you can be guaranteed to eat a wide variety of foods if you buy what’s on sale. It is important to keep in mind that variety doesn’t have to be day to day or even meal to meal. One week of eating more broccoli and the next eating more carrots is a cheaper way to eat healthy.
This is a great way to save money on the more expensive foods such as yogurt, breakfast cereal and fresh fruit and vegetables. It may also open your eyes to new products or brands you hadn’t thought to eat before.

Buying produce that is in season means that it will likely be more flavorful and higher quality for a lower price. Check out this chart by SOS Cuisine for what is in season in your area.

Related: Use Ibotta to Get Cash Back on All Your Groceries (Save TONS!)

2.) Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables and fruit.

Packaging and freezing techniques have improved dramatically in the last decade. This means that frozen produce is not only equally nutritious and sometimes riper when compared to their fresh counterparts- but the tastes have improved too. They are often more convenient to prepare since they are sold washed, peeled and cut up.

This time save with cooking can increase your chances of actually eating a vegetable at supper or fruit at breakfast. Of course, they spoil a heck of a lot slower than fresh fruits and veg so you can stock the pantry and freezer with all different kinds which allows for more variety. Forget eating broccoli all week to avoid it from spoiling! You could have a different vegetable every night if you’d like.

3.) Freeze individual sized leftovers to make your own microwave dinners.

Rather than buying TV dinners- that leave much to be desired in terms of flavor and satisfaction, make your own. Apart from the obvious save in the sodium and bad fat department, they’ll allow you to enjoy a decadent meal for way less.

Don’t like eating leftovers from last night or a cold sandwich? This is a perfect tip for you! Simply freeze the meal and save it for another week. Added benefits include helping you crawl out of a sandwich or salad rut and enjoy a homemade hot meal in the middle of the day.

Related: How to Grow Your Own Produce (in your DINING ROOM!)

4.) Try eating more plant based protein such as lentils, chickpeas and tofu.

Beans and pulses can be seasoned to match almost any flavour combination. When used as a substitute for meat in your favorite dishes, beans can save you up to 70% of the cost. For example, a serving of boneless chicken thigh costs ~$1.50. 3/4 cup of cooked lentils is a serving of meat and alternatives, and costs about $0.45. So, you could reduce your protein costs by about 70% by substituting beans for chicken.

If meat is a must in your house, try diluting the meat with beans (or tofu or edamame). This preserves the meaty flavor while cutting down on the cost of the meal. This idea works really well in dishes like Sheppard’s pie, Ratatouille and chili.

Of course there are other protein rich foods such as eggs (2 eggs = $0.60), cottage cheese (3/4cup = ~$1.30), canned tuna (1/2 a can = $0.80), and even peanut butter (2 tbsp = $0.17). Even better to keep your healthy budget!

SAve money while eating

 Healthy Body on a Healthy Budget

Also, one last tip! Throwing out spoiled or uneaten food is a HUGE waste of money. Change your buying habits to better suit what you can actually eat or try using a basket labelled “eat soon” in your fridge to highlight foods to be eaten asap.

There is nothing more frustrating than setting a goal to eat better, buying a ton of fresh food, then having it spoil before all of it can be eaten. Plan out meals in which to use the fresh food then buy only what you need. Don’t forget that practice makes perfect when trying to throw meals together with what is in the fridge!

Looking for recipes that will help you have a healthy body on a healthy budget? Download my recipe e-book for delicious and balanced meals that are quick to make any weeknight.

Simply click here and follow the instructions.

easy and inexpensive recipes

About the Author

Lisa Rutledge is a registered dietitian nutritionist, health coach, and food behavior expert. She works in private practice and specializes in mindful eating as well as chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease). Here goal is to help people repair / rekindle their relationships with food.
Lisa takes a non-dieting approach to healthy eating and truly believes that all foods can fit. She believes in feeding not only your body, but also your mind. Her philosophy about food and meals boils down to getting it done, not getting it perfect.
Along with consulting with clients one on one, Lisa loves to spread the word about food and nutrition through presentations and workshops and through her blog and online videos.
You can find her at:

Creating a Chemical-Free Home – 30DMDC

Creating a Chemical-Free Home

We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!

When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.

You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.

chemical free -

Last week I was lucky enough to have a guest post featured on my friend Erin’s blog: A Welder’s Wife. If you don’t remember who Erin is, you may remember the challenge that my readers, my wife, and I are taking this month: the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Here’s a fun fact for you, Erin created that challenge for us (and how grateful we are that she did)!

When she was decluttering her own home, she realized the importance of ridding her home of chemicals. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, how to fit it into your budget, why it matters, and what recipes actually do what they are supposed to do. That’s the problem my wife and I had. After a ton of research to create our own chemical-free home, we decided how important it was to make the transition easier for anyone else who may be trying to become chemical-free.

So, we put together this post on Erin’s site explaining why you should be chemical-free and exactly how to get there. I would love, love, LOVE it if you would head over to Erin’s site, read the post, share some love / leave some comments!

Click HERE to read the post: Creating a Chemical Free Home – A Welder’s Wife

Or use this link:

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals

Last week I took a trip out to the East Coast. First of all, I want to note that it was amazing. I had a great experience. My wife got to see mountains for the first time in her life, we drove on the ever-famous Blue Ridge Parkway, climbed to the top of the Humpback Rocks on Humpback Mountain, visited our first Movie Tavern with my amazing uncle, and even stopped at Washington D.C. to see the sights! Not only that, but I also had a guest post go live on another blogger’s site – Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals.

Using Mindfulness to Set Financial Goals- (2)

You may remember the post earlier last week on DIY Jahn titled: Using Minimalism to Grow Your Money. Well, the writer of that amazing guest post was Uzy from Coming Om. And, another fun fact, that is the blog that I posted on as well! We decided it would be a great idea to exchange guest posts so that we both could share our knowledge with the other blogger’s audience. I knew that you all would love Uzy’s post on minimalism, and Uzy knew that his reader’s would gain some insight from my post on mindfulness.

Now, I couldn’t very well keep my post from you all, could I? So, I wanted to share it with you today. You see, I wasn’t so sure about mindfulness when I first began my journey, but it has helped me to achieve so many financial goals and to set new ones that I know are right for my family. Using mindfulness to set financial goals has helped me to gain clarity, to save money, to pay off debt, and ultimately, to find hope once again.

Don’t forget to join our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge as we enter April! We’ll be starting it up quick. Click HERE to read the rules and join our mailing list today!

Anyway, I would love it if you would bop over to Coming Om and read my post. You can find it by clicking HERE or by using the links below! Thanks for reading and supporting DIY Jahn.

Using Mindfulness to set financial goals- (1)

Using Minimalism to Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals

Using Mindfulness To Set Financial Goals

Using Minimalism to Grow Your Money

Using Minimalism to Grow Your Money

Today our guest poster will be Uzy from the blog Coming Om. Uzy is telling us all about using minimalism to grow our money. As some of you may remember, we are going to be doing a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge and we are SUPER excited about it. If you want to join, or read this and decide you want some more information, check out our intro post by clicking HERE! Until then, enjoy the post by Uzy! 🙂

The benefits of a minimalist practice can be seen and felt in every area of our lives, particularly in how we manage our money. In fact, when done correctly, a minimalist money plan will result in more of your money and not less. Here are five steps that you can take to incorporate minimalist thinking into your daily financial decisions.

using minimalism-

Commit to a ‘less is more’ life

In order to effectively apply minimalism to your financial decisions, you’ll first need to understand and embrace the concept. Living a minimalist lifestyle means committing to the idea that you only need those things that add value to your life, and everything else can fall to the wayside. It’s about prioritizing and getting the most out of the stuff that really matters.

It also means releasing any emotional attachments that you have to material possessions, and understanding that these possessions are there to serve a function and not to be a determinant of your worth. That means that you’ll no longer have the desire to accumulate more. When you desire less, you’ll spend less – which has a direct impact on your money. Once you fully embrace a minimalist lifestyle, you won’t need to do anything more to begin to see your money grow.

In addition to acquiring less, you’ll also feel a need to give what you currently have away. This will have a direct impact on your money, because the stuff you get rid of can bring in extra money into your household, whether through reselling them or gaining a tax benefit from donating them.

Related: DIY Jahn is hosting a Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals (30 Day Minimalist Decluttering) Challenge! We will spend the month of April working to declutter our homes and declutter our minds to help us find peace and pay off debt. We would LOVE to have you join us for the simple challenges each week.

Want to join our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge? Check out the post HERE.

Have your goals in mind

Better yet, put them on paper. As you think about your money and how you want to use it, ask yourself what it’s all for. Where do you see yourself and your family in the next 6 months? 1 year? 5 years? More importantly, what will it take to get you there?

Your goal could be anything from a family trip that you’ve had on your mind for some time, or a new home, or an education fund for your children. Whatever it is, get clear on it. Once you’ve set one or more financial goals, write them down in plain sight so that they serve as a daily reminder of what is truly important to you. Remember that money is not the object, but a tool to get what you need.

Be honest with yourself

What do you really want and need? For many of us, what we spend our money on often isn’t what we actually want and need. Instead of resorting to purchasing more stuff, take a moment to understand the reasons underlying the purchase. Is it happiness? Acceptance? Self-worth? Tune into the present and use it as an opportunity to figure out what you’re truly hungry for – and then work on getting it.

Create boundaries in order to feel freedom

A large part of practicing a minimalist lifestyle is understanding that there is a limit to what we should have. When it comes to our money, a budget is where we exercise those limits and is actually the source to freedom from debt.

It also helps to keep us within our means, and gives us the ability to appreciate and enjoy what we already have. One place to exercise these limits is in your closet. The growing popularity of capsule wardrobes, for example, is for good reason. Stick to a set number of pieces each season and commit to not adding anything more to it. You’ll immediately see an impact on your financial life.

Put your knowledge to work

Here is where you get to put your minimalist practice to work. First, take a full inventory of everything that you spend money on in a given month. Then, decide what is unessential to your life, in that it doesn’t add function or happiness to your life. Next, decide where you can cut back in your life, in order to reduce your financial expenses. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What am I paying every month for that I don’t use? Look at your monthly subscriptions that are auto-renewing without you knowing.
  • Where can I cut back and still get everything that I need? For me, this meant changing my bank to one that fewer features but zero fees.
  • Where can I take advantage of less expensive alternatives? This could mean cutting cable and moving to online streaming, like Netflix, instead.

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals -

About the Author

Uzy Igweatu is the author of Coming Om, where she writes about her journey toward a more intentional life. You can find her at

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.


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="" rel="nofollow">brokeGIRLrich</a>, <a href="" rel="nofollow"> Disease Called Debt</a> and <a href="" rel="nofollow">DIY Jahn</a>*</em>

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 - (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 -

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.

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal

Clutter. It’s something that we all dislike and yet, something most of us have. But what if there were a challenge to help us determine how to declutter our lives and reach our goals? Today, we have an amazing guest blogger named Erin who blogs over at A Welder’s Wife. She’s here to show you our next challenge: The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge (30DMDC).

Quick details before we give you the real info: Challenge starts April 1st, we’ll support you along the way, join in the email box below!

Declutter Your Life -

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Tired of all the clutter that surrounds you? What about all the clutter in your mind? Any one of these can be draining not only to your health, but to others close to you as well. It isn’t healthy to always worry about money, the clutter surrounding you, or the clutter in your mind!

I know. I’ve been there! However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Can you imagine having all the money you could dream of, because you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck anymore? Can you see what your home would look like without all of the clutter? How would you feel if your mind was decluttered? I bet life would be easier to enjoy, smiles would occur more often, and you would actually achieve your dreams!

Sounds great doesn’t it?! The best part is all of it is obtainable, and I have something to guide you in that direction. My 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge is an eye opening experience to what it is like to live without the clutter, and it will help you pay down your debt guaranteed! This is a full 360° challenge that will help you declutter your home and mind.

My background with clutter…

I grew up in a household that didn’t believe in letting go of things. Clutter was inevitable. This thought process continued as I grew into an adult. I kept so many things that didn’t mean anything, but I was too afraid to let go of them. Along with clutter, I accumulated some debt, and started living paycheck to paycheck. As a result, stress and anxiety consumed me.

I couldn’t think straight because of all the clutter!

When we decided to purchase land for our future house building plans, I knew something had to change quickly! I was able to find a book by Ruth Soukup that introduced me to my minimalist lifestyle. It is called Living Well Spending Less. I highly recommend this book! It showed me how living with less, and not spending so much could improve my life dramatically. I started slowly decluttering, and felt the relief of letting go of things.

As soon as I started, we put the house on the market, so I had to put myself into hyper-speed! I was able to take car load after car load to my local Goodwill and homeless shelter. [I didn’t have time for a garage sale, or I would have opted for that option. But donating is a great thing, and I had time for that!] I was feeling great! House was on the market, I had time to enjoy our home being staged and clutter free, and then it sold within 72 hours of having it on the market….

Most people would be stoked, but I couldn’t help thinking about everything I would have to pack up and move.. Suddenly, I felt all the work I had accomplished wasn’t near enough! Instead of shipping it all off to donate, I decided to pack it up and have a garage sale in the Spring [at this time it was almost Winter.]

Since the move, I have gone through everything we had in storage and have been able to let go of 80% of what we had! What an accomplishment right?! While I was happy with the progress, I felt like it wasn’t enough. I still felt cluttered. We downsized by more than half of what we were used to living in, so it wasn’t hard to feel cluttered. However, I knew I could do something to change it!

That’s when I came up with the idea of 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. I wanted to take my minimalist journey to the next level, and I did! I have finally eliminated the clutter from my home and mind! As an added bonus, I am going to make some money to use towards my debt!

Now, I go for walks in the evenings after work and wake up an hour earlier to wake up with my husband. This challenge has finally freed me of so many things that held me back, and it can help you, too!

What’s different about this challenge versus any other decluttering challenge?

What sets this challenge apart is its dual perspective. Focusing only on decluttering your home is great, but it doesn’t help the clutter in your mind, which is probably why you started decluttering in the first place. Focusing only on mental declutter may help for a few days, but if you aren’t decluttering the space around you, the mental clutter will inevitably return.

By focusing on both together, you are combating the mental clutter and decluttering the home in unison.

This will allow your mind to relax, refresh, and rejoice! Your space will be more tidy and freeing. You will also be able to fully grasp the concept of what matters to you most.

I wholeheartedly believe that if you give this challenge a try, you won’t be disappointed! I was able to eliminate 139 items from my possession during this challenge. [If I had a lot of papers, or a lot of the same item, I would count that as one item. The number would have been closer to 500 if I would have counted each individual piece!] This was after I had decluttered my possessions one month prior to this challenge!

How does decluttering intertwine with becoming debt free?

Decluttering is not only a tool to create space within your home; it’s a tool to help finances as well. Anything going out the door can be sold. You can host a garage sale, take things to a consignment shop, sell it online, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Most minimalists will suggest donating these items, because it is usually quicker to leave the home, without the chance of second guessing your decision. It also allows you to say goodbye to the item only once. While I think this is great, you and I do have a goal of becoming debt free. Therefore, decluttering is now one tool to help this goal.

Another way decluttering becomes a tool is helping you become conscious of what comes into the house. Over time, you will notice how you aren’t buying as much, because it may not be worth adding to your possessions or creating clutter. When you become conscious of the efforts you have made decluttering, you will become conscious of purchasing decisions. The money you save can be used towards your debt.

So you see they really do go hand in hand! Now that you have this information, will you be brave enough to take on this 30 day challenge and see how it can change your life?!

What do I ask of you?

1. JOIN Cassie in this challenge starting APRIL 1st.

2. Give it your all!

3. Join the Facebook Group for support (CLICK HERE).

Or use this link:

3. Imagine what your space looks like clutter free BEFORE you start to declutter.

[You can search for inspiration on Pinterest or Google.]

4. Create a plan for each exercise each day.

[It ensures success for each day!]

5. Be sure to use #30DMDC if you decide to share any pictures on social media so we can connect!
6. Lastly, HAVE FUN!!

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Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals

Let’s thank Erin, once again, for giving us such an amazing post and challenge to follow! We’ll be starting the challenge on APRIL FIRST so be sure to sign up via the email box above BEFORE that date (and join our Facebook group at any time)! Let’s declutter our lives and reach our debt free goals!

How can decluttering help you to live a better, happier, healthier life?

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.

Our Financial Goals for 2016

Our Financial Goals for 2016

We began paying off our debt just a few short months ago, but we have already come so far. As you may know, our big goal is to pay off our almost $200,000 in debt as soon as we possibly can. That being said, we haven’t taken much time to sort through our financial goals in writing. Not just the big scary goal, but the little goals that will get us there.

I was scanning a fellow bloggers site and found their list of financial goals for the year. The blog is titled: Debt, Who?? And is filled with inspiring stories of their attempts to pay back their debt (of around $140,000). You can find their 2015 Financial Goals by clicking HERE and read about how they did in 2015 by clicking HERE.

I really appreciated their format, their ideas, and their overall concept. So, I’ve decided to create my own list of 2016 financial goals. Yes, I do realize that it’s a little late (we’re already well into 2016), but regardless, here are the goals we hope to accomplish for this year!

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Our Financial Goals for 2016

You guys have read about why we need to pay off our debt quickly before 2017 rolls around the corner, you’ve also read about how we racked up a ton of debt, but we haven’t told you many specifics about what our goals are for 2016. In this post, I’m going to break it down for you all in a similar format to that of Debt, Who?? (linked above).

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals

We all have them. The daunting goals that hang over our heads – always close enough to see, never close enough to touch. For many of us, this is what debt freedom is… a ‘pipe dream’ if you will.

I have had many friends ask me about my debt repayment. When I say that I’m putting off getting a house, having children, etc. they all think I’m insane. I’ve heard it time and time again, “You’re never going to get out of debt.” “No one ever ACTUALLY gets out of debt.” “You’re going to miss out on your life trying to get out of debt.”

Of course, these are the same people who are in debt up to their eyeballs and complain about not being able to afford the luxuries of other couples who make the same income… or even afford to fix their cars when they break down.

I get it. I do.

When you’re in the throws of debt, it’s easy to get discouraged and truly believe that debt freedom is impossible. Here’s the thing though: it isn’t. Debt freedom is possible, but it takes hard work, determination, and letting go of some expectations for your lifestyle. Dave Ramsey puts it best: “If you will live like no one else now, you can live like no one else later.”

So, if you want to know why I want to be out of debt it’s simple: I want to live like no one else. That’s my big, scary, overall financial goal: to become debt free and never rack up the debt again, ever.

Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goal: To become completely debt free.

The Timeline

Okay, here’s the other part that I hate to think about. I’ve been paying off my debt like a madman, but I have never set a date for when I hope to become debt free. Sure, I wish it could be tomorrow, but we all know that’s unrealistic.

What does it look like then? I am going to set another big, scary goal of paying off all of our debt by 2019 – that’s three years. Now, I know that our debt is GIANT and that that goal is a little out of our league, but what can it hurt to try? Barring that all of our job and living situations don’t go downhill really fast, and that we stay healthy and happy for the next three years, I hope to have our debt SMASHED by 2019.

Let’s recap:

  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #1: To become completely debt free.
  • Big, Scary, Overall Financial Goals #2: To do it by 2019.

2016 Financial Goals

Now, that goal won’t happen without some other, smaller goals to get us there. That’s where this section comes into play. Here are our financial goals for 2016.

  • Overall Financial Goal for 2016: Pay off over $50,000 in debt.

Financial “Debt” Goals for 2016:

  • Complete a No Spend Challenge
  • Continue Paying Minimum Payments on car, smaller school loan, & wife’s federal loan (Total: $7,763.52)
  • Pay off our credit card debt (Total: $6,112.04)
  • Pay off the Big9 (new nickname for our high interest loan) (Total: $24,282.64 – not including interest – assume $2,200 interest)
  • Pay off the small student loans (Total: $5,428.86 – not including interest – assume $350 interest)
  • Pay off our car loan (Total: $3,389.97 – after minimum payments for the year – not including interest – assume $311 interest)

Sub-Total Goal: $49,838.03

  • Start putting extra toward my Federal loan (Total: $161.97)

Total Goal: $50,000

Financial “Mini” Goals for 2016:

  • Do not buy any boxed pasta or store-bought bread
  • Stick with our budget of $300 per month for food, gas, hygiene / cleaning, puppy supplies, fun money, etc.
  • De-clutter our home and sell items on FB
  • Work up to an extra $500 per month on the blog
  • Grow and can some of our own food
  • Find side hustles to earn more extra money (such as catering, dog-sitting, on-call crisis line (wife), etc.)
  • Put all extra money possible toward debt repayment
  • Stop stocking so much food in our home (only buy what we need)

2016 Financial Goals-

Our Financial Goals for 2016

There you have it – our financial goals for 2016! The big and scary ones and the small, but mighty ones. All are equally important in helping us to reach our goals. And if we accomplish these goals? Well, we will enter 2017 with only Federal student debt (which will total less than $140,000)! Woohoo!

What are your financial goals for 2016?

Share them 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.

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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-

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!

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Getting Geared Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

Paying off debt quickly is probably the most difficult thing there is to do. Yet it’s also one of the most important. Why? Well, that’s what I want to show you guys today. You see, in 2017 all of our student debt will officially be out of deferment. Once I have graduated from my Masters program, we’ll have a six month “grace period” before minimum payments on our loans begin.

YIKES! As you may know, my wife and I have a LOT of debt. A lot. Which is kind of an understatement. Starting at almost $200,000, we were in way over our heads (you can see how we racked up all this debt by clicking HERE). So, the thought of them ALL coming out of deferment can be pretty overwhelming.

Now, my wife and I are working to pay these off as quickly as possible, but many people have asked what it will look like for us in 2017 when our loans are no longer in deferment. It’s an interesting question for us because it’s something we’ve thought about a lot, but it’s also a GREAT question for you all because it gives me a chance to talk about how important it is to pay more than the minimum payment.

If you didn’t already believe in the importance of an extra ten bucks, you will after today!

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Gearing Up for 2017… Already?

We started preparing for 2017 back in October of 2015. We were just coming off of the high of our wedding day, loving our lives, living the dream of our honeymoon. We had settled back into our home and were starting up our every day lives again. All was well.

That’s when we did some calculations and made the realization: we have more debt than we ever expected. 

We both knew that we had a decent sum of debt. We both had a rough estimate of our own debt. We had talked about debt and finances. We knew we had a lot. Basically, what I’m saying is: this shouldn’t have been a surprise. The problem was that we never truly did the calculations until this moment. It was just a figure floating in the sky, but once we saw it in black and white, it became more real.

When we saw the figure, we began truly planning for 2017, knowing that my debts would be out of deferment and that we simply could not manage all of the payments. We began planning and working toward the day when the minimum payments would be due.

And that’s what brought us to today.

2017: Paying Only the Minimum Payments

Let’s start from the beginning of 2016 for this estimation. Let’s say that we began January 1, with out hefty load of $185,696.02 in debt.

At this point, we were making minimum payments of

  • $66 – Credit Card 1 ($3,500)
  • $130 – Credit Card 2 ($3,700)
  • $40 – School Loan ($2,500)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)
  • $139 – Car Loan ($5,100)

Which comes to a total of: $843 per month for minimum payments.

At this rate, it would take us 260 months (or a little over 21 years) to pay off the debt that’s OUT of deferment – remember, this is not including the debt currently deferred.

Even if we use the snowball method and only put extra toward debt once a debt is paid off, it would take us a total of 145 months to pay off (over 12 years).

In either scenario, we will continue making these minimum payments for a long, long time. Here’s what the minimum payment schedule looks like (if we add do the debt snowball method without upping the total monthly payment of $843).

  1. Car – 41 months
  2. Credit Card 2 – 49 months
  3. Credit Card 1 – 56 months
  4. School Loan – 58 months
  5. Federal Loan – 145 months

This means that when our other debts enter repayment, we will need to continue making both sets of minimum payments. So, the big question is, what will our minimum payments look like?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $300 – Private Loan ($32,000)
  • $40 – School Loan 2 ($3,000)

Not to mention the fact that interest has not been calculated for these two up until that point. Basically, our minimum monthly rate will sky-rocket to a whopping total of $1,683 per MONTH.

It also is important to note that both Federal loans are on a graduated plan. After a few years, the minimum payments will rise.

From the looks of it, we won’t be able to afford our minimum payments once they are all due. Thus comes scenario number 2:

2017: Paying MORE than the Minimum Payments

This is what we are currently doing and you’ll soon see why. As we noted before, our current minimum payments come to $843 (as of January 1, 2016). Now, let’s assume that we can put some extra toward our debt each month.

Let’s first look at how this changes our timeline (and then I’ll tell you some awesome stuff):

  • Only minimum payments = 207 months to debt freedom (including debt that is currently in deferment)
  • Add $10 = 193 months to debt freedom (that’s over an entire year gone!)
  • Add $50 = 184 months to debt freedom (almost another year!)
  • Add $100 = 175 months to debt freedom (this saves us over $67,000 in interest!)
  • Add $300 = 147 months to debt freedom (over 50 months of payments saved!)
  • Add $500 = 128 months to debt freedom

And so on and so forth. Basically, the higher the addition to the minimum payment, the quicker we will pay back our debts and the less interest we will accrue!

So, what about that awesome thing I was tell you about?

Well, we’ve already started putting extra toward our debt. In fact, we put a total of $1,700 extra or MORE toward our debt each month. Every windfall goes to debt, every extra payment goes to debt, bonuses, etc. All toward debt and it’s PAYING OFF.

So far we have paid off our credit card debt entirely! Not only that, we have brought our private loan down to $24,000 (from $32,000) just since January 1!

I know what you are thinking: why are we paying on the private loan that is in deferment instead of the federal loan, car loans, or school loan that isn’t? That’s a simple answer, my friend. The private loan has a super high interest rate of 9%. We want to kick that sucker out of here before we ever make a minimum payment on it.

That’s the plan.

We will pay off the private loan before it goes out of deferment. What else? We also plan to pay off the two school loans before then too. And, if we really work at it, maybe even the car loan. That’s the goal.

So, what would our minimum payments look like in 2017 if we reached our goal?

  • $500 – Federal Loan 2 ($80,000)
  • $468 – Federal Loan ($68,000)

Which comes to a total of $968 per month. Not too bad, right? Sure, its a little higher than what we pay now, but if you figure the difference between this and the over sixteen hundred we would have been paying, it’s pretty great.

Not to mention our debt payoff date which changes drastically. Before I share it with you, I need to note that my wife’s place of work is awesome and if she sticks with them for another year (which she will) she will have $50,000 of her loans forgiven. If she stays another year after that, they’ll forgive another $20,000. And so on. I will be taking this into account in this debt payoff simulation.

Here are our new payoff dates:

  • Only minimum payments: 118 months
  • Extra $200: 92 months
  • Extra $1,200: 45 months

Wow! By paying on our debt with everything we have, we could be debt free in just under 5 years, but if we stick with the minimum payments for the entirety of our loans, we’ll have them for almost 20 years. That’s a HUGE difference (and one that I certainly don’t want to test).


Gearing Up for the New Year 2017… Already?

So, is it worth it to pay more than the minimum payment on our debts? Is it better to just keep our payments low and have them forever? I’ll let you decide for yourself.

For us, we want to experience what debt freedom will be like and that means putting our all toward paying off our debts for good.

Can we do it? We don’t know, but it is certainly worth a try, isn’t it?

How are you preparing today for a better 2017?

Leave your response in the comments below!