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-

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:

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?



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!

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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.


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.


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 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.


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.



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!




Twitter: @KristinGEvents

Instagram: @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.

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.

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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

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!


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-

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


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.

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

So many people are led to believe that essential oils are too expensive for them. However, our guest poster Chantal is here to crack that myth with her list of 5 affordable essential oils (that you can buy for less than $20). Enjoy! 🙂

There is a common perception that essential oils are very expensive. I admit, when my grandma first introduced me to essential oils a few years ago I couldn’t believe she would spend so much money on these tiny little bottles… it just didn’t make any sense to me! However through listening to her and using essential oils myself, I came to realize that they are really quite affordable and well worth the price in the long run! Today I would like to share 5 essential oils which you can buy for $20 or less! I will also break down the cost per use so that you can form an informed opinion about the cost of essential oils for yourself!

These essential oils are all very common and all of them are used in my new essential oil ebook which shares diy diffuser and roller bottle recipes. The best part is that all of these oils are very versatile as they can be used for a variety of different concerns. I have included the price for each 15ml bottle of essential oil as well as the approximate cost per drop for each oil.

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5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

Please note that the prices are based on one company and will vary slightly depending on the company. The prices below are all for a 15ml bottle of essential oil and price per drop is based on the approximate value of 250 drops per bottle.

Lemon ($10)

Citrus oils can be used in so many ways and seem to be the most affordable type of essential oils you can purchase, it costs $0.04 per drop.

Using Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. Cost= $0.12 – $0.16
  • Like all citrus oils, lemon essential oils are wonderful for uplifting your mood. You can add 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16) or you can apply 1-2 drops to the soles of each foot ($0.08- $0.16 to do both feet). Alternatively you can add 1-2 drops of lemon to an essential oil diffusing necklace to take the wonderful uplifting aroma with you wherever you go ($0.04 – $0.08)!
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16)

Orange ($10)

Since orange essential oil is a citrus oil it is very affordable, and like lemon, it breaks down to $0.04 per drop.

Uses for Orange Essential Oil:

  • Orange is wonderful for cleaning your countertops, mirrors and sinks! Add 2-3 drops of orange essential oil to 2-3oz of water and mix in a glass spray bottle (always use glass as essential oils can react with plastic). This breaks down to $0.08 – $0.12 per 2-3oz of water.
  • Orange is also wonderful for uplifting your mood! Use in the same ways as lemon as listed above.
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of orange to your diffuser or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot. These methods range from $0.08 – $0.16.

Eucalyptus ($11)

I absolutely LOVE the smell of eucalyptus essential oil! This oil breaks down to $0.044 per drop.

Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is fantastic for respiratory support! I love adding 2-3 drops of euclayptus to my shower as the aroma combined with the steam from the shower really helps to promote feelings of clear breathing! The cost of this is $0.09 – $0.13.
  • Use Eucalyptus to help you feel relaxed! Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus to your diffuser, sit back and enjoy the aroma! This would cost $0.13- $0.18. You can find diffuser and roller bottle recipes for relaxation in my ebook here.

Tea Tree ($14)

You may also hear Tea Tree essential oil called melaleuca, this will vary depending on the company. The cost per drop for tea tree essential oil is $0.056

Uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Help soothe occasional skin irritations by putting 1 drop of tea tree on a cotton swab and apply to the irritation ($0.05). If you are applying to a large area of skin, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil ($0.11) to a few drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil to make application easier.
  • Support your immune system by putting 3-4 drops of tea tree in your diffuser ($0.17- $0.22) or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot ($0.11- $0.22)

Lavender ($20)

This is an oil that I truly believe everyone should have and it is very helpful, especially if you have little ones in the house. If you use lavender on children always dilute 1 drop of lavender in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or fractionated coconut oil. The cost per drop of lavender is $0.08.

Uses for Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Like tea tree essential oil, lavender works very well in helping to soothe occasional skin irritations! Use as discussed above. The cost for this ranges from $0.08 – $0.16. I often make a roller bottle blend using lavender and tea tree oil to help with skin irritations.
  • Use lavender to help you unwind after a long day by putting 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.24- $0.32).
  • Get a restful night of sleep by applying 1-2 drops of lavender to the sole of each foot ($0.16 – $0.32). Some people also find it very helpful to put 1 drop of lavender essential oil on their pillow before going to sleep ($0.08)

Essential Oils -

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

There you have it, 5 essential oils that you can purchase for $20 or less! Like I mentioned before it may sound like a lot of money for a small bottle, once you break down the various uses and the cost per use, it is easy to see that essential oils really are a very affordable option to help naturally support your family’s health and wellness!

Are essential oils more affordable than you originally thought?

Leave your response in the comments below! 🙂

Guest Blogger Bio:

Chantal Bernard is a social worker by day and an essential oil enthusiast, blogger at Painted Teacup, virtual assistant, wife and fur-baby momma by night. Chantal began Painted Teacup in March 2015 to share information about essential oils and recently wrote an ebook called Essential Oils Made Easy: DIY Diffuser & Roller Bottle Recipes.

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!!

Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals -

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.

Come Alive, Dear Reader – An Important Message

Come Alive, Dear Reader

Good morning, readers! We have a very important message for you today from a very special guest. Amber is going to be talking to you about how important it is to come alive. Well, I won’t give too much away. Enjoy!

Come Alive, Dear Reader -

Come Alive, Dear Reader

When was the last time you helped a stranger in need? Or are you too busy? Too lost in your own chaos? Or, like many of us, are you too overwhelmed by constant access to information that sometimes you’re just blinded to it all?

Despite the motivational memes and inspirational pins flashing otherwise, we are often discouraged when it comes to shaping the world we’ll pass on to our children. We instead leave the tough choices to corrupt political leaders, money-hungry corporate directors, or social activists whose lifestyles seem far removed from our own. It is both sad and ironic that in a country born from revolution, few of us do more beyond “signing” yet another online petition.

For many, civic withdrawal is now the norm.

Is it any wonder, though? You can’t log into Facebook or open your e-mail without being bombarded by sad stories of families in need, babies dying, or homes burning. It’s easier to ignore it. Those who don’t, those who choose to feel, are often thought to be crazy.

When our individual autonomy is brought into question, by ourselves or others, our instinct is to bristle and call the others obsessed or ignorant. We need this cynical submission to numb the pain of our own unrealized hopes.

Imagine, though, if we applied that cynicism to all areas of our life. Rather than encouraging little Billy to try to hit the ball just one more time, we tell him to lay down the bat, he’ll never go pro. Or when our toddler runs up to us after a day away, rather than swoop her up in a hug, we step back and suspect her of wanting something more from us than just our love.

We have to take chances on people, to believe in them and motivate them, lest we crumble as an entire society. If we continue to turn in and look only at our screens, the physical world will gray and decompose.

Being an adult is brutal, especially if you’re an adult born of the Millennial generation.

You’re caught between those who recall life before “the Facebook” and those who think you’re old because you’re not sure just how SnapChat works, but you’re pretty sure you want to avoid any risk of d*** pics. It’s exhausting trying to balance it all, to keep up without crashing.

We have to, though.

We must carry on and set a better example for our children. We must be involved, not just from our computer screens, but actually, physically, involved. March in a protest. Attend a political rally. Volunteer one weekend a month with your children. ANYTHING that gets you out that door and involved in molding our world.

As Howard Thurman once said: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Come alive, dear reader. And do it today.

Amber is owner of, a website dedicated to helping people spend their time and money wisely. She also works as a financial coach and offers one-on-one time management classes. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Come Alive-

Let our Guest Poster, Amber, hear what you think!

Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

Many of you may have read about our debt before. We have sure had our share of it and I am convinced that most of you reading this post have, too. I’ve written countless times about where our debt comes from, what our debt looks like, and how our debt is being paid off. What I don’t write about often, though, is how our debt is holding us back.

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back-

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

As a blogger, I also adore reading other bloggers around the blogosphere. Basically, I spend a lot of free time (or time where I should be sleeping) scrolling through posts from other bloggers. Anyway, I have a few favorites that I visit time and time again and as you may have guessed, most of them have something to do with frugal living or paying off debt.

One of my absolute favorite, dream-to-be-like-her bloggers can be found at Believe in a Budget – her name is Kristin. Like me on DIY Jahn, she began documenting her journey to get out of debt on her blog. Now she teaches people how to do it.

Anyway, why do I tell you about her? Well, one of my big scary blog goals was to write for her site (and a few others) and guess what?

She has accepted my guest post!

How Our Debt is Holding Us Back

I’ve loved chatting with her about it and now the post has become live on her site as How Our Debt is Holding Us Back!

I would love it if you would hop over there and read the post, leave a comment, or share it on your social media!

You can find it by clicking HERE or using this link:

Thanks for supporting my journey and stay tuned for more this week!

Healthy Twists on Holiday Favorites

Healthy Twists on Holiday Favorites

Today we have a special guest post written by Orthology. It’s filled with great ideas to have a healthy holiday season. Enjoy!

Unfortunately, holiday weight gain isn’t a myth. Researchers have found most people gain around one pound between November and January. Overweight or obese adults are most likely to add weight during these months. Over 14 percent gain more than five pounds.

You can’t control the number of work engagements or private parties you’re obligated to attend. However, you can make an effort to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the season. Nutrition scientists have long understood that diet has a major impact on health, including mental health. Eating better can have a long-term impact on your mood and cognitive function. Here are some effective ways to put a wellness-conscious twist on your family’s favorite holiday dishes.

Healthy twists

Mushroom Gravy.

Choosing plant-based options can have a positive impact on blood cholesterol than non-vegan approaches to a low-fat diet, according to Stanford Research. Gravy is typically one of the highest fat holiday offerings, but a few simple changes can drastically improve it. Simply choose vegetable broth instead of turkey drippings, use vegan margarine in place of butter, and include sautéed mushrooms for a lovely texture.

Sugar-Free Cranberry Relish.

Researchers are increasingly discovering that white sugar can play a role in heart disease. Reducing the sugar in holiday dishes could help reduce heart disease risks and lower your caloric intake. Sweeten this season’s cranberry relish with grated apple and orange juice instead of white sugar. Your family and friends may even prefer this slightly tart alternative.

Walnut and Fig Pie Crust.

Nuts contain antioxidants, which are a powerful tool for fighting cancer-causing free radicals that can cause cancer. Take a healthier pie crust to your holiday events by using ground walnuts and dates in place of white flour. It’s the perfect basis for a vegan apple or pumpkin pie.

Roasted Veggies.

A diet high in fruits and vegetables is linked to optimal health. Whole foods, in particular, can provide crucial nutrients. Roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips with herbs and olive oil can make a colorful, satisfying, and healthy holiday addition to any menu or potluck.

Whole Grain Rolls.

Whole grains are a powerful way to defend your body from a host of deadly diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Choosing whole grain rolls as your holiday bread selection is a healthy and simple way to make better choices this season.

Making better food choices during the holidays doesn’t require special menus. With simple substitutions and modifications, you can improve the nutritional profile of traditional favorites.


Thank you again to Orthology for guest posting on our site! In case you’re interested, here’s a little more information about them.

Orthology is a world-class, innovative solution for rapid recovery from back and body injuries, chronic pain, and orthopedic surgeries, as well as ongoing ‘TuneUp’ wellness care.

How are you guys staying healthy this holiday?

Tell us in the comments below!

Earn Extra Money From Home – MMO Series

Earn Extra Money From Home

Today we have a guest poster for our Make Money Online Series. Woohoo! Her name is Amanda Northern and she presents herself as an online entrepreneur. I’ll tell you all a little more about her after she tells us how to earn extra money from home!

Three years ago I was a broke college student working two jobs, seven days per week and only to bring home a little more than $14,000 per year. Here in Atlanta, Georgia that was barely enough to survive. Desperate to make more money without having to get a third job, I ventured online to try and earn extra money from home. I was immediately caught up in internet scams, review sites that left viruses on my computer, and false leads.

One day I stumbled on a blog reviewing this site called, Hire My Mom. It was a job board that was geared towards stay-at-home moms who had professional experience and wanted to help internet entrepreneurs manage their businesses.  I applied right away. After 3 weeks of applying to a couple of jobs, I landed my very first paying virtual assistance gig.

I haven’t looked back since.

Here’s today’s post for our Make Money Online Series.

earn extra money from home

If this is your first time viewing our Make Money Online Series, please read this section.
-if not, feel free to skip ahead!-

The Make Money Online Series is a compilation of blog posts and guest posts discussing how it is possible to make extra cash online. When I first started my journey to pay off my debt fast and become debt free, I searched every possible nook and cranny to find options to earn extra money – in fact, I’m still looking! I scavenged the internet searching for options and signing up for everything that I possibly could.

Of course, this led to a bunch of spam and horrible programs that lie and do not actually help to make money online at all. SO, I’ve developed this series to help debunk those programs so that those of you who are in need of some extra cash, whether it’s because you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck, want to pay off your debt fast, or want to find a way to support your family as a stay at home mom, won’t struggle to find tried and true methods to earn money online.

We’ll cover topics ranging from freelancing to blogging to direct sales to micro jobs, etc. and posts will be made every other day – so keep checking back for more or sign up for our weekly newsletter! For a compilation of all topics that have already been posted, click here (HERE).

If you have a topic that you would like us to cover, or a topic you would like to guest post on, let us know in the comments below! Thank you!

Earn Extra Money From Home

Why Being a Virtual Assistant Is
the Perfect Side Hustle

If you’re wondering what a virtual assistant is, it’s basically a personal/administrative assistant that does all of their work online. That’s really the only difference! Online entrepreneurs have a different set of needs than a business owner with a physical store-front. For example, a virtual business owner needs the following tasks completed:

  • Internet research.
  • Social media management.
  • Blogging or copywriting.
  • Management of other virtual team members.
  • Bookkeeping.
  • Someone to manage their virtual events (telesummits, webinars).
  • Customer service.
  • Lead generation (cold emailing prospects).
  • Email management.
  • Technical/Website services.
  • SEO optimization.

Basically anything related to running an online business is what will be required of you as a virtual assistant. If you have any amount of professional experience in an office setting, being a virtual assistant may be the right side hustle for you. Many people can become intimidated with working with someone virtually instead of face-to-face. However the same skill set is needed to work virtually as to work in person.

When working with a virtual boss, you have to communicate, communicate, and communicate some more! Always specify exactly what your client needs, and have regular meetings via Skype, email, text, or by phone to ensure you complete a job well.

The best part about being a virtual assistant is that you can literally work anywhere that has an internet connection, there’s no micromanagement (business owners are way too busy for that!), and you get paid a lot more per hour. Basically, it’s the perfect way to earn extra money from home!

Mind that you do have to pay your own taxes since you’re an independent contractor when you’re a virtual assistant. As a person who has extensive administrative assistant experience, it’s a lot more than what you get working for a regular 9-5 gig!

Just How Much Can I Make Being A Virtual Assistant?

A virtual assistant’s wage can vary greatly from $5 per hour all the way to $50 per hour or more. As you can imagine, the higher the wage, the more specialized the knowledge. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to a virtual assistant’s pay schedule.

It’s a quick way to earn extra money online, but it all depends on your skill set, what you think your time is worth, and what the client is willing to pay. Being in the virtual assistant game for a few years, here’s what I see other type of virtual assistants charge.

  • General Virtual Assistant – This type of assistant does basic administrative tasks that anyone can pick up and are one of the easiest virtual assistant jobs to start off with. Tasks include data entry, email management, internet research, and managing a calendar. Pay: $10-$15 per hour.
  • Technical Virtual Assistant – A technical virtual assistant is knowledgeable with the tools that most internet entrepreneurs need and use. Tools include WordPress (very in-demand skill), email auto-responders, graphic design tools, and others. Pay: $50 – $75 per hour.
  • Virtual Event Assistant – A virtual event assistant is one that specializes in organizing and running telesummits, webinars, and any other live virtual training. A telesummits is a live event where multiple experts speak on the web to an audience of listeners. This is a very specialized type of assistant and usually requires training. Pay: $50 per hour.
  • Social media assistant – A social media assistant is one that manages a client’s social media sites. This can include creating posts and scheduling posts using social media management websites, running promotional challenges for your client, engaging people on social media sites, and coming up with strategies on how to grow engagement on your client’s social media sites. Pay: $20-$35 per hour.

As you can see, there are so many types of virtual assistants that it can be hard to come up with a single price to charge. How much you’re paid depends on how in-demand your skillset is, much like the regular job market.

Another alternative to charging per hour is charging per month or per project. I like to charge in this format because I suck at keeping track of hours and I’m really good at underestimating the time it takes me to do pretty much anything. And the last thing I want to do is to have to go back and ask a client to pay more than I originally told them it would cost. Plus getting paid per month or per project makes my income much more predictable.

earn extra money from home

So, Where Can I Find Clients As A Virtual Assistant?

You can find virtual assistant gigs to help you earn extra money from home just about anywhere you can find regular administrative jobs.

That being said, here are a few of my favorite places to look for virtual assistant openings:

  • Indeed
  • Flexjobs
  • Fiverr
  • Craigslist

And I saved the best one for last…Hire My Mom! As you recall, my very first virtual assistant client was found on Hire My Mom. It is the only job board where I’ve consistently found virtual assistant jobs from people who weren’t looking to pay people $5-$10 per hour!

These leads are legitimate, and the competition for the jobs is not high leading to a higher chance that you’ll get a job. It is a paid job board (just $10 per month), but I’ve literally made thousands of dollars just from this site and 99% of all my virtual assistant jobs come just from Hire My Mom. I earn extra money from home each month with this awesome website.

If you want to get started as a virtual assistant right away and possibly make money this month, sign up for Hire My Mom and apply for every job you feel remotely qualified for. I promise you if you take my advice, you’ll be interviewing for positions within weeks!

If you want to learn more about how to create a viable business that makes you money in as little as a week, check out my free ebook!

Thank you for sharing this super informative post on how to earn extra money from home with us, Amanda! I’m so glad we could partner in this way.

For readers who want more information about Amanda, here’s a blurb about her:

Amanda Northern is the creator of The Proassists, a VA firm that specializes in website design, copywriting, and administrative duties. She’s also the creator of, a freelance blog and consultancy dedicated to teaching everyday people how to build their own awesome internet business.

Reach out to her on Twitter @bloggingfreedom.

Thank you all for reading! I truly hope that you enjoyed our guest posters article today and will share your joy (and support our friend, Amanda), by leaving some love in the comments! Remember, I personally reply to every comment I receive.