No Spend Challenge 2017

It’s time once again to try another No Spend Challenge. As we come to the end of the year, my wife and I are looking at how we have done with our finances for 2016. We have had our ups and our downs, we have worked hard at times, and slacked off at times. Who here can say they haven’t done the same?

As we get prepare for 2017, we have decided that it’s time to do another No Spend Challenge to start the year off right. We know how much it changed our lives last year and we are excited for even bigger changes now!

no spend challenge

No Spend Challenge 2016

Some of you may remember that we did a No Spend Challenge for January of 2016 as well. If you weren’t around, here’s a link to that information: http://diyjahn.com/no-spend-challenge/

Otherwise, here’s a quick recap of how it went (to read the longer version, click HERE).

Over the course of the month of January, my wife and I spent a total of $68.32. By removing money for groceries, cancelling some programs such as Advocare and Hulu, and searching for lower cost for car insurance, we saved over $500 for the month of January!

To top it off, we ended up putting a total of $2,918.58 toward our debt in January alone!

No Spend Challenge 2017

So, now it is time to try again – to jump-start our year of savings by completing a second No Spend Challenge. We know that we have plenty of food in our freezer and pantry to get us by – so why do we keep going to the store to get more? We know we have enough of everything, but we continue to spend. Not this month! This month, we will focus on not spending, saving, and getting money into our emergency fund!

Rules:

Please note that you can follow as many or as few of these rules as you would like – you can also make some of your own!)

  • No spending money on groceries, fast food, restaurants, clothes, books, fun money, etc. Basically, we are trying to get down the bare bones to help us break the habits of spending. We are going to eat what’s in the cupboards and freezer, we are going to live off what we have, and w e are going to have fun for FREE without spending money! (Please note that if we do run out of food that we can prepare in a healthy manner, we will be buying food, but we don’t expect that to happen. We also aren’t willing to go without toilet paper or feminine products, so that will be something we may need to purchase.)
  • Bills will still be paid on time. We will not cut out our bills for the month, but we will instead utilize this month to work toward paying all of our bills early and putting our extra money into our savings account.
  • Any healthcare and medical costs will be paid as needed – these are a necessity and not an optional cost. If you need medicine, medical care, or the like, make sure you don’t cut these out. Just ensure that when you go to pick up your meds, you don’t end up buying more things you don’t need (a soda, Subway, a new toy, etc.)

Join us for the No Spend Challenge 2017!

The hardest thing about budgeting, frugal living, and saving money is doing it alone. That’s why we have created a challenge group for this very purpose! Filled with exclusive tips and tricks to survive frugal living during your No Spend Challenge as well as a community to back you up, we know that you can succeed!

Follow this link to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/nospendmonth

Follow our rules or make your own! We know that not everyone is in the same situation that we are in. Stick with as much or as little of the challenge as you are able in your situation. Don’t be afraid to sign up and come along for the ride!

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you. I will update the blog weekly with posts and update the group even more often than that! Click HERE to join the group!

Help us to Create a Community

Finally, please feel free to share this with any friends or family members who you think could benefit from this. Guide them to us! We would love to be in contact with them, and you.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them below!

Thanks for reading!

May Debt Repayment Update

May Debt Repayment Update

May is over a third of the way done (already?) and so I may be a little late for our May Debt Repayment Update, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening! We got some great amounts of debt paid off, earned a bit of extra cash, and are well on our way to knocking out the Big9! Read on to hear about it!

May Debt Repayment Update- www.diyjahn.com

For those who know our journey, feel free to skip ahead. For those who are new, here’s a little introduction.

So, here’s what’s going on. We plan to give these updates on a monthly basis (at the beginning of each month). You can see past months updates by clicking on our “Frugal Living” tab – or by clicking HERE.

I’m sure you’re wondering how we got to where we are. Well, we began our journey around the middle of September 2015 when my wife and I got married and decided to calculate our combined debt. That being said, we had been making payments for almost a year by this point, so we must have been much higher beforehand. Regardless, when we began religiously calculating our numbers in September, we came to the conclusion that we have $196,021.8 in debt: which is terrifying.

If you want to read more about how we racked up so much debt, you can read about it in our post here (click here).

TIt was time to pay it off and be debt free. Unfortunately, that sort of decision doesn’t come easy – and the results surely don’t come fast. We are working our way to debt freedom and hope to achieve our goals by January 1, 2019. Stay tuned as we update our progress, how we are getting there, and more by visiting regularly or signing up for our e-newsletter – here!



May Debt Repayment Update

Last month, during our April Debt Repayment Update, we told you how we paid off a WHOPPING $6,073.9. How? Well, you can go back and check that out if you’re interested. Now, the month of April may not have led to quite as high of a debt repayment, but it definitely got us some extra money to put toward debt.

Let’s see where we are for May!

Where are we at with our debt for April?

As you know, we are working on reaching our big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in 2016. Well, I can honestly say that for a while, I wasn’t sure how possible it was going to be – I didn’t have a lot of faith in myself. To be honest, I’ve been pretty discouraged in general, lately.

However, as of this update we have officially reached the halfway mark for our debt repayment goal – over a month early! Can you believe it?

So, let’s look at the numbers for the May Debt Repayment Update:

  • $40 – this is a minimum payment to a smaller student debt which brought that debt down to $2,352.82.
  • $467.92 – this is a minimum payment for my wife’s federal debt which brought that debt down to 67,747.11.
  • $139.04 – this is a minimum payment for our car which brought that debt down to $4,641.33.
  • $2,910.61 – this is an extra payment we put toward our high interest loan (affectionately titled Big9). We brought Big9 down to $15,299.36!

In total, we paid off $3,557.57 in debt in April- which is pretty great considering we also took a family trip up to Minneapolis to visit my parents. We went to Ikea and the Mall of America and barely spent anything! We shared a hotel room for $100 (for the whole weekend), so our biggest expense was food. Not so bad!

What does this bring us to in total for debt repayment? We have officially paid off a total of $25,898.92 in 2016 AND $36,239.78 since October. Woohoo!

Where does your income come from?

I decided to add this segment in November after reading a few income reports from other bloggers. I don’t want this to sound like bragging, but rather to help you to see that it is possible to pay back your debt on a low income (we’re doing it). You can also see that it’s possible to make money on the side (we’re doing that, too). I hope that this helps you on your journey to debt freedom.

Here’s our income breakdown for the month of April:

  • $1,600 – roughly, this is my take home pay. My pay also includes our housing and utilities (since we don’t pay for those), but this is the actual cash-in-pocket amount after taxes. We use my income for all bills, minimum payments, and necessities (groceries, gas, etc.).
  • $1,800 – roughly, this is my wife’s take home pay after taxes and insurance costs.  We use her income as entirely supplemental – meaning that unless something happens, all of her income goes as extra payments toward debt.
  • $321.62 – This is my blogging income for the month. This isn’t too bad for it being so close to summer! Though, I do expect that this will dramatically decrease as the summer gets closer and as we get busier, but I hope to boost it back up in late August / early September!

Total Income for March: $3,721.62

What is in our accounts?

 

Remember in the past how we were talking about our “New Family Fund” and how we wanted to make sure we had money to start a family when we were ready? Well, that was all well and good, but we recently discovered that our flex-spending account can help us with a lot of the needs in this area and while we know that having a family is expensive, we also realize that compound interest is expensive….

On that note, we have decided to drain our “New Family Fund” for the time being and put all of our money toward paying down debt first and foremost. It’s been a hard decision because we want to start a family while we are younger, but our debt is a mess that we simply won’t be getting out of any time soon and we certainly can’t bring a baby into that…

While we don’t like the decision, it’s necessary as we work to pay off some of these higher interest debts. Perhaps we’ll go back to paying into that when our Big9 and car loan are both paid off, but for now, we are going to keep our emergency fund at $1,000 and stick with that.

Anyway, here are what the accounts look like for our May Debt Repayment Update:

  • $1,000 – Emergency fund. Our goal is to keep this right where it’s at. This is split up into two accounts. One is easy to access through our bank and has about $300 in it, the other is through CapitalOne360. They gave us a free bonus for starting and the interest rate is higher than any others around us! Plus, no fees. Why not get free money? If you use this link, we both get a little bonus for opening an account: https://r.capitalone360.com/yd7NFLaMQu How great is that?

Total Assets for our May Debt Repayment Update: $1,000

May Debt Repayment Update

Looking Ahead

Where do we hope to be, looking forward, after the May Debt Repayment Update?

Well, at this point I simply hope to make it through the summer. Our summer is crazy with me working as a Program Director at a summer camp and my wife helping with catering when she can. I work 14-18 hour days and struggle to find time to sleep, so hopefully it won’t be too insane.

On the plus side, at least we won’t have to spend much money on food as we’ll be eating here at camp most times! That should mean a little extra cash can head right into our debt repayment. We also don’t have any time to travel, so gas money should go down too. Yay for extra funds!

Goal Update

As you all know, we set a huge, big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in debt in 2016. YIKES! I know it sounds crazy, but we think we can do it. So, we’ll be updating you on that goal each month during our debt repayment updates so that you can watch the progress.

Click HERE to read more about the goal: Financial Goals for 2016

GOAL: $50,000

Total Paid off in 2016: $25,898.92

Left to reach Goal: $24,101.08

We are over halfway there and it’s only been four full months! It’s crazy how well this challenge has been going and I can’t WAIT to see how close we get to reaching our goal. It’s going to be hard, but I know that we can do it! We will need to side hustle like crazy, sell stuff, and work our butts off to make this happen… but at the end of 2016, I know that it will all be worth it. We’ll be $50,000 less in debt and well on our way to debt freedom. Here goes nothing!

Thanks for reading our May Debt Repayment Update!

If you have any comments, let us know! We love to hear.

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.

Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 7-14

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge
Update: Days 7-14

The time has come once again for me to give you our update: days 7-14. Unfortunately, my update is a little late this time. While I was planning on having our update posted on Friday (as is our goal for this challenge), we were sadly dealing with the death of our family dog. As any of you fellow dog-owners may know, the death of a dog is never fun.

The dog was mine since I was about 11 years old. I got her as a little puppy and she has grown old in our home. She passed away in her sleep last week and we are glad that she is not in pain, but miss her deeply. It halted our challenge for a few days, but we are back and caught up now to give you our newest update: days 7-14!

30DMDC Update- Days 7-14

For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!

For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!


30DMDC Update: Days 7-14

Day 7: Accessories

Day seven was a little bit of a struggle for us. While we were able to get rid of MANY scarves, the jewelry aspect was a little harder. We realized how easy it is to become emotionally attached to an item and how frustrating it is when that item is one you never wear anymore. We realize that unless we are specifically going through our jewelry box, we never even see these pieces of jewelry, but we really struggled to get rid of some of those.

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However, despite our struggles, we did manage to get rid of a fair amount of jewelry. I have a number, but it’s not on my computer. It’s a lot though!

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To hear more stories about these pieces (and see pictures / stories about other things we are getting rid of), visit our instagram page at: instagram.com/diyjahn

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Day 8: Shoes

This day was easier because we aren’t as emotionally attached to our shoes (except our wedding shoes, but we wear those regularly)! We kept two pairs of fancy boots each (one brown, one black), rain boots, snow boots, tennis shoes, chacos, and two pairs of nicer shoes (wedding shoes are toms and my slip ons, plus my wife has a pair of black flats she wears regularly). My wife also has a few other pairs of work shoes that she wears.

Wow.

That sounds like a lot of shoes that we kept, but it really was the bare minimum. Working and living at a summer camp, we can’t exactly get rid of the need for rain boots, snow boots, chacos, and tennis shoes. I suppose we could get away with less nice shoes, but we really only have options for black and brown so that we each have shoes for any outfit.

Plus we got rid of some. So yay!

Day 9: Pamper Yourself

Honestly, this is one of the best days yet. We never get to pamper ourselves. Okay, let me rephrase that. We never allow ourselves time to pamper ourselves. We are always going, going, going and never remember to simply relax and be.

So, we took time to sleep in (YAY), to wash each others hair and give head massages (double YAY), and to go out to eat at Texas Roadhouse. It was blissful.

Day 10: 10 Items

Day 10 – we got rid of so many more than 10 items. It’s really unrealistic to tell us 10 because we have SO much stuff. So, on this day, can you guess what our number was?

Seriously, what do you think it was?

Because it was insane for one day.

Honestly.

We got rid of…

Drum roll please…

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235 things! Plus, we officially finished the bedroom! It’s done. There’s nothing more that we can get rid of in there at the present moment.

So, I feel like that’s winning.

Day 11: Social Media

This one was difficult for me and I feel like I’m still not where I want to be. I have to go through my friends again and get rid of them. Another one I need to go through is groups on Facebook, I really struggle with having a million of them that I never go to or participate in. I want to slim it down to only a few that I actually use often. That’s my goal!

Day 12: Use it Up!

We used up a few cleaning products and a bag of chocolate chips! Yay!

Day 13: Pantry

This was fun… Our “pantry” for the past few months has been one cupboard space, two boxes above our kitchen cupboards, and one tote box in the dining room. Honestly, why are we eating and living out of boxes?!

We went through our cupboards and made room to have ALL of our food in the cupboards. No more boxes! I’m so happy!!

Day 14: Pots & Pans

Pots and pans are one of the things that we have had way too much of, and we know it, but we don’t really go through them often. It was nice to have a day dedicated to getting rid of them.

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When my wife and I got together, we combined our giant sets of pots and pans into an even bigger set of pots and pans. It was really unnecessary, but we each liked our individual sets. As our preferences grew and changed, we realized we were only utilizing about 3-5 of the pots and 2 of the pans. We got rid of a ton of them and are super excited with the storage of the last few!

Update: Days 7-14 – Week in Review

Favorite / Least Favorite

My favorite day of the second week of the challenge was definitely the pamper yourself (day 9). It was glorious to take some time to simply be, to relax, to not worry about work or cleaning, and to be together. We definitely don’t get time like that often, but with summer approaching quickly, I’m glad we got time for that this week.

My least favorite day was definitely the social media (day 11). I feel like I didn’t make any progress and it’s still something that I would like to work on. Ah well, to another day!

Number of Items Removed

Well, this week we took a boatload of items totaling over 1,000 to Goodwill and are currently adding even more to the list. This week we added over 500 more items and have another car-full for Goodwill. We’ll be counting and giving exact numbers soon – they’re being kept track of though, don’t worry!

One Thing I Learned

Well, last week I realized the importance of not keeping things for “just in case.” This week, I’ve been focusing on how easy my life seems to be getting the less stuff I have. Let me explain what I mean and how I got here:

On Friday, my parents were coming for a visit. Because we are in the middle of this crazy challenge, our house was a mess – the living room was filled to the brim with boxes that needed sorting, piles of items to give to Goodwill, more items that needed to be put back into their places, bags of trash, and furniture that we were unsure about. Basically, it was a disaster.

However, the rest of the house (the rooms that were already completed) took less than a half hour to clean. We wiped off counters, surfaces, tables, etc. that were already clear because we don’t have enough stuff to put on them. We pushed chairs in. We swept. We vacuumed. We did the dishes. We took out the trash. And we wiped up the bathroom.

It’s crazy how easy life can become when you have less items. I can’t wait for my whole house to feel as simple as the rest of my house already does! Or for that matter, I can’t wait for my life to feel the way that half of my house does!

Update: Days 7-14

So, that’s it for the Update: Days 7-14. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! Right now, we are looking forward to the days of cleaning products, linens, and, of course, going for a walk. See you soon!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.

What does your Update: Days 7-14 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money 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.

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

Start a Side Hustle TODAY to be Debt Free Later

“Are you feeling stuck under the weight of mountains of debt? So was I.” Until I made the decision to start a side hustle. Believe me, this choice changed my life, and it can change yours, too. My blogging career has only begun, but it has already helped me exponentially on my journey to become debt free. Blogging isn’t the only side hustle you can get though – I have a ton of ideas that will help you use skills you already have to make some extra money.

Start a Side Hustle - www.diyjahn.com

 

I’m going to share with you all about how you can start a side hustle and begin earning some extra cash to get you out of debt – or to simply save some money. Before we start, though, I want to tell you about someone I met. I had the opportunity to get in touch with an incredible blogger named Tessa, who writes over at Bella Creative.

Tessa asked if I wanted to share my message about the decision to start a side hustle with a larger audience and as we know, I’m all about helping others to get out of debt. I jumped on the idea and was able to get a blog post ready to be posted to her site. The blog post is (SURPRISE) called: Start a Side Hustle Today to be Debt Free Later

But I couldn’t very well leave you all out of the loop. So, today I’m sharing my guest post with you so that you can have the opportunity to learn from it as well! I hope that it benefits you in your journey and I would love, love, LOVE it if you would be willing to visit Bella Creative and share the love by commenting.

You can find the post by clicking HERE or by using this link: http://www.bellacreative.co/blog/start-a-side-hustle-to-be-debt-free

Don’t forget! If you want to learn some awesome new ways that YOU can make money online, visit our Make Money Online series by clicking HERE. Side hustles don’t have to be impossible to find, I’ve centralized them to make your life easier! I’ve also checked to make sure they’re all legitimate so that YOU don’t have to.

Thanks for reading, guys!!

Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge Update: Days 1-6

It’s time for our first 30DMDC Update: Days 1-6. This past week has been insane. Not only has the weather shifted from beautiful, warm spring days to shivering, cold, rainy, hail-filled days, but our house has shifted from managed clutter to uncontrolled chaos.

Why?

Because we are working our way through the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. What is the old saying…? Something like… “it has to get worse before it can get better.” That has never been more true for us. In completing the daily tasks, our living room has become a war zone for our things.

We have a giant pile that we are donating, tossing, or otherwise getting rid of, a pile for things that we need to keep, but that need a new home, and a stack of boxes with things we are keeping, but that we are unable to put away since the storage area is in the process of being overhauled.

In any case, we are super excited to have this challenge to get this clutter out of our house once and for all. And we know that it is bound to get better as this month goes on. So, without further ado, let’s see what we did for each of the challenge days in our Update: Days 1-6!

30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

For those who are new to this challenge, read this first!

For everyone else, feel free to skip ahead!

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing! Don’t worry, you can start whenever you feel ready!


30DMDC Update: Days 1-6

Day 1: 5 Items

Day 1 was exciting for my wife and I. We were so ready to get a move on for our 30DMDC that we threw away way more than the recommended / required 5 items.

First of all, I need to admit something to you all. When we started this challenge we still had all of our Christmas decorations up. Yes, you read that right. In April, we still had our decorations up. Yikes.

So, we decided to start the challenge by taking down Christmas and going through ALL of our decorations in the process (for every holiday) and deciding what we needed to keep and what we didn’t. We ended up getting rid of a TON of items and are super excited about it.

Then we moved on to the actual challenge topic of 5 items. We picked 5 items that we knew needed a new home:

  • 2 Umbrellas – we had four umbrellas in our house and there are only two of us. Needless to say, it was time to get rid of two of these.
  • A Whiteboard – this one was hard for me to get rid of because my parents left me notes on it for a long time. They were all still there and hadn’t been erased, but because it was so full, we couldn’t use it. Instead, we were simply storing it because we didn’t want to get rid of the notes. So, we decided to compromise by taking a few pictures of the notes and then letting it go. Camp will use it and enjoy it, we’re sure!
  • A Lunchbag – it was time to get rid of this lunchbag. It was taking up space and we never used it..
  • A Movie Stand – this used to be used to hold our CDs near our stereo system, but we rarely use the stereo and we rarely listen to CDs anymore – it’s all MP3 or record (funny how the world works, isn’t it?). Time for this guy to stop taking up space!

Day 2: Countertops

Our counters were insane. We have two kitchen counters (one is wrap-around bar into the dining room) and a living room counter (our old cabinets were repurposed into a new entertainment center. They were both FILLED with stuff and we couldn’t believe how big of a difference cleaning them off made.

Now, in each of our updates I’ll be sharing pictures of our progress. So, here are some pictures for our Update: Days 1-6. I don’t have a before picture of our kitchen counter, but here is the one of our living room counter.

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Here’s the after of the living room counter:

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Here’s the after of our kitchen counter:

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Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes

I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m not so good at the meditating thing. My wife and I tried multiple times throughout the day and just couldn’t get it down. I feel like we failed miserably at this day of the challenge, but we definitely tried. On the other hand, we did watch part of the sunrise of the lake…so…

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Day 4: Junk Drawer

Today was a hard one for us. Why? Because we don’t necessarily have a junk drawer, per say, but we DO have a TON of places where we keep a lot of junk. We decided to focus on two of these places and tackle those – it took longer than expected. The first was the cabinet under the living room counter. We kept all hosts of electronics, tangles of cords, tools, duct tape, amps, movies, etc. down there. So, we took some time to sort through it all and threw away a TON. Here’s a before photo of just one section of the area (it has three sections, the center one is as larger as the other two combined).

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As you can see, it’s very much a junk area, filled to the brim with stuff we definitely don’t always need. So, we got rid of a ton and cleaned it out. Here are some after pictures:

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The center cabinet:

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The far cabinet:

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After that, we took to tackling a china hutch that we had sitting in the living room. It was filled with diabetic supplies, pet stuff, mailing stationary and stamps, batteries, you name it. I guess this could have been our “junk cabinet” if you didn’t know that the one under the living room counter existed – haha!

We decided that instead of simply going through the cabinet, getting rid of what we don’t need, and reorganizing it, we would find a way to empty it out completely and use the space under the living room counter for this stuff as well. Now that the china hutch is empty, we can put it in storage until we have a good home for it. It’s hard to fit in our tiny house, but once we buy a larger home, we know that we will want it.

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Here’s what our junk pile (stuff we are donating or tossing) looked like after this day’s task! Pretty crazy for only halfway through our update: days 1-6, right?

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Day 5: Clothing

Wow! Who would have thought this day would be so difficult? My wife and I went through our clothing not long ago, so we thought that this day would be easy. Boy, were we mistaken. We had so many things to get rid of / donate by the end… And, since our dresser was falling apart, we decided to get rid of it completely. You’ll notice it missing in the before and after pictures.

We got rid of enough items that we can now fit all of our clothing into only two closets – leaving our bedroom free with tons of space – hooray! We repurposed an old garbage picking find for a t-shirt cabinet and added some boxes that were empty for socks and unmentionables. It feels so much more spacious and clean now!

Dresser before:

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Dresser after:

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Bedroom Closet 1 Before:

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Bedroom Closet 1 After:

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Bedroom Closet 2 Before:

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Bedroom Closet 2 After:

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Hallway Closet Before:

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Hallway Closet After:

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Day 6: Digital Cleanse

Well, this day came as a surprise to me. I didn’t think that it would be possible – especially since my wife was out of town for the day and I knew I would want to be talking to her. However, since I was at work for 15 hours straight yesterday, there wasn’t much time for anything digital. So, it wasn’t too bad. I will admit though: I used my phone a little bit. I texted my wife a few times and I also used it for GPS to get us to a few locations.

Update: Days 1-6 – Week in Review

Favorite / Least Favorite

I think my favorite day during this first week was the countertops (day 2). This one really made me think about what we actually need out as opposed to what we simply set on the counter because we don’t want to find something else to do with that item.

My least favorite day was probably the meditation day. It’s not that I have anything against being alone with my thoughts, but I really struggle with the process of not thinking of anything – of simply breathing. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me, but it really is. I guess that’s definitely something that I’ll be working on in the future.

Number of Items Removed

Honestly, with the giant pile of stuff that we have removed from our lives, I haven’t had a chance to count any of it. My goal is to have it counted by next week’s update. Until then, you can look at this picture of the mountain that is sitting in our living room and guestimate what that number may be:

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One Thing I Learned

I’ve learned so much already in this short week of the challenge, so it’s hard to choose only one thing. I would have to say that the most important thing I learned this week is that you don’t need to keep things for “just in case.”

This is such a hard lesson for me because I was raised to believe that it’s better to have things than to need them later – not that that’s a bad lesson, it’s just very, very different than what this challenge is teaching me.

When I look at things, it’s hard for me to accept that even though there’s a possibility I may need it in the future, it’s not necessarily worth storing for the time being because it only adds to the clutter. Now, there are cases where that is different – things that you inherent from your parents or things that you want to pass down to your children, those are worth keeping.

That being said, we had two griddles – a large one and a small one. The large one would be awesome for making grilled cheese, pancakes, etc. for a large number of people. We were saving this “just in case” we needed it when we have kids. We aren’t even in the process of trying for kids yet so this item was being kept for an unknown time in the future that is at LEAST years away. How crazy is that?

Hard lesson, but good lesson.

Update: Days 1-6

So, that’s it for the Update: Days 1-6. Coming up next week we have a ton of great things to do to get our house clean and rid ourselves of the clutter! I think right now, I’m most looking forward to the pantry day. My wife and I don’t do a lot in regard to shoes and accessories so those days will be good, but won’t produce the giant results that we are so excited about!

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

I hope that you’ll join us for the challenge or take it on your own, but regardless of how you do it be sure to share your results with us here, sign up for the e-newsletter at the top of this email, and join our awesome Facebook groups: Frugal Living Community and/or LGBT Frugal Living Community.

What does your Update: Days 1-6 look like? What was your favorite / least favorite day of this week? How many items have you gotten rid of so far?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money 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.

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 - www.diyjahn.com

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: www.lisarutledge.ca

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 - www.diyjahn.com

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: http://www.awelderswife.com/2016/03/creating-a-chemical-free-home/

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – 30DMDC

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge

If your family is anything like mine, you’ve felt the frustrations of a cluttered home. My wife and I moved into our small house about two years ago from college dorms and apartments. We settled in, we decorated, we stored, we received gifts, we stored, we went shopping, we stored, etc. etc. etc. Now, after two years of living in our cluttered and chaotic home, we are realizing the importance of simplicity in life. We are striving toward debt-free living, but a healthy life is more than finances alone. That’s why we have decided to complete our first ever 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge – and we want you to join us!

The 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge was created by Erin on A Welder’s Wife and she has graciously allowed me to share the challenge with you all for the month of April. I would love to have you all join for as much or as little of the challenge as you are willing!



30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge

This challenge is a great chance for us all to declutter our minds and our bodies. Erin did a great job of introducing why this challenge is so very important when she wrote her guest blog titled Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goal (Click HERE to read this post). Erin shared how minimizing your lifestyle can help you to save money and get out of debt quicker (isn’t that what we are all about anyway?).

Minimizing means simplifying your life to enjoy a higher quality of living. As a result of living a minimalist lifestyle, people feel more attuned to their emotions, they are more present in their everyday lives, they are happier, and their wallets are more full. As someone who has lived with clutter for most of her life, I’m ready to simplify. I’m pumped to see the results of this challenge! Are you?

What Do You DO During a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

First of all, I’m sure you’re wondering what all the challenge entails, right? Well, here’s a day-by-day guide of what we will be doing! Mind you, we will be adding some fun twists on our Facebook groups and Newsletter – so make sure to join and sign up below!

(These daily tasks and explanations for the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge are taken from Erin’s site: A Welder’s Wife – click here to see her site.)

Day 1: 5 items
Find 5 items you can toss or donate. I am going to keep a box for the entire challenge of donate items. If an item needs tossed, I will do so instantly. 

Day 2: Countertops
Clear your counter tops of everything, wipe them clean, and add back only what is necessary. Everything else needs a new home, tossed, or donated. 

Day 3: Meditate for 15 Minutes
I read the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris, and learned about the benefits of meditation. I am a skeptic, but I wanted to give it a try anyways. The instructions I have read for beginners include: concentrate on your breaths, focus on the in and out motion, and if you find yourself drifting, bring yourself back to your breath. I thought this would be great to try before bed, to help unwind from the day. 

Day 4: Junk Drawer
We all have them, but why? It’s time to break up with the Junk Drawer for good! Find a place for everything by giving a new home to the item, tossing, or donating. 

Day 5: Clothing
Time to cull your wardrobe! I am trying a capsule wardrobe for first time, and loving it! I started at the beginning of October, but I feel after some time there are pieces I don’t wear. It’s time to find these pieces a new home! 

Day 6: Digital Cleanse
Turn off all electronic devices for one day. Take this time to enjoy the company of your family, time outdoors, reading a book, etc. I realize this is hard for a lot of people [myself included], but I am really excited for this day’s challenge! 

Day 7: Accessories
Time to clean out jewelry, hand bags, belts, scarves, etc. Just leave the shoes for another day. I did this one about a month ago, and I should have gotten pictures of the before and after. It was amazing what I was able to let go of. That being said, I still feel like I have a few things I can part ways with. 

Day 8: Shoes
Time to purge shoes! Another hard one for me. While I don’t have a lot of shoes, I still have more than I probably need. Until recently, I had my old cheerleading shoes from 2002! They are still in great condition, but they had ran their course. Now I just need to decided on everything else. 

Day 9: Pamper Yourself
When was the last time you took time for yourself? Today is all about you! Enjoy a nice soaking bath, an all natural face mask, or maybe even go get a pedicure/manicure. 

Day 10: 10 items
Find 10 items to donate or toss! I’m sure over the past few days there have been some things that have stuck out to you. Grab them up and give them a new home. 

Day 11: Social Media
Social media is designed to help people connect through multiple platforms, but how many of these people only post negative posts, do you actually know that person, and why did you follow that person to begin with? If a person isn’t adding anything to your life, it is time to defriend them. Don’t worry, they won’t be notified. You should only follow or friend people who add something to your life or make you happy. 

[Added bonus: Clear out and sort your emails. Unsubscribe from all promotional emails. You have much more important things in your life than to delete multiple promotional emails everyday. Even if you feel you can’t do without a certain store’s promotions, unsubscribe! Give it a try and see if you miss it. I didn’t! Plus, if you do miss it, you can always resubscribe.] 

Day 12: Find a product to use up
Is there a lotion you have just a little left in, or a sauce that is about to expire? If so, take today and use it! Today you will gain some space! 

Day 13: Pantry
Look through everything and check expiration dates. Throw out anything expired or you will not use. 

Day 14: Pots & Pans
A hard day for anyone who cooks a lot. Be honest with what is your favorite to cook with and what pieces you neglect. A tip I have seen is to see if lids fit more than one pot/pan. If so, you can let go of a few lids, and free up some space. 

Day 15: Wake Up 30 Minutes Earlier
Wish you had more time in your day? Waking up just 30 minutes earlier can help you achieve a more successful day. Use this time to finish up some cleaning, write in your journal, take your time getting ready, etc. 

Day 16: Linens
The truth is you only need 2 sets of sheets per bed. Everything else is only taking up space. You could repurpose the extras into reusable paper towels, toss them depending on their condition, or donate them. Towels are the same. I’ve seen some minimalist only keep one towel per person; however, that will not be the case for my husband and I. To each their own, but be sure you find new homes for what doesn’t fit in these means. 

Day 17: Cleaning Products
Do you hoard cleaning products like I do? It’s time to be honest with what products you use and what you are holding onto just because it’s a cleaning product. 

Day 18: Journal for 15 Minutes
One thing I have always wanted to make a habit is writing in a journal. Take 15 minutes to write down whatever is on your mind. Who knows, we might all be surprised at the end of this exercise. 

Day 19: Skin Care
All cosmetics have an expiration date. Most are 1-3 years. Purge the expired and then see what’s left. From here, purge anything you haven’t used in over a month. If there is anything else left to question, it goes. You will be left with what you use and works best for you. Who knows, you may even develop your skin care system. 

Day 20: Make Up
Same rules apply as did on Day 19. In addition, if it isn’t your color, purge it. 

Day 21: Go for a walk
Enjoy today by taking a walk outside. 

Day 22: Medicine
Purging the expired medicine may rid you of more space than expected. Remember to dispose of medicine properly. If there is more left than expected, see if there is any medicine you have that doesn’t work for you and dispose of it. 

Day 23: Mail/Paperwork
This is probably my least favorite day. I don’t have as much as some, but I have enough to make this task a pain. It is something that has to be done, however. Only keep papers needed to pay your current bills and papers needed for tax purposes. Everything else can be shredded. 

Day 24: Guilty Pleasure
Probably my favorite day of this challenge. We’ve all been working hard and need to enjoy ourselves from time to time. Today, we have the opportunity to take an hour to enjoy a guilty pleasure. This can be anything from enjoying dessert before dinner, watching reality TV, etc. I will probably use my time to read a book I’ve had my eyes on for a little while. 

Day 25: Crafts
We all have those projects we said we would do, and they are still waiting for us. Time to push the guilt aside and purge these crafts. Only keep things you plan to make within the next two months. Everything else can be tossed or donated. 

Day 26: Keepsakes
If you have followed my posts, you know I have purged my keepsakes. However, I feel by the time I reach day 26, I will have a new found hope in finding more I can part with. Keepsakes are extremely hard to purge, because most people tie memories to items. It is important to remember the memory, but not attach it to things. 

Day 27: Evaluate Priorities
Make a list of everything important to you at this time. Arrange each item from most important to least. We may find some adjustments are needed. 

Day 28: Phone Apps
How many of us have applications on our phone we don’t use? Time to uninstall! One thing I have previously done is uninstall Facebook from my phone. I found I was mindlessly scrolling through Facebook for hours, and only finding myself mad and aggravated when I decided to stop. Since uninstalling it, I probably get on Facebook once or twice a week to check my notifications for event information from friends and family that aren’t local. For the applications you cannot delete, group together so they don’t take up so much screen space. This will declutter your phone and declutter your mind when you use your phone. 

Day 29: Contacts
Are you like my husband, who still has contacts from 10 years ago? Do you still talk to that person? Do they have the same number? If the answer is no or I’m not sure, it’s been long enough, and it’s time to delete it. A cleared contact list will save you time and distraction from thinking of the past. You are meant to live in the present, so let’s clean that contact list up a bit! 

Day 30: Reflect on the Past 29 Days 
Take time today to think of where you started and how far you have come. Do you have more space? Is your space less cluttered? Have you discovered things about yourself you didn’t know before this challenge? How did you enjoy the mindful exercises? Did you develop new habits?

(These daily tasks and explanations for the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge are taken from Erin’s site: A Welder’s Wife – click here to see her site.)

Thank you, Erin, for letting us take this amazing challenge! We are so excited to share the results with you when we are finished.

30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge - www.diyjahn.com (1)

How Do You Join Our 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

So, now that you’re psyched to join the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge, let’s talk about how!

Mailing List

We have an awesome mailing list that gets weekly updates and motivation for the challenge. If you are feeling up to the challenge, use the space below!



Facebook Groups

As with any challenge, you will need a great support system to complete the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. We have two Facebook groups for just this purpose. Request to join one or both using the links below!

Frugal Living Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/fiscalfast/

LGBT Frugal Living Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1730263597191949/

What inspires YOU to get rid of the clutter & take the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge?

Leave your responses in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money 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.

April Debt Repayment Update

April Debt Repayment Update

March is almost over and it’s time once again to update you on our finances, but don’t worry – it’s been a good month! Not only did we take a much-needed vacation, but we also paid off a good chunk of debt due to our tax refund coming in. Hooray! We are even closer to fulfilling our goal of debt freedom. Without further ado – here’s our April debt repayment update!

April Debt Repayment Update- www.diyjahn.com

For those who know our journey, feel free to skip ahead. For those who are new, here’s a little introduction.

So, here’s what’s going on. We plan to give these updates on a monthly basis (at the beginning of each month). You can see past months updates by clicking on our “Frugal Living” tab – or by clicking HERE.

I’m sure you’re wondering how we got to where we are. Well, we began our journey around the middle of September when my wife and I got married and decided to calculate our combined debt. That being said, we had been making payments for almost a year by this point, so we must have been much higher beforehand. Regardless, when we began religiously calculating our numbers in September, we came to the conclusion that we have $196,021.8 in debt: which is terrifying.

If you want to read more about how we racked up so much debt, you can read about it in our post here (click here).

TIt was time to pay it off and be debt free. Unfortunately, that sort of decision doesn’t come easy – and the results surely don’t come fast. We are working our way to debt freedom and hope to achieve our goals by January 1, 2019. Stay tuned as we update our progress, how we are getting there, and more by visiting regularly or signing up for our e-newsletter – here!



April Debt Repayment Update

At the end of last month, during our March Debt Repayment Update, we had officially paid down a total of $26,608.31 since October – woohoo! Not only that, but we had paid off $3,348.87 in February ALONE. Now, we get to update you on even more money that we have thrown at this debt of ours. We have a long way to go, but we are beginning to think our goals are possible.

Let’s see where we are for April!

 

 

April Debt Repayment Update

Where are we at with our debt for March?

This month turned out to be a great month for our debt repayment which was kind of unexpected. Why? Well, we decided to take a road trip on a whim to the East Coast. A good pal of mine from work wanted to visit his girlfriend out there (in college in Virginia) and my wife and I thought it would be a great way to see a new place for cheap.

As you may remember, I made a few goals for my birthday this past year – 20 Something Goals Before 25. One of my goals was to take a vacation somewhere new. Well, when we realized that we wanted to put everything toward debt and make our big scary goal of paying off $50,000 in 2016, we decided that a vacation may be out of the question. Well, low-and-behold we had this amazing opportunity arise – we surely weren’t going to pass it up!

So, we may have put a little bit less toward debt than we otherwise would have, but we are happy that we went and we don’t regret it for a second. My lovely wife got to see mountains for the first time ever, we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we climbed to the top of Humpback Rock on Humpback Mountain, we saw the sights in Washington D.C., we hung out with my amazing uncle, and we even went to a Movie Tavern that was spectacular! All-in-all, it was a great trip.

I’m sure you’re wondering, though, how this worked for us financially for our April debt repayment update. It was simple really – and inexpensive.

  • We took a week of PTO (so no pay loss) and hunkered down in the car.
  • We bought sandwiches for the car rides (18 hours each way) and didn’t stop for food. The groceries cost about $30 for two days worth of food for us both, plus snacks.
  • The gas was split between us and my friend so that it cost about $85 each (including tolls) for the full ride to Virginia and an extra $40 for our tourist-y riding around after.
  • We ate out a few times (totaling less than $200 for the both of us) and spent our nights at my uncles house (about 4 hours North of where my friend’s girlfriend lives).
  • Oh, and we allowed ourselves to purchase two records totally about $60 (a treat for paying off so much debt).

So, for the entire vacation to the East Coast and a ton of tourist-ing (not a word, but I like it), we paid around $400 total for two people. Pretty incredible, right? Not to mention, I had earned an extra $190 from blogging that was put toward the trip and we had our normal $150 budget for the two weeks. Basically, we were over budget by about $60 – the cost of the records.

Was the vacation worth the $60? Definitely. Would I choose this again? Every time.

Anyway, let’s look at the numbers for the April Debt Repayment Update:

  • $40 – this is a minimum payment to a smaller student debt which brought that debt down to $2,392.82.
  • $467.92 – this is a minimum payment for my wife’s federal debt which brought that debt down to 68,215.03.
  • $139.04 – this is a minimum payment for our car which brought that debt down to $4,780.37.
  • $5,426.94 – this is an extra payment we put toward our high interest loan (affectionately titled Big9). We brought Big9 down to $17,725.33! Most of this was from our tax refund, but about $1,000 was extra on top of that. A great month for the Big9!

In total, we paid off $6,073.90 in debt in March – WOW! We didn’t even realize we could get that much extra toward our debt in one month with our incomes, but we sure are happy to have done it!

What does this bring us to in total for debt repayment? We have officially paid off a total of $32,682.21 since October. Woohoo!

Where does your income come from?

I decided to add this segment in November after reading a few income reports from other bloggers. I don’t want this to sound like bragging, but rather to help you to see that it is possible to pay back your debt on a low income (we’re doing it). You can also see that it’s possible to make money on the side (we’re doing that, too). I hope that this helps you on your journey to debt freedom.

Here’s our income breakdown for the month of March:

  • $1,600 – roughly, this is my take home pay. My pay also includes our housing and utilities (since we don’t pay for those), but this is the actual cash-in-pocket amount after taxes. We use my income for all bills, minimum payments, and necessities (groceries, gas, etc.).
  • $1,800 – roughly, this is my wife’s take home pay after taxes and insurance costs.  We use her income as entirely supplemental – meaning that unless something happens, all of her income goes as extra payments toward debt.
  • $215.16 – This is my blogging income for the month. Not bad for only a few months in! I hope that this continues to boost as I prepare to release my first course and some ebooks – we’ll see! Look forward to some new information coming your way.

Total Income for March: $3,615.16

What is in our accounts?

We are slowly building our savings account. And by slowly, I mean VERY, VERY slowly. Most of our money goes straight toward debt because that’s what our main priority is. That being said, we know that emergencies happen so we have an emergency fund that we never touch unless necessary.

We also have a “New Family Fund” as some of you may know, that we were putting $100 toward each month. As a lesbian couple, we know that having children is going to be very expensive and difficult. However, we also know that we want this to be a part of our life. On that note, we have decided to post-pone contributing to this account for a couple of reasons.

First of all, $100 a month is $1,200 a year that could be going toward paying off our debts quicker. It sounds small, but it adds up. Second, we found out that my wife’s flex-spending card can help us to pay for some of the needs in this area, so we don’t need to use as much out-of-pocket.

Anyway, here are what the accounts look like for our April Debt Repayment Update:

  • $1,000 – Emergency fund. Our goal is to keep this right where it’s at. Unfortunately, we did have to take some from this this month when our car broke down which is why we couldn’t contribute as much toward debt repayment. We did pay it back quickly, though, and it is now sitting happily at the $1,000 mark again.
  • $687.22 – New Family Fund. Each month we were putting an extra $100 toward this month and it was going well. We did put $100 toward it this month as well as the $25 bonus we got for starting an online account through CapitalOne360. Why not get free money? If you use this link, we both get a little bonus for opening an account: https://r.capitalone360.com/yd7NFLaMQu How great is that?

Total Assets: $1,687.22

April Debt Repayment Update

Looking Ahead

Where do we hope to be, looking forward, after the April Debt Repayment Update?

First: We will be completing a 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge starting April 1 (FRIDAY!) and we would love to have you join us. We are super excited to get rid of the clutter and move forward with our debt-free goals. We’ll be selling, donating, and recycling as much as we can and moving ourselves to a minimalist / zero-waste lifestyle. Anyway, if you are interested at all, check out THIS POST for more information and ideas: Declutter Your Life, Reach Your Debt Free Goals (CLICK HERE).

Second: Last month I said I would be releasing products this month, but with summer around the corner and the trip we went on, it simply didn’t happen. I’m hoping to release some products starting at the end of April and we’ll see what happens! Keep an eye out for them! If you are willing – please share this with your friends! We are working as hard as we possibly can to pay off our debt and every share helps!

Third: I will be looking to find some more clients for my Virtual Assistant Business – if you are looking for help with your blog, managing social media, figuring out a budget for yourself or your business, need some graphics or printables made, or need some content writing done, let me know! I’m happy to work with you to make it happen.

Goal Update

As you all know, we set a huge, big, scary goal of paying off $50,000 in debt in 2016. YIKES! I know it sounds crazy, but we think we can do it. So, we’ll be updating you on that goal each month during our debt repayment updates so that you can watch the progress.

Click HERE to read more about the goal: Financial Goals for 2016

GOAL: $50,000

Total Paid off in 2016: $22,341.35

Left to reach Goal: $27,658.65

We are almost halfway to our goal and it’s only been three full months! We are super excited to see what this year holds and know that we can reach our goals. However, we had some big lump sums during these first three months, so we will need to hustle like crazy the next nine months to reach this goal. We can do it (I hope..)!

Thanks for reading our April Debt Repayment Update!

If you have any comments, let us know! We love to hear.

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.

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

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

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

10 weeks- www.diyjahn.com

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

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

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

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

Click HERE to read the post on Making Sense of Cents

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

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