the big day

it's here! the day i've been waiting for! it's moving day.

today, after everything was all packed up in the truck-thanks to the strapping lads i hired-i went back up to my first apartment. i always have a hard time leaving places i've lived. not to say i'm not over the moon excited about the move, being in boulder, my new amazing roommate, cutting my commute from 65 minutes to 6 minutes-because trust me I AM THRILLED. but, moving, for good, always seems so sad to me.

i sat down in the middle of my (now bare) living room and took it in. i thought about all the things that happened in this apartment, and all the things that happened in life during the past 21 months here. i had mostly good times in my little city apartment, some sad but mostly just happy.

i made new friends, and spent time with old ones.i ran my first marathon while i lived here, i started my financial lockdown, and let go of a heart heavying relationship here.  i made plans here-some i followed through on and some i didn't. i had a good talk with my mom about happiness here. i got the phone call that i'd lost my grandpa while i lived in this place. i had one of the most fun weekends with my sister in this apartment-come to think of it i picked out this little place with my sister and that memory is so happy for me. i reconnected with an old friend who now i can't imagine life without, my best friend told me she was having a baby and my niece was born while i lived here. i celebrated engagements, babies, weddings, anniversaries and accomplishments with the people i love. my best cousin had a beautiful baby boy and moved up to her lovely cabin in the woods. my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. my sister got hurt and then got better. i threw parties, i walked to coffee shops, and i went to concerts. i made mistakes. i surprised myself. i dated, i laughed, i cried, i danced, and ran, and traveled, and really got to know a city i always dreamed i would find myself. i grew up here, in my little city apartment.

the funny thing is, until i sat down cross legged on the hardwood floor today and really thought about it, i felt like i was never here. i felt like the past (almost) two years flew by, and nothing had really happened while i was here. so, you see, when you sit quietly in a place, you realize how much life can happen to you in a short time.
it was a good reminder to be an active participant in my life.

be present.


what a great takeaway to start the next chapter.

goodbye leetonia-it's been fun.
all the best to you and yours.
xoxo ashleycolean


i hope...

you get everything you wanted!
~happy holidays~
xoxo ashleycolean


i'm off

i'm outta here for the holiday. heading back home to kansas city for 5 days to drink coffee, do the flying squirrel with my sister onto my parents bed, sleep in a cozy bed, wrap (and OPEN) gifts, see my best friends for a brunch or two, and relax. i could not be more excited.

i'll hook you up with a december recap when i get back!
hopefully i will get some cash to put down on those loans! :)

happiest of holidays to you and yours,
xoxo ashleycolean


a night to cocktail

tonight's the night! the good ol' company holiday party. i love this night. it's the greatest. we have a small company so the conversation is good, the laughs are plenty, and the wine flows like...well, wine.

we celebrate each year at the gorgeous, and amazing st julien hotel....with a fab dinner at jill's. lucky gal (both thumbs pointing inward)!! this year is much smaller than normal, so going solo made the most sense but its always a fun night, and recapping all the antics from the last year at the office is always pretty funny.

i have three outfit options. still no idea which i will go with. bbe always looks like a freakin' rock star so it 'ups the ante,' if you will.

good dinner, good company, and good times. the only bad part about it is the rockin' hangover i have the next day, and having to roll out of that amazing bed at the julien in the morning. blah.

here's to the cogs in the machine.
xoxo ashleycolean


fashion or finance

i love fashion blogs. lifestyle blogs. any blogs with pretty people, pretty things, pretty outfits.

it's fine. sure, it makes me want to spend every once in a while, but i don't simply click the link and buy that 'have to have' jacket...anymore.

the problem...i used to love financial blogs. lately, when i go down my blog list in the morning to catch up on what everyone is up to, the only financial blog i am still checking out is and then she saved for my dose of financial reminders. i skip right over all the other blogs that tell me DON'T BUY IT!! or SAVE!! and go straight for the BUY THIS $288 CASHMERE SWEATER.


in 2012 less fashion, more finance.
xoxo ashleycolean


full hearts

as much as i would love a couple of extra dollars this holiday-more important to me is doing a little bit for others.

i always 'adopt' someone for the holidays through the boulder housing community. it's a $75.00 maximum commitment per person. it is immensely eye opening to see what you can get someone for $75.00. especially after an overzealous trip to the mall for a holiday party dress. dumb.

this year, i shopped for the mother of the family our office was given. i got her dress pants, a top, dress shoes, a scarf and two pairs of gloves for less than $75! it is amazing. a small amount of money can provide so much happiness and gratitude.

i hope she loves all of her gifts, and her family has a wonderful holiday.
xoxo ashleycolean


side job extraordinaire

i have a disease...it's called inabilitytoturndownanythingicouldgetpaidforitis. it's pretty serious. despite plans, commitments, daunting tasks (like moving) i can't say no to a side job. can't do it.

this weekend i have two lined up! friday, i have a 1 night tails job while some clients head out to what i can only assume is a rockin holiday party. saturday, i am bar tending for bbe and her hubby's holiday party. it'll be pretty great people, and i will make some money-double bonus.

even though its pushed all of my packing back to sunday i am pretty excited about it!

makin' money! makin' money!
xoxo ashleycolean


on the move

for the past 6 weeks or so i have been slowly packing. packing up all my stuff makes me want to become a minimalist.
all of the cute sitarounds i just HAD TO HAVE are suddenly the things plaguing my life!

i wish half of my stuff would just disappear to make life easier.

i've been craigslisting the hell out of my stuff-trying to remove the 'clutter.' so far i've sold my bed ($40), my bookshelf ($15), my mirror ($40), and my weeds dvds ($20). i still have a dresser, tv, and skis up for sale. so, i've made a little bit of money. not much, but a little. and yes, i have been without a bed almost a month now...so all the money i have made should probably go to the magic hands of a massage specialist.

it's amazing to me how much moving costs! somehow i've managed to only spend $36.00 so far on tape, boxes and packing paper. bbe has been bringing me in boxes each day from her christmas online shopping which has been a big help. my momentary lapse of good judgement in my own online shopping adventures on anthropologie.com have also provided me some decent boxes. i hired movers-against my desire to save-because the last time i moved myself i cried the whole time. this time, three men will come and handle all the lifting in three hours for $222.00. worth-every-penny.

still to go-kitchen (ugh), and all my clothes. funny how hours of clothes packing is the result of 'never having anything to wear.'

with moving day quickly approaching, i couldn't be happier to be done with this place and on to the next. hopefully my deposit will come back to me in full so i can throw that $785 down in one chunky lump on the good ol' student loan.

december 29th baby.
xoxo ashleycolean



agreed. unfortunately, i am one of the least patient human beings alive. i've gotten myself into a bit of a predicament this month...so eager to pay off my high interest rate student loan i forgot to leave myself any money in my bank account. oops.

i need to take a breath and be smart rather than simply shoveling all of my money into www.myedaccount.com.

it'll getcha.
xoxo ashleycolean


whata day!!

today is a big day for my little bitty baby beginner blog. today marks ten thousand views!!!! TEN THOUSAND!!
thanks to all of you that are reading, and responding. thanks to anna from and then she saved for giving me the motivation to start this sucker!! thanks to all of you that give me ideas. thanks to all of you that are patient with my sometimes long stays between posts-and thanks to my boss for continuing to pay me so i can continue to pay down debt!

total debt down in 10,000 blog views: $9,535.21!!

here's to finishing this debt thing and making this sucker a travel blog :)
xoxo ashleycolean


in three months time

i was thinking the other day how happy i was that i started my lockdown when i did. it's funny how big some problems can feel until you start tackling them. i was putting off dealing with my debt because...well, i didn't want to deal with it.

people say all the time... 'how can you do that?' 'but two years is SO LONG!!!' 'i could never.'

my new response...try it for three months. if you hate it, stop. if you love it, keep going. anybody, can do just about anything for three months. that's nothing.

i took the last three months of my lockdown to show you how much you can accomplish in just three short months.

in three months time i paid off a total of $3,414.25. i still had fun, i still went out, i still got a couple cute things, i still ate, and put gas in my car. i was just mindful. you don't have to stop everything. you really can just make a few adjustments, for just a few months, and see big rewards.
september, october and november recaps are around if you want to see how things went in each month.

get wild, get crazy and try it out.
what could it hurt?
xoxo ashleycolean


month 7!!!

seven months!!!
you have got to be kidding me!!! i can't believe it's been seven months!!! CHEERS!!!

this month was weird. i decided to move-no really, actually do it-not just talk about doing it.

i gave notice and then got screwed and had to stay an extra month.

i spent my first thanksgiving without my parents and my sister-which was really weird and not my favorite. it kept me from gaining 10 pounds in two days, but still-not my favorite.
i had a fun time with my future roommate and the cousin, of course. it was a fun day for sure, just not what i'm used to. not going back did help me save a decent chunk of change on travel though, which is a big positive with christmas around the corner.

i had a tails job for 10 days with one of my favorite pups, nutmeg. she is so fun and so sweet. the money from that will show up next month.

my total paydown in month 7 is $1500.00.

$360.00 on my vw
$1,140.00 on my student loans

i actually paid a bit more ($127.93) on my loans, but it came out of savings so technically i just borrowed it from myself.

the great news is i only owe $2388 on my high interest student loan after this month!!! so exciting.

december will be tricky with all the craziness i am going to have coming.

a. moving costs (not cheap and so annoying)
b. christmas gifts. i'm going lean this year....very lean. like mom, dad and sister only lean. don't take it personal friends. buy yourself something fantastic with the money you would have spent on me! :)
c. travel to kc for the holiday-although, thanks to my mom the ticket is paid for
d. holiday parties

i'm sure i'm forgetting things.

regardless, i'm proud of this month, looking forward to next month and just dying for TYOA to start in january. TYOA being, THE YEAR OF ASHLEY! more on this later.

did i mention that i only spent $33.08 on black friday!?!? man, i'm good.
xoxo ashleycolean


pantry takedown

i'm clearing out the ol' pantry in preparation for the big move to boulder at the end of the month. i will probably have to go get a few things before the month is out-but the goal is to get rid of everything so i don't have to move it.

the spices can stay. oh, and the booze, because if i tried to tackle the bottle of vodka, gin, and bailey's i would not only be an alcoholic but also perpetually hungover for a month....not conducive for packing.

i have:
2 frozen apple muffins from my grandma
2 frozen chicken breasts
2 fillets of salmon
2 talapia fillets
1 bottle tabasco
1 bag of frozen scallops
3 cans black beans
3 jars of salsa
2 cans pinto beans
1 large tub of quaker oatmeal
1 can artichokes
2 cans green beans
1 bag of pistachios

and about 15 packets of random (astronaut) diet food in various forms from a diet i didn't like. yep, i'm even going to attempt to tackle that nastiness before the big day!

i lost my appetite just writing this.
xoxo ashleycolean


i bought something...

i bought myself some warby parker sunglasses.
they weren't too expensive, but they were more than i had to spend. $150.
i'm happy i can have sunglasses AND vision on my way to work. BIG upside.

and they are pretty cute.
xoxo ashleycolean


to be thankful

thanksgiving is just around the corner-and i always like to do a little life evaluation this time of year. take a second, and think about all the wonderful things i have in my life. look at the past year-the chaos we've endured-and find the happy again. remind yourself of all the good.
it's a little cheesy-the whole 'what are you thankful for,' but it is so important-not just on thanksgiving, but all the time to take a second and acknowledge all that's good. i don't do it enough. it always fills my heart to the top when i think about it-so maybe i should do it every morning when i wake up...that would be a killer way to start the day!

just a few things i am thankful for this year...
~my family. easy, obvious, but so true. i am not sure everyone has a supportive, amazing, loving, kind family, and i am so incredibly happy to have the people i know will always be there.

~my sisters health. after too long of a struggle and too much pain, my sister is on the mend and i can't tell you how happy that make me. everyday.
~my beautiful, kind and loving cousin. she is the best friend a girl could have and its an added bonus that we are related. her baby, j and man, t aren't bad either! so nice to have someone that knows everything about me and can shed some light on things from an outside perspective. her advise, and encouragement is worth more than i could ever tell her. it's common when i am around jb that i have an overwhelming sense of happiness and peace. what a wonderful ability to be able to give that feeling to the people around you. truly, a light in my life.
~bbe, wendi and her awesome hubby D. they are quite possibly the best family away from family a girl could ask for and i feel blessed daily to have them! to feel so cared for by her is such an added bonus to my days. i only hope one day i can pay them back for all they've done for me.

~new friends. when i moved to colorado i was a loaner-and now sometimes i look around me, surrounded with love, laughter and a packed planner- and think back about those times i didn't have anyone around-now, surrounded by amazing people...it makes for a happy heart.

~moving! getting into a little quieter space with a little less homelessness, a lot less commute and a new amazing roommate is pretty fantastic.

~my dedication to paying off my debt. i am so proud of myself, and feel so happy to see my hard work paying off in diminishing outstanding loan statements. whoohoo!

~growing up and getting on with it. i have let a lot go this year. lightening my emotional load...it feels great. we are all moving through endless waves of transformation...and i feel like my transformation over the past year has been almost completely a positive one. i'm growing up, chilling out and spending more time in the present.

~all of the happiness i see my friends having. this has been a big year...jb having that baby, chelli with her amazing daughter, birdie, lara moving here and making her own space in a new place, jamie falling in love with a great guy and moving in, byrd and ang finding loves in far away places and making moves to make that happen, tara finding the courage to make her dreams come true, e marrying the love of her life, and stephen asking sarah to be his wife. my cup runneth over! so many good things for so many good people..and i couldn't be happier to be a witness, and a part of it all.

with so many wonderful things to be thankful for, how could you spend even one minute dwelling on the ugly stuff. life's too much fun.

happy thanksgiving to you and yours,
xoxo ashleycolean



holiday party attire is kicking my thrifty ass. i don't have anything to wear. no really, i don't. not festive, cocktail attire. i need to buy something new.

the bigger problem-i need to buy something pretty. and classy. and snazzy.

pretty, classy, snazzy things are expensive.

{cred for all 4}

what to do?

go bush league or go big?
xoxo ashleycolean


can i get a...

yes, ladies and gents you are reading that right...i am officially below 7k on my student loans! even more exciting i'm about 3 months away from having group a paid off entirely! group a has a higher interest rate-so technically, after it's paid off i can switch back to minimums with small additional payments and put the big chunks in savings.

when i started the lockdown i owed $14,059.09 on my student loans. that was may 1st. six and a half months i paid down over HALF of what i owed!

let me tell ya, it feels pretty good.
xoxo ashleycolean


a cleanse

i'm moving. well, i'm trying to move. my building isn't making it easy on me. they pushed me back until the end of december-annoying, but manageable since i don't have a place set in stone yet. my move will look nothing like that picture because i will be in man sweat pants, and freezing my ass off in a foot of snow-but, a girl can dream of a happy move-can't she!?? :)

moving always makes me want to get rid of everything. clear it all out. start over. that's WAY too expensive. BUT, i can find some things that i've been putting off getting rid of for a while now.

i put all of these things on craigslist and am hoping for a whopping $300 out of about 6 large items, including my bed.

i've been dying to get a new bed for about a year now, and i think a new apartment calls for a new bed. it's gotta happen. maybe if i make $300 on all my stuff and find a bed for somewhere around $600 i will lose the guilt of the purchase. that is, until i buy all the new bedding and accessories that a new bed calls for.

damn it, i'm doing it again.
xoxo ashleycolean


keep it to yourself

let me tell you something that really chaps my hide. when people say:

"i can't afford it."

"i can't afford it" to me, is someone asking for pity. lock it up. if you are looking for pity, a free ride, or a hand out you are barking up the wrong tree.

i can't tell you how much i HATE when people say that.

'want to go to a movie?'...
'i can't afford it.'...

oh really, well you didn't seem to have trouble affording that $200 bar tab last night!
say what you mean, and quit trying to find pity in everyone else's wallet.

try this:
"i prefer not to spend my money on that."

cool. okay. got it.

see how easy that is?!
xoxo ashleycolean


wedded bliss

morning kiddos. remember that wedding i was telling you about?? my best friend's wedding in kansas city. well the amazing photographer, tracy routh, posted on her blog (here) a few shots from the wedding. check it out!!

i love you erin and tyler-and was so honored to be a part of your big day, and your future lives together.

love always
xoxo ashleycolean


big moves for a type A girl

i am a type A person. i love lists, plans, schedules, spreadsheets...you get the idea.
i don't think i have ever NOT had a plan...winged it. i wish i could. i envy people that can. the laid back, no worries, go with the flow people. truth is i would love to put caution to the wind, lose all control and just be...

i would.

i am always on the lookout for people that i think would help me be more like that.

so, big news is i am making a giant leap (for me) to the unplanned life. yesterday i gave notice for my denver apartment!!! this means that as of december 1 i am sort of homeless. a couch hopper. a real life person without a plan! exciting right!

i'm moving to boulder!!

i met a great girl to be a roommate in boulder-and she needs a job. so, while she looks i will put all my stuff in a storage locker and live couch to couch, aunt to grandpa, etc etc for the month of december.
crazy right!

for me, it's crazy. this just may be the most 'wild' thing i have ever done.

here's to kissing the type A goodbye, at least for 31 days!
xoxo ashleycolean


the six month mark

it's been six big bad months since i started my financial lockdown!! and, i'm still hangin' on. i've had my set backs, my misfires, my days where i wanted to give up...but overall it has been a really good experience!! here's how things have broken down over the last six months:

may 2011: month one was amazing! i don't know if i have tried so hard to succeed at something. total debt paid $1,950.52.

june 2011: i took some money from my emergency fund this month to put on the student loan. did well overall with watching my spending, but learned maybe i have to give up whole foods during the lockdown to save more on groceries. total debt paid $3,108.09.

july 2011: had a tails job this month for some extra dough, and also traveled for work so saved a bit on gas/groceries. downside, i ran into unexpected expenses and overspent on my budget. total debt paid $1,695.51 (and $149.35 into savings).

august 2011: this was my first sucky month. sucky, actually, might be an understatement. my car cost me a decent pot of cash, i had to buy an airline ticket i wasn't planning on, broke my camera and had to get a new one, overspent my ass off on a bunch of clothes, etc etc. i only paid my minimums due on both my student loan and my car payment this month. boo, i know. total debt paid $495.30 (oh and that $149.35 came back out of savings).

september 2011: at the beginning of the month i decided that i needed to put more focus into some other areas that were causing me way too much stress in my life. i decided to be good about money, but not focus on it for a little while to hopefully lower my stress level. this month i had a bachelorette party, spent a good deal of money altering a dress, paid for 6 months of car insurance, and focused pretty heavily on getting in shape (and training with my trainer stephanie). i did a few things to help my debt situation this month also. i returned about $200 in unworn clothes that i really didn't need, i had a tails job, and i stayed one night a week at my grandpa's to lower some gas costs. i also got together with friends quite a bit this month but worked those get togethers around free tickets i had to games, pool afternoons and hikes...all free!! total debt paid $778.95

october 2011: what?!?! october is over!??! wtf! talk about flying by! it probably flew because i don't think i stood still for more than one minute for the first three weeks of the month. i was all over the place! aspen to encourage a beautiful friend to try something new, kansas city to watch my oldest friend marry the man of her dreams, beaver creek for a getaway, and various other projects had me hustlin! i followed my plan of relaxing a bit on the lockdown during super hectic times-and still did pretty well! total debt paid $1135.30

starting amounts:
credit cards: ($812.57)
student loans: ($14,059.09)
volkswagon: ($19,243.07)
savings: $5,000.00

amounts due:
credit cards: $0.00
student loans: ($7,828.61)
volkswagon: ($17,351.92)
savings: $2,627.93* it's important to note that i took money from savings for paying down debt and also purchased $500.00 in a Roth IRA (right before the market plummeted-not happy!)

if i can do it with my anthropologie addiction, my self proclaimed food and wine critic position, and excessive number of trips back to kansas city to see friends and family, you can too. i promise. let's change our financial situations. all of us!

this calls for a dance party.
xoxo ashleycolean


month 6!!

can you believe it! six months into this 'spending awareness??' SIX MONTHS!!!! Time flies when you're havin 'fun.' :)

this month was wacky. i had a wedding (and 9 days back in kansas city), i went to beaver creek for a weekend with my super rad and totally awesome colorado friends for a birthday/new job celebration (happy birthday blake, and congratulations beth!), went to aspen with an amazing group of folks for a little dream chasing.

i did a lot this month, and spent pretty freely and still did pretty well! my intention was to put down $635.30-which is my minimum payment plus a $500 extra payment, but things got wacky when the department of education converted their website (which has a couple glitches) and i accidentally made the $500 payment twice. this pulled cash out of savings-no bueno. BUT, at least it went down on my debt and not to nordstrom for these amazing boots i want. :) bright side!

a few late in the month purchases (i really did need new jeans) will show up next month and i will likely take a bit of a hit, but that's okay. i'm doin the best i can.

november is going to be tight. i'm going to see if i can keep 'non-need' to a $100 limit. we'll see.

total payments this month: $1,135.30.

total payments in 6 months: $9,338.14

party like a rockstar!
xoxo ashleycolean


big happenings

since i started caring about my money, my debt, my net worth, and all other things incredibly more grown up than i care to-i get really excited about the silliest of things!

but this-this, my friends, is not silly. it's awesome.

i have my student loans through the government. it used to be 'direct loans' but now they have a new site myedaccount.com. there have been issues with the site (they don't show old transactions, they don't show pending transactions so i accidentally paid $500 twice this month, etc) but something great has happened.
you can pull up your account information and go into the specific loans-not that great. however, from there you can actually allocate the funds you pay (this only works for additional payments, not your normal monthly payment) on whichever loan you would like!!! that means, i can put all my extra payments on my higher interest rate loan first! WHOO HOO!

see, i told you i am a boring grown up.
xoxo ashleycolean


be gracious

"We prefer to see those to whom we do good than those who do good to us."
La Rochefoucauld

don't be one of those people.
xoxo ashleycolean


ten four

recently i told ya'll that i went to a financial seminar. i was telling bbe about it the other day and she asked, 'what was your biggest takeway?"

it made me think. and also made me think i was an idiot for not sharing (on my blog about my financial decisions) what my big revelation was!

so here it is.

once my student loan is paid off, rather than continue to put big chunks of money down on my car loan (which has a low interest rate) i am going to start contributing much more heavily into my savings. i will put a little bit each month into savings until my student loan is paid, and then start beefing that sucker up.

my reasoning:
my car loan has a tiny interest rate- 2.95%

i'd eventually like to own, not rent, and as it stands today i don't have the money for a down payment even if i could afford the mortgage...not a good feeling.

i dont want to be one of those people with $45,000 in the bank at age 65.

i need to get enough money into savings to be able to 'make my money work for me.' right now i have an emergency fund-but nothing else. i need to have a retirement account, and an idea of what the hell i'm doing with it.

i think it will help keep me motivated to see the 'money i have' column on my spreadsheet go up and up each month.

so there you have it. i'm on the retirement path. weird, right!??
xoxo ashleycolean


he oughta know

i found this on a friend's facebook the other day and loved it.

the dalai lama was asked what surprised him the most;
he said, "man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
 then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. and then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."

next step-break this nasty cycle.
xoxo ashleycolean


a grown up weekend

this weekend i went to the crossroads theater in denver to see anna jones of and then she saved talk about her journey out of debt!! it was so fun to hear her tell the story i'd read in person, and getting to meet her was pretty rad too! she was so nice and so helpful with all of my questions.
i'm sure people that aren't religious and then she saved-ers thought i was ten kinds of crazy, but whatever! :)

a financial advisor also spoke. her name is hannah raynes. she helps people plan their financial futures and figure out how to best make their money work for them. when i have a grip on my financial situation (and by that i mean when i am out of debt-or at least further out of debt) i'm going to find someone to help me make some plans.

a few things i noted at the seminar that are good reminders, amazing math, or just general good advise:

getting rid of the temptation to spend (like removing all stores and the internet) is unrealistic so you have to learn to live in and around a society obsessed with possessions.

get rid of your credit card debt first.

people in debt have more health problems. specifically those in credit card debt. they are more stressed, overweight and generally unhealthy than those without debt.

realign your priorities and take a look at your finances because they will show you where your priorities lie (if the majority of your money is going to nordstrom-you may have warped priorities).

learn how to say no to yourself.

'stop spending money you don't have. stop spending money you do have.'

in regard to artists-but i think it crosses the artistic line-'charge what you're worth or do it for free, but don't do it for cheap.' anna

if you saved $300.00 a month and invested it-you would have $841,356 in 30 years. yes please!!

average inflation is 3% a year. so if your money isn't making at least 3% annually, you are actually losing money.

make your money work for you. INVEST!

only 1 in 8 americans close to retirement feel comfortable with their retirement accounts as they currently are.

the average monthly social security check is $1,050.00 -not that we'll even have that to factor in to our retirement as gen-y ers.

typical americans will never pay down their debt.

historically, when the S&P has a drop their is a double digit return.-man, here's hoping!

men should save 10% of their income, and women should save 12%. here's why.

so there's just a snip it of the good info i walked away with on saturday.

here's to 65 year old me-chilling on the beach.
xoxo ashleycolean


i'm baaaack

oh, hey! i'm back from a week long trip to kansas city to help my best friend marry her man! it was wonderful-and i'm exhausted....but alive.

gotta balance my checkbook, get more than 4 hours sleep and i will be back with more stellar info on the financial lockdown and various other items!

xoxo ashleycolean


month five!!

september was my 'okay ashley, get a grip' month. i was putting too much pressure on myself-so, like jeffrey, i'm trying something else....moderation (which has never been my strong suit).

i'm in better shape from month 4. i was a bit of a disaster-but september helped me calm down, breathe, gather myself and make it happen. whatever it may be, at least i was making moves to do the best that i could.
a girl's gotta get some credit for that, right!
i spent a lot of the month (and a lot of the month's money) working out way more than any normal human should to look acceptable in the maid of honor dress i will be dawning in just two weeks from tomorrow! it's been hard work, and cost me a pretty penny (nice gym, protein shakes, a trainer, etc) but hopefully it'll all work out okay.

this month i had a couple big buys also-my 6 month car insurance premium was due, and i made the decision to go for renters insurance. ya know, just in case. a year of knowing all my things are protected against disaster is definitely worth the $159.00 annual premium. if you want to look into renters insurance of your own, go here or check out any renter policy-i even got a break on my car insurance for signing up. thanks geico, for that $9.75 deposit back in my account.
i had a couple of tails jobs this month which helped dig me out from august and the bachelorette party i threw in boulder. another fancy surprise came this month when my mom sent me some money for my flight home for christmas-so sweet of her!!
the good news: i'm back to zero on my credit cards!! i made a little extra payment on my loans and feel like i can start october with a clearer head as far as the lockdown goes!
total debt down: $778.95!
the cool thing about this month is i am now below $9,000 on my student loans and below $18,000 on my car! whoohoo! i can't wait to be done with my student loan! that'll be a really really exciting day.

you can check out my previous progress (and pitfalls) from month 1, month 2, month 3 and month 4.
i'm almost positive that in the month of october (unless something i haven't forseen comes up) i will move out of the red on my net worth-which would be...ah-maz-ing!
not bad for taking a break, ehhh.
xoxo ashleycolean



i decided to start getting a little more reading done over the past few weeks. i decided that if i'm going to slow down my efforts on the lockdown the least i could do is continue to educate myself on different philosophies and schools of thought so that when i jump back on this 'no debt' train i can have even more weapons in my arsenal.

i read '5 lessons a millionaire taught me' by richard evans. a quick, easy book with some good points for, not only money, but life in general.

here they are:
1. decide to be wealthy
2. take responsibility for your money
3. keep a portion of everything you earn
4. win in the margins
5. give back

'deciding to be wealthy' is just like anything-when you decide to do something it makes it much easier to do it. having a goal and striving for that goal is not only more fun, but more attainable. so no matter what you choose to decide, make it good!

'taking responsibility for your money' was a big one for me when i started the lockdown. this means know how much you have, know where it comes from, where it's going and what it's doing. having a firm grasp on your budget (or even having a budget to begin with) is half the battle. so many people say 'i just don't know where my money went.' honestly, there is no excuse for that. if you can earn money, you should have a basic understanding of money. balance your checkbook, make a realistic budget, stick to that budget, understand your accounts, the terms and conditions, the interest rates, etc. not having a decent understanding of your money (regardless of your financial goals-or lack there of) is really irresponsible, and no ones fault but your own.

'keep a portion of everything you earn' is not a new concept. it's easy. save a little, even if it's $50/month. the power of compounding interest is a beautiful thing and it is never too early to start saving for your future.

'win in the margins' is about being frugal. open the windows and turn off the A/C, ride a bike to work, buy generic groceries, etc. consider each expense, remember that financial freedom is much better than that $6.00 latte, and spending doesn't equal happiness. whatever you need to do to reach your financial goals, do it.

'give back' to others. bbe has always told me 'i believe that for every good thing you do it comes back to you ten fold.' i think she's right. i donate to kiva, adopt a family around the holiday, and donate blood every 8 weeks. if you don't have money to donate, give your time, if you don't have time, give your blood, if you can't donate blood....then i don't know what to tell ya. :)

if you want to check this book out i suggest popping over to the library, or getting it here.

wouldn't it be rad if we all became millionaires???!
xoxo ashleycolean


what is it?

"the buddah thought it was suffering; aristotle, happiness. freud concluded it was sex; woody allen, fear of death. four powerful drives, to be sure--all serious contenders for the title of the primal force, if there is such a thing. yet while the philosophers, artists, and shrinks debate what we really want, dollars snap, crackle, and pop, dominating our thoughts and directing the traffic of the human beehive. nothing consciously motivates us like money." marshall glickman


men and women

too funny
according to an article on the mintlife blog, women have more money issues than men. i automatically assumed this meant women aren't as smart with their money (ie. shopping sprees) than men, but mint had some interesting points.

here are a few money issues women face that men don't-

1. women live longer- on average 5-7 years longer than men
2. women earn less- despite big changes in the work environment women still only make about .77 cents on the dollar to men.
3. women spend an average of 11.5 fewer years in the paid workforce- opting out in order to raise children, care for elderly parents, etc.

these three things can mean big disparities with income. as mintlife puts it, a 'pretty toxic cocktail.'

uh yea, i'd say so.
xoxo ashleycolean



i found this amazing thing on the always amazing and then she saved the other day. so eye opening-even for me-and i feel like i have a decent grasp on reality...

i only lasted 11 days (then tried again and lasted 16).
click here to try it for yourself

nothing like a little perspective.
xoxo ashleycolean


good versus bad

debt is sticky. there's good debt and then there's bad debt.
good debt is that which is invested in a worthwhile asset. an example of good debt would be student loans, or a home loan.
bad debt is consumer debt. these are your credit cards.

when you sit down and look at your own financial situation evaluate your debt. what's good? what's bad? and what's the worst (highest interest rate)?
you want to categorize your debt and focus on the bad debt first.

likely, bad debt has higher interest rates and you don't really have anything to show for that debt-other than the killer leather jacket you got, or those boots you are afraid to wear outside of your apartment because you spent so much on them-not that i have ever done that :/...

your good debt will generally get you tax breaks as well. you will be able to write off the interest you paid on things like student loans-so keep track and keep your eye out for that statement around tax time for what you paid for the previous year in interest.

when i started the lockdown i had a little over $800 in credit cards, my car, and my student loan.
i decided to pay off that credit card debt (my bad debt) in the first month of the lockdown. it made the most sense. it had the highest interest rate and was my only bad debt.
in month two i focused on my student loan debt. i am putting all extra debt payments on my student loan until it is paid off because it's interest rate is significantly higher than my car loan interest rate-6ish% compared to 2.95% on my car.

once the student loans are gone i will concentrate all of the extra payments on my car loan until that bad boy is long gone as well. i'll likely sprinkle some of that 'extra money' into my savings as well.

i know us girls love the bad boys, but in this situation-they are just bad so get rid of em.
xoxo ashleycolean


run away with money


i was reading an article just the other day in runner's world, that said that runners are more 'financially conscious' than those who don't run. huh.
the article says that runners are 'mathmatically inclined' because they count calories, miles, paces, strides, etc. they also spend a good chunk of time alone. on average avid runners run for 12.5 hours per week-64 percent of the time they are alone. that's some serious time to reflect...on whatever you want.

the article also said that runners are also focused on a good return on investment for their workouts. running burns calories, fast-there is nothing like it. so, those who are time conscious, are likely also money conscious.

my one rebuttal as a past marathon runner-is that running can be a really pricey activity. the races, the shoes, the apparel, the gym, the supplements. trust me, it added up-pretty fast.

i think there is something here though. you have plenty of time to think about your finances, plan your pay checks and evaluate where you're going financially. i can see it.

to the treadmill!
xoxo ashleycolean



'money's powerful presence typically produces one of two reactions: either we become preoccupied with it, or we try to ignore it." the mindful money guide

here's to finding a happy medium.
xoxo ashleycolean


material girl

i've been going through a bit of a phase lately. i have this urge to get rid of everything. all i want to do is clear out virtually everything i own and live in a simple, plain, (preferably) white space. it's like a calling to minimalism. i've shaken it, of course, but in some ways i've started on the path to minimalism.

(note*** i mean minimalism in the most broad form ever. i would never be an actual minimalist. it's not in my blood. more power to you if you are-but for the purposes of this post i literally just mean declutter and rid myself of everything that isn't obviously useful to me.)

i spent two days recently cleaning out my 2 closets and 4 dressers of clothes. no one human needs as much clothing as i had. it's a bit absurd really. the fact that i was living in that space (with all that shit) and still couldn't ever find anything to wear. it was outrageous. so i cleaned. with my mom's help we threw out 1 bag of stuff they couldn't even get use out of at the homeless shelter-then SEVEN additional hefty bags of clothes got donated. i also sold about 6 items to buffalo exchange in boulder for $36.00.

now i'm trying to focus on using what i have, keeping my space cleaned and organized, and staying away from anything that i don't need....especially in the clothing arena.

when you are thinking of making a frivolous or unnecessary purchase-no matter what it may be think about 3 things:
1. all the good stuff you already have!
2. you're always going to want more-it's just the way we're built.
3. it's for your own benefit to pass.

how does materialism have such a crazy firm grasp on us?? especially, if deep down, we know that true wealth is much more related to things-other than money-like love, family, friends, happiness.

focus on what's really important.
xoxo ashleycolean



they say that growth starts when you remove yourself from your comfort zone. well, i did that the other day. of course, like all awkward things, it was by total accident.

i have been trying to get to the gym on a much more regular basis lately. it's funny how the idea of going to the gym after work (or in the morning-which i have also been doing lately {thank you very much}) makes me want to die-but not going makes me miserable.

here's the thing: for a fairly confident, competent person the gym totally intimidates me. i feel like every single human there (except for the woman who wears jean spandex and puts her shih tzu in a baby carrier to ride the recumbent bike) knows way more about what they are doing than i do.
not true. but, it's all about getting out of my own head.

so last week i talked my cousin, jb, into coming with me to my first ever hot yoga class. i mentally prepared all day to be in a room of mirrors around dozens of people who truly are a million times better than me. i was pumped up. i was ready.

we got there early to guarantee a spot in the back. we set up our mats, got all situated, we were ready.

until people continued to filter in. i suddenly looked up and saw that all the really yogaish folks in their tiny spandex shorts and sports bras were surrounding us. a light bulb went off....this was not the back row. oh no, this was the front row. here we were, two newbies front and center.

i wanted to die. but i didn't. i pushed through the miserable level of discomfort and self consciousness and finished the 75 minute class.

moral of the story-push past your boundaries. you'll be happy you did.

and if you need me from now on you can find me in the back of the room, doin' my thing.
xoxo ashleycolean


two arms, tight grip, 10 seconds each


i realized the other day that i don't get enough hugs. they say you need between 4 and 10 hugs a day! 4 to ten hugs! that's a lot of hugs for a single girl who doesn't see her mom a lot. i mean, four hugs??! and that is just for survival.

according to a family therapist you technically need 4 for survival, 8 for maintenance and TWELVE for growth. TWELVE. no wonder i've been stuck in a rut. my mom told me monkey's die without enough hugs because she wants me to move home and buy a house so she can decorate it. oh, and she probably wants to hug me everyday, too. well if monkey's die, i just might too.

so i'm takin' em where i can get em. i'm going to become a hugaholic. i'm just going to walk down the street with my arms open. that oughta illicit some awkward moments, but maybe a hug or two also.

watch out world, i'm hug hungry.
xoxo ashleycolean


thank you

it's not a hard thing to do, make people feel appreciated. but, more often than not, people forget to do it. why is that? is it because they get sucked in to their own lives? or honestly don't care about whatever you gave, or did for them?
i don't know why. all i know, is that appreciation is a dying art.
sit down, take 5 minutes, and send a thank you note. even if it's for the most random thing or to the most random person. thank you's have become underrated. need help finding some? go here.
i'm bringing 'thank you' back!
xoxo ashleycolean