guess who's...

...interest rate on their loans just got lowered....this girl!! somehow-i'm now paying 5.629% instead of the previous 6.55%. not a huge jump, but hey, every little bit helps!
nothing to complain about!
xoxo ashleycolean



longest.week.ever??!!! i'm sure it wasn't just me! wowzers, i thought friday would never get here this week! probably because i'm so flippin' excited to see my friends, matt and amanda!

they are getting to town today and here until tuesday! super pumped about it. and i can also guarantee some cheap 20 under $25's to come out of the weekend! i've got all kinds of fun things planned for them while they are here. i hope they don't tire easily.

we'll see how 3 adults in a 550 square ft apartment goes. luckily, i like them enough not to care!
they don't know this yet, but i have the day planned for them today while i am at work. they are going to a little walking tour (directed (on paper) by me) of denver, stopping for lunch and beer, then a bit of the touristy 16th st mall (see how i'm getting that out of the way when i don't have to participate) and then ending at a rooftop bar in lodo for a free concert. of course, they know nothing of any of this so hopefully they aren't sitting at the airport reading this before they board. if you are, surprise!!!!!

we'll also be hitting the highlands, probably gold hill for some 'rusticness,' hiking, the pool, and the rockies game. overall i wish i could just plan people's long weekend in denver as a second job. i would be rock star at that! like down on the knees, flying v strumming, rock star!
i hope everyone has an equally fun, yet relaxing, and hopefully inexpensive weekend planned.
here's to the weekend.
xoxo ashleycolean


can i get a....

exciting news, i made goal 2 on my list!!! i am below $10,000 on my student loans! a total pay down in 3 months of $4,676.04. i'm actually bowing as i type this....now i'm curtsying...while bowing.

check meowt!
xoxo ashleycolean


interesting tidbit


'on average, american's spend more time planning a vacation trip or researching a new car purchase than they do planning their financial futures.' financial planning demystified

seriously?! i would have to research my next vacation for 2 hours a day for the rest of the year and still wouldn't have spent that much time.

i should be vacationing more often.
xoxo ashleycolean


the plastics


credit cards-everyone has their opinion of them. pure evil, useful, life ruiner, life saver. ask around.
i'm a credit card fan. i get so much free stuff from my reward cards that using cash just seems silly to me. why use cash when i could get something free for making the same exact purchase??

i have a southwest airlines card through chase bank, and a discover rewards card. the sw card has a $39 annual fee, the discover card has no annual fees.

in less than 2 years i have taken about 5 free round trip flights on southwest, and in 5 years with discover card i have gotten $1275.00 in free merchandise. FREE MERCHANDISE. FREE. FREE. FREE.

why would you not use credit cards? as long as you pay them off every month, it's bonkers if you don't. in my humble opinion anyway. i'm sure dave ramsey would punch me in the mouth if he heard me say that. but ya know what, daveo, i'm laughin all the way to banana republic, bath and body works, nike and urban outfitters with the free money in my pocket....so judge on, brother, judge on.
i do see the problem though. people let it get out of control. they don't pay on time, they get interest charges, they continue to rack up the charges and then all of a sudden they are in deep sh*t and don't know how to get out. so watch yourself. remember it's not free money. remember you will have to pay it back.

when i was growing up, whenever my mom used a credit card she always debited the money automatically from her checkbook register. that way, when the bill came, she already had the money allocated to that card. brilliant. way to go toni.

i try and do that with my chase checking straight to my southwest card every couple of days so i know my actual balance in my account.

according to the nilson report, not everyone is so smart. the average outstanding credit card balances/household in the US over the years looks a little something like this:
1998: $5508
2003: $7116
2008: $8268

i can only imagine with the economic troubles of so many americans that number has gotten larger.

so yes, they can help, but be careful. don't drown in them.
another note-while i was working through all my financial issues and figuring out how much money i actually had, i used cash. for the first couple of months of the lockdown for everything except gas and groceries. i certainly think working with cash helps you see how fast it goes-so do that first if you're trying to get a grip financially. once you have a firm grasp, then start racking up the points.

xoxo ashleycolean


small goals, big progress

i talked recently about making step ladder goals....little goals along the way to be happy about progress and breakup the hugeness of paying $34,114.73 in 24 months!

here are my bigger, little goals :)

1. pay off all consumer debt (credit cards)
2. get under $10,000 on my student loans
3. achieve a positive net worth
4. $7029.55 on student loans (which will be half of what i started with on may 1)
5. $10,000 down on my total debt in 6 months or less

the best part about goals, are rewards. so i came up with a few fun things i can reward myself with for meeting each goal.

1. i already reached this goal, so rewarding now would be anticlimactic :)
2. mkors watch (don't worry, i've been saving gift cards)
3. a dinner out (my mom will be in town the month i think that i'll make it, i bet i could talk her into paying)
4. brunch with a friend at the st julien (use my gift card, that even includes tax/tip) i won from a contest)
5. a night at the st julien (with a gift cert)

i'm a big believer in goals and rewards. just be careful your reward doesn't hurt your future goals. they say when you're dieting it's horrible to reward with food-the same goes for financial goals, don't reward with spending money because it'll just curb your future progress!!

save those gift cards!
xoxo ashleycolean


the loop

hey ya'll. i've been way off on my blogging for the past couple of weeks. between travel, work, and recent mother nature related events i have had a full plate.

this month is costing me a small fortune-which sucks. but, like i said before, such is life. i've had a ton of unexpected expenses this month. most of which were out of my control. but i also did a little overspending this month (so far). not a crazy ton amount over my $200.00 limit but a bit....okay, more than a bit. $103.24-that, unfortunately, is not including all the crap i'm going to have to pay for because of my car damage. which right now is looking like about $400.00.

here's where i failed this month:

$43.83-at a bar in kansas city when i went to visit friends
$42.37-once a year i place a marykay order. that happened this month. i know you are probably thinking 'i remember that post about all the products you have. you didn't need anything'. you'd be partially correct. i have a ton of stuff, but a few things i didn't have any of and that $42.37 oughta get me through at least 6 months.
$37.98-a necklace online. it's an old anthro necklace and i was obsessed then and still am. but alas, didn't need it.
see-it's so cute!
$69.70-my obsessive compulsive planning got me in trouble this month when i had to rebook a plane ticket because the timing of the event i was flying home for was different than anticipated.

so those few bigger hits have pulled a bit more change out of the pocketbook than i would have liked.
i should be okay for the rest of the month not spending anything. i gotta lock it up.

i'll update you on what this car dilemma is costing me. i should know next week when i get gwendi the vw back. i already miss her.

here's to cheap weekends.
xoxo ashleycolean


such is life

bad news. my gorgeous BRAND NEW car got hailed on, bad while i was out of town last week. poor thing is seriously damaged. i'll take guesses on how much this is going to set me back....

it's always something.
xoxo ashleycolean


twenty under $25-five

if you aren't familiar-grace potter and the nocturnals, is probably one of my favorite bands. i've been to see them about 6 times so far this year. each time it's face melting amazingness. it's a real live rock and roll show, to say the least. i'm talking rock and roll. grace's voice is like a religious experience...true talent.

this weekend i saw gpn at the ogden in denver. my girlfriend emily and i got there super early for the best front row spots two girls could ask for (sans the sweaty, chatty guy next to us). little inside tip, if you are the in front row at the ogden they give you free bottled water (awesome). another great reason to get there early and get in line...there are normally folks selling discounted tickets last minute. so do a little smiling and ask around-you're sure to find something.

the ogden is an amazing venue-just the right size to have an amazing, exciting vibe, but small enough to have that intimate concert feel. just perfection.

the ogden has great ticket prices, too. perfect for a girl like me!

what i spent:
$0.00 walked to venue
$25.00 ticket to the show (thanks em)
$0.00 bottled water

total cost: $25.00

and worth every penny.
xoxo ashleycolean


and for what?

i was talking about my financial lockdown the other day at softball and someone asked me, 'so how are you doing it????'

i surprised myself with the answer....'pretty much, i quit shopping.'

it just sounds so easy, but seems so hard.

so that got me thinking. why do i feel so great when i spend hundreds of dollars i don't have? what is that thrill i get from forking over my cards? where does it come from?

i think, and bare with me here-that women, have a terribly unhealthy relationship with money. i'm generalizing here but...it isn't appropriate to talk openly about it (according to most people). all of our icons have it. we can't get enough of it. our status depends on it. unfortunately, we're all just trying to be like everybody else. and eventually all of this crap equals deep debt, or deep regret, or both.
your relationship with money is just like any other relationship. with your family, with food, with a lover-if it's unhealthy it effects all of the other areas of your life. we need to have a conscious relationship with money or it'll go bad on us-get funky-turn unhealthy....fast.

so, here i am. having a conscious relationship with money. making mindful and tactful decisions, even if it's not the cool thing to do.

i'm refocusing. reevaluating. and deciding to get excited about increasing my net worth, not the number of designer bags in my closet. i'm deciding to talk about it. be honest. and take control of my life, my debt, and most importantly...my future.

to hell with fitting in.
xoxo ashleycolean


'please stop'

anna from and then she saved has done it again. check out her hilarious (and totally adorable) plates on her etsy site. i love these. so funny. she also has super cute onesies, i told you about here.

do you think, if given as a gift, these would offend? ha.
xoxo ashleycolean


i'm off

alrighty then. i'm off. to-wait for it, little rock, arkansas for work. i've got high hopes for surviving the airport after my last success story.

maybe something amazing will happen while i'm there. earth shattering, life changing, butterfly inducing, over the top excitement. you never know.

or, maybe nothing will happen. but no matter how it turns out, there is one thing i know for sure. for 5 nights in a row i will be able to sleep in air conditioning.

thank you very much.
xoxo ashleycolean


sneaky turds

i got a call today. i was just an unsuspecting girl at my desk at work and sirius satellite radio called me....for the third time. they must sense how sad i am to be without my satellite radio in my car. it ended at the beginning of the month. when it turned off i think my heart actually hurt. i was so bummed to see it go.

today they offered me a year for only $77 +tax and fees. he was even 'willing to wave the reactivation fee....just for me!'

it sucked to tell him no. especially after he said-'how about 6 months for $29???'

damn it. i really do miss it.
xoxo ashleycolean


pillow talk

so this is probably the craziest thing i've seen in a while! Pillow Talk is a project to help people in long distance relationships. this is just wild! do each person has a pillow and a chest sensor that they wear to bed. at night, when your partner goes to bed their chest sensor communicates with your pillow and lights it up. that's not it...then, when you lay your head on the pillow, you can hear your partner's heartbeat. wild, huh.


for the newbies

now that i'm picking up views from and then she saved traffic (thanks to my free ad from anna) i thought i'd offer up a bit of a recap of what's been happening over here for the past couple of months.

after seeing anna in 5280 i decided to try and make a go of it myself-get out of debt $34,114.73 in 24 months. hefty goals. big cut backs. the works.

month one was tough-but totally rewarding with a total debt pay down of $1,950.52! it was amazing to me how free i felt financially even though i was totally cutting back on virtually everything. i knew if something came up, i could cover it-because (unlike previous times) i hadn't spent that (hospital copay, car tags, prescription, etc) on 5 so-so tops from H&M.

month two i did some investigating about what i really needed to keep in savings and what i could take out of my emergency fund to put toward my debt. thanks to a bit out of savings and somehow keeping my nose to the grind stone, my total debt payment for june was $3,108.09! in june i did a lot of reading, and got pretty obsessed with the 'out of debt' prospect!

so far this month. i'm cruising. i did make the mistake of spending the majority of my optional cash early in the month, which sucks, but hey-i'm still learning. i'm no expert. i'm no genius. i'm no money guru. i'm just trying to make this happen, and have fun with it, so one day i can look up and feel proud of where i am financially rather than feel horrified about where i am.

total debt down to date: $5,058.61! :)
follow my little baby beginner blog by clicking 'follow' on the right.
i promise not to spam you.
xoxo ashleycolean

but it's cheap

i am sick to death of this rebuttal when i say i can't   choose not to do something...'but it's only $10.00' (or $5.00, or $20.00, or whatever).

what i feel like saying is- quit spending my money for me you jackass!!!!

but i don't, because i'm polite (generally). so...here's a little list of the things that are only "$____" and what that cheap little thing adds up to in a years time.
cabs- $10 one way for me to downtown ($520 twice/mo for a year)
netflix- $12.97 for 1 disc ($155.64)
myfooddiary.com- $9.50/mo membership ($114)
internet- $50/mo ($600)
happy hour- $20 for a moderate night ($1040 once/wk for a year)
fancy coffee- $4.25 ($221/1 a week for a year)
sirius satellite radio- $14.20/mo ($170.40)

so the short of it is that these things, over a year really add up....$2821.04
not so cheap now is it?!? spendy pants!
xoxo ashleycolean


relationships with money

 relationships are tough. every one is different. i've been thinking about my relationship with my finances, and other's relationships with their finances this week. i used to have a resentful relationship with money-always worried about it, spending outside of my means, and my comfort level. i used money. for what i'm still not completely sure. to fit in? status? a feeling? a high??  i've still gotta dig into why i have the urge, or rather the tendency to spend the way i do...i don't know if i'm prepared to dig that deep into the recesses just yet...
but here's a little quote to get you thinkin...

'the key to developing a better relationship with money is to cultivate a greater awareness of our money-related thoughts and tendencies. then we can try to understand and work with those tendencies rather than letting them control us. the idea isn't to eliminate the desire for money and material goods but to stop confusing money with the feelings that are attached to it' marshall glickman

xoxo ashleycolean


my heart

since putting the kibosh on my spending i can really see how frivolous i was being with my money. sure, i have some great clothes, a few pairs of nice shoes, and fancy apartment decorations but outside of that, i really don't have anything to show for all the spending i was doing. one thing that i've always wanted to do, but i thought i could never afford, is travel. my top three places are greece, tuscany and ireland. now that i see how much money i actually have to do things like travel, or buy a home, etc, because i'm not just throwing it away on silly crap, i can really do those things.

it's also nice to have things to look forward to once the lock down is over-like traveling. i can spend my time thinking about how great it will be to sit on the beach in greece instead of how i wished i hadn't forked over $285.00 for that 'great' jacket. after the debt comes the new way of spending-and allocating money to what i really want to be doing.

a girl's gotta have a couple amazing vacations under her belt by 30, right!??

i'd bet this is what the inside of my heart looks like.
xoxo ashleycolean



hope everyone had a rockin', poolin', bombpopin', bangin', sparklerin' good time this weekend! details on my adventures de la fourth will be up soon! nothing too out of box, but my skin got darker and my liver got a workout, so i say.....SUCCESS!

xoxo ashleycolean

the four money types

according to glickman people fit into 1 of 4 money types. i'm paraphrasing here...

1. spenders-those who spend money beyond their means-'they need to look closely at the connection between shopping and mood so they don't abuse shopping as others might alcohol or drugs'

2. hoarders-these people hold onto money and have a very difficult time letting it go. they 'need to recognize that clinging to money because they fear poverty actually creates the daily experience of poverty.' you might be a hoarder is you have a general need for control

3. money haters-are the people that think money is the 'root of all evil.' they 'tend to create deprived conditions, and need to see that undergoing a monthly struggle to pay rent doesn't help anybody or make the world a better place.'

4. money chasers-are the people that think getting rich is the most important thing. often hiding insecurity--these people use money to 'compensate for inadequacies in other parts of life that can't be as easily measured.'

i don't think that (unless you find yourself on the extreme of these personalities) the negative connotations come into play. at one time or another we are all one of these personalities.

so i'm a spender. wait, was a spender. now i'm a spender, masquerading as a hoarder, who is secretly a chaser!

what are you??
xoxo ashleycolean


cool, eh!!??

 wouldn't this be so cool!?!? i would love this on a wall in my apartment. this is something i would invent and sell if i had a.talent, b.time, c.any idea how the hell to do it.

i bet it would look rad.
xoxo ashleycolean


holy macaroni

big happenings over here in my little baby blog camp today, ya'll.

the anna, from the and then she saved gave little ol' me a little ad space for the month on her site. amazing! she is after all the reason that i started my financial lockdown in the first place!!

you can see my mini face on her site starting now!
xoxo ashleycolean

watch out

you've gotta be kidding. look at this amazing watch! seriously!! and it's only $20.00!! you've gotta be pullin' my leg!

i'm dying on this! love love love it! if you are dying to get your ol' friend ash a present because she posts such a great blog about her depressing life after shopping...by all means-go here!

i promise i'd send a thank you note!!
xoxo ashleycolean


and the month two results are....... $3,108.09 total debt paid!!!

so this month was a little weird. it went well, don't get me wrong, but it's also a little misleading...
you see, i got about half of that money from savings to put down on my student loan. i had a decent sized emergency fund that i decided would be better served down on my (6.55%) debt than on my (0.125%) savings account. in addition to that payment, and the minimum payments, i put an additional $873.34 toward my student loan!

this month my $200.00 went wayyy too fast. i over spent once (better than about 3 times last month) and bought too much alcohol for concerts, my co-ed leagues, etc. next months goal is to buy no booze! okay, maybe only 1 time (it's inevitable that i will have something that requires me to contribute).

i also had to pay off my contacts and my glasses this month, which lowered the amount i could save for the debt. they were necessary purchases so i felt okay about it, but i would have liked more of that money to help me on the under $10k loan challenge!

i had to invent little challenges for myself. little milestones. so my first one is to get my student loan under $10,000. which, coincidentally was my goal for the entire year on my january 1 life goal list. i always write down a list of about 20 things i would like to accomplish in that year, and getting my loans below $10k was on there. i hoped to be able to do it by december 2011. man, january me was so naive. :)

maybe i will buy that mk watch i've been eyeballing for 2 years with the gift certificates i've been saving when i get below $10k!! now wouldn't that be somethin!

i need to rein in my grocery bills too. i have caught myself using that as my shopping fix. i've always enjoyed going to the grocery (especially wholefoods and alfalfas) but it's gotten worse....now i meander around, throw things in the cart i don't need (or even know how to cook), and end up wasting food because i got caught up in buying fresh produce...

i also fell apart a bit at the end of month. i thought i'd budgeted gas and groceries correctly, but didnt. so i will start july with a little to pay on the credit card. annoying. i learned this month, though, that i need to not so much budget groceries and gas. just buy what i need to...without budgets. dont get me wrong, i have numbers in mind, but if i spend a little more than i meant to i can't let it throw me off. it's like a bad diet mentality, 'i ate 1 brownie so i already messed up...might as well have 4 more.' so from here on out i am going to pay the extra debt payment at the END of the month, instead of on payday.
goals for july: less booze, generic grocery shopping, and get below $10k on the good ol' student loan.

total debt down to date: $5,058.61
two months down, twenty-two to go.
xoxo ashleycolean