month 4

welp-here ya have it.

total debt paid: $495.30.

yes, those are my minimums. minimum payments?!? i mean, come on. i have a blog about paying down debt and here i am paying minimums.

at first, i felt like a total fraud, but then i realized....life happens. we all have stuff come up, things we weren't expecting to pay for. pricey items that end up being mandatory. hail happens, doctors appointments happen, unexpected flights happen. we make mistakes. we buy that sweater because it's beautiful, we go out for a drink and end up having 4, we let the guilt of not buying a gift be bigger than our desire to get out of debt.

at least i hope this happens to other people too, or else i'm up shit creek.

yes, i wish i wouldn't have spent as much money on clothes this month, i wish i wouldn't have had to buy a new camera (even though i shopped around and found one for $114), i wish my car wouldn't have gotten destroyed by hail. but, it happens.

i feel, ending this month, a little out of control. i'm not sure my balances, i owe on a couple of credit cards, and i'm throwing a bachelorette party over the weekend (which i am super excited about) that will cost me a bit more money and throw me a bit more out of whack. however, i think i did a great job planning an AMAZING weekend-on a budget. i'll tell ya'll about it next week! :)

by the end of september i will be back on track. i will have all of the cards paid off again and get back to my budget.

here's the thing. i'm being honest with you. just because you have one bad month with money doesn't mean you should give up. i'm feeling overwhelmed, but i refuse to give up. nothing would be more obnoxious than starting this over because i went on a spending bender.

one bad month doesn't mean you should quit.
next month, i'll aim for more than this month, and so on and so forth until i'm right back where i need to be.

but if you want to send good juju my way-i'm not turning any away right now.
xoxo ashleycolean


family ties

my mom is making a visit this weekend to hang with her oldest (that's me)!!
i am really excited to spend time doing precisely what we want all weekend. no schedules-no expectations, no drama. just me and mom.

brunch, farmers market, pedicures, ikea shopping, pool, movies, window shopping, target runs...bliss.

just good, old fashioned mom time.
i can't tell you how much i need a little of that.

a girl can never get too many hugs and moms are great at hugs.
xoxo ashleycolean


award ceremony

i am not going to win 'saver of the month,' or 'blogger of the month' for the month of august. i'll maybe win 'hottest mess' or 'biggest disaster,' but i have a feeling one or two people i know could pull those out as wins.

life's hit me hard the past month or so. i haven't been following through on anything. not blogging, not saving, not running, or cleaning, or organizing.

i actually feel a bit like i am falling apart at my already fraying seams. i have no idea what my bank accounts look like, my apartment is a mess, i'm broke, out of shape, too tired, too busy, and all around overwhelmed.

this happens. i'm not the only one. i'm trying not to have a big fat pity party for myself but i have to get it under control. all of it.

i need my accounts to settle. i need to deep clean my apartment,  sleep 8 hours every night, hit the gym, stop planning myself to the minute everyday, never saying no, worrying, fretting, freaking out. man, i do sound like a disaster.

i have this problem, of feeling overwhelmed and building on that instead of fixing it. i procrastinate. i 'solve' not working out with drinking, i  'solve' not being frugal with spending, i 'solve' being too busy with making plans, and panicking about life in general with taking a 'it'll fix itself' approach.

so. i'm reeling it in.
i'm going home tonight and cleaning my apartment until bed.
i'm getting rest.
i'm hitting the gym tomorrow and everyday following tomorrow.
i'm prepping meals and cutting out the lunch breaks.
i'm tackling all my projects at work that have been stressing me out.
and, i'm not buying anything else until the end of the month.


i wish i were one of those people that could live their life without stress. a carefree person. i always look at those people with envy. i am so high stress all the time. i can't get away from it. i need to chill the hell out and do the things that i know make my stress better, rather than worse.

i have a feeling it'll be november before i feel less stress.
avoid me until then, if possible.

xoxo ashleycolean


happiness is...

i'm off to kansas city for the weekend. my girlfriend is having a wedding shower-so i thought i would make an appearance-i am the maid of honor, after all. hopefully the weekend will be cheap, as i am already in the hole this month. woof.

a great friend, a good glass of wine and a couple cuddles with her better than average looking dog, brinkley ought to put my mind right again.

anyway, i hope you all have a fantastic weekend.

away we go.
xoxo ashleycolean


like a moth to a flame

i have a discount card for urban, anthropologie and free people-thanks to my girl brooke. each employee gets to give a discount card to 1 person, and i was her person. my cup runneth over.

here's the issue. for a shopaholic-this is bad. so far so good since i started the lockdown. however, once a quarter the deal gets even sweeter and i get 40% off everything (sale and regular priced). this translates to a huge shopping craving.

i'm trying to curb it. but seriously? have you seen their latest stuff??! i'm going to do my best to be calm, and limit myself to one (or two) new things.

like maybe these???
xoxo ashleycolean



this month has been brutal. i have overspent, had all kinds of surprise crap to pay for, went nearly broke getting my vw fixed after mother natures wrath, etc etc etc. it's only the middle of the month and not only is all of my money gone, but i've got a tiny amount of money on my credit card too. boo. fail. annoying.

normally, i'd say,
'ehh-welp, ya tried to pay down your debt. it worked for a while, then it didn't. don't be sad. go shopping.'

luckily i knew this would happen. and luckily i started a blog to keep myself honest.

but this month isn't going to much for the record books. my first month of less than $1000.00 on the debt pay down since i started the lockdown. i suppose it's all just part of the game.

hoping maybe my sympathetic mom is reading this and throws me a bone...
holding my breath.
xoxo ashleycolean



when i got my latest phone a year ago i jumped on just about every form of social media. i started facebooking more, tweeting about whatever on earth i felt like, and even-using foursquare.
my sister made fun of me. i get it. it's a little narcissistic really...to think anyone is interested in where you are at any given moment.

but ya know what, jokes on you sis. foursquare is just teeming with specials and free stuff!! personally, i have gotten two things in two days!!

yesterday i was at the farmers market in my hood, and when i went to 'check in' i saw that twist and shout records across the street was offering a check-in special so i checked it out. free fright night tickets to an advanced screening this week. sweet!!! although i probably wouldn't have gone to see the movie without a free pass-i'll go see (just about) anything if it's free!

then, today i went to whole foods to grab some groceries for lunches this week and you'll never guess-they were having a foursquare special also! i got a free lunch, just for telling the social media world that i was at whole foods!

i'll take it.
xoxo ashleycolean


movin on up?

okay- so i know i was just posting about my housing envy like a week ago, and here i go again. the difference is, this just happened to me, i didn't go out looking for this.

on my lunch break yesterday i was driving back to work and saw (a mere 3 blocks from my office) the cutest little place. it really looks too stinkin' cute. it's a block from pearl street and 3 blocks from my office.
the cons:
it's $380 more than i pay right now for rent
i doubt utilities are included-but i don't know that yet
no more colorful denver :(
no washer/dryer (my place now doesn't have one either and that's been okay)

the pros:
i save on gas (i'm guessing about $150/month)
i can walk to work
save about 95-120 minutes daily on my commute
close to one of the most fun streets ever
close to family
it's bigger
it's quieter

so i'm going to see the place today...
not sure what'll happen or which way it'll go, but i'm excited.

too bad the actual act of moving makes me homicidal.
hide yo kids, hide yo wife
xoxo ashleycolean


the front porch

alcohol was (unfortunately) one of the first things to go when i started this financial lockdown. of course, that's not all bad. but every once in a while a girl needs to get her 'drink on.' (man, that will never sound cool-no matter who says it).
so going out, for me, to have a couple adult beverages has been few and far between over the past few months.

enter, the front porch.

this little gem, conveniently located in downtown denver, has a calendar with several names on each day. the calendar changes monthly to provide awesome nights out to a widely named range of people!! so if it's your 'name night' you just pop on in, show your id and start drinking! for FREE. of course, tip your bartender, or people will think you are a mega douche. but you could really tie one on to the tune of $10 or $15 bucks! not bad!!

additionally, the place is super cool inside. nice bartenders, good crowd (most of the time) and again, who can beat free drinks! flip night isn't a bad gig either. flip a coin, guess heads or tails, get it right and your drink is free. sweet deal.

go forth and get lit, my friends.
xoxo ashleycolean


whoopsie daisy

so they called me again.
sirius radio.

i caved. they said they'd give me a year for $77, and i freakin caved. because i love it. so much. and i spend at least 100 minutes EVERYDAY commuting. so i caved. i bought it, even though i'm already going to be in trouble this month with all the extras i have to pay for.

i don't feel bad. i'm just being honest. i wanted it. and i have been doing well, with the lock down.

but not saying that i bought it makes me a big liar. so there you have it.
i'm not changed. just trying to change.

xoxo ashleycolean


vacay pitfalls

traveling can be tricky. especially when you're traveling on a budget. you can get yourself into situations where you thought something would be 'X' and suddenly it's time to pay and it's 2x or 3x 'X!'

according to mintlife these are the top ten vacation budget pitfalls to look out for...

1. hotel internet services-about half of hotel chains charge for wireless internet, so don't be naive and assume it's free.
2. fees from flying- baggage fees, seat change fees, boarding priority fees...fees, fees, fees! that's why i fly southwest whenever i can!
3. hotel resort fees-look out for mandatory daily/ or flat fees from the resort. ask about this when you book...they have to tell you, and some can add $25/day onto your bill.
4. cruise food and drink charges- watch out for pricey food, and drink. many cruises also have wild fees for specific cuisine...so ask ahead of time, and know that 'inclusive' doesn't always actually mean, inclusive.
5. cruise ship excursions-plan for these extra costs before you travel if you plan to partake
6. attractions and spa services at all inclusive spots-obviously, these are more...so plan for them.
7. car rental insurance-if you have insurance, know what coverage you get on rentals...it could save you the added $10-$20/day for extra (unnecessary) insurance through the rental company.
8. car rental accessories-again, plan ahead. it's not rocket science.
9. toll roads-self-explanatory
10. breakfast at hotels-understand what exactly is included in your 'free' breakfast, and beware of up charges.

it all boils down to planning. again. be smart, ask questions, and barter a bit.
it never hurt anyone.
xoxo ashleycolean


i'm off

i've got a wedding in vail this weekend. pretty excited about it. somehow i happened on a cute little black dress on super sale for $13.89 on wednesday. i'll take it!
bbe in her glorious generosity has set me up for the weekend, and i couldn't be more excited to spend some time with her and her great hubby, get a little pampering, enjoy a couple cocktails, and take in the amazing views!
have a fantastical weekend, ya'll.
xoxo ashleycolean


fancy or frugal

i have pretty serious housing envy. i live in a decent building, for a pretty affordable price, in a great area. but that doesn't mean that i don't look at the apartment complex next to mine with raging envy.

they have porches, and a garage, and a courtyard, and they were built in this century. every person that comes out of that place (apart from the dude that drives a $70,000 bmw) look just like me. young professionals. so how (the hell) can they live there and i can't.

i've been going over this and over this. here's what i've come up with.
1. roommates.
something i refuse to do, unless it's a boyfriend, ever again. once you live alone you can't go back. at least i can't.
2. cohabitation.
just one more benefit couples get over us singles...shared rent.
3. they are living outside their means.
ding*ding*ding*...i'm venturing to guess that's what's happening here.

apartments next door to my little spot (which is, in fact, quite charming) are approximately 40% more than my place. my place is $815.00. cheap for denver. and, that covers all utilities and a parking space (it's $785 without the space).

according to financial experts, you should never spend more than 30% of your net earnings on your housing. utilities should account for a maximum of 2-5% of your paycheck. i'm following this rule, but i bet some of my neighbors aren't. as much as i'd like to have a fancy little place, i'm okay being frugal (most days).

i have to talk myself out of shopping for apartments and talk myself in to being happy about how affordable and good (at least for now) my current place is. but then i've got the damn place next door glaring at me every time i go home. not to mention i've seen some super handsome dudes on those patios...

maybe when i'm out of debt.
xoxo ashleycolean


like a great wine...

so it's not exactly rocket science to think that the earlier you start saving for retirement the better off you'll be. i mean, come on guys. basic math. BUT, i hadn't really wrapped my (still young) head around just how significant of a difference it would make!

here's a little info according to the schwab center for investment research

age you start saving/% of your salary you need to put in savings

20s-   10-15%
30s-   15-25%
early 40s-  25-35%
50+ -  58+%

i'd rather be enjoying a mimosa at an inappropriately early time in the morning than working my ass off because 26 year old was a dumb ass who thought an overpriced apartment and car were more important.

60 year old me better be patting 26 year old me on the back.
xoxo ashleycolean                            


barbells and spandex

i wish i were the kind of person who could (and would) workout without a gym. i always look at people sweating to the gills at the park with such envy. they look so active, so fit, so...eager.

but, i'm not, one of those people. i need a gym. i need a little luxury. i need, a reason to want to go to the gym. unfortunately, the places you want to go to are also the places that are generally more expensive. such is life, i suppose.

today i joined a new gym. colorado athletic club. it's gorgeous. it's clean. they have steam room, sauna and hot tub in the women's locker room. there is a pool (which is pretty huge in colorado...unlike kansas city where there is a pool on every block). for kids like me, aka. young professionals, its $86.00/month-or $76.00/month if you sign a year contract (which is what i did).

so $76.00/month-yes, it's steep...but think about all the benefits of it....
1. a place you actually want to go
2. ease of getting ready-or, nice locker room space
3. better health (cuts on medical visits, medications, etc)
4. a pool!
5. more productive-when you're fit...it's proven.
6. free shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, q-tips, deodorant, body wash, lotion...seriously, it's full service!
7. tv! -which i don't pay for at home so it's nice to catch up on good-bad tv on the treadmill
8. commuter cutter-for me, if i work out for 40 minutes after work and then drive home, it only takes 10 minutes longer than if i'd left at 5:30 because of traffic...sure, i'll take 30 minutes of my day back-thanks!
9. eye candy-they say people who allow themselves to ogle over others at the gym are happier-again, it's proven.
10. healthy social environment. i hang out with friends for a workout and the pool...its cheaper, and a hell of a lot healthier than hanging out with them at a bar!

so there you have it, my justifications for my slightly over priced gym membership. we've all got our things that make our lives better...and i think a nice gym, with happy, fit people, is one of 'my things!'

that, and they serve beer, so...
xoxo ashleycolean


month three!!!

here we are-Q1 of the financial lock down completed! if we were sharing this at an ashleycolean shareholders meeting, i feel that everyone would be very happy with the results...feeling good about Q2!!

this month i figured out one of my downfalls...whenever something comes up that screws up my goals, or plans, or budget i get a 'screw it' attitude and feel like just spending more and more. i guess it's sort of like, well, you screwed it up so you might as well go nuts!

the good news, my friends, is that i fought that feeling and when my car got destroyed by mother nature and i had to spend another $70.00 i wasn't expecting for travel-i held out. i didn't 'go nuts' i felt secure in the fact that i had the money to cover it. sure my lock down numbers wouldn't be as high this month (and next when i have to get my car at the shop) but at least i did the best i could.
i'm happy with myself. hap hap happy.

i had a couple of 'tails' jobs this month that helped out the amount i was able to pay down. and, despite a slight over spend on my 'wants' i still pulled out a total debt down of $1,695.51, and also put $149.35 in savings! not bad, eh!
july i met goal 2 on my list! under $10,000 on my student loans!!!!

august is going to be a big month too! despite the fact that i'll have to take care of my rental car and the costs to get my vw back, i think i'll meet goal 3, a positive net worth. can i get a woot woot!
thanks tina! i think you rock too!
xoxo ashleycolean


and then she saved

so my 'month of the ad' on and then she saved is over.
and what a nice month it was.
anna posted this the other day, and i loved it!
if you haven't checked her site out, you should. she's pretty great.
super inspiring.
super determined.
super fun.

let's all do this!
xoxo ashleycolean