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