{i'm baaaaaackkkkk}
alright ya'll, i've been on a quite a little blogging hiatus lately. my apologies, but it was much needed. i'm not terribly confident i am, in any way-shape-or form, the person to be delving out advice at the moment.

things have been crazy, and busy, and ambiguous, and sometimes good, and most of the time weird, and sometimes funky. i haven't had my norms, my schedule, or really much of any sanity...if we're being completely honest.

BUT...i wanted to update ya'll on the spending/saving and tell you (honestly) where i am with the ol' financial lockdown.

so my last post was in june-yikes.

in june my total amount to debt and savings was: $998.00
in july: $942.00
in august (it's looking like): $855.00

total debt down in 16 months: $22,349.26

so, long story (very) short, i'm still cruisin, but have slowed way down. as it turns out moving into an overpriced luxury apartment wasn't the smartest choice-and i'm still working bit by bit to save when i can.

i'm thinkin' down payment by fall of next year.
now, i just have to figure out where this gal will be when it comes time to make a choice.

they say life is a process...
yea, i'm feelin' that.


a beautiful day

my amazing friend tara, has done it again. check these beautiful photos of my mom, sister and me and hop on over to tara's blog to see more.

love you t, thanks for this.
xoxo ashleycolean


a progress report

i'm not rockin this june challenge, kiddos.

i'm killing it.

like, murdering. not-'killing it, brah' but seriously, doing terribly.

i have $80.34 left for the rest of the month. for everything. and, need i remind you, it's only june 19th.

um, losing.
xoxo ashleycolean


friend love

a few weeks ago my amazing, spectacularly talented friend, tara took some photos of me while we roamed around five points.

i'm gracing her blog today-so pop on over and check the rest of them out.

follow her blog for beautiful updates in a much more regular fashion than me!!
also, like her out on facebook, here!

thanks again t for the fun photos!
xoxo ashleycolean


lo siento

sorry for not having my blogging' sh*t together...things have been an insane whirlwind lately.
luckily, i have tara, doin all the work for me! :)

check out a fun recent weekend with new friends here. and join t's blog! she's pretty much my favorite. :)

here's to doing it all again this weekend.
xoxo ashleycolean


an update

{get it...cash}
of my $400.00 i started june with for all my spending needs i have $243.68 left....and 18 days...

can she do it?!??
xoxo ashleycolean


how to make it work...

my oldest friend, of all time, is getting married early next year to his beautiful fiance, in hawaii. we've been friends for nearly 20 years. twenty! and i am so incredibly happy for him that he's found the perfect girl for him! so happy!!

hawaii will be beautiful, amazing, and unfortunately, not cheap.

i would be so sad if i missed this wedding adventure, and regret not seeing such a dear friend begin the next chapter of his life.

in order to try and make this work, i decided that maybe a travel credit card (capital one venture card) would be a good idea. for the next eight months i could put all my purchase, from rent, to groceries, to expenses for work on that card and pay it off each month. i would assume in 8 months i would have enough points built up to make a serious dent in the flight if not pay for it in its entirety.

that's step one.

step two...well, i'm workin' through this one thing at a time.

here's to hawaii.
xoxo ashleycolean


misery fail

{new sunnies-gift from mom}
i tried to spend $200 the second half of may and failed...hard.

alas, the attempt is happening again! i am trying to spend $400 total (gas, groceries, spending) for the month of june. on day 6 i have spent $50.00, leaving me with $350.

i have a few days worth of groceries, and just under a half tank of gas so i should be in good shape, but WE SHALL SEE.

wish me luck!
xoxo ashleycolean


great news

my mom and sister are coming to boulder to spend the weekend with me! they get here this afternoon.
we have no plans and few commitments...which is pretty much amazing!

pool days, farmers markets, movies, shopping, and showing them around...i can't wait!

happy weekend!
xoxo ashleycolean


month one, year two


may of the SECOND YEAR of my financial awareness. sheesh. time flies.

so this month was weird. i tried to get back on the wagon but failed, sorta miserably.

i had a hard time turning down fun, and friends, and activities this month.

alas, i still threw $638.00 in savings, and a normal car payment of $360.00.

the truly exciting portion of the month was when i realized that my savings account finally has as much as it started with last year {remember i pulled a few grand out to pay down my loan} so that's a step in the right direction.

i'm in the process of potentially getting a little part time side job, so bare with me, i may have a whole new plan of action by the end of next month.

total debt down: $19,685.26!
xoxo ashleycolean


in a weekend

some weekends are so great you wish they'd never end. last weekend was one of those.
{trampolining: woodchuck under the trees: snuggle w the pup
bbq: lovebug: bcf brunch @jill's
jam sesh: homebrew: donuthut}

i wish i could stay in a slightly tipsy, sunny, friend and family filled three day weekend forever.

hope yours was a blast, too.
xoxo ashleycolean


happy day

and it's an extra long one!! winning!

i've been looking forward to this friday for a while now, because i get some face time with my friend tara down in denver. love it. love her. love friday.

happy weekend, kiddos.
xoxo ashleycolean


my best financial advice

here it is...

the bigger your savings account, the better.

profound, i know.
xoxo ashleycolean


first friday

{my kind of place}

a couple weeks ago i went to first friday in (cute as it gets) louisville with my fantastic friends beth and blake.
it was super entertaining, fun, cheap and the cocktails were flowing!
i'm officially attending every month, especially if i run the chance of seeing that hot eye doc.

see you there!
xoxo ashleycolean




don't let advertising lead you astray! you and i both know, the chances of kissing clooney have nothing to do with your lipstick!
xoxo ashleycolean


may challenge

{a cheapskate's weekend}
farmers market splurge $15: free itunes download of 'justified' pilot: bathtub: $104
because of the intense stress i have over the ol' interest free card, with the looming balance, i decided to test myself and see if for two weeks, i could live off $200.

two hundred dollars.

this covers, gas, groceries, and any other item i want or need.

it's tough, but it's only two weeks.

i have never operated on cash. it's not in my blood. i'm a credit card girl all the way...but with financial awareness in mind i am seeing what happens with this $200.00...cash.

i started on payday, last week. so i am 5 days down, with 10 to go.

i have $104.00 left.

yup. this oughta be interesting.

the good news: i have about 8 cans of black beans in my cupboard.
xoxo ashleycolean


weekends at gran's

{teaching me how to make green chili on my last trip down}

weekends with gran are good for the soul. this lady has nothing but love for me, even if it comes out of her mouth in a shockingly harsh way, she is such a love. :)

i try and make it the three hours to gran's house every couple of months. we cook, chat, watch hours of crime drama reruns and i explain the 'confusing parts.' it's just a restorative thing, to spend time with your grandparents.

i learn something new about my gran each time i go. this time i learned that she raised her SIX children on less than $30k year!! the idea that i have any sort of financial anxiety is almost laughable when i hear her talk about how hard she worked to put food on the table for her family. i know times are different, etc, but still. no complaining allowed!!

i keep thinking i should take my friend tara down with me sometime to 'document' my gran in all her sweetness, especially after seeing her latest beautiful blog post.

a warm home cooked (carb loaded) meal, a comfy couch and a sweet gran is always good for the soul.
and it's harder to leave each trip. gran waving to me from the front step is always a tear jerker.

love and miss you, gran.
xoxo ashleycolean


the regimen

okay, tara...you asked for it! :)
lately i've been talking about my new skin care regimen that cost me an arm and a leg and i'm still waiting for benefits...hopefully, waiting.

let me preface this with one thing i know for sure...origins products smell amazing!

from top left -the entire system

wash/modern friction exfoliater/exfoliating pads

(the exfoliater is made with rice so it isn't as harsh on your skin as say, the sand products i used to use/the pads can only be used twice/week)

balancing toner
(i put it in a spray bottle i got a target for $1 so i wouldn't waste any on a cotton ball)

brightening serum/everyday serum
(this brightening serum is supposed to solve my dark spots problem/the other is to keep environmental junk off your face)

(i love this product...a lot)

ginzing eye cream
(a day time eye cream with caffeine to take the night time puffiness out of your eyes)

bb cream/vitazing
(i'm not in love with their bbcream. i think garnier's product is better/vitazing is a tiny bit of tint plus spf for days you are running to the gym or errands. i also use it under my makeup sometimes just because i like the way it feels on my skin)

smashbox photo finish/origins foundation
(not an origins product but love it (sephora)/i went with their 'fawn' color and am pretty impressed with the coverage)

at night/apply after serums
zit cream/anti aging eye cream/night cream
(for spots/never too early to start/not in love with this night cream, the texture of it is a little weird for me so i will try a different approach on my next go around)

there you have it. the suddenly paranoid about age, 27 year old's face care system.

origins, i'll be lookin' for my kickback.
xoxo ashleycolean


a giant step

today i got a giant step closer to my goal of setting out on an out of country adventure...
my passport came today. one less excuse for the type a, cheap, paranoid, people pleaser to get out, do something, and have fun...

looking for a place to grab my first stamp.
xoxo ashleycolean


to covet

in this week's addition of 'don't you wish you were rich'

the definition of coveting:
1 : to wish for earnestly <covet an award>
2 : to desire (what belongs to another) inordinately or culpably

uh, yep.
heavy sigh.
xoxo ashleycolean



the big brother

i've talked before about "bbe" or "best boss ever" but i don't know that i've spoken much to the awesomeness of her hubby, D. i would go as far as to say that D is certainly the big brother i always wanted.

last night my "big brother" decided to "do me a favor" and take my credit card that's been causing me so much anxiety. take it! like from my wallet. he tucked it safely away in his wallet and said, "if you need something, just give me a call for the card number."

best brother ever.

xoxo ashleycolean


it's closer than you think

my cousin jb sent me this the other day. she understands that as a planner, i needed to get a head start on the list :)

i recently read this in glamour mag, but i'm so glad jb sent it to me to reiterate it! generally when i'm reading glamour it's at the pool with the sun in my eyes and a dozy nap sprinkled in, so it's easy to forget what i've read.

here's the list of things to do before you turn 30. jhc, that's only two and a half (i think typing the words instead of '2.5 years' looks longer) years away.

By 30, you should have ...

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
how about a dozen that remind me how far i've come? i bet i could find one i'd go back to. i'll always have my 'loml.'

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
excellent, but i do have to admit my mom pushed me in this direction. i was two seconds away from an ikea purchase.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
ultimately, my black silk banana republic dress would do the trick for both-with a few tweaks.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
purse, check. suitcase-ehhh. do you really need to own an umbrella in colorado?

5. A youth you’re content to move beyond.
yes. other than the fact that i haven't done much traveling or much of anything spontaneous...but hey, i've got two and a half years for that.

6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age -- and some money set aside to help fund it.
my anxiety attack most days starts or ends with this idea. i'm workin on it.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account -- all of which nobody has access to but you.
people don't have these things?

9. A resume that is not even the slightest bit padded.
maybe it's my fault for never padding, but yes, i'm good here.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
i've got a couple in each of these categories, and a couple that serve as both. this makes my heart swell with happiness, as i was just saying the other day, these kind of friends are harder to come by than you'd think.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
i don't have a cordless drill, but i've got some fella neighbors with one. that oughta get me through for a bit!

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
ridiculously expensive may be a stretch. i bought a $300 jacket-but it was on mega sale. i've been way too focused on paying off my debt to go purchasing something wild. maybe for my 30th birthday :)

13. The belief that you deserve it.
i'm workin on it.

14. A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
oh man, i feel on top of the game. i just came up with a skin care routine and bit the bullet and spent a good chunk of money on it. ya know, eye creams, serums, frothy washes, toners, etc. i had to get a tutorial in the store. as it turns out, your skin can't always live on clean and clear.
i'm still searching for that just right exercise routine that i don't hate. i'm on the market for that perfect thing for me.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all those other facets of life that do get better.
i feel confident that by thirty i'll be here, which, i suppose, is half the battle.

the article also says...

By 30, you should know ...
1. How to fall in love without losing yourself.
2. How you feel about having kids.
3. How to quit a job, break up with a man, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
4. When to try harder and when to walk away.
5. How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
6. The names of the secretary of state, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.
7. How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
8. Where to go -- be it your best friend’s kitchen table or a yoga mat -- when your soul needs soothing.
9. That you can’t change the length of your legs, the width of your hips, or the nature of your parents.
10. That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
11. What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
12. That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs, or not flossing for very long.
13. Who you can trust, who you can’t, and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
14. Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
15. Why they say life begins at 30

happy reflection.
xoxo ashleycolean


splurging causes purging

this is how that balance makes me feel...
a few months ago i made the decision to get a no interest rate credit card to pick up a few items i needed. my bed, mattress, moving costs, etc. i had high hopes that what i had learned over the past almost year would be enough to keep that card in my wallet. problem: old habits die hard.

soon after i got that card i confessed that i wasn't very good about spending wisely when i knew that i was going to have fifteen months to pay it off.

i cannot tell you the intense amount of anxiety i have knowing that credit card is sitting with a seemingly impossible balance on it because of a only a couple of months of haphazard spending.

first, i should tell you that my haphazard is by no means, WILD. if we are being honest, here's a couple places i went wrong: i bought about $280 worth of lululemon workout clothes and a new skin care line which was a bit spendy, probably $350 for the whole thing. i feel like those were my only two purchases that could be considered silly or unnecessary. i didn't start picking up $200 bar tabs, go on a shopping spree, or take a trip to europe. (which is annoying because i could have probably gone on a pretty decent vacation with all the money i somehow spent without noticing...UGH).

however, the card piled up a pretty decent balance, and even after a couple months of trying to put some cash down on it, i still have a balance flirting with $2,000.


it got to TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS before the statement slapped me in the face??!? what the HELL.

so, now, i have this nearly uncontrollable urge to sell the majority of my belongings (furniture, clothes, etc) to get that damn thing paid off. i am so anxious and so irritated.

i have zero interest on that card until march of 2013, but i can't stand it. it's haunting me. i need to pay it off as soon as humanly possible.

the moral of the story...splurging causes purging. and nobody likes that.



in my continued effort

...to be more present and live life in the now...this is a good reminder.

try and live life like it's a treasure, not a chore.

happy weekend
xoxo ashleycolean


4 months into 2012

my little updates continue on my goal list for 2012:

1. pay off my student loan DONE! 

2. go on a vacation to another country-i'm actually feeling pretty good about this one! i just went to get my passport today! not smiling for the photo took three tries, but i am one step closer to some sort of international adventure!

3. do something spontaneous (i know it seems like i'm planning it)-......

4. run another marathon (or at least a half)-despite the absence of training, i am "running" a half on june 2nd

5. get back in shape (aka lose the 25 lbs i put on since my last marathon-ugh)-this turned quickly into 35 lbs before i got committed to doing it, so now...a couple weeks into my efforts, i have lost 17 lbs with 17 to go. half way feels about 1,000 times better than the starting line.

6. read 3 classic novels that are often referenced (help with these options would be great)- i got addicted to the hunger games. like, seriously, addicted. now that i am wrapping up book 3 i am preparing to tackle the grapes of wrath, which has been staring longingly at me from the bookshelf since about 2001.

7. hug at least one person everyday-as it turns out i'm not a big hugger. there really aren't that many people i am just dyin to throw my arms around. i get a few here and there, but this seems like a warped goal for me, at least at this point.

8. be more present (try and live for the day not for the future)-i'm working hard on this, and still a work in progress.

9. put at least $10,000 in savings- i haven't been spectacular in this area....i am just under $2,000 into the savings so far. i am however, dangerously close to beefing my savings back up to what it was when i started the lockdown...so that'll be a good step in the right direction. AND, in addition, i didn't buy the new anthropologie bedding i was coveting because justifying $380 (after my (recently revoked) discount) seemed irrational with a sturdy savings goal in mind this year.

10. (still under consideration)-seriously, i still don't have a goal??

as you can see there is been little progress, but little progress, is better than no progress at all.
xoxo ashleycolean


the last day

today is the last day, of my first year, of the rest of my life...

on may 1, 2011 i started my financial lockdown and it has been a great learning experience. i learned more about personal finance than i ever thought i would. i paid off my student loan debt in it's entirety, and i changed my perception of material things versus my desire to increase my net worth.

i learned that splurges are fine, in moderation, and that you should always hold on to the things that increase your happiness factor-within reason.

in 365 days i paid off $18,687.26!!

this is where i pat myself on the back!! what an accomplishment!! if i would have paid my minimum balance on my student loan and my car, i would have only paid approximately $6,168...less than ONE THIRD what i actually did!

my advise after doing this (kind of on and off but basically) for a year, would be, try it. if only for a month. skimp on things you would normally splurge on, buy generic, don't shop, and see what a dent you can make in your own financial situation! it was worth it for the past year, i promise.

xoxo ashleycolean


what's it worth to ya?

it's funny what some people will spend their money on. generics won't hack it, they place more importance in certain areas over others, it's just what they've always done, brand loyalty, etc.

lately, i've been spending a bit more than i'd love to on "quality" skin care products. i started the origins line about two months ago. i love the smell, the packaging, the philosophy, but not necessarily the price. i am still waiting to see if the results are worth the price...but the jury is still out.

do you have something you will spend more on? why? you just love it? you believe in it?

what's your spending soft spot, if you will?
xoxo ashleycolean


did ya know...

that if you take an empty bag of starbucks coffee into starbucks, you get a free coffee??
bomb.com?? i think so!

since we use starbucks at work,  every saturday and sunday i am set for a free cup o' coffee.

but hey, i got yours if you join.
xoxo ashleycolean


do it


i just have to figure out what that is...
because life is way too short.
xoxo ashleycolean


A to Z money guide-there once was a girl style


this weekend i finally got around to reading a glamour mag that's been sitting on my bedside table for 3 months. they had an article the A-to-Z Money guide and i thought it was a cute idea.
that being said, some of theirs weren't my fave...so, here is my version!

A: assets! know your assets. your car, mutual funds, home (if you're lucky enough to own), stocks, savings etc are all your assets. the goal is to have more assets than you do debt and continue building them.

B: bargain shop. if you need it, find it cheap. it just takes a little research and some patience and you can get a lot more for your money. one of my fave bargain money savers is this...

C: charity-give back and you will get back. i am a firm believer in giving back, even in the smallest of amounts. something about putting that energy out in the universe brings it back around. i choose kiva and love the feeling i get each time i donate!

D: debt. know the difference between good debt and bad debt. get rid of the bad debt first, and then focus on getting rid of the good debt. crawling out of debt will also have big impact on your net worth!

E: education. my student loans were a big pain in the ass to pay off but i don't know where i would be without my education. i only owed about $18,500 for my undergrad and graduate degrees, but the national average for student loan debt (only for an undergrad degree) is an astronomical $25,250-and the problem is kids don't know how to handle all of that debt when they graduate. pay it off, and do it as quick as you can.

F: frugality. this was big for me. i had to learn to be a bit more frugal...or really, frugal at all.

G: girlfriends- or any friends at all. if you have a financial goal, or are even just trying to cut back, be honest with your friends about your situation. often times, we fall into doing things our friends want to do even though we haven't budgeted or planned for it. you have to learn to either say no, or offer another (cheaper) suggestion.

H: home ownership. i am just dying to buy a house-and they say now is the time. so if you can get out of the vicious renters circle it could really save you in the long run! here's a related post from last summer.

I: invest. it's hard to forget we won't be young forever, but we won't....sorry kids. start thinking about retirement, and put some of that cash in a roth ira or the market and act like it never existed. you'll thank me later.

J: just keep swimming! finances are like anything else, you will have set backs but you just have to keep moving forward. it's like a diet...just because you have one day of pizza and beer doesn't mean you should start the whole damn thing over. if you have an occasional splurge, it's okay, just pick right back up where you left off.

K: keeping up with the jones' will get you nowhere fast. don't worry about what everyone else is doing. do what you want/can afford to do!! nothing agitates me more than people who spend your money for you-so don't allow it to happen. be strong and just assume everyone that spends wildly is up to their eyeballs in credit card debt...that always makes me feel better ;)

L: learn as much as you can. i didn't know anything about finances when i started down this road. i went to the library and checked out as many books as i could find and started there. i loved you're so money by farnoosh torabi.

M: Mint.com is a huge game changer for us young adults trying to map out our finances and ultimately understand where on earth all that money goes. you can link all of your accounts, credit cards, assets etc and get a clear view of your financial situation without jumping around to a dozen different sites.i'm a big fan!

N: nix the non needs. when i started my lockdown i got rid of pretty much everything i didn't need. i didn't have AC or internet in my apartment, i canceled my online memberships, wine club, and magazine subscriptions. i quit going out to eat as much, going to the movies, etc. even if you only do this for a short while you can make big progress by cutting little things. challenge yourself with a small goal like: for the next three months i will not buy any coffee shop coffee (or whatever your financial pain point is).

O: opt for mending. try and fix the things you have rather than buy new.

P: pay attention. read! there are all kinds of cheap or free activities in your city. check out the paper, or local mags to find concerts, farmers markets, comedy, movies, festivals, sports etc all for cheap or free!

Q: quotes. get quotes for your car insurance. i found out i was paying WAY more than i needed to be for car insurance. i saved over HALF by filling out a few online questionnaires and comparing costs.

R: rewards. my favorite thing in the (financial) world is rewards. i'm points hungry so i had to try and find a way to make it work for me instead of hurt me like it had been. i am a big fan of credit cards-if you pay them off monthly and don't have to pay fees. i think credit cards get a bad rap. here's why... because of my credit cards i seldom pay for travel and get a lot of additional rewards. you just have to play the game, be smart, and do it better than the credit card companies plan on!

S: stay focused. set financial goals and stick to them. every time i catch myself 30 minutes deep in an anthropologie swoon session i always reiterate to myself that having an additional $10,000 in savings at the end of the year will mean more to me that that totally adorable-must have-on sale apron (that will hang forever in the closet in my kitchen, never to be worn).

T: thrift stores- i've never been one of those people that can go into a thrift store and find that just right thing i have been dying to have. my friend tara is genius at it, but i can't seem to catch a break. however, i do like to do a closet overhaul every once in a while and take my things to buffalo exchange, or donate them to charity. cleaning out my closet helps me see how much i really do have, and occasionally i make a buck or two trading them in!

U: understand routes other people have taken to find financial freedom. when i started my lockdown, i think i read every financial blog out there to try and better understand my options and get good ideas. of course, and then she saved is a great one, and i also like the simple dollar.

V: verify the information of your credit report annually. nothing can destroy your financial future worse than identity theft or a terrible credit score.

W: wastes! evaluate your lifestyle and your spending and you can figure out pretty quickly what you are wasting money on and then make a plan for dealing with it. i did a post on common money wastes a while back. my big wastes before i started paying attention to spending were coffee, cocktails and cosmetics! all areas i have scaled back or cut completely.

X: eXcel spreadsheets. they have changed my life. tracking all of my financial information on an excel spreadsheet makes it easier for me to track, budget and plan my finances. i have a spreadsheet for just about everything from goals, to annual budgets, to net worth. whenever i get the urge to shop online i go mess around with my financial planning spreadsheet instead. nerd alert!

Y: YOU are in charge of your finances, so start acting like it!! gen y-ers have a problem, for whatever reason, with being responsible for their money. of course this isn't true of everyone in our generation, but i think it's a common problem. take control. learn!! be in charge. be proactive! when i started my lockdown i did not feel very "in control" but now i feel like i have a pretty firm grasp and also, a plan!!! it makes all the difference.

Z: ZERO debt!!! seriously this is a feeling unlike any other!



month 11!!!

{i saw this on my sisters pintrest today and loved it!}
the excitement of being out of loan debt came and went and so did march. i went out and spent wildly the weekend after i paid off the student loan, which i still biting me in the ass. gallivanting around lululemon like paying $105 for spandex pants is rational set me up for a bit of buyers remorse, but that's alright. i dooo love my wunderunders!

i scaled it back on the debt payments and the saving for a minute last month, but plan to get back into it whole heartily in april and may!

on a thrifty note, i spent $129 and got 3 round trip flights back home to kansas city over the next few months!

also, in march, my dear friend jamie got engaged and asked me to be her maid of honor. i am so happy that she is a mindful person with rational expectations when it comes to her wedding. it is going to be such a fantastic day! i need to start figuring out a little bachelorette party action-in a financially mindful way :)

i also decided this month with the weather getting gorgeous outside that i will drop my bar method monthly membership for the summer months, which will save me $145/month.

total debt paid this month: $360
total money saved this month: $475

not terrible, but nothing to write home about either. how did i ever have those HUGE months of debt payment. man, it feels impossible now, even though i just did it!

total debt payment in 11 months: $18,888.07
total saved in 11 months: ($1,547.82)  (i took out to pay down my loan...)

focusing on that savings goal is key for me for a ton of reasons over the next few months! i really want to get that back to where it was when i started last may and then some! here's to adding ten grand to the pot!

xoxo ashleycolean


shake it up


i've been considering an experiment. for three reasons, 1. save money, 2. tackle a couple of these pounds that make my 3 mile beginning miles feel like triathlons, and 3. curiosity.

i posed the question the other day, what would happen if i ate only protein powder 5x a day for a week?

as it turns out, it would be pretty rough on the ol' body-but imagine the savings and simplicity if it wasn't bad for you.

the stress of the $2,500 looming on that no interest card is plaguing my life and keeping me from necessary things, like-the grocery store. i've been working weekends with tails, and watching pennies but i'm still struggling to get a grip on it. it doesn't seem that protein shakes will be the answer, so...

the search continues.
xoxo ashleycolean



i feel like i am an entry lunatic lately. want my email? sure! want my address for a sample? no problem!! want an hour of my time for 10 miles on (insert any) airline point programs? um-k!

so when i saw anna was doing a cool giveaway it was no different. i tweeted and blogged and facebooked about it to increase my chances to win this great print for my apartment. i'm thinking in my walk in closet. remind me, daily, that i have SO MUCH STUFF and, in fact, don't need that $239 dress from jcrew.

want less.
xoxo ashleycolean



I watch guilty pleasures like  the challenge-battle of the exes. i can't help it...i love it

I'm glad it's cold outside because i own great sweaters

I wish I could just pay someone good money to wash and blowdry my hair every morning

I love discovering unexpected movie gems like  the film on kony this week

I feel like a 5 year-old when things are unfair

I feel like it's one of the world's great injustices when american's take their education for granted

I write a blog post and realize that my life is ultimately not very interesting

I feel inspired to be a better person when i spend time with my friend tara


eight week update

at the start of the year i posted about my 2012 goals. it's my anti resolution, and i do it every year. normally the list is much larger and significantly less...significant, but in an effort to actually do something with purpose this year i made some adjustments. plus, i doubt it would be too terribly interesting that i completed my "go to a movie alone" goal. alas.

i thought i'd give ya'll an update on my anti resolution list.

here's my list for 2012:

1. pay off my student loan DONE! WHOO HOO!!

2. go on a vacation to another country- this is feeling terribly distant right now, but i am going to try my hardest to make it happen

3. do something spontaneous (i know it seems like i'm planning it)-lack of spontaneity thus far

4. run another marathon (or at least a half)-signed up for a half and i have been hitting the treadmill again, which actually feels kind of good/miserable all rolled into one

5. get back in shape (aka lose the 25 lbs i put on since my last marathon-ugh)-HA

6. read 3 classic novels that are often referenced (help with these options would be great)- i haven't read so much as the hunger games, much less a classic yet this year

7. hug at least one person everyday-i gotta start hugging more. although, yesterday, i gave two hugs, TWO

8. be more present (try and live for the day not for the future)-i'm working hard on this, but it's a complete mental shift so it's a bit of a slow process. bare with me

9. put at least $6,000 $10,000 in savings-i updated the goal because if i can pay down $16k in 10 months, i can save $10k in a year...damn it!

10. (still under consideration)-help a sista out!


month 10!!!

february was a love month, that's for sure, but it was love of money for me! i officially paid down all of my student loan debt this month-which felt ahh-mahh-zing! seriously, i was so happy, and proud of myself.

i never would have thought in my first month that i would be able to pay down close to $15,000 in debt in 10 months time. no way. i had high hopes, but didn't think they were terribly realistic.

the wild thing about it, is i still did pretty much everything i wanted. i still bought things, and went out to dinner, and took a couple of flights home to see my family. the only difference, i was mindful. i was conscious about my spending and the decisions i was making with my money.

imagine, if i was super duper serious about it what could have happened. the success story in this month, friends, is that making small changes can provide some pretty big rewards!

this month i paid down a total of $3,222.51-all but $360 of that went to my student loan. this month i had some boosts...my tax refund (which i put down on the loan in its entirety), a really nice surprise 'help' check from my mom for $250, and i put the majority of my purchases on my no interest credit card (which now i have to pay off).

my next goal is to beef up the savings. at the start of the year i decided i wanted to put a minimum of $6,000 in savings this year...however, looking at that now, it seems SUPER low. how about $10k?? i think i can make $10k happen!

so, my total debt down this month: $3,222.51!!
total debt down since the beginning: $16,510.25!!

man o man! i'm going to try for another $1,500 over the next two months to make the year a cool, $18,000.

xoxo ashleycolean


TA DA!!!

I DID IT!!!!

i just pushed the button on the final payment (EVER) on my student loans!

i am officially out of student loan debt!!!!

in ten months time, i paid off $14,475.50!!! my starting balance on may 1st, 2011-when i started my lockdown, was $14,059.09-so i paid an additional $416.41 in interest.

imagine if i'd never started to pay down with serious ferocity how much interest i would have paid!

i have a million thank yous for anna from 'and then she saved' for motivating me to do it, and making it seem doable. when i read her interview in 5280 magazine last april i would have never dreamed i could make this happen in less than a year. as much as i wished i could have gone on that trip, or bought that dress, or picked up happy hour for everyone over the past ten months, the feeling of accomplishment i have right now FAR out weighs all of those little things i cut back on for a short period of time. small cuts make BIG differences-i promise!

today, i'm riding this high.
tomorrow, on to the savings goal-

i'm so happy i feel like punch dancing!
xoxo ashleycolean

a boost

i got such a great surprise in the mail this morning. a check!! from my mom, to help with my student loan! seriously exciting!

thanks for the boost mama. i can hear the roars from the crowd at the finish line to this damn race!

even closer...thanks a million mom!
xoxo ashleycolean