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



my new favorite place on earth, or at least in my little earth, is avery brewing company. it's glorious! and with $1 4oz tasters it fits nicely into this gals budget!

it's easy to pop in there for 5 or 6 tasters and walk out, $10.00 later, with a little buzz and a good time had by all!

i had a little birthday get together there last weekend with some great friends. it was so fun!

my amazing friend tara took a few photos...

{barrels at the brewery}

{with ben}

{enjoying a little coffee brew}

{laren and tara <3}
it's a great place, with tasty beer, and on any given sunday, an amazing crew of my dearest! :)

we'll see you there
xoxo ashleycolean



One of the blogs I follow had this cute list-and I thought I'd give it a try on this chilly Friday, since the idea of thinking about finances makes me want to curl up in bed and never come out. so, in an effort to avoid such a dramatic reaction, i'm going to play a little game of sometimes...

I can't stop myself from going to lululemon and spending $350 because i think it will make me go to the gym

I want to freeze frame my uncle/cousins smiley face

I find it concerning when homeless people have dogs with them

I want to soak up all of wine i can get my hands on without fear of a hangover

I decide to take the plunge and book a flight home regardless of the (lack of) funds

It really hits me that i'm almost 30

I can't believe how lucky I am when i am surrounded by the people i'm proud to call friends

I feel like I never, never, ever relax

I feel like a really good person when i do projects for people that take a ton of time just because they asked me to

what about you?
xoxo ashleycolean


check me out

{less that $1,000.00 due!!!!}
great news! i am well under $1,000.00 left on my student loans! i am so excited! it's so close! march is going to be a tight month. no spending and tight on the expenses for the month. i need to try and pick up some tails jobs also.

i've done some calling around the outdoor mall next to my new apartment to see if anyone is hiring for part time help, but so far, no luck.

i'm just feeling the pressure to get a little bump in the incoming and put a cap on the outgoing. i top shelfed my goals last month and went a little wild spending. not a good feeling. i also opened a nordstrom visa AND a target visa-again, not helping the 'out of control' feeling i have right now. i just need to get everything to zero and rebuild from there.

i am so excited to move into the 'saving' category, rather than the 'debt payment' category. it'll be exciting to see the ol' savings account see some beef for a change.

with a few hiccups, i'm still one happy girl that the $14k+ loan is now under $1k! i'm feeling pretty proud of that!

xoxo ashleycolean


in my 27th year

{other than dyed hair and an aversion to red clothing, i'm not sure i have changed one bit}
today happens to be my birthday. it's also fat tuesday. so i feel obligated to go out on the town and overindulge a bit tonight...but first, a bit of reflection.

i was talking to someone not long ago who was telling me about giving your year a word-a purpose-or a plan. assigning a word to the year and living by that word.

in my 26th year, i think my word was 'learn.' i didn't proactively assign a word, but it feels like 'learn' was my word looking back.

i learned a lot about myself-both good and bad. i learned how to pay down debt, and about finances in general. i learned that relationships are what you make of them and playing an active role in those relationships is the only way to cultivate them. i learned how to buy a car, and move on my own, and all kinds of other super adulty things. i learned that trust should be held a little closer to the chest than i'd previously thought. i learned that some people are still catty-no matter their age, and some people are so generous with their souls they just beam light to those around them. i learned there is no replacement for family, and sometimes all it takes to keep you level is a tuesday lunch with someone who knows you inside and out. i learned that there's always more to learn and ways to grow as a person, employee, sister, friend. i learned that my life is up to me and only i can create the life for myself that i want to have.

i learned that life is short and time flies, so i have to start living my life more presently rather than wishing my days away waiting for the 'next big thing.'

which brings me to my word in my 27th year....'live.'

i am making a promise to myself that for the next 365 days, and hopefully every day after that, i will be present and remember everyday that this life is the only one i get. i will try my best to live life with a passion and excitement that is easily lost in the day to day. i will live, and look back at this year on february 21, 2013 with an ear to ear smile on my face. i will live.

'live'...accompanied with 'love' and 'peace' oughta make for a pretty amazing 27th year.

may every sunrise hold more promise and every sunset hold more peace. -blessing
xoxo ashleycolean


slow your roll

remember how i got a no interest credit card and it made me super nervous but i did it anyway. well...after only 5 weeks with that silly thing i have significantly racked some charges. $2,000 to be exact. whomp whomp.

so i am slowing down the student loan pay off to get that credit card back under control. i decided that paying off the student loan-my ultimate goal-wouldn't feel nearly as fantastic knowing i had a credit card with over 2k sitting on it.

so, it may be a month or two of minimum payments on the loan to get it back under control, but then, i will kill those loans and that card.
as it turns out, interest or no interest, i can't stand owing anyone money. not my mom, or the government, or my roommate, or discover card. it doesn't matter. i hate it. it eats at me. i'm just not cut out for it.

but the loan is under $1000.00-which is stinkin' awesome. i can't wait to have that damn thing off my payroll.

tightening the purse strings.
xoxo ashleycolean


viva las anxiety attack

a week ago, i went to good ol' las vegas for work. it was my first trip to the city that never sleeps.

i realized three things about myself in vegas:
1. i am an old soul
2. i will never be the person that feels appropriately dressed in 6 inch heels at 10 in the morning
3. i'm cheap

it's funny to me that i can justify, a thousand ways, buying a $500 bedding set at anthropologie-but the idea of putting $20 in a slot machine and losing it makes me sick.

i have never seen such outrageous prices on food in my life! a side cesar salad at one restaurant was $16. it's just not my speed. even the mini patron bottles are $50!

my three favorite things about vegas
1. my alarm clock was connected to my curtains so in the morning instead of the BEEP BEEP BEEP that normally wakes me up, the curtains opened slowly and let in the sunlight. that is legit.
2. the bathtub was inside the shower, so you could fill it all the way to the top!
3. primo people watching

outside of that, and maybe going back to see a show, i don't think i will head back to vegas anytime soon.

it's just not my jam. i'm not quite as fancy as i used to be, and a 9:30 bedtime will always sound pretty great to me on a wednesday.
xoxo ashleycolean


month 9!!!

month 9 was super abnormal. like, super abnormal. so don't think that i went strolling through life finding $100 bills on the sidewalk every 20 yards :)

i paid off a whopper in january. $2,821.39 to be exact. and i put $6.00 in savings :)
(the $6.00 is because i really took out $50ish and then put $56.00 back in)

so where the hell did i come up with that kind of cash in a generally financially funky month??

welp, i moved. and got free rent the first month. i had to pay a couple hundred to the movers, and a couple hundred for my first month because we got into the space a couple of days early, but it wasn't my entire $815 i would have normally paid in that month.

i got my whole deposit back! $785.00! which went straight to the student loan.

tails job over new years didn't hurt. instead of going out and spending a fortune on a dress, makeup, hair, bar entry, cocktails, etc etc etc, i opted to take a house sitting job to not only save the money i would have spent but also make a couple hundred dollars on top of it.
it wasn't the greatest idea from a stress perspective (with traveling for the holidays, moving, etc) but it paid a good little chunk-that also, went straight onto my loan.

christmas money. i didn't get hundreds of dollars from santa, but i had a few extra bucks to through down on those loans. **correction, santa gave me a $300 mastercard, which i used to buy a bed. i likely would have used some money that i put on the loan to buy the mattress, so...ultimately, that cash from santa could be considered a loan payment.i also got about $150 to target which was KEY for getting the new place! you never realize how many 3M hooks and storage boxes you need until you move!

it was the way the cards fell this month that helped me put all that cash down on the loan! that and my serious dedication not to go crazy buying everything under the sun at the after christmas sales, like i normally do!!

the amazing news...only $2,917.96 left on my student loans! when i started may 1st trying to get that bad boy paid off i had $14,059.09 to pay down. i can't hardly believe that now i am just a couple of months away from it being gone forever!!

xoxo ashleycolean