Debt busters!

From putting spare change to work to going on a spending fast, these 8 folks found creative ways to chop their debt.

1 of 8
BACKNEXT
Anna Newell Jones
Anna Newell Jones
Jones, 31, dyed her bag blue and her jeans black to extend the color -- instead of buying new clothes.
Strategy: Go on a spending fast for a year
Advice: Get creative. There are endless ways to save.

I had been spending over my means for a while. Every month I was spending at least $300, overdrafting my account and feeling horrible about it.

I realized I had all these wants and it was an insatiable thing. I would say, "Oh, I love this top from Anthropologie," and then as soon as I got it everything would be great... until I wanted something else. So I knew I needed to do something drastic. And one day, it clicked.

I decided to start a spending fast for the new year, which meant no spending on anything except absolute necessities -- like my mortgage, utilities, car payments -- oh, and hair dyeing. That was one "want" that I turned into a necessity as I started to see my roots grow in.

I can't buy clothes, no coffee out, no eating out. To save money, I've done the normal budgeting things like buying generic brands of groceries. But I've also started wearing all black and dyeing my clothes to extend the color. I've been re-gifting, growing my hair long to avoid haircuts, stuffing two loads of laundry into one and eating a lot of old canned food I've found in my cupboard. I also make random stuff to sell in my spare time. I have a store at Etsy.com where I sell zombie portraits of people, super cute baby onesies and banners, tags and shipping labels.

My year-long spending fast began on January 1, and so far, I have saved $5,772.25. $4,800 of that went to credit cards and the rest will go to paying my parents back the $3,247.97 I owe them and my $10,000 in student loans.

NEXT: Lance Pickett
Last updated October 21 2010: 12:29 PM ET
What to do with $1,000 now Given the uncertain economic picture, you probably have a chunk of change squirreled away. Here's how to best use that cash. More
11 ways money buys happinessSometimes a small splurge is all it takes to feel rich. Here's how 11 readers get the most happiness for their buck. More
9 smart new ways to manage your $$ At Finovate, 56 companies vied to be the next big thing in personal finance. From pay-by-smartphone to smarter banking, here's what was new and cool. More
  • Find Homes for sale
    Real estate and homes for sale on Trulia

  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
  • New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
  • Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options
Special Offer

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.