Amanda Dorough | She's Paying It Off

The Story of My Journey to Debt Freedom, One Tiny Step at a Time


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No Spend Challenge 2020: MARCH Recap

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Well that didn’t go as planned…

Me on March 1:  Yay!  I have so many awesome things planned in the next couple of months!  2020 is going to be great!

Me on April 1: *glazed over eyes* If I really ration my toilet paper I may be able to make it ’til May…

While we were all hyper-aware of Covid 19 a month ago it was still so foreign to most of us and mostly a joke to the American public.  Now stay at home orders are in place, TP is worth its weight in gold, and the “curve” is definitely not flattening.

Looking back on March it was a fairly successful month, both because I put forth the effort and because I didn’t have the choice.  While it feels weird to talk about going out, having fun, and social wins right now, in order to do March justice and celebrate the good things I’ve done when it comes to my No Spend Challenge I’m still going to write about it here.

Now just note the most of these things I’m writing about took place BEFORE all the social distancing and stay at home orders were put in place.

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So let me start with slip ups…

Honestly, I didn’t slip up to bad.  I got a drink from chickfila once to go along with a free sandwich (I know it’s sooooo bad, but it broke my wants vs needs rule)… but at this point, weeks later I can’t even remember what my other “slip up” was.  I know it didn’t break the bank at least so that’s what matters.

I did, unfortunately, have to get a root canal done, which was unexpected BUT because I had set money aside in January/February I had more than enough to cover it, which was encouraging.

Now some cool things from the month…

-So I’m a paramedic and a lot of events like to offer first responders discounts or free tickets, especially when the events don’t sell out.  It is actually really cool and generous.  Anyway, I never really paid attention to them in the past because they’re usually pretty last minute, but now that I’m trying to enjoy my year while simultaneously spending as little as possible I thought it would be worth a look.  That’s how I managed to score tickets to a Houston Roughnecks XFL game (off-season professional football) and had a ton of fun!  I went with my work partner and only ended up spending $7.50 on ticketmaster fees to get our tickets, tickets that would have been $50 each not including the fee if we’d had to pay for them!  We also parked away from the stadium so parking was free and the subway style train is free in Houston on Sundays so we didn’t have to pay for that!

*Note these kind of deals also apply to active military and veterans so if you fit into that category you should definitely look into it! (It’s called 1sttix.org for first responders and vettix.org for veterans)

-Speaking of free things to do, Movies.  I refuse to pay to go to the movies this year (unless it’s a date) so that led me into the world of advance screenings.  I’ve been using advancescreenings.com which lets you look up your city and then gives you links as to where to get the passes.  It can sometimes be hard to score a ticket, depending on how popular the movie or actor is, but if you can it’s an awesome opportunity.  I got to go to an advance screening for “I Still Believe” earlier in the month when movies were still allowed and I had a great time.  The only thing to note is even if you score a pass a seat isn’t guaranteed.  Get to the theater early (like about 45 minutes for a regular movie; a lot more for a popular one) to get your actual ticket.  Now obviously this isn’t something you can take advantage of at the current moment, but as soon as the theaters reopen, go for it!

-A big win for me…I used my creativity to finally get some things done that had been on my list.  Like finishing a “painting” I started about a year ago but didn’t have the inspiration to finish. I also turned an old, grimy, used up Bath and Body works candle jar into a votive holder for a pillar candle that had been sitting in my closed for years.  Now I can use it during my relaxing at home bath “spa” time.

– I found several apps on my fire TV that offer free shows and movies which is awesome!  I’m currently working my way through “The Middle” on IMDB TV.  There is around 1 (singular) commercial every episode, but for enduring the 1 commercial I get free entertainment.  That’s soooooo much better than HULU which makes you pay AND watch more commercials.

Now for some Stats…

Side hustle income: $48, so not even half my goal of $100.  With social distancing though, once that went into effect I couldn’t justify going out to complete most audits.  Some, like restaurant based audits were canceled too.  (This doesn’t include the 72 hrs I worked at my part time job)

Money to Debt: $2462.97 (This includes minimums)

Now here comes April… In about a week and a half they’re expecting a big surge in Covid-19 cases so my full time job changed up our schedule from 48 on/96 off to 24 on/48 off until the middle of May.  Overall it’s not a massive inconvenience but it does mean two things…

  1.  I’ll be driving to and from work twice as often so I’ll be spending more money on gas.
  2. I won’t be able to pick up as many shifts at my part time job if any.

I guess we’ll see how it all goes.  Until then, keep social distancing everyone!  Let’s prove all the models and projections wrong. And for everyone stuck at home having to get creative, I’d love to see all the ways you’re saving money or upcycling things you have, feel free to share!

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Purex Powershot + Dial Miracle Oil Reviews

I have two products I’m really excited to share with you today!  A few months ago I joined Purex Insiders and since then they have given me a couple of great products to test out.  Normally I would dedicate separate posts to each one, but things have been so busy lately, so today you’re getting a 2 for 1!

First up is…

the Purex Powershot

When I moved into the ResHall here at KPC last summer I switched over to the pods style detergent for laundry.  They were light, easy and best of all not messy.

One of my least favorite things about doing laundry is the messiness of measuring and pouring the detergent.  I always end up getting it on the floor or on my hands.  It’s an unnecessary nuisance.

Enter the Purex Powershot and it’s pretty genius if I do say so myself.  The bottle is actually so smart it measures the super concentrated solution itself, no measuring and no mess involved.  See, there is a self contained measuring unit in the neck of the bottle that perfectly measures each dose and stops any extra from coming out.  It’s the simplicity of pods without the price tag, something a poor college student like myself can definitely appreciate!  Since the solution is so concentrated the bottle is also fairly small, making it much easier to carry to the other side of the ResHall each time I have to do Laundry, a great added bonus!

The only downside I’ve discovered is that I haven’t been able to find it in any of the stores around Soldotna/Kenai.  I’m going into Anchorage in a couple weeks and hopefully I’ll be able to find it there!

Purex Powershot

next is…

Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

I don’t know about you but I’m pretty picky with my soaps and body wash.  It needs to clean well, not dry out my skin and most of all smell good.

I first heard of Marula when I was in Africa a few years ago as a plant used to flavor many beverages, and even more specifically to make a special type of beer.  So when I saw that this body wash was infused with Marula Oil I didn’t know quite what to expect.  I didn’t know Marula could even be used beyond drinks, so naturally I searched it.  That’s how I learned that the same people who have been making drinks from the marula plants have also made moisturizing lotions using the oil from the marula nut for generations.  Interesting.

So I went ahead and gave the body wash a try.  Remember how I said smell was one of the most important factors to me?  Well this body wash smells amazing.  There’s nothing else I can compare it to, it’s just a rich and exotic scent.  As for moisturizing, my skin had been terribly dry this winter, what I had been using just wasn’t working.  Now my skin is soft and moisturized.  I can’t say the effect it will have on everyone, but’s it’s definitely made a difference in my skin over the last couple weeks and I would definitely recommend it.

Dial Miracle Oil Bodywash

 

I received the above products for free for testing and review purposes from Purex and Dial.  All opinions are 100% my own.


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Review of Secret Outlast Completely Clean Clear Gel

I’m currently finishing up packing for my flight back to Seattle tonight.  The semester flew by!  But more on that later.  Right now I want to talk deodorant.  Yes, you read that right, deodorant.

A couple months ago I was given a stick of Secret Outlast Completely Clean Clear Gel to try out from BzzAgent.  My goal for years has been to find a deodorant that works for everything, whether I’m playing in the snow in Alaska or exploring ancient temples in Cambodia.  While I was living in Thailand I used clinical strength deodorants, not because I have a lot of sweat issues, but it’s southeast Asia and ridiculously humid so sweat just happens.  When I moved back to the US I just kept using it because I knew it could be effective anywhere, but the unfortunate thing is clinical strength deodorants are expensive.

So, when BzzAgent said they were sending me the Secret Outlast Completely Clean Clear Gel I got really excited.  To be honest I’d never used a clear gel before so this was completely new to me and you know what?  I really liked it.  It was a strange feeling at first, but it dried quickly and hallelujah there were no dreaded white marks when I put on my shirt.  That fact makes it a winner in my book!

When it came to the smell it was fresh and not overpowering, which is a plus and the price tag is much nicer than clinical strength deodorants!

The only negatives.  1.  It runs out much quicker than a typical solid, 2.  Even though it doesn’t give me white marks on my clothes it does leave a residue on the stick that drys kind of white.  Not the end of the world, but weird, 3.  The stick claims that it gives you 48hrs of protection.  I tried and don’t think thats necessarily true, I would still recommend putting it on everyday.

So in the end would I buy it?  Absolutely.  I really, really liked it and the pros definitely outweigh any cons.

*I received the above product for free for testing purposes from BzzAgent, the opinion is 100% my own.


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Yum, Yum, Yum! Reviewing Tazo Chai Tea

Last week I posted a review of a Chapstick product I received to test out from a company called Smiley360.  Well around the same time I was also offered the chance to test another product, Tazo Chai Tea and I couldn’t have been more excited.

First of all I must start out my saying I’m weird.  I know we’ve already established this on many occasions but I needed to reaffirm the fact just in case.  I am one of the few Seattelites that don’t like coffee, and I also don’t like tea, with one exception, Chai.  Maybe it’s my years spent traveling or those weeks spent in India and Nepal that changed my taste buds, but Chai is delicious, although unfortunately, like most things not all Chai is created equal.

Before October I’d never had Tazo Chai Tea or Chai Tea Latte so I was a totally new palette in terms of the brand.  In the package from Smiley 360 I received one loose packet each of Tazo Chai Tea in Classic, Chocolate and Vanilla Caramel, as well as 3 coupons for free boxes of Tazo Chai Tea or Tazo Chai Tea Latte to test and share with friends.

Tazo Chai Tea

The first thing I did of course was hop on their website to scope out flavors and was excited to find there was a Pumpkin Spice Chai version (seasonal).  Yay for fall flavors!  So I headed to my local store to pick some up only to find that no stores in my area carry that flavor.  Bummer!  So I picked up a Chai Vanilla Caramel Latte instead and called it good.

It was only a couple days later that I got my first chance to try it out.  I’d spent the afternoon on a roadtrip to Girdwood with friends to play in the snow (because even though I live in Alaska we don’t have snow sticking around in my town yet, bummer).  When we got back we were cold and ready to snuggle up, thaw out and watch a movie.  My friend and fellow tea lover Kirsten and I heated up my Chai Vanilla Caramel Latte and joined the rest of my friends for the show, and oh my gosh it was so good!  Creamy, flavorful and sweet but not to sweet.  Kirsten loved it and I loved it.  I would definitely recommend!

Tazo Chai Tea

As for the other flavors?  Well they’re good too!  Tazo is definitely a brand I will be buying in the future and I would recommend to all chai tea lovers out there.

Go Tazo!

*I recieved the mentioned products for free for testing purposes from Smiley360.  The opinions are 100% my own.


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Review of Chapstick Dual-Ended Hydration Lock 24 hr

In the past I’ve written about great products I’ve gotten to test out from Influenster, well, a couple of months ago I signed up to test products through another company called Smiley360.  It’s actually a pretty cool company.  They periodically offer new “Missions,” if you’re thought of as being someone who could be potentially good for a specific mission it will show up on your profile, you take a survey and then if it’s a match you accept.  Easy as pie.

The very first product mission I was accepted to through Smiley360 was for the new Chapstick Dual Ended Hydration Lock.  I was so excited, I waited and waited and waited and it never came.  Curse you postal service!  Finally 5 weeks from the ship date had passed and I still hadn’t gotten it so I contacted Smiley and they offered to send me a new one to try.  Yay! Thanks Smiley!

There are two different dual ended varieties to choose from,  Hydration Lock Moisture and Renew or Hydration Lock Day and Night.  I received the latter to try out.

Now I must admit, I usually choose my lip balms based on their flavor.  Raspberry, Pomegranate, Mint… yummy!  The Chapstick Day and Night doesn’t have any fancy fruity flavor, but what it lacks in flavor it makes up for in effectiveness, and that’s what really matters right?

The stick itself is actually a pretty cool concept.  It’s about one and a half times the length of a normal stick of Chapstick.  One side has a yellow cap and on the other side is a blue cap.  I bet you can’t guess which side is day and which side is night?  I actually really like the color coding because, even though it does list which time of day it is for right underneath, I’m typically to lazy to look.

Chapstick Dual Ended

So now that we’ve covered the difference in appearance between the day and night sides I know you’re probably thinking Chapstick is Chapstick, why does it matter which one I use during the day and which one I use at night?  Hey I thought the same thing, but each side actually does have a different formula.  The day side mainly serves as a “skin protectant/sunscreen.”  It’s conditioning and has SPF 12 to help protect from the sun, since, it is daytime after all.  The night side on the other hand doesn’t need SPF.  Instead it “replenishes overnight with tamanu oil, natural butters and antioxidants.”

I’ve been using my Chapstick Dual Ended Day and Night faithfully for the last week in order to give an accurate review.  My end opinion?  I actually really like it!  While SPF isn’t really an issue for me right now since we only have about 7 hours of sunlight in Alaska and it’s not strong enough to burn, the elements still get to me and my lips dry out and peel really easily.  That’s why it’s nice to protect them during the day, but even better, and this is odd for me to admit, but I’m a mouth breather when I sleep.  That means I typically wake up with dry cracked lips as well.  It stinks, but the night side really has made a difference, my lips are actually soft!

Chapstick Dual Ended

I’m going to keep using my Chapstick for awhile and I’ll let you know if my opinion changes but for now I definitely recommend it and you can find it at most drug/box stores.

 

*I received this product for free for testing purposes from Smiley360 and Chapstick.  The opinions are 100% my own.