What a Difference Six Months Makes

December 7, 2011

Six months ago today, I started blogging (again) at Blonde on a Budget. My first post was one of the toughest I have ever written, but I was right about one thing: the feeling of being maxed out is something I will never forget.

When I got home from Toronto, I had two maxed out credit cards and about $600 to my name. I also had close to $500 of bill payments coming out, before my first pay day. That left me with $100 for gas and groceries and it had to last me 6 weeks.

If you’ve never thought of yourself as a creative person, take on that challenge and see what you can come up with. It’s not at all fun but you’d be surprised by how quickly (and how far) you learn to stretch your resources.

I remember eating cans of soup for a couple weeks, because they were on sale for $0.69/can. “Sorry” was a word my friends heard often, because I had no money to go out and do anything. (Imagine how much they loved hearing that, after not seeing me for months already.) And, at 25, I had to borrow $70 from my 17-year-old sister.

I checked my online banking daily, if not hourly. Worry was the only emotion I knew how to feel and no one could stop me from feeling it. And I remember crying. More than once. I was mad at myself. I felt like a failure. And I was not the role model I’d always strived to be for my siblings. But worst of all, since no one else knew about my situation, I was lonely.

And then I wrote my first post here. In that post, I declared one of the biggest goals I have ever set for myself: to pay off $1,700 of debt per month. To be honest, when I wrote it, I don’t think I really knew what I was saying! I just looked at my numbers and came up with something I thought might be doable. But you know what? It was.

I am happy to say I’m just two days away from paying off a total of $10,000 of debt. $10,000 divided by 6 months = $1,666 per month. Add some interest to my debt and I have definitely accomplished my goal. My student loan has gone from -$4,452 to $0 and my credit card debt is at -$4,200 down from -$6,500. The rest of the money has been put on two loans.

When I re-read that post last night, I started to tear up. Over -$28,000 of debt is a lot of weight for one person’s shoulders to carry. And I still feel the weight at -$18,000… but I also feel thankful. Thankful to my parents for letting me live at home for 6 months. Thankful for my readers who have helped keep me on track. And thankful for the ability to change my old patterns.

What a difference six months makes…

Thanks for reading, xo

  • Michelle December 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Good job! You are very inspiring.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks, Michelle :)

  • Dee December 7, 2011 at 9:20 am

    I came across your blog after seeing you on Twitter. You have inspired this 40 year old (me) to start journaling her way, and find creative ways to tackle debt.
    Your saved in my BB Bookmarks. I look forward to reading more.

    Congrats Cait! Keep on going!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Dee, that’s fantastic! I’m going to check out your blog now.

  • cashflowmantra December 7, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Congrats on the wonderful progress you are making.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm


  • Jaime December 7, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Woohooo!! Clearly this has just been a “blip” in your life and the real you knows exactly what she is doing. Congrats!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Hope you’re right :) thanks, Jaime!

  • LittleFrugalista December 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Wow, congrats! I definitely relate to you because we seem to have been in similar situations. I started with debt in the 25k range and I’m now at about 10k and feel the burden slightly lifted. Very proud of us both. Keep up the great work and keep sharing your story. It will inspire many.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Down to 10K!? Nice work!

  • Newlyweds on a Budget December 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I am so so happy for you!!! congrats, that is a big step!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you!

  • changeonabudget December 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Awesome post! You are really an inspiration and I am cheering you on every step of the way :)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks :) appreciate your comment!

  • femmefrugality December 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Congrats! You’re doing amazing! $10,000 in six months…nothing to laugh about. Keep up the good work :)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      I’ll try! Thanks :)

  • Happy Homeowner December 7, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    You’ve done such amazing work in such a short amount of time; congratulations! I echo the other sentiments–you surely are an inspiration! Best of luck for the next 6 months and beyond!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you for your kind comments :)

  • Kelly December 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Congratulations! I started my blog yesterday, yes yesterday, with the same goal. I have $16k debt and I totally understand those feelings you described. I felt like I was reading my own mind reading your first blog. You’re definitely an inspiration for me, and I’ve been throwing around the idea of moving home with my parents too – I’m also 25. And knowing that you are makes me feel more okay and less of a failure for considering, and probably doing it. Hopefully we can keep eachother on track!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      I’m so excited to read your blog, Kelly! Going to check it out now. And thank you for your comments :)

  • Revanche December 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    What a difference indeed! I am so proud of you, way to make a resolution and really stick to it!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      Thanks! I’m going to make another ‘resolution’ in January… nervous about it, haha, but maybe this post can motivate me.

  • Britt December 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Way to go girl! You worked hard and you deserve a big huge pat on the back!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I don’t know about the pat on the back but appreciate your comments :)

  • MO December 7, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    That’s a great achievement but the journey isnt complete yet :) So keep at it.

    BTW Why do u still have your credit card debt … typically thats the one that costs the most in interest. I would’ve tried to get rid of that first before paying off the other lower interest debt.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Because the student debt was money my parents lent me. It was much more important to me to pay off ‘someone’ than ‘something.’

  • Leanne December 7, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Congrats! That’s awesome! Good for you!

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you, Leanne!

  • Hawaii Planner December 8, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Congratulations on all of the hard work you’ve put into this! Woohoo! You’ve done a fantastic job. :-)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Thank you! :)

  • Hawaii Planner December 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award, & posted about it today. ;-)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      Oh, I’ll have to go check that out! Thanks.

  • morningaftershow December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    so amazing :-)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Jeremy :)

  • Niki December 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I am so happy for your progress. Six months has just flown by, I remember that post.

    You’re doing great.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      I remember writing that post and being so scared to publish it… thank goodness that’s all in the past, eh? :)

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  • Jen @ shebloggs December 12, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Congratulations!! You’ve done an amazing job in JUST 6 months.

    I know what it’s like to check my online banking daily and wanting to cry looking at those horrible numbers. This is such a huge accomplishment and I’m so happy for you! It’s not easy to make set a financial goal and stick to it the way you did.

    I can’t wait to read the “What a Difference a Year Makes” :)

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Ooo, now I can’t wait to write that post! Thanks Jen :)

  • Clare - Never Niche December 12, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    I am so proud of you. I had heard of you before but your Maxed Out post is when I first started reading! I feel like I’ve known you longer than six months though.

    • Cait December 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      It definitely feels like it’s been more than six months… is that a good thing? ;)

      Thanks, Clare.

  • Link Love – December Ed. | Budget or Fudget December 17, 2011 at 2:04 pm

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