365 Days Later: What a Year It’s Been

June 6, 2012

A year ago tomorrow, I wrote the first post published on this (second edition of my) blog. I was maxed out. I cried almost daily. And nobody knew but you guys. It’s not hard to see how much my life has changed since then but I would be lying if I said I didn’t carry the memory of that time with me always.

At this point, I don’t need to list off what I have accomplished. You’ve watched the current debt total go down alongside me. The numbers should say it all. What I would like to do instead is tell you some of the lessons I have learned in the last 365 days; many of them taught by you…

You don’t have to hit rock bottom, to know when it’s time to make a change in your life. Yes, that’s how my story started, but I now know that feelings of guilt and my natural instincts were telling me something bad was going to happen long before it did. Always listen to your body.

If you aren’t willing to admit what you really want, it probably won’t ever happen. But even more so than saying it aloud, you have to take whatever action is needed to accomplish your goal. “Nobody said life would be easy, they just said it would be worth it.”

Human beings share many of the same emotions, fears and insecurities. Having the courage to reveal yours is often all it takes for someone else to reveal theirs. It builds a connection and lets others know they are not alone. Be brave for you and everyone around you.

Believing in yourself is not always easy; in fact, it’s often difficult. If you have to remind yourself what you are working towards and why, on a daily basis, do so. There is no shame in wanting the life you’ve always dreamed of. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”

There is more generosity in this world than any of us will ever know. I have always felt it in the personal finance community but I could never have imagined receiving support, both emotional and financial, from strangers all over this earth. There is no better way to say thank you than to accept it.

Finally, I may often be broke shortly after pay day, but I am rich. I have a roof over my head. I have a warm bed to sleep in. I have clothes on my back and shoes on my feet. I never go hungry. I share and receive. I smile often and laugh always. I love and am loved. My life is full and fulfilling.

All I have left to say is thank you. Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. Thank you for the 10,000+ tweets, chats and Skype sessions. Thank you for being as honest with me as I try to be with you. Thank you for telling me what I need to hear, when I need to hear it.

And most importantly, thank you for humbling me.

What a year it’s been.

  • Captain Sweatpants June 6, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Awesome post, plain and simple. :) Happy blogaversary mate! And no, thank YOU.

    • Cait June 6, 2012 at 7:32 am


  • hithatsmybike June 6, 2012 at 6:27 am

    We adore you <3 =)

    • Cait June 6, 2012 at 7:33 am


  • Carrie Smith June 6, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Happy 1 year anniversary! You should be so proud of yourself and your determination. You’re a rockstar and I appreciate you always being honest with your story. I’m honored to support you :)

    • Cait June 6, 2012 at 7:35 am

      Thanks, soul sister! :P

  • Michelle June 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Happy 1 year! Love your blog of course.

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Thank you!

  • The Happy Homeowner June 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Fantastic post! I don’t always comment, but I’ve been here most of the way through this past year. I just have to say that your progress and growth is so motivating. Keep up the great work and look forward to all the amazing things this next year has in store for you! :)

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Taylor June 6, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Happy Anniversary! What an amazing year you have had! Thank you for sharing these very insightful lessons. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished, and what is yet to come! Way to go!

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks, Taylor!

  • Bruce Bucks (@BruceBucks) June 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

    You’re an inspiration to many of us, and we should also be thanking you for your vulnerability. You took the courage to open up your life to people you didn’t know, and in return you found that we all have many of the same struggles. You are not alone.

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm

      Thank you, friend :)

  • fromshoppingtosaving June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    This post was beautiful and filled with a lot of truth. Thank you for sharing your life with us :) I’m really happy that we were able to connect. You continue to be a friend in my life and for that – I am thankful.

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Right back at ya :)

  • A June 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I’m so glad you started blogging! I love your blog and think you’re pretty fantastic. Keep up the good work! xoxo – A

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks, A! PS – finally replying to you tonight.

  • LittleFrugalista June 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Cait, you’re fabulous. And that is that.

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      You are too sweet.

  • momoneymohouses June 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    That’s awesome and look how far you’ve come! :)

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm


  • Andrea (@nickelbynickel) June 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Happy blogaversary, you sound very happy!

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Aww, I love that that comes through via a blog post. :)

  • Cassie June 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Happy Anniversary! It’s been a pleasure following your journey through the ups and downs. Here’s to another year!

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Damn straight, here’s to another year!

  • myjampackedlife June 6, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Amazing. I first found out about your blog through an article on yahoo I think that had a link to your blog. I clicked on it and that was a changing moment for me. Reading your story and finding others through your blogroll allowed me to find an area I have been searching for for years. I’ve found and made many new relationships and have started my blog and found the direction for it thanks to you and the many others in the pf community. It really is a wonderful thing to get support and find others who share your same interests and give you an outlet for that energy.
    Yours was also one of the first tweets I received in twitter and was the first comment ever on my blog. Happy anniversary to you and the blog and I hope in one years time, I have as much to be thankful for as you. You rock!!

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      This is one of the nicest comments I’ve read in a long time. I’m so happy you joined the personal finance community. And thank you :)

  • Lauren June 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    Happy anniversary to Blonde on a Budget! I am so happy I found your blog last year (and other PF blogs) because it’s given me a serious kick in the ass to watch MY money more carefully, be more responsible, and learn to say “no” to that latte or cute pair of shoes (etc!) and put the money towards more responsible things (ie. my student loans and credit card!). You’re a total inspiration to me, and others – you go, girl ;)

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      YOU go, Lauren! :)

  • seedebtrun June 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    i have come to expect and appreciate the raw emotion that you pour into your writing, cait, and today was a perfect example.. great post. we always enjoy hearing your stories and sitting next to you as you go through your battles… you certainly have your feet on the ground, and are aligned perfectly in the right direction

    jefferson @ seedebtrun

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      I’ve been a little worried that the sap level has been too high lately, haha. Thanks for your comment, Jefferson :)

  • clutteredmoney June 8, 2012 at 6:07 am

    Such a great post!

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      And easy to write! That’s when you know it’s going to be a good one :)

  • Savvy Scot June 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Happy Anniversary! What a great milestone.

    • Cait June 13, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks, Scot!

  • American Debt Project June 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Happy Anniversary!!! I didn’t realize that your blog is only one year old and has almost the same birthday as my blog! You just seem that much more sophisticated and savvy :). This post was so quotable, beginning with learning to make changes in our lives and “If you aren’t willing to admit what you really want, it probably won’t happen”. This is really inspiring and reminds me to continue to grow each day. They say you can’t always choose your friends, but what I love about the internet is you can always choose which blogs to read. Yours is where I will go for inspiration and encouragement!