90% Down, 10% To Go

March 15, 2013

On Tuesday morning, my 2012 income tax return was deposited into my bank account. I immediately transferred all $1,650 of it to my loans, bringing my total debt down to $3,150. Then payday came and I threw another $400 on it. In one week, I went from having $4,800 of debt to just $2,750; that is literally less than 10% of what I owed when I started this blog.

The feeling I get when I think about that is incredibly overwhelming. Obviously, I’m excited… but I also remember a time, not so long ago, when the amount of debt I had kept me up at night. It controlled my every thought, my every move… and in many ways, it still does. But it’s finally almost gone.

So, what’s the game plan to go from $2,750 to $0? Well, that’s the hard part. Because I have no idea what April is going to look like, I don’t really know how to budget for it. My plan so far is to head over to Vancouver for Easter weekend, so I can start apartment hunting. If I don’t find one, then I could either be going back and forth from Victoria to Vancouver every weekend, until I do, or I’ll stay with friends in Vancouver and only come back to Victoria to pack up my stuff and move everything over.

Either way, there’s a good chance I won’t be paying rent in April. But who knows – I could magically find a place for April 1st or 15th. It’s actually a little exciting now, not knowing what is next… I’ll probably get to spend some quality time with new and old friends, go for some outdoor runs, and explore the Lower Mainland a bit. It’s just tough not being able to come up with a monthly budget or a specific debt repayment plan, so I can pin down exactly where I’ll be at the end of April.

Nonetheless, knowing I have less than 10% of my original debt to payoff is incredibly motivating. Just last week, I was going through another spat of debt fatigue. I wanted to spend spend spend on anything and everything I could think of. I did spend a little bit last weekend (I got 7 new tops for $86!). But this week feels different. I’m ready to stay focused and be as thrifty as I need to be, to get that number down to $0.¬†After that, every penny I earn will be mine.

What a concept.

  • NDChic March 15, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Great job! When the end is sight, it seems a bit easier.

  • Chelsea March 15, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Congratulations! I can’t wait to read your blog post that you are TOTALLY DEBT FREE!

  • Meg March 15, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I just realized that the debt I have left is now EQUAL to what you started with. None of it is consumer debt, but I’m still super motivated to pay it down as soon as possible! Go Cait – you’re so close!

  • Rob March 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Congratulations Cait! The light at the end of the debt tunnel is in sight and time will pass quickly as you make your plans so stay busy, stay focused, and pretty soon you and your friends will be having a celebration dinner as you finally have reached your debt free goal. One thought – your move back to BC may entail some unexpected expenses so don’t try to target your date of being debt free too precisely so as to risk feeling depressed if things should slip a bit. Just know that this summer you definitely WILL have reached your goals. So again – great job as I know that it hasn’t been easy for you.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life March 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Wow you are so close! Are you tempted to take some money out of savings just to get rid of that last little bit?

    • Cait March 17, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Hmm, I am… but I need it all for my move, etc. It’ll have to wait a few months. :)

  • Teresa March 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

    I’m proud for you and extremely HAPPY to see you so close to the finish line. Good Job!!

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter March 15, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Sweet – glad to hear that you’re not stressing anymore! I’m sure the uncertainty is frustrating, being so close to the end, but remember that you’re close to the end!

  • K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! March 15, 2013 at 10:03 am

    I am so excited for you! I know exactly how you are feeling and when you pay it off you’ll want to sing some James Brown…I did when I paid off my debt lol.

  • Morgaine March 15, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Congrats! So close now! :D

  • Nadia March 15, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Way to go Cait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • cjb March 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Cait! Fantastic job! So proud of you!

  • Talia March 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Well done! I am new to your blog and am paying down my debt as well. You are an inspiration!

  • Vanessa March 15, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Congrats on getting your student loans and total debt to an attainable amount!! I hope to one day be in the same position as you. I to am getting my tax return shortly, in the mail, and am going to put it away in savings as I am planning my wedding and need all the extra cash at this time. Again, Congratulations

  • From Shopping to Saving March 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    omg i totally remember that feeling! congrats girlie! :) i remember the posts when the debt would keep u up at night too, and it’s so nice to be part of the journey…i knew you would make it here pretty quickly! so proud of u!!

  • Kyla March 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Congratulations! My get-out-of-debt journey has been very similar: at first, I was consumed by how much student loan debt I had. Now, I feel in control of my debt and my budget. I won’t pay off my debt entirely for another 3 years, but in two weeks time I will have paid off one full loan since I graduated three years ago! I know how exciting it is to see your debt diminish, so thank you for sharing your story and keeping your readers motivated to budget wisely and eventually become debt-free too!

    • Cait March 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, Kyla! Congrats on having a plan to wipe out your debt; 3 years doesn’t sound easy but a lot can happen in that time… it might be gone sooner than you think. Good luck!

  • Mo' Money Mo' Houses March 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Congrats! Also, if you need help apartment hunting just let me know. There are a ton of apartments near my place in Vancouver that never list on Craiglist but just put for rent signs out on their lawns. That’s how we found our place actually.

    • Cait March 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      Emailing you, Jess!

  • JW_umbrella treasury March 15, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    Contgrats on paying down so, so much of your debts. This is truly inspiring!

    Good luck with the apartment hunting. As someone who has moved many times since graduating college, I can completely appreciate how stressful the uncertainty can be!

  • Sharon J. Gilman March 17, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I once heard a quote that said something to the effect of how you shouldn’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. It definitely makes me wish I was in your shoes, debt-wise! But I know that this is not something that you have achieved over the last few weeks. I’m sure it’s been a long road for you, so I’m very happy to hear you’re almost finished! woohoo! Someday I’ll be there too. I can totally imagine how you feel overwhelmed. I think that once I have paid of all that debt, it’ll be a nice feeling to know that any money I make is actually mine, lol. Good luck with that last home stretch! :)

    • Cait March 17, 2013 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you, Sharon! For your comment and for sharing the quote. It’s definitely not worth comparing yourself to others – EVER, not just with money stuff. You’re working towards getting to where I am and that’s what counts. Make a plan and stick to it. Good luck!

  • Megan March 17, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    This is awesome!!! You should be so proud of yourself!

  • Snarkfinance March 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    I am going to pile on more kudos for your responsible behavior, since I typically both follow the crowd so not to stand out and also because it is deserving. As for your purchase of eight (that is “8”, as in one more than days in a week) tops, I suppose that is something more gender specific in terms on interpersonal relation.

  • Budget and the Beach March 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Almost there! I just paid off the last of my debt this week too. Let’s hope it stays that way. Good luck with the move. Don’t worry to much about the debt part till your settled. Hope everything goes well. And welcome back to the westside. Reprezent!

    • Cait March 18, 2013 at 8:39 am


  • Clare March 21, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    You’re a huge inspiration. Go, Cait, go!