Since the day I started this blog, I have dreamt of writing this post. Going through my drafts folder, there are a handful of posts filled with paragraphs I imagined I would include and quotes I thought I would share, but none of it feels quite right anymore.
It feels weird saying this, after announcing only yesterday that I was 10 days away from making my final debt repayment, but I lied. Seeing that I only had $495 left, I couldn’t wait. I wanted it gone. So I took it out of my savings yesterday afternoon and I made my final debt repayment.
I am debt-free.
How does it feel? Exciting. The same. Freeing. Fine.
How are you going to celebrate? I grabbed a frappuccino from Starbucks and drove down to the ocean (pic seen above) with a friend.
What’s next? I don’t know yet. But it’s incredible to think of how much my life has changed, since I started this blog two years ago.
You’ve heard my story before: I was maxed out, I moved back in with my parents for a while, and I started writing an anonymous blog. No part of the beginning was glamorous (especially my lacking wardrobe and stringy hair) but I knew right from the start that paying down my debt would involve making a number of sacrifices. While I had to say “no” to a few nights out, over the border shopping sprees and a surfing trip to Nicaragua, I knew I was working towards something important.
When I felt like I had no one else to talk to, I wrote here. Some of you have been reading from the very beginning, cheering me on every step of the way. You knew me as LC, you knew me as Cait, and now we’re probably friends on Facebook. Others have only recently discovered my blog, and more just pop on from time-to-time to check-in. I’ve shared every up and down that I’ve experienced over the last two years and you’re still here reading. I like to think you were waiting for this post too.
Unfortunately, I’m a little lost on what to say. There are no profound quotes to share. There are no major lessons to pass on. And I certainly can’t give you any advice. What I can say is this: getting out of debt is not easy. You have made it all easier for me, with your supportive comments and helpful tips, but I feel like I just finished my first marathon. I knew my goal. I knew what I had to do to accomplish it. But it felt like it took forever and there were more than a few hurdles along the way.
I’ll work on a “How I Paid Off $30,000 of Debt in Two Years” post but, for now, know that I haven’t done this the “easy way” nor do I think there’s a right way to do it at all. I’ve tracked my spending, not tracked my spending, lived off cash, lived off debit cards, filled notepads with illegible ideas and made some serious mistakes. But I’ve also learned how to live with less, be happy with what I have, and know that the only things that matter in life are family, friends, health and happiness.
Two years ago, I felt like a total loser. I was living in my parents basement, crying myself to sleep some nights, and isolating myself by not sharing what I was going through with anyone I knew. Today, I feel whole. Not good or great – just whole. I still think about money daily but I don’t worry about it. I make plans and budget accordingly. I can afford to have a little bit of fun again. And next week, I’m going to get my first paycheque that will be 100% mine (you know, after I replenish my savings).
That’s my definition of freedom. What’s yours? :)