The First 2,736 Days

The First 2,736 Days

I started this blog (for the first time) on October 1, 2010. I say “the first time” because I also deleted it once—in March 2011, when I was temporarily living in Toronto, wasting away the last few thousand dollars I had. But I started it up again in June 2011, shortly after coming home and realizing I was maxed out.

If we use the original date, I launched this blog 2,736 days ago. That’s:

  • 7 years + 5 months + 28 days, or
  • 390 weeks + 6 days, or
  • 65,664 hours!

You get the idea. It’s been a long time! And since The Year of Less came out, I know there has been an influx of new readers stopping by to say hi or sign up for the newsletter. I haven’t done anything like this before, but I think I’m going to take an idea from Jillian and share some of the highlights from the last 2,736 days!

I’m going to attempt to put these in (semi-)chronological order, but I also want to have some fun with this! So you’ll find links to old posts, notes about what I was thinking during a few situations, and maybe even a song or two to listen to. I will also share some thoughts about “what’s next” at the end.

Highlights from the Last 2,736 Days

  • started/restarted this blog (haven’t stopped since June 7, 2011)
  • published a lot of weekly spending reports that looked like this, and a lot of monthly budget updates that looked like this
  • got my first freelance writing job + first (unpaid) editorial assistant job (at LearnVest) in 2011 (wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t writing about my own personal finances here)
  • decided to stop writing anonymously and share my real first name with readers in 2011, so I could actually share some of these new articles I was writing elsewhere
  • finally decided to tell my family and friends about this blog in 2012, for some of the same reasons (looking back, this post is so dramatic—but that’s how I was feeling)
  • got a full-time job offer that I promptly said yes to and moved to Toronto three weeks later (behind the scenes: my heart had just been broken by my best friend of 14+ years, and there’s part of me that knows I was trying to run from my problems)
  • thought about quitting drinking, quit for a few weeks, drank more, finally stopped
  • decided Toronto wasn’t the place for me, moved to Vancouver (and worked remotely)
  • paid off the last of my debt in May 2013 and wrote about how (I can still remember having the biggest grin on my face that day)
  • thought I was going to delete my blog after that because I didn’t think anyone would want to keep reading (to everyone who told me not to, thank you!)
  • signed on with my first literary agent (but we didn’t complete anything together)
  • went on my first solo trip in July 2013 (age 28)! I spent 5 days in San Francisco where I met my friend Shannon (who I now visit in NYC regularly)
  • got in a car accident in July 2013 that I would ultimately do years of physiotherapy for and still end up needing to get hip surgery (in February 2016)
  • moved a gazillion times (real numbers) until I found a place in Port Moody, where I lived for 2 years
  • went through a stage where I was obsessed with bringing financial literacy to schools (and forgot about this one, wow!)
  • hosted my first meetups with readers in summer 2014!
  • started and completed my first yearlong shopping ban (and travelled A LOT that year!)
  • decided to do it for a second year (and completed that too)
  • decluttered/got rid of around 80% of my belongings
  • launched Mindful Budgeting (which has been a profitable side hustle for me)
  • built up enough savings + freelance work that I quit my job in June 2015 and have been self-employed ever since (considering I was maxed out just 4 years before, I never thought that would happen)
  • signed on with a new literary agent! and got a book deal! (didn’t think that would happen either!)
  • moved back to Victoria for 2 years
  • went on a solo road trip throughout the US for 7 weeks, where I basically just drove around, stopped in 18 states and visited some of the blogging friends I’ve made over the years!
  • moved to Squamish! I have been here for a year now, and it’s the first place I’ve moved to where I haven’t wondered: where to next?
  • lost our two family dogs nine days apart (and still miss them every single day)
  • finally did some therapy and completed a year of slow living experiments, which I needed <3 (and now zen out with this song daily)
  • published my first book :)

When I wrote my first post in October 2010, I was just a blonde who wanted to be on a budget and get my financial life on track. I wrote anonymously (as “LC”) because I didn’t want anyone in my real life to find this blog. All I wanted to do was track my spending and stay accountable throughout my debt repayment journey. That’s it!

It’s wild to look back and see how different my life was 2,736 days ago. If you had asked me then, I would have told you that my goals were to pay off my debt, continue working for the provincial government, save up a down payment, buy a place and continue to climb the “corporate” (public service) ladder.

We could curl up with tea and blankets, and talk about all the little things that made some of these big changes in my life possible. But honestly, I know that a lot of it comes back to three things: tracking my progress on something, asking myself how I’m feeling about it, and being willing to try doing things another way.

There were also a lot of big decisions + calculated risks that made some of it happen. Opportunities that surprised me and I felt “lucky” to get, but ones that required me to give up some stability and/or came up with no promise of a payoff. And don’t forget: it’s been a slow burn (think of a candle that lasts for 65,000+ hours).

I joined the personal finance community 2,736 days ago. In that time, I have:

  • published more than 600 posts on this blog (and countless more via freelance work)
  • worked for two financial startups for over 4 years total
  • worked on Rockstar Finance for 3 years
  • recorded 64 episodes of a podcast with one of my best blogging friends
  • created a product that has helped people pay off $500,000+ of debt (that I know of)
  • spoken at a handful of blogging conferences/financial literacy events
  • attended 6 (of 7) FinCon’s in a row
  • wrote/published my first book

I know it’s not “mindful” to always be thinking about what’s next, but that’s exactly what I’ve been doing this year. Because something happened in January that I can’t quite explain. I got that same feeling you experience when you start the last chapter of a great book. You know it’s going to be good, but you still don’t want it to end, so you try to savour every minute. Admittedly, I wasn’t savouring every task I had to cross off the list. But now, as things are settling down and I’m starting to prepare for my trip to the UK in May, the feeling is getting stronger. Like one book is about to end, and then I can walk over to my bookshelf and pick out the next one I want to start.

I know that’s an incredibly vague way to end this post, and I’m sorry for that! I also don’t want it to sound like this is the end of the blog, because it is absolutely not. I just know that I’m ready to make a shift. I feel like I’m finally settling into myself as a writer and creator. And something I’ve been reminding myself a lot lately is this:

So instead of this being a post about the last 2,736 days, maybe it’s about the first 2,736.

I’ll be back next week with more thoughts. :)


Photo by Rana Sawalha on Unsplash.

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  • Gee Cait, it was really great to “walk down memory lane” and recall past blog entries with you, including some that contained my comments to you that stretched back to Sep. 2012. Time sure flies by, eh? I really appreciate the work that you did to pull this blog entry together. So thanks my friend and here’s to our next 2,736 days together.

    • Wow, I knew we had connected a long time ago, but didn’t realize it had been that many years! Thanks for sticking around for it all, Rob. :)

  • I still remember sipping room temperature Starbucks at my boring university job when I happened across LC for the first time. So, so glad I did.

  • Great post,Seems a long time and a moltitud eof things (good and bad)happened but yes probably this isn’t the end of these days but the new began and I’m sure you’ll keep do great things:D

  • It’s always good to reflect and just see how crazy this journey of life is. Life can change in such drmatic ways both good and bad but that has all lead you to where you are now. A new adventure on the horizon or 2,736 days. :) You should be so proud of everything you have achieved and how many people you have helped or just planted a seed in their minds. Love the Zen song – Sigur Ros are my go to. Looking forward to Mondays’s thoughts. Happy Easter :)

  • Well I for one have missed your updates here and would be sad to see the blog come to an end (as many blogs seem to be doing these days), but I’m so excited for all the success you’re having and this incredible new journey you’re on. Can’t wait to pick up the book!!

  • Wow, that’s quite the list of everything that’s happened over the last 2,736 (now 2,737) days and so many amazing achievements! I think one of the things I love most about blogging is the reflective nature. Having a written record makes it very easy to go back and think about things that have happened and how you felt about them.

    I’m happy you’re starting to figure out where you want to go next and can’t wait to see it! Also glad that while things may be changing both for this blog and the podcast, they’re not going anywhere for now. :)

  • Hi, Cait,
    I haven’t commented on your blog before, but I’ve been a fan for years. By the grace of God, I first stumbled across your shopping ban/purge posts in late 2015, when I was having a clutter crisis in the worst kind of way. Your blog completely opened my eyes to a new way of life and sparked my interest in personal finance. 2.5 years later, I’ve completed my own lifestyle purge, paid off all my debt, and I’m so much happier, to boot! Reading your posts even gave me the courage to start my own minimalism blog, which is something I probably never would have done if it weren’t for people like you who are brave enough to share their stories.
    Thanks for the inspiration – I can’t wait to pick up your book! Keep writing!

    • I had the same question and after some research and talking to people I decided on a free WordPress blog. It did take me a little bit of time to figure out but I am now a proud owner of a two post blog. Good luck!

  • Cait! I’m excited to hear what’s next for you!
    I was also thinking about you today, as an example of someone who changed the name of their blog to their real name. I’m thinking of doing that, but wondered if you could tell me what your rationale was for doing so?

    Would love to know.

    PS, so happy for all the success you’ve had with the books. It’s really lovely to see on so many levels.
    Best,
    Caren

  • Congratulations! Look at all you’ve done! One of the things you haven’t mentioned is the countless people you’ve inspired along the way- myself included. I wish you all the best in the thousands more days to come.

  • You have accomplished so much Cait! I look forward to your new chapter as well as ALL (and I do mean ALL) the photos on Instagram when you go to England :) That is my top place to visit one day!

  • Just wanted to say I love your book! I got it on Kindle, so I can keep it. I just reread it, and it’s given me a lot to think about. Thanks for sharing. Lori