In June 2011, I was completely maxed out. After years of swiping for anything I dreamed of owning or doing, my bad spending habits had finally caught up with me and I was left with more than $28,000 of consumer and student debt to pay off. To try and stay accountable throughout my debt repayment journey, I decided to start this blog.

Since then, I have evolved from being a girl who wanted to be smart with her money into a woman who cares passionately about every penny that goes in and out of her hands. I paid off more than $10,000 of debt in 2011, $11,000 of debt in 2012, and I made my final debt repayment on May 21st, 2013 – just shy of two years from when I was maxed out.

In case you’re wondering, there are no quick fixes to get out of debt. Throughout my debt repayment journey, I did things no twenty-something wants to, including: moving back in with my parents for six months, staying in most Friday and Saturday nights, and saying “no” to travelling with friends. Some months were easier than others, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t track my spending and (at least attempt to) stick to a monthly budget.

Since making my final payment, I’ve experienced what I like to call “life after debt“. I’ve built up a $10,000 Emergency Fund, made regular contributions to my retirement savings and travelled all over North America. There’s no denying life is better when you’re debt-free. On the other hand, I’ve also experienced lifestyle inflation, spent too much money and, as a result, put myself on a yearlong shopping ban (ending July 6th, 2015). So, my financial education continues!

At the same time I started my yearlong shopping ban, I decided to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle. In doing so, I decluttered my apartment and removed 56% of my belongings from my home. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve learned how to live a good life with less “stuff”. My debt repayment journey taught me what matters most in life, and I promise you it can’t be found in a store.

I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, but I am a personal finance blogger, not a financial planner. The posts on this blog reflect my personal experiences and should not be taken as certified financial advice. With that being said, I hope to inspire girls and women everywhere to take control of their lives and achieve financial independence.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

-Cait