Monday, June 25, 2012

Close Encounters of the GAIL kind

Gail, soon to be hosting "yours truly"
 Welcome back my loyal readers! This weekend I started my first shift at my new second job as a receptionist at the yoga studio. That's right, I'm finally on the payroll! Now if only I could find some time to do yoga... The best thing about having a second job is that now I have some kind of backup plan in case my job goes south. These times are certainly uncertain for so many people, so I want to make sure that I have a plan in place to keep the bills paid around here!

And speaking of bills, I managed to rack up a hefty credit card bill this month (close to $900) so that I could get out and spend during my staycation. Good thing I have another source of income to help me get this debt paid off a little quicker! Sorry, I'm kind of being a bit of a tease now! I know that most of you are tuning in to hear about my fantastic news! 

Today, I almost peed my pants with excitement! Not only did Gail tweet back to me about getting the author of the book I was reading on her radio show this week, I got an email from her office after I wrote a little email to Gail Vaz-Oxlade about my "story" and what I have been doing to get my debt paid off.  It went a little something like this (yes I did a little bit of copy/paste from my blog):

From: John
Date: Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 11:11 PM 
Subject: John's Bio

Hello Gail!

My friend Inez sent you a tweet that I should be on your show and then you asked for me to send you my biography, so here it is!

My name is John; I'm 29 years old and I currently live in Ottawa with my partner Rob. In October, 2010 I began to tackle my debt and have been blogging about it ever since. Your book; Debt Free Forever has
been my debt repayment bible and I always sing your praises. I had tried budgeting in the past and had zero results. It got to the point that I had stopped opening my bills, especially my credit card bill. I was receiving letters from Student Loans almost every month to tell me that I missed a payment (it's only $107.99 a month)! I couldn't understand what I was doing wrong. At 28 years of age, I came to the harsh realization that I was almost $40,000 in debt!

How the did I get nearly $40,000 in debt? Here’s how: In 2002, I decided to go back to school and take a course on web design. My choice to go to school came with a hefty price tag of $14,000 for a 1 year course. Out of school a year later, I worked my butt off and got my debt from school paid down from $14,000 to $8,500. I was really on track to becoming debt free. Web design didn't make me any money, so I decided to go to school without any financial assistance. Thanks to my (former) amazing credit history, I had been approved for 3 credit cards, an American Express, and Ikea Credit Card, and a MasterCard. I was always paying off my balances in full for the Amex and the MC, but I forgot about the balance on my Ikea card and got taken to collections over $300! I was so mad since I had never received a bill from Ikea. I quickly cancelled my Amex after that and stuck to one card – my MasterCard. When I first got the card, I started off with a limit of $1,500. In the end, that limit was at $15,700!! The interest rate on this card was a disgusting 19.5%! And to top it off, I fell for their stupid “balance insurance” scheme which made my balance climb higher and higher! I had that idiot insurance for years. Combine that with last minute emergency flights home and using my credit card for crap and restaurants, my current owing on my MasterCard is a disgusting $14,581.45 in credit card debt!!

As with most students, I built up more debt when I went back to school. I was living in an apartment I couldn’t afford on my own; eating at restaurants like I had been debt free forever; and flying home whenever I felt like it without any paid vacation and paid for nothing with my own money. Over my time as a student, I hit $4,991.57 (out of $5000) on my regular line of credit (10.5% interest), took out another $9,174.74 (out of $10,000) on my student line of credit (4.5% interest), and after paying down all the interest on my previous student loan it remained at $8,445.36. Add it all up and we’re talking $37,193.12 of debt!

I really didn't know what to do until I found your shows and your amazing book. I set out to pay everything off in 3 years on an income of less than $50,000 per year, and I have been doing it very successfully. As of today, I have paid a whopping $23,593.84 (or 62.4%). That's all been done in a matter of 19 months! Now I only have $14,216.67 to go!

You truly have been an inspiration for me Gail. Not only have you been helping me get my debt under control, this process is having a domino effect on my friends' lives as well. They too are inadvertently saving money because I have the power to say no to expensive nights out and am able to come up with cheap sources of entertainment with the same or higher level of enjoyment that we had before.

If there is any way that I could be on one of your shows to share my story or even if you wanted me to write a guest post on your blog, I would be beyond excited! I recently found out that you tweeted about me and I was ecstatic (it was the post with the Gail heads).

If you want to know more about me and how I got to where I am, my bio on my website is here:

And here are some posts that give you a taste of how I am getting my debt paid off:

My new Roommate, Gail:
Going Anal over my Analysis:

I hope you like it Gail! Sorry for the long email, I don't know where you find the time!


To which Gail's assistant Tracy responded today:

Hi John...I am Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Admin Assistant and we would like to book you on her radio show "News1010" to share your story.  Are you available on September 10th at 10:25pm EST for an on air interview?

Administrative & Marketing Assistant to Gail Vaz-Oxlade


And obviously I said (with a BCC to Inez):

Hi Tracy!

I would be honored to be on the show. Do you guys need me to be there in person or would I call in? I would be willing to do either. How long is the interview? 

This is such a cool opportunity, I can't wait to chat with Gail. 

Thank you


Then Tracy swiftly responded:

Hi John...the interview would be about 30 minutes with commercial breaks in between.  We would call you at a specified number (landline preferred, or cell phone if that is all you have) around 10:20pm EST so please send me your numbers.

What we would like you to do is answer the following 4 questions and send them back to me.  Gail will prep for your interview from these questions:

1.  Where you were:

2.  What you did:

3.  Where you are now:

4.  One tip you have for listeners:

Thanks and we look forward to having you on the show.


I haven't responded yet, but holy guacamole! I cannot believe that I will ACTUALLY be talking to Gail. I had my doubts in the beginning that maybe she would find my story a bit "too much of the same thing" but it turns out that I had nothing to worry about. This isn't an actually meeting with Gail, but it's pretty darn sweet at the same time.

Also, how does one get to be Gail's admin assistant?! I want that job! Maybe she needs an Ottawa admin or a fabulous gay sidekick. It seems to be standard for almost every other reality TV show that I see!  Part of me wants to ask Tracy if she's planning to take any maternity leave or something in the future...

Ok, that's enough of me being crazy and sounding like a squealy girl at a Beiber concert!

AH! So Happy!


  1. Congratulations! I just recently finished reading all your posts, and I'm impressed. I wish you the best of luck in finishing your goal, and have a good time on the radio show!

    1. Thanks Paul! It's been a challenge so far, but the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight!