Finally! I can say that I AM DEBT FREE!!
Some of you out there know how that feels, and for those of you who don't, you'll get there eventually; however sooner is better than later!
I've gone back and forth with what I want to do with this blog since my last post in February. Do I continue it or do I push it down the stairs and see if it gets back up again? To be honest, I've written this post about 10 times and none of the entries seem to have the right tone with how I should feel about completing my goal. But how am I supposed to feel other than overjoyed, and why the h-e-double hockey sticks wasn't I feeling that way. I had finally reached the end of the roller coaster and all the thrills and excitement were gone and I didn't want to invest another $40,000 to take the ride again. Some people have asked me what I'm going to do now that the debt is gone and I told them I was going to go on a $40,000 shopping spree now that my credit is all freed up -JOKING of course!!
The main reason that I was hesitant to write a "woohoo I'm debt free post" initially was my income tax bill. In an effort to scramble and get all of my debt paid off, I earned too much money and didn't invest any of it into RRSPs or other tax-deductable expenses. This left me with a $2,600 tax bill. I was really pissed off when I got that bill. It felt like a slap to face and a kick to the balls at the same time. There I was, prepared to have my big moment here on the Internet, but now I was back in debt. To add to that bill, I had already gone out and booked flights home for my sister's wedding and went on a trip to Halifax . Now, I was left with a credit card bill which delayed my payments on my taxes. My focus became making sure that my credit card didn't hold a balance (which it doesn't) and getting this tax bill paid off as soon as possible.
Yesterday, I finally bit the bullet and spent some of my savings to pay off my income tax. It was a hard pill to swallow, especially as I am about to go on vacation for 2 weeks and I was hoping that I would have more cash to spend. But the universe is cruel sometimes, so I just accepted the fact that this debt had to die once and for all, so I threw a punch to the jugular and watched that debt monster crash to floor dead, hopefully for the last time.
It's been several months now since I initially paid off my debt and tweeted back and forth with Gail about it, so people have been wondering what I have been doing now that I don't have any more debt to tackle. One question I often get is "Why do you still have two jobs?" I've really grown to love the yoga studio and the work that I do there. Yes, it takes up a lot of my time, but I am really getting to know a lot of amazing people with incredible stories of strength and courage which keeps me motivated to strive to be my best. Not only that, I get paid to be there. If you ever think about finding a second job, I highly recommend working in some kind of fitness place. Eventually I know that my second job will have to come to an end, but for now, I'm enjoying the extra income.
The biggest question which I'm not even sure of the answer is: "What is going to happen to this blog?"
Part of me really wants to keep this blog going somehow, and another part of me wants to end it so that something else can be born from it. I have been floating around the idea that I could turn this into a book (with A LOT of editing) or maybe making a new blog that follows how I go about saving my money. What I can see myself doing is becoming a not-for-profit financial advisor. I really like to help people with their money troubles and I know that there are millions of people out there who don't have a clue about what to do to get into the black. I've amassed a lot of knowledge about money and I know in my heart that I need to keep supporting people with their goals.
I remember one of my earlier drafts was heavily focused on how depressed I was about the way that things fizzled out (admittedly due to my own lack of writing and posting). But that wasn't the way that this happy story was supposed to end. When I met Gail Vaz-Oxlade, I hoped for something that was going to take me to another level and maybe turn this blog into something that was read by the masses. I think that I had set the expectations for myself really high. The reality is, that's the attitude that carried me to the end of my goal in record time. I aimed for the moon and settled for nothing less.
There's something that I have learned from all of this. Debt never goes away. There will always be someone that you need to pay back, whether it's $20 from a friend for a meal, or income tax, even just bank fees. The trick is to stay one step ahead. Know your enemy. Debt isn't designed to be easy to get rid of. It takes a lot of personal strength and the right attitude to beat it.
When I started doing this journey, I had no idea how big an impact it would have on my life. Before I started, I was seriously anxious and depressed about my future. I didn't want to become another one of those people who was trapped without any way to escape their debt. Being open and honest with my friends and family has brought me closer to them. There was an outpouring of love and respect that I never imagined. Admittedly, I had my doubts about whether or not I could do this. I went from being the guy who bought a $300 sweater to being the guy who hadn't bought a pair of shoes in 3 years. I learned that a brunch cooked at home with your loved ones will bring you so much closer together than an $100 meal or $200 bar tab. The question is, can you make those sacrifices to get you that big reward?
Take some time to really look at yourself. You can do this to! You are not alone, and you can be debt free. When I met Gail, I thanked her for helping me get out of debt and for all that she had done for me. Gail frankly said to me "I didn't do anything. You did all the work, I simply gave you the tools to get there."
Thank you for all the love and support over the years. I know that I will be back here again, but only time will tell what's next.