365 Debt Defying Acts: A blogger's public fight against personal debt
Published Monday, July 8, 2013 12:16PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 8, 2013 1:15PM EDT
While the "d" word might be taboo for some, one Canadian woman is taking the debt conversation to the public by sharing her year-long journey of tackling financial problems, saving money and finding a way out of debt.
Louise Wallace is making her way out of debt, one blog post at a time. The small business owner, wife and mother of two from Salmon Arm, British Columbia had racked up more than $52,000 in debt while trying to keep her company Mediability Corporate Communications afloat. Finally, on Jan. 1, 2013, she decided enough was enough.
"I realized over the last few years debt creeps up on you. And every New Year’s, I would think 'OK, this is the year that I’m really going to tackle this thing,'" she told Canada AM. "I thought this would be the last New Year’s that I would have that thought."
As part of her resolution, Louise decided to take control of her finances by finding one small way to reduce her debt every day, and documenting it on her blog: 365 Debt Defying Acts.
"Either you control the debt or the debt controls you," she said. "So I decided to take control of my debt."
Each "act" tackles a new money-saving tip Louise implements in her own life. They range from grinding your own spices to conserving energy on a hot day to having lunch at home. Sometimes, she even includes photos to really drive her point across, such as before-and-after pictures of her revitalized lawn accomplished on the cheap, and even a snapshot of the quote she received from her (now former) dentist for $381 and change, which she did not pay.
So far, she says the response has been great. The average household in Canada has between $25-27,000 worth of debt and people are actually getting involved in the conversation.
"I've heard from people all over the country, professionals, retired seniors, other moms who own businesses," she said. "It really is something people are ready to talk about."
Now at the halfway point, Louise proudly says she has already reduced her debt by more than 10 per cent.
"When it comes to debt, just like when it comes to savings, it’s all about gaining some momentum," she said. "So six months in, I think it's making a difference."
Gaining that momentum isn't as hard as it may seem, according to Louise. She offered her top seven tips –- one for every day of the week –- that others saddled by debt can follow to begin their own fight:
- Grocery shop on the outer-most aisles (where dairy, fruit, vegetables and fresh meat are typically stocked), anything packaged is a no-no (inside aisles are where the “snacky” foods are located), and use a small cart
- Seek independent financial advice from a broker (insurance, wealth, mortgage) and never have them all managed in the same place
- Wash laundry in cold water, and hang clothes outside to dry
- Turn lights off during the day
- Repair things instead of replacing them
- Try to make everything yourself (salad dressing, croutons, muffins, etc.)
- Take a stay-cation instead of going away every year
To read Louise’s 365 Debt Defying Acts, head to: http://debtdefyingacts.wordpress.com/