A Calgary man has paid off more than $85,000 of debt by spending nearly four years living in a six-metre-long camping trailer parked on city streets.
Geoffrey Westlock says he was working in a warehouse in late 2013 when his boss frightened him by suggesting the business might shut down.
He was renting a two-bedroom townhouse, making payments on a pickup truck, owed tens of thousands of dollars to a friend and was barely making the monthly minimums on three credit cards.
“What would I do if I was suddenly unemployed?” Westlock remembers thinking. “I couldn’t even work at a fast-food place because I was blowing through so much cash.”
Westlock crunched some numbers and says he realized, “you know, if I just got rid of my rent I’d be fine.” He traded rent cheques for lower trailer payments and cut his spending to nearly nothing.
His humble home has been very cold in winter and it needs to be moved frequently to avoid parking fines, but the sacrifice has been worth it, according to Westlock.
“It’s a proud moment,” he said, as he went to the local TD Bank branch to deposit his latest paycheque.
Westlock says he started by paying off a small bill with a high interest rate, which freed up money to tackle other bills. He kept on track with a dry-erase board, counting down the months and weeks to “debt freedom.”
Now that the debt is gone, Westlock says he plans to sock away savings until he can buy a piece of land.
But first, he’ll celebrate his achievement with a vacation to Banff.
With a report from CTV Calgary