My Story

My name is Jaclyn. I’m just a girl in the world (did you sing that in your head? You may have listened to Aqua too much …).

I’m married to a loving man (you can call him Hubby) who just so happens to be American. Oh, and I’m Canadian. We met online (that used to be sooooo taboo but it seems acceptable now-a-days) in 2006 and in 2007 I made a 28-hour drive over the border to meet him in person. So we met and 10 days (yes, days) later we got married.

Life where we were was steadily getting worse though. Hubby wasn’t earning enough money to support us and our roommate was making some decisions that Hubby felt put us at risk. So one night we packed as much of our belongings as we could and “fled to Canada.”

I was very happy to be home. I’d been gone just over one year. Of course, I’d visited twice but it’s different when you know you’re back for good.

Now our dilemma was that the last thing we wanted to do was live with my parents. So I got a job lickity-split and we go an apartment with one of my three sisters.

Unfortunately, Hubby and my sister didn’t get on that well. I mean, they didn’t fight or anything but they just constantly got on each others’ nerves. Quite a headache for me, as the in-beween.

So eventually my sister moved out and now I was paying the full rent myself. And I wasn’t doing it well.

We got ourselves into a payday loan spiral.

Originally I would just get the loan to pay rent or a bill on time. Or to buy food right after paying rent. But the interest started to tell on me.

I made the blaringly wrong decision one time to get a second loan from a different payday loan place. So now I was paying back a loan with a loan in order to get a new loan. Bad, bad, bad.

See why I call it a spiral? Because it was circular and it was dragging us down.

I had been looking for somewhere cheaper to live for some time when I found a small house offered free in the next town over. Could it be?

Hubby and I contacted the owner immediately and we were told that the house had been empty for quite a while, as the last tenant had up and disappeared. The house was becoming dilapidated and was being vandalized. The owner didn’t live in the area and desperately needed somebody to look after the house so that it didn’t degrade more. So he offered it free, just to get somebody to move in and take care of it.

Well, we jumped on it. And not a moment too soon because that very next month I would not have been able to pay the rent on our apartment, not even with getting three (you heard me, three) payday loans.

That rent-free house was a life-saver but we were definitely getting what we paid for. It was 600 square feet. If you don’t know how small that is, you don’t want to know. You are happier for not knowing.

It was heated by an ancient wood stove plus a tiny baseboard heater in each bedroom (of which there were two). That wood stove by itself was a very steep learning curve for us.

The house had multiple broken windows, the floor was rotting out from behind the shower and under the toilet, the yard and road turned into a river due to flooding every summer, the snow plow only came by twice each winter, oh, and our neighbour hated our guts.

But it got us free of our payday loan troubles.

What also helped free us was not buying many of the little extras that are just that: extras. I would make whatever I could so that we felt like we weren’t below the poverty line.

In 2014, after revealing to my family we were expecting a baby they decided for us that we needed to move closer. My sister, Hubby, and I once again rent together. We live in my oldest sister’s house, since she’s living elsewhere for now.

My first daughter (you can call her Doll) was born in June 2015 and I returned part-time to work as a driver when she was only 6 month the old, as my maternity pay wasn’t enough to live off.

Almost exactly a year after her birth, I got laid off from my job (along with all the other employees).  And after finding out I was pregnant again, I finally found another job (albeit an on-call relief position).  I managed to scrape a few more the of work out of it during their peak season before the work dried up and I was forced to go on sick/maternity leave early, in order to have some money coming in.

My second daughter (who I’ll call Poni, which is Welsh for second-born daughter) was born March 2017, just one month before needing to find a new place to live because my sister and her family are moving back to town.

And that’s pretty much the short version of my story, so far. And having gained a little wisdom from past mistakes and experiences, and now wanting to stay home with my daughters, I decided to offer my blog up to the world and see if there’s anyone out there who might benefit from my sharing.

I would love to hear what you think or answer any questions!

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