• DH = dear husband
  • DD1 = dear first daughter
  • DD2 = dear second daughter
  • DD3 = dear third daughter

When I first read Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover in the spring of 2012, I looked ahead to the grand finale as something impossibly remote. The last chapter of Ramsey’s book is about the step of wealth building – the final step, coming after the mortgage is gone. As I read it, I could not really visualize myself being there. It was sort of like trying to visualize myself acting in a movie or singing in a rock band. My imagination could produce something, but nothing very convincing.

Nevertheless I liked that chapter. “I am releasing you to have some fun with your money, because money is to be enjoyed,” said Ramsey, adding that “guilt-free enjoyment” is one of the reasons to have a Total Money Makeover. Sounded good to me!


Last week, we crossed the finish line of our journey out of debt.


25th anniversary celebration

This past weekend was our time to celebrate, not only our debt freedom from the end of September, but also our 25th wedding anniversary – October 2nd.

Since our journey out of  debt began, we have marked October 2nd frugally. “DH and I celebrated our anniversary last week-end,” I wrote in October of 2014. “As the time approached, we wondered what we would do. Would we stay home for the week-end, as we had the last two years? … Or would we go away to the resort where we’d spent the two anniversaries before our journey out of debt began? Complete with massages, hot tub, pool, tennis courts, supper, and breakfast? DH was leaning towards the resort idea. ‘We didn’t really have a vacation this summer,’ he said. ‘We need to get away.’ I was reluctant. I liked the idea of a get-away, but that resort stay would cost about $800.”

For that anniversary, and the 3 that followed it, we ended up going camping for our get-away. Those trips came in at a fraction of the resort cost, and they were great!

We ate well during our anniversary camping get-away weekends!

“guilt-free enjoyment”

This time around, we gave ourselves permission to splurge! Not only did DH and I go to the resort – the place where we had spent our honeymoon 25 years ago – we brought our 3 daughters with us. We flew DD1 home from the west coast where she studies, and the 5 of us hit the road together.

It’s hard to say what the best part of it was. The resort itself is rustic and beautiful, the largest log structure in the world. And at this time of year, the trees  surrounding it are in full colour. Pool and spa were wonderful, and mountain biking was fun. We enjoyed delicious meals and broke out the champagne. Our daughters surprised us with a silver anniversary gift complete with speech (delivered by DD1), song (sung by DD2), and toast (given by DD3).

Fire-place in the foyer of the resort.

DH and I feel so blessed that our children like being together and being with us. They are all adults now – two having flown the nest – and it’s precious to be able to connect with them at this new level. I hope that DH and I will have many more opportunities to treat our daughters (and maybe some day their spouses and children?) to family get-aways in the years to come.

Journey out of debt: inter-generational ripple effects

“A marriage isn’t made up of big events like a 25th anniversary celebration,” DD1 said as part of her speech. “It’s made up of the small things – like checking over the receipts in your weekly budget dates, playing Exploding Kittens, cooking and eating meals together …”

Although we did splurge this weekend, I’m so glad that the frugality and effort of our journey out of debt were acknowledged in this way. DH and I can’t dictate how our commitment to debt-freedom will play out in our daughters’ lives, but we hope that it will have many positive ripple effects for them.

Right now, DD3 is at a friend’s house for a pot-luck “Friendsgiving” (It’s Thanksgiving Monday in Canada.) 2 thumbs up for free socializing! Earlier today, DH answered a request from DD2 and drove an old book case and storage unit from our house to her apartment. 2 thumbs up for the pursuit of used furniture! We see evidence of our daughters’ frugal mindfulness, and we’re SO happy about that! DH and I were well into middle age by the time we woke up to our financial reality and decided to change it. All signs indicate that our children have entered young adulthood with eyes wide open – fully awake from the get-go.

“I’m so proud of you two for all you have accomplished together,” DD3 wrote on the card the girls gave us. DD2 signed with these words: “It has been inspiring to watch you two stick together, grow together, and love one another through thick and thin.” And DD1 ended her note with, “I think you’re in for an amazing next quarter century.” I can’t help but think the same way.

Your comments are welcome.



Join the Conversation


  1. Congratulations on a race well run and on crossing the finish line. What is the name of that lodge and where is it??? I would love to stay there sometime. Sounds like your new philosophy around finances has spread to your daughters and that is a good thing. All the best going forward, with lots of new adventures for you both to tackle.

    I saw your comment to Stephen on the last post hinting that you are planning on saying farewell – oh, NOOOO!!

    1. I am going to say farewell next week, Nancy. I wrote my first two blog posts before our journey out of debt began, so it’s only fitting that my last two posts should come after our arrival at debt-freedom. Your “NOOOO!!” is very sweet. Thank you 🙂
      The resort is Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, and it’s in Montebello Québec – just about an hour from Ottawa. I highly recommend it!

      1. To piggy-back on David’s idea of converting a van to a camper – here is a blog where they did just that – and they give instructions on how to do it:
        The Parents Flew the Nest

        It has been a real pleasure experiencing the ups and downs of your journey out of debt, and all the other lessons you learned along the way. Thank you for being willing to share.

        If you do the mini-van travelling, please do blog about it – I, for one will travel along with you.

        1. I will let DH know about that blog – AND and a guaranteed follower if we go that route! Thank you, Nancy!

  2. I’m so glad you went to the resort and sounds like you all had a wonderful time and your girls did something so special for you. I’m glad they picked up some wisdom from you and your husband’s journey. Huge congrats to you and happy anniversary!

    1. Thank you, Tonya. I’m so, so glad that they seem to have picked up some late-blooming financial wisdom from us!

  3. That was SO sweet! Happy Anniversary & Debt Free Life! You guys are such an inspiration. I selfishly hope that you will find some new way to keep us entertained out here. Your absence would surely leave a giant hole in our interwebbery! 🙂

    1. You would be happy about what DH suggested to me last week then. He is now inspired to build an RV-type dwelling from a van, travel around North America, and blog about it. Where did he get an idea like that? Have you been talking with him? 🙂

    1. Thank you, Gary. It used to be such a break to get away on our own. Now it’s so precious to be all together. I’m hoping for many more such get-aways 🙂

  4. Your intimate family celebration of your Silver Anniversary and debt freedom will be remembered in your hearts forever!! Many celebrations of life become diluted with too many attendees. The nostalgia of revisiting your honeymoon location added with the unique importance of each and every person at your celebration fused together for one unforgettable experience. Cheers to you all as you begin your debt free lives!

    1. I agree! I have experienced the “diluted” celebrations, and while there is a place for big parties, this was lovely as it was. Thank you so much, Linda. (And you were one of the people who encouraged the small celebration 🙂

      1. You are so very welcomed. It was an honor to assist in the brainstorming of the perfect celebration for you both and your beautiful daughters.

  5. Well done on everything, the anniversary, a wonderful celebration shared with your family and putting that mortgage in its place.

    Go and enjoy yourselves!

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