When I graduated high school, I had literally no plan. Even in 1999, it was obvious university was going to cost a lot, and my parents couldn’t afford it. I can look back now and point to this moment when all my anxieties about money started.

I didn’t want the debt of student loans. I knew whatever job I had in the future wouldn’t pay them off. In fact, I was pretty sure, even at 17, that I would have to work multiple jobs to get by. Writer was the dream, not the day job.

Eventually, I did take out a few loans. Government grants helped, too, and of course, my grandparents. I finished paying off the loans about 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve had a single credit card, which never carries a balance.

But this summer, when I lost so many hours at work, I had to pull from my savings to pay my rent, and I’ve been using my credit to make up the difference in my current pay check. I’m not making as much as I was this time last year, and my debt is moving slowly towards my anxiety.

Living today with no debt makes me feel so much better than saving for some nebulous future, so I went to the bank this morning and pulled all my money to pay off all that debt. That retirement savings plan isn’t doing me any good when I can’t pay for groceries now.

2019 has been all about the fresh start, I might as well go all in and start again at zero. On the 15th of next month, my new savings plan starts, just $25, but I like small steps. They work for me.