Alberta man pays off $85K debt by living in a trailer

Geoffrey Westlock made some major sacrifices to overcome debt. (Geoffrey Westlock/Facebook)

Debt can loom large in many of our lives, and when it gets desperate, we may be inclined to make some extreme changes.

Geoffrey Westlock didn’t just cut out a morning latte or start saving his change to pay off his hefty debt: he moved into a trailer.

In December 2013, Westlock was faced with cashflow issues. On his blog The Urban Nomads, Westlock explains that he was carrying some major debt, including about $17,000 in credit card debt, despite having a good job, a boss that he liked and a solid paycheque.

After considering his options, Westlock decided to radically drop his expenses by moving out of his two-bedroom apartment and live in a winterized trailer. The original plan was to move out for one or two years, but it was October 2017 when he was finally able to pay off the debt to his bank.

The radical move was spurred by his boss telling him the company may shut down.

“What would I do if I was suddenly unemployed?” Westlock told CTV. “I couldn’t even work at a fast-food place because I was blowing through so much cash.”

Initially, Westlock rented a room, but in May 2014, Westlock bought and moved into “Wanda,” an RV that he found had more space than the room he was currently renting. While it did add to what he owed, it ultimately ended up being the right decision to make the move.

“Wanda” became home for Westlock while he worked towards his goal of financial freedom. (Geoffrey Westlock/The Urban Nomads)

Living in the trailer came with certain stresses, like having to move frequently to avoid tickets, finding out that he’d been sleeping steps away from a break-in, or dealing with a frozen water supply. But after years in the trailer, Westlock finally paid off his debt this week.

“It’s a proud moment,” he told CTV. As of Monday, Westlock’s only bill is his cell phone, having given up rent, power, gas and water, and owning his trailer and truck outright.

Now that Westlock is free of the debt, he says he’ll be putting the money into savings to build towards future goals. Westlock is currently visiting Banff for a little vacation before moving onto the next phase of his frugal adventure.

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