Before CAP, I felt suppressed. All of the loans were under my name, so when my wife and I separated, I had to pick up all the debt. I tried to take loans to consolidate it, only
to make it worse.
I was really bad at budgeting. I made repaying debt a priority, so I didn’t have anything to live on. I wasn’t eating much – rice, tuna, water, occasionally spinach – making sure I had money left over for my daughter, Ping, when I had her on the weekends.
I was constantly going to work, trying to find other ways to make money. I didn’t think about my mental health for so long because I was so focused on getting out of that tricky spot.
A friend recommended CAP. CAP asked me if I was serious, said a prayer for me. I went, “Oh, this is interesting, these people really care.” My father’s a minister. I haven’t been to church for a long time, so the prayer was like, “I remember this, this is a cool feeling.” A good reminder of where I came from.
CAP has taken off all my burdens. I’m a lot more aware of my spending habits, and habits just in general. During my CAP journey, I could spend more time fine-tuning my music, thinking why I was writing a certain song this certain way, ‘cos I knew my money was taken care of.
I wasn’t expecting to go debt free when I did. I was prepping for a meeting and I got a call from CAP. They were like, “Hey, you’re debt free now.” I took the day off, cancelled my meeting and just kind of sat in my room. I was like, “Are they pranking me?!” Since the news I’ve been celebrating the fact that I don’t have to pay anything off anymore.
Ping’s in school now. She still remembers CAP Discovery Break 2021, and so memories like that are quite pivotal in her life – and in my life as well. Had I never reached out to CAP I think my debt would’ve increased tenfold.
As Ping’s growing up, I’ll make sure to teach her not to take out loans or higher-purchase
things unless it’s absolutely needed or if it’s maybe towards a business.
I’ll have the ability to buy her equipment and stuff for schooling or sport. That’s the kind of effect that she’ll be able to feel through me going debt free.
Since I separated, I told myself, “I want to be happy. How do I do that? Find a job I enjoy and then just kind of try and stay in the industry.” That’s kind of worked out for me so far. My main job is a radio producer – 4am ‘til midday – that’s my bread and butter. Then second in line would be music – I’m known as TheWesternGuide. I got funding from New Zealand on Air for a single which came out recently. I used the funding for recording, promoting, and the music video itself. So that was really cool. My long-term goal is to own a record label.
Another thing I’ve been looking at is trying to get a deposit for a house, or at least an apartment just to get onto the ladder. I think I’ll look into those financial classes now that I’m out of debt, because I still need guidance with money and that’s still important. But I think being so disciplined with finances for the last few years has allowed me to make sure that if I’m getting into a project, I’m not being too naïve with things like money and time.
So, discipline with my finance, that’s also carried over to the creative side of things… I think that comes with routine and learning how to say no to other people.
CAP supporters, thank you for believing in the mission of CAP, because without your support and donations they wouldn’t be able to have these services for people like me. I would’ve never, ever been able to experience this whole debt-free lifestyle…
When you go debt free CAP send you the saving amount that you had. I was like, “I’m going to go and see my family in Brisbane!” I booked our flights a few days afterwards. Ping and I are going – I’ve got enough for the both of us!
She needs to meet my parents, because they left when my daughter was one, so she doesn’t really know who they are. They’ve just seen her through a phone up until this point, so they’ll be really excited to see her.
It’s a real cool moment for me to take her over.