3 steps a millennial couple took to pay off $118,000 of student-loan debt in just one year
- Millennial couple Karen and Sylvester Akpan paid off $118,000 of student-loan debt in one year.
- Akpan told Insider she was inspired by
Dave Ramsey's "gazelle intensity" method.
- They took 3 steps: selling their house to buy an RV, creating a budget, and increasing their income.
For Karen Akpan, 2020 ended on a high note. She and her husband, Sylvester, finally paid off $118,000 of
The 32-year-old Akpan went to
She said all they knew in terms of a strategy was to "take loans" and "wait for it to be either forgiven one day or pay the bare minimum till death." But as she began reading and listening to a lot of
She was particularly inspired by Dave Ramsey's "gazelle intensity," a term the personal finance expert coined to describe paying off debt with speed and intensity - running away from it like a gazelle.And that's exactly what Akpan and her husband did in 2020.
RV living, budgets, and making moneyThe couple's debt-free journey began in February 2020, when they sold most of their belongings and their house, freeing them of their $4,200 mortgage plus utilities, Akpan said.
They purchased an RV to live in with their son a week later, which she said made their expenses almost nonexistent and enabled them to save aggressively. Depending on what state they're in, she said, their RV expenses ran as low as just $500 a month.
As they traveled around the US, they focused on putting more work and time into The Mom Trotter to increase their income stream. Akpan said she started writing more blog posts, took on more freelance writing, and began shooting more content for TikTok and YouTube. She also expanded her content beyond solely travel to include more lifestyle coverage."I perfected my skill and got better at what I was already doing," she said.
Every single dime they made that year went straight toward
"We only buy what we need at that specific time, including groceries, which reduces waste," she said, adding that it also helped that they were living in an RV. As she put it, there was no room for any new purchases.
Snowballing into an avalancheThroughout the year, Akpan and her husband mixed two popular pay-off methods to tackle their
Once they realized they had a large sum of money saved, they decided to use the debt avalanche method to erase their
Now, they're no longer two of the 45 million Americans shouldering the country's national student debt burden of nearly $1.7 trillion.It's helped them enter 2021 feeling free, Akpan said: "We were able to breathe."
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