Millennial couple pay off $ 118,000 in student loan debt in one year
For Karen Akpan, 2020 ended on a good note. She and her husband, Sylvester, eventually paid off $ 118,000 in student debt. And they did it all, in the midst of a historic year of pandemic and uncertainty.
Akpan, 32, went to college when she was just 16 to study child and adolescent development, and went on to earn a master’s degree in family and consumer science . Graduates left her with a collective debt of $ 69,510, including what she estimates to be $ 10,000 in interest. She told Insider that she regrets getting her masters because she was unable to find the kind of high paying job she thought it would guarantee. She currently runs a lifestyle and parenting blog, The mother second hand, full time.
Her husband, who attended vocational school, owed $ 40,420 in student debt himself.
She said they both continued to postpone their income-based repayment plans and ultimately stopped loan repayments altogether because they couldn’t afford it. “At one point I thought we were going to die with them,” she said.
She said all they knew in terms of strategy was to “take loans” and “wait until he is forgiven someday or pay the bare minimum until death.” But as she began to read and listen to a lot of
, she realized it was a “crippling” state of mind.
“I borrowed money and it’s not for me to keep it,” she says. “I always wanted to be 100% debt free and paying it off was part of the process.”
And that’s exactly what Akpan and her husband did in 2020.
Living in RVs, Budgets and Make Money
The couple’s debt-free journey began in February 2020, when they sold most of their possessions and home, freeing them from their $ 4,200 mortgage plus utilities, Akpan said.
They bought a motorhome to live with their son a week later, which she says made their expenses almost non-existent and aggressively saved them money. Depending on what condition they are in, she said, their RV spending was only $ 500 per month.
While traveling across the United States, they focused on devoting more work and time to The Mom Trotter to increase their income. Akpan said she started writing more blog posts, started freelance writing more, and started shooting more content for TikTok and YouTube. It has also expanded its content beyond just travel to include more lifestyle coverage.
“I honed my skills and got better at what I was already doing,” she said.
Every penny they earned that year went directly to saving or paying bills, Akpan said, explaining that they only spent a tiny amount on daily expenses. They created a strict budget in which they eliminated all unnecessary expenses.
“We only buy what we need at that exact moment, including groceries, which reduces waste,” she said, adding that it also helps them to live in a camper. because. As she said, there was no room for new purchases.
Snowball in an avalanche
Throughout the year Akpan and her husband mingled two popular payment methods to meet their debt.
They first started with the Ramsey-approved debt snowball method, in which minimum monthly payments are made on all non-mortgage debt, paying extra on the smaller debt first before working on larger debts.
Once they realized that they had saved a large amount of money, they decided to use the debt avalanche method to completely erase their student loans. This strategy involves first paying off the debt at the highest interest rate before switching to debt at the lowest interest rate.
They paid off Sylvester’s private and federal loans in November in a few big installments, Akpan said. They followed that up by paying off his federal loan in December.
Today, they are no longer among the 45 million Americans who bear the nation’s national student debt burden by nearly $ 1.7 trillion.
It helped them enter 2021 feeling free, Akpan said: “We were able to breathe.”