Journey Blogger Karen Akpan Shares How She Journeyed From Debt to Financial Freedom


Karen Akpan, often known as @themomtrotter throughout social media, began her weblog in 2017 to doc and share price range journey hacks for individuals. Though she wasn’t a giant spender, her story speaks to how debt can sneak into the lives of even those that earn good cash.

This creep in the end prompted her household to lose the power to remain on prime of their funds.

“It’s referred to as ‘life-style creep’ once you’re finished with faculty so that you assume you may have more cash and may afford extra issues,” Akpan says. “However the fact is that you just actually can’t.”

On the time, Akpan had a good-paying job as a medical researcher whereas her husband stayed house with their son. The constant earnings made it onerous to see how their month-to-month funds had been starting so as to add up. Then, in 2019, she misplaced her job.

This pivotal second modified Akpan’s relationship with cash and her life trajectory. With an costly California mortgage, automobile funds and pupil loans, the emergency fund she and her husband, Sylvester, had dutifully constructed shortly depleted. At that time, it felt like they had been drowning in debt.

Karen Apkan & Family

She remembers waking up sooner or later and pondering, I can’t dwell like this. If I proceed like this, the cycle is gonna repeat itself. My youngster’s going to start out school and battle and have two or three jobs. The considered her son, Aiden, going by way of the identical struggles was sufficient for her to alter issues. With books, blogs and YouTube (or as Akpan calls it, “YouTube College”), she started educating herself on monetary literacy and easy methods to price range. At one level, she realized it was time to promote the home.

“I calculated and multiplied our month-to-month fee by the 30-year time interval, and I spotted that we might pay again thrice the quantity of the home,” Akpan explains. “I used to be like, What on this planet am I doing? Why on this planet would I purchase something and pay thrice the quantity again? Instantly, I used to be like, We’ve received to promote the home. We’re finished. That’s it.”

So, they offered the home. They made all of the enhancements for the house, however by the point every part was mentioned and finished—between closing prices and renovation funds—they made lower than $20,000.

“I assumed we might promote the home, and we might simply get the cash that we had put in, but it surely was a complete lie and a impolite awakening for me,” Akpan says.

Their household had beforehand traveled in an RV, so she knew it was one thing she loved. With nearly all of the cash produced from their home, she determined to purchase an RV off Fb Market. A number of months later, they had been on the highway dwelling in it.

Karen Apkan

That first evening within the RV was memorable.

“I’ve actually unhealthy insomnia, and I don’t sleep effectively,” Akpan says. “That evening, I slept like a child. once you get up within the morning and don’t have any fear? Like, you get up and have a espresso. I sat exterior below the shade, sipping my espresso, and I did nothing. Wow, I did nothing. I had no worries. No fear on this planet.”

Even with no month-to-month mortgage, they nonetheless needed to pay for meals, gasoline, medical insurance and different payments. They calculated that their household of three may dwell off $2,000, in order that was the minimal they focused to make every month. That is when Akpan landed a gig from her weblog.

“I began my weblog for enjoyable, highlighting how one can journey and get reductions and do stuff on a price range. However by no means in one million years did I feel that I may make this a lot cash from it,” Akpan says. “I didn’t even know that individuals had been making this a lot cash from it. So, once I noticed the potential from the weblog, I used to be like, ‘We received to speculate on this, and we received to get severe about this as a result of cash can are available.’”

The potential she noticed got here to life, and her weblog campaigns and paid promotions grew. They went from $2,000 campaigns to $10,000 campaigns. This time, the money circulation wasn’t going into month-to-month funds. With a sound monetary literacy basis, they started tackling their debt.

Karen Apkan & Family

“Earlier than, we had been spending an excellent $5,000 to $8,000 a month on simply payments,” Akpan says. “Think about not having that after which making that $8,000 and solely spending $2,000 a month. With the ability to save a lot!? Promoting the home was completely our No. 1 greatest choice.”

When Akpan and her husband paid the full quantity of their pupil loans, she remembers sitting within the automobile taking a look at one another in disbelief. “Final 12 months, we had $0,” she says. “I used to be like, ‘Oh my God, look how far we’ve come.’”

Since they first offered their home, the Akpan household has paid off $200,000 in debt and elevated their web price to greater than $200,000. Akpan credit all of it to shedding her job.

“If I hadn’t misplaced my contract, I wouldn’t have discovered something about cash,” she displays. “I might have nonetheless been working. I used to work 60- to 70-hour weeks; I labored like loopy as a result of I assumed we wanted a home. It actually was a reset. And that reset will not be solely serving to me now however everybody.”

Karen Apkan & Family

It’s no exaggeration; the blessings in her life aren’t simply reserved for her. There’s a selected class for blessing others in her month-to-month price range. She lately stunned her niece and nephews with a shock trip to Mexico.

“I simply instructed them to pack a bag and present up,” Akpan says.

This sense of generosity is one thing she’s deliberately cultivating in her son as effectively.

“We’ll sit at dinner, and he’ll ask, ‘OK, mother, whose dinner are we gonna pay for?’ Or we’ll go get groceries and canopy another person. It’s so vital as a result of he will get to journey to all these fancy locations, and I would like him to grasp that you’ve this, but it surely’s additionally simply as vital to present.”

Akpan’s not simply open along with her household about funds. A fast skim by way of her social media will present quite a lot of candid conversations round cash, with precise figures and funding accounts they use. For Akpan, passing on her data is nonnegotiable.

Karen Apkan & Family

“It will be horrible if I didn’t do my due diligence and educate someone,” Akpan says. “These are issues individuals don’t learn about, like a Roth IRA.”

A barrier to entry for monetary literacy was the shortcoming to search out others in her life who had been educated about cash.

“Once I first began, I saved pondering, ‘do Black individuals do that?’” Akpan says, “I don’t know people who find themselves debt-free. I don’t know anyone who has paid off a pupil mortgage, and it’s actually onerous to see your self in a spot the place you don’t know anyone who has finished one thing. That’s why I share about cash so overtly, as a result of I would like different individuals to see me and say, ‘Hey, I do know someone who has paid this off. I may do it, too.’ As a result of, on the time, I used to be on the lookout for that individual.”

Now, Akpan makes it some extent to ask individuals if they’ve a Roth particular person retirement account. When buddies say sure, she’ll ask, “Why didn’t you inform me? Should you’ve identified about this Roth IRA, and also you knew that this was a approach that I may put cash away tax-free, why didn’t you share the data?”

Akpan additionally encourages individuals to alter their notion of what journey entails in the event that they really feel they will’t afford it.

“You possibly can drive, take the bus, take the practice,” she says. “Should you go into one other metropolis or someplace new, you’ve traveled. Don’t get caught up in, ‘I didn’t fly on a airplane abroad, so I haven’t traveled.’ No, you may create journey experiences for your self proper there that don’t price lots.”

Karen Apkan & Family

She additionally encourages aspiring digital nomads to create the life they need by first acknowledging their true priorities. Then, they will make a price range with that in thoughts, monitor their bills and see what will be reduce.

“Once I began budgeting, I used to be blown away by how a lot cash we spent on random stuff,” Akpan says. “Like, in the event you don’t price range, you actually don’t know the place your cash goes. So, I preach about budgeting on a regular basis.”

All of the data on this planet doesn’t assist with out motion, so Akpan encourages individuals to simply go for it. “Go forward and take the chance,” she says “You by no means know what’s ready for you.” 

This text initially appeared within the November/December 2022 subject of SUCCESS journal. Pictures by Alyssa Lynne Pictures


Iona Brannon is a contract journalist primarily based within the U.S. You possibly can learn extra of her work at ionabrannon.com.




sagaciousthoughts
sagaciousthoughtshttps://sagaciousthoughts.com
I am Christian Nnakuzierem Alozie (Kris Kuzie Alozie). A native of Eziama Nneato in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State, Nigeria. I am an inspirational writer and a motivational speaker. And above all, a lover of charity.

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