How This Couple Paid Off Nearly $162,000 Of Debt In 3 Years

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
Earlier this month, Heron Abegaze (29) and Elijah Bankole (30), put a new spin on "couple goals" after Abegaze's Instagram post about paying off their debt went viral. After three years of saving like it's an Olympic sport, the Twin Cities duo wiped out nearly $162,000 of credit card debt, car loans, and student loan payments, in what seems like record time — a feat impressive enough to earn Abegaze a Boomerang happy dance.
"Throwing thousands of dollars a month at debt, declining invites from friends and family, driving a mediocre car, and some of the other sacrifices we had to make took a bit of getting use to," Abegaze shared in her post. "However, it was worth every sacrifice to watch what was once a dream of being debt-free become a reality."
Ahead, the couple tells Refinery29 why they made such a drastic decision, how they did made it happen, and the nuances of navigating money as a couple.
Debt Repayment Plan Start Date: May 11, 2015
Debt Amount: $154,947
End Date: March 10, 2018 — 34 months, start to finish
Total Amount Paid Off: $161,842.29 — including interest that accumulated, mostly on the student loans.

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