How This Couple Paid Off $162,000 in Debt with Elijah Bankole and Heron Abegaze – 024

In this episode, the Unconventional Millennials, Elijah Bankole and Heron Abegaze, discuss how they turned their finances around – wiping out $162,000 of debt in under three years! The couple shares their journey to becoming debt free and how they also became mentally and emotionally stronger by deciding to work on their goals through using Dave Ramsey’s methods.

Elijah Bankole and Heron Abegaze

There is nothing that you can’t achieve with your partner when you’re working towards a common goal with honesty and openness. Elijah and Heron came together to make a plan for their future, and it ended up changing their life forever. There will always be setbacks in life, and being prepared is a huge factor in how we overcome issues in our lives. Elijah and Heron are on a mission to help others to feel prepared by inspiring them to reach their own debt-free dreams.

Heron Abegaze and Elijah Bankole

Key Topics

The Journey to Debt Free

  • A few years ago, Heron was finishing up grad school and Elijah was working a full-time job.
  • They were making their minimum payments and weren’t struggling, but weren’t getting anywhere either.
  • Heron looked at her student loans specifically and looked into how much interest she would be paying over ten years, and felt overwhelmed.
  • She then started to research how people pay off their debt and found Dave Ramsey, as well as other inspiring stories of getting out of debt, and was motivated to begin her journey to becoming debt free.

How They Started

  • Heron was initially excited about becoming debt free, but it took It took a couple of months for Elijah to come around.
  • Once Elijah was convinced, they started Dave Ramsey’s program – first, just starting with a budget.
  • Then, they made adjustments to their lifestyle, which was difficult at first, but they got creative with how they spent their time.
  • You don’t know if you’re going to have the money to buy other things later on, so if you have something you have to respect it, use it wisely, and upgrade when you need to.

A Lifestyle Change

  • It was hard at first to decline social invitations because Heron and Elijah are social people.
  • They had to prioritize what events they would budget for – birthday dinners and going out were not a priority, but they planned for baby showers, weddings, and other major life events.
  • They paid into their debt every two weeks, automatically, so it wasn’t considered ‘extra money’.
  • They even remixed outfits! Yes, one shirt CAN work as 5 different outfits.
  • They thought more about their priorities and made decisions together on how they would spend.

Working as a Team

  • When you’re not going out as much, your relationship can get stronger.
  • Elijah and Heron had to find free activities and just spend time together, date nights often meant ‘Netflix and chill’.
  • They also spent time setting their budget for the next few weeks or doing an accountability check, and openly talking about their goals and future brought them closer together.
  • Because they had to communicate, be transparent, and be disciplined, it helped them to grow as a team.

Elijah B and Heron A

Key Quotes

Rather than going out to a nice restaurant and having a glass of wine or something, you know what, we have to Netflix and chill. Get creative with a date night. (14:53)

You have to respect your things as much as you respect yourself. (16:49)

If we are able to do what we’re doing right now with our finances, there’s no reason we can’t really figure this other conflict out. (26:07)

Tomorrow may be a different struggle. (33:51)

You really can do whatever you want, and you really can control your own destiny as long as you’re willing to work for it. (36:27))


Connect With Elijah & Heron On

Elijah’s Instagram | Heron’s Instagram | YouTube


Other Resources:
Dave Ramsey on YouTube | Total Money Makeover | EveryDollar Guide to Budgeting | His And Her Money YouTube
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1 Comment

  1. Dagne on 04/04/2018 at 8:10 PM

    Great topic! Many people, especially us, people of color, shy away from the topic of debt that we have acquired and what it takes to become debt free sooner rather than later. For many it is difficult to do what this couple has done because of the lifestyle downgrade, having to decline invitations and having to explain why you declined , not being able to take extravagant vacations, etc. For the vast majority of us, we were never taught financial responsibility, I know that I was never taught. Everything that I have learned about financial accountability has been on my own, and I have been able to build excellent credit. However, I will definitely check out their YouTube account for tips on becoming debt free.

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