- When she graduated from college, a TikTok influencer who goes to Taylor BeepBoop discovered she had $20,000 in student debt.
- Determined to pay it off within a year, she made a plan starting from knowing exactly how much she owed.
- She cut her living costs dramatically by renting a locker from a friend and taking sidecars.
- Read more from Personal Finance Insider.
TikTok creator and indie post-production professional online Taylor BeepBoop had just completed her bachelor’s degree when she received a strange text from her father minutes after entering her graduation party. “Congratulations, kid,” the letter reads. “Enjoy paying off your student loans.”
I thought it was a joke.
Until this text, she believed her parents were footing the bill themselves due to a severe misunderstanding. She didn’t realize that they could no longer afford the school after some financial hardship. College started at 17 and no questions asked because she signed off on forms. “I signed the papers, but I was a kid,” she says.
“Within 10 seconds, I figured I was starting my future in a mountain of debt,” the 28-year-old later jokes that a summary of her financial history can be summed up as “very impressive and sad.” In one year, Taylor paid off more than $20,000 in debt while working at $13 an hour, just over the minimum wage in California, where she lives. Below, she describes how she did it – and what she won’t do again.
I worked backwards to calculate exactly how much you would need to pay each month
For most of her life, Taylor has always been financially conscious. “I remember telling my parents not to buy me games anymore, because I didn’t want to waste money,” she says. When it was 2008
She begged her parents to open a brokerage account for her to invest the money she had – at the time, she was only in middle school.
“When the student loan hit me, it wasn’t so devastating; it was like I was getting ready for this. I’d been waiting for the other shoe to leave my whole life,” she explains.
Immediately, she began working on a roadmap to get herself out of the situation she was thrown into. Since she knew how damaging high interest rates could be when trying to pay off debt, she knew she wanted to pay off the loans as quickly as possible. She ran her numbers through calculators to see how much interest she would pay over time. “It pisses me off, so I did whatever I had to do,” she says.
Determined to pay off the loans within one year, she calculated how much she would have to contribute each month. “I figured out exactly how much I would have to pay every two weeks, every pay period,” she says.
She lived beyond her means and looked for additional ways to earn money
To make those payments, she had to make some extreme changes. Working for $13 an hour at a quality assurance company, she had to be very creative and persistent when it came to her finances.
When Taylor tells People that she lived in a closet during this part of her trip, it wasn’t just a word of mouth. To save money and because it was her only option at the time, she rented an extra locker to a friend for $400 a month. The space hardly fits a bed.
You’ll never spend money on anything you absolutely don’t need – not even a small snack here or there. She worked overtime most weeks and would stay up late in her office just to get company dinner. “These are not fun memories,” she says.
In search of ways to increase her income even more, she encountered a lot of side business during this time. “I was scanning the single jobs section of Craigslist,” she explains. She participated in focus groups, brain scan research studies, sold clothes, worked as a salesman at golf tournaments, and even considered selling her eggs. “I’ve always had the strangest things going on in my life,” she says. “It seemed as if I had lived the most interesting life in the world, but no, I was only living in poverty; that was all it was.”
Looking back, she wouldn’t recommend most of the side business she did. “I would probably say they don’t deserve it; I didn’t make much money,” she says. “It caused me a lot of stress.”
Keep track of all her income and expenses
At the same time, Taylor tracked her income to the last penny. “I was keeping track of every batch,” she explains. Using a notebook, she would record everything that came and went. Since she was an hourly payer and had many side jobs, her income often fluctuated, so it was helpful to keep track of the details each month.
She told Insider, “I was going to find out the absolute minimum I could live off of for this week, and put everything else I had directly into my student loans.”
Now, she is trying to help others get out of debt and build good relationships with money
Now debt-free, Taylor is still implementing many of the financial habits she used while paying off her loans. She still keeps track of her income and expenses and sets aside a day each month — called a “finance day” — to check her money.
In the past few years, most of her income has come from her career as a freelance professional in post-production. She grew her net worth by investing her money in index funds and eventually bought a home in San Francisco that she enjoys renovating and decorating. In the past few months, she’s had a hit on TikTok, showing off her DIY and design skills.
She is excited to get other friends and loved ones involved in financial planning as well. “My job is to get my friends or family to join me, and I teach them the financial day and create retirement accounts,” she says. “I don’t want to see those people I care about get bogged down in this.”
When talking to others who may be going through something similar to debt, she has a simple tip: “Make room for positive interactions to come into your life, and try to find solace in the fact that there are millions of ways to make money.”