John Kapetaneas managed to pay off $111,000 of student loans and credit card debt in 24 months — and the New York City-based journalist did it with zero savings and as a freelancer.
The secret, he says, boils down to how uncomfortable you're willing to get.
"When it comes to debt repayment, everyone's path is going to be different," Kapetaneas tells Farnoosh Torabi on her podcast "So Money." "It depends on the resources you start with, your skills, your opportunity for revenue creation, your assets, etcetera."
That being said, "If there's one secret — if you're not some multimillion-dollar earner … if you're just a regular person with a regular job — what I learned is, how fast you do it will depend on what level of discomfort you're willing to endure."
"It's what I like to call 'embracing the suck,'" says Kapetaneas, who currently works as a producer and writer for ABC News.
For him, that meant taking "a two-pronged approach: Increasing my revenue and decreasing my spend. … I knew I had to get my total earnings up and I had to get both my variable and fixed costs down."
Kapetaneas, then 25, started by taking on as many freelance projects as he could. "I capitalized, over the course of two years, on every opportunity I could possibly find to work," he tells Torabi. "That meant overnight shifts, holidays, weekends — every possible shift that I could pick up as a freelancer, I took."