John Stout and Carly Zdanek hope to turn a free USB stick into a stick to pay off $ 130,000 in combined student debt.
For the past 11 months, the couple from Braintree, Massachusetts, have embarked on a mission, seeking to exchange items until they reach their goal of paying off their loans.
“Someday we want to buy a house, and we want to go on an adventure and travel and not have that $ 130,000 stuck over our heads,” Zdanek said.
Both started with a USB stick. Stout got his freshman year at Northeastern, quickly trading it in for a chair. From there, trade for a foam roller and then a snowboard followed.
“We know student loans are very hot right now, why don’t we try to swap our loans? It feels like people our age really relate to this,” said Stout. “We are absolutely going to do it! “
Both say some trades are quick while others take time. They traded in for a scooter, lawn mower, ATV, and a commercial cappuccino maker.
“It took us three months, and we ended up having to sell it for $ 500 at a farmers market in Providence, then turn around and use that money, right away, to buy something from Marketplace to restart something. so, ”Stout said. “We have to remember how fun every transaction is and how crazy this idea is.”
The two are now preparing for their 18th exchange, a set of Canon cameras, documenting everything on Instagram and TikTok, using the handle @ USB_2_DF.
“With his mindset and our determination to get rid of our loans, we just knew we were going to go,” Zdanek said.
Stout and Zdanek say they’ve met some great people and feel like they’re doing their part to contribute to the conversation about student debt burden.
“We have to remember, it’s crazy, what we’re doing challenges the economy,” Stout said. “It’s a crazy project.”