John Stout and Carly Zdanek are hoping to turn a free USB drive into the key to paying off $130,000 in combined student loan debt.
For the last 11 months, the couple from Braintree, Massachusetts, have embarked on a mission, looking to trade up items until they reach their goal of paying off their loans.
"One day, we do want to buy a home, and we do want to go on an adventure and travel and not have this $130,000 stuck over our heads," Zdanek said.
The two started with a USB drive Stout got his first year at Northeastern University, quickly trading that for a chair. From there, trades for a foam roller and then a snowboard followed.
"We know student loans are super topical right now, why don't we try and trade off our loans? It feels like people our age would really relate to that," Stout said. "We are absolutely going to do this!"
The two say some trades are fast while others take time. They've traded for a scooter, a lawnmower, an ATV and a commercial cappuccino machine.
"It took us three months, and we finally had to sell it for $500 to a farmer's market in Providence and then turn around and use that cash, right away, to buy something off Marketplace to kind of restart," Stout said. "We have to remind ourselves of how fun each trade is and how crazy this idea is."
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The two are now preparing their 18th trade, a Canon camera bundle, documenting it all on Instagram and TikTok, using the handle @USB_2_DF.
"With his mindset and both of our determination to get rid of our loans, we just knew we were going to go for it," 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 the burden of student loan debt.
"We have to remind ourselves, this is crazy, what we are doing is defying economics," Stout said. "This is a crazy project."