This YouTuber Got a Wake-Up Call When She Couldn’t Afford Her Dog’s Surgery 

“I always just assumed that I would struggle with money and never make enough to make a dent in my debt,” says Aja Dang. “I ignored it for years. I wouldn’t even pay my monthly minimums on anything.”

But then one of her dogs needed to go to the emergency room. Dang sat for eight hours in the E.R. waiting room watching other pet parents decide whether they could afford to pay for the care that would save their pets. And then she was one of them: She learned her dog had a blockage in his small intestine that needed to be removed that day—and she couldn’t afford the surgery. 

Her now fiancé stepped in to cover the cost—but the moment was a wake-up call. “I knew I couldn’t put my family’s life at risk anymore,” she says. “It was time to get my finances together.” 

She estimates that she owed about $200,000 at the time, including credit card debt, student loans for both graduate and undergraduate degrees, and a car loan. She started sharing her financial journey on her YouTube channel in November of 2017—and continued to update her followers on her progress (and setbacks) until she’d paid off two years later.


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