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‘I was Desperate’: How an Army Veteran and Single Mother Paid Off Her Personal Debt of Over $87,000

Learning to manage your debt and developing positive financial habits is a fulfilling experience, according to entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Nyajuok Tongyik Doluony. 

“It’s really a mindset,” Doluony recently told Good Morning America. “I learned to change my mind from consuming to you know just really building wealth.”

Nyajuok Tongyik Doluony (Photo from:

Just three years ago, at the start of 2020, Doluony’s debt was teetering around $87,000. The single mother and Army vet also had double-digit credit card bills and car payments. Ready to retire from the military, Duluony knew she needed to transform her thinking about finances. 

“I was desperate. I didn’t want to get out of the army with my debt,” Doluony told “Good Morning America.” “I wanted to just focus on taking care of myself and taking care of my kids.”

Despite feeling overwhelmed, Doluony made a promise to pay down her debt. She enrolled in one of the classes offered by financial authority Dave Ramsey to help her understand how to develop a purposeful mindset around finances. And by the end of 2020, a determined Doluony was paying down her debt and planning to retire from the military. 

“After I paid all of that off, I found a sense of relief,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where they are or where they come from. I believe whatever you decide to do for your life, it will come to fulfillment.”

Financial Freedom Expands Doluony’s Interests In Helping Others

Today Doluony is an entrepreneur and inspirational speaker. She is also founder of I Am NyaTongyik Foundation, providing resources such as counseling, medical, legal aid and education services to the South Sudanese community.  

Doluony is passionate about sharing how she get out of debt and offers these tips: 

Plan Your Spending 

Doluony used Ramsey’s EveryDollar budget app. She was able to establish expense categories such as housing and transportation while also setting money aside for personal expenses. 

“State your plan,” she said. “Plan every week, plan your month out, plan your meals.”

Tracking your spending will help you understand how much money is being spent so that you can also pay down your debt. 

Pay Down High-Interest Debt First 

Debt can be overwhelming. The easiest way to tackle is to focus on high interest debt while paying the minimum due on other monthly debts. 

When Doluony decided to retire from the army, she received a $17,000 check for unused paid leave. She promptly used that money on her highest interest debt. Once that balance was paid, she moved on to the second-highest debt. 

Identify Other Income Sources 

To speed up paying off her debt, Dolouny found various ways to generate extra income. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dolouny worked overtime at a local hospital. She also sold gently used items on eBay. 

Like Dolouny, those serious about generating additional income to pay down debt could find working as a contractor with companies such as Instacart, Uber, DoorDash, TaskRabbit or Fiverr to support their endeavors. 


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