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I paid off $80,000 in student loans in three years with this simple side hustle — you can do it too

a woman smiling and a pile of clothes in a room
a woman smiling and a pile of clothes in a room

One man’s trash is another man’s ticket to financial freedom.

Clever college grad Kelsey Mikula, 26, found a genius way to pay off a whopping $80,000 in student loans in just three years — by buying and reselling old clothes using sites like eBay.

Prowling the aisles at the Salvation Army, Goodwill and other local thrift stores near her home, Mikula managed to amass a small fortune — just by having an eye for vintage threads that would sell online.

The profit-minded Philly gal had struggled to find work in her field — zoology — after graduating Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.

But she quickly went to work after graduation in 2020, right during the pandemic, paying off her entire education by March 2023 — all while working in a local hospital as a secretary.

Mikula threw herself into the challenge right after graduation, paying off $80,000 in debt in just three years. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS
Mikula threw herself into the challenge right after graduation, paying off $80,000 in debt in just three years. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS

And in the end, she decided to stick with her side hustle, quitting her day job and dedicating herself full time to the clearly flourishing resale business.

“My main niche is clothing and shoes, specifically for women, but I do dabble in household items too,” Mikula first told SWNS.

“I get paid $5,000 a month in profit — it can really depend,” she said of her business, which she runs through her TikTok account, @mellowstate.

She said: “My first experience reselling was when I was in middle school and I would sell discontinued mascara.

From about $1,800 in purchases each month, she is able to bring in roughly $5,000 in profit. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS
From about $1,800 in purchases each month, she is able to bring in roughly $5,000 in profit. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS

“I didn’t start taking it seriously until 2020 when I finished university and couldn’t get a job in my major,” she said.

“The first platform I started selling on was Poshmark and I slowly went over to eBay and Depop.”

Most months she spends about $1,800 buying product, reselling for a profit of about $5,000.

Mikula has had some lucky finds, from a Christian Dior sweater she bought for $10 and resold for $700 profit to a pair of Chanel shoes she purchased for $20, earning her $200.

And while she’s a fan of fashion, it helps that she’s never tempted to cling to any of her fabulous finds — the money’s just too good.

“I don’t tend to keep clothes but if I do I will keep them for a few months and sell them,” she said.

Mikula’s secret — not getting attached to her fabulous finds, instead focusing on the paycheck. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS
Mikula’s secret — not getting attached to her fabulous finds, instead focusing on the paycheck. Kelsey Mikula / SWNS

“I am not a materialistic person and I would much rather see the paycheck.”

And with a paycheck that much better than the one she was earning at her day job, going full-time after paying off her loans was a no-brainer, she said.

“I love the freedom this job has given me, I am my own boss. If I don’t want to work in the morning I don’t have to, I can work what hours I want,” she said.

And with her debts cleared, Mikula was even able to buy herself her dream car — a Ford Explorer.

Next step? Get out of her parents basement, where she lives and runs her business, and buy her own house.