This family sold their house to live in an RV'now they earn over $80,000 a year traveling across the US

This story is part CNBC Make It's Millennial Money Series, which focuses on how people spend, save, and earn money around the globe. Karen Akpan is difficult to reach. The 32-year old might be in Florida visiting her family with Sylvester and Aiden, while the next week she could be in Aruba sunbathing or exploring the Dominican Republic. Their travels included South Carolina, Colombia, and Savannah, Georgia. CNBC Make It caught up to them. However, the family was not always mobile. Karen and Sylvester (41 years old) took a look at their finances at the end 2019 and made a decision to make a financial change. They sold their California homes (they lived in both and rented out one), and used $14,000 of their savings to purchase an RV from Facebook Marketplace in the early 2020s.Sylvester Akpan and Karen Akpan pose in front of their RV. CNBC Make ItThe family, yes even Aiden, earns a salary now from Karen's blog, The Mom Trotter and creating ads campaigns for Hilton Hotels, Camping World, Circle K Stores and Hilton Hotels, among other things, on Instagram and TikTok. Although their income has fluctuated from month to month since 2020, they earned $81,000 last year. They are currently on track for more than twice that amount this year. Karen states, "There's no way that we're going to go back to a home or careers or any other similar situation." We love the freedom that being entrepreneurs has allowed us to work for ourselves.Make a differenceKaren, who grew up in Cameroon, Central Africa, says that money was not something she was taught. She says, "It was taboo." She moved to the U.S. when she was 15 and attended Cal State Northridge's undergrad and graduate programs. While studying consumer and family sciences, she accumulated nearly $70,000 in student loans. Sylvester had student loan debt and she was able to marry her. In August 2011, they bought a house they couldn't afford and started to live the American dream.Sylvester Akpan and Karen Akpan with Aiden (L), Avery Akpan, and Ethan Akpan. CNBC Make ItThe couple was inspired to reconsider their dream after a 2019 RV trip through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. Karen says that they were "house poor", and that their $4,200 per-month house payment was not possible with their current salaries. Aiden was born and the family traveled at least once per month to see the rest of the world. They didn't spend much time in the large house they had to pay so much for. They exchanged their large mortgage soon after the trip for the one-time RV purchase (Aiden was homeschooled so it was easier). Their intention was to repay all their debts and build wealth for Aiden. Karen quit her 9-5 job and Karen's blog was their only source of income. She estimates that they brought home less than $50,000 per year.Aiden, Ethan, and Avery climb into the Akpans RV's bunk bed. CNBC Make ItThey are now saving for the future and investing, something they were unable to do before. They were able to pay off their $110,000 student loan debt last year. This was mostly thanks to the proceeds from the sale of their home. It is an accident that they now make significantly more than they did before. Aiden is at the forefront of most financial decisions. Karen and Sylvester have been helping Aiden learn more about personal finance in recent years. This will give him a head start in the real world. Karen says, "I want us all to be debt-free so that we can pass on our generational wealth to our child." It's been so liberating.How they budget their moneyThese are the Akpans' June 2021 personal expenses.Zoom In Arrow Arrows pointed outwards CNBC Make It$8,950 for Sylvester and Karen, and Roth IRAs to all three Akpans (including Aiden): $1,500. They also invest through a brokerage ($4,200) and a special college account (500)$8,950 to 401ks for Sylvester and Karen ($3,250), as well as Roth IRAs in all three Akpans (including Aiden) ($1,500). They also invest through a brokerage ($4,200) and a special college account ($500). Discretionary: $680, including hair care, donations and homeschooling expenses$680, including donations, hair care, and homeschooling expenses. Gas: $600$600 Food, $300 for groceries. The Akpans can cook almost every meal, except when they're in New Orleans or if it's a business expense.$300 for groceries. The Akpans can cook almost every meal, except when they're in New Orleans or if it's a business expense. Car insurance: $275 per vehicle and RV$275 for their car, and $200 for their phone$200 Wi-Fi: $80Subscriptions for $80: $41 includes Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon Prime. Sylvester and Karen technically run an S Corp. Most of their expenses are business expenses. They are W-2 employees and they pay Aiden and themselves. Last year, the company earned around $300,000. The Akpans received $81,000. They are expected to make around $180,000 this year. The majority of their income comes from Instagram campaigns. They have no expenses for housing. The Akpans paid $14,000 to purchase their first RV. They also purchased a Thousand Trails membership for $6,000, which allows them free parking at any campground across the country.Karen Akpan in her RV. CNBC Make ItKaren said that they don't have U.S. health insurance, and this makes her anxious. They recently went to Colombia for dental work at a lower price. Sylvester purchased top and bottom braces at $70 which they paid out-of-pocket. Their earnings go into investments including brokerage accounts, Roth IRAs, solo 401(k),s, and Roth IRAs. Karen and Sylvester opened their first 401k in June. They have approximately $16,000 in Roth IRAs between them. Their goal is this year to contribute as much to their retirement accounts as possible. Karen states, "We didn’t have any 401 (k) accounts which frankly, that really stressed us out a lot." I feel like most people in this age group already have so much money saved in 401(k), and we are starting late. They are focusing on helping Aiden build wealth and saving for a future rental property. These are the Akpans' monthly business expenses for June 2021. They include content creation, travel, and production of ad campaigns.Zoom In Arrow Arrows pointed outwards CNBC Make ItTravel costs $3,000$3,000 Virtual assistants: $2,000$500 Photographer/videographer $2,000500 Food for Ad Campaigns: $500500 Subscriptions: $500 Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop Subscriptions: Boomerang, Canva and GSuite for Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Also, a National Park Pass, Scott's Cheap Flights, Spotify Premium, YouTube Premium and other benefits.Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop $500, Boomerang and Canva, GSuite and Google Storage, a National Park Pass, Scott's Cheap Flys, Spotify Premium and other Shopping: $250, including new clothes and shoes to campaign (brands may request that they wear specific colors or match clothes).$250 includes new clothes and shoes (brands may ask that campaign participants wear specific colors or match clothes). Phone: $100$100 Wi-Fi: 100Living the good lifeKaren started The Mom Trotter blog in 2016, while she was working as a full-time clinical researcher. Sylvester was a prison nurse. Her family values travel and has always been interested in international travel. She is also a great deal-finder.Sylvester Akpan and Karen in their RV. CNBC Make It