COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — What started as a desire to simply get his student loan debt under control has morphed into a movement in central Ohio.

Alfred Wilson, who also goes by “Frugal Freddy,” said the goal of financial literacy and independence was inspired by a book by finance author Dave Ramsey.

“I was making excuses for myself,” Wilson said. “I said, ‘You know what? I need to get rid of this student loan debt,’ and a couple weeks after that, I began working at Subway.

“At that time, I was working at a Fortune 100 company, so I would literally have a shirt and tie on during the day and then I would put on a Subway hat and polo and flip sandwiches,” Wilson added.

His side hustle, combined with newly acquired financial literacy, led to some big changes.

“I’ve been able to decrease my debt by $90,000,” Wilson said.

Armed with a new outlook on life, Wilson took his experience on the road, looking to empower other men of color.

“We started the Budget and Brews Financial Tour, where we had a stop in Columbus,” he said. “We went to a brewery in Cincinnati and Cleveland. In each of those places, we had different topics we would talk about as it relates to financial literacy.”

Wilson said the conversations taking place in these rooms and on his social media page are crucial.

According to September 2022 data from the Federal Reserve, white households, on average, had around four times as much wealth as either Black or Latino households.

For Wilson, these conversations are just the beginning, a first step in bridging a generations-wide gap.

“I see a YouTube show I’m working on that, I see eBooks, I see speaking engagements, so really trying to start here locally and build that base and highlight other men or women doing really big things in the finance space,” he said.