After six long years, Mandy Velez paid off her student loans - and she celebrated the death of her debt with a good ol' funeral.
Sometimes, it's sad to see the best of us go. Attending a funeral can be a miserable, painful affair. You'll know this if you've ever had to organize or go to one in the past. However, some funerals, in particular, can be freeing, give you peace, or even comfort you. After all, funerals aren't really planned for the dead - they're for the living. So when 27-year-old Mandy Velez paid off all her pending student loans, she couldn't think of a better way to celebrate other than throwing a massive funeral in celebration of finally being debt-free, PEOPLE Magazine reports.
Taking to social media platform Facebook about a week ago, the senior social media editor explained in a post that she had graduated college with the class of 2013 - and with $75,000 in student loans (that's not including interest either). She accompanied her post with photos of her dressed in all-black in New York City’s Trinity Church Cemetery, posing with silver balloons that read, "102K." The balloons are meant to signify the amount of money she finally paid back in student loans after a tiresome and long six-year journey.
She wrote, "DING DONG MY LOANS ARE DEAD. It is with immense pleasure that I announce the death of my student loans. On August 2, 2019, after six years, I finally killed them. It was a slow death but was worth every bit of the fight." Mandy then explained what her journey to being debt-free was like. It was tough, grueling, and definitely not fun. She had to pay at least $1,000 a month. When you're living in an expensive city like New York, that couldn't have been easy. " It was like another rent. I took jobs not based on what I really wanted but what could help me survive," she stated. " I did this for five years straight. Even after a lay-off during this journey, I hustled like hell and never missed a payment. It was more than most people can do, and I, a single, childless, able-bodied woman consider myself lucky. But still, I carried this burden alone. I never asked for or received help. No one ever paid my bills."
While Mandy was always committed to paying off her debt as soon as possible, something in her changed during the fall of 2018. She grew tired of the monthly installments and thus decided she had had enough. The editor explained, "I didn’t want to owe anyone anything more. I wanted to start saving for my future. A house. Kids. A life. So I made a decision—I’d become debt-free by 30. I’m proud to say I accomplished my goal two years early." Now that's called dedication. But you're probably wondering how she managed to do that.
She revealed, "I cut my budget and lived off of less than a third of my monthly salary. (Turns out, packing lunches and not taking Ubers can save you a ton.) I worked my ass off at work and asked for raises, and got them. I worked multiple jobs at once, my day job and then side hustles. I walked dogs until my feet literally bled. In the cold. In the rain. In the heat. Nothing was beneath me. I babysat. I cat sat. I stayed up for 24 hours straight to make a few hundred bucks as a TV extra on shows they filmed overnight. (I got to be on SVU so I'm OK with that one.) I cut my food budget down to merely salad, eggs, chicken and rice sans the food... my family would feed me."
Finally, she shared a message to others who are currently in the position she was. "My hope is that my story inspires people to say “no more” the best way they can," Mandy wrote. "Maybe it’s by finally getting sick and tired and paying their debt off if they’re able. If you can do it, I support you. Maybe it’s by voting for policy that makes the system much [fairer]. Any little bit of action helps. All I know is, this nightmare, this crisis, needs to end. Being open about my debt, and the hoops I had to jump through to get rid of it, is how I'm trying to help." She makes a fair point. With the 2020 Presidential elections looming closer, who you vote for could have vast impacts on what student loan debt will look like for the next four years. For Mandy, however, that's a part of her past. "I'm free," she declared. And we couldn't be prouder.