Many people with student loan debt feel buried. But one New York City woman decided to bury her loans instead.
Mandy Velez, a journalist from the Daily Beast took to Instagram to celebrate the death of her student loans with a funeral for the $102,000 balance she was able to pay off after just six years.
“I finally killed them. It was a slow death but was worth every bit of the fight,” as she wrote on Instagram.
Velez graduated in 2013 in about $75,000 in student loans and paid more than minimums per month, in total of $1,000 per month. She wanted to be debt-free by the time she turned 30, so she slashed her budget and lived off of less than a third of her monthly salary.
She even skimped on the little things - such as packing her own lunches, not calling Ubers and trading brunches and dates for walks in the park - that really helped her save.
She also took odd jobs, including dog-walking, babysitting, and even being an extra of TV shows for extra cash, to help her survive to pay her loans off and live in New York City, never missing a payment. She accomplished her goal 2 years earlier than expected, killing $32,000 in eight months.
“I celebrate my freedom but I don’t feel we student borrowers deserve the hardship that comes with these loans: high interest rates, sketchy providers, yearly tuition hikes, the list goes on,” she wrote.
Velez hopes her story inspires people to say “no more” the best way they can. She was shocked that and excited to know that her story has gotten so much attention to others like in her position.
“It felt good to know that people were proud of what I did in addition to me being excited about. Now’s just become bigger than I imagined. I think it resonated with many people,” she said.
“I feel overwhelmed, but grateful. I understand how hard it is to accomplish something like this and I'm glad I had the support in place to make it happen.”
After six long years, Velez is looking to celebrate her newfound financial freedom. She feels like she has changed her life by not "paying" to have a better future anymore. She feels hopeful that people will be inspired and if that they’re in this situation, if they can to pay more than the minimums. If not, “just do the best you can. You're not alone.”
Currently Velez is saving for a down payment on a house and a much-deserved vacation.
RIP Mandy’s student loans, they will not be missed.