Say what you want about Teresa, but that girl knew how to save her pretty pennies. Yeah, she might’ve destroyed a couple lives in the process, but her 401k was looking bright. We can’t hate on her hustle.
Here’s How To Save Money 101 with Teresa Chavez:
1. Don’t leave it all to faith, get an education and work hard.
If you’re first-generation, chances are your parents don’t have a lot of experience in the financial system. Most of our parents don’t have complete trust in banks and credit services here in the U.S. and you probably wish you could go with your parents to help guide them. That’s where Poder Card comes in, a completely free debit card created by Latinos to help Latinos have complete trust in their finances.
Many of us who have had a debit card and bank account probably take it for granted but today we need a debit card for just about everything including to book a rideshare to get to work. For someone of a low-income background, having a minimum maintenance fee just to have a debit card can be very expensive and even unaffordable.
Poder Card has no maintenance fee, no monthly fee and no overdraft fee. This is not common in debit cards. Again, this may not seem like a big deal but if you’re someone who is on a tight budget and it’s the end of the month, and you’re worried about making rent, these $100 dollar overdraft fees can leave a big dent in your account. Currently there are 19,000 ATM machines specially made for Poder Card and these ATM machines are also free of fees.
This next benefit appeals to everyone, low-income and people with a little bit more flexibility with their spend. If you set up direct deposit, you can get your paycheck deposited up to two days faster. Who doesn’t want money sooner?
Monetary perks aside, what really sets the Poder Card apart from everyone else is the special care it dedicates to its Latino clientele. If your parents open up an account with Poder and you don’t live at home, you want to make sure they’re being taken care of and this is a great card for them.
Latinos should feel comfortable having an account because there is complete access to the account via the mobile app. The app is available in Spanish, perfect for our parents who might not be completely comfortable managing an app in English. If your parents have questions about fees or any transaction, your parents can get in touch with the bank in Spanish.
People of all immigration status should feel comfortable approaching anyone at Poder. The card is available to everyone regardless of immigration status. All you need to submit is your Social Security Number or ITIN number.
Poder has plans to continue offering financial services to Latinos. They will be rolling out a service that allows you to send money to loved ones in other countries. Preferential access and rates will be available to those who have a Poder card. Following, Poder will offer additional services to help Latinos improve their credit score and gain more knowledge about their spending power and how to get the best use of their hard-earned dollars.
“DING DONG MY LOANS ARE DEAD💀,” Mandy Velez, 28, announced to her friends and family on social media. “It is with immense pleasure that I announce the death of my student loans. On August 2, 2019, after 6 years, I finally killed them. It was a slow death but was worth every bit of the fight.” Velez shared the extent to which she penny-pinched, side-hustled, and made advances in her full-time career. That might mean that Velez put away an average of $17k every year for the last six years while working and living in New York City. The real story is far more impressive.
To celebrate, Velez asked her childhood friend, Mike Arrison, to bring his photography gear and meet her at a cemetery. She wore a long, black tulle skirt, and a black lace crop top. Her prop was four $.80 silver foil balloons that read: 102k. She even pulled off a viral, low-budget funeral for her student loan debt.
“I never asked for or received help. No one ever paid my bills,” Mandy Velez proudly shared.
The good news is that Velez is holding her strategy close to the chest. She opened up about her whole journey on Instagram. “It began in 2013, when I graduated with a total of 75K in student loans,” she shared. “I moved to New York, but I made sure to pay more than the minimums, which totaled to $1K a month. It was like another rent. I took jobs not based on what I really wanted but what could help me survive. I did this for five years straight.”
At one point, Velez was laid off, but she still never missed a payment.
“Even after a lay-off during this journey, I hustled like hell and never missed a payment,” she confessed. “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.”
She savagely “killed the last 32k of debt in EIGHT months.”
Velez felt like her life was “on hold” and reaching a breaking point. She wanted to do more with her money than pay off debt. She wanted a house and a family. That fueled a shocking final blow to her debt and paid off the last $32,000 in just eight months. It wasn’t easy.
Velez lived off a third of her monthly salary to save that $32k.
“Turns out, packing lunches and not taking Ubers can save you a ton,” she wrote in a caption. The rest of her story does sound like murder. “I worked my ass off at work and asked for raises, and got them. I worked three 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 cut my food budget down to merely salad, eggs, chicken and rice,” she revealed.
“I said “no”—my God I said no—,” she continued. “To making memories with my family and friends and prayed there would be other opportunities in the future. Was it easy? No. Worth it? I’m smiling in a cemetery. 102K lifted from my back. You tell me.”
Velez thinks the system is rigged, and that America needs significant policy change to freely educate their citizens.
“Lots of people will see my story and say, see if she could do it, so can you. But I don’t think that,” she said. She acknowledges that she was lucky in being able-bodied and healthy enough to miss entire nights of sleep and work three jobs. “Not everyone can do this,” she warns. Why? The game is rigged. “Only those who play know it,” she says.
Velez is sharing her story because she doesn’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 hopes that her story will inspire those who are in the game to murder their loans. She also hopes it better informs those who are considering playing. Finally, she wants you to vote for “policy that makes the system much more fair. Any little bit of action helps.”
Of course, what’s a celebratory funeral without endless gratitude to the Puerto Rican mami that supported her through it all?
“To my mom who saved me from a year more of debt by encouraging me to go to a state school first,” she begins her Instagram tribute, “even though we sobbed together when the financial aid to Syracuse and Boston wasn’t enough. I’m sorry I gave you so much trouble. I am so grateful for your foresight. I love you always and forever. Thank you, everyone, for cheering me on.”
What’s next for Velez? Girl’s finally taking a much-needed vacation.
First thing’s first. She has an emergency fund set aside. Next, she’ll set aside money for taxes for all the dog walking and other side gigs. Then, she’ll start saving money for a down payment on a house. Finalmente, Velez has her “Sights set on Sicily next year” and is taking recommendations. The cherry on top of a successful slaying and funeral? “A cool thing about paying off debt is now having that extra income for ME. And the things *I* want to save for. Not filling the pockets of predatory lenders with insanely high interest rates. Feels amazing.🖤”
Our deepest, gratifying condolences to you, Velez. Felicidades.