Things That Matter

A Latina Paid Off Her $102K Student Loan In 6 Years And She Honored The Moment With A Funeral

“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.

Credit: @mandy_velez / Twitter

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. 

Credit: @mandy_velez / Twitter

“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.”

Credit: mandyvel / Instagram

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.

Credit: @mandy_velez / Twitter

“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.

Credit: mandyvel / Instagram

“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?

Credit: mandyvel / Instagram

“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.

Credit: @mandy_velez / Twitter

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.

READ: Wells Fargo Is Being Accused Of Denying Loans To Undocumented Students

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This Heartbreaking Story About A Latino Dad And His Family Being Booted From Their Home Amid The Covid-19 Eviction Crisis Will Make You Tear Up For An Unexpected Reason

Things That Matter

This Heartbreaking Story About A Latino Dad And His Family Being Booted From Their Home Amid The Covid-19 Eviction Crisis Will Make You Tear Up For An Unexpected Reason

CNN/ Youtube

The United States is currently facing yet another pandemic related crisis that new research says could put 30-40 million Americans out of their homes by the end of the year.

The Covid-19 eviction crisis has already seen millions of people booted from their homes no thanks to a lack of federal intervention. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, twenty-nine to forty-three percent of renters could be at risk of eviction by the end of the year.

Israel Rodriguez is just one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have not been able to pay their rent because of the current pandemic and thus evicted from their homes.

Last week, his eviction story went viral and tugged at the heartstrings of thousands who watched.

Rodriguez’s eviction story saw him and his young family kicked out of their home and on the streets.

CNN featured Rodriguez in a video interview last week that saw him, his wife, and two boys (one is 4-years-old and the other just 20-months old) evicted from their home in the Houston, Texas area.

“It’s my fault on the eviction. It was a lot going on there in the corona. When it hit, I lost my job,” Rodriguez told CNN while he was being evicted from his home. “It took me like a month to get another job. This is my check. I haven’t been, I ain’t making it with $300. It is literally $300.”

“We ain’t got nowhere to go,” Rodriguez added. “They didn’t rush us, but they was like, ‘Get everything you need.'”

Soon after his eviction, officers in the precinct area set up a GoFundMe account in his name. Already it has raised $67,853 out of its $12,000 goal.

“I’m not the only one struggling,” Rodriguez stated in a news conference set up by Harris County Precinct 1’s Constable Alan Rosen. “But it’s the best thing to ever happen to me, to make a better change in life.”

Since originally being featured in a story by CNN, Rodriguez says that his family has received financial support from all over the world. He says that the help comes in a large part thanks to the constable whose office was given a court order to serve the eviction papers.

“I’m learning to be a better person,” Rodriguez told CNN about how the situation has humbled and changed him.

According to CNN, Rodriguez and his family are currently living in a hotel and are “working to obtain more permanent housing, with support from Rosen’s agency and other groups. Rodriguez also said he’s gotten job offers, vowing to get to work once he finds his new home.”

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control announced eviction bans.

The move was not effective in time to help Rodriguez and others like him from being kicked out of their homes. Current eviction bans allow residents to avoid being removed from their homes for not paying rent if they are able to prove that their inability to do so is related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Rental assistance, I want Houstonians and people in Harris County to know, is still available. There is no longer a deadline to apply. We have decided we will leave the enrollment open. It will remain open until all funds have been expended,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said Houston’s COVID-19 rental assistance program last week.

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Christina Aguilera Lip Synching ‘Lady Marmalade’ To A TikTok Meme Is A Summer Treat

Entertainment

Christina Aguilera Lip Synching ‘Lady Marmalade’ To A TikTok Meme Is A Summer Treat

Kevin Winter / Getty

In 2001, Christina Aguilera was a pop princess on the rise.

She further solidified herself in the world of music that year when she joined forces with the powerful voices of Mýa, Pink, and rappers Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliot for a recorded version of “Lady Marmalade.” The track, which had been created for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, became an instant smash and classic. At the time of its release, the song was a number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks.

Let us not forget that the song also taught an entire generation the infamous French words “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?”

Now nearly twenty years after its release, Aguilera is reminding us of her musical chops and the beloved song.

In a video posted to her Instagram page, the Burlesque actress mimed along to a recent version of the song performed by TikTok sensation Lili Hayes. Hayes, who is 72, blew up on Instagram and TikTok a few years ago for her musical posts and attitude. She can often be seen on her pages singing or sporting hats and has gained fame for her sense of humor. She’s been featured in blog posts and major outlets like Vogue.

Her bio reads ‘Over everything. Always a little p****d.’ 

Christina’s parody of Hayes’s hilarious TikTok sent her 6.8 million followers into an internet craze.

Fans labeled the singer a ‘goddess’ for singing the song while dancing in her swimming pool with a glass of wine and an oversized black straw hat. In the video, Aguilera can be seen showing off her playful side while whipping her hair around.

“I feel like I’ve never sounded so goooooood! Yas honey @lili_hayes ! 😂🔥 #RealLadyMarmalade #LadyMarmaladeRemix #tiktok,” she wrote in a caption of the hilarious clip.

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