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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Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

Entertainment

Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

On April 3, 1995, Selena Quintanilla was put to rest after being shot and killed by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldívar. Selena’s funeral was open to the public so fans could bid La Reina De Tejano a final farewell. Let’s take a moment to remember her. Here Is The Selena Funeral Footage You Might Not Have Seen

Selena never built walls separating her from her fans. On the day of her funeral, it was no different.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Thousands of friends, family, and fans made their way to Corpus Christi, Texas to wish Selena a loving farewell. Mourners gathered at the church where her body was laid in rest for all of her loved ones to see and pay respect to.

La Reina de Tejano music was laid to rest on April 3, 1995.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Family, friends, and fans were devastated by the sudden and tragic death of the singer. Her career had just started to cross over into English-language music and people were falling in love with her all over again.

She was buried dressed in the iconic purple we have come to associate her with.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

One of Selena’s last moments was performing at the Houston Astrodome in front of thousands of fans. The image of the singer in her purple jumper is one of the most resounding images fans have of Selena all these years later.

Many people lined up to pay their respect of the beloved Tejano singer.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

“She was a great role model for everybody,” a fan told AP.

The world looked on as somber pallbearers carried Selena’s casket to her final resting place.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The once vibrant light of Selena Quintanilla was not extinguished when she died. She might not be with us physically anymore but her fans have kept her alive with her music and love.

Before lowering her casket, funeral-goers left hundreds of long-stemmed white roses, her favorite.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The roses were a touching homage to the singer and the love she shared with her fans.

It was truly a sorrowful moment for all those who loved and cherished the singer.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Hundreds of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the hearse carrying Selena’s casket to the cemetery. Everyone was trying to get one final look at the special singer who changed the face of Latinos in music.

As in life, Selena’s funeral was open to the public so everyone touched by the singer could bid her farewell.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Her importance to the Latino community cannot be stated enough. She was the first singer to go mainstream that looked like her community and represented her community with such grace.

The world watched heartbroken family and friends said goodbye.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

The heartbreak was felt around the world as all of her fans watched those closest to her giving her a final goodbye.

And a devastated husband tried to come to terms with his unimaginable loss.

Credit: Associated Press / Selfanaticos Online / YouTube

Chris Perez has continued to keep Selena alive through his own words and actions.

Watch the full funeral footage below. [Warning: You will see open casket images of Selena in the video.]

READ: This Old Interview with Selena’s Killer Will Probably Send Shivers Down Your Spine

Share this story with your friends by tapping the share button below and keep the Quintanilla family in your thoughts and prayers this week.

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This Hilarious Viral Video is Being Called the Latino Version of ‘Get Out’

comedy

This Hilarious Viral Video is Being Called the Latino Version of ‘Get Out’

Screenshot via xgabsterz/Twitter

We’ve all experienced it before–the nervousness of meeting your partner’s parents. And if you’re in an interracial relationship, that nervousness grows exponentially.

That’s why this video of a young Latino man who is hesitant about entering his white girlfriend’s Trump-supporting family’s house has gone viral.

It’s #relatable.

The video starts off with the unnamed boyfriend narrating what’s happening to him as his girlfriend practically drags him into her parent’s home.

In Spanish, he says “I’m going to visit my girlfriend’s parent’s house. The house is very beautiful and she wants me to go inside. But I’m not going to do that because there’s a problem.”

At this point, he pans up to focus on a “Trump” sign prominently displayed on the front lawn.

He turns the camera around to show his own very worried face. The young man’s girlfriend tries to assure him that everything is okay, promising him that her parents are “going to like you”.

The young man tells her to go on without him because he “doesn’t want to die” today. “Maybe tomorrow, yes. But today–no,” he says.

His girlfriend keeps insisting he follow her in until he finally says: “They don’t like me!” before zooming in on the “Trump/Pence” sign one final time. The comedic timing is *chef’s kiss* impeccable.

The video is captioned “This Spanish remake of ‘Get Out’–a witty nod to the 2017 horror film.

As a refresher, “Get Out” centers on a young Black man in an interracial relationship who visits his white girlfriend’s family for the weekend. Soon, he realizes the family is not quite as idyllic as they’re pretending to be. Before long, he realizes his life is in danger.

The movie accurately depicted the real-life horror of racism and white supremacy through a cinematic lens. Phrases like “the sunken place” (the place the main character went when he’s paralyzed by his girlfriend’s mother) became cultural shorthand for: the “place an oppressed person goes when they have become silent or compliant to their own oppression” (thanks Urban Dictionary).

Internet commentators chimed in with their own thoughts and opinions about the super relatable video.

One Reddit user knew exactly how the young man felt. “As a biracial person who dated a girl from a very conservative Republican family, they never let me forget that I was biracial,” he said. “They brought it up almost every day.”

Another knew the struggles of having family members with different views from their own: “I have friends and family members that have been radicalized.. it’s very difficult to have a conversation about anything anymore that doesn’t end with vitriol.”

Another Reddit user had more sympathy for the man’s girlfriend. “I feel bad for the girl honestly,” they said. “We may be able to choose who we befriend, but we can never choose our parents.”

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