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

Teammates Give Friend One Last Soccer Goal To Honor His Life After Being Killed By Police

Things That Matter

Teammates Give Friend One Last Soccer Goal To Honor His Life After Being Killed By Police

@memo_schutz / Twitter

There are protests against police brutality taking place across the world. The death of George Floyd sparked global anger about how people are treated by police officers. In Oaxaca, the people offered a touching tribute to a young boy killed by police.

This was the scene of a funeral in Oaxaca, Mexico honoring a teenage boy.

The young boy, identified as Alexander Martinez, was killed by municipal police in Oaxaca. Martinez was a dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico and had been back in Oaxaca for four years. The young boy was a soccer player with a promising future.

People immediately took notice of the phrase over the goal.

Martinez’s teammates gave him a chance to score one last goal before being buried. The team met at the field where they played and he scored one last goal.

People who have seen the tweet are stricken with the irony that the goal has the words “Un Gonierno para Todos.” This translates to “A Government for Everyone.” The boy’s death, to some people, proves the hollowness of the slogan.

People are comparing this young man’s death to the death of George Floyd.

While the circumstances are much different, people are angered that the young boy was killed by the police for no reason. There is no concrete explanation as to why Martinez was shot.

It has been reported that Martinez and a friend were at the convenience store buying a soda when they were shot by police. People believe that it was a case of mistaken identity turned deadly when the boys ran from police who were shooting from a squad car.

The tribute is a touching example of athletics for some.

The video is very emotional. After the goal is scored, the teammates rush the coffin and pile on top grieving for their friend’s untimely death.

Rest in peace, Martinez.

Our thoughts are with your friends and family.

READ: A Louisiana Cop Has Been Fired After Saying It Was ‘Unfortunate’ That The Coronavirus Hasn’t Killed More Black People

Street Food Vending And Playing With Fire Are Two Ways To Make Some Extra Cash If You Need Some

Things That Matter

Street Food Vending And Playing With Fire Are Two Ways To Make Some Extra Cash If You Need Some

mitú

Side hustles are the lifeline for some of our friends and family. If you think about it hard enough. You will be able to think of someone in your life who makes most of their money from their side hustle. Well, mitú wanted to know more so we went to the streets to talk to people about their various side hustles.

Who knew that fire dancing was something people would consider a side hustle?

So far, “Side Hustle” co-hosts Sasha Merci and David Alvare have explored a few side hustles that were unexpected. There was the luchador who add some comedy to his costume to stand out. There was also the professional cuddler that we still can’t stop thinking about. She makes $120 an hour just cuddling.

Now, Merci and Alvarez are talking with two more entrepreneurs about their own side hustles that will leave some of you speechless. One of them has to do with food and the other has to do with fire.

Luis Jauregui turned his love for food into the food cart known as Jauregui’s Cravings.

“Nobody was really selling this at all,” Jauregui tells Alvarez. “Anywhere that you see this, you’re not going to see a food cart that’s mobile on the sidewalks. I saw that everyone was selling that (tacos and tamales). If you go here, there are like 5 tamaleros selling tamales. On the other street, there’s like two more.”

Jaurgeui adds: “Nobody was supporting me. It was only her since the very beginning. To be honest, I thought she was going to make fun of me or be like, ‘Nah. Don’t worry about. Just go get a job or something.’ But she was like, ‘If that’s your dream and you chase it, just got for it.'”

Andres Trevino is using his courage to play with fire.

“I had gone to this crazy party in the desert,” Trevino explains to Merci. “I was seeing these crazy people and they were spinning fire and I immediately wanted to do it. I walked up to a guy and I asked him if he would teach me. He was like, ‘Here. Play with it. Nobody taught me. Just go on YouTube.’”

Trevino adds: “It’s trial and error. Well, you know, if you play with fire you do get burned. There’s no shocker there. But, you want to take it very seriously. But, yeah. I’ve burned myself a couple of times.”

READ: ‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals