A New York woman finally got to say R.I.P. to her student loans.
Mandy Velez, 28, decided to do a photo shoot after she managed to pay off $102,000 in student loans in just six years. Donning all black for the momentous occasion, Velez held up silver balloons with the numbers “102” to signify all the debt she was laying to rest.
“I grew such an animosity toward the debt and the lenders who hiked up interest rates,” Velez told InsideEdition.com. “I wanted to announce I was done with them in a big way. A funeral seemed to be a good idea.”
Velez, who is a senior social media editor for the Daily Beast, said the journey toward being debt-free wasn’t always easy. She had to work multiple side jobs. She missed time with friends and lived with roommates to cut costs.
“I missed out on a lot of quality times with my partner. I barely saw him really during the last eight months,” Velez said.
She was able to pay off $32,000 in the past year, though, so her hard work and sacrifice paid off — literally.
“I started off making 40,000 a year, at my first job after college. It's gone steadily up since then, but during the payoff period it was between $70 and $78K,” Velez said. "It came down to increasing my income and cutting my budget.”
When she finally put her debt in the dirt, she said it felt “euphoric.”
And what advice would she give to others who hope to do the same thing?
“Do what you can, but every little bit helps. If you're able, start by paying more than the minimums — interest is the worst and will accrue faster if you don't,” Velez said.
“And don't be afraid to reexamine your budget or really figure out how much money is needed to pay them down. It was scary at first, but it was one of the best things I did.”