I can think of few bigger accomplishments than getting rid of one’s student debt. Anyone can get married or drive a car or win an Oscar, but paying down thousands of ever-interest-mounting loan dollars is a feat worthy of great celebration. Or a funeral photo shoot, if you’re Daily Beast writer Mandy Velez.
According to People, Velez, 27, threw herself the aforementioned shoot after paying off $102,ooo in loans this past August. She chose the graveyard at New York’s Trinity Church—eternal home to Alexander Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler Church, and several pizza crumbs my sister dropped during her lunch break—for the shoot, donning her finest Hot Goth funeralwear and procuring a string of balloons reading “102K” for the occasion.
“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,” she wrote in a Facebook post last week. “It was a slow death but was worth every bit of the fight.”
Velez told People that she graduated from college in 2013 with $75,000 in debt (pre-interest), and managed to start paying down her loans at $1,000 per month when she moved to New York. Last fall, she upped her monthly loan payments, managing to finish off the remaining $32,000.
In order to pull it together in the home stretch, Velez slashed her budget and lived off of less than a third of her monthly salary, cutting corners by packing lunch and avoiding ride-share services like Uber.
She also took on side hustles, like dog walking, babysitting, and cat sitting to earn a little extra cash.
“I stayed up for 24 hours straight to make a few hundred bucks as a TV extra on shows they filmed overnight. (I got to be on SVU so I’m OK with that one.),” she joked.
And now, her loans are dead:
It is worth noting that often even the most diligent budgeting and side-hustling can’t overcome an immense debt burden, not to mention the fact that the several generations worth of crippling student debt we’ve amassed in this country serves only to handicap our economy (and futures!) overall. Still, if you pay off your loans, send them down into a grave, and do it in fucking style.