Graduate clears student loan debt and gets surgery after flipping TVs on Facebook

  • Melanie Brecht said she was able to pay off her student debt by returning the TVs to Facebook Marketplace.
  • When she was an international student in Canada, Brecht said she paid more in tuition.
  • After paying off her debt, Brecht saved enough money to receive the cosmetic nose surgery she always wanted.

Melanie Brecht has always wanted cosmetic nose surgery, but after taking on significant student loan debt, she was sure she would be able to afford it.

That was until February 2021, when she began a side hustle to fully pay off the more than $60,000 debt she incurred to attend college outside of her home country.

“I always wanted to do it. But then again, I didn’t even know how to afford it because I didn’t want more debt,” Brecht, 25, told Insider.

In 2016, Brecht moved from Venezuela to Canada at the age of 19 to pursue his studies in business administration at NAIT, a college located in Alberta, Canada.

According to the NAIT website, international students like Brecht pay more tuition than domestic students.

Brecht told Insider that the debt she racked up as a student discouraged her from moving forward in life after graduating in 2019.

“How can I afford to buy a better car? Help my family in South America, because the situation there is still pretty bad,” Brecht said. “So I was mostly discouraged because I couldn’t see a way out, not with my regular job and not in a few years.”

Brecht said she was able to survive her student loan debt by flipping TVs on Facebook Marketplace as a side hustle.

“I earned more than my job”

“From an early age, I discovered that going online was practically possible if you knew how to take better photos, how to advertise them better and how to make them seem more valuable. what it actually is without lying to people, just the perceived value,” Brecht said.

She got the idea to return the TVs after buying a more affordable second-hand TV from Facebook Marketplace in 2021, which she later discovered was broken.

Brecht said she used the TV for a few days, even though the screen was broken, then resold it on Facebook Marketplace for a higher cost, letting shoppers know it was broken.

“So it became something like: I’ll buy a TV for my bedroom, use it for two days, take pictures while it sells, then repeat, repeat, repeat until I earn more than my job,” Brecht said.

After several months of side work, Brecht told Insider she paid off her student debt in July 2021. She then saved enough money to buy a new SUV a month later so she could install bigger TVs for increase its profits.

Brecht said she felt capable of being financially debt-free and spent a year after buying her car saving enough money to afford the cosmetic nose surgery she had. wanted since he was 14 years old.

Brecht told an insider she paid $13,500 in October to have nose surgery in Toronto. But with flights, hotel and food, the total cost came to almost $19,000, an amount she couldn’t have reached if she was still in debt.

Melanie Brecht Courtesy of Melanie Brecht

Melanie Brecht Courtesy of Melanie Brecht

Melanie Brecht



“Some people go through life with student debt and they think it doesn’t matter, but it does,” Brecht said, adding that there’s a “freedom that you feel once you got rid of it.”

Brecht continues to return to television as his side jostles today, but uses the income to send money to his family in Venezuela to invest in his retirement.

“I guess in general it’s a very scary thing, especially when you’re not in college and you want to take the next step in your life, get yourself a better car and maybe even thinking about a down payment or whatever,” Brecht says. “For me, it’s mostly helping my family in South America.”

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