How One Woman Went From Barely Having $500 in Savings to Saving $5000 in Less Than Six Months

Money Files

Today I’m introducing you to Martha, a long-time friend of mine. Even after 10 years of lots of financial advice, she still saw reason to reach out and get more.

Even after ten years of friendship and countless financial conversations she decided to dedicate 30 days of her life in my one month intensive to start changing her relationship with money.  

Martha is married with two small kids and she tells us about how she and her husband, Matt manage their finances separately. Even though she’s in a partnership she decided to engage with me solo in the one month intensive. Martha was blown away with the transformation she made going from stressed about money (and unsure of where she and her husband stood financially) to at ease and able to communicate about financial matters as a couple. 

In our conversation, we talk about the money woes she’s faced and how the one month intensive prepared her to navigate her finances during the pandemic. You’ll hear the aha-moment when she learned how to allocate every single dollar using her spending plan. She also talks about teaching her children about spending, saving and giving their money. We dive into her plans for navigating a holiday budget (and preparing for that early!), what she considers when deciding whether or not to splurge on an item and the cycles she went through of saving and spending before participating in the intensive. 

Listen to Martha’s Money Files episode

Here are just a few things you’ll learn when you listen in:

  • How Martha went from “handling” her finances to having more than $5,000 in her savings in less than six months
  • How Martha and her husband went from ONLY talking about finances when there was a problem to making weekly financial decisions together 
  • Martha’s realization that money is not always a negative subject and how she brings it up with friends and family.
  • How participating in the one-month intensive prepared her for the unexpected expenses that came with the pandemic. 
  • Martha’s aha-moment of learning how to allocate her money by using her spending plan and how she’s learned to align her spending with her values. 
  • How Martha is now teaching her children about spending, saving and giving with their own finances. 
  • Why she’s been working toward investing in yoga teacher training and how she’s been preparing for it financially. 

This episode is for my anyone but it’s especially for you if you’re married and wondered how I support women who want to work with me alone.  But it is also for you if you feel like you make too much money to be stressed about finances.  Tune in and hear Martha share her behind the scenes experience and the growth she’s seen since we’ve worked together.  

Inside the episode

In this week’s episode of Money Files you heard Martha talk about the power of having a financial plan. In the last eight months, she’s gone from just handling her finances to being in control of finances and being able to invest in things that bring her joy (including weekly lunch out and a yoga teacher training!) without the guilt.  

As a coach, I always want to help my clients reach financial clarity while also being in alignment with their financial values and goals.  Martha was able to start working towards her goals with ease because we were able to put all of her numbers in one place so she could see exactly what was coming in and what was going out.  When I’m working with clients, I love helping them get all of their numbers out in the open so we can then organize your numbers in a way that helps you see what’s going well and what you want to shift moving forward.  

Here are three simple reasons why Martha went from “just” handling her finances to having a plan that helps her be in control of finances. 

  1. Martha asked for help, she knew she didn’t need to be the expert or have it all together to start working together on her finances.  When she first booked a call, she said she wanted to clear her credit card debt, develop a savings plan, and still spend money on things, but not impulsively.  Her vision for her own success was greater than any thoughts she had about whether she’d have enough time, whether she’d get results, and if she could afford to invest in a coach.  
  1. Martha included her family and friends in the process by sharing her financial journey – she built her own “financial family.” On our coaching calls, we talked about how she’d share the plan she developed with her husband or how she was going to talk to the rest of her family about how she was shifting her financial priorities.  
  1. Martha went through her spending habits to see where she was in and out of alignment with her goals to develop positive boundaries with her finances. One of the things Martha realized within our first few calls is that she spends a lot of money eating out.  As we talked about how much money she was spending on food we identified that she was definitely going to allow herself a weekly lunch with a friend because that one purchase also invested in her life in so many other ways.  Her weekly lunch allowed her to connect with a friend, get work done, and also be more present at home with her girls and husband. She was then able to apply a similar approach to filtering through her other expenses.  

Creating new possibilities with your money is easy and I want to partner with you to help you create your own financial plan to get there. Maybe you want to save more. Maybe you make good money but want to be in control and have clarity about where your money is going.  Or maybe you’d like to work with me to implement simple actions to help you get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle.  

If this resonates with you, apply to work with me in my one month intensive by scheduling a call.

The transcript


[00:00:00] Hi, my name is Keina . Thank you for joining me for another episode in my money files series, I’m excited to have candid conversations with both past and present. And today I am joined by my client, 


[00:00:12] Martha. Hi, Keina. 


[00:00:14] I’m going to go ahead and let you introduce yourself. 


[00:00:15] Great. Hi everyone. I’m Martha. I participated in Keina ‘s one month intensive this past winter, but we’ve also been friends for over a decade.

[00:00:25] So I’ve been getting wisdom from her unsolicited or not. Over the years. It was really exciting to take the plunge and do the full one month intensive this last winter. And it just taught me all the things that I needed to learn. 


[00:00:38] Yeah. I was really excited to work with Martha because like Martha said, we’ve known each other for over a decade.

[00:00:44] We actually taught together and I’ve learned so much from Martha when I was the teacher in the classroom. And so now just being in this financial coaching, or I’m a financial coach now, I was  about to stay in a financial coaching role, but being able to work with her. On something that we’ve talked about for years as friends, whether it was, Hey, did you increase your four Oh three B or did you contribute to your FSA actually getting to work with her?

[00:01:10] One-to-one and I have told her this as well. It’s just like really. Like going into that trust factor and letting someone look at your finances. I think it’s one thing when it’s a stranger and another thing when it’s like someone that, you know, and you’re like, wait, I gotta show you my little dirty secrets when it comes to my finances.


[00:01:27] Yeah. It gets real. When I pulled up my bank account on my computer and had to share screens with Keina, I was like, there it is. It’s all open. 


[00:01:37] Not just the things I’ve been telling you about. Tell us a little bit more. So I usually work with single women. And you are not a single woman. 


[00:01:44] In 


[00:01:44] fact, you were the one who told me Keina, there’s no dropdown for married.

[00:01:47] It just says divorce engaged. It’s not intentional, but yeah. Tell us about a little bit more about your 

Managing Finances as A Couple 


[00:01:57] relationships. Yeah. I was like, you know what? Married, can we still work together? Choose that option. So, yes, I’m married. I’ve been married for eight years. I’ve been with my partner for 16 years. So we’ve been together a long time.

[00:02:09] I also have two small kids. They just two in size and we own a house here in Washington, DC. And I would say that. My experience with Keina was unique in that I am married, but also that me and my husband, Ben did not do this process together. So he was fully supportive. He’s also known Keina really long time.

[00:02:27] And when I mentioned this to him, he was really supportive of me engaging in the one month intensive. And he was not interested in joining us in the most respectful way, but he was like, I trust. And I think this is a really good idea. So I still went forward with the process on my own and then brought some of the conversations.

[00:02:44] And wisdom that I learned from Keina back into my conversations with my husband, but it was kind of through me rather than us participating together with Keina and for us, that really worked. I understand why for some it wouldn’t, but that didn’t really work for us. Well, I 


[00:02:59] think that part of your story will resonate with someone are listening to this because I definitely work with single women, but then there’s couples that reach out to me as well.

[00:03:09] And I’m actually getting ready to start with another client who is just going to be engaging with me as one part of their partnership. So will you talk a little bit more about how you, you and Matt like manage your finances and you can feel free to share as much as you want about 


[00:03:26] that? Sure. Some people think this is crazy because we haven’t been together so long, but again, it works for us, but most of our finances are very separate.

[00:03:34] And by that, I mean, we have separate accounts. We bought a house together about 10 years ago and I still send him half the mortgage every month. And while that seems so silly and we could do a different process, it’s always just worked for us. At times he has made more money at times I’ve made more money.

[00:03:50] It’s just been the way we’ve done it since the beginning. And even we got married, even when we had kids, even when we bought the house, it just worked for us. So our accounts are separate and we do make decisions together. And especially now we talk about our money a lot more together. But at the end of the day, he has his two or three accounts and I have my three accounts and we do keep them separate and we swing money back and forth to each other as needed.

[00:04:14] And again, that’s just, that works for us. And I get why wouldn’t for some folks, but for us, it really does. 


[00:04:20] Or even like dive into kind of numbers since we’re here. And we’re talking about, I heard you say you like swinging money back and forth and you’re talking about money. I would love for you to just.

Talking About Finances With Your Partner 

[00:04:30] Give us like the before and after picture of what it looked like to talk about finances with me before we worked together. And then like, after we worked together, because you were clear on your own numbers. 


[00:04:43] Sure. So I will say that I’m very grateful that he’s always been very supportive and I think that’s gone both ways when we talk about money.

[00:04:51] So I won’t say that it would end in an argument when we talked about money before, but it did often drum up stress. So previously we were talking about money because there was usually a challenge. The clutch on my car went and I had to put it on a credit card or he wasn’t paying something down as quickly as he wanted.

[00:05:09] Or my student loans were still staring me in the face as they still are. It tended to come up when there was a challenge or a problem that we needed to solve together. And we did work together to solve those problems. And like I said, I’m grateful for that and that worked for a time, but that I’m glad that we have changed.

[00:05:25] It seems like. When we needed to make a big money decision was the only time that we were taking the time to prioritize it as a conversation and getting on the same page. So at any given time, we might not know where the other person stood with credit card debt or car payment or something like that, which just now seems silly.

[00:05:45] So I would say fast forward, I did my work with Keina and I’m about six months out from that now. And we just talk about money a lot more regularly. So more frequently as number one and then also more positively. So now when I get a small bonus or when our tax refund came or when I like even get a reimbursement from work, we might talk more openly and more frequently about where that money is going and making a plan for that money.

[00:06:13] So that it’s not only conversations about, Oh, shoot, what are we going to do? You know, the car needs $2,000 worth of work. It’s also a positive conversation as well. Hey, how can we use this towards our next vacation? Or how can we work this new thing into our life that we want to, that we didn’t think we could afford before?

[00:06:30] But if we make a plan, we can. So we just talk more frequently about it and the conversation just feels lighter. Honestly, we can like bring it up in dinner and it not be a big, huge thing because it doesn’t have as much weight anymore because we know we’re going to revisit the conversation again. Soon. 


[00:06:45] I love that you hit on the fact that it wasn’t just, you guys are talking about money when, like, I would say like when situations are Rocky and I think that that’s our.

[00:06:55] Natural inclination when we’re in partnerships, as you talk about money, when things are going bad, instead of normalizing that money conversation in the relationship. Right? So it’s just like something that we do and yeah, it’s who we are in the same way. Like eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day is that we talk about on 


[00:07:11] finances.

[00:07:13] Yeah, absolutely. And that stemmed into some of my other relationships as well. I never, in my life thought I would be the person that would casually be like, Oh, have you seen the interest rates? We’re thinking of refinancing or my bank account that has a good interest rate that I’m like, you know, I’m getting free money every month.

[00:07:28] You should open one of these up, which I learned from you, little things like that. Just come up a little bit more frequently now, even with friends or recently, I was talking to my sister and mom too, and just saying here’s some small things that I’ve started to do that have made a difference. So I guess just for me personally, I feel more comfortable bringing it up because I don’t think it always, it doesn’t always have to be a negative topic.

Small Changes to Improve Your Relationship With Money 


[00:07:48] What are some of those small things that you’ve started to do that have made a difference? 


[00:07:52] One of the examples that I talked with my family about it was the holidays. We kind of grew up in a family where we didn’t really go big for most of the year. We kind of did like chill, vacations and chill, birthdays and stuff like that.

[00:08:03] But when it came to we celebrated Christmas and when it came to Christmas, we’d go real big, lots of gifts. And quite frankly, spend a lot of money. So we’ve dial that back a little bit, but we still go, you know, kind of big for my kids and my sister’s kids, and it’s still a big celebration and there is still money spent.

[00:08:19] So that’s an example that I use a lot because I think, okay, here I am right now in June and I already have half of what I’ll spend at Christmas in my bank account. So in October, Previously, I would be like, all right, I’m going to have to start spending money. Now, here are the gifts, the food, the travel, the train tickets.

[00:08:37] And I would save up for some, to put some of it on my credit card and then pay it off for a couple months. Whereas now half of it’s already in my account and the other half will be there by December 25th. And it’s just, again, made that so much lighter and something I’ll be able to look forward to now to say, this is what I’ve set aside for this.

[00:08:54] This is what I’ll spend no more, no less. And. Still have that celebration without it being an additional stressor, because the whole point is to be family and celebrating, not so worried about like, The dollar amount you’re spending. So that’s just a really concrete example that I feel like, especially at this time of year, when I say I’ve already saved half of what I need for the holidays, people are like, wait, it’s true.

[00:09:16] And it’s helpful. And I’ve done that with 15 other categories, but that’s just one example. 


[00:09:20] Well, you know, I like to say that Christmas is not an emergency expense. Yep.

[00:09:29] If your budget is $2,000, why wait until November to be like, Oh crap on this check, I’m going to have to take it out another 


[00:09:37] thousand 


[00:09:38] dollars. And then I’m going to put the rest on her credit card and I’m going to be paying for my Christmas 


[00:09:42] in 


[00:09:42] January 


[00:09:44] instead of really thinking 


[00:09:45] thoughtfully about like, That’s something you do every year.

[00:09:48] Why don’t we just plan for it? 

Creating Healthy Boundaries With Your Finances 


[00:09:49] Also, it keeps me more disciplined because quite frankly, last November when I was still putting some stuff on credit, it didn’t matter if I put an extra hundred bucks on credit, whereas this year spend above what I saved. Cause that’s what I’ve allotted. So it will also give me some.

[00:10:04] Like really positive, healthy boundaries to just be like, this is what you have. Go have fun with it. I do like gift giving. Right. Go have fun with it. But then when that money is spent, you’re done. And then you’re saving for the next year instead of kind of getting deeper in the hole. 


[00:10:18] Those things too. I know for myself when I put something, when I pay cash for something and buy cash, I mean, so I, my debit card, I think about it more than if I swipe a credit card, right?

[00:10:28] Like the same $200 let’s even say plane ticket. Like, hold on. Let me see. Maybe I can get one for one 75 because you know how long it took you to save that money. But I think there’s a disconnect when you swipe it on a credit card it’s you don’t think about it as much. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean the same thing.

[00:10:46] And so just hearing you talk about like, this is how much money I saved and that’s it, or what, didn’t matter if it was another, a hundred dollars on my credit card, I’ll be interested to hear how Christmas goes for you this year. Even just sticking within whatever you said that you allotted. Cause I think you can plan differently too.

[00:11:02] Like if you saw something on sale right now for one of your girls or your sister that you knew you wanted to give them later, you can actually like engage in that transaction right now as a part of your plan as 


[00:11:13] well. Exactly. And again, not have to put it on credit and not have to pay any interest. It’s there.

[00:11:17] I could already spend my kids’ birthdays are spread out to at ones in the fall and one’s in the spring. So similarly. Started saving for that. And like her birthday was in may. We’ve had to spend that money, even though it was a strange COVID birthday where we were physically distant, we spend that money and now it’s a month later and I already have money in the account for the October birthday that’s to come up.

[00:11:37] So like, that’s just a nice cadence to then I’ve set up now and that can become predictable. 


[00:11:43] And I want to go back to the conversation or you having money conversations with Matt, one of the things, and I hope you don’t mind me sharing. This is like Martha’s husband. Is a small business owner. And I’m thinking about like how the world shut down for everyone in March.

[00:11:58] And one of my things, like all of my clients that I had previously worked with, I checked with everyone just like not knowing people’s financial situations and if their jobs were impacted, but I wanted them to know like, Hey, if we need to hop on a call, let me know. So that, that way we can like, look at your numbers and think about how you want to plan moving forward.

[00:12:16] Like, I know you have a plan, but finances 


[00:12:18] can be stressful. Yeah. We 


[00:12:20] just share a little bit, I mean, I remember what you told me during that time, but just share how you feel like you’re participating in the one month intensive kind of prepared you even for that and how you were able to think through 

[00:12:32] Martha: [00:12:32] that as a, as 


[00:12:33] a partnership.


[00:12:34] Sure. So, yeah, he’s he owns a small business it’s in the restaurant industry, which is very unpredictable right now. And when things first kind of blew up, we kind of had to look at each other there and say, okay, you might be out of work like tomorrow. And if you make it another week, you still might be out of work after that.

[00:12:50] So we had to quickly and honestly talk about what that might mean for us. And the restaurant did not close. We are very lucky. It was still heavily impacted, but it didn’t close, but still, yeah, you had to prepare as if it would have. Hmm. What I was able to say to him was, okay, this won’t be perfect, but if you’re out of work tomorrow, I do have money in my bank account and he had some too.

[00:13:14] And. The scary part is just seven or eight months. I would not have been able to say that. So maybe it would have meant dipping into the Christmas fund or the birthday fund that I just mentioned, but the money was there previously, it was kind of, you spend, and then you get paid again and you spend it again.

[00:13:30] And that’s just not how I operate anymore. So had he gotten to a point where there was zero in coming in or quite frankly, I have as well, which I did know that that could have happened. There was money in three bank accounts that we could have called on for a month or two or three in order to be okay.

[00:13:48] And that was hugely eye opening to me because like I said, less than a year ago, we weren’t in that position. And it would have been like pulling from the equity on our house and credit, which is, which is pretty scary because it shouldn’t have been like that our income hasn’t changed that much. It’s really just a matter of, I finally made a plan that made a lot more sense and I’m being that much more responsible and in a pretty short amount of time, six or seven months, it’s made a huge impact.


[00:14:14] Yeah, I was, when you responded with like a couple of months ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to find it $500, but I have like 5,000 of them. I can quickly access if I needed to. I was, I think, and I would say like, those sentiments have been across the board for clients that have worked with me when I did check in with them that like they knew, they felt confident with.

[00:14:33] If stuff gets really crazy. I know where I can like free up money and it won’t be in other areas that I’ve like been, you know, setting aside little small buckets of money for other things sure. Have a plan. And I’m sure that, like, it also helped that you and him started having like 


[00:14:49] good and 


[00:14:50] Rocky money conversations.

[00:14:53] And that wasn’t just something that was like strange and unfamiliar to you guys as 


[00:14:56] well. Sure because while the world was, was scared in a lot of ways, we were able to kind of safely say, okay, let’s talk about this worst case scenario. What will we do? Where will we pull from from? And we were able to have that conversation without it being even more stressful than it could have been.


[00:15:13] So you mentioned this plan and I feel like I’ve gone out of order. 

[00:15:17] Martha:

[00:15:17] Yeah. 


[00:15:17] Tell us about your plan and just, well, before we even get to your plan, let’s back up and talk a little bit more discretely about what did you believe about yourself and your relationship with money? When we first started this 


[00:15:29] great question, I.

[00:15:31] Felt like I was kind of middle of the road. I don’t think that I was ridiculously irresponsible with money. You know, I wasn’t just spending recklessly. I didn’t have thousands and thousands and thousands in credit card debt. I was responsible ish. And then at times I think I’ve said to you before, like I would binge spend, I would like save, save, save, save, save.

[00:15:51] And then all of a sudden be like, Oh, I want to do this and this and this. So it was one very inconsistent. And two, I had no big picture thinking. So I had all these little isolated things handling with money. If you could call it that I was handling my student loans. I was handling a small credit card debt.

[00:16:10] I was handling the mortgage. I didn’t have a car payment anymore, but I knew that was coming up soon. Cause my car is old, but each of those just felt like individual things that was trying to say, and maybe disorder is a good way to put it too. I felt very disorganized. Like I was making enough money and yet I felt like the mental load of thinking about money was heavier than it needed to be because I wasn’t managing it super well.

[00:16:33] And it wasn’t very organized. Fast forward to after, you know, maybe a couple of months after the intensive, once that actually sustained what you and I set up and. I have a big picture plan and I have the details and it’s still imperfect. Right. I still have my student loan debt, which I hate, but it’s there, but it is not suffocating anymore.

[00:16:55] And the mental load isn’t there as much. Cause I just like have this process that I go through now and I update my spending plan and I just have a plan. So it’s not like constantly reeling through my head and exhausting me and adding stress because I’ve got a plan now. And. I’ve seen the results very quickly too, which has been super motivated to keep up with that.


[00:17:14] How soon would you say, like things changed for you and you saw results? Cause that’s a question that I hear a lot. It’s like, 


[00:17:20] well, how soon will I get results? Yeah. So I think for me, it came in two ways. I felt immediate results when I just like had it all on one page and was like, okay, typically here’s, what’s coming in and here’s, what’s coming out.

[00:17:32] And you just presented to me in a way that was visual and worked well for, for my brain, for my learning style. So wave one was right there. Like I was like, okay, here, it all is in one place. Like I said, instead of being all these different projects and then we work together and I would say like, Three pay periods.

[00:17:51] After that, after I had gone through updating my spending plan frequently, but especially after like three paychecks and seeing the money come in, go out and then also be saved. It was like, Whoa. Okay. And that quickly, so we’re talking six weeks. I had savings in like a lot of different categories, some very small, some pretty significant, and that was.

[00:18:16] That was kind of the next aha, where I was like, this is just a matter of sustaining this then. And then I was able to look at things in terms of like a year. So in a year’s time, here’s what I would be looking at. That would be this much less debt and this much more savings. So it was pretty quick. 


[00:18:31] We, I, 


[00:18:32] I think 


[00:18:32] that this is one of your ahas too, when we were working 


[00:18:35] in that, because one of the things I want 


[00:18:37] people to get in a rhythm of, I know a lot of people, right.

[00:18:39] It works for some is like, well, this paycheck goes towards bills. And this paycheck goes 


[00:18:45] towards some more, 


[00:18:48] but there’s not clarity there. And I remember talking you through like, okay, Martha, out of every single paycheck you are putting, you are funding these things where like giving every single dollar a name.

[00:19:01] Right. But like we’re funding. For your hair appointments, we’re funding half of your mortgage out of this pate paycheck. And then out of the next paycheck, we’re going to fund the other half of your mortgage. So let’s say we’re in January, your first paycheck in January, we take half of the mortgage out.

[00:19:15] Your second paycheck in January, we’re going to take half of the mortgage out. So you have your February mortgage payment. And I think that I remember you being like, hold on, wait. What do you do? 


[00:19:28] Would you pay half of it? Why would it only set aside half when I have the whole thing? And you’re like, yeah, hold on.

[00:19:33] Because you’re right. Previously what I was doing was my first of the month, paycheck was always my mortgage and my second paycheck of the month was all my bills and they were about the same amount. So I was like, whatever, this has worked for awhile, like it worked when I was 22. Why not keep doing that?

[00:19:47] Which I realize now is silly. But once you broke that down for me, and I saw it over the course of like two or three pay periods, it was, yes. It makes so much more sense. 


[00:19:59] Yeah. And I just think, I mean, you work for an employer that for 24 hours, people didn’t know whether or not they were going to be getting paid.


[00:20:07] Right. 


[00:20:08] And it builds like a buffer in your account. So you’re not stressed out if for some reason they didn’t pay you that particular patient. You do have some other money that you can move around and fluctuate just because of the system and how you manage from one paycheck 


[00:20:22] to the next. Exactly. 


[00:20:25] But no, I definitely, 


[00:20:27] excuse me.

[00:20:28] What are we doing? I think that was maybe a followup where I called and said, wait, I don’t, it did not compute. I don’t understand. 

Managing Your Finances Based On Your Spending Plan 


[00:20:35] It’s. I mean, it’s definitely a shift because we also, when we’re in the one month intensive, like we make a spending plan. But then one of the things that I say is like, tell me.

[00:20:44] How much money you currently have in your account. So you have a thousand dollars in your account. Now let’s allocate that money and say what that thousand dollars is for. So although you may see money in your account, I want people going to their spending. I plan to say, what is that money for? It is not, yup.

[00:21:01] There’s money in my account. We got this. And I know one of the things I pushed for you because of how I just like knowing. Some of the inner workings of you and max finances as you guys have a pot of money that you use for like your family savings, but even pushing you to be clear on what is that money for?

[00:21:19] Cause it can’t be the like, well, we take camping trips, we fix a collection. I don’t have that money. We buy her out of that money.


[00:21:29] Oh, yep. Yeah, now it is much clearer. And even now, like I said, we still keep our things separate, but one we know where each other stand. And then like, instead of just that, not, I don’t know what this account is for, but I know I should be saving. Essentially what it was now, that account has a name. He has a savings, he has a name and I have a savings and has a name it’s just so much clearer and, and leaves little to no room for those surprises that can kinda leave you in the alert when it comes to money.


[00:22:00] One of the things that I always like to tell people is like, I love making personal finance personal, right? It’s your own personal journey. And how Martha and her husband want to manage finances. I want to say like, Hey, your goals, what are your values? Let me help you reach whatever those and you guys can decide.

[00:22:18] If you want eight accounts, two accounts, nobody touches accounts, whatever that looks like for you, because I get that we all have something different. That’s gonna work for us. And so it’s not. I don’t need to, at a certain opinion that like, well, you know, Oh, you’re married, so you should combine finances or whatever that looks like.

[00:22:34] I’m not that person. I want to help you to define your goals no matter how crazy they may seem to someone else, but like get on a plan, those goals for yourself. 


[00:22:45] Absolutely. And I will plug the values work as well, because I’ve done similar exercises with different intentions. I’ve done it for work. I’ve done it for, you know, other parts of my life and.

[00:22:57] I guess that was honestly another realization for me when we talked about values in relation to aligning or not aligning with spending. And that also played into the example that I’m setting or not setting for my kids as well. I remember being stressed about money as a child. I don’t want my kids to experience that.

[00:23:15] And at the same time, I don’t want them to just not understand it. Right. So thinking about like, what are age appropriate ways to model for them and to teach them and things like that. And that was a lot clearer to me once you and I talked about like values and then, okay, well is your spending and your savings aligned to those values or not?

[00:23:35] It also, when you’ve looked at things like that makes it a lot harder to be like a quick impulse buy on whatever the random thing is that you want to click now and have sent to your house. When you can pause and say, is this aligned with my values? Like, do I still treat myself? Of course, but it’s, it’s framed very differently in my brain than it was before we worked together.


[00:23:58] One, I want to hear more about different framing that’s going on in your brain for you. And then too, would you say you’re teaching your girls about finances right now? Or like what, what have you done intentionally? To, to think about what you want them to know about. 


[00:24:15] Yeah. So again, they’re young, they’re two and five, but one, I think.

[00:24:20] The most prevalent that’s already happened is just talking about it. So again, like these stigmatizing it and having the open conversations, so talking to Matt about money in front of them, and then not feeling like it’s this stressful tentious conversation in our house. And then also just talking to them about it.

[00:24:38] So I, this morning said there are no more blackberries and Bowie said, you can buy more blackberries. She’s the two year old. And I was like, okay. Yes. You’re right. I can. But when they say things like that, especially when it’s not food and when it’s something like a toy or whatever, to take the opportunity to unpack that a little bit more.

[00:24:58] And usually those conversations sound something like you’re right. We could, but let’s talk about that. First of all, it costs money. Where’s that money coming from also, it might be wasteful, so there’s like a twofold. Part of that, where I don’t just want them to be consumers from a like environmental sustainability perspective.

[00:25:15] And also from a financially responsible perspective, we don’t just need to consume, consume, because you can. So even if the money is in your piggy bank, per se, that doesn’t mean you need to go spend it on this thing. And then with my five-year-old taking it a little bit further and talking about this idea of like, Spending savings and giving and what’s money that you just get.

[00:25:35] If somebody gives you $5 for your birthday, or if you have a dollar allowance every week and then what’s money that you might earn for doing extra chores, for example, okay. Let’s look at all that money together and figure out. What are you going to say is, and do you want to have a goal that you’re saving towards which right now it’s a little ambitious.

[00:25:54] She wants to take a trip to Argentina, which is a whole different story that I won’t go and test. I know there’s a reason by night, but I don’t think she knows how much a flight. And then this other idea of, and then what might you spend, what would be worth spending and then what would you give as well?

[00:26:11] So it’s really just the beginning, but I think just having it be part of our regular conversation is helpful. And as she gets older, that as they get older, that it’ll also turn it into like the math side of it and let’s actually get out some money. We don’t see him very often. So. Get out some money and talk about that.

[00:26:29] And then as they get a little older talking about what does that look like on a debit card and things like that. So I just feel a little bit better prepared to continue that conversation with them instead of them. Turning 10 trying to start the conversation. 


[00:26:42] Now I think that’s powerful. I know I watched my mom sit down and pay bills, like with our 


[00:26:47] checkbook.

[00:26:48] Yep. 


[00:26:49] I think that was like meaningful. It wasn’t like, she was like, okay, you count the dollars. It wasn’t that. But it was just the app, like you were saying, de-stigmatizing that in your household and money, wasn’t just something that I heard talked about. When it was bad, if you will, or if there was like some type of, of conflict, like, I feel like I don’t even know if my parents had conflict with money and I’m sure that they did to some extent, but I knew how much money my parents made.

[00:27:12] And like, I knew that they had to pay taxes. Like that was something that. Was shown in our home. One of my earliest money memories is one starting a low way for something that I wanted and having to like use my babysitting money. But then also my parents, 


[00:27:29] they took me to the bank 


[00:27:30] with them, which then we had a presentation at school where they wanted us to like, One of the takeaways was like opening up a banking account.

[00:27:38] And so my parents actually, I went home and was like, I need a savings account. And they took me to the bank and had me like open an account. But I think like, those 


[00:27:46] things 


[00:27:47] really shaped how I like thought about money. And I was out, I mean, I’m with cats, like how do I go to Argentina? I babysat from a very young age.

[00:27:55] So I was, I think I was always trying to like, figure out 


[00:27:58] those pieces for myself. Yep. Yeah. I mean, I’ve had, I had a job that paid calf starting at like 13 years old. So I was, it was there and I was always aware of it. And I think there were highs and lows of how I managed it and younger. I appreciate the fact that my parents were always willing to talk to me about money.

[00:28:17] And again, it wasn’t like a taboo subject in my house, which I really appreciate it, but I was also young and impulsive at times and learn some lessons the hard way too. So I just feel like then I, I, like I sent it, I don’t think I was crazy irresponsible before all of this, but I certainly was inconsistent and still trying to apply things that worked when I was in my early twenties and I’m 37 now.

[00:28:37] So my life is different. My priorities are different. My values are different. Therefore. My planning should be different. And I can see that now. 


[00:28:46] I think that’s so real. And I always hope people it’s progress over perfection, even for myself. And it’s not about, yeah, it’s not about being perfect. I think about the things that I’ve done with money as well, like me and how much money could I really have.

[00:28:59] I can’t even go there. I can go back and talk to my old self. What would we do differently? Definitely. Retirement will look a bit, a little bit different, but yeah, trial, trial, and error. And the other thing that you 


[00:29:13] were saying is 


[00:29:14] that your framing. Is different now. So what are some of the things that you’re framing for yourself different that’s like different than you ever have before?


[00:29:22] So one thing that stands out is that like little amounts. So when I think about something like the interest on gaining and one of the new accounts that you had me open, when we first talked about it, I kind of, I trusted you and was like, okay, I’ll do it. Okay. But now when I see that, you know, I think, okay, last month I got like $5 and 50 cents in interest.

[00:29:41] And previously I wouldn’t have even thought about that. And now I think that’s over 60 bucks in a year. That’s free money. That could then be, that could then be put towards something, right. Even if that something is a treat for myself that is less relevant than the fact that it’s free money. And it’s just about having taken the effort to open up the right account, something like that, or.

[00:30:05] On the flip side, one of your recommendations before we worked together was around the new year, checking your, your paycheck and seeing if it changed. And that typically there’s a change by sometimes just a couple of dollars. This was two. And I did that, you know, and it was. I forget it was $6 or something.

[00:30:26] You quickly did the mental math. It was like, okay, here you go. $120 membership a year. Boom. Yeah. And I, now I see things in that way. So, so that idea that like these little amounts totally matter. And especially when you multiply those and they can matter for good or they can matter for bad. So the lunch habit of eating lunch out, the difference between doing that once a week or twice a week is actually really considerable over the long run.

[00:30:54] So I would say that’s been one big framing thing. Another framing thing is the values. So if I think like, Oh, I kind of want to. Splurge or treat myself or treat my family. It’s not that I’ll never do that, but I’m going to think about it and think, Oh, okay. What else am I weighing here? And if I have three things on the table that I’m considering, let me choose one and let me have it be the one that does align to my values rather than something like.

[00:31:18] Quite frankly, stupid. Right? Because in the past I’ve done that too and thought, Oh my God, why did I even do this? And it just, it just the thoughtfulness that goes into it now, I guess another example is I advise something before and if it didn’t work out, have the intention of returning it and then maybe it got returned and maybe it didn’t.

[00:31:36] And that like makes me angry now to think about, cause I think that’s. That’s ridiculous. That’s money. I earned that might sit in the trunk of my car for a month. So now that’s something that I’ll buy something in three different sizes. See what fits and know I’m going to take the other two back because that’s my hard earned money.

[00:31:54] And I think in some ways I was a little bit lazy before and prioritizing other things and realizing now that this needs to be a priority, two has actually has actually made it easier, which is funny. 


[00:32:05] And the other thing that you told me about was the Venmo. Oh, yeah. Transferring the money or something like that.

[00:32:10] Yeah. 


[00:32:11] I just told him I’m on this last week and they said, what do you mean? So any of those things, like Venmo says, sure, you can get your money right away, but I’m going to take, I forget what it is. A percent, 3%, something like that. Or you can wait two days and you get all the money. And I thought all that is is impatience and ease, but how many people are just giving Venmo cents on the dollar, but you do that 50 times over the course of a year or two.

[00:32:35] And that adds up. It just is like the thoughtfulness of thinking it through and not being impulsive and saying, well, wait, all I have to do is link my account, have the patients that I get all my money. I earned that money. I should get all my money. And a lot of them are little changes that have added up.

Values Defined Spending 


[00:32:51] Yeah, I appreciate you sharing that. Cause like I’m not the ever have a latte person, but right. It’s, it’s paying attention to those little things and how they matter. And I think something else that you said was like five, 10, $12 here or there. It’s not when it’s like that one instance, but when you’re doing it over time, it adds up.

[00:33:17] And I know for you, when we were working together, something that you enjoy is like going out to eat. Although right now you 


[00:33:22] can’t really do that, but yeah. To what we 


[00:33:25] talked about, like your eating habits and how many times did you want to go and have lunch? And what does that mean for you to, in relation to going back to values?

[00:33:34] What does that mean for you? And I know one conversation we had was how you and a coworker. And you co-work once a week at this one spot, but that allows you to show up better as a mother, because you can get all your work done. And it also allows you to be present at home. And so there was like an, you get to build a relationship with your coworkers.

[00:33:52] So some people may see that as like, well, you don’t need to spend $15 on a lunch every week, 


[00:33:56] but that one I decided was worth it because it was, it was doing other things than just. Buying lunch for $15 versus the other lunch that was just out of convenience that may have cost the same. That makes more sense to reevaluate and ends up cutting them.


[00:34:12] I would say to anyone who’s listening, like those things aren’t innately bad. It’s thinking about how do they serve you and do they serve you in the way that you desire? I know someone, Karen, I heard this, but like a mom that went in and got coffee out. And one of the reasons that she did that is like, she’s like, this is the only time that I have to like be myself, right?

[00:34:34] Like there’s someone that calls my name and I get to go and get my cup of coffee and just enjoy it. And so that was like my that’s my peaceful moment. And so why would I. Why would I take that from someone? Right. And I’m like, Hey, let’s actually play in the end. Yeah. So you can get more of those moments that make you feel like you’re connected to yourself and who you are as a woman.

[00:34:55] Like that’s, I would say like equally as 


[00:34:57] important. Yeah. And to anyone who’s listening, as we said, like Keina has helped me in this journey, but she’s also my friend. So I also get the random texts. Like Nordstrom’s having a sale, you should check out the shoes. So there’s, there’s one side of me. That’s like, wait, that’s supposed to be spent.

[00:35:14] But what’s important to realize you are a real person, too hardworking woman who likes to splurge too. Like, I could do that. Now, if you told me about Nordstrom sale, because I would have a category on my side and then plan that said Martha clothing, which honestly it would have had to be like a treat and then I would have felt guilty about it.

[00:35:33] And. 


[00:35:33] Yeah, I’m really good at spending money. If you followed me for any amount of time, I am a spender. I actually had someone tell me on Instagram, 


[00:35:40] who, 


[00:35:41] like, I really only know her because we were both business owners, but she 


[00:35:45] loves pins 


[00:35:46] and I love pins and I love notebooks and I ordered some new like Sharpie gel pen.

[00:35:51] So I apologize if you’re listening to this and you also have a pen problem like myself. Took a picture of a package. I sent it to her. I don’t really like gel pens, but I feel like you would really like this because like the ink is really strong. Like I had this whole narrative around, she messaged me back.

[00:36:10] She goes, is this how you get clients? You just cost people to send money and then you probably spend their money. 


[00:36:18] You, and I have had a lot of conversations about the quality and price points of different notebooks. It’s ridiculous. 


[00:36:25] I admit it. I love spending money, but I also, I know that about myself and anything.

[00:36:30] I touch seems to be expensive. I joke that I have to keep my hands 


[00:36:33] in my pocket. 


[00:36:36] It is a matter of like you’re saying, how do I plan for those things? I know something that you planned for Martha was you have a goal to become a yoga instructor. 


[00:36:45] Yeah. So I I’ve practiced yoga on and off for like 20 years.

[00:36:49] But in the last year I’ve been practicing a lot, like nearly every day. And I really wanted to do teacher training and I’ve considered it in the past too. But when you talk about like, what did I use to think before? Like I just used to think this is not something I can afford and that’s why it’s not, for me, it was just never something, you know, most trainings are two or 3000 hours.

[00:37:09] So it was just always something that I thought that’d be really cool, but it’s just, it’s just not for me because I’m never going to have that money. And I don’t know if I will end up teaching or not, but I still want to do the teacher training. And it’s also a time commitment, but a couple months ago I was able to talk to my husband and we talked about it and the studio that I practiced that was offering it.

[00:37:29] So again, that was one of those conversations. Hey, can we talk about this? This is what it costs. This is when the money’s due. These are the weekends I would need to go. And all of a sudden this thing never thought would be possible was like in my spending plan and all my calendar on our shared calendar so that we could plan for it, which was super exciting.

[00:37:49] And of course, Then I was super nerdy and found out, like if I paid a month early, if you get a couple hundred dollars off, so I did, but I had set a goal to save the money by the end of July. And actually by the end of may. Yeah, I had reached my goal, which is super exciting. And what’s even cooler about that is I was setting aside that money, each paycheck.

[00:38:08] And now that I’ve saved what I need to for this yoga teacher training, which I’m super excited to do. That money is still there, right? So every paycheck that money is still there for something. And this happens to be the time when I car is 12 years old, it’s about to go. I’d like to start shopping for a new car.

[00:38:25] So that category becomes renamed new car fund. And it’s not an irresponsible just, Oh, I have this extra money now it’s just relabeled that money has a new name. And now I’m in a good position to also buy a car in the next few months, which. Again a year ago. I just, I wouldn’t have been able to do either.


[00:38:43] Now. I’m so proud of you and all of the conversations that we’ve had over the years, I’m like, got it. 


[00:38:51] Finally. I finally got there, 


[00:38:54] but yeah, even we were talking before we started recording about you’re getting ready to get a pay increase at work. Right. And it’s like, where does that money go? It’s not just going to be something that I ended up consuming.

[00:39:06] It’s going to. Be something that I strategically shift my spending plan around. Yeah. Even if that money ends up going to groceries or whatever it may be, but she’ll know exactly where. Those extra dollars 


[00:39:18] King of moving things around. I mean, I have my spending plans starting in December ish is when we met and then three, four months later COVID happened.

[00:39:27] And a lot of things changed, including our weekly routines. So even then I had to look and make adjustments. Like our grocery budget seemed to go through the roof, but other things I wasn’t spending. So I was really easily able to move around some things in that way and say, here’s a hundred more dollars for groceries.

[00:39:47] Every paycheck because I’m not spending any money on it or parking or gas. Right. And again, I had the awareness then, so just kind of scan and say, this is what can move around. And then the other things I’m not spending like a haircut or a man, any pet, because I sometimes do those things as well. That’s just got flopped into a savings account because you’re not spending it.

[00:40:09] I may as well save it for whenever it’s needed. 


[00:40:11] Oh, I’m so happy for you. Oh, it’s a beautiful, and I should also tell you guys, Martha is not like a conservative grocery shopper either. So I know her having like a grocery budget is life 


[00:40:24] changing 


[00:40:26] because I feel like I’ve asked, I asked you before. I mean, many times in our friendship, like how much do you spend on groceries?


[00:40:33] Yeah, I will say it is. It is, there are, there are five people in our home currently that we feed and it is our largest expense, I think next to them after the mortgage. It’s the next large just line item and listen, part of that is because. Of some convenience, right? Like my husband and I both worked full time.

[00:40:51] So I don’t go to the grocery store multiple times a week. I do delivery groceries and I’m paying for that convenience. I do the farmer’s market. I’m paying for that convenience. But as Keina said, I made a plan so that it’s not just the frivolous, like, Oh, I deserve this because I work hard. I might feel that, but then I have to plan accordingly.

[00:41:07] So I have made that budget line or that spending line a little bit larger in order to free up some time and mental space in other areas of my life. Because we both work full time. And, and that was something that was important to me and not having to drive to four different stores, to always find the discount and the deal and at a different stage of my life, that might be where I am.

[00:41:28] But with two small kids and us, both working full time, that just wasn’t real for us. So, yeah, it was, I am paying in some ways for some convenience and some luxury, and I recognize all the privilege and it comes with that. But again, it’s also, it’s not an irresponsible decision anymore. It’s a very like thoughtful, it’s a plan.

[00:41:46] It’s part of my spending plan and that was intentional. 

[00:41:48] Keina:

[00:41:48] So one of the things. That Martha and her family introduced me to were Uber and Instacart. So she was saying that I encourage her to spend money. Martha’s family has told me about the conveniences in lights. And just to let you guys know how much Martha and I do talk about money, I was like, Hey, can I use your Instacart account?

[00:42:08] She let me use it. My credit card was still attached to it. And then Marta proceeded to buy groceries on my credit card. Originally, when I tell people like, Hey, check your credit card statements. Even if you like, think that you’re not using them or check your bank account statements. I say that because you just never know when a friend might buy groceries,


[00:42:31] swiftly, Venmo, you, whatever it costs for my weekly, my weekly groceries that 


[00:42:36] week, it was like, of course you didn’t do it on purpose, but just one of those things where if you’re not paying attention, even when you have things on autopay or set up. Whatever, like set up automations, you have just making sure those things are coming out.

[00:42:50] Like they’re supposed to, and that other people aren’t getting your money, you don’t want to actually have access to your accounts. So that’s just something, I think it’s 


[00:42:57] funny 


[00:42:59] money story and Martha and 


[00:43:01] I share. Easier less than learned. It could have been a lot worse. 


[00:43:04] Yeah. So what advice would you, you give the listeners who are maybe in a similar situation as yours, 


[00:43:11] a similar situation as mine before we met before.

[00:43:15] So especially because you and I are friends, I had already learned a lot from you and I had already made some small changes and I think of myself as a relatively responsible person. But the reality is before I like really took the plunge. And did the intensive with you and was committed to kind of putting it all in one place.

[00:43:34] I still wasn’t making any movements. So it was. So well worth it to do that because even in this very short time, the reward has been huge and it is financial reward, right? It is financial responsibility, financial freedom, but it is also as a, someone who works and has two kids and lives in a busy city.

[00:43:55] It also has reduced my mental load a lot. Like the stress that accompanied with money now is just very different and a lot less. I don’t have to do the same amount of worrying or like planning on the fly because I have a bigger plan. So, so it’s been worth it in that way as well, and have like, even bigger impact in my life than just.

[00:44:18] More money in my bank account, which to be fair also helps. 


[00:44:22] Well, thank you for sharing so much of your story with us today. Is there anything that I should have asked you, but I didn’t or any parting words? 


[00:44:30] I don’t think so. I’m, I’m so grateful. I did it. I appreciate that. You still. Pushed me all the time when, when, uh, we chat and check in about things.

[00:44:39] But yeah, I mean, the reality is I just would not have got there on my own, which is why you’re doing it. Yeah. The work you’re doing, because we’re all really knowledgeable and good at certain things. And this is certainly yours. So I’m really grateful that I took advantage. It was well worth it, the time the investment, the money, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who asks and I have, so thank you so much.

[00:44:58] And thanks for chatting today. This was great. 


[00:45:00] Well, thanks for chatting with me and, and working through all of our technical difficulties on this end. So you’re listening to Martha story, or you’ve listened to any one of the stories and candid conversations within the money pals theories. And you’re wondering like, man, this sounds like something that I would definitely benefit from.

[00:45:18] I’m not really sure. Can I get the same results that Tina’s clients have gotten? I would love to connect with you and have you schedule a call so we can talk about. What possibilities there are for you. So go to my website, you can book a call and I would love to support you in creating possibilities in your life.

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