MVP: How Giving Every Dollar A Name Changed Marie’s Spending

Money Files

The beauty of working with a financial coach is creating a sustainable financial plan. Oftentimes my clients are worried that even though they’ve attempted to budget in the past their financial results have always felt temporary.  They pay off their credit card but then they have a $5,000 balance  before the year is over or they finally start saving money but then they have to constantly dip into savings to cover unplanned expenses.  

On today’s episode, I’m resharing one of my favorite episodes with my client Marie.  Before working with me Marie wrote out her bills from the first of the month to the end of the month as a way to keep track of her spending.  Whatever money she had leftover after the bills were paid she viewed it as extra money. 

You’ll hear us discuss how learning to give every dollar a name helped her reframe how she thought about the money in her account and how she thought about money on payday.  If you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck or maybe you too have a list of bills as a budget you’ll want to tune into today’s episode. 

So listen as she shares her experience working with me as her financial coach and how her life has changed since finishing the program. 

In this episode, I ask Marie…

[00:04:15] How did you manage your finances prior to working with me?

[00:08:35] What has been easier than you expected and what’s been a bit more challenging than you expected?

[00:14:58] What has budgeting freed up for you? 

Tune in to this episode of Money Files as Marie shares how working with a financial coach has impacted her perspective on money.

Are you ready to start asking for help with your finances? Apply to work with me, and let’s start working towards your financial goals.


Transcript for “MVP: How Giving Every Dollar A Name Changed Marie’s Spending”

Keina: Hi, and welcome to Money Files. I’m Keina Newell from Wealth Over Now. I work every day with professional women and solopreneurs to help them get out of financial overwhelm and shame, so they can experience more flexibility and ease with their finances. Are you ready to gain confidence and learn to manage your finances intentionally? Tune in and grab financial tips that will help you master the way you think about and manage your finances.

Keina: Hi, I’m so excited for you to hear a conversation with Marie today. So I invited Marie to be a part of the series because I reached out to her via email just to check in and I said, Hey, how are things going? And she’s like, Keina, I am still on track. I’ve paid off my credit card. My savings almost have $3,000 and we work together almost a year ago.

So I definitely, I said, Hey, do you have this new project going, do you mind getting on and sharing your story?

So. I’m excited for you to dive in. I don’t know if Marie talks about this, but some of you will probably be able to relate. When we started working together, she was keeping a budget kind of like in her planner, like here’s how much my check is. Here’s the bills I have to pay and here’s the money I have leftover.

So you’ll hear all the ahas that she had and working with me in our one month intensive. 

Hi, welcome back to another episode of the money files today. I’m here with my client, Marie. Marie, Welcome. 

Marie: Thank you.

Keina: You want to go ahead and tell everybody a little bit more about yourself?

Marie: My name’s Marie, I did the one month intensive about a year ago. We’re coming up on a year. I believe it was last October or September that I started. I basically did the program for the one month intensive with the hope of trying to figure out or get a handle on my finances, just cause I wasn’t in a really great place. Um, when it came to my spending habits day to day,

Keina: Can you tell us a little bit more about like one, where did you find me and what ,like, led you to want to search for someone like me. Cause I feel like nobody knows that, like, financial coach, those exists, usually people find me looking for a financial advisor and I realized like financial coaches, not common language. 

Marie: Yeah. So I was looking for a financial advisor. Well, initially I was like, I can’t get a financial advisor.  I don’t have any money, but I was like, okay, well maybe there’s someone who works with people like me. So as I started to look, I, I noticed when I was looking at what a financial advisor is, I saw that there were financial coaches, which I thought, Oh, that’s more towards what I need. I need someone helping me manage the money that I spend day to day, as opposed to money that I have in reserve, which I felt like a financial advisor was doing.

So I started basically Googling and I came across your website and I was like, I think this is the girl for me. It’s pretty much how I decided I looked at your testimonials, a couple of your reviews and your own story about paying off debt, which was very helpful cause that made me realize, okay, well I have debt. This person knows how it feels to have debt and feel like they can’t make enough money. So I felt really comfortable going with you as opposed to someone that was talking about where to invest your money that you have in your savings, which I didn’t have any of at the time.

Keina: And I would say for people that are listening, one of the things that I explained in terms of financial coach, financial advisors, I think you need both in your life. They serve two different reasons. And one is like, I described my work. In terms of like day to day money management. Like I want to be intentional versus financial advisors. It’s like, where do I want to be when I’m 70? Right. And so being able to like put those pieces in place, but if you want to be retired at 70, you have to manage your money now, which is one of the reasons like I have my business name, which is wealth over now. So really thinking about ,like, that long term journey. 

Before we got on the call, we were talking a little bit about how you manage your finances prior to working with me. Can you tell everybody? Cause I think a lot of people are going to be able to relate because it’s something that I hear all the time

Marie: So I would get paid and I had all my bills listed due dates, starting from the first to the last of the month. And I would just. X out everything that I’ve paid until I got to X amount is left for me to spend, or for me to make an additional payment on my credit card. As I’ve now figured out that doesn’t work because I would take that money and I would kind of view it as, Oh, this is my extra money. This is money that I can spend day to day. I can make an extra payment to my credit card or I could not. 

And then also, I believe I’d started living with my boyfriend at the time who paid half the rent, so I would pay the rent and then he would give me his half. And I would also view that as like spending money. So. You know, I was in this habit of every time I had a dollar over what was due on my bills, I viewed it as my, not play around money, but money that I could spend as I see fit, which has changed a lot.

Keina: Can you tell us about the change

Marie: So now, naming the dollar was a huge thing for me because we went through. Okay, well, every year you have to pay for these associations that you’re part of you have Christmas coming up every year. You have, you don’t have an emergency savings. 

So all of these little things and month, you know, non monthly bills that would come up, that I was kind of using my, what I was viewed as my free money for. And sometimes it would get me in trouble because then I wouldn’t have enough money at the, you know, after I pay my bills for the month, all of those things may be realized if I started assigning each dollar to something like my spread or my savings that you know, the next month I was just in a way better position. Cause I was never saying, Oh, I’m out of money. I need to swipe my credit card or I spent too much do as I knew where every dollar was spent.

Keina: Yeah. And I think I remember you saying. My Amazon purchase doesn’t necessarily put me over budget, but it’s money that I could have potentially been using for something else.

Marie: Yes, because I’m someone who likes to cross things off and make lists that spread was like, Oh, I have an extra hundred dollars that could pay my power bill. That’s coming up. And that can also pay for the Netflix bill that’s due on the night. So that really changed my thinking. For me to see like, okay, yeah, you’re swiping your card for a hundred dollars or you’re making this purchase at Target because, you know, the sheet set is great, but actually wouldn’t you be happier knowing that you already have, you know, this bill paid in your spread.

Keina: And can you tell the audience, what are you, what are you referring to when you say this spread?

Marie: Yeah. Oh, so the spread are the bills that are coming up that aren’t due. So before I’d take my money, if I said rent was due, I’d take right out. I’d take everything that was out, that was due prior to my next paycheck. Now, if there’s, you know, now I start putting money from this paycheck towards bills that are due in the next paycheck or even the following month. 

The ideas, I think I ended up making a personal goal after we were done working to keep $1,500 in my spread, because that was kind of my goal of like that’s how much would cover pretty much a good amount where I was good for the month and just working on increasing that extra money that just stays in my account that goes towards next month bills or your next paycheck’s bills.

Keina: Have you reached that goal?

Marie: I did. You know, sometimes, you know, there’s been months where I’ve gone into it and I’ve been like, Oh, no, but because I know I’m not so tight on my finances. I know I can start cutting back and putting money back in like attributing more dollars to the spread because I do look at my spreadsheet every day.

Keina: Look at you. Can you tell us more about, cause one of the reasons I wanted to catch up with you is because we did just work in the one month intensive together. It’s been almost a year and I emailed you a couple of days ago to be like, Hey, how are things? And you were like they’re awesome.

I would love to just hear your like reflections on. Maybe like what has been easier than you expected and also like, maybe like what’s been more challenging than you expected

Marie: What’s been easier is the savings portion. Surprisingly, which I had none. We started working together because you really showed me like set this money aside and I put it in, I put it in my secondary checking account savings.

So the savings associated with my second checking that I don’t swipe. So it’s really out of my, like out of my. Brain when I’m working with my everyday money. And I do keep a spreadsheet for that, where I have my savings and every month I put X amount towards my, I’m still at 250 for my emergency saving every month I want.

Keina: Okay, awesome. Because when we were started, it was like, I just say, when I can. Yeah.

Marie: So my goal was 3000 for the year. I want to save $3,000. I think I can do that. And I think we’re coming up to it now that it’s been a year. So I’m like, okay, I can bump that up. I would feel comfortable bumping that up and putting more, but that was surprisingly easy.

Just putting money to the side for my annual expenses, Christmas traveling my bar dues, just all of the Jews I knew were coming up and all of my yearly, or, you know, Quarterly fees. Putting that to the side was insane, came easy and it felt so good when something came up and I got a notification that, Hey, your dues are coming up in $3,380. I was like, okay, 

Well, we haven’t been doing this for a year. I found that sometimes I was like $50 short or even a hundred, but it was just like, Oh, no big deal. That’s sitting in that savings account waiting to be paid. So that was really easy and felt really good once I saw how that worked. 

Um, what has been hard day to day spending is still hard for me just because. I see what’s in my checking and I attribute it to my future bills, but sometimes I just want to overspend shopping and that’s just in my nature. I always want to shop it’s. I believe it’s hereditary. Cause if you talk to my mom or my grandmother, you would know that we have a problem or even my cousins that I’m really close to my first, my first cousins, we just love to shop and buy. Shop shop shop every time there was a deal. I still, I had to, like, I tell my cousin all the time, I was like, well, I’m tapped out this month. Cause she was like this handbag, it was $200. It’s on sale for $50 now. And I’m like, well, I was like, you know, we just went on a trip and it’s not in the budget. Does doesn’t matter how much it costs. It’s you know, I can’t do it. 

Keina: Yeah. 

Marie: That’s been a struggle for me, but I think that’s going to be a lifelong struggle and I’ve realized that, and it’s finite. I pull back when I need to pull back. And sometimes I shop when I, I feel like I need to shop.

Keina:And I think for me, it’s, and this is one of the things when I’m working with different women, it’s like acknowledging that.

Right. You understand your behaviors as a consumer and as a person. And then you’re able to like, navigate, like even hearing you say the language, like I’m tapped out. Right. It doesn’t mean like something doesn’t get to like re up in the future because that’s the other thing I’m like, you get to manage your money each and every month and you can choose this or that.

And be able to say, all right, well, I actually am going to splurge on this thing, but I’m going to like free up money over here in order to do that. But you’re able to bake, I’m sure more informed and intentional decisions. Cause I like, I’m a shopper by nature too and I like expensive things. I always joke that, like I just need to get my hands in my pocket.

I touch something. Like I already know that it’s expensive. I have like, why can’t I just pick up the like, $5 thing. Why does it have to be $500? But I like can actively monitor it, say to myself, like, okay, this week, these are all the things you said you needed wanted whatever. Like what is actually maybe some emotional spending and what like, do you actually need or desire to invest in one of the things that I ask people, like, what do they want to know more about?

What would you say in terms of managing. Emotional spending. What are some other strategies that have worked for you? Or like mindset shifts that have worked

Marie: Well for me, a lot of it is associated with my credit cards. So one of the thing that kind of shifted was, and you know, this has been actually a more recent thing when I want something and it, and thinking like, you don’t really need it.

I think of the interest I pay on my credit card debt and how many times I’ve paid for something over and over that I never used. That’s great. It’s sitting in my closet. It’s beautiful. But. Did I really want to pay over and over, you know, kind of over and over for it through interests. And now it’s sitting there, but it’s not really doing me any good what’s on my mind is getting, you know, my debt pay down.

So it was really just kind of what you were like now over later, it’s like, maybe I can get it later and it won’t cause me stress or harm my finances. It’s not worth it. I’ve gotten to the point realizing that these little things aren’t.

Keina: Yeah, that makes total sense. What else has getting your finances in order and being intentional about your finances, what else has this created for you in your life?

Marie: I think just a better sense of security financially. I don’t feel. Trapped at the end of like when the two weeks are coming up, I’m not like, Oh my gosh. Like if I’m low on money, like I, you know, what am I going to do when I get paid? Do I need to like start charging things to my credit cards now I’m just like, you know, It’s fine. I’ll just spend less until I get paid again. I don’t want to go into my spread. I don’t want to, I definitely can’t touch my savings, but just more of a sense of security, less panic over money. I don’t stay up at night thinking like, how am I going to pay this off? Or what do I need to get a second job? I just have. More sense of security and it costs money, less stress. 

Keina: That’s good. What else have you been able to do? What has budgeting freed up for you as like, I think about even tax season or when I get a bonus, um, whether it be like on the planning side of things or being able to invest in something that you hadn’t been able to invest in in the past, because like you were in this cycle.

I know one of my cycles was that when tax season came, it was like, this is always going to be going towards debt because. There’s this credit card over here that, that I need to be paying, but as I like created a stronger relationship with my money, it’s like, Oh, well now I know that I can trust myself to put some of this towards savings or be able to engage in that thing that I can do it guilt-free without, too, without having to think about me not meeting another goal,

Marie: I think it’s allowed me to go on vacation and feel a lot more comfortable because of my travel fund. I it’s allowed me to. Do things without thinking of like, okay, I have to find this money somewhere, or if want to do something it’s, it’s given me the freedom to say, okay, well it costs X amount of money and you should save X amount before you go or find a way to do that without feeling like, Oh, if I go on vacation, it’s going to break me.

Or if I do, if I take this class that cost X amount, I don’t really have the money to do that because I need to pay this and I need to pay that. Um, it just allows me to. Divvy my money up for things that I want to do. I’m not constantly thinking, well, I can’t do that because of this, because I know where every dollar is going. I know where I could start skimming in moving things if I need to, before it happens.

Keina: Right. When we were working together. When would you say that everything changed for you?

Marie: You know, it was really at the beginning when I decided I was going to be open and honest about my finances with you, because after I showed you everything and you were just like, okay, well, here’s what we need to do.

Yeah. It’s going to be hard. Yeah. It’s going to be, you know, it’s going to be tight. You can’t spend, you know, maybe you need to watch what you buy at the grocery shore, grocery short grocery store. But, you know, that changed for me. Cause it made me realize like, Hey, you know, I’m not too far deep in the hole.

I can, if I make a small goal, I can get there. You know? Cause I kind of felt like I was drowning before and nothing I could do would ever get me to the point where I had an emergency fund or I felt comfortable, you know, having, again, my credit card debt and paying on it. Like I always thought I was going to feel like I was drowning because of that.

But when I. When I was honest with you and you saw everything and you kind of said, okay, well here’s a plan. This is how we can do it. That really changed for me. That changed me. And I was like, okay, well, if I follow the steps, I’m going to be in a better place. Which before I thought like, okay, I’m going to spend this money.

I’m going to go to this month intensive. It’s going to be a, to do that. Like one of these things that I did, they do. Cause I like to take extra classes or learn a new skill. And I was like, this is something to do, but it really changed it. I realized, okay, there are steps I can take that are reasonable and not.

Okay. You have to eat ramen five times a week. Like something. Yeah. That’s when everything really changed for me.

Keina: I think I do remember when we were on the call, you’re like, I just feel like I like the initial call before we started working together where you were worried that you were just one of those people, like, I just buy things that I think will. I don’t want to say in this case, I would say like solve a problem or help me address this issue. And I don’t know if this is really gonna work for me. So is this another thing that I’m just thinking is going to be the solution or is it actually going to be the solution

Marie: Which it has been?

Keina: Yeah. So what advice would you give to listeners who are like in a similar situation and see you when you first started?

Marie: Uh, so know that you’re not in a possible place financially, you can get to a better financial place. The thing is, you know, I don’t, I don’t know everyone’s situation, but for me, I actually put what I paid you on a credit card, but I was able to pay that off.

Right. Really looking at where your money is going and realizing if you just invest in this one thing, you’re going to be in a better place. It’s going to be worth it at the end of the day. If you can find it, if you can be motivated just to reach out for help, it’s going to eventually pay off. 

Keina: Before we wrap up two things, will you share with listeners some of the tangible results that you’re most proud of in intangible results  that you’re most proud of?

Marie: Tangible would be, again, my emergency savings. We’re coming up on the year. My goal is 3000. We’re about to be there and it felt like it felt like I wasn’t even saving that money. And it’s there just in case of emergency. So that’s one of the tangible things. 

Intangible is again, dated day that I still struggle with, but it’s so worth it of this.Isn’t, you know, this item. This thing isn’t worth my financial security. It’s not worth not being able to buy a house one day or staying up at night. So really that, you know, Even having that question is one of the things that I’m actually happy exists now where I don’t, I don’t think like when I have to have this or I’m going to be sad or I’m not going to be, you know, not going to be happy or I need this, just asking that question, do you really need this? Do you want to pay for this over and over again? I’m just having that constant question after I decide no I’m done with it. And I move on with my life. I’m not. Spending the money and then regretting it for however long.

Keina: Would you say you’re more comfortable or confident talking about money?

Marie: Yes, I am. Especially with my friends. I, I drop you all the time to them. I’m like, Oh, I was like, you know, she really taught me too. My spread was something like saving for my next paycheck. So I talk about that all the time, where especially when someone asks me to spend money, I’ll be like, no, you know, I really can’t, whatever.I can’t do this, or it’s not a good time for me. 

You know, my financial coach, when we were working together really sad, like how important it is. You know, consider these things and it’s like a really do want to do it, but it’s really not in my goals. Like it would throw me off of my, my end goals for the year or for the month

Keina: How does your inner circle responded to that?

Marie: They’re fine. They still do what they need to do cause everyone’s finances are different, but that’s something that I’ve made abundantly clear that our finances are different.

Keina: But also, like I know even talking about money with my friends is like, yes, our finances are different, but people. People also do things that are not within their means because people aren’t aren’t necessarily as diligent.

It’s about being intentional with their finances. I do encourage people like, think about that too, as you think about comparing yourself to other people. And I love hearing that you have been able to like assert with your friends, like no, like yes or no. And being able to feel comfortable with that and not.

That being even just like a place where you rest in, like shame and knowing that you have the tools to move forward towards your goals.

Marie: Yeah

Keina: So is there anything I should have asked that I didn’t,

Marie: I will say. One of the things, one of the thought you were going to ask, but one of the things you asked, well, you said you may have, you would ask about is how did I know I was ready for coaching?

And for me, that was, I had received a huge pay increase, like. 30-40% more salary when I switched jobs and I still didn’t have enough at the end of the day. Like I got this huge raise and I was, you know, budgeting, doing my budgeting months, every paycheck. And at the end of it, I was still kind of in that similar position of not having enough money.

And I was like, okay, well, Before the excuse was, Oh, you don’t make enough money, but now there is more money and you’re still in the same position, so I’m doing something wrong. So that was one of the things I would tell people. You know, listeners, Hey, if there’s been a change and you’re trying to figure out, Hey, is it maybe it’s something I’m doing wrong.

It’s very likely it is something. And it’s not that you need to necessarily make more money or you need to. Downsize or live in a cheaper place. Sometimes it’s just that day to day and actually realizing where your money’s going and management, as opposed to, you know, again, making more money to completely changing your lifestyle.

Keina: And you, I think you hit on that earlier too, where it’s like you had a system, but it still wasn’t getting you where you desire to be in. Now just being able to. Like one of the things we do in the one month intensive is to look at like how much money are you bringing in and where do you desire it to go?

So you can just see your numbers in a different way. It’s that clarity piece and thinking about, I think the thing that catches most people off guard, it’s like, you you’re planning for the thing right in front of you. And then being able to build that muscle to plan ahead. So that, that way things don’t continue to catch you off guard and you end up using your credit card to pay for something because you didn’t think about, Oh, I need a tire on my car or if you own a home, my hot water heater. And even as you alluded to earlier where it’s like, I was short $50, or I was short a hundred dollars, like, yes, there’s always going to be a chance for like a learning curve. But when you have a plan you can pivot and say, Okay, well, now I know how to better prepare for this and then in the event that it happens next time and everything doesn’t have to be like thrown out. Like you have somewhere to start from

Marie: only short because we hadn’t been, it hadn’t been a full year when another year comes around because I would have been doing it for 12 months. It’ll be a. Oh, here’s the money sitting there.

Keina: Yeah. I think the thing I’m thinking about, and not necessarily in your distinct case, but like saving for auto maintenance right there, if you’re just starting to save for it. And it’s not that you don’t know when your car needs to be fixed, like, you know, a little bit more about oil changes, but you don’t know when the flat tire can, but when you, even if you’ve committed to setting aside $30 a month for auto maintenance, like you might only have a hundred dollars for the flat tire.

And it costs you one 20, but now you’ve just got to find $20 versus 120. Right? Yeah. And so I that’s, the thing that I would was like highlighting for people is when you start somewhere, like, even if there’s a gap in how much you like need to spin, because you’ve been planning for it, it’s going to provide you some relief because you know where else like, okay, well, where else can I like free up money to think about this?

Like now I have a strategy. To be thinking about my money in a different way. That doesn’t just my first thought in the past would have been, let me just charge this on the credit card. Cause I know I don’t have it right.

Marie: That’s been the situation where I’m like, Oh, I already have the two 50. Or if when I wanted to travel, I was like, Oh, I already have this.

Now I need to pay for the hotel. Maybe my travel fund didn’t have that much in it, but actually it’s not that much money. And I can plan ahead a couple of months. I know I’m going to be traveling in two or three months. I can start planning to spend that extra amount of money. 

Keina: Well, I love the progress that you’ve made and thank you again for chatting with me. And I’m excited to just think about like, what’s in your future because you have this plan, you know how to adjust. You took a risk on yourself to say like, I want to invest in myself. So that, that way money isn’t the thing stressing you out in your life..

Marie: Well, thank you.

Keina: Thank you so much for listening to Money Files. If you’re ready to take the next step to reach your financial goals, head to and let’s get started.

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