We have been meeting with Mary Ellen via phone for the past six months.  We live in CA so this was the best option!  We could never get a handle on where our money was going, and it was going fast.  We are retired and are still living like we have a great income.  The fact is, we were making up the difference by using our credit card.  Mary Ellen helped us to identify our expenses and income.  We had a difficult time getting the numbers together, but we finally did.  We are now paying down our credit card, making more informed decisions with our weekly spending and learning some new strategies. We shop a lot less but still maintain our hobbies.  We have never felt judged by Mary Ellen.  She always listens ands helps us to better our financial situation. It was a little difficult at first, but we saw the changes for the better and are actually feeling better about ourselves.  Everyone should have a BUDGET COACH!  Thanks Mary Ellen.
-Sharon and Marc S/ Irvine, CA
"We have found Mary Ellen to be not only a budget coach but a life coach.  She has helped us get on track with our current finances and helped us to prepare for the future as well.  Her style is professional, practical and friendly. We value the advice we receive and welcome her help.  The Budget Coach has made such a difference in our lives and are so glad we found her."
- Maureen B. / Spencer, MA

"The state of my finance affairs was terrible. I didn’t consciously budget my money. I never tracked my finances. I wasn’t even sure when certain bills were due. I didn’t know how I allowed myself to get to that point since I was a working, education mom. I knew I was in trouble when I realized that the last straw was that I didn’t balance my checkbook and I wasn’t sure how much money I had available for my son’s second birthday."
- Jane F. / Shrewsbury, MA

"Working with Mary Ellen was a pleasure. She immediately made me feel comfortable and validated. I never felt judged- just simply at ease in the comfort of her office. I felt that we did start off from ground zero since my finances were in extreme disarray. Yet her practical suggestions and humor provided me with encouragement and support."
- Elizabeth R. / Worcester, MA

"My first task was extremely daunting- gathering bills and estimating how much is spent and earned each week. Trying to negotiate and communicate with a partner is hard in the best circumstances but that interaction is compounded with the discussion of finances. Yet, I persevered and continued to collect the figures, asking my husband financial questions and trying to complete my budget homework."
- Catherine L. / Auburn, MA

"The second meeting was filled with more hope. I saw on a spreadsheet exactly where my money goes! That was exciting! Mary Ellen and I discussed what options are available once I do have some extra money."
- Emily C./ Spencer, MA

"The third meeting was extremely beneficial. My husband and I met together! It was so great! I felt that we really on-board this financial roller-coaster together.

Final thoughts: I am in the process of tracking all expenses each day with a pencil and paper, not just waiting until my bank statements are opened when I get around to it. I am really encouraged to track my expenses to be able to say, “I can go out to eat tonight. I am under my dining out budget!” I am getting there since I now have in writing that yesterday I spent $2.36 on a toasted raisin bagel!"
- Anne K. / Oxford, MA 


Mary Ellen,

I just want to really, really thank you for talking the time to meet with us. Your services are exactly what we are looking for! My mom has requested that we begin meeting with you. I think it she just wants time to mentally prepare. She has been overwhelmed by her finances for most of her adult life so this is a big step conceptually for her.  I would love to have her meet with you every month until we feel like we have a handle on her finances because sticking to the budget is going to be where our work is. I wouldn't at all be surprised if this took a year or more.

There are two factors why she hasn't sought out help in the past: embarrassment and not feeling like she would be in control.

The reason why she felt so comfortable with you is because you were so non-judgmental. She is embarrassed by the amount of debt she is in and thus she keeps her information on her finances very private.  Also you empowered her by making her feel in control of the process, something I am finding that is a necessary component for her willing to go along with this process.

My goal is after we set up a budget, to figure out how much she'll need every month to live on when she retires. As it stands right now her "retirement income" (Social Security, Pension, etc )  will not be enough to live on. So how to reduce her debts in the next year or two so that she'll have less to pay when she does retire. And if there is still a hole how much do her children need to supplement her income.

This is such an important issue for me because left without help- my mom would never retire.

So thank you for being patient as I give you all this information.

Bill G. / Worcester, MA

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