Meet Sandra ...

Single Mom, Navy Vet, Working to eliminate debt and save up to buy a home

Grey House

The Challenge 


Sandra is a hard-working, single mom, and proud Navy veteran! She is a determined individual who wants to set a good example for her children and give them a happy life. She knew that a critical element in creating the life she wanted was to focus on reigning in her personal financial situation. She was struggling to stick to her budget each month. In fact, she sometimes had to borrow money to pay her rent; she didn’t like this cycle. She wanted to tackle the debt that was piling up after her divorce, but too often there wasn’t enough money at the end of the month to do so. She was disappointed and stuck in a negative cycle. She knew what she needed to do, but it just wasn’t happening. She has dreams of buying her family a home, helping her parents as they age, and buying a motorcycle; but, at this rate she wasn’t sure how to make that happen. Sandra was ready to make a change and so she reached out to me for financial coaching: she knew she needed to do something different in order to get something different! 


The Solution 


Sandra brought a great attitude to every coaching session. As with every coaching relationship, I start by asking what the client had done in the past to tackle this issue and reviewed what had worked well and what hadn’t worked so well. Then we devised a plan to do more of what was working and less of what wasn’t working. Here’s a sample of some of the steps Sandra and I took together during our 3-month contract: 

  • Met via Zoom video conference an average of once per month, for 60-minutes 

  • Reviewed her monthly budget in great detail, making changes where needed and stopping to discuss the unexamined values and assumptions she held around certain items on her budget. Her willingness to dig deep and be honest was so crucial to uncovering the beliefs and habits that were sabotaging her dreams!  

  • Established a plan to manage her cash flow, and by doing so ensured that she never again has to borrow money from a family member to meet her rent payment. What a relief that was to her when she realized what she’d accomplished! 

  • Established a specific schedule for Sandra to send me weekly summary emails: these kept her accountable for the action items she agreed to each week. These emails also gave her a chance to reflect on what was going well and what needed to change.  

  • Set SMART-C goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely and challenging) to keep her moving forward 

  • Scheduled quick, 15-minute phone calls to review pressing issues  

  • Exchanged emails to collaborate on a topic, or when Sandra wanted to share a win or concern 



The Results 


Sandra is now more motivated than ever to stick to her budget and save; she also feels increasingly optimistic about her family’s future.  She has a starter emergency fund of $1,000 set aside and has a solid start on knocking out her debt as quickly as she can. She is getting better about saying “no” to unnecessary expenses, where her past habits would have led her to saying “yes” for fear that people might think negatively about her if she didn’t agree. The repetition of staying focused on her budget has given her the experience she needed to boost her confidence in setting – and sticking to - spending and saving boundaries.