mary pennies not perfection

When I was 20 my mom lost her home to foreclosure. When I was 21 I lost my half-sister to suicide because of depression and debt. When I was 22 I graduated with hefty student loans and credit card debt… but couldn’t find a job.

Those experiences taught me that I couldn’t let money control my life.

In order to thrive I had to get my finances under control.

I had no plan at first. I was overwhelmed and scared. I knew that I couldn’t let the situation spiral, so I started learning about money through personal finance blogs, books and YouTube.

Fast forward a few years and I paid off all that debt. A few years later I also tackled the long ignored parent plus loans.

Today I am completely debt free besides my mortgage. I have healthy emergency savings, investments, and a plan for my financial future.

I did a financial 180!

Over the years I’ve paid off a lot of debt and taught myself how to handle money. I’m not an expert but I’m here to encourage you to learn about money and take action. You don’t have to be perfect to win with money, you just have to try.


I’m also a tiny bit obsessed with financial freedom. Being able to do what I want with my time and money is my big goal. I talk a lot about making more money and building creative online businesses because both can lead to this type of freedom.

In fact, in 2021 I quit my 9-5 job to focus on building Pennies Not Perfection full time. Now I share how others can do the same thing through free content and paid products.

Here are some of the ways you can learn and grow with me beyond this website:

Pennies Not Perfection YouTube

In 2017 I made a few videos about my cruise to Alaska, including how much it cost to go on that cruise. That developed into a robust channel where I talk about personal finance topics ranging from how to invest to paying off debt and buying your first home.

Here’s what you’ll find on Pennies Not Perfection YouTube:

im debt free after paying off my student loans

YouTube allows me to talk about money and share how being consistent instead of perfect still allows us to achieve all our financial goals!

Pennies Not Perfection Shop

Budget Planner Printable Bundle | Financial Printable Bundle | Budgeting, Savings, Debt Payoff 1

Two year after starting making videos about money on YouTube, I also opened a printables shop based on the worksheets I was using in my own financial journey!

My shop is full of useful resources now including:

Create With Pennies Not Perfection

After creating my Etsy shop and finding success with hundreds of sells within the first few months of opening, I started sharing tips, tricks and tutorials on my second YouTube channel.

Here you’ll find a wide range of helpful videos including:

This channel is all about building a creative online business that allows you to create your project, your income, and the life you want. I love sharing ways you can use your creativity to achieve

Money, Creativity, Freedom

In this website I’ve combined the two things I love talking about the most: managing money well and building a creative online business. These things might not seem connected but the thread that goes through both is the ability to use these processes to create more freedom in your life.

By handling money well I’ve freed myself from the anxiety and stress of a large debt burden. By creating an online business I’ve increased my income and built multiple revenue streams which freed me from the stress of relying on a job solely for my income. These things have helped create more freedom in my life and they can do the same in yours.