Melissa Barez – Rockland

Melissa sitting in computer lab

Photo Credit: Chris Bennett

40 Stories for 40 Years – Profilee 22

Melissa came to New Ventures Maine’s Rockland center in the spring of 2016. “I don’t know what got me into the office, but it was one of the smartest decisions I’ve ever made,” she shares. Melissa had two goals when she came to NVME, to learn how to better manage her money and save money to help pay for her college tuition.

Melissa’s first goal was to see why she was living paycheck to paycheck. So, she decided to enroll in NVME’s online My Money Works class. While taking the class, she started using a budgeting app she learned about in the class to track her spending. She found that seeing where her money went made her aware of where she was overspending. “It’s so much easier to save money when I account for every single dollar,” she says.

Her biggest challenge was finding a balance between overspending and depriving herself of luxuries. Melissa explains, “I learned how to treat myself without spending almost fourteen dollars a day on coffee. It was a small step that showed me how to respect the money that I worked so hard to earn.”

Melissa smiling at cameraReaching Her Budgeting & Savings Goals

Melissa also signed up for the Family Development Account (FDA) matched savings program with help from NVME. “My savings goal was $50 a month, for a total of $1,000. I succeeded, never missing the $50 deposit!” Her FDA savings helped to pay for her fall 2018 semester at UMA’s Rockland Center.

Melissa’s advice to others looking to save money is to “never give up.” She shares, “It’s not an easy thing to change your entire lifestyle. Learning how to work with a budget has allowed me to change my life for the better. Learning how money works gives control to the person who wields it, instead of being controlled by it.”