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About Me


Marie Ellis

Founder & Editor

Marie Ellis is the Founder & Editor of

Having worked in hospitality and entertainment (bars/nightclubs), as well as film & TV. Marie spent most of her working life in London.

Behind the scenes, Marie amassed a massive 35k worth of debt. Marie has since paid this off and wants to pass her top tips on reducing debt, managing money, and living your best life, whatever your budget!

Broke Girl in the City is also a guide to living in the City and having a fabulous time, whatever your budget!

My personal story

I started University in debt, and it was always considered a way of life. I was never very good at managing money, but I was always very resourceful. At University, I worked behind the bar mostly but was always taking on other jobs to make money.

It wasn’t until I moved to London that my debt snowballed. My first £5k loan was followed by credit cards, personal loans, refinance loans and then the worst of them all…payday loans.

Over the years, I amassed £35k of personal debt. My credit rating was on the floor, and by 2011 when I started taking out payday loans. I was debt servicing half of my salary.

I always maintained a budget planner, which accounted for every penny of my outgoings. Despite setting an annual and monthly budget. I was broke payday to payday because I just never seemed to have money to get through the month.

Payday loans filled that gap. Suddenly I could pay for those life events which had formerly seemed so out of reach. Weddings, a holiday to Ibiza and bills, which my former housemate had a great habit of storing up for months at a time.

I rarely bought clothes or went on holiday but loved going out. I worked in very sociable industries, but I would always be out somewhere.

My rock bottom moment

My rock bottom moment was when all of my payday loans had gotten out of control. I remember sitting on the pavement near Top Shop on Oxford Street, thinking I couldn’t do this anymore. After writing down a list of all the lenders I owed money to, I decided to phone them all up one by one. I negotiated a repayment plan saying that I could no longer keep up with the payments. Some were understanding. Others were more aggressive. I didn’t leave that pavement until I had rung every single one and had negotiated a payment plan.

Broke Girl in the City was born.

In the summer of 2016, I was made redundant on the day of Brexit. I thought I could make it until the end of summer until September, when I would be able to find work again. I was wrong. Many companies were cautious about hiring, and many corporates didn’t want to hire someone who had been working in a start-up. I soon had to move out of my apartment and put all of my things into storage. Within months I had lost my job, my flat, and my relationship also broke down.

Being broke taught me valuable lessons.

Moving back home after years of being independent was very strange. I had been in hospital with pneumonia only a few months before being made redundant, so I was completely exhausted.

I focussed on the basics. Sleeping, eating and resting. I had completely burned out and was unable to get through the day without an afternoon nap.

Mum + me

Year of recovery

I then embarked on simplifying my life. Cancelling all direct debits and subscriptions. Not buying make-up, clothes or anything other than essentials. I rarely drank wine unless I went to lunch with work or met a friend. I went to bed before 9 pm and ate properly. Despite not having much money, my credit rating started to improve, and so did my health.

Finally, I’m debt-free!

In January 2018, when I started a new job back in London. I paid off the last instalment of my personal Lloyds loan. I had taken out a refinance loan for £19k and ended up paying back £25k! That was a defining moment for me. Finally, after all of those years, I paid off my debt!

Being in debt has a detrimental effect on all of your life. Your work, sleep, relationships and mental health.

However overwhelming your circumstances may seem. YOU can get through it. I spent years in survival mode, not thriving, just surviving.

When I was made redundant, I started Broke Girl in the City! A guide to living your best life, whatever your budget.

Go to the next page to read all about Broke Girl in the City in the Media.