Hello, I’m Kristina!


I have worked as a personal finance writer and speaker for the last eight years. I have authored two nationally published books, one being a #1 best-seller in college finance. In it, I share my journey of overcoming significant obstacles to win $500,0000 in scholarships and graduate from my dream school. I’ve helped thousands of people figure out how to go to college debt-free. My work has featured on Fox News, ABC Family, USA Today, Money, Seventeen, NBC News, and many others. Before writing about money, I worked as a marketing consultant for several Fortune 500 companies. I have a dual degree in business and education from Vanderbilt University, and a Master’s in Organizational Learning and Change from Belmont.

My mom immigrated from Venezuela on a college scholarship in her 20s. She met my dad in our small farming town in Indiana and settled down into her dream life. When I was seven, my dad passed away from brain cancer. My family really struggled after the loss, but my mom is a fighter and was intent on us recovering and having a good life. Although we were low-income, my mom always found a way to stretch a dollar further than most people could ever imagine. We still traveled, played sports, and did things people with far more money didn’t do. She figured out how to give us a great life within the price she could afford.

Her mindset carried forward with me in college and now in my adult life. My husband, Slate, and I have been married for nine years and welcomed our first son Jaxon to the world in August of 2018. My husband works for our local government, and I own a small business. We dream of retiring early and doing long-term world-travel as a family; therefore, we do all we can do to live on as minimal of a budget as possible. On the other hand, we know we aren’t promised tomorrow and still want to enjoy life now. Our goal is to strike that perfect balance of frugality and fun.

In my quest to strike that balance, I’ve won scholarships, traveled around the world (25 countries and counting) at a massive discount, furnished our home with furniture at 90% off, side-hustled, meal-hacked, and researched almost every unique way you can save money while still enjoying a fantastic life. And that is the purpose of this site and my work; to share with you our unique way of life and hopefully give you some ideas to help you increase both your savings and fulfillment in life!

My biggest goal is to inspire and help people see that, even if you don’t have a huge budget, you can have a wonderful, dreamy life!




Public Speaking

Contact me


Where do I find your information about scholarships and college admissions?

My primary site for scholarships, college admissions, and career advice is CollegeNinja.com. That is where I feature interviews, resources, and insight in how to get into your dream school and pay for it debt-free! 

I’ve also written two books: Confessions of a Scholarship Winner and How to Graduate Debt-Free. You can find them online or in bookstores nationwide. 


How do I book you for a speaking event?

I’d be happy to speak to your audience! Please send an e-mail to info@kristinaellis.com or visit the speaking tab under the “Let’s Work” section of this website for more information. 

How do I get specific advice from you about my situation?

I absolutely LOVE hearing from my readers, but I do get several emails a month. Between running a business and chasing a toddler, I don’t always have time to respond to each of them individually. If you need advice about a specific situation, I take on a limited number of private coaching clients. See the “Let’s Work” section for more information. Also, make sure to check out my blog, as that is where I pour out much of my best advice and insights. If I haven’t written on your topic yet, please feel free to comment or send me a message with a recommended writing topic!