We’ve got an awesome episode today! I’m interviewing Lauren Greutman, blogger and author of the new book, “The Recovering Spender.” In this episode, she’s going to teach you how to get out of debt for good and how money issues affect relationships.
Juicy, I know.
But, before getting into that, I’ve got some housekeeping to take care of.
I’m going on vacation.
I’m taking a short hiatus from blogging and podcasting for a couple of weeks in September. I’ll be on a Caribbean cruise for a vacation and then I’ll be heading to San Diego for The Financial Blogger Conference where I’ll be speaking on a panel about self-publishing versus self-publishing.
You can follow me on Instagram for pictures and live video of both my trips.
We are a finalist for a Plutus Award!
This little website is a finalist for a Plutus Award! We’re in the Best Designed Website category! Thank you so much for all of your votes a couple of months ago. Hopefully, we can bring this puppy home!
Come meet me in San Diego!
If you’re going to be in San Diego for The Financial Blogger Conference make sure to stop by the Your Money Meetup so you can meet me and some of the other AMAZING personal finance bloggers! You can learn more and RSVP here.
Okay, now let’s get to the interview.
Who is Lauren Greutman and what is a Recovering Spender?
Lauren Greutman is a blogger, author and money saving expert who helps women overcome overspending and create budgets. After her overspending got her family into $40,000 of debt and realizing they were running a $1,000 deficit with their monthly budget, Lauren needed to find a way to get a handle on their finances ASAP.
In order to start getting out of debt, Lauren slashed the families grocery bill from $1,000 a month to $200. She started blogging about it on I Am THAT Lady (now LaurenGretuman.com) and teaching classes in her local area. From there, she’s been able to pay off all the debt and now teaches people how to get out debt and save money full-time.
Her new book, “The Recovering Spender” details her story of overspending and then teaches readers how they too can overcome their own spending issues and get out of debt.
In this interview, Lauren talks about how Keeping Up With the Joneses” affects our spending habits, how money plays a role in romantic relationships, and she teaches us some of the ways we can save money on our monthly bills.
Tips for Overcoming Keeping Up with The Jones
People underestimate how much Keeping Up With The Jones’ actually affects them when it comes to getting into debt and then getting out of debt. It’s everywhere – social media, Target, shopping with your friends, etc.
A part of what happens when people start budgeting for the first time – especially if they are spenders – is they feel like they are punishing themselves. People start to feel like they are “less than” because they can’t keep up with others. This often times leads them to overspend and get into debt. When they try getting out of debt, then they just feel like they’re being suffocated in a lot of ways.
The key to getting out of debt is to not allow yourself to continue thinking that way. You have to take a look at your value system and see what’s more important to you. In Lauren’s case, it was “Is this purse more important than buying groceries this week?” In my case, it looks like, “Do I want to have a car payment or use that money to travel?”
If you want to get out of debt for good, and avoid getting into debt later, you have to stop caring about what other people think and instead focus on what matters to you.
Relationships, Debt, and Money
Part of Lauren’s amazing story is the fact that she hid $40,000 worth of debt from her husband and had to come clean to him. This is the kind of stuff that can destroy marriages, but they were able to get out of debt and come back stronger than ever.
First, you need to get really real with yourself before getting real with someone else. You have to admit there’s a problem. If you’re hiding your spending issue from your spouse, then you have to take a look at the relationship you are in. If you value your relationship, you’re going to have to talk about what’s going on.
In Lauren’s case, she was in so much turmoil over her finances that the pain of coming clean to her husband was far less than continuing to live the way she was.
Now here is something interesting to note. When Lauren works with couples who are getting out of debt, one thing she notices that couples may have the same financial goals but they are viewing them from completely different filters. If one is a saver and one is a spender, then you have these personality traits that cloud the goals. Once couples figure out that their goals are the same, then they can figure out where to go next.
Advice for People Who Aren’t Married Yet
For those of you who aren’t married yet, Lauren has some great advice so you don’t get into the mess she did. It’s important to talk about money before tying the knot, but that doesn’t look like asking someone what their net worth is.
You can watch how your partner uses money early on. You can also have casual conversations about where they want to go in life and what they want to do. According to Lauren, people do what they believe.
For example, if she looks back at when she and her husband were dating, you could tell they spent money differently. Mark had almost nothing in his fridge and Lauren’s was fully stocked. Mark had a junkie car, Lauren liked nice cars. Lauren was clearly the Spender and Mark was clearly the Saver. However, because they never talked about if before getting married, Lauren’s spending habit eventually led to having to get out of debt.
Negotiate Your Bills to Save Money.
In her book, Lauren talks about the 12 steps people can take to get out of debt. She also talks about some things to keep in mind during the process of getting out of debt.
One thing she mentions is how people can save a significant amount of money by negotiating the bills their bills. You can then use the extra money to get out of debt or boost your savings. At the very least, you won’t be wasting money.
People get nervous trying to negotiate bills, but anything is negotiable. You can negotiate your phone bill is negotiable, your cable is negotiable, your internet is negotiable and your insurance rates are negotiable.
You have alternative low-cost options for internet and phone like SlingTV or Republic Wireless, respectively.
If you want to stick with what you have, call up the company and ask to speak with the Customer Retention Department. Then you need to ask them if they can give you a better deal. You can use advertisements from competitors and ask them to match the price. Nine times out of ten they’ll do it because they don’t want to lose the customer.
Lauren worked with a family in the lead-up to her book launch and she was able to save them $600 just from negotiating bills.
What’s Possible When You Get Out of Debt
Sometimes people are in knee-deep in debt need examples of what can be done after they get out of debt. This is one of the reasons I like to ask my guests what they’ve been able t do since getting out of debt, especially if they themselves were in a significant amount of debt.
In Lauren’s case, she’s been able to retire her husband from Corporate America (they now work together on their business full-time), they’ve been able to travel, they bought a new van in cash and they’ve been able to give more abundantly.
Where to find The Recovering Spender
If you’re in a situation where you’re getting out of debt, or maybe you just want some better money management tips, I highly recommend checking out Lauren’s book. You can purchase it on Amazon here.
Resources Mentioned or That Add Value to This Podcast Episode
- The Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman
- The Recovering Spender Documentary
- The Financial Bucket List
- SlingTV – Save money on cable.
- Republic Wireless – Save money on cell service.
- UberPool – Save money on transportation.
- How I Painlessly Saved Nearly $1,000 With Digit – App that helps you automatically save money.
- Acorns Review: How Acorns Is Helping Millennials Invest Their Money – An app that rounds up your spare change and invests it into index funds.