Welcome to episode 206 of Profit Boss® Radio! In this classic episode from the archives, we’re talking about how to stop struggling with chronic debt–no matter how insurmountable it might seem.
So many of us struggle with managing debt. Our homes, lives, and budgets can feel totally out of control. To all the moms out there, I know how easy it is to get caught up in all the things that need to get done every day and not even realize that we’re allowing massive deficits to pile up. Financial security suddenly feels out of reach to the point where you just want to snap your fingers and wish it all away.
This exact scenario played out for today’s guest, Lauren Greutman. Lauren is a consumer savings expert, author, and spokeswoman who works to help busy moms create financial freedom for their families.
She’s been featured on the Today Show, the Rachael Ray Show, Nightline, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, and WNBC. She’s also the author of The Recovering Spender and Insufficient Funds: One Woman’s Journey Out of Debt and Into Financial Freedom.
If you’re ready to finally get your head above water, put your money problems in the rearview, and stop letting your credit cards control your life, you’re going to love this episode.
Here’s what you’ll find out in this week’s episode of Profit Boss® Radio:
- Discover how Lauren and her husband, Mark, finally acknowledged the reality of being $40,000 in debt and what steps they took to turn it all around.
- Lauren shares how she and her husband slashed their grocery bill — they went from spending $1,000 a month to just $250 (and she fed her family on $50/week for 2 years!)
- What a comprehensive budget is and why it should change every month.
- Why Lauren’s book, written to a spender, from a spender, is unique in the financial book world.
- Lauren’s top tips to live a happy, fulfilled and debt-free life.
The Money Blueprint℠ for Business Owners
The Money Blueprint℠ is profit coaching that puts you in control of your business finances for good. No more Head-in-the-Sand Syndrome. No more fear, stress, or shame. Simply total confidence. Learn more here!
Resources and Related Profit Boss® Content
- The Recovering Spender Website
- Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman on Amazon
- Lauren’s Personal Finance Planner and Other Tools
- The Financial Renovation
- The Recovering Spender – Spendervention Videos
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- For information on my Money Blueprint Program and one-on-one coaching opportunity, please visit HilaryHendershott.com/MBP.
Hilary Hendershott: Today, I’m excited to share with you a timeless episode from the Profit Boss Radio archive. It’s a conversation with financial coach and author, Lauren Greutman. Lauren is a consumer savings expert, author, and spokeswoman. She’s passionate about helping busy moms create financial freedom for their families. And she runs her business full time with four kids. She’s been featured on the Today show, The Rachael Ray Show, ABC’s Nightline, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, and WNBC New York City. She’s the author of The Recovering Spender, and Insufficient Funds: One Woman’s Journey Out of Debt and Into Financial Freedom. If you’re struggling with chronic debt, as so many of my listeners are, this is the episode for you.
In today’s episode, Lauren shares her story of how she and her family aggressively pay down their seemingly insurmountable debts. Listen to learn Lauren’s specific tricks they use to slash their monthly spending and the realizations she had about simplifying her house and her life. If you like to spend money, me too, but realize you should rein in your budget and are unsure of how or where to start, make sure to tune in to this episode to hear Lauren’s tips and so much more. Let’s do this.
Hilary Hendershott: Lauren, welcome to Profit Boss Radio.
Lauren Greutman: Thank you so much for having me on. I’m excited to be here.
Hilary Hendershott: I’m so excited. You’re really the first guest of this type that I’ve had on the show, and I love what you’re up to, and you’re a media maven, so it’s great. You’re really doing some amazing things, and I can tell you’re committed to your campaign and your vision. So, would you go back in time with us just to start our conversation? Take us to that moment when you realized that you were in debt over your head. What were you doing? What was that like? What happened?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So, I was in debt up to my eyeballs, $40,000 to be exact, running a thousand-dollar deficit every single month. And I was really at my wit’s end, I was so stressed out, losing sleep at night. Around this time, I was married. I actually got married pretty young. We were 21 years old, me and my husband, and we had one child. At the age of 24 was when we had our first child. Now, we have four. And so, this kind of all came to head when I was 25 years old, when I realized that we were in $40,000 of the debt. I couldn’t pretend like it wasn’t there anymore. And I just really wanted a different life for my family. We wanted more children. We wanted financial security. We wanted to be able to do things like pay for our kids’ college. But yet, we were spending all of our savings, we were even more getting into such credit card debt. And so, that’s kind of where I was. This was then back in 2005, 2006 around there, and just really stressed out and just wanted to crawl into a hole and just snap my fingers and have everything changed for me. So, that was kind of where I was, yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, my gosh, I know. Was there a particular trigger? Or what put it over the edge for you?
Lauren Greutman: What put it over the edge for me was when I had gone shopping one day, going to the mall with one of my friends, and during that shopping trip, I spent, I don’t know, a few hundred dollars on clothes that we didn’t have, put it on a credit card. And when I got home, instead of bringing it inside, I kept it in the trunk of my car because I didn’t want to fight with my husband over the purchase. So, I left it there. And when he went to work the next day, I got it out of the car and I put it in the closet, took the tags off, and just hoped that he didn’t notice.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay, so a little bit of financial infidelity there.
Lauren Greutman: Yes. And so, I think when I started doing that and seeing the things that were kind of coming up in my heart that I realized that I didn’t like doing that. Like my marriage was way too important for me to have this financial infidelity. And so, that’s when I started to think about coming clean and ultimately decided to come clean to my husband about all the money that I was spending and how much debt we were in because I was handling the money back then. So, that was like the breaking point for me.
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, so he didn’t know?
Lauren Greutman: He didn’t know, yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay, and how did that conversation go?
Lauren Greutman: It actually went fairly well, as well as it could be. I came clean to him. I just told him we were in $40,000 of the debt and I needed help. I was balancing bouncing checks. And at that time, we were making a good living too. It wasn’t like we were making little money. We were making a good living. We had an Audi and we had a custom-built house and we had tons of nice stuff and a house full of beautiful furniture. So, on the outside, we looked really, really good.
So, when I told him, he knew we had debt. He almost didn’t want to know how much it was because he knew that I was spending money. And so, when I told him, he wasn’t shocked, but he definitely was like, okay, I forgive you. We got to work on this, but we need to work on it together. It’s not just me putting the numbers down, you got to stop spending money. And so, that was like a turning point for me. I had to really decide if I was going to change.
Hilary Hendershott: Wow, Lauren, this guy sounds like a really good guy.
Lauren Greutman: He is. He’s a very, very good guy.
Hilary Hendershott: That is not the way most people would react, right?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. Oh, no, totally. Totally not, I feel like I got lucky in that sense.
Hilary Hendershott: Very good. So, there you are, custom-built house. You have an Audi, which is probably you own with a loan, I’m just assuming that.
Lauren Greutman: Yep.
Hilary Hendershott: And then you really, fully take stock. You lay the credit card bills out, you lay the auto loan bill out, and you can probably leave the mortgage aside because that’s “good debt,” but you’re looking at your consumer debt. And when you face the music, how did it feel?
Lauren Greutman: Oh, horrible. I felt horrible. I felt like my life could have been over. There was no way for us to pay down our debt with where we were at, at that time, and I felt helpless. And I think there’s a lot of people, whether you make money or whether you don’t make much money, that you can be in this situation. One thing happens, and you’re back to square one, right? We hadn’t always been in debt, but we had just made some really stupid decisions, and that’s kind of where we ended up.
Hilary Hendershott: So, what did you change first?
Lauren Greutman: First thing I changed was getting really real with myself. I needed to figure out that the money that I was spending was not equal to my value system. And so, I think any financial level can relate to this, that you spend your money typically as a reflection of your values. And for me, my values were my family, financial security, faith, my marriage, but yet, everything that I was doing and how I was spending my money was against everything that I believed in. If you had looked at my checkbook register, you would have thought that my values were Target and Starbucks and the mall, like eating out and making these extravagant dinners.
Hilary Hendershott: Target is such a money pit, isn’t it?
Lauren Greutman: It is.
Hilary Hendershott: I love Target. Nothing against Target, not like that big corporation is really worried about my little show, but I can’t go in there without spending. It seems like a couple of hundred dollars.
Lauren Greutman: I know because everything is so stinking cute, right? So, I walked in, and that was always a thing for me. I go to Target multiple times a week to grab one thing and end up coming out, spending $200, right? So, I’m like, everybody can relate to that right now. It’s Target.
Hilary Hendershott: Yep.
Lauren Greutman: And so, for me, it was like I had to really realign how I was spending my money to align with my value system, and now, start spending money as a reflection of those values instead of the opposite. So, that was step number one for me.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay, that’s great. How many steps are there? I don’t want to interrupt you.
Lauren Greutman: No, it’s okay. I have lots of steps, but…
Hilary Hendershott: I bet you do.
Lauren Greutman: The most important step was the value system. I had to realize what am I chasing and what are my values? And then spend my money as a reflection of that.
Hilary Hendershott: And so, was the Audi part of your value system? Or what happened to the car?
Lauren Greutman: No, actually, we sold our Audi and bought a minivan.
Hilary Hendershott: Look at that. You really overhauled.
Lauren Greutman: We really did overhaul. We actually got so brave as to sell our custom-built house and we ended up moving into a little tiny rental townhouse that, I mean, literally, it was so small. We came from a 3,200-square-foot house into a 700-square-foot townhouse, and we sold everything that we owned because we were just so sick and tired of being broke all the time. And I had just had a complete overhaul with what I knew and felt was valuable to me that I just was like, I want to get rid of all this stuff because I don’t want to be around stuff anymore.
Hilary Hendershott: Isn’t it funny? Having stuff seems to beget more spending on stuff, like repairing it, cleaning it, keeping it up.
Lauren Greutman: Right. It’s like…
Hilary Hendershott: It’s funny because it doesn’t fill the hole, it just becomes more stuff.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, exactly. And then you need new throw pillows for the new couch and…
Hilary Hendershott: Obviously.
Lauren Greutman: Obviously, at Target because that’s where you get them because they’re so cute, but yes…
Hilary Hendershott: So, how do you go from 30– do you say 3,500 square feet?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: To 700 with multiple kids. And this is a two-part question. Why did you choose to do that given a lot of people would say mortgages is good debt?
Lauren Greutman: Right. So, the thing with us is we wanted to make sure that the purchase, the next house purchase that we made was going to be our forever home. During this time, we also had a job change where my husband was going to lose his job, and thankfully he got– on top of the $40,000 of the debt, he was going to lose his job. We found that out. And then so, he thankfully got his old job back. At this time, we were living in South Carolina. He got his old job back in New York, which is where we’re from. So, we moved back to New York, and instead of buying a house, sight unseen or doing crazy things like that, we decided to rent this teeny tiny townhouse to save up the money, to pay down debt. So, we were just aggressively paying down debt like thousands of dollars a month with being able to move into this tiny townhouse because I think the rent was $900 a month, and that included all the utilities in the water. So, we didn’t have to pay anything else. Coming from our mortgage of $2,000 plus, plus the utilities and all of that, we were able to really see and use almost $2,000 a month to pay down this debt.
Hilary Hendershott: So, that was one of the major ways that you went from being in the red to being in the black on a cash flow basis.
Lauren Greutman: Right, exactly. So, we really focused on that. And we then started saving up money to make the big down payment on a house that we were going to stay in forever and we opted to go for a smaller house that was simpler, that we could really stay in and enjoy ourselves. And so, we bought that house. We were in the townhouse for a year and then we bought the house that we’re still currently in.
Hilary Hendershott: Wow. Big choices. I mean, I never say this to people when they start any of my programs, but a lot of people who choose financial coaching actually end up moving, like I say, never say that to them when the thing begins because it would just be way too much for them to bite off. But when a lot of people look at what they’re spending, it’s like your two biggest expenses are probably your car and your house, or if you live in Manhattan, it’s transportation in your house.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, that’s so true.
Hilary Hendershott: Very good. And your husband is– well, you went through a little bit of time here, but he lost his job, then he got an old job back. So, he’s working at this point.
Lauren Greutman: Right. Yep, and he is an actuary, so he is a numbers guy. And so, you can imagine an actuary who deals with money and numbers all day. Being in this much debt, it was kind of humiliating for him because his wife had gotten him into the debt.
Hilary Hendershott: Would you just tell people what an actuary does?
Lauren Greutman: Oh, gosh, it’s so complicated. I mean, I could tell you what they do and what they think, like what they do is they sit usually behind a computer all day, but at that computer, they have massive spreadsheets. A lot of times, they work for insurance companies to figure out, they develop rates for what people’s automobile or insurance policies need to cost based on mortality tables and all this stuff, it’s like all these numbers. So, they’re big numbers people. They’re brilliant. And it takes a lot of schooling and testing to get their actuarial degree. So, he had been through eight or nine years of testing and all of that. So, he’s pretty brilliant.
Hilary Hendershott: So, there you are. Are you back in New York at this point? When do you take on teaching and writing about debt?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So, we were back in New York about a year– actually, no, I started teaching about debt. And one of the big things that we did to get out of debt was learn how to drastically save on our grocery bill. So, one of the things that we did is we cut our grocery bill down from a thousand a month down to $200 a month, and I fed us for $50 a week for about three years. And yes, that was a big thing for me, like learning how to coupon a meal plan. And I just said, I could spend the money on food, but I would rather pay down debt. So, let’s just learn how to eat really simple. And so, we did that, we learned how to cut our grocery bill back a lot.
Hilary Hendershott: I’m sure you’ve written about that a lot, but would you just give us the high level on how you cut your grocery bill 80%?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So big thing is anything that was a toiletry or anything like that, I got for free using coupons, I learned how to do that. And then I would do a lot of freezer cooking and meal planning. So, I teach that on my website now, how to make 20 meals for $150 that are freezer meals and go right in the freezer. So, any busy mom can relate to not having enough time to plan out your dinner, right? So, that’s one thing. And then I just really learned how to strategically shop the grocery stores and put some time into it. I saw it as an hourly wage. Instead of going out to work at a minimum wage job, I decided to stay at home and save money instead.
So, I always looked at it as an hourly wage, whereas if I could sit down and plan, really plan and stock up on deals and spend about two to three hours a week, if I were to save $100 that week on groceries, then I was just making $50 an hour. So, I always tried to challenge myself on how much money I can make by couponing or meal planning. And to me, it was better than going out and getting a part-time job where I was making money and then paying taxes on those earnings. This was kind of a tax-free way for me to make money at home.
Hilary Hendershott: Yeah, interesting. Okay, really great. I mean, that number is impressive. Saving 80% on your grocery bill, that’s impressive. So, I wanted to ask into that. Okay, great. So, do you think that you were more of an overspender or an underearner? And I guess, at this point, if you’re not working, obviously, that question might be answered for you. But where do you see these money problems came from? What are the sources of them in your life, do you think?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, I think a few different ways that it came. I kind of grew up feeling, always liking new things. I was raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, which is an upper middle class city. I had friends with elevators in their homes and gorgeous, expensive tastes everywhere, it seems like. So, at an early age, I really valued those things growing up. And then, once I learned and got credit cards, like really early on in life, I think my freshman year of college was when I got my first credit card. I really didn’t have the financial education behind me to know how to use those credit cards wisely.
I remember growing up, my parents would often, we would do these shopping trips where we would have what my mom would call sick days from school, where we would skip school altogether, me and my sisters and her would go shopping all day and go out to lunch and get pedicures and everything. But then the next day, I would find her doing her budget, she’d be all stressed out, yelling at me that money doesn’t grow on trees. So, I didn’t have really much formal education on here’s a credit card, this is what you do. Now, I think that a lot of times, people are born to be a certain way with certain skills. They’re born to be impulsive or optimistic. And I find that a lot of people that are spenders are actually, really, they are risk takers, too.
So, a lot of people that are spenders are also really good investors because they take a lot of risks with their investors because they don’t let money hold them back from life. And so, that was the way I was. I was always impulsive. I love to do fun things and I don’t want anybody to take back my life, I guess. I don’t let money hold me back. So, that’s good in one way, but then in another way, it got me into a lot of debt because I didn’t think about the decisions and the purchases I was making.
Hilary Hendershott: And so, in terms of being a risk taker, you’re self-identifying as a risk taker, imagining just from what you’ve told me about your husband that he maybe doesn’t identify the same way.
Lauren Greutman: Not at all. Not at all.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay.
Lauren Greutman: He plays it very safe.
Hilary Hendershott: So, how are things going between the two of you as you’re paying things off and you are taking more risks? How are you navigating that?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So, that’s a really good question because I think a lot of times in a relationship, opposites attract. And so, for me, I’m a risk taker, I’m a big thinker, I’m impulsive. He likes to sleep on every decision. It takes him a long time to make a decision. When he makes a decision, it’s really conservative. A lot of times, he’s fearful about making big decisions. And so, when it comes to us working together, we actually do very well together because we work together as a team. It’s not Mark versus Lauren, it’s our family as a team.
And so, how it looks like on a day-to-day, he quit his job two and a half years ago to come home and work with me on our website and our business. And so, that was like unlike him to do that, totally like, I mean, quit his $100,000 a year job to come home and work with me. Like, it was crazy. But for us, it was worth as a family. And we’ve since been able to make up that income through my business. But for him, he is very good at the numbers. So, if we sit down and we decide, we’re working through a project or we’re working on our budget together, our business budget or our personal budget, he sits down and he’s really good at figuring out the numbers. So, he has the computer open and he’s working through our spreadsheets and figuring out the numbers and figuring out costs per click on ads that we’re doing but also helping us figure out personal finances and all that kind of stuff.
And then, I use my spending skills now to be the one in the family that spends the money but spends it wisely. So, I do all of our grocery shopping. I do all of our media for the business. So, I’m out in front of people and I’m having to book flights and do all these television appearances. And then, I also know what to buy for gifts for people and how to run the household efficiently. So, our skills are really complementary to each other, but we just had to learn how to use them together so that we weren’t fighting all the time.
Hilary Hendershott: It’s great. You guys sound like a very constructive couple. It’s good.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: Did either of you discover or illuminate any superstitions about money, things that you used to think were true that you either are now no longer subscribed to or you had to even bust through as an assertion or a superstition?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, I think, for me, I started really understanding, obviously, money doesn’t grow on trees, but I acted like it did for a while. But when I started seeing, I never knew what compound interest was or any of those kind of things are, how investing could really help us. Those were all things that I kind of had to learn along the process. And Mark has always been very good with learning how to save and invest. But for me, it was all kind of brand-new information. So, I started changing the way that I thought instead of a mentality of being stuck and being depleted with my finances to an abundance mentality of investing and saving and seeing my money grow. And so, that was a big thing for me to learn. As a spender, I love to spend all of our money, but I’m not just spending money, I’m actually losing money when I’m making those purchases because I can’t invest it. And so, that was a big turning point for me through this process to learn those kind of skills as well.
Hilary Hendershott: Awesome. What about for Mark? Can you speak for him? I don’t mean to put you on the spot.
Lauren Greutman: No, it’s fine. I think for Mark, he really had to learn that, especially running a business together, that you have to take financial risks and investments in order to make more money. And that was really, really hard for him because, like I said, he would rather sit and be really conservative with our money. And so, it was hard for him at first to be able to invest money that we weren’t sure we were going to get back. But he’s had to learn to be a little bit more trusting, have his guts, and that’s really helped him with investments and also, just in our business to be able to make those big risks to make extra money.
Hilary Hendershott: Struggle really produces growth, doesn’t it?
Lauren Greutman: It really does, yep.
Hilary Hendershott: Yes. So, you have not only– well, how long did it take you to pay off the debt?
Lauren Greutman: Two years.
Hilary Hendershott: Took you two years to pay off the debt, and you became a fully entrepreneurial household. And you have done a lot of media and a lot of publishing. What do you think is the thing you’ve done that produced the most results?
Lauren Greutman: Oh, I think that the thing that’s produced the most results has been sharing my personal struggle through my website, LaurenGreutman.com. That’s how I got the book deal. That’s how I got the television. That didn’t come before the website. I think what I’ve done really well is take in my story and my struggles and really been able to share in a way that’s relatable to other people. And I think anybody can relate to the feelings that I share in my book and in my podcast, on my website, that I think has been the central glue of holding the business together. And then all the other little side things that I do, I’ll point back to that hub, that main hub of the website.
Hilary Hendershott: What’s been the most surprising thing that you learned along the way?
Lauren Greutman: For entrepreneurship or getting out of debt?
Hilary Hendershott: About money.
Lauren Greutman: Okay. The most surprising thing about money that I’ve learned…
Hilary Hendershott: It could be about entrepreneurship if it’s right there for you, too.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, I think the most surprising is that money isn’t just money. Money represents the lifestyle that you want to live, what you want to drive, what you want to wear, your relationships with people. Before I just saw money is a way to get things that I want, but it really is kind of a reflection of how your values like we talked about before and where the things that are important to you are that it’s not just money, it’s everything, it kind of encompasses everything in life. And for years, I didn’t think that. I really thought it as just money. So, now, I see it as a means to enhance my future, to be able to do the things that I want to do with my family, but yet still remain debt-free. And that’s been really surprising to me.
Hilary Hendershott: I love that. All of us who have been to our own financial rock bottom have. I kind of referred to it as a spirituality about money.
Lauren Greutman: Yep.
Hilary Hendershott: It is not just money. So, I think you put that really well. And so, let’s talk about budgets and paying off debt. Speaking about this book that’s coming out, what do you think goes wrong with most people’s spending plans?
Lauren Greutman: Well, I think that people don’t plan enough or don’t plan accordingly. So, I think a lot of times people set this budget or whatever the spending plan, whatever you want to call it, and they set it up and they just set it on autopilot, right? And then it should just go month after month after month. But I find that things come up every month and I need to set a budget for every month individually. So, I think a lot of people don’t do that, they don’t budget for every single month. I mean, for me, I have, oh gosh, how many nieces and nep– I think I have 18 nieces and nephews under the age of 10. I mean, there’s…
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, my goodness.
Lauren Greutman: There’s a ton of them. So, we have three birthdays a month. So, every month, I need to be able to plan whose birthdays it is, what kind of gifts I have, what vacations we have. If we’re going back to school, what school supplies we need? We have to plan that out all the time. And if I did one budget and just expected to stick to it every month, I would fail. And so, for me, it’s planning every single month differently and sitting down. We have what we call the budget night. So, the last Sunday of every month, we sit down, Mark and I, and we plan our month out for the business and for the family. And it really helps us kind of stick to it and stay in communication together.
Hilary Hendershott: What do you say to someone who hears the word budget and their eyes roll back to the back of their head?
Lauren Greutman: Well, there’s either two reasons why, the number one reason is they’re spender, and it makes them cringe on the inside, which is what used to happen to me. And then the second reason would be, I make so much money, I don’t need to budget, right? So, I think there are two different reasons why somebody would roll their eyes. And for both, I think it’s the same thing, is that you have to realize that, if you don’t tell your money to go, you’re going to overspend it. And if you value your money, then I would say, let’s spend it wisely. Even if you have a lot of money or a little money, you still need to budget and tell your money to go so that you make the most out of it. And I think that’s what I would say to somebody is, by not doing anything and not doing a budget, you’re making a choice to not have control of your money that month. And so, by having a budget, it just helps you have control of your money and tell it where to go.
Hilary Hendershott: And so, do you practice– by the way, just a sidebar, there are people who naturally underspend, by the way, they’re rare.
Lauren Greutman: They’re rare, but they are there. You’re right.
Hilary Hendershott: They exist. So, do you practice the bucket or envelope method? Or do you have a dense spreadsheet? Or do you use YNAB? How do you do it?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So, we actually have an online course called The Financial Renovation. And inside that course, we developed budgeting tools ourselves. So, like…
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, great.
Lauren Greutman: Easy drag and drop budget tools. It’s an online system. So, we use that. I use cash for a lot of things, but I’m kind of a paper person, so I use a planner called the Personal Finance Planner, which is something that we developed a couple of months ago. So, it’s like a planner that’s also a budget tool, like a paper planner. So, I use that personally to keep track. And yeah, so Mark does have spreadsheets, but I don’t use them because that’s not how I operate. I just like the paper.
Hilary Hendershott: This book is called The Recovering Spender. Said, kind of like people might call themselves a recovering alcoholic. Do you think you’ll always be a spender? Is that why the title is what the title is?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, it’s not the recovered spender.
Hilary Hendershott: Right.
Lauren Greutman: So, I think that I just had to realize that I have a natural tendency to spend money because I like spending money. I mean, like I said in the beginning, I don’t see money as a hindrance, I see it as a tool. And I don’t like letting money dictate how I live my life. But that being said that there are certain things that I want to do, which is have the retirement, have nice vacations, have the kids go to college that I really invest in those things. And I would rather do those than blow on my money at Target or Hobby Lobby.
And so, for me, I have to choose where to put my money, and if I go into Target or Hobby Lobby, despite having all of these other goals, a lot of times, I get sucked into the ambiance or whatever the beauty of the stores, and so, I still struggle. If I go into a store, I have to know my boundaries. And if I don’t budget, I’m like a kid in a candy store, I just want everything. So, it’s really important for me to budget and stick to it and it really helps keep my spending under control.
Hilary Hendershott: So, as an aspiring author in the financial space, and you have authored several other books, and we’ll link to those in the show notes for this episode. By the way, Lauren, we’ll talk more about some of the things she’s offering, about the book that’s launching now in a few minutes. But if you want to find out more about Lauren, just go to HilaryHendershott.com/38. So, Lauren, as an aspiring author in the financial space, the one thing that is almost universally said about money is that it’s probably already been written, there’s nothing new under the sun. And ultimately, budgeting is just spending less than you make. Yet, you have the courage to write and share your story about getting into and out of debt, which frankly, is the situation for millions of people, I mean, it seems like this unending process of people coming into their mid-20s and getting into debt and then discovering this entire world of recovered spenders just like you. What makes this book different?
Lauren Greutman: I think exactly what you said that makes this book different is that there are so many financial books out there, and they speak a lot of times to the people that love money. The people that want to do better with money, but there’s never been a book that has been written by a spender to a spender because I think that we speak a different language. We’re the black sheep in the finance worlds when it comes to money. We sit in the back of the class with our heads hung low, thinking that we’re just never going to do well. I mean, I’m not talking about spending…
Hilary Hendershott: People like to shame spenders.
Lauren Greutman: Exactly. They like to shame us, they like to yell at us and say, “You just need to stop spending money.” But when we talked about earlier that money isn’t just about money, it’s about a lot of other things. And so, it’s too simplistic to just say spend less than what you’re making because there’s so much more underneath all of that spending. And I’ve been there and I know it’s not just about money to spenders, it’s about security, it’s about fun, it’s about keeping up with the Joneses and appearances and feeling like they’re not enough. There’s so much more that goes into it. And I have yet to read a book like mine that makes a spender feel like they can do this. I’ve been able to give out a bunch of pre-released copies, and the response that I’m getting is I’ve never read a finance book that I like to read, or how did you get those words that were in my head and put them down on paper? And so, spenders are really relating to this finance book in a way that I don’t think that they ever have to a finance book before.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s great. So, the book is titled The Recovering Spender: How to Live a Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life. I get that right?
Lauren Greutman: Yep, you got that right.
Hilary Hendershott: Okay, so that’s a really bold promise.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah.
Hilary Hendershott: So, what are the top tips you want to share with my audience for them to disconnect spending from happiness and experience fulfillment now?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, I think we talked about things like defining your values, but another thing, decluttering your life to regain your joy again. A lot of times people surround themselves with all of this stuff, and the stuff is actually sucking them dry of all of their joy. And so, one of the chapters that I talk about is how to declutter your life, to regain your joy and ways to make money from the things in your house, but also just how to properly clean your life up and your finances up so that you have that joy and freedom again. I talk about ways to organize your finances in a way that makes sense. And a lot of the second half of the book is broken down almost, like I said, as a 12-step process.
So, we talk about how to set up a proper budget as a spender, we talk about how to pay off your debts in the best way. So, this is kind of like a beginner, if you failed at budgeting in the past and never been able to stick with it, it would be a great book for you. But it also would be a great book for anybody that works with people that are spenders so that they can understand how to help them because for a spender if you’ve ever wondered, can’t you just stop spending money? It’s not that easy. And so, I think this would be a great read for somebody like that as well.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s really great. So, some of the things we’ve talked about, reducing your grocery bill by 80%, and actually, how to do that, like actual tactics? For that, go to LaurenGreutman.com or just go to HilaryHendershott.com/38. But if folks want to get a copy of this book, what do you want them to do?
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, they can go to LaurenGreutman.com. They can also go to TheRecoveringSpender.com. That kind of has a few videos about the book, including a Spendervention, which we did. Before the book came out, I went and did a documentary using the principles from the book on a family and walking them through three months of my process. And so, you can watch those videos on TheRecoveringSpender.com, but it’s not…
Hilary Hendershott: Oh, that’s like a reality show.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah, yeah. It’s like a little mini reality show.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s hot.
Lauren Greutman: Yeah. So, we did that. And then they can order the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble. It’s wherever books are sold. And check it out.
Hilary Hendershott: That’s awesome, Lauren. Thank you so much for sharing so openly with my audience. I’m excited about what you’re doing and hope to stay in touch.
Lauren Greutman: Thank you so much, Hilary.
Hendershott Wealth Management, LLC and Profit Boss® Radio do not make specific investment recommendations on Profit Boss® Radio or in any public media. Any specific mentions of funds or investments are strictly for illustrative purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice or acted upon by individual investors. The opinions expressed in this episode are those of Hilary Hendershott, CFP®, MBA.