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Can You Live A Happy, Fulfilled, Debt-Free Life?

Frugal-living expert Lauren Greutman discusses how she managed to get debt free. Read Transcript


LAUREN GREUTMAN: I'm Lauren, the frugal living expert,

and author of the book "The Recovering Spender."

For years I was out of control with my spending

and obsessed with living the American Dream.

That was until I took a hard look at my values,

changed my lifestyle, and won my life back.

Today, I help women live the simpler, happier life

they've always dreamed of, recovering spenders just

like me.

Wow.

Welcome, Lauren.

It's great to have you here.

Thank you.

I'm glad to be here.

How did you get started on this?

Well, first, let's go how did you get into so much spending?

What drove that?

Yeah.

So I was spending money on pretty much anything

I could spend money on.

I loved nice things.

I loved getting my hair done, and going and getting

toys for my kids, and all of that.

And it just spiraled out of control.

I think, not so much because I was overspending thousands

of dollars on purses or shoes or anything like that,

but I just wasn't paying attention.

And then we would go out to eat.

And that would put us into more debt.

We didn't know how much money was coming in

or what was going out.

We just were completely cluttered with our money.

And the result was $40,000 worth of debt.

I've got a note that says you spent over $12,000 in one

night?

I did.

GORDON ROBERTSON: How?

$12,000 in one night.

So I talk about it in the first chapter of my book

that I was in a direct sales company.

And in order to win a certain prize,

I had to sign this certain amount of people up.

And I did it without even thinking about it,

because I loved the idea of having this grand prize.

And then that was really the thing that set it off

to be really, really bad.

So its was $12,000 in one night.

To me, I don't even blink an eye.

And my husband knew about that part.

But he wasn't really supportive, but he

didn't say a ton because he wanted me to be happy.

But at that time, that was the beginning of it all and then

a few years later, it went up to $40,000.

And the stress was just too much to handle.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Now you hid it from him.

I did.

I had a lot of it from him.

Mostly because I was doing the bills.

I grew up, my mom did the bills growing up.

So that's what I knew what to do.

So I took over my family and us.

That's just kind of what we did.

And I finally decided to come clean to him one night

and just--

GORDON ROBERTSON: Why were you hiding it?

I think that I was terrified of what he would say.

You know I was really afraid that he

would be really upset with me.

And even, I mean money can destroy marriages.

And I thought to myself--

GORDON ROBERTSON: Number one cause.

Yeah.

I thought to myself am I destroying my marriage right

now?

I don't want to face this.

It's too painful.

And so when I finally decided to do it,

I just thought to myself I can't stay this broke forever

and keep it from him.

And I felt the Lord said you got to deal with this.

You got to talk to him about it.

You guys have to work through this together.

GORDON ROBERTSON: What was it like to finally say, OK?

Were you dreading?

I was dreading it.

And I actually was dreading it so much

that I just blurted it out.

It was like we're in $40,000 worth of debt,

and just kind of waited for his reaction.

And you know what he said to me?

He said, I forgive you.

Let's do this together.

Let's get out together.

And two years after that, we were out of debt.

GORDON ROBERTSON: Where do you find guys like that?

LAUREN GREUTMAN: In church.

Yeah.

We got married young.

And he's amazing.

He's amazing.

A lot of woman are jealous right now.

I know.

I know, right?

I got a good guy.

Mark.

We've been married 14 years.

And so two years after that, we were out of debt.

And I thought-- the Lord said you've

got to take this message.

I'm giving you a platform.

Use this struggle that you've gone through

and you're going to take this and you're

going to help millions of other people.

And so that's what my life message

has been since that time.

You found that your problems are actually

kind of common in our culture today?

Yeah.

Did that surprise you?

No.

Actually it didn't surprise me.

Yeah.

Because money is everything.

It touches every single part of our lives.

It touches our marriages, our friendships,

our relationships with our kids, our shopping habits,

the way we eat.

I mean it touches everything.

And so the fact that money is an issue just

shows that it's not so much a money issue as it

is-- it's such a bigger issue.

But money is just at the root of everything.

And so on my website laurengreutman.com,

I really try to take this issue and like

let's make this personal, let's make this realistic.

Let's not like put a suit and tie around this issue.

People in their houses are dealing

with this every single day.

How can how can we deal with this in like a root level.

And that's kind of really what I've been trying to do.

GORDON ROBERTSON: I find a lot of people

are intimidated by it.

Yeah.

Just to get the basics of let's have a family budget,

let's have a savings budget.

What can we spend and what's reasonable?

And how do we prepare for our future and retirement

and college funds and all that?

Exactly.

It's a lot.

It's like we're intimidated by it.

Right.

And that's why I think my book, and just what my message is,

is so relatable.

It's because I'm not one of those people that

went to school for money.

And this is what money looks like.

And this is what you do.

It's like I've lived through this.

I know what works.

I know that you screw up.

I know that you mess up.

I know that money can be fun.

How do we deal with this in a real way that's

going to affect the way that I drive my kids to school

in the morning and feed my family at dinner?

And so I always say this book is the personal finance

book for people that don't like personal finance.

You know it's not--

How did you overcome the addiction issue?

Because I think that's one of the keys when you're

dealing with overspending.

It's that release that comes, that emotional high

that comes from acquiring something new or some luxury.

And you talk yourself into I deserve this.

How did you get through that?

So one of the biggest things that I had to do

was set my boundaries.

I can't use credit cards.

That's just a boundary of mine.

I don't use credit cards.

I use cash.

And if I do have to shop online, I use a prepaid debit card.

I know that there are certain stores I can't go into.

I can't go to at-home parties where somebody's

trying to sell to me.

I don't join Facebook groups that are groups of buy,

sell, trade, that kind of stuff.

I have certain boundaries that I have to do.

But I think the biggest thing for me

is I had a learn how to align my values and my spending.

So to make spending a reflection of what I valued most,

like family, faith, financial security, instead

of it being the opposite.

So many times people spend money on Starbucks and clothing.

And then they realize like why am I in such money trouble?

But it's because they're not spending

money a reflection of the things that they value the most.

And that's what's really important.

They're playing the music.

We can talk for a long time.

But get the book.

It's called "The Recovering Spender."

It's available wherever books are sold.

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