I received The Recovering Spender for free for review. I was not otherwise compensated for this post. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Burke Does!
It’s no secret that I’ve been really into reading finance books lately. I find inspiration and motivation in hearing and reading debt-free stories on a daily basis. To me, it’s particularly empowering to see it happen to real people. My starting debt of 22K is so little compared to the 100s of thousands that I see others dealing with but to me it feels like a crushing weight that I carry with me daily. The more progress I make, the more these mean to me.
I used to think “personal finance” was just one category but their are so many intricacies to it. But you know what everyone agrees on: You need to get out of debt. Now, there are different intricacies to the how, the why, and the with what intensity, but the point is still the same.
Rarely, though, do I hear people talk about what got them there in the first place. And far too often, I’ve heard stories of “We got out all our credit card debt only to get back into it.”
This is where Lauren Greutman’s The Recovering Spender makes all the difference.
How do you get started?
When the pain of staying in debt is greater than the pain of changing your spending habits, then you will make the changes needed to get out of debt. [emphasis original]
And I totally get it. Someone emailed me today asking, “I do have a question for you if you don’t mind me asking. Given how money conscious you are I’m curious why you decided to take on so much debt in the first place?” While I gave him the logical answer- I had to have surgery during college, blah blah blah. But I’d be lying if at least part of the answer was that I didn’t feel that money. I mean, I knew at some point that I would be paying for it, but I didn’t thin the debt would hurt so much.
The pain is what woke me up. It was the suffocation that was affecting my sleep and was physically weighing on me. It woke me up to the fact that I wanted to get out of debt way more than I want that new sweater.
Lauren’s wake up moment involved realizing that she and her husband were $40,000 into debt with one kid, one kid on the way, and underwater on their home.
Your Money Values
Here’s a concept that’s not foreign to millennials: How you spend your money says something about you. This is what made Toms, the shoe people, or that Three Cups of Tea Book (before it was mostly proven to be fabricated) so popular. Whether you have a Mac or a PC, if there’s a sticker on your laptop, whether you’re pro or con women using the word “just”, these things say something about you. Why would it be unique then that how you spend your money says something about you. This was a huge theme in the book!
It’s really about the vision, emotions, and values behind what you are doing with your money.
Yes, yes it is. This is why people want to #ShopLocal or #EatLocal or do whatever you feel is best to do with your money and you’re instagramming about.
Make a Plan
The second half of the book is about turning the will to change into the plan to change.
You spend money when you don’t have a plan, then you make impulsive purchases and have no idea where you money goes. You try to stick to a bought, but don’t really know how to set one up so that it actually works. Because you don’t budget, you fail at handling your finances. This vicious cycle continues over and over again.
Umm… *Raise Hand Emoji* I never plan to go off track in my spending. I always plan to stick to my budget, to crush my goals, to make a killer debt payment that month, but when all it takes is one trip up- going grocery shopping for “one quick thing” while hungry or something I’ve already been eyeing going on sale- and it could all be gone.
I found Lauren Greutman’s The Recovering Spender an extremely enjoyable read. I think it lays out a solid plan for someone wanting to start changing their lives. As she speaks from her own experience, Lauren emphasizes that it will not be easy, but it will be worth it. Every day that I knock off a little more debt, when I wake up and realize I can use my Travel Fund plus two Southwest Vouchers I have to pay for my flight to FinCon without borrowing from my bank buffer, or when the end of the month checkins open my eyes to the fact that I have a couple of extra bucks I can put towards my debt this month, I can feel the pressure on my chest getting lighter. I feel better. I can breathe more easily. It’s not easy now to have to say no to regular date nights. (True story: Casey and I celebrated our 1000 day anniversary last night by going to the Early Bird Dinner at a Hibachi Restaurant to save $15.) At the end of the day, though, when 2017 comes around and I don’t have any more credit card debt, I know it will have been worth it.
I enjoyed The Recovering Spender and would strongly recommend you pick it up! Lauren is giving away some awesome stuff over on her site right now if you pre-order the book, so CLICK HERE TO GO TO AMAZON and buy The Recovering Spender. Then CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR YOUR BONUSES.
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.