The Recovering Spender – Lauren Greutman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In The Recovering Spender, Lauren Greutman draws on her own life experience to teach invaluable lessons about living within your means.

To outsiders, Lauren and her husband, Mark, appeared as though they were living a charmed life. As she says, “On the surface, we had it all. Custom home, luxury cars, beautiful babies, and all the bells and whistles…” But disaster lurked beneath the surface.

Though the Greutmans seemed like they had more than enough for all their necessities and many luxuries, they were living way beyond their means simply to keep up with the neighbors. Too soon, they found themselves with a mortgage that had not been paid in months, their car seized and sky-high debt that reached $40,000.

Their dream had become an awful nightmare.

Through a long journey of recreating their relationship with money and spending, the Greutmans arrived at where they are today: back in the black and fully committed to spending less while living within their budget.

In The Recovering Spender, Greutman details the steps she and her family took to pull it off. She shares her hard-earned tips and practical advice to help others who find themselves ending each month with a deficit that keeps growing.

Lauren also shares many of her personal struggles in ways relatable to readers to help them learn from her mistakes. It’s easier for an over-stressed mom who never feels like she can stretch the dollar far enough to take tips from another mom who’s been there, than it is to heed advice from a financial expert who’s never experienced anxiety about being able to pay for groceries.

The book also takes readers through the process of going from being in the red to living completely debt-free, offering a step-by-step guide with actions readers can take immediately as they work their way through the book.

Some of the actionable chapters in the book include:

  1. Take an Inventory of Your Spending.
  2. Declutter Your Finances.
  3. Do an Expense Audit.
  4. Curb Your Spending and Define Your Values.

Most importantly, The Recovered Spender is a guide for getting off the path of debt, and living happily within your means.

Can you relate to Lauren’s experience? Have you successfully changed your spending habits? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments!

 

10 Ways to Make Extra Money From Home

Whether you’re saving for a vacation or just want to have a little more cash in your rainy day fund, we want to offer ideas to help you reach your goals. We’ve put together a list of easy ways to make extra money at home so a lack of funds doesn’t keep you from achieving your objectives. Keep reading for more.

Tutoring

The school year will be starting before we know it and with that comes students needing assistance with a variety of topics. From math and reading to helping with instruments, your expertise is valuable. Utilize your skills to help a student learn.

Photography

Another option for creative types is photography! Submitting your pictures to stock photo sites is a fun and artistic way to make some extra cash. If you want up to brush up on your photography skills to make this an option, visit your local public library to see if they may offer free classes.

Baking

If family and friends always rave about your cookies and cakes, why not take what you’re naturally good at and turn it into a business? You’ll be immersed in something you love and can make money doing it. Make sure to look up your county’s rules on food based home businesses before you get started.

Online surveys

If getting paid to share your opinion interests you then online surveys may be something to try. Many companies look to shoppers for feedback on the products and services they offer. Providing your thoughts can help improve a service, and you’ll get compensated for doing it.

Freelance writing/editorial work

If you’re the creative type and are good with words, freelance writing and editorial work may be right up your alley. There are many opportunities to be found from ghost writing blogs and articles to editing manuscripts. You can even take a look at your favorite magazine’s editorial calendar and consider submitting articles to be published.

Childcare

This option is great if you’re a stay at home parent. While you may have your hands full with your own children, watching after a few more for a fee can help bring in some much needed extra cash. If you have the space and energy, this is a lively option that will ensure you stay busy throughout the day.

Online jury

Did you know there’s such a thing as online jurors? As part of an online jury you provide opinions and feedback on potential cases that attorneys are working on. If you’re interested in the legal system this may help provide a little insight into the jury process.

Crafting

Are you a master crafter? If you are skilled at making clothes or jewelry, knitting, embroidery, crocheting, monogramming or any other craft, selling your creations can prove to be a worthwhile endeavor. The website Etsy is a great starting point for a side business like this.

Customer service

Many companies hire home based service representatives to provide assistance to their customers. This is a common way to make extra money from home. Before you sign up for a gig like this be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau for additional information on the credibility of the company.

Garage Sale

What better way to make money and get rid of stuff you been meaning to clean out than a garage sale? The saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You may have some hidden gems in your home that neighbors and visitors will be willing to dish out cash for.

Now that you have some ideas on how to add a little extra cash to your wallet, you can put the extra money you make aside in one of our savings accounts. You can establish any number of *share savings accounts at Insight Credit Union and watch your money grow for whatever purpose you choose such as a vacation, new car, or holiday shopping.

Have you had success with any of the options above? Share your story in the comments below.

*Federally Insured by NCUA

April is Financial Literacy Month!

iStock_000016288401_Large.jpgIn the United States, April has been deemed Financial Literacy Month.  The goal of FLM is to help Americans understand the importance of managing their money and credit.  During the month of April, you will notice articles, blog post, workshops and community challenges focused around how we can improve our own finances.  In a moment, close your eyes and think about all the things you require in life and consider which of these do not require money.  Then think about all the things you want in life and consider what you can get without money.  Money touches every aspect of our lives, yet we put little focus on it in one way or another.

This month, no matter how intimidating it may seem, be bold and make a decision to improve at least one area of your financial life.  Each person’s goal may be different.  Maybe you want to become debt free. Your goal is to build the budget that helps you get there – a road map to financial freedom.  Maybe you want to better understand how to manage your bank account. You can learn how to manage your money by signing up for a workshop, purchasing a book or doing research on the internet. Maybe your goal is to finally open an account for your child so you can start saving for his or her future. Whatever your goal, there are tons of resources out there to help you achieve all of your financial goals. Check out some of the resources below:

You can also stop by any of our branches if you need help or have questions.  The point is taking control of your finances begins and ends with you, but you have to start somewhere.  Just know, we are rooting for you and we are happy to help you in any way we can!

 

The “B” Word…Budget

Letter B

B is for Budget

Part 2: Budgeting 101

We all know what it is. We cringe when we hear it. Parents pound it into our heads when we get to college and as adults we still look at it like it has three heads. The dreaded…Budget. But why is it such a bad word? People hear ‘budget’ and might associate it with words like restriction, limited, negative, tight and hard. However, if we simply change the word, we might be able to change the perception too. Instead of budget, let’s consider the term “spending plan”, because that’s all a budget is! A spending plan is your road map to how you want to spend your money. Liberating, isn’t it? You get to spend your money the way you want to have the lifestyle you so desire! Today we are going to review the steps to creating a livable spending plan. Don’t just look at these steps and move on. Sit down and complete them, so you can create a liberating spending plan that’s all about you!

Preparation 1: List your SMART goals.
Smart goals are Specific, Measurable, Adjustable, Realistic and Time-Oriented. For example: I am going to pay off the $3,000 (measurable) I owe on my car in 10 months (time-oriented) by making $335 payments monthly (specific and realistic). Two months later, I run into a medical emergency and I have to drop my payment by $50 for two months. Then I bring it back to the original goal. That makes this plan adjustable as needed.

Preparation 2: Identify Your Spending Leaks
What is a spending leak? A spending leak is a place where you are overspending money. For example, how much money could you save by getting that large caramel macchiato with an extra shot only on weekends or every other day instead of everyday?

Step 1: List all your income
This includes salary, bonuses, interest, tax refunds, incoming child support, etc.

Step 2: Determine where your money goes
List all your expenses and don’t forget to PAY YOURSELF FIRST. Savings should be your first expense no matter how much or little you start putting in. This is the step where you build your SMART goals into your budget.

Step 3: Balance your income and expenses
If you have more income than expenses, you can save more money! If you have more expenses than income, you will have to work on those spending leaks!

Step 4: Develop a good tracking system
There are so many different ways to track your system. Insight members can access Balance through our website for worksheets and great information. That is available here. If you are not a member, the internet has great options as well. Check this website out. The important part is to find a system that resonates well in you.

Step 5: Manage the system
Be flexible. Stay on top of things. Change what you need to make the system better for you. Communicate the system to anyone involved in the budget like your spouse!

Do you want more information on this topic? Email us at FreeSeminars@InsightCreditUnion.com to request a community seminar in your area! And be sure to stay tuned for Part 3 of our series…we’ll be talking Identity Theft.