After hearing about her and seeing Lauren Greutman‘s name often over the past couple years, I was excited to learn more about her through her new book, the Recovering Spender.
This book is not just for someone who needs a little direction in making a budget. It’s not just for someone who needs help picking a stock. As Lauren puts it:
I wrote the book for the not-so-saavy spenders. The forgotten people when it comes to money management. We are the black sheep in the finance class, sitting in the back of the room slouched down with our heads hung low.
She wrote the Recovering Spender for the person who spends as a compulsion – an addiction – and she frames the book through that lens, starting with herself.
The first half of the book is Lauren’s story of getting her family into $40,000 worth of debt and the trials and errors of getting out of it. She is very open with her flaws and missteps, and this genuineness allows the reader to easily find where they can relate to her story.
I really liked the way Lauren weaved stories about her childhood and upbringing into the narrative, and explained that a lot of our behaviors and attitudes toward money have been ingrained from youth. She gives a really good example of how two people with different value systems about money, based on social class, can have serious conflicts in a marriage as a result.
We don’t often realize how our views about money start from a young age. Whether it is directly from lessons taught to us by our parents, or by our reactions to experiences in our childhood (e.g. I am going to give my child everything I couldn’t have as a child). Lauren stresses the importance of acknowledging all these thought patterns in making steps toward a successful recovery.
The 12 Recovering Spender Steps
In the second half of the book, Lauren takes the reader through 12 steps of recovery… similar to the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. From her experience working with people with addictions, Lauren was able to diagnose her own issues with spending and create this plan which she is still utilizing in her own life.
Each of the 12 steps contains practical information, application, and a real-life example of someone’s recovery experience. Having real people with real experiences is always a helpful tool, and having Lauren share tips that she uses everyday makes the information seem more realistic.
At the end of the book, Lauren provides worksheets to help you sort out your financial state of mind, budget, and more.
If your spending is out of control, if you have tried and failed to budget or save, or if your relationship is in trouble because of monetary issues, please read this book. I love that it is not just a book on how to get out of credit card debt (let’s say), but it looks deeper at the source of the issue.
It is equally important that she does give good, applicable advice to change your situation once you realize what is going. Do I think spending is an addiction for many? Yes. Do, I think everyone who shares some of these issues has an addiction? I am not quite as convinced as the author is, but I DO believe that we should all do the same work she prescribes to figure out the problem from the root.
I also believe that for many, the changes do need to be life-long. For varying reasons, we need the ‘fences’ she talks about to protect us from old thinking and habits.
This book is a really good one.