Are You a Saver or a Spender?

Are You a Saver or a Spender?

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Becoming debt free and starting to really make your money work towards your values instead of against them excites many of us!  We’ve lived the debt-burdened life and don’t want it anymore.  We proudly wear the title of “recovering spender.”

(This post contains affiliate links.)

I received a copy of The Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman in order to review it. Since my husband and I paid off all our debt several years ago using Dave Ramsey’s plan, I was excited to see what insights Lauren had to bring.  Let me just say that Lauren opens up her life in this book.  It’s not just a list of what you need to do, but it speaks to the heart of the spender and says, “You can regain control of your life!  You don’t have to feel ashamed and out of control any more.  There is hope.  Here is my story.  This is what I’ve learned and I’m going to share exactly what I did with you.”  And she truly does.

Lauren opens up about the prideful, tough moments of her life, how she became a spender and how she is in recovery from it and always will be.  She shares exactly how she and her husband paid off over $40,000 of debt in about four years.  She breathes fresh hope into the lives of other spenders.  But this book is not only for spenders.  It’s got something great for savers too–some great tips on how to save more money, make more money, and how to help the spender in your life, especially if you are married to one.

The Recovering Spender Book - Someone might have said you aren't capable of handling money - that is a lie

Spender or Saver?

In order to get out of debt and save money for the things we hold dear, many times we first have to take a step back and see what money actually means to us.  How do we use money?  Are we more of a Spender or a Saver? Then, we can see how best to approach our view of money and change it to work for us instead of against us.

You may be a spender if you…

  • Purchase things on impulse like a new outfit, a dog, an expensive purse, or a house!Knowing your triggers & Setting your Boundaries-It is much easier to say no before you are triggered than when you are stuck right in the middle of an emotion.-
  • Hide purchases in your trunk so your spouse won’t see them.
  • Feel guilty about the money that you’ve spent.
  • Try not to spend money but then see something and blow your budget.
  • Don’t have a budget. Budget? No, that’s too constraining!
  • Have a budget but try to figure out how to rearrange the money so you can purchase that item.
  • Have credit card debt that rolls over from month to month.
  • Feel crushed by the amount of debt you owe, but can’t stop spending.
  • Buy things when you feel stressed.
  • Don’t know how much money you have in your bank accounts.
  • Don’t know how much money you owe or when the bills are due.

You may be a saver if you…

  • Want to put your spouse on an allowance.
  • Cringe at the thought of your spouse doing the grocery shopping.
  • Buy only exactly what you need and nothing more.
  • Know how much is in checking, savings, retirement, etc.
  • Know exactly how much money you owe and when it will be paid off.
  • Aware of the bill due dates.
  • Don’t like “wasting” money.


The Recovering Spender

Whether you are a Spender or married to one, Lauren Greutman’s new book, The Recovering Spender, is a must-read.

As a Spender…

you will learn how to regain control of your life and stop feeling ashamed of the money spent.

As a Saver…

you will learn how to engage the Spender in your life in a way that truly encourages them to make adult choices instead of treating them like a child and putting them on an allowance.

A deal isn't a good deal if you can't afford it.

Financial Bucket List

As a Spender herself, Lauren made highly impulsive decisions, from coming home with a pug on a whim to charging $12,000 on her credit card to win a “free” car to going away with her husband to visit her brother-in-law and coming back with a deed to a new home!  What finally made her change was something simple, but it took a lot of practice.  She sat down separately from her husband and thought about what she truly valued. In the book, she provides a “Financial Bucket List” so you can write down what you value in different areas of life. Then, it’s important to come together with your spouse and to discuss both of your values.What changed me from being a careless Spender- (3)

By doing this, you will be able to use your money to work towards your values instead of against those goals. Then Lauren took action, finding ways to save money and to make money as a stay-at-home mom, so that they could pay down their debt and save money for the things they valued most!


Take a minute and list in your mind a few things that you value.

No worries, I can wait…

“My guess is that you weren’t thinking about upgrading your cable package or buying that new Coach purse you’ve been coveting.  In fact, that question probably helped you to think about your money in a whole new light.  You probably thought about your family, your faith, your job, or your health.  Those things that you think about, those are your true values, so start making your spending a reflection of your true value system.” – The Recovering Spender

When we see that the value of money is really about aligning it with our core values, we get a real sense of purpose and it becomes easier to change our spending habits to meet those values.

 The “B”-word

One of the things that impressed me the most was how Lauren was able to take the dread out of the “B”-word (Budget) and turn it into a comforting tool.  She encourages us to establish our budget in a different way than I’ve seen before. Her method seems less frustrating and complicated than what I’ve done in the past, and her approach sets you up for success instead of failure.

The Right Budget for You - Lauren Greutman - The Recovering Spender

Money in Marriage

When you are married, it is extremely important to understand each other’s values.  It’s the starting point to openly communicating and working together to keep finances from tearing your marriage apart. Start dealing with:

  • The Underlying Financial issues in your relationship

  • Be aware of your culture differences

  • Make a Financial Bucket List together

  • Make your marriage flourish

    -The Recovering Spender

About her marriage, Lauren states:

“The biggest reason we were able to be on the same page was because we were communicating and taking responsibility for our own actions.  There was no more finger-pointing and blaming, only a team effort working toward the same goals.”

She gives many great tips about how couples who have completely different value systems around money can come together, discuss, and work towards the same goal.  Financial issues do not have to destroy marriages!

Hope & Purpose

Through the pages of Lauren’s book we see hope for those who struggle with spending money and purpose.  We see that we can learn what we didn’t know before, and we can create new habits that align with our values. In doing this, we see from her example, that we can free our lives from the chains of debt and we can also free ourselves from cluttering our lives with things that can never truly make us happy.  Reflecting on her journey that was filled with so much pain, loss, and out of control habits, she said,

“I feel like I am doing exactly what God has called me to do, which is use my weakness to teach others.  To teach you how you, too, can become a Recovering Spender.” – Lauren Greutman

Be encouraged to live a fulfilled, debt-free life and pick up all Lauren’s tips and tricks on how she did it in her book, The Recovering Spender!



Check out Lauren’s new book as well as a few of her others.

(Plus, I added my favorite erasable pens.  I found these extremely helpful for budgeting and planning out events and writing bill due dates on our calendar.)

Other encouraging posts…

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Are you a Saver or a Spender- pinterest (4)
A Nightmare that became a Blessing

A Nightmare that became a Blessing

I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.

I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

5 years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night from a nightmare.  A nightmare that eventually came true, but turned out to be a major blessing instead of a nightmare.

How did a nightmare turn into a blessing?  Good question. I believe it only turned out that way because we were obedient to God’s calling!

It all started in the Summer of 2010

We came across a book called Walking with God by John Eldredge and it completely changed our prayer life. Between this book and scripture, we saw how God really wants us to pray. Instead of stating to God our plans and asking him to bless them or close the door, we started asking God what all he had planned and how to follow them.  Once we started doing this, our life literally turned upside down and it has been an amazing ride.

December 2010

I woke up in the middle of the night convinced my husband didn’t have a job.  It felt so real. My husband had to calm me down and convince me that he indeed had a job and nothing was on the horizon that he could see that would indicate otherwise.

January 2011

My husband came to me and said through prayer, he believed God wanted us to sell our house, get out of debt, and buy some land.  It would be an understatement to say I was shocked by this.  I was 5 months pregnant, we lived in the house we brought all our children home to and once we purchased this house, I did not plan on moving….obviously, my plan, not God’s.

I never intended to move from the house, we brought our kids home to, but God had different plans.

I never intended to move from the house, we brought our kids home to, but God had different plans.

Ironically, for the previous 2 years God had been working on me in the area of submission.  I wish I could say that I immediately agreed to submit to God’s plan but that didn’t happen.  I actually fought it! I tried to convince my husband that God just wanted us to get our financial house in order instead of actually selling the house.  Thankfully, my husband wasn’t convinced.

June 2011

I called my husband at work and let him know that a real estate agent would be coming that Friday to look at the house.  Needless to say, he was shocked and this was our conversation:

My husband: “Why?”

Me:”You told me God told us to sell the house, right!?!

My husband:  “Yes, but I never thought you would agree to it.”

Me: “I know.  I’m sorry.  She is coming on Friday.”

JULY 2011

With a 3 month old, a 2 year old & a 3 year old, our house officially went on the market on July 15.  Within a week, we had a cash offer. with a stipulation…they wanted our dining room table and my clock collection.

I felt like someone punched me below the belt.  First, I lose my house and now I’m supposed to give up the only thing I collect?!?

This first real big test of listening to God was an eye opening experience.  We prayed about this cash offer and what we heard was not “yes” or “no” but “It doesn’t matter.” We truly didn’t understand what that meant until months later.

At the time, I came to terms with the fact that it truly didn’t matter.  These were just things. Physical. God was calling us and even though I didn’t want to loose my stuff, I figured he had a good reason, if for nothing else to teach me to put Him first, so we agreed to the offer and then I cried.  I never dreamed I could be so attached to stuff.  It was heartbreaking from that realization alone, but I was thankful for God to help me realize it.

October 2011

Month after month went by and we kept getting excuses as to why the closing had to be pushed back. Then finally we learned that the couple did not actually have the cash in hand.  They were waiting for a pay out they had not yet received.

It Didn’t Matter! God was so right that “It doesn’t matter,” because in the end that couple didn’t end up purchasing the house.  Once the house was back on the market, we received another offer.  This time they only wanted the house.

December 15, 2011

4 years ago today, we signed the paperwork and handed the keys to the house over to a wonderful couple. We were excited to see where God would lead us but truly had no idea where or when this would take place.

We did know that with less money tied up in a big house, we could pay off the debts we had been trying to pay off much faster.

Dave Ramsey


Summer & Fall of 2012

During the summer of 2012, using the Total Money Makeover plan, we paid off all our remaining debt, saved up 6 months of income (thanks to my husband’s bonuses), paid cash for a celebratory trip to Disney world & then did our debt free scream on the Dave Ramsey show.

By this time, God decided to challenge us in other areas of our lives too like where we were attending worship. We had never prayed about it and once we did, we realized, He again had a different plan than we did. Get all the amazing details to this story here.


Celebratory vacation to Disney World!

Fast forward a few years to 2015 – present

We now have four kids instead of three and we are officially land owners.  We were able to purchase a piece of property that not only answered our prayers but also matched our pocketbook! The amazing part is we found the land in January, 4 years after my husband listened to God’s calling to sell our house, pay off debt and buy land!

We found a piece of land in January. 5 years after God told my husband to sell the house, pay off debt & buy land.

We found a piece of land in January, 4 years after God told my husband to sell the house, pay off debt & buy land.

Then after changing companies due to divisions being sold or companies being acquired, my husband found himself without a position.  It was the biggest blessing that could have happened.

If it hadn’t of been for the Holy Spirit urging us to sell our house almost 5 years ago, we would have been stuck in a nightmare situation with a big house payment and barely anything in savings. My husband would have been forced to take the first job that came along just to make the house payments or we would have had to sell the house and lots of stress would have been felt from many different angles.  It would have been a nightmare situation instead of a blessing.

As it is, my husband has been able to care for his grandparents, who had some serious issues pop up this summer, find them the proper care they needed and take his time in finding a position that suited him best, one where he can glorify God most and use the talents God has given him to benefit the company too.  We are still actively waiting on where God will place him but trust in His timing.

Loving Grandparents

What a blessing!

Throughout this past 5 years our faith and trust in God has grown tremendously.  We have learned to rely on His plans and not on our own.  I’ve learned to submit to my husband and my God (the majority of the time) and because of our obedience we see his blessings in our life that we didn’t dream of 5 years ago.

Psalm 145 is what my heart has clung to during all these years:

The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, LORD;
your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all the people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
and faithful in all he does.
Psalm 145:9-13 (NIV)

How have you experienced God’s blessings because of your obedience?

Has he ever used something you feared to bring you closer to him in a glorious way?




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