Lauren Greutman, otherwise known as ‘That Lady’ from IAmThatLady.com, and her husband Mark are in the middle of building the New American Dream. Working side-by-side on a daily basis, the Greutmans made a decision to “retire Mark early” from his job as an actuary and focus on building their business, their blog, and their podcast at IAmThatLady.com.
What started as a part-time blog for Lauren, writing about extreme couponing, money saving principles, and how to raise a family on less is now a thriving business that supports Lauren and her family of 6.
Check out Lauren’s Financial Renovation Course! In the free course, she’ll share:
√ Learn how to create a budget
√ Learn how to stick to that budget
√ Learn a complete financial blueprint for success
√ Talk about how to get your spouse on board
√ Discover how to create a financial plan that WORKS!
√ A special opportunity to go even deeper!
Lauren and Mark’s origin story probably sounds much like a majority of Americans. They found themselves $40,000 in credit card debt, driving cars they could barely afford, living in a house that most 40 year olds would love — at the age of 25. While both had great jobs and high income, they found themselves struggling to make ends meet living this Big Spender lifestyle.
Lauren was, at the time, addicted to spending. She freely admits she loved buying ‘stuff’ whether it was throw pillows for the couch or bigger items that just made her feel good. By the time she realized that they were seriously in over her head, she spread all the bills out on the bed and had a heart to heart with Mark. Lauren said Mark was “very supportive” and that his approach was simply to “get the problem under control”.
So they got honest, they got serious, and they got intent on getting themselves out of the situation of living off of credit. Within two years, they had downsized everything — moved out of their sprawling home and into an 800 square foot rental home, got rid of the expensive cars, and formed a budget that worked for them. They sold massive amounts of furniture and “stuff” on craigslist, raising thousands of dollars to pay down the debt.
During this period of their marriage, both Mark and Lauren realized the challenges that come with a full-time job with a major commute and a collicky baby. While Mark spent hours a day driving to and from the job, Lauren tried to build the business while simultaneously raising their 4 children. As Lauren’s income from the business grew, her patience with the current situation waned.
And so, as a result of buckling down, paying off debt, and building a bigger life, Mark quit his (high paying job) as an actuary and is now helping Lauren build IAmThatLady.com, testing recipes and posting the successes on the site that is rapidly growing in popularity. The two of them also record their own podcast where they talk through the events of their life, how to save, and often answering the questions of their fan base.
When asked what she would tell a family in the same situation they found themselves in, Lauren had this to say:
- Figure out what values you hold. Lauren and Mark have a financial bucket list about where their money should go. “If you value sending your kids to college, but you can’t afford your grocery bill, then maybe you shouldn’t spend $200 on cable every month.” Living in accordance with your financial goals should be about spending money where it most makes sense for your family. Too many families today aren’t living in accordance with their family values when it comes to their spending.
- Setting a budget. Knowing how much you have to spend actually liberates you to a certain extent, according to Lauren. She and Mark operate on a cash basis, even though she admitted to forgetting the cash now and again and using the debit card (something that causes frustration with Mark and his numerous spreadsheets!). Whether it’s a budget or a spending plan, the key is to know how much is coming in and how much is going out.
- Get excited about where you’re going financially. Set long term goals, make a plan for what you most want to accomplish, and get excited about the possibilities! Lauren says it’s the plan for their future that keeps them plugging along in their business. Their future goals today are around creating even more freedom for others by sharing their successes.
I read a beautiful post that Lauren wrote about what it means to her to have her husband by her side in creating this business. Super touching, super raw – Lauren wrote it at a time when they were trying to justify Mark leaving a job he’d trained his entire life to get. Please read Being Broke Is Enough by Lauren Greutman to get a sense of their ‘Why’ behind the major decisions they made around their financial life.
Books that Lauren recommends:
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
Find more Lauren at www.IAmThatLady.com
as well as her:
Listen in on their Life On A Budget podcast.