Hi there! I’m Lauren, founder of The Determined Dollar blog and a Dave Ramsey-trained financial coach.
Why do I love to nerd-out over a budget? Well, to be honest, I haven’t always been this way. I used to loathe budgeting and I’d even avoid looking at my bank account!
Because I never knew how much money I had, I always erred on the side of extreme frugality.
Except when I didn’t. And that got me into some trouble.
Then I married my husband Kyle and we decided that being on the same page with money was important to us. We also made a commitment not to go into debt once my student loan was paid off.
The first few months were the toughest, but it got a lot better and easier as we focused on working as a team.
We paid off my student loan and started saving for our move back to the states.
Oh yeah, we lived in Guam our first year of marriage while Kyle was in the Navy. That was a fun adventure, although searching for stateside jobs from the other side of the world was less than ideal. So we built up a solid emergency fund to help get us through the transition of finding jobs and a place to live once we moved to Colorado.
And since a move across the world wasn’t enough of a challenge (just kidding), we decided to throw grad school into the mix. I did my classes online while Kyle worked on his master’s at Denver Seminary. By this time, we were living on my teacher’s salary and cash-flowing the rest of my degree.
Living on a modest salary and paying for grad school out-of-pocket required sacrifice, careful budgeting, and very little discretionary spending. We made the most of it and today I can truly say that I wouldn’t change anything about that journey. The hard work was totally worth it!
Two years later in May 2015, we both graduated and welcomed our twin daughters, Annalise and Evelyn. That was a CRAZY month. The sleep deprivation made the summer feel like one long, blurry day.
As Kyle started his new job and I settled into my new full-time career as mom to the twins, we applied the same determination we had when we paid for grad school to now feeding and clothing two more human beings.
The budget became ever-more precious to me as I breathed a sigh of relief every time we balanced it and planned for the month to come. It gave me reassurance that we had enough.
As Christians we also feel strongly about giving on a regular basis, not because of any rule or obligation, but out of gratitude and the belief that the money we earn belongs to God. He's the owner and we're the managers. I’m not saying this because we’re saints or anything like that (SO far from it), but because where we place our money is a reflection of our values.
Not to mention, we have practical goals, too. We want to help our children afford college, and to retire well, and have a little fun in the meantime..
For us, adding the "kid category" to the budget meant going back to the basics and not trying to accomplish everything at once.
By focusing strategically on one financial goal at a time, we were able to save more aggressively, spend more efficiently, and have more peace about the future.
I became even more excited about our budget as I saw that it kept working for us, even as we had been through several major life events, and a passion to help others attain financial freedom and to eliminate the overwhelm was ignited.
Now I have the privilege of helping others work through financial challenges and crush their goals.
If you're ready to get your finances on track, you can email me below or schedule a complimentary consultation. Can't wait to hear from you!