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    Singled Out Sister Lauren and Her Financial Journey to Debt Free

    Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and read about Singled Out sister, Lauren, and her journey to becoming debt free.

    Singled Out: Lauren, thank you so much for being willing to share your story with the Singled Out readers. There are many readers who are looking for guidance and direction in their lives in the area of finances so I’m thankful that you are sharing your journey today. I understand that you have paid off quite a bit of debt over the years! So what started off your financial journey?
    Lauren: Of course! I’m glad to share. So my financial journey started about two and a half years ago. I was a single homeowner, with $54,000 in debt, and no savings. Something had to change. I was depressed, anxious, and scared about my financial situation. I had one friend who was a Christian, and she told me about a program her pastor was talking about at her church called Financial Peace University. I signed up and started working through the steps to get out of debt. I did the debt snowball and my life started changing. Dave Ramsey teaches people how to get out of debt based on biblical principles of personal finance. I felt hope, got out of debt in less than two years, and met God through the process.  
    Singled Out: Wow. What a beautiful story. I love how God gave you freedom from finances and freedom in walking with Him! I know a lot of our readers struggle with finances and believe that they will always be like that. Overall, have finances been a strong point in your life or a struggle?
    What Lauren claims as her first big financial mistake: financing her Ford Focus
    Lauren: They had been a struggle my whole life. I grew up watching my parents use credit cards, finance cars, etc. I never knew anything different. I financed my first brand new vehicle (a Ford Focus) when I was 24. I financed furniture for my apartment with credit cards. I bought a house with a 3% down payment and financed all of the improvements with credit cards. I completely buried myself. But for the first time in my life, I am financially strong. I am out of debt, and have 6 months of expenses saved. I no longer live paycheck to paycheck. I have begun investing for my future.
    Singled Out: That is amazing! Who you were or always have been does not have to be who you are now. So you mentioned that when you started to take the Dave Ramsey class that things began to change. I’m sure that came with making some big adjustments in your life. When you started being intentional about money, what were some of the most difficult things to give up?
    Lauren with her mom and Dave Ramsey
    Lauren: It was difficult giving up going out to restaurants and giving up new clothes. I didn’t buy new clothes for 2 years while I was getting out of debt. But it was worth it!
    Singled Out: Two years of no new clothes!? That is such dedication. It must’ve been difficult cutting out restaurants too. Were your friends supportive of your new journey?
    Lauren: Honestly, I did not share my struggles with many friends, which was a mistake. I felt a lot of shame about the financial mess I was in. The friends I did share my journey with were very supportive.
    Singled Out: I’m sure Satan whispered those lies to you. I’m glad you were able to find a few friends who were supportive though. I know Dave is a big supporter of accountability and this can be a struggle as a single girl since we don’t have a spouse to go to. Who was your accountability partner?
    Lauren: My best friend happens to be a Financial Advisor. He was my accountability partner and helped me with budgeting.
    Singled Out: That’s awesome! It’s so important to have someone who is financially wise as your accountability partner. So how has singleness (meaning not being married, including if you are dating or in a relationship) played a part in your finances?
    Lauren: I felt a lot more fear about finances being single. If I lost my job, had a health problem, etc. I had no backup plan, no other income to count on. I feel a lot better now that I have an emergency fund saved. I started uber driving in addition to working my regular job to get out of debt faster. Having more than one stream of income is something I would highly recommend for a single person!
    Singled Out: Thank you for your honesty in the struggle. For me, I never thought I’d have to provide for myself. I always pictured being married and having my husband provide the income. It has been a huge journey of faith and growth learning to work and provide for myself and trust God in the process. So as a single person, community and being with people is vital. I know you cut out shopping and eating out; so what did you do and what do you do now for fun while saving money?
    Lauren: I love to go hiking! It is free and healthy. I am also very involved at my church; I enjoy volunteering - another free activity that helps others and gives me the fellowship I need in life.
    Singled Out: I love it. What a great perspective. So for those readers who are dating, can you share how finances have affected past dating relationships? And does it factor in to who you want to date?
    Lauren: Absolutely. While I was trying to get out of debt, I dated somebody who also had a lot of debt. It was very stressful because I was working hard to get out of debt, while he was accumulating more. We were not on the same page. He made me feel bad for working so much instead of spending time with him. Our values were different, and we were on very different pages with our financial goals. The relationship ended because of it. I also recently dated somebody with $300,000 in debt, and I ended the relationship because of it. It so important to be on the same page as your partner with finances – financial stress is the number one cause of divorce. It is something I bring up early in dating relationships.
    Singled Out: That must’ve been so difficult. But that is so brave of you to be wise in that aspect. Lauren, you’ve done a lot of brave and hard things. What would you say has been the biggest success of your financial journey?
    Lauren: Being able to help a friend financially who tragically lost her fiancée last year. That is something I would not have been able to do had I been in debt, and not handling my money responsibly. That is the best thing about being debt free. When God calls you to help somebody, you can show up for them.
    Singled Out: Beautifully said. I really appreciate you sharing your heart with us today, Lauren. In closing, what would you encourage other single women who find themselves struggling in their finances to do?
    Lauren: I encourage single women to pay off all your debt as quickly as you can. I encourage creating multiple income streams for yourself. Make a budget every month, and have a friend that can help you as an accountability partner and encourage you. Save for emergencies. Have a plan and educate yourself about finances!
    Lauren is a Stewardship Advisor at Ramsey Solutions residing in Franklin, TN with her two chorkies. She helps churches all across America set up, promote, and execute successful Financial Peace University classes. She is passionate about helping bring people hope in their financial lives, and helping Pastors use Financial Peace as a tool to reach the lost and introduce them to Christ.

    Here is Dave Ramsey’s website here:

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