Review: The Recovering Spender by Lauren Greutman

I’m just going to start this review on the mention that I have mixed feelings about this book. The root of how I ended up picking this up? I started combing through a number of narratives on personal finance, savings, debt-free living, and managing income – this ended up being one of the recommended reads from my library. (And I’ll admit, I loved reading Money Girl’s Smart Moves to Grow Rich – that had everything I needed for information and then some. But you know, the more information you can gather from multiple sources on any topic, the better. Consider it being a part of my research-oriented mind.)

I fully expected this to be a combination of a personal story blended with self-improvement tips on how not to make the same mistakes the author did in terms of personal finances. It was – to say the least – fascinating hearing about Lauren Greutman’s life and how her upbringing and life experiences played a role in her spending habits, which grew to excess and put financial strain on herself as well as her family. There were some broad strokes for debt assumption and statement that I didn’t like (i.e. notations about social class, labels attributed to people who aren’t “Spenders” – which made me side-eye the book more than once. Couldn’t there have been a better term to use than “tightwads?” Oy vey.), but at the very least I could appreciate that Greutman seemed honest about how she came to realize she had a problem and what she had to do to get back on track (though some explanations didn’t feel as helpful as others).

It takes about half the book to get into the meat and potatoes of factors that go into overspending (emotional states, triggers, 12-steps to recovery). Greutman’s text is easy to read and fly through the narrative, as it’s conversational and leaning towards a quirky tone. She continues to interweave parts of her own narrative through the 12-steps of the second part of the book. It was a decent read and worth the time spent, though I feel there are other narratives that have presented the same topics in a more accurate, concrete, and inclusive way.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars.

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