Spending Diary: A Week in Lake St. Louis, Missouri, on a Teacher's Salary

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Tired after a day of work and don't feel like cooking? Takeout it is! Picking up a coffee before work and can't help but treat your co-workers, too? Sharing is caring! Want to spoil your pup? Of course—he's such a good boy!

We've all been there—and those impulses are hard to resist.

But as passionate as we are about treating yourself and friends every once in a while, we're just as passionate about helping our viewers save their hard-earned money and a reach a place of financial stability.

For that, we rely on a little help from our friends—like frugal living expert Lauren Greutman.

When a self-proclaimed over spender named Jamie came to us for advice on how to increase her savings and start paying off her $11,000 credit card debt, we asked her to track her spending for a week. That way, Lauren (who paid off $40,000 of debt herself!) could better help her adjust her spending habits.

Name: Jamie 

Location: Lake St. Louis, Missouri 

Occupation and Salary: "I am a teacher living on a teacher's salary, but my spending does not reflect that." 

Debt: Over $11,000 

DAY 1 

"I am sitting in a drive-through for fast food. Do I have food at home? Yeah, I probably do have food at home, but I don't feel like cooking and that's the story of my life."

DAY 2 

Jamie spent $21.91 on takeout pizza and pasta for dinner.

DAY 5 

Breakfast: $7.94 

"This morning I was struggling, and I stopped by the local bakery and I got a coffee for myself and I got a breakfast sandwich for another teacher friend."

Dinner: Jamie ordered takeout chicken sandwich and waffle fries.

DAY 6 

Jamie went shopping and purchased peroxide, Q-tips, two ice packs for her classroom, candy and toothpaste—plus, a Double Diner Mat (on sale for $10.97), a costume ($12.99) and shirt (on clearance) for her dog.

She spent $70.87 in total.

"Knowing that everybody's going to see what I bought kind of slowed me down. Typically, I wouldn't look at a price." 

DAY 8 

Jamie went out to lunch with friends and ordered Buffalo dip ($9.99), a cheeseburger ($10.29) and an unsweetened tea. Later, she purchased a Tiger's Blood snow cone ($5), a Bahama Mama ($8) and kettle corn ($5).


Click here for the advice Lauren gave Jamie to help curb her spending, save money and pay off her debt—including three easy and delicious make-ahead freezer meals you can make in a slow cooker. (Takeout, who??)

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