Exceeds Expectations, Inc. has a new addition! We are happy to welcome Lauren Inman as our Director of Programs and Community Relations. Lauren brings amazing knowledge to our team and we can't wait for you all to meet her.
To celebrate Lauren and Financial Literacy Month, we decided to ask her some of our "Meet the Team" questions!
🪄 Lauren, tell us about yourself!
I am a data-driven digital strategist who uses storytelling to grow the mission and vision of an organization. I currently am the Director of Programs & Community Relations at Exceeds Expectations, Inc. I believe sharing a story in powerful, visual ways can make a difference in people’s lives by fostering connection and understanding. Whether leading a campaign, designing websites, conducting surveys, or organizing events for local nonprofits, I strive to lead a life dedicated to positively impacting my community.
🎉 What made you join the EEI team?
Financial education is a powerful tool for improving people's lives and building stronger communities. By helping individuals and families develop the knowledge and skills they need to manage their finances effectively, we can empower them to make informed decisions, pursue their goals, and overcome financial challenges. Working for EEI allows me to make a meaningful impact on people's lives and contribute to a mission that aligns with my values and interests.
💵 If you could tell someone three good habits to have when it comes to personal finance/budgeting, what would they be?
• Tracking your expenses: Keeping track of your expenses allows you to know where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back on spending. You can use apps, spreadsheets, or, like me, stick to a tangible pen and paper system.
• Creating a budget: Creating a budget can help you plan your spending and make sure that you're not overspending or running out of money before your next paycheck. Start by listing your income and fixed expenses (e.g., rent, utilities, loan payments), then allocate money for variable expenses (e.g., groceries, entertainment) based on your priorities. Personally, I like to use the 20 60 20 rule. This looks like spending 60% of your income on essentials, 20% on financial matters and 20% on your wants.
• Saving regularly: Saving money regularly, even if it's just a small amount, can help you work towards your financial goals. I always recommend automating your savings by setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account that way you don’t even notice the money leaving.
❌ Now, what are three bad habits to have?
• Ignoring your finances: Ignoring your finances, such as avoiding checking your bank account or ignoring bills. This can lead you down a rocky road with missed payments, late fees, and even damage your credit score. Try to keep on top of your spending.
• Overspending: Overspending is a common bad financial habit that can lead to debt, financial stress, and limited financial options. Always keep in mind how much you are spending and avoid buying things you don’t need (this is the hardest part for me).
• Not having an emergency fund: Not having an emergency fund can leave you vulnerable to unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or medical bills. Having some extra money to fall back on can prevent you from relying on credit cards or loans that result in debt.
🚗 How would you describe your personal journey through budgeting and having good money habits?
As I mentioned before, in the past I have struggled with buying things I don’t necessarily need. For me it was a matter of sitting down and educating myself about what financial peace has to offer. I noticed that when I paid with a card, I was less likely to check how much I was spending. I switched to cash and utilized Dave Ramsey's Envelope System to keep track of exactly how much money I was allotting myself to spend on various things.
🏋️♀️ What are some resources you use to keep your finances in tip top shape?
I find myself using budgeting apps, such as Mint, to help track my spending, create a budget, and monitor my progress towards my financial goals. I monitor my credit score through various services that alert me of any changes or suspicious activity. Lastly, I utilize quite a few literary resources, such as books, blogs, and podcasts. Our organization is currently offering a free 3-day guide to begin your financial journey!
✨ And finally... favorite food, favorite type of animal, favorite color, and favorite musician/band?
Favorite Food: All seafood, especially shrimp 🍤
Favorite Animal: Snow Leopard 🐆
Favorite Color: Blue 💎
Favorite Band: I recently purchased tickets to see The National Parks in KC this fall so I have been listening to them a lot! 🌳