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Slay Your Debt Dragon with Cherie Lowe – An O2O Author Interview

slaying the debt dragonWe’re kicking off 2016 with an author interview featuring O2O member Cherie Lowe and her book, Slaying the Debt Dragon. Getting finances under control is a popular New Year’s resolution so we thought this was the perfect time to share Cherie’s story. Plus Cherie has offered a copy of her book to a One2One Network member! Read on to learn more about the book and enter the giveaway.

Are your finances getting out of control? Have you made mistakes with your money? Are you in more debt than you’d like to admit?

Cherie Lowe has been there. She and her family found themselves $127,482.30 in debt (did your jaw drop?). They hadn’t bought a yacht, blown it on designer clothes, or purchased a mansion. The small, everyday expenses of living just added up—until suddenly, the Lowes were being threatened by one dragon of a debt.

But through hard work and with God’s help, Cherie’s family vanquished this foe, one bill at a time. And you can too! In Slaying the Debt Dragon, Cherie shares how her war on debt made her financially free, strengthened her marriage, taught her children valuable money-management skills, and brought her whole family closer to God and one another. As you read her battle tales, you’ll be armed with the weapons you need to fight your own financial foes. With God, all things are possible—and your inspired happily ever after can begin today.

Read the Intro and first chapter!

Cherie LoweO2O: What was your inspiration for writing this book?

CL: Honestly, I wanted people who had debt to dump the guilt and shame, realizing there is always hope for their finances. I talk a lot about the relational and spiritual components of debt but also share some of the concrete strategies we used to eliminate $127K. I wanted to include topics like “What does it look like to throw your child a birthday party while paying off debt? What does it look like in your kitchen on a Monday night when you don’t know what to fix for dinner? How can you get your spouse on the same page? Where do you begin to budget?” It’s not an economic treatise or fancy pants, boring book about money. It’s the grit and grind, the lovely and unlovely from a family who lived the process and learned to tell the story.

O2O: What surprised you most about the writing process?

CL: I will never look at a book the same way again. The sheer number of people it takes to get a work off the ground astounds me. I also had no idea about how much work it takes to sell a book well. Similar to blogging – you are the plan. You must work your tail off to market well, spread the word, and convince others it’s a book worth buying. Doing this while not feeling overly self promotional is an unique balance, especially on already established social media channels.

O2O: What were your writing habits?

CL: I don’t write in the same place where I edit. Writing is typically a comfy cozy spot in my house while editing (the real work) is done sitting at a table or a desk. My original book proposal I wrote in the library with the WiFi turned off because I am easily distracted (Oh look: Facebook! Buzzfeed! Twitter!). I got up at 5 AM for about a month to crank out as much as I could before my kids got up at 7 AM. Then I got everyone ready for school and returned to writing all day long. There was no TV in the evenings. It only took me about 45 days to turn out the first draft of the manuscript but it was 45 days of discipline for sure.

O2O: What was the best advice that another writer gave you about writing?

CL: My friend Margaret Feinberg (who was first my favorite author and then became an internet friend and then an IRL friend) constantly repeats to me – You are the Plan. That means if you really want to get something done, you have to put in the difficult hours of work. Don’t expect anyone else to work harder than you on your project. Don’t expect magic fairy dust that instantly tosses you to the best seller list. It can be a difficult pill to swallow because I think we all want an easy way out – a killer body without the workout and nutritional discipline, amazing kids without the trying hours, a wonderful marriage without any sacrifice. However, Margaret’s wisdom helped me on days when I felt frustrated with the process to realize I could always do something. She was also the person who pushed me write the book to begin with, believing I was up for the task. The move from blogger to author was an incredible paradigm shift for me. I thought writing a book was an outlandish goal.

O2O: What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?

CL: Spend as much time developing your character as you do your manuscript. Writing a book will not make you a better human being. It won’t chase away any problems you have right now. And while it is so much fun to see your work in print, it doesn’t in and of itself make you any happier. I discovered I had equated the life goal of writing a book with the illusion that it would find “something” better. It turned out my life was pretty amazing before I wrote a book and it’s those things I treasure most in life that were already there. 🙂

O2O: Will you write another book?

CL: Yes!

GIVEAWAY!

Cherie has graciously offered a copy of her book to giveaway to an O2O member*! To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling us one step you’re going to take this year to eliminate debt or stay out of debt. One entry per person. Giveaway closes Monday, January 18, 2016. Winner will be drawn and notified via email on Tuesday, January 19th.

More About Cherie

Since 2008, Cherie Lowe has been confidently wearing a plastic crown and encouraging others to dream big dreams.

Together with her husband, Brian, Cherie paid off $127,482.30 in a little under four years. She scribed the ups and downs of their debt-slaying journey on her popular website, www.QueenOfFree.net.

A graduate of Asbury University, Cherie strongly believes that something can come from nothing and that there is always a way for her readers to simplify their lives and their budgets. More than anything, through speaking and written word, Cherie longs for others to know that there is hope for getting their finances under control. Her family’s story has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance, Redbook magazine, AOL Daily Finance, NBC News, and more. Cherie and Brian reside in Greenwood, Indiana, along with their daughters, Anna and Zoe.

Join the court of the Queen of Free on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest to find practical, money-saving tips and daily inspiration to slay the debt dragon.

*No Purchase Necessary. Void Where Prohibited By Law. Entry period will run from Thursday, January 7, 2016 through midnight (PT), Monday, January 18, 2016. Entries must be received in those time frames to be valid. Contest is open to One2One Network members, 18 years of age or older, and a resident of the United States of America. Winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email. Please see Official Rules for Giveaways.

56 Comments

  1. Ashley Roggow says:

    I’m going to keep better track of money and expenses, decrease impulse shopping, look for deals and ways to save money by using coupons, off brands, sales, reusing and recycling and DIY, and looking into financial help and secrets and I’d love to read her story!

  2. Alisson H says:

    I am going to start budgeting!

  3. diane sabatini says:

    Buy only what we need. Also doing surveys online will help with the holidays.

  4. I plan to make more than just the minimal payment on my bills!

  5. My husband and I have decided to use all of our tax refund to pay off some debt and to put some in a savings account. We have also decided to cut back on eating out to help save money as well.

  6. Crystal M. says:

    One step that I’m implementing this year to eliminate debt is to be intentional with every dollar. If it doesn’t serve a purpose or fulfill a need that isn’t already being met, I don’t need it.

  7. learn to save

  8. Discipline !

  9. Perrin Music says:

    I’m going to have more motivating debt slaying conversations with my husband. We are going to slay “Tom Brady” in 3 years! I have your book and have so badly wanted to loan it to a friend. (But I’m sure you know as well as I do that when you loan a book you never get it back) and I would never loan my debt dragon book, so I would love a second copy to give to my friend who needs it as much as I did 6 months ago.

  10. I have committed to using any additional income from online sales and overtime to go straight to my credit card debt!! Even if I make 10 credit card payments of $10 every time I sell something, I’m going to put it on my debt. I have squandered too much of my hard earned overtime income and online income in the past few years.

  11. Rayonna Miller says:

    We started today!
    I love the ideas you shared in this interview and I also listened to you on Focus on The Family.
    >I started planning every meal and shopping for deals!
    >I am choosing to say NO to even the best deal, that we do not need. No more “stuff”.
    >I have printed out our total debt. $57,672.11 and have it posted on our bedroom wall. Every month, I will re-post the figure and watch it go down.
    > I am already planning work nights to sort through boxes and have a yard sale in early spring. Proceeds will go right into debt.
    >We are limiting our restaurant trips to twice per month.
    >We are praying together, consistently, about our debt and using our money to honor God.
    My husband and I are “All In”!
    I desperately want to stay home and help to watch my grandkids for our two daughters. This will be our prize!!!

  12. Laureen E. says:

    Trying to write down needs before making purchases to make sure they really are needs, rather than wants.

  13. I am applying for teaching jobs and seeking God to provide the best school(s) to apply at.
    We have begun praying more faithfully for God’s provisions as we have just moved long distance.
    Your writing notes are encouraging too as I have files of writing materials that I would love help publishing.
    I’m praying for the best way to find an agent and maybe God will allow me to publish some of that work.
    God is all wise; I plan to seek Him and trust Him more.

  14. My husband and I have made a pact to use our credit card as little as possible, so we can make some actual progress. We’re also tracking our purchases, savings, and victories in resisting temptation in a notebook, so we can encourage ourselves when it gets tough.

  15. Rebecca M says:

    I am going to pay cash instead of debit and credit cards.

  16. Cathy Lawson says:

    Hi, Cherie! I first heard you on the radio of my local listener-supported radio station 90.7 HOPE FM last week, and ever since I’ve been getting my plan in place to become debt free. While I make a decent income, I realize there are gaps in our family’s money plan where we have failed to plan and I don’t want to work til I die to continue paying creditors! My immediate goal is to pay off all our unsecured debt and then our home. We are making progress, but we know we can do more. (My husband and I are in our early 40s with two smart teenagers who we would love to help send to college, too.) First thing we started doing this week – eating at home more.

  17. We are going to budget and use cash this year.

  18. Cassandra Waterman says:

    We are going to set up a budget and work on paying off our debt.

  19. My husband and I are parents of five children and preparing to enter full time ministry. We make memories instead of giving gifts for birthdays. This year we plan to eat out once a month and for under $30. We also downsized in order to pay less in rent and utilities. My weakness is sweets so I am working on baking, my least favorite cooking activity! You and your husband are an encouragement! Thank you for your transparency.

  20. This year, I am building a savings account so that I ha e an emergency fund in cash, instead of using credit.

  21. We used to eat out once a week, now we are going to eat out for special occasions only (about once every two months).
    I am aiming to keep my grocery budget at $500/month (down from $700-800).

  22. Cutting my grocery bill by better meal planning and using more coupons and store discounts. Also trying to convince the family we can rid ourselves of the cable bill! Putting more in savings each month.

  23. We have made the leap from living off of credit cards to being a cash only household.

  24. Angela Murdaugh says:

    I have never enjoyed cooking. However, some of my most fond memories are the dinner/cooking traditions one grandmother created for me! Therefore, i want to be in the kirchen more cooking for my family for many reasons. 1. Make these traditions and memories for 7 year old twin boys,2. Take the pressure off my working spouse of preparing meals, 3. Save money by better grocery shopping and meal planning, 4. Eat more nutritious meals and more benefits.
    I pray for strength and motivation daily for this to become a habit for me. I know my family will benefit on many levels!

  25. Carolyn Williams says:

    This year I got a job at school working as a para. I also am budgeting more than ever before. I am going to slay this one!

  26. I’m going to track all my spending and try to pay off all my credit card debt by the end of 2016. I’m trying so hard not to use my credit cards…

  27. Hoping to get out of debt this year. Will be working on bringing down our spending on food first!

  28. I am budgeting now. But would love to learn more about how you got out of your debt. I am in the same boat you was and I know there is a way to get out. Can use all the help I can get right now.

  29. Id like to learn how to stay in a budget…

  30. Ashley Tannock says:

    I am going to attempt to snowball my debt this year!

  31. Freda Dougherty says:

    My biggest one step is to believe we can do better. That mindset is already making things happen in our home!!!

  32. I am 2 months away from starting the snowball – which will pay off the bigger debts more quickly. I am also on a spending freeze until Feb 20, so winning this book would be awesome! I decided it is a “want”, but I want it very badly!

  33. Kindall Pollock says:

    One of the first steps we are going to do is get a Budget going. Raising 5 kids and now 2 grandchildren we have not kept up with our money. We eat out a lot, so we have decided to stop eating out and start planning our meals.

  34. Holly Truitt says:

    The only debt we have now is the house. We would like to see that paid off in 10 years. We also are trying to learn more about saving money on food without changing the way we eat. (We eat very healthy and do not want to compromise on that so we are trying to figure out the best way to save on food)

  35. Chelsea Oosting says:

    This year my husband and I are taking on foster care while attempting to pay down about $10,000 in debt. So this week I chose one area, groceries, and got serious about saving. I took a 2 hour couponing class and plan on implementing that into our lifestyle. I am also really focusing on being content so that I can go without some things that just cost money and prevent those extra debt payments from happening.

  36. I’ve done the cash thing before, but got out of it a few years ago. I’m planning to try cash only again. I’m planning to use the library more rather than add to my overflowing bookshelves and then clean the bookshelves to where they can be a blessing to our family again. Also want to spend less on ‘extras’ in my kitchen and be satisfied with more simple meals while doing more menu planning too. Thanks for your encouragement!!

  37. Susan swiatek says:

    Begin using the cash envelope system again. Be creative in planning meals using what’s in my cupboards and freezer and avoid the grocery store as long as possible.

  38. Nicole Rosenow says:

    I used to go to Starbucks a couple times a week! In 2016, I plan to try to limit it to once a week and then maybe only every other week….. SLOWLY weening off. I also have a second job at a restaurant, and I am going to try and not bring food home after my shift. All I’m doing is wasting my tip money on food, when I usually already have food at home that I could eat!

  39. Lisa Salazar says:

    We are quitting going out to eat completely and applying all of the money saved to debt.

  40. We have been eating at home, paying attention to buying little things we don’t need, paying extra money on our bills and paying on time to avoid late fees. Thank you for all your tips and your story to encourage us that we can do this!

  41. Katelyn G. says:

    First, I am going to STOP stressing constantly and put my financial anxieties in God’s hands. Second, my husband and I have agreed to take the small step of eating at restaurants only once a week and meal planning. (We usually eat out for lunch daily, most of the time using credit cards!) We are finally giving up relying on credit cards this year! If we don’t have the money, we don’t charge it. So far, so good.

  42. We are going to utilize a “sinking fund” for expected expenses & discuss the budget together, monthly.

  43. I know that if I stay out of the stores, I will be able to save more money. So my goal is to stay out of the malls and restaurants and eat more meals at home. I have also set myself a budget. I use cash envelopes. I am learning how to make my cash last until the last day of the month.

  44. Becky Jensen says:

    i’m going to call all service provider (ie. insurance, directv, etc) and try and get better rates. Spending Freezes!!

  45. My husband is keeping better track of his expenses while on the road, and I’ve taken on a second job to try and regularize our income too. We’re also shopping at Aldi’s more to save on groceries … though I need to get better at meal planning. Sounds like that should be my next step! LOL

  46. I LOVE your placemat theory!! This year I will say no, even if it is only 19 cents!

  47. I just found your website in December and have been trying to implement your ideas since. My main focus is on the grocery budget and envelope system (I have not mastered the latter yet). I would be thrilled to win your book! Thanks for all of the awesome advice.

  48. I raised 4 boys on $44k and money wad tight but I survived. 5 years ago the Lord open a door for me to buy my first home with only $9600 down, i live alone so i do a lot on my own. For the past couple of months I’ve tightened the budget even more, trying to stick to a budget and cook more…my goal is to pay off my credit card of $7k then no more credit, yeah…saying more to things that cost mo new and doing more free things….still learning ways to cut and trace expenses…

  49. Lydia Hostetler says:

    We are working on it, but need to become more pro-active at it. I recently resisted the special sales, outlet sales and such of several of my friends’ businesses and bought NOTHING!! Saved a bunch right there, I didn’t even look, because I knew I would be tempted sorely.. I am going to only buy things that I can use to bless others with, or that we need.

  50. I have a 5 year plan using the debt snowball method. I have planned out practical uses for my yearly refund in order to eliminate some financial pitfalls of my usual season (Christmas, Summer-I am a teacher-, adding a preschool payment next year-etc. I am too terrified to stop loaning the govt money and change my deductions…

  51. I am going to cash only & have frozen my credit cards in a big block in the freezer. That will keep them out of my wallet! I have been reading Cherie’s site for a cuople of months & would love to win a copy of her book!

  52. Jeanna Gross says:

    Eliminate eating out!!!

  53. I plan to no longer use my credit cards. I will also use the snowball effect and roll over payments from one paid bill to the next bill in order to stay on track with paying off debt and slaying our dragon.

  54. Lindsey H says:

    My plan for this year is to finally take care of large expenses I’ve been putting off for years (like LASIK) and sacrifice buying lots of little things that eventually end up in the donation pile anyway! I’m learning that quality matters and that being cheap doesn’t always save money.

  55. Karen Mary says:

    I’m going to couple organizing and clearing the clutter from my house with selling items. Last year I did this and earned enough to finance holiday expenses; this year the money will be for debt reduction.

  56. Diane Furst says:

    Hi Cherie, love your book. Was very inspired by it. My husband and I are going to concentrate on our mortgage this year. We have paid off our car and student loans. We have started saving for things and are coming up with weekly meal plans to help save even more money.