About 20 years ago I (Dan) was pretty “Normal”. I was working and earning an income that was a little less than my outgo. After living like this for a number of years I woke up to about $31,000 in credit card debt. Not really knowing any better I filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy and spent the next 5 ½ years having my checks garnished to pay off the bankruptcy. During this time I found Dave on the radio and half heartedly listened to him. I will be honest and say it took me about three years of hearing him before I really listened to him. I soon found myself attempting to write monthly budgets and I even opened a savings account. From there, I began really working the baby steps.

About this time I met a girl and our relationship started progressing. About the time we had “the talk”, you know the one that says we are on the same page and the relationship is going somewhere, I explained to her my newfound philosophy on personal finance and gave her Dave’s website to look at. Her first response when I asked her what she thought of Dave was “Wow a personal finance guy who is also a Christian, what’s not to like about that” and she soon got on his plan. At this point I was debt free with my bankruptcy discharged and had my 3-6 month emergency fund started. She started the baby steps and got a few of her small debts paid off. When it came time for us to get married she was well into Baby Step 2.

Now we had a great plan after we got married. We were both making good incomes and we made the decision to live on one income and use the other to work on the remaining debt. We entered married life with about $75,000 in debt. That included $36,000 in student loans, about $6,000 on a “Fleeced “car, and various other personal debts. We made great progress in the first four months sending out checks and working the debt snowball. Around month 4 of being married we hit a little snag when we found out we were pregnant. We kicked everything into high gear and managed to pay off all debt besides the student loan as well as build up a separate emergency fund that would cover the max out of pocket expense for Mom and Baby in case something went wrong. We also had to furnish a nursery and we paid cash for everything. Once baby came and everyone was OK we took some of the extra in the savings that luckily we didn’t need and started paying off debt again. Our plan from the beginning was to be a stay at home family and we were fortunate enough for Ann to be able to finish up her work from home and transition the office she was managing to her replacement while still bringing in a little income. Once that was done we continued to be gazelle intense but now with about half the income we started with. During this time we also paid cash for chemo treatment for our dog that was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It took us a total of about 2 1/2 years to pay off the $75,000 in debt, pay cash for our baby and all related expenses, and cash for chemo for the dog.

Shortly after I started following Dave’s plan I bought a FPU kit, but due to a crazy work schedule I was never able to commit to 13 weeks in a row of the same off day and time. When I got to the point that I was the one writing my schedule we enrolled in FPU. I felt kind of strange being the only one in class with a FPU kit that had cassette tapes instead of CD’s but we made it work and even though we entered class debt free we still found the information we learned to be priceless. When the church held the next class, following the preview the response was so great that the current coordinator called and asked us to help co coordinate. After leading our second class circumstances lead us to move to Michigan. We finally found a church that feels like home and have brought FPU to them. At this point we have lead a total of four classes and feel blessed to do so. On average, we have seen approximately $50,000 in debt paid off and $18,000 in savings acquired in each of the classes we have been involved with.


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