By the time I met Mary, she had gotten her family into $100,000 of unsecured debt … and back out.
She scratched and clawed (and prayed) her way out of the hole.
And, because she has been to the bottom of the pit and climbed her way back out, dirt under her fingernails, sweat on her brow, wisdom under her cap, she has built an organization out of helping the rest of us do the same – or, better yet, not digging that pit in the first place.
I’ve never really met Mary Hunt, as in face to face, but I feel as though I know her. She’s so open and honest about her experiences, even keeping a sense of humor about it, that a person can’t help but feel an affinity for her.
I like the likes of Mary Hunt. She took a bad situation – really bad – worked through it, dignity a little bruised but mostly intact, and decided to devote her life to being a lifeguard for others who were drowning. (Sorry if I’m using too many metaphors, but what would you call the guardian of a pit?)
I’ve been following Mary since 1994. That’s when, as a new homeowner (my first house!), I heard her on a radio program and signed up for her newsletter. Back then it was called Cheapskate Monthly, and it arrived on white, 8.5×11 paper (8 pages) via snail mail. (I still have all my back issues.) The newsletter has evolved with the times, though, and is now Debt Proof Living (still monthly), complete with a website, a blog, several books (I have most of them), reader forums and electronic tools that will delight the heck out of you – if, like me, you’re a geek. (But you don’t have to be a spreadsheet nerd to benefit from them.)
I love Mary’s no-nonsense approach to answering reader mail; she tells it like it is. (She can smell a rationalization a mile away, and she doesn’t let people get away with excuses.) When you’ve aired your dirty laundry for the world to see, you somewhat lose the need to tiptoe around the truth. As a practical girl (so I’ve been told), I can appreciate Mary’s practicality. If you were drowning, would you rather see Kevin Costner …
… or Robert Shaw? (Remember, he ended up as shark food.)
And, while we’re talking about transparency, I need to tell you this: Two years ago, I signed up for Debt Proof Living’s affiliate program. It’s why (finally, last fall) I added the DPL icon to my right sidebar at Suzy & Spice. (Go ahead, look to the right.) This means that if someone clicks through from here to DPL via that badge and makes a purchase, I get a little token of Mary’s appreciation (a small deposit to my bank account).
This is the first time I’ve ever mentioned the DPL affiliate ad. I didn’t want it to seem as though the only reason I posted about DPL was that I wanted you to buy something. I wanted the next time I wrote about Mary to be a genuine, heartfelt story about good stewardship and living below your means. In fact, I’ve started and rewritten and abandoned this post half a dozen times. (If I had to make my living in sales, my husband and I would starve.)
But this month’s A-Z blogging challenge seemed to be the perfect time for bringing up DPL (starts with D, right?). So, if you do visit Mary’s site, please enter via the affiliate badge at the right. But if you don’t, you’ll still be welcome here. 🙂
But wait – there’s more!
I absolutely cannot leave you without talking about the other financial organization I’m in love with.
I’ve been a volunteer budget coach for several years, and I need you to know about the ministry that makes it possible: Compass – finances God’s way.
Compass takes things one step further and talks a lot about biblical stewardship. (Mary Hunt does, too, but not in such a visible way. Think crawl space, where your plumbing, electrical and HVAC might be out of sight, but they are nevertheless present, foundational and keeping your home’s systems on an even keel. That’s Mary. Compass is more like the carpet on your floors – soft and comforting yet firm enough to walk on, and obvious to any observer who enters the house or peeks inside the window.)
Compass founder Howard Dayton has been talking about money matters for a long time, too. Early in his business life, he undertook a study of the Scriptures to see what God’s word had to say about handling money. He was astonished to learn that the Bible has more than 2,350 verses on the topic.
Compass was founded on the idea of small-group Bible studies and one-on-one coaching, as Howard had witnessed the impact of those teaching platforms in his previous ministry experience.
I’ve read most of Howard’s books and can recommend any and all of them (I’ll even loan you one if you’re local). He’s also a supernice guy (I actually have met Howard), has a couple of radio programs and podcasts (MoneyWise and Hey Howard), and has one of the funniest sidekicks/co-hosts east of the Mississippi. I don’t know what Howard would be without Steve. (Yeah, I’ve met Steve, too.)
You can’t go wrong with Mary or Howard. If you’d like to know more – especially if your money runs out before your month does – poke around their sites, follow them on social media or post a comment below and I’ll help you sort it out.
Don’t you think it’s time?
Monday: E is for Easter.
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