NORMAN — When Herschel and Alison Thompson married in 1998, the couple had student loans totaling $28,000. Although committed to being good stewards of their money by living below their means, like most newlyweds the couple had trouble managing their spending.
“We managed money differently and always overspent on the budget we would set for ourselves,” Alison Thompson said. “We were married three years before we realized that while we were not going further into debt, we weren’t making much progress on our loans.” The Thompsons were making about $30,000 a year when they asked friends to look at their budget and offer suggestions. Instead, the friends paid for the couple to attend a personal finance class called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. The Thompsons said the course changed the way they communicated about money and how they spent it. “Finally, we were on the same page and had a peace about where we were going. Dave (Ramsey) has a theory that people won’t get out of debt unless they go at it with ‘gazelle intensity.’ The idea is that we must flee from debt just like a gazelle would flee from a hungry cheetah,” Alison Thompson said. “We got very intense.” A stay-at-home mom, Alison Thompson began babysitting another child for extra money. The couple cut their budget way back, using every spare penny to pay off the student loans.