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Episode 252 - "I Couldn't Breathe" to Debt-Free

Are you feeling the pressures of financial stress? Does it seem like there's no escape from your financial worries and hope is fading? Nicolette was in the exact same place just six or seven months ago. Fast forward to today, and she has made incredible progress, saving and paying off thousands of dollars. In today's blog post, we share Nicolette’s inspiring journey and the strategies that have helped her achieve remarkable success with her finances.  


Welcoming Nicolette  

Over the last several months, Nicolette has made tremendous progress, and she's here to share her early journey. Brad emphasizes the importance of showcasing stories of people in their early stages of the journey, making the process relatable and less overwhelming for those just starting. Nicolette's story is a testament to the power of small steps and consistency.  

Nicolette's Early Relationship with Money 

Nicolette reflects on her childhood and early adulthood, sharing insights into her relationship with money. Growing up, her father taught her practical money management skills, like starting a 401k with her first job, while her mother instilled the value of saving. Despite this foundation, Nicolette found herself in debt as an adult, mainly due to lifestyle inflation and the pervasive use of credit cards. "I had a really good job, but I wasn’t changing my spending habits," she admits. As her salary increased, so did her expenses. Medical bills, lifestyle choices, and the inability to say no to herself led to overwhelming debt.  

Finding Debt Free Dad 

Feeling the weight of her financial situation, Nicolette turned to various personal finance resources but found them to be tailored to stages she wasn’t yet at. She needed foundational guidance and accountability, which led her to discover Brad Nelson's Debt Free Dad podcast.  

Joining Roots and Making Progress 

After listening to the podcast, Nicolette decided to join Roots, Debt Free Dad’s accountability and support membership. Here, Nicolette found the guidance she needed to continue her journey. "I needed something more, and Roots provided that next step," she explains. In Roots, Nicolette learned the importance of budgeting, watching her spending behaviors, and understanding her values. She shares, "Every morning, I pull up my accounts, check what went through, and ensure my numbers match." This daily practice has been pivotal in her transformation.  

Building a Support System 

Another crucial aspect of Nicolette’s success has been the support system within Roots as well as having supportive partners like her significant other. Sharing financial goals and working collaboratively has made a significant difference in maintaining accountability and making informed decisions.  

Celebrating Milestones 

Nicolette's achievements in the last six or seven months are nothing short of remarkable.  

Transformative changes have included:  

  • Emergency Fund: Achieving a $1,000 emergency fund and not touching it.  
  • Debt Payoff: Using the snowball method, Nicolette has paid off $7,000 in debt. 
  • Proactive Savings: Saving $5,000 for an out-of-state move, bringing her total saved and paid down to $13,000.  

Mindset Shifts and Practical Tips 

Nicolette shares two critical budgeting tips:  

  1. Appreciation: Start with appreciating what you currently have. This mindset helps create a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.  
  2. Flexible Budgeting: Understand that a budget needs to be dynamic and adjust every month. The so-called “crappy budget” is a learning tool, and flexibility is key to finding what works. Lastly, the importance of sticking to the plan cannot be overstated. "Give it 90 days or more, and just stick to your plan," she advises.  

Final Words of Wisdom 

Reflecting on her journey, Nicolette emphasizes the importance of persistence and self-forgiveness. "If you only knew where you're going to be in eight months, you wouldn't be so afraid right now or scared to make some major sacrifices. They are only temporary," she advises her past self.  


Nicolette's story is a powerful reminder that no matter how overwhelming debt may feel, progress is possible with the right guidance, support, and mindset. At Debt Free Dad, we understand that getting out of debt isn't easy, but with consistency, discipline, and the right tools, it is one of the best investments you can make in your future. Ready to transform your financial life like Nicolette? Visit, click on the green button at the top of the page, and start your journey today. Remember, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now. 

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