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He and his wife eat healthier now and save more money.

2 minute read

In 2010, Khaleef, from Fat Guy Skinny Wallet, and his wife spent $3,724 eating out. But they didn’t start this financially destructive habit because they were lazy or couldn’t cook.

Khaleef worked long hours, wrote personal finance blogs and taught at his local church. His wife suffered awful migraines, which kept her bedridden for days, sometimes even weeks.

“We planned on putting things in place that would help us get around our ordering take out issues,” says Khaleef. “We made plans to do bulk cooking and some weeks that worked out very well, but when my wife suffered her migraines, we fell back into our old habits.”

Unfortunately, this habit not only impacted their finances, it also impacted Khaleef’s health. By 2012, he weighed 300 pounds. Then he decided it was time for a change.

“By the Spring of 2013, I was down to 225 pounds and moving in the right direction with many areas of my health and spending habits, says Khaleef. “I was looking to compete in powerlifting competitions.” And then bad luck struck him — he injured his back and weightlifting and exercise no longer played a role in his life.

“I couldn’t exercise at all,” says Khaleef. “Over the next three years, I gained 100 pounds and topped the scale at 325 in the latter half of 2016.” But his finances took a turn for the better.

“We are eating much healthier compared to when we spent money eating out,” says Khaleef. “We decreased our spending by $300 or $400 a month, although our expenses on groceries, supplements and vitamins increased by about $200.”

Now that Khaleef and his wife eat healthier, they can focus on their debt. I didn’t mention that they owed over $100,000. This is how he explains it:

“Student loans make up nearly $70,000 of that debt, and over the years our cars totaled $33,000,” says Khaleef. “The rest stems from other things (mainly medical), that we didn’t budget or save for. And this doesn’t even include the $18,000 business loan that we recently paid off!”

Other good news besides paying off the business loan includes paying off one student loan, a car (but the engine blew within the same year), and several credit cards.

Khaleef says, “The total debt has only been reduced by several thousand dollars, but we’re still making progress and things are beginning to line up for us, which will help us make huge, consistent strides in the coming months and years.”

Khaleef and his wife are fighters. As I heard their story, I noticed they never gave up. Tough times confronted them but they always fought for a better financial future. I asked him to pass along some advice and he provided these three tips:

  1. Have a plan, and use the “b-word” — budget, for every dollar that you earn. Even if something unexpected comes up, you’ll be in a better position to handle it if you have a plan.
  2. Personal finance has two parts. So many people who give advice, professionally or through blogs, focus mostly on cutting expenses and being frugal, and never move to the income side. However, if we begin to look for ways to earn extra income, we can accelerate our financial plans.
  3. Set your goals based on what YOU value, not on what society says you should value. Too many people chase after a lifestyle that doesn’t bring them happiness. They let society tell them what cars, clothes, and high-end neighborhoods they should covet. It ruins their finances.

Thanks, Khaleef — and keep on fighting.



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About the Author

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski has been writing about personal finance for over 15 years covering debt recovery, fraud, and credit topics. He has worked on several personal finance books and guides that help consumers navigate the US credit system. When he’s away from the keyboard he enjoys craft beer and fishing — and once enjoyed a cold Sweet Water IPA after catching a sailfish.

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