About five years ago, Chett Daniel was in what he describes as a "financial pickle."

About five years ago, Chett Daniel was in what he describes as a "financial pickle."
A former Marine, Wal-Mart store manager, and now a teacher in Neosho, Mo., said he and his wife were staring at thousands of dollars of debt and were unsure of how to begin to tackle their money issues.
Daniel's financial position today is a bit different. Although he took a 50 percent cut in pay when he left Wal-Mart to return to teaching, he and wife recently paid for a $20,000 addition to their home — in cash.
Daniel doesn't consider himself a financial expert, but he said he does understand the fundamental difference between good decisions and poor decisions when it comes to money.
"I educated myself through the process of getting out of debt," he said.
Now Daniel is trying to share what he's learned, as well as gather new ideas, through his Web site, www.5k5k.org. His program is aimed at getting people to prepare for running five kilometers, while at the same time paying off $5,000 of debt or putting $5,000 in savings.
Daniel said his Web site is a community forum where people share stories — good and bad — and discuss how they have overcome financial strife. The site had approximately 75 members as of last week, many of whom are signing in from countries throughout the world.
Daniel said the idea to create the Web site came about as a way to let those who struggle with debt — and weight gain — know they are not alone.
"A lot of people become frustrated because they think they are the only ones who face obstacles in the effort to reduce debt or get in shape," he said. "I wanted to bring people together and make them realize that they're not alone."
Daniel said he incorporated the five kilometer run aspect into the program because of his interest in fitness, and the fact that getting in better shape is a long-term process, as is getting out of debt.
"These kinds of things can't happen overnight," he said. "It's a marathon that takes commitment and dedication."
Daniel said he learned some tough, but important lessons during his financial struggles. He hopes by communicating his story through his Web site, he can pass along the tips and tricks he learned along the way.
"The first thing you have to do is come to a realization of your situation and where it has led you and how far that is from where you really want to be," he said. "You have to be willing to make the necessary changes. Without that step alone, anything that follows won't work."
Daniel said he has offered workshops throughout the area, including in schools and churches.
For more information or to join Daniel's program, persons may visit www.5k5k.org.