By KALEY LYON

klyon@dailynews.net

Throughout several years of marriage, budget planning and financial management were an issue of contention for Rhett and Phyllis Tesluk, Hays.

Two years ago, Rhett Tesluk came across a book written by Dave Ramsey, and the couple promptly signed on for Ramsey's Financial Peace University class, hosted at Westview Church.

"It's a neat system to where your money is already spent so you know where it's going," Tesluk said. "You're telling your money what to do as opposed to your money telling you what to do."

Within one year's time, the couple had paid off all credit card debt and also paid off several loans, Tesluk said.

Lessons the couple learned in the 13-course teaching have stayed with them. They still listen to his radio program, "The Dave Ramsey Show," whenever they can.

"It was just a wonderful program that really helped us out," Tesluk said.

Another Dave Ramsey lesson will be hosted at Westview Church this fall, coordinated by Vickie Rohleder. Those interested can contact the church at (785) 625-6359 or visit Dave Ramsey's Web site, www.daveramsey.com.

And the Tesluk family is not the only one to benefit from the financial teachings.

Neal Haerich, a resident of Victoria, recently wrapped up the second Ramsey course he has hosted at St. Fidelis Catholic Church, Victoria.

He and his wife also took the course for the first time at Westview Church, then decided to become moderators in their hometown.

"We thought that going to the class as participants was one thing, but we both felt the need and desire to give back to our own community with it, because there wasn't anything really available at St. Fidelis like this," Haerich said.

The course teaches "baby steps" toward financial prosperity, such as investment, retirement planning and insurance. Accountability is a high priority, and lessons from the Bible are weaved into the program.

Almost 15 couples have completed the course so far, and the Haerichs plan to keep going. The group meets Sunday evenings, with one program beginning in August and another in January.

The teachings are non-denominational, and a common theme is the importance of tithing, he said.

"The thing about it really truly is there's a real push within the Christian community ... for stewardship in the Christian community, having some way to give back," Haerich said.

Those interested in attending the next session should contact St. Fidelis Catholic Church at (785) 735-2777.

Bill Overbey is also passionate about sharing the message of good stewardship and financial responsibility.

The lesson is not only how to abolish debt, but also how to avoid stacking the bills back up, he said.

"America is all about credit. You're posh if you have credit," he said. "It's a status symbol in America."

He tries to de-myth the fact that people need to have credit. They don't.

"They simply need to stay debt-free, buy things they can afford, and then have money to invest."

Overbey recently hosted the course's eighth session at Celebration Community Church. When it first started, it was typical for about 30 people to attend.

That number has since doubled, with nearly 60 people signing up for round eight.

In addition to helping families get their finances in order, it often helps improve communication, and he's even been told the course has helped save a few marriages, Overbey said.

Like the other class locations, anyone in the community is welcome to attend. And as time goes on, Overbey hopes to get more local businesses involved.

Already, employees at Hays Medical Center, Nex-Tech and the Hays Police Department have been invited, he said.

"It positively impacts churches and employers because people learn to have control in their personal financial life, then they're happier employees because they have less stress," Overbey said. "And it helps churches because it helps people be able to tithe appropriately because they have more control over their finances."

The next session will begin this fall. The church can be contacted at (785) 625-5483.

A first step is clearing up credit card debt, which gives people more freedom to save and invest. Students also learn the importance of making responsible purchases.

With an accounting background, Overbey quickly became interested in the curriculum and has no intention of stopping anytime soon.

It's refreshing to make a positive effect and to know the material at hand can benefit anybody, no matter the denomination, he said.

"This has to do with understanding how God intended you to understand finances," Overbey said.