In the Fall 2007, Cheryl and Matt Gannon
, a young New York City couple struggling with student loans and other debt, came to Jean for financial help. Jean put them on Oprah's Debt Diet, and now she's checking in with them to see how it's working.
Jean wanted the couple to keep an eye on their expenses and Cheryl to get a better-paying job. Matt says they've not only been able to make headway on their student loan payments, they've also saved $8,000 in a high-interest savings account and another $1,000 in as an emergency cushion. "A lot of it is figuring out a budget and knowing what we are going to be spending each month on bills and our fixed expenses," Matt says. "And when something like overtime from work comes along and you get extra money from it, you say, 'We can't touch that.'"
While Cheryl has yet to get a better-paying job, the couple has recently decided to leave New York City and move to Buffalo, New York—where Matt can finish his residency as a doctor and the couple can enjoy a lower cost of living. "We know that [living in Buffalo] is going to ease up our monthly expenditure by an enormous amount of money," Cheryl says. Housing, food and commuting costs will be cut almost in half, and Jean says the money they save should be applied to the couple's $60,000 in credit card debt. If they stay on track, Jean says this couple can be out of credit card debt in the next five to 10 years and on the road to paying off their student loans and saving more money.