Created by best-selling author and radio show host Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University is a 13-week program offered mostly by churches to help congregation members pay off debt, create a budget, save for emergencies and build toward tithing 10 percent.

More than 1.5 million families have attended Financial Peace University since 1994. The average family pays off $5,300 in debt and saves $2,700 in the first three months.

There are 50 churches around Minnesota that are starting a course within the next couple of months. In 2011, 450 classes have been taught in the state so far.

Some, including Bob McDonough, see Ramsey as abrasive, and his preachy style takes some getting used to. But Ramsey's speaking from experience. He lost it all as a real estate investor and reinvented himself as a debt-averse financial educator and radio show host.