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When David and Karla Moody decided to start C.D. Moody Construction in 1988, they were deep in debt and struggling to provide for their two children, Karia and Charles. More than 30 years later, C.D. Moody Construction has completed more than 200 commercial projects worth an estimated $3 billion. 


Debt can be a major stressor. According to a recent Capital One CreditWise survey, 73% of those surveyed consider finances a source of stress in their lives—more than politics, work and family.

That stress is something the Moodys experienced while they were trying to build their business. And getting out of debt was a priority from the beginning. They created a plan—and made a vow.

“We got through that kind of tough couple of years, and I made a promise to my wife,” David said. “If I can ever get us out of debt, we’ll never be in debt [again].”

Here are a few ways the Moody family worked to get out of debt:

1. Ask for Help

As the Moodys struggled to get their business off the ground, they were forced to make hard choices. That included putting things back at the grocery store after they reached the checkout line, according to daughter Karia.

But they were never afraid to ask for help.

“We called every creditor, mortgage company, credit cards,” David said. “We told them we were struggling. Every one of them worked with us.”

If you’re having trouble, you could also consider contacting your credit card company or other lenders. They may be able to help you design a payment plan. And friends, family or financial experts may be able to help, too.

2. Track Every Penny

The Moodys knew that if they were going to start a business while digging themselves out of debt, they had to track everything.

“Karla managed our money,” David said. “She’s one of those folks who stays up until 2 in the morning finding that missing penny, balancing a checkbook.”

That discipline gave them extra insight into their spending.

“At the end of the year, we would review how much we spent [and] what we spent it on,” David said.

You can put the same principles to use in your life. Once you know where your money is going, it’s easier to find places to save.

3. Be Patient and Work as a Team

C.D. Moody Construction wasn’t an overnight success. It took time.

“It’s a process to success,” David said. “You have to be patient as an entrepreneur.”

And along with patience was a willingness to work together. David might be the head of the family construction company, but he credits Karla for making sure things get done.

“Karla really is the backbone,” he said. “I don’t make any business decisions that I don’t run by her. I’m the vision. She’s the one who makes it happen.”

If you’re managing household finances by yourself, you might consider ways others in your life can offer support.

And remember, even if you stick to your plan perfectly, getting out of debt is going to take time. But if you can be patient and lean on loved ones for support, it might make the process a little easier.

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