Dec 14, 2018

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To Enterprising Educator Nick Murja of Palo Duro High School (Amarillo, TX)

Nick Murja’s odyssey to achieving a debt-free life started when a sudden epiphany led him to change the way he viewed money. He doubled down and saved, invested wisely, and even started his own handful of side hustles in order to reach his goal. He publicly announced his progress towards his goal which engaged his students even more! Now this Palo Duro High School teacher is on another mission: teaching his students the financial lessons he wished he knew when he was their age. Enjoy!


  • 0:00–0:56 Introduction
  • 0:57–3:07 The man, the classes, the many lesson plans
  • 3:08–10:22 Addressing cultural and financial differences & money stories
  • 10:23–14:23 Nick’s journey to becoming the master of side hustles
  • 14:24–16:41 How a sudden epiphany led to his turning point
  • 16:42–18:24 Debt control methods
  • 18:25–18:50 A word from NGPF
  • 18:51–22:42 Putting his money management into hyperdrive
  • 22:43–24:27 Reactions to his financial odyssey
  • 24:28–29:11 Teaching kids how much life costs
  • 29:12–33:41 Not just in-class experiences: students learn how to take care of their car
  • 33:42–35:33 Buying things won’t make you happy
  • 35:34–37:37 Nick’s take on Minimalist film + movement
  • 37:38–38:59 Conclusion

Resources mentioned:

Notable QUOTE:

  • “I realized that just because I buy something doesn’t mean I’m a new person and it’s not going to change my life… I try to get [my students’] mindset to be, ‘It’s okay to buy things. It’s okay to spend money on good clothes, but you can’t be so lead by consumerism that you’re willing to sacrifice the peace and quality of life for a total instant gratification and high that isn’t going to remain with you.”

About the Authors

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: