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Wednesday, February 23, 2011


As many of you know, when Karl, my dead louse of a spouse, permanently cashed in his chips in Vegas, he left me in debt up to my eyeballs. Our finance guru Sheila Conway has been helping me formulate a plan to dig my way out of debt. Today she offers some tips to aid anyone mired in budgetary woes. -- AP

Thanks, Anastasia! It’s hard to chip away at debt when it seems overwhelming, but the biggest hurdle many people face is their own denial of the situation. You have to accept that you have a problem before you can take steps to solve it.

So the first thing you need to do is put it all down in black and white. Make a list of everything you owe, what you’ve saved, and what you need to spend each month. Numbers don’t lie, and they don’t make excuses.

Now, formulate a realistic budget based on those black and white numbers. If you need to whittle down debt, study your monthly expenditures. What can you do without or downgrade or cut back on? Most Americans spend far more each month than they realize and spend it on items that are non-essential. If you got yourself into debt by spending more than you earn, now is the time for a bit of austerity.

Once you accept that you need to change your lifestyle in order to keep having a life, you’ll be amazed by what you can do without. The kids want pizza for dinner? Fine. Throw a frozen pizza from the supermarket into the oven instead of picking up the phone for take-out. Borrow a DVD from the library for a home movie night instead of piling the family in the car for a trip to the multiplex. Get together with a girlfriend to do each other’s nails instead of that weekly trip to the nail salon. If you’re a smoker, stop. Not only will you save money, you’ll save your health. And most of all, step away from the mall. Too many Americans spend a good chunk of their free time on weekends at the mall where the temptation to buy, whether we need something or not, is too great.

Brutal as always, Sheila. But totally on the money. What do you think, readers? Are there things you spend money on that you could just as soon do without? Let’s hear from you. Remember to post a comment to be entered into the drawing for a book from this week's Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP

1 comment:

traveler said...

Thanks for the tips. I am careful and don't spend on needless purchases. Never did. I guess I am old school since I learned this way back from my mother.