Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year Finances-- Assess the Situation Honestly

From Oprah:

Assess your money situation

To get rid of debt and get yourself on the road to repayment, Jean Chatzky, David Bach and Glinda Bridgforth all agree that it is crucial to know how much debt you're carrying and at what interest rates.

Pull out all your bills and write a list to determine how much debt you really have. Once you know your total debt, you can start paying it down!

It's very important to know your credit score. Once you start paying down your debt, your credit score will rise. A higher credit score means lower interest rates.You can get one free report each year from each of the three credit bureaus—so three total. The smart thing to do is to get one every four months, that way you can make sure (for free) that you haven't been a victim of ID theft.

To get a free report, go to the website set up by the Federal Trade Commission,

If you can't get a free report, buy one from one of the three credit-reporting agencies:
Equifax: 888-766-0008 or
Experian: 888-397-3742 or
TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or

From Lena:

Knowledge is power! Unless you sit down and HONESTLY list every expense, you're only hurting yourself. Your credit report will give you an unflinchingly honest report of your credit. You need to know this to plan how you'll get out of debt. It's easier to use the "guess" of how much you owe, I know. No one wants to know how deeply they owe The Man. Look, and let your heart chill if it needs to. Use that impetus to propell you toward betterment of yourself and your situation. If you don't do it, who will?

Or are you seriously thinking you'll win the lottery?


1 comment:

Lucynda Storey said...

Hi Lena!

When the $$$ is tight around here we do a couple of things.

First, I've given up the designer coffee.

Next, I buy in bulk. I've got twenty-five pounds of rice at home that we are using right now. While we like potatoes on occassion, they tend to worry me because of the green cast beneath the skin. In the Colorado dry climate they tend to grow "eyes" quicker than they did when I was in Michigan. The fridge is not an option as I need that space for other produce.

Third, I buy e-books. They are a lot cheaper than print books. If I must have a print book, I use the library.

The next way I save $$$ is by going to the "cheap" movies or the early bargains in the afternoon and very early evening. I won't pay full price for a movie when I can see two or three or even four at the same price.

Finally, I've developed a second income writing. My royalties go toward paying off debt and purchasing unexpected or unplanned for expenses. Recently, I paid for senior portraits out of my writing earnings.

Lucynda Storey

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