Pay It Down!: Debt-Free on $10 a Day
By Jean Chatzky
From Publishers Weekly
The number one enemy of the American family’s finances is debt, says Chatzky—especially credit card debt. The average American family, she reports, has 16 credit cards carrying a debt load of more than $8,000. In this terrific little book, the Today Show financial editor and author of You Don’t Have to Be Rich and other titles offers a tough-minded but workable plan for getting rid of that burden.Chatzky’s program builds from one simple premise: that it’s possible for most of us to get debt-free by saving $10 a day for three years. Following the wisdom of knowing a problem in order to conquer it, Chatzky advises that readers first get their credit scores; she explains clearly how to do that, what the scores mean and how to improve them. She then recommends that readers learn what, exactly, they are spending their money on, and provides appropriate worktables and steps to accomplish that. A large section of the book is devoted to resourceful ways to find the $10 a day, with Chatzky suggesting that readers make hard choices regarding everything from eliminating the cost of their wireless device (their Palm Pilot, for instance), if they have one, to refinancing a car loan and putting on a garage sale. Instructions follow on how to “pay it down” intelligently, and the book concludes with lucid instructions on how to deal with worst-case debt scenarios and how to maintain and enhance one’s debt-free financial status once it’s achieved. Throughout, the text is personalized by brief stories of those who have worked their way into, then out of, crushing debt, as well as by glimpses of Chatzky’s own story.This is that rare book that has the genuine ability to improve many lives. Its power lies in its simplicity and focus, and in Chatzky’s caring and thorough but no-nonsense approach. It seems that even a financial naif can follow Chatzky’s advice and turn night into day. If enough people do, this book may become the landmark title it has the potential to be.
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