Category Archives: Success Stories

The Story of the Frugal Mom: Escaping $100,000 of Debt

Gary North

This article indicates that people can get debt-free if they put their minds to it. But it takes a plan.

Getting out of $30,000 of Debt

Gary North

You have to cut spending. You have to save on what you buy. This woman outlines the program that worked for her.

A 5-Part Series on Deliverance from Debt

Miss M

Miss M was facing this:

$20,500 on credit card
$1,800 to Thomasville furniture

$5,500 student loan

$28,000 car loan

$340,000 mortgage

That’s a sobering amount of debt, in fact the total minimum payment for all that debt is nearly $3000 a month. Focusing on monthly payments is one way people hide from their debt problem. It didn’t work in my case, my minimum payments alone were more than most people make in a month. Now it is your turn.

How did she escape? Read about her strategy here:

Part 1
Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5


Out of Work Family Hit by the Recession Finds Ways to Cut Costs: A Continuing Series on Coping

Harriet Robbins Ost

This is a continuing series. Here is how it begins.

The recession hit us last autumn. We didn’t know, however, just how disastrous things would get until — in an instant — we had no money.In early March, we tried to transfer funds from our home equity credit line to pay a bill. There was no money available. Our lender had reappraised our house, depreciating the value by more than $100,000, and wiping out the money that would have carried us for at least a year.

When my husband learned in mid-November his last day of work would be Dec. 31, he wasn’t too worried. He’d always enjoyed long-lasting jobs with easy transitions and had never experienced unemployment. He was shocked when he didn’t get another position open at his company.

As December wore on with no prospects, we tightened our belts.

Here is a series on belt-tightening.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Testimonies from Recovered Debt Junkies on How They Escaped

Gary North

This article appeared in Redbook. It includes testimonies from wives who have put their household finances back on track. Here is the first one. It’s typical.

“Life is more simple, and simple is less stressful.” — Lynnae McCoyI got a credit card my first week in college and graduated with $4,000 in debt. When I got married, my husband and I would pay down our debt, then charge it back up again. But two years ago, we made a commitment to get out of debt — we had given our word that we would repay what we owed, and as Christians, we needed to stay true to our word. Then Jim lost his job. With an unemployment check as our only source of income, it was easy to see how quickly our credit card debt could eat up our savings and leave us on the verge of bankruptcy. So I threw our cards into a Tupperware container with water and stuck it in the back of the freezer. I figured if they were hard to get to, I wouldn’t be tempted. I even started a blog,, to help hold me accountable to our goal of getting out of debt.

She then goes on to explain what they did.

“Do As I Say, and as I Do!” Parents Rein in Their Spending and Their Children’s Spending

Gary North

This article from Money Magazine reports on a family that has pulled the credit card plug on their daughter. They had to follow suit in order to make their case convincing. The article raises these issues.

It’s easy to fall into bad habits with regard to how you spend money on your kids. (You know what they say about the best intentions …) The first step to correcting such behaviors is identifying them. Be honest with yourself about whether – and how – you’ve been spoiling your child: Do you frequently give in to your kid’s pleas for cash or stuff? Do you hand out your credit card freely? Think, too, about why you’ve been spoiling your kid (you might start by asking what money values you learned from your parents), and what the consequences might be if you don’t stop.

Cutting Bread Costs from $45 to $15 Per Month

J Peters

This report is from a Mt. Airy, North Carolina journalist who is in cost-cutting mode.

How the New Credit Card Law Makes It Tougher for You If You Owe Money

Gary North

A story on MarketWatch gives some horror stories on how the new credit law has stung credit card debtors.

Read the article if you think things are going to get better for debtors anytime soon.

You risk have tour credit line frozen. You risk having your FICO score lowered if you cancel the card.

Know the risks before you make any major changes.

Get out of debt. That is the #1 solution.

Watch Those Bank Fees

Gary North

Bank fees add up. The new bank law will make them add up faster.

Be sure you read this article. Take its advice.

You must plan ahead. Most people don’t.

You’re Not Alone, Says Survey. Six Out of Ten Workers Live Paycheck to Paycheck

Gary North

A September 2009 report indicates that six out of ten workers live paycheck to paycheck.

Six-in-ten (61 percent) workers report they always or usually live paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet, up from 49 percent last year and 43 percent in 2007. This is according to a new nationwide survey of more than 4,400 workers by CareerBuilder. Three-in-ten (30 percent) workers with salaries of $100,000 or more report that they too live paycheck to paycheck, up from 21 percent in 2008.

To meet ends meet, a fifth of them are dipping into their savings.

Some workers are making ends meet by dipping into their long-term savings. More than one-in-five (21 percent) workers say they have reduced their 401(k) contributions or personal savings in the last six months to get by. Looking at workers earning six figures or more, a nearly equal number (23 percent) report that they have also reduced their 401(k) or savings.

One-third have no retirement or savings program.

While some workers are tapping into their long-term accounts, others are having a hard time saving anything at all. More than one-third (36 percent) of workers say they do not participate in any programs such as 401(k), IRAs or retirement plans, up from 31 percent in 2008. In addition, one-third (33 percent) report that they don’t put any money aside into their savings each month, up from 25 percent in 2008, while 30 percent set aside $100 or less per month for savings and 16 percent save less than $50.

This is a disaster in the making.

What should you do? Use the tools on this site.

Keep track of spending – Create a spreadsheet to analyze what you spend each month, including the money spent on those inevitable invisible expenses, such as a morning coffee, cab ride or afternoon snack. Once you can see where your money goes, you can clearly see where you can cut back.Boost your income – One-in-ten workers report taking on a second job in this economy to help make ends meet.* Ask yourself if this is something you can handle on top of your current job and then pursue some viable options. Check out sites like for contract and freelance opportunities.