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The Debt Diet Challenge Week #5: Our Participants Weigh In

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This is our weekly installment of The Debt Diet Challenge, in which we follow the progress of participants selected to take Jean Chatzky’s Debt Diet as they work to get themselves out of debt and on track to a better financial future. Every week, the participants blog about their experiences with the program.  Here are their latest dispatches…


We were fortunate to have a four-day vacation this weekend; an under-budgeted holiday weekend. What I thought would cost around $500 total cost more like $1200. What’s that saying about “Best laid plans??”  Well ours went massively awry. We had fun. We spent money. Now I have a debt hangover.

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So do you have any good news for us, Erin??? In fact, I do! Only $250 went on the credit card for the hotel rooms.  I had used them to prepay for our rooms (many months ago) to get a low room rate.  However, I didn’t plan for enough money for meals and drinks.  I didn’t plan on replacing lost sunglasses.  I didn’t plan on our trip to the outlet mall.  We made several “quick” trips to our local drugstore to pick up things we forgot or just had to have.  Overall, the weekend went very well and we followed a budget to a certain extent.  I’ll be honest, though—I padded our checking account by not paying as much towards debt this month so we could enjoy ourselves the way we wanted to.

[Related Article: Jean Chatzky’s Debt Diet – A Behind the Scenes Look]

Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having padded us for this trip either.  I’m not looking forward to discussing it with Jean (again, the benefit of having someone hold you accountable) but I think she’ll be proud that we’re not in more debt.  We will have to follow our budget very carefully these next few weeks so we’ll have the right amount of money ready to pay off two credits cards but I believe we can do it with careful budgeting.  In fact, I’m so excited about getting rid of the Lowe’s and Best Buy card, I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure we get there—even eat Ramen noodles if I have to!

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The kids will start back to school in a few weeks which frees up daycare money and allows more to go to debt.  The hubby will be back to traveling in a bit, which decreases my food budget for a few weeks—which will also go towards debt.  Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about our current position but I do wish I had budgeted more carefully for the trip and taken out cash so we wouldn’t have been able to stray from our bottom line as easily.

Until next week,

I’m Erin

“Just say ‘no’ to spending!”

Read Penny’s story »

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