Home > Managing Debt > The Debt Diet Challenge Week #10: Home Repairs and Maintenance, Taking Stock and Saving Money

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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 made it through a holiday weekend with no weekend vacation.  I spent the weekend instead trimming the bushes, doing yard work and cleaning out the basement. However, the more time spent around the house meant we noticed all the home repairs we have been neglecting.  Our gutters suffered extensive damage this past winter with the heavy ice and need to be replaced.  Our house is in major need of painting, as well.  I keep telling my husband we can attempt this ourselves, something we never would have considered in the past. We will probably have to take a week’s vacation to do it but since we aren’t traveling anywhere for vacation, we might as well attempt this.  How bad could we screw it up?  Being on the debt diet has me challenging myself to try new things that I might not have otherwise done.  The gutters are probably still outside our realm and I will have to see what we can get for quotes on this and set aside some money for this.

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On the money found front (or wasted depending on how you look at it), we bundled our cable/phone/Internet 2 months ago.  We saved a little but not as much as I thought.  When I dug into the bill I found a $35 charge per month for an unreturned cable box. We have paid this for 2 months now.  $70 wasted.  My husband swore he returned this so I told him to go to the cable office and dispute this. Cleaning out the basement this weekend, guess what we found?  A cable box.  Now how did that get there, I inquired?  So much for disputing the charges, but he brought it back today and they took it off this month’s bill that I am about to pay.  I’m embarrassed to say in the past we might never have caught that.  The bill comes and we just pay it.  Now I try to review and question everything. A little late, but better 2 months than 12.

I have on this week’s to-do list to cancel the $100 gym membership.  I know I should’ve had done it as soon as we joined the Debt Diet but I thought I would decide to shrink my waistline as we shrunk our credit.  It didn’t happen, so I am letting it go.  Working full time with two small kids isn’t leaving me enough time for the gym, even though this is when I need it the most.  I asked my new neighbor if she would be interested in walking at night.  I am hoping a buddy system will help and doesn’t require me to get in the car and drive anywhere.  Oh!  Gas savings, too!

I am still struggling with the mental anguish of how dreadfully slow getting out of debt is.  I keep praying someone will drop a wad of cash from the sky and solve my debt problems.  I am trying to learn that time is going to pass no matter what I do and going in the right direction instead of the wrong direction is progress.  I am afraid, though, that I will be debt-free just in time for my kids to go to college.  I have to keep positive.

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