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Debt Diet Challenge: Finding More Ways to Cut Costs

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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…

Melissa

This week I logged on to the Debt Diet website to review my progress and review some tools. I made myself a list of things that we have done and a list of things still left to do. We found over $270 per month just by combining our phone, cable and Internet, bringing lunch to work and not buying my morning coffee everyday.  I am saving hundreds a month on thoughtful shopping which includes meal planning, shopping with a list and not waiting until last minute to buy things we need and paying full price.  We have added $40 to this as well with interest savings since July by paying down our debt.  I have the following on the to-do list:

  • Call about lowering our credit card rates
  • Refinance mortgage
  • Transfer credit card debt on higher interest card to a lower interest one
  • Do better job of tracking all money
  • Get quotes for auto/home insurance

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I have been unsure of transferring any debt to cards with lower “teaser” rates for fear that I won’t be able to pay them off before the regular rates kick back in.  We have such large numbers on our credit cards that it didn’t seem worth it unless we could transfer the whole balance and be sure we could pay it off.  I am still contemplating this and may make a move soon.  In the meantime I should have already called all of my cards to see if they could lower the rate I already have.  I have put this as a top priority to see what we can accomplish until we decide what to do on moving.

With rates still low on mortgages we should refinance.  I am concerned that the level of debt we have will impact the ability for us to get the lowest rate possible.  I have been pushing hard to reduce as much debt as possible to get us in a position to get the best rate.

My next project is to quote out my insurance policies.  I just made my last installment and my policies come up in February.   I need to make sure I am getting the best prices and taking as much risk with deductibles that I can handle with my emergency fund and compare it with the savings.

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