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Everyday Cheapskate: Recover From Dumb Financial Mistakes

Mary Hunt on

Sell it. If you owe more than the car is worth, you may have to get a loan for the difference so you can transfer the title to a new buyer. But you'll trade a huge car payment for a smaller payment you'll be able to pay off quickly.


You should have held out for a month-to-month membership, but you signed a three-year deal. Now you have to live with it. Or maybe not.

Find the exit: Read your contract carefully. Look for a cancelation clause or exit fee. Compare that fee to your monthly fee times the number of months that remain. It may be cheaper to pay the exit fee now and stop the bleeding.


You needed a quick fix. You wrote a $300 post-dated check, and they handed you $255 cash. Then, something happened, and you repeated the action, and now you're caught in a major bind. Things are way out of control.

Sell something: You have to come up with cash quickly. Figure out what you own that you could liquidate to begin paying off this huge debt you've accumulated.


Know the laws: Many of these payday loan outfits, I'm learning, do not adhere to state laws. If you can prove yours is breaking the laws of the state in which it is lending, threaten it. Then, negotiate to pay only the amount of money you actually borrowed sans fees. It just might work.

Find support: A wonderful forum, located at a most unlikely place on the internet, may have just the information you need to fix your problem. Go to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website, or call 800-388-2227. This is the credit counseling organization I trust and recommend. If anyone can help you with this huge problem, these folks can. You can trust them. It's worth checking it out.

I doubt any of us will reach the level of perfection where we never make any financial mistakes. But I can tell you from my own experiences that they will become fewer and farther between.

The secret is to quickly face up to it, fix it, learn the lesson and then go on wiser, and hopefully not poorer, for the experience.


Mary invites questions, comments and tips at, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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