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Everyday Cheapskate: The Agony and Ecstasy of Getting Out of Debt

Mary Hunt on

Dear C.L. Your letter made my day! I am so proud of you for your great accomplishment of getting out of debt. Thanks for being such diligent "students" and putting into action the simple plan you found in my book.

Dear Mary: It's been nearly a year since I wrote to you. I was in despair about our financial situation. Because I shared the bad news, I want to share the good news, too. Since then, we sold our home (the biggest reason we couldn't reduce our expenses further) and purchased a condominium.

This reduced our mortgage payment by 25%. We put 40% down on our new home, paid our $21,000 credit card debt in full, and have cash reserves to cover three months of basic bills and living expenses in case of emergency.

This is the first time in our marriage that we have been debt-free, and it feels great. Thanks for encouraging and supporting our desire to live debt-free. Your guidance and encouragement to do the hard work changed our lives. -- Vivienne

Dear Vivienne: I recall your first letter and how things did look nearly hopeless. Yours was one of those desperate situations that required drastic measures. I know that selling your home was a very difficult decision, but I believe you did the right thing by scaling down.


I am so happy for you. You have warmed the cockles of my heart, which I must admit came as a bit of a shock. I didn't know I had cockles.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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