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WEB EXTRA: EVERYDAY CHEAPSKATE (R) – A Painless Way To Save a Thousand Bucks PDF Print E-mail
Written by BY MARY HUNT, Creators Syndicate   
Tuesday, 16 November 2010 18:57

Dear Mary: Thank you a thousand times! I took your advice and started saving $5 bills. This year alone, I have saved $1,000 in $5 bills. You have to really commit not to use them, but soon you see why. I can't thank you enough. – Cindy, e-mail

Dear Cindy: That's fantastic news. Good for you. And now I'll share a little secret with you. On our little grandson's first birthday last July, I rolled up all the loose change we had saved and came up with about $1,000. I opened an investment account at ShareBuilder and named it "Elijah's Education Account." We are committed now to saving all of our pocket change to add to the account. Knowing that time is on our side, I've got him in a very aggressive portfolio. Currently, we're up about 20 percent, which for now makes playing the game a lot of fun.

Dear Mary: I am recently divorced, and my ex-husband kept the house. I simply could not afford to do so. However, the mortgage payment shows up on my credit report and will continue to do so until he is able to refinance. This could be a long time, as the house is upside-down marketwise. As unpleasant as it is for me, I am considering filing for bankruptcy to clear just this debt. Can I do that? What do you suggest? – Sharyl, California

Dear Sharyl: You need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney. I can tell you that under most circumstances, secured debts are not subject to bankruptcy relief. In my opinion, your filing for bankruptcy would not change the fact that you are on the hook for that mortgage, married or not. The lender will hold both of you accountable for the debt until it is paid, the home is foreclosed or, as you suggest, you refinance. You may have other options or relief available to you of which I am not aware. Take a look at Steve Rhode's website, Search "bankruptcy" to find contacts he recommends, with whom you can have conversations about your possible options. Please exercise caution. There are lots of scam artists out there posing as bankruptcy relief professionals. You cannot be too careful.

Dear Mary: Which is more economical, price per pound or price per serving? I must look like a zombie in the meat department just staring at the cases. – Teri, Washington

Dear Teri: I prefer price per serving because price per pound has way too many variables. Years ago, a reader shared with us that she used "a buck a serving" as her benchmark, and that was the most she would pay. If she saw a package of four pork chops, she knew that would be a dinner for her family of four. So her "budget" for that item would be no more than $4, or $1 per serving. If it was on sale, she'd snap it up. These days, that might need to be adjusted to $1.50 or so, but you get the principle.

Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of and author of 18 books, including "Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?"