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Marnie and Mark Widlunds' super-sized debt has sent their lives into a tailspin, but financial expert Glinda Bridgforth has a plan. Glinda is setting up shop in the Widlunds' home! It's time for the Widlunds to roll up their sleeves and get started on the first two steps Glinda says are essential to tackling their debt.

Step One: Calculate debt and get your credit score
Glinda helps the couple look up Mark's credit score, a three-digit number that lenders use to determine credit risk. Marnie and Mark are disappointed to find out that Mark's score is 540. The median score is 700. "That means there's a lot of work for us to do," Glinda says.

Glinda also tallies up all the Widlunds' debt. With a second mortgage, Victoria's car payment and other loans, the Widlunds' total debt, including their home, is $210,000.

Step Two: Track your spending and find extra money to pay down debt
Glinda has identified four key areas where the Widlunds are wasting their money.

Late fees: $1,800 per year
Direct deposit advances: $1,440 per year
Transferring money toward Victoria's account: $2,640 per year
Food: $1,308 per month

If the Widlunds cut eating out by 25 percent and reduce other unnecessary spending, Glinda says they'll easily save more than $13,000 a year.
FROM: The Debt Diet: Part 2
Published on January 01, 2006
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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