Marnie inspects her daughter's closet.

The Widlunds are doubtful they can find extra money to pay down their debt—Step 2 of Oprah's Debt Diet—but money coach Glinda Bridgforth says she will prove them wrong.

The search for extra cash begins in Victoria's room, which is filled with mounds of clothes. Glinda and Marnie start counting and discover that Victoria owns 20 pairs of jeans. At about $60 per pair, that's $1,200 spent on pants. Then Glinda uncovers another secret—Victoria has 25 bras, which average $30 each, for a grand total of $750.

In Gracie's overflowing bedroom closet, Glinda and Marnie are stunned to discover that Gracie owns 77 T-shirts! At $20 per shirt, Gracie's collection adds up to $1,540—and Marnie speculates there are another 30 shirts waiting to be washed. "If this family really comes clean, literally, by taking care of the laundry, then perhaps there will be less of an urge to go out and continue buying things," Glinda says.

Going through her daughters' closets, Marnie says she sees how overindulgent she's been with them, but she's been hiding a secret of her own—$2,000 worth of scrapbook supplies. If the Widlunds cut back on these expenses in the future, Glinda calculates the family can save as much as $5,490!

Counting all their possessions proves to be a real eye-opener for the family. "It's just waste, waste, waste, waste, waste!" says Marnie. "This is making it easy to not shop."
Glinda Bridgforth and the Widlunds

Glinda puts an end to one of Marnie's most dangerous financial practices: using direct-deposit payroll advances offered by her bank. Marnie was getting hit with a sky-high annual interest rate of 120 percent for using the service—and losing loads of money without even knowing it.

Much like a payday loan, Glinda explains that Marnie's bank charges a fee for every dollar amount advanced. If Marnie continues to take a payroll advance every month—extending that charge over 12 months—the annual percentage rate calculates to 120 percent.

The advance and fee will be deducted from Marnie's next direct-deposited paycheck. If that deposit isn't sufficient, however, the bank will take partial payments from all successive deposits until the outstanding amount is paid off.

Glinda says the problem is that Marnie—like so many people—falls into a recurring cycle of taking advances to pay off the previous advance taken. Her expert advice: Stay clear of payday loans!
Mark at the grocery store

Glinda says the Widlunds can drastically cut food costs by using a shopping list, setting a spending limit and preparing meals at home.

Armed with a grocery list and a spending limit of $100, Mark and Victoria take their first stab at Debt Diet grocery shopping. It's a challenge for them to stick to the list yet they spend just $1.57 over their limit.

In addition to shopping smarter, Glinda shows them another way to trim the fat from their food expenses. By going to the grocery store instead of ordering dinner out or picking up a quick meal at the convenience store, the Widlunds will save $175 a week. By packing lunches, they will save an additional $100 a week.

With Glinda's plan, the Widlunds are losing more than their debt—Marnie says she's lost a few pounds by eating a bag lunch from home each day!

More from Oprah's Debt Diet 
FROM: The Debt Diet: Part 4
Published on January 01, 2006


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