Nancy was in dire straits personally and financially when she decided to stop making excuses and start making major changes.

"I was able to save about $100,000 in approximately four years. I started with $44. Several years ago, I went through a period of time when the person I worked for was killed, and I stayed with his family to help out for a while. Afterward, I moved and became depressed—I no longer had a job, and I realized that I was totally deteriorating my savings just to live.

At that time, I started listening to Dr. Oz and Jean Chatzky, and then finally, at the last minute, I was able to get a job. I work as a consultant on IT contracts. I took Jean's advice and put myself together. I basically lived off the philosophies of the Oprah Radio XM radio station, and they carried me through it. I was alone and had to take care of myself. Oprah Radio was basically my family. It helped me financially and mentally—it was inspirational.

I took everything to heart. I made my own lunch, and I figured that the most important thing to do was save every penny. If I needed clothes, I bought them on sale. I was buying dresses for $2 that everyone else would reject. I started out by paying down my debt. I had about $15,000 in credit card debt, and it took me about six months to pay that down. I still put some aside while I was paying the debt down because I was trying to establish an emergency fund. After that, I didn't spend anything.

I started out saving $2,000 a month, then bumped it up to $3,000. Now I'm saving about $3,500 to $4,000 a month. I started putting money in a regular savings account, then started getting some CDs. Now I'm focusing on how I can make my money work for me as hard as I work for it."

Do you have a success story you'd like to share or a question for Jean? Find out how to get Jean's personal advice.

Jean's book Make Money, Not Excuses is now available in paperback.

Real Women, Real Excuses continues...
Reprinted from Make Money, Not Excuses by Jean Chatzky with permission from Three Rivers Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. Copyright © 2006, 2008 by Jean Chatzky.
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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