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Debt-Proof Living: The Complete Guide to Living Financially Free Paperback – January 1, 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: DPL Press, Inc; First Printing edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805420789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805420784
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

There are plenty of heavily pedigreed personal-finance experts dishing out good advice, but not many who know what it's like to have to eat ramen all month to make a car payment. On the other hand, there's Mary Hunt, a recovered credit card addict whose free-spending ways landed her family in the middle of $100,000 of unsecured debt in the early 1980s. Pulling herself out of that morass gave Hunt the courage to strike out on her own as a writer, motivational speaker, and the brains behind The Cheapskate Monthly, a newsletter and Web site ( dedicated to promoting the art of living within one's means, a message that grows ever more urgent as the average American family struggles each year to pay $1,200 in interest alone on revolving, unsecured debt.

While Hunt's previous books have echoed some consistent themes--debt bad, saving good--they've addressed a hodgepodge of different areas: building financial confidence in women and kids, doing Christmas without a stack of credit cards, tips for gourmet cooking at low cost. In Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Living, Hunt finally puts together a financial primer for all--whether retirees trying to decide when to start drawing Social Security or teenagers ready to sign for their first college loans. Security, according to Hunt, is built with simple tools: tithing, saving, paying off debt, creating a contingency fund for emergencies, driving used cars, owning a home, having insurance.

Although Hunt's "been there, spent that" zeal and warmth have turned her into the Ann Landers of personal finance, she's not just an agony aunt for spendthrifts--business experts will find her a savvy marketer who's using her name and story to build, somewhat ironically, a very effective brand. That doesn't negate her sincerity, however, or the fact that her advice is sound, her formulas work, and her Rapid Debt Repayment Plan has kept increasing numbers of families out of bankruptcy. And finally, Mary Hunt's Debt-Proof Living is just a joy to read--its clarity and lack of condescension make it a perfect gift for anyone just starting to understand the basics of money. --Barrie Trinkle

From the Publisher

This All-New and Revised edition of Debt-Proof Living reflects changes in the economy and consumer credit industry, while retaining all of the relevant content that has kept this book a bestseller since its original release in 1999. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Mary Hunt is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 23 books, as well as a sought-after motivational speaker who helps men and women battle debt. She is founder and publisher of Debt-Proof Living, a highly regarded and popular consumer organization consisting of an interactive website, monthly newsletter and personal finance tools. Hunt's books have sold more than one million copies, and her syndicated daily newspaper column is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Everyday Cheapskate readers nationwide. She speaks widely on consumer finance topics and has appeared on shows such as The Today Show, Oprah, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Fox and Friends and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in Southern California.

Customer Reviews

This book is easy to read and very enjoyable.
Marie Barger
If you have already paid off your debts, this book will help you keep it that way.
Michael Mendenhall
Another great book from the guru of Debt Free Living, Mary Hunt.
Shelly's Bookstore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mendenhall on August 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
What can I say? This is a darn good book. After reading "How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously" by Jerrold Mundis, I thought I had read it all. That book changed my life. This book by Mary Hunt has taken me to a higher level.
Strangely enough, what I like most about this book is the writing style. The content is excellent, but much of it I've read before. You know, cut up your credit cards, cut your expenses, save 10% of your income, etc. etc. etc. The style of writing makes the subject matter so much more enjoyable to read. I felt like the author was speaking directly to me as a human being. Considering the author had at one time $100,000 in unsecured debt, I'm impressed. She practices what she preaches.
In terms of content, the writing style is a joy to read, but there are some really good points made in this book. One idea, which was definitely worth the purchase was chapter 8. I had already been implementing that idea a little bit, but now I can refine it with the author's method and really make it work.
The point of this book is to make dealing with debt a proactive issue. Don't just work on paying off debt. Structure your life in such a way that you avoid debt at all costs. If you plan your life properly, it's entirely possible and quite easy I might add. Been there done that.
My favorite quote from the book came in the chapter about college students getting their first credit card. Most people I know have at least one credit card in case of an "emergency." Here's what the author had to say about that:
"If you accept a credit card with a big line of credit, I can guarantee you will have lots of emergencies.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Sonja on September 15, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Good:
Hunt's book has a lot of great information that for the most part is clearly written. She covers everything from credit reports, to mortgages, to insurance and how to save money in these categories. The plan she leaves us with in order to get out of debt is a strong and solid one, that still allows you to have a life and actually create a savings plan wbile paying off debt. Using an RDRP calculator I designed for myself, I was pleased to see that I can pay off my $32,000 of debt in six and a half years, not taking into account and tax refunds, or raises beyond the cost of living increases I may take in.
The Bad:
As with any book that tries to get you to change your life, you need to pick and choose the ideas that best suit you and fit your lifestyle. Hunt tells us we should give 10% of our money away, in a sense back to God. Among other reasons, this is to feel more connected with the world. She states a few times how people write in saying that they'd rather give their time and how Hunt feels this runs counter to the principles of giving away money. I for one, feel much more connected to the world when I am volunteering - writing checks and putting them in the mail is what you do to those evil credit card people you're trying to get rid of.
Another GLARING frustration I had with the book was all the shameless plugs to her website. Not because I am against shameless plugs, but because in order to ACCESS the features she mentions, you have to buy a subscription! Key to the whole book is her Rapid Debt Repayment Plan (RDRP) which, as she puts it on her website, can be a very complicated thing to figure out on your own.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Book Reader on January 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mary Hunt's "Debt-Proof Living" is one of the books that all families should read and then put the concepts into action. We used an earlier version of this book to get our expenses in control and I used that book to teach a class about handling their money. People that were desperate about their money problems were finally able to be optimistic about how to take control. It will help you learn how to set up a "spending plan" and to maintain your money so you will have it for both necessities and for things you really want. You should read this book but also think about getting her "Debt-Proof Living" newsletter. Be an online subscriber so you can take advantage of the fantastic Toolbox and calculators. Go to [...] I used her "Rapid Debt Repayment Calculator" to first be totally shocked at how much interest we would have to pay for the credit card debt and how long it would take to pay it off. We then used it to figure out how we could pay it off much faster and we saved over $14,000 in interest plus now enjoy the freedom of being "out of debt"! Now is the time to get control of your finances and this book will tell you how to do it!
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By FliBBiTyFlooB on June 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
In 2000, I left Graduate School with over $20,000 in debt from a student loan, car loan, and credit card bills used to pay for groceries during my graduate studies. ($800/month is not a lot to live on!)

I didn't learn any sensible budgeting techniques in high school, college, or graduate school. I decided I needed to learn to handle my money better and needed to get out of debt. I found this book at the Christian bookstore and purchased it. It revolutionized my financial thinking. It took about 18 months for me to get out of debt, and I have stayed out of debt since.

1. KEY THOUGHT: The Freedom Account. To this day, I still use a Freedom Account. I am married now, but my husband and I have a freedom account fully stocked for a new car in our future, health care, flood insurance, home insurance, car deductibles, etc. It is so freeing to realize you have that money set aside for things that may well/are going to happen. A great technique.

2. KEY THOUGHT: The RDRP (rapid debt repayment plan). So many people tell you you should pay off your highest-interest debts first. To me, it was motivational to start with my smallest debts. It was like a steamroller taking the money that I once was paying for debt A and sending double,triple, or quadruple payments to debt b. I really liked this technique! Currently, my only debt is a house mortgage. I use techniques I learned from the RDRP to pay down my mortgage early as well. I usually make more than twice the monthly payment so I can end my 30 year mortgage within 8 years.

3. KEY THOUGHT: Save 10%, Give 10%, Live off 80%. I really liked that Mary had her 80/10/10 rule . I think it's so important to realize that you have to save and give while still paying off debts.
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