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Pay It Down! From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day Hardcover – September 2, 2004

3.7 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The number one enemy of the American family's finances is debt, says Chatzky—especially credit card debt. The average American family, she reports, has 16 credit cards carrying a debt load of more than $8,000. In this terrific little book, the Today Show financial editor and author of You Don't Have to Be Rich and other titles offers a tough-minded but workable plan for getting rid of that burden.Chatzky's program builds from one simple premise: that it's possible for most of us to get debt-free by saving $10 a day for three years. Following the wisdom of knowing a problem in order to conquer it, Chatzky advises that readers first get their credit scores; she explains clearly how to do that, what the scores mean and how to improve them. She then recommends that readers learn what, exactly, they are spending their money on, and provides appropriate worktables and steps to accomplish that. A large section of the book is devoted to resourceful ways to find the $10 a day, with Chatzky suggesting that readers make hard choices regarding everything from eliminating the cost of their wireless device (their Palm Pilot, for instance), if they have one, to refinancing a car loan and putting on a garage sale. Instructions follow on how to "pay it down" intelligently, and the book concludes with lucid instructions on how to deal with worst-case debt scenarios and how to maintain and enhance one's debt-free financial status once it's achieved. Throughout, the text is personalized by brief stories of those who have worked their way into, then out of, crushing debt, as well as by glimpses of Chatzky's own story.This is that rare book that has the genuine ability to improve many lives. Its power lies in its simplicity and focus, and in Chatzky's caring and thorough but no-nonsense approach. It seems that even a financial naif can follow Chatzky's advice and turn night into day. If enough people do, this book may become the landmark title it has the potential to be.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Chatzky has a crisp and fast-paced style."
-USA Today

"This is that rare book that has the genuine ability to improve many lives. Its power lies in its simplicity and focus, and Chatzky's caring and thorough but no-nonsense approach."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

"What I like about this book is its brevity in both size and solution. . . .This book is all about simplicity."
-Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post

"Pay It Down! is a great little book that shows you step by step how to save, how to make more money and how to stay ahead of the curve by bringing down your debt. . . . Chatzky's charm is her non-judgmental, optimistic tone."
-Susan Morris, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

"Pay It Down! is much more than a book about reducing credit card debt. It's a how-to book with solid strategies on money management. Invest in a copy-it will be money well spent."
-Chris Stuckenschneider, The Missourian

"Jean Chatzky helps you change the way you think about your money-and shows that getting out of debt is not as hard as it seems."
-David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire

"Managing debt properly is a crucial key to getting rich, and Jean Chatzky is a great source for help."
-Donald Trump --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; First Edition edition (September 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591840635
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591840633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,533,406 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kcorn TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Find an extra ten dollars a day, apply it to your credit card debt, DON'T CHARGE ANY MORE on those cards and in 3 years you'll have paid off a huge chunk of debt....maybe even all of it.
That is the basic info in this book and it simply isn't reason enough to buy it. Like dieters who lost 10 or 20 pounds and then gain it back, those who are in debt are likely to fall back into debt again - unless they change their way of thinking bigtime.
That is why credit card companies love those customers who are paying 10, 12, even 17 percent interest. They might pay it down but odds are they'll also rack up the debt again. Plenty of credit card companies even INCREASE the credit limit for these folks. Why not? From their point of view, it may be quite profitable.
Finally, there is another problem that ISN'T addressed by this book - and that is the belief that there is an extra $10.00 a day to be found in the average budget. Truth is, some people are paying for the necessities of life with credit cards - food, home, medical bills. For them, not only is there no extra money to be found, there is not a single area in the bduget that can be cut. An extra job, better health insurance or some other type of solution might help them but until that comes along they aren't likely to shuck the credit card habit. And they certainly shouldn't spend their hard earned money on this book.
For the average person, buying this book won't hurt a thing...but it won't solve your problems, either, unless you are willing to take a good hard look at your spending patterns and make some PERMANENT changes - stop charging, get an extra job, don't buy a thing that isn't necessary. For those willing to examine every purchase in the light of a new, more spartan outlook, change is possible.
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Format: Paperback
I agree with some of the criticism that this book is aimed at professionals with a relatively high income, no money management skills, and a high amount of credit debt.

However, I do think that it has some great basic information about paying bills, transferring credit card balances, understanding and improving your credit score, and creating a monthly budget. These are tips anyone can use.

I consider myself to be pretty fiscally responsible, but I picked up some good organizational tips and some interesting facts about transferring debts. The book is a quick read and written in a conversational tone.

Oh, and I did get the book from the library. I suggest borrowing it or buying it at a reduced cost, reading the chapters that pertain to your situation, and taking a few notes. No need to own this one.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with the very first poster. There wasn't anything here particularly insightful to me. If I had an extra $10 a day I wouldn't be in debt. I've already done the suggestions on cutting back years ago so this wasn't helpful. I found Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover much more helful and doable.
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Format: Hardcover
There's useful stuff here but only ion the most rudimentary way. I might give this book to a newly wed couple if they haven't the faintest idea about how to manage money but anyone else would already be beyond the elementary concepts of the book.

I think Chatzky is simplistic in her approach, too. Her idea is to save at least 10.00 daily by reducing discretionary spending - coffee, eating out, etc. - and using that money to reduce debt but I doubt that the average family can scrape up an extra 300.00 per month by washing their own car. There's just not enough here to make the book a worthwhile buy.
Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
Cancel the cable, pack a lunch, learn to do your own nails, skip the morning bagels and take the bus to work, blah, blah, blah. Chatzky's advice is identical to every single financial guru out there who has preached to the American middle class over the past two decades. Pay It Down is loaded with all the standard financial advice clichés and has the appeal of a warmed-over latte (oh yeah, you're supposed to skip those, too). The only relief this book provides is comedic, and that's when the author comes off sounding like the Queen of England dispensing advice on having a successful garage sale. The painfully dated suggestions within just don't address the problems of REAL American families who are already struggling to balance their checkbooks and make time for husbands and/or kids. When it comes down to the real bottom line, an extra hour spent commuting on the bus or time with loved ones, I choose my family. Furthermore, if you MUST read this book, don't buy it. Take the author's advice on page 137, USE THE LIBRARY. I did.
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Format: Hardcover
There is very little information included in this book that is not included on the cover. I was very glad I borrowed it from my library rather than buying it. For some good reading on the same subject, check out something by Mary Hunt, or another true expert who will give some real, in-depth advice and actually set your mind to working.

Pay It Down is fluff reading.
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By C. Wagner on September 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Yep! If you are overpaid and fritter away your cash on extravaganzas at Starbucks and on two exotic vacations a year, leaving yourself floundering in a pool of fiscal red ink, then this is the tome for you! But, you may be too dumb for it to do any good anyhow.

However, if you are one of the average working Americans who has cut his budget to the bone and to the bone again, you will not find much here. Oh, you can send send your PDA, whatever that is, back to the store and only take ONE swell vaction a year. Well, duh...

I was particularily distressed by the health care discussion. The author has no conception how difficult it is for the average person to obtain and pay for adequate health care. Could you image how much more difficult it would be if you or your child had even the most minor health imperfection?

Frankly, I think the author makes far too much money to competently advise the common folk. Spend less. Save more. It has all been said before!

But, you can save your first ten dollars a day by checking this book out of your library and paying off your debts with the savings.
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