Pay It Down! by Jean Chatzky Book Review

August 30, 2007

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pay it down jean chatzky1.jpgI’ve been a fan of Jean Chatzky since I saw her give a presentation at an event I attended a few months ago. She talked about her new book, Make Money, Not Excuses: Wake Up, Take Charge, and Overcome Your Financial Fears Forever, which I also read and highly recommend.

The book I’m reviewing today, though, is probably the first step many of us need to take to get right with our finances, and that is to pay off debt. I picked up Pay It Down! at Barnes and Noble one day and it’s a pretty quick read, but that doesn’t diminish its value.

Firstly, the name is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion. The tagline is “From debt to wealth in $10 a day”, but the book has little to do with wealth, or what to do after the debt is paid off. But its beauty is in its simplicity and singular focus on getting out of debt, so that’s ok. There are plenty other books that talk about what to do after the debt is gone, including Jean’s book mentioned above.

What I like about this book is that it’s different from the “latte factor” advice books that tell you to deny yourself small pleasures. Jean tells you how to get that $10 a day from the BIG stuff, the stuff you won’t feel as much pain (or any pain at all!) spending less on. One example:

Refinancing your car loan – This could free up big cash each month, and the book tells you how to do it. If you’re like many people (myself included), your credit score and other financial info is in a better place now than it was when you bought your car. You might be paying a lot more than you need to.

I like that Jean breaks down the different aspects of your credit score. For instance, did you know that 35% of your score comes from how well you pay your bills? Wow! This information can help you fix your credit score on your own.

Jean also includes some scripts you can use when speaking to your creditors. Did you know that if you’ve been paying your credit card bill on time and have a good history with the creditor, sometimes all it takes to get a lower interest rate is a simple phone call? Jean tells you exactly what to say when you make that call, and it could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

These are just a couple of ideas among the dozens and dozens laid out in the book. If getting out of debt is what you need to be focusing on right now, then Pay It Down! : From Debt to Wealth on $10 a Day is a great investment for you.


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5 Responses to “Pay It Down! by Jean Chatzky Book Review”

  1. Tsoniki on August 31st, 2007 10:13 am

    I never thought of refi’ing our car – though we have been thinking of buying a different car. It would ’save’ us a bit of money a month, be newer then the one we have now, and have the options we were looking for the first time around!

    Sounds like a great book and it’s what we are working on right now too – paying it all off.

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