No. of Recommendations: 7
I know that I am late with my two cents, but I thought I might throw in my 2 cents anyway.

I read xtn's email and there were 3 points that I could relate to my own experience.

1. Re-examine your sacred cows.

Is this a prescription cat food? Is there a less expensive cat food that is as good nutritionally? Your baby's bowels will adjust eventually. When I took my boys to the vet, she recommended purina cat chow.

Have you thought about carpet remenants as scratch toys? Bound pieces at Home depot are only a couple of bucks and last longer than cardboard.

Skin conditions can be bad news financially. I have a friend that has excema that flares up at the drop of a hat. She found that many of the products she tried and liked had jojoba oil. She then found a online supplier of jojoba oil.

I personally use Suave and other generics in the house. Big Lots occasionaly has brand name items that I purchase, but I can't afford brand names or boutique products.

2. Paying down your debt should or could be your #1 priority in life.

It's very hard to do and I can't seem to quite do it and most of the other posters also struggle. I wouldn't say that you were whining about it, but when I see a lot of excuses I think "in denial".

In my college days I made on average $600 a month and had $350 in rent. I lived on what I made without money from my family. It was tough, but I made a lot of adjustments in my expectations and still incurred debt. I make a good salary at this point and I am on schedule to pay off my cc by July 2006, but there have been times when I took on second jobs. I didn't care what they were as long as I wasn't paying out money to keep the job (commute or clothing). I have shoveled manure, cleaned bathrooms (much worse than horse poop), watched children, fried and grilled food, lifted, and hoed. When my son gets a bit older I might think about a second job again.

I love my friends, my cats, looking and feeling good about myself, but my "responsibilities" come first.

3. Standing on your own two feet is important.

Family is enabling your lifestyle. My niece is 19. She lives with us and goes to college. She pays room and board and has a few chores. When she isn't in school or working and paying room and board, then she has a list of chores 5 days a week and we don't pay her for babysitting Boo. Joblessness soon became undesirable this summer.

When she moved here with us she thought she would buy a car and a cell phone for modest monthly payments (she has a VA stipend while in school). She quickly found out that she couldn't afford monthly payments and lunch at school occasionally or new clothes once in a while. She hasn't quite picked up on what savings are, but she doesn't have any debt.

This year we are going to work on savings.

Maybe none of xtn's post applies to you, but I could see areas that I need to work on. Yes, I purchase my work clothes at Macy's, but honestly I only buy at clearance sells. Well, except for my Easter dress. It was only 25% off.

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