We made a big mistake cosigning for our children’s college funding. Now, years later, we owe so much on their loans. And the worst part—they didn’t even graduate! We are trying to survive on one income. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Anna, email
The sad truth is that you are not alone. Much of the $3 trillion in outstanding student loan debt is being shouldered by parents, and it could be affecting their retirement. I assume that your children have defaulted on these loans and now the lender is coming after you as cosigner for payment. I hate to sound harsh, and truly wish I had better news, but only the death of the student for whom you cosigned will make this go away. Not even filing for bankruptcy will relieve you of these debts.
My best advice is that you don’t give yourself the option to live on one income. Whichever of you is not working needs to get a job—any job—and devote that entire paycheck to paying down these loans until they are paid in full. Putting off payment will do nothing but make matters worse.
You really spoke to me the other day when you said, “When are you going to stop what you are doing and take action to get out of debt?” It is going to be a long haul, but worth it, I’m sure. I have had a lifestyle of spend, spend, spend, and now I will have to pay, pay and pay until everyone is paid off. I hope I will never do this again. It is a terrible way to live. Miriam, email
As painful as it might have been, thank goodness you had that wakeup call. The best time to get started turning your financial life around is today. One step at a time, one day at a time, you’ll make it. And quite possibly much sooner than you could imagine.
I love days like today when I get to open the Everyday Cheapskate mailbag and read all the letters and messages from our growing Debt-Proof Living family, and attempt to answer your questions about everything from a super easy way to make great compost (I’m still working on that one) to just about anything you can imagine to do things better, faster and cheaper.
Do you have a tip on how to clean my white Pfaltzgraff dishes? Barb, email
Pfaltzgraff has been making dinnerware for many years and has used earthenware, stoneware, porcelain and bone china at some point in its history. Most Pfaltzgraff patterns currently in production are made primarily of stoneware and earthenware, with only a few patterns being offered in ironstone and porcelain. The good news is that all Pfaltzgraff dinnerware is microwave and dishwasher safe.
The appearance of gray lines or “scratches” on Pfaltzgraff dinnerware is not a defect—in fact, it is quite common. These marks appear when metal utensils come in contact with the hard glazes used by the manufacturer. You can remove these marks easily using a variety of cleansers. Pfaltzgraff makes it own Pfaltzgraff Stoneware & Porcelain Cleaner, but it is a little pricey.
Two other products that are safe to use on Pfaltzgraff are Zud and my personal favorite, Bar Keepers Friend. Simply dip a wet cloth into a small amount of Bar Keepers Friend and apply it to the stain or mark. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then rub gently to remove the mark. Work slowly, and do not use a lot of pressure. Wash the dish in warm water using a mild dishwashing soap, and dry with a soft, clean cloth.