Debt Diet: Is Shedding Credit Card Debt Similar to Shedding Weight?

Jean Chatzky is the financial editor for the Today Show, a columnist for the New York Daily News, and author of six books, including Pay It Down. Jean has now created an online debt reduction program called Debt Diet Online.  CardRatings.com reporter, Mike Killian, interviewed her to get the scoop on her new debt diet site.

Mike:  Can you give me a little background about this online debt reduction program?

Jean:  My aim with Debt Diet Online is to help people escape the noose of debt. I wrote Pay It Down, including The Debt Diet, four years ago and it became a best-seller. It has helped many thousands of people.

But there are others who need an extra bit of handholding. Think about quitting smoking or losing weight. We know what to do: eat less, exercise more. Shedding debt is similar: spend less, save more. Yet there are some people who still struggle.

So for Debt Diet Online I joined forces with Dr. Jim Prochaska, whose behavioral change methods have been able to get tens of thousands of people to quit smoking, lose weight, and de-stress. The tool, developed in collaboration with Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc (Pro-Change), uses behavior change science to deliver guidance based on how ready an individual is to take on debt challenges.

Mike:  How does this program relate to credit card debt reduction in particular?

Jean:  Credit card debt, because it is often high rate, is first on the list to tackle. Also, the current environment has resulted in higher interest rates for many, which makes Debt Diet Online more relevant and necessary. A culture of easy credit combined with the current recession and high unemployment has landed many Americans in a mountain of debt.

Mike:  Is there anything you would like to add?

Jean:  We've all seen the tremendous difficulties Americans are facing with debt and often it's so overwhelming that they wonder how to get started. Debt Diet Online provides the right information and the motivation to make the right choices every day and take back control of finances.

The first step is often the hardest. Based on the user's stage of readiness, the online tool is customized with a step-by-step process, driven by time-tested, effective behavior change principles. This is the first product of its kind that combines proven financial strategies with behavior change principles.