Ask Harry: Family running out of ways to pinch pennies

DEAR HARRY: Until last January, my husband had a pretty good job. Then he got laid off when his company was taken over in a merger. That may have been good for the stockholders and management, but almost half the employees got hit, and the rest are on sword-tips about their jobs. I am working at what seems to be a good job, which I have had for the past nine years. Unfortunately, we lived up to every cent we earned. The only savings we have are in our pension plans, but that's not a lot of money, and we can't touch them without a penalty. We have cut back on a lot of expenses, and we're able to get by because we get unemployment compensation. We are now in a terrible squeeze because our second child (our youngest) is going to start parochial school in August. Should we try to arrange to get our mortgage interest rate down? We were told that we would not save enough to cover our deficiency. Is there something else we could do?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: Have you cut back on car use? That can be a big saver. Go over your expenses again to make sure there are no other places where you can cut back. If these don't do the job, you have to look at the school tuition. I realize that for many people, having a religious education for their children is extremely important, but you have to weigh that against essential needs like food and shelter. Perhaps there are scholarships or delayed payment plans available. Good luck!


Email Harry Gross at or write to him at Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 8263 Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.