Q. My husband and I are retired on a small pension and Social Security. We have a home-equity loan for about $30,000 (no mortgage) and almost $50,000 in credit-card debt. We were living beyond our means, and we're now in a terrible fix. We have not missed any payments, but our savings are almost gone. Our home is worth about $140,000 in today's depressed market. We don't want to lose our home or our good credit score. If we could cut our monthly payments by about $300, we could stay out of bankruptcy. Please help!

A. I'm glad you got to me before you got behind on your bills or filed for bankruptcy. Even with a tight credit market, I feel certain that you can obtain a new mortgage to kill off the debts and have a single monthly payment. Your credit is still OK, so that will give you a very favorable interest rate, especially when compared with those credit cards and the home-equity debt. Without details on your interest rates and minimum payments, I can only make an educated guess that you'll save quite a bit more than the $300 and be able to go forward without those sleepless nights and hits on your savings. Don't delay, because interest rates are now at the lowest in my memory.

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, 400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130. Harry urges all his readers to give blood — contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-Red Cross.