Dear Harry:

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 debts. 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 $120,000 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 $200, we could stay out of bankruptcy. Please help!

What Harry says: 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. Without details on your interest rates and minimum payments, I can only make an educated guess that you'll save that $200 and be able to go forward without those sleepless nights. *

Write Harry Gross c/o the Daily News, Box 7788, Philadelphia, PA 19101. Harry urges all his readers to give blood - contact the American Red Cross at 800-GIVE LIFE.