Client manager and actor, 35, Los Angeles, Calif.
I have never had any credit card debt -- I was taught early on that I should never charge anything I didn't have the cash to pay for on the spot.
I save a chunk of my paycheck every month in a savings account for emergencies, put 10% in my 401(k), and another 3.5% in a Roth IRA.
My husband and I could afford a bigger apartment here in LA, two cars instead of one, and to eat out three or four times a week. But instead we live in a one bedroom, I ride a bike to get around, and we eat out once or twice a week.
My husband brought a sizable credit card debt to our marriage, and living as we do has allowed us to aggressively pay it down -- it will be completely gone in the next 60 days -- without a late payment.
I know it's a radical notion to live below one's means -- but it is how we've managed to maintain our lifestyle in this time which seems to be so challenging for so many. We are lucky in that we are both employed doing jobs we enjoy, and we have our health.
But we've also made smart decisions about living within our means, and these decisions are paying dividends right now. And when the credit card debt is gone, we might even reward ourselves with our first ever vacation!NEXT: Carla Bowman: The daily battle