10 families decided it was time to break their bad plastic habits. Here's how they did it.
Terry, 33, Lawyer
The Moment: At one time Suzi and Terry Tolliver charged everything: gas, dinners, wedding expenses. And they had a $70,000 credit-card bill to show for it. With an income of $150,000, they could handle the minimum payments of nearly $2,000 a month.
But the debt was weighing them down. "We were still paying interest on gas we charged three years ago," says Suzi. In 2002 they stumbled across a book by debt guru Dave Ramsey: "The Total Money Makeover." They bought it - and applied his cold-turkey method.
The Method: They closed their accounts, drew up their first budget and spent the next four years erasing the debt. "If we want something, we pay for it in cash," says Suzi. "If we can't afford it, we do without or wait."
Best Tip: They update their budget regularly to fit in their next savings goal, be it Christmas gifts or a trip. "We no longer have to dread our bills in January," says Suzi.
New Life: They're becoming parents for the first time, adopting twin boys from Vietnam. The adoption is expensive, $25,000, but they're paying for it in cash.
NEXT: The Hutters