Dustin Taylor
Dustin Taylor

His situation: When Dustin was about to get married, it hit him that he couldn't live the single life anymore. He had $21,000 in debt, thanks to student loans, a car loan and credit card bills.

"Since my wife didn't bring any debt into the relationship, getting control of my debt turned into a challenge, because I'm very competitive," he said.

His strategy: He found creative ways to budget, like creating a strict meal plan using Google calendar. He and his wife would give themselves $60 for two weeks and sit down every Sunday to plan meals and grocery lists for each day of the week.

"Little things like that kept us out of trouble," he said. He and his wife paid off $21,000 of debt in less than seven months.

His advice: Plan ahead.

How he's doing now: Dustin and his wife continue to be debt free. He was also able to buy a slightly used 2009 model car in cash, start his own business and go back to school, all without any loans.

"We live life on our own terms rather than on the terms of creditors and payment due dates," he said.

Last updated August 03 2011: 2:48 PM ET

From sleeping in offices to following senior citizens to restaurants in order to find the best "early bird specials," these people will do almost anything to save a buck.

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