John & Frankie Cropper
John & Frankie Cropper
Married: Sept. 4, 2011
Debt at marriage: $45,000
Debt now: $47,000

John and Frankie Cropper met their sophomore year of college, around the same time they started accruing the student loan and credit card debt that still weighs on them today.

When they tied the knot in 2011, they had a grand total of $45,000 in debt. And while they are determined to become debt-free together, they have slightly different personalities when it comes to their finances.

"[Frankie] is a lot more diligent about money and aggressive about paying down debt, but she's also a lot more willing to use her credit cards as an every day means of financing things, whereas I only use them occasionally but I'm much worse about paying them off quickly," said John.

The couple hasn't paid off any debts yet -- and they've even added a couple thousand dollars more to their credit card balances to make ends meet. But "we haven't sprung for many big newlywed purchases using credit and we didn't do anything that would really saddle us with debt, like buying a house," John said.

The Croppers downsized from a house to an apartment when they moved from Wilmington, Ohio to Columbus. They also sold a lot of their belongings when they moved -- including their TV, some books and a few wedding gifts -- making an extra $1,000 that they put toward their debt.

But they realize that to really eliminate their debt, they will have to develop a more serious plan.

"We've both just been watching our credit cards and student loans accrue interest, and it's taking us way longer to pay it off than we thought -- and until you pay it off, it's like a chain around your ankle," said John.

By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney - Last updated June 21 2012: 3:17 PM ET
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