When I went back to school and studied marketing, I learned how influenced we are from the marketing and advertising we receive every day, and it completely changed how I look at saving and spending and buying. A lot of what we were buying were 'wants,' not 'needs' ... [and] I felt suffocated by the debt.
Our debt had totaled $26,000, and within six months we got it all paid off.
We got rid of our TV, stopped listening to the radio and reading magazines because of all the advertisements that were causing us to spend on things we didn't need in the first place.
We then started looking around our house and found that we were overwhelmed by how much crap we had. So we cleared out all this extra stuff by selling it on eBay and holding garage sales.
I started making laundry detergent, cleaning products and deodorant. At one point, I did really specific tracking of costs and found we were saving hundreds of dollars from this alone. The biggest saver was the laundry detergent, because I have two kids and we really burn through it, and it only takes me five minutes to make my own.
We also found free ways to entertain ourselves. Sometimes we camp inside our house [instead of taking a vacation] -- we put up a little tent and have a "camp-in".
After paying off our debt [last year], we started tracking our savings and built a six-month emergency fund, and now we started a car fund so that we can buy our next car in all cash.
These newlyweds are deeply in love -- and deeply in debt.