The Gooches A joint commitment to get out of debt
By Carolyn Bigda

(MONEY Magazine) – When Dale and Deanna Gooch wed in 1996, they vowed to erase $63,000 in credit-card and student debt. "Do no more harm" became their mantra, says Dale, an accountant. Within three years, the debt was gone and they owned a home in Wichita.

Dale, 39, and Deanna, 43, a high school teacher, used spreadsheets to track every dollar and watch the debt shrink each month, encouraging them to stick with the plan. But they didn't stop saving, and they still took vacations. "We didn't deprive ourselves," says Dale. "There's no way either one of us would have stuck to it if we had." --C.B.