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Pay credit cards
Name: Mike Tierney, 48
Location: Grove City, Ohio
Profession: Network engineer for a telecommunications company

His story: "The first rebate check we received was sent directly to the credit card bill. That's what will happen to the second rebate check, too.

My wife and I have one son, and we relied rather heavily on credit cards for things that were wants, not needs. It's a revolving $30,000 in credit card debt, pure and simple. The mortgage hasn't been a problem - in fact, we could handle that with one income. But I'm not in a profession with a salary that supports that much debt.

The debt has built up over several years - small purchases and Christmas presents, for the most part. And then there are the slightly bigger purchases. I let our lawn die this summer and rather than replanting it ourselves, we had someone come in to replace it and install a sprinkler. It cost about $7,000.

Now, of course, I wish we hadn't done that. You keep buying and buying, and one day you get smacked in the face." - as told to Julianne Pepitone

NEXT: Pay down mortgage
Last updated January 26 2009: 2:08 PM ET
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