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Marriage and money: Our biggest mistake

Five couples reveal the worst financial mistakes they've made and what they've learned.

Too much debt

couples money mistakes deacon hayes
  • Name: Deacon and Kim Hayes
  • Relationship status: Married five years
  • City: Phoenix, Ariz.

Shortly after their 2008 wedding, Deacon and Kim Hayes sat down to assess their finances. The couple was shocked to discover that between the two of them, they had more than $50,000 in debt and two mortgages.

Between student loans, an auto loan for a brand-new Nissan Altima and about $7,000 in credit card debt, their outstanding debt added up to $52,000. And that didn't include the two mortgages Deacon had inked in 2006 before their marriage, one for the condo they lived in and one an investment property.

So the couple took action. They cut all of the extras: out went their cable subscription, a gym membership and eating out. Most importantly, they sold the new car, along with an older car, and replaced them with two used cars that they bought for about $5,000. The cuts freed up hundreds of dollars a month to pay down their debt.

Despite all the money saving moves, Hayes foreclosed on the property that he had been renting out in 2010. He now realizes the home was the opposite of a great investment.

In the same year, however, the couple managed to pay down all of their non-mortgage related debt. At first, "we didn't really see the light at the end of the tunnel," Deacon said. "It was overwhelming. There was tension. But it was a catalyst for us to start making some drastic changes."

  @melhicken - Last updated July 18 2013 11:16 AM ET

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