Frugal Living Is Your Real Debt Consolidation.

On August 1st, 2008, I had finally had enough of playing the debtor's game.  It was time for a change, a radical change.  We were in debt a little over $100,000 which included the house.  I realize that 100k is not really that much because about 80k of it was the house, but I was just tired of playing a game that felt like tug-o-war against myself.  I am a natural saver.  I have been saving/investing 10%-15% or more of my income for most of my life so I only feel "right" when I am saving.  So I was trying to save over 15% of my income AND pay all the bills (credit cards did the yo-yo from $0 to $2500 to $0...etc) and continued to use credit cards.  My total investments kept going up but my debts kept going up little by little as well.  I was about to turn 40 and didn't see how I would ever really win this game unless I changed the direction we were going in.  Credit cards had to go.  They are not evil, just too convenient.  Since August 2008, We have paid off $39,000 and only have $61,000 left to go (only the house).  I am committed to be debt free by 12/01/12.
The crazy thing about paying all this money off is that our day to day lives really have not changed much, just our thought process.  We are not the overly frugal (in my opinion) people you read about on some blogs.  I do a lot of searching other blogs to get ideas on personal finance and I come across some really different frugal/cheap/wacked-out people.  Some people go way overboard in their frugality almost to the point of insanity.  Come on people, live a little!  It is very rare that you and your spouse are both equally on the debt freedom path.  One will usually be 100% committed to it while the other is probably just along for the ride.  If you are the 100% committed one, you will burn-out your spouse really fast if you change their life too drastically.  It is a give and take situation.  Come up with ways to make your lifestyle change look a lot less dramatic than it is.  If you enjoy going out to eat, still go out (less frequently) but only when a restaurant has special nights (example is $5 pizza night).  Still go on vacation, but have a budget and save cash for it.  Take the family on a long bike ride.  Go hiking at the state park (free) with the family. You will soon realize that you do not have to spend much money to have just as much fun as you did when you were building your debt.  Don't use the "trying to be debt free" thing as a reason to be a stick in the mud.  You might need to be a little more creative in order to have fun and spend less but in the end it will be worth it.