Couple looking at paying debts on tablet

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When my husband and I were in our late twenties, we got caught up in what we thought the American dream should be.

We took out expensive car loans for a new vehicle every few years, and made only the minimum payment on over $20,000 in student loans so we could fund our lifestyle. We didn’t have much credit card debt — at least all at once — but we did manage to spend most of what we earned. In fact, we lived paycheck to paycheck, although we were smart enough to save money in our workplace 401(k) retirement plans.

But something changed when we decided to have kids. All of a sudden we began worrying about more than what we wanted today. We started to think of our future and the type of future our kids might have if we didn’t change.

This awakening led us to take a closer look at how we were living. And, more importantly, how we were spending. We…

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