mepiper, you are absolutely correct. After almost two yrs of marriage my husband and I got back from a vacation and realized both our ck accts were flat! We wrote down every penny we spent for a year and made some major changes. It is a very sobering experience, as you find out how much you really fritter away on stuff that doesn't even matter to you. When I worked as an insurance agent, I used this same approach with prospective clients and had them keep a log from the apt. setting phone call till the time we were scheduled to meet-usually a two to three week peroid. I saw many clients through grinding debt into their own homes etc. My husband and I are facilitators for a marriage preparation program at our church and I have put my experiences and training(CLU & one course from ChFc)into a single page 'Steps to Financial Freedom'. Although we had to go to one income after my disabling fall over 11yrs. ago, we have survived. Yes, our net worth did take a big nose dive and we will have to postpone retirement for about four years later than originally planned, but we are financially secure and we WILL be able to retire. Our check-book shock from almost 25 yrs ago gave us the imputus we needed to take control of our financial lives. Life is a matter of choices. One must learn to choose wisely and make choices depending on one's values. What's important to you.