My situation a little over a year ago did not look ideal to anyone, nor did anyone advice to what my future wife and I were going to do next.
I was $30k in debt from school loans, on top of that we had 2 car payments (450 total per month & 16k balance) and were just planning our wedding to incur all of that debt as well.
Luckily, we had a fair bit of help from our parents for our wedding and used connections we had to save money where we could. We asked a friend of the family to cater our wedding, and he said surely and did it for only the cost of the food. On top of that, we knew a photography that was just starting her business and needed to build her portfolio so she said she'd do it for nothing. We also had a friend that was going to school for photography and he took some pictures for us as well, so between the two of them we had some amazing pictures. So the wedding was a great time, and we pretty much broke even between receiving money and paying for wedding costs.
Then, one week after the wedding (and only 2 weeks after my wife graduated from college), we were planning on moving across the country. We had nothing planned besides that we had a place to stay for a few weeks while a friend was out of town. We had no jobs lined up, no place to call home, and just two cars full of our stuff.
We got to our destination safely and found some great jobs within a week. After that, we began looking for a place to move into. We looked for a few weeks and knew we didn't want to pay rent, and luckily we found a nice starter home for two 21 year olds (us). Sad thing was, the cost was right around $250k, on top of the debt and payments we already had.
Fast forward to now.
Both vehicles are paid off, the school debt is right around $22k, our house is furnished, we have an emergency fund built up, and we both are very happy people.
So, how did we get to this point? Well first I'll start by saying we're not making an insane amount of money at all. We're 22 years old. I do some website side work here and there for people every once in awhile, so that always goes to pay off debt. We use credit cards all to time to collect points for gift cards to go out to eat and enjoy ourselves. (Note: We pay them off in full every month. If you plan on doing this, you must know that you have the money in your accounts and will pay it off in full.) We know a few places around town that have great deals on certain days and take advantage of them when we want to go out.
We are frugal, not cheap and spend our money wisely. I had a friend tell me that I must save a few hundred dollars every month b/c of great deals that I find. Truth is, it's probably close to that. Every time my wife or I needs something, we look to see if there is a coupon. We use a website called slickdeals.net to find coupons and other deals. However, we only buy if we need it not want it. We rent movies from a "box" for $1/day. Redbox.com if you're interested.
There is an end in sight and we are very excited to make so much progress. You can be frugal yet not miss out on the finer things.