When my husband & I bought our first house, we racked up a bunch of credit card debt on all of those "necessities" you just have to buy when starting out. After a while, we realized we needed to just stop buying so much. So, we instituted a plan - each of us was allowed to withdraw a set amount of cash each week from our joint checking account for our personal expenses. We could spend it or save it, but we could never go get more if we ran out. Also, for household purchases, our rule was that we could not buy any item worth over $25 without checking with the other person, and justifying a true need. These 2 steps did the trick for us. We paid off those credit cards, paid off both cars, and are now living comfortably while also adding to our savings. In fact, we're continuing to save, even though we're now down to one income since I became a stay at home mom to our twins.