It became very obvious and upsetting to realize we had so much debt. The boat, camper, new clothes and cars took all our income and we had nothing left to save for our future. It's because of this that we I decided to quit buying things we WANTED and focused on saving for things we NEEDED. We began paying off debts and consolidating loans. It took a few years to actually get our debt down to a manageable amount that we could handle without carrying credit card balances.
Then we started looking toward the future, saving our money, rather than looking back at all the things we bought and gone into debt to own. We had begun to learn to live within our means. It is so important for parents to explain this to their children as my father did with the analogy of credit card debt to "paying for a dead horse".
Many people today are in such great debt that bankruptcy is at its highest. Because many adult children want to immediately own what it took years for their parents to get, banks are making a fortune on the interest they make from loaning money. If bills can't be paid on time, then additional charges are added and the debt starts to spiral out of control.
If more people would invest their money in their futures rather than throwing it away on intangibles today, there would be less debt. If people would buy the things they need and not just anything they want, they would be able to actually know what they own. As Benjamin Franklin said, "Pay what you owe, and you'll know what is your own". People would buy what they could afford and needed and would know what they actually OWN.