I know this is an older thread but I just stumbled upon it. Two years ago my husband and I started listening to a radio show about how to fix your finances and we have really turned things around since then. The radio show is by Dave Ramsey. He was in real estate years ago, made lots of money, spent lots of money, eventually went bankrupt and lost it all, learned from his mistakes and now 20-25 years later he has a radio show and many books about finances. He is a regular guy with simple, old fashioned advice: Don't spend more than you make. Pay cash for everything. Don't use credit cards. When you have money, spend some, and save some. You can listen to his radio show free on Daveramsey.com. Our CPA/Financial planner/good friend gave us Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover", this helped us alot too. I get turned off by "By my system/By my book, it really works" kind of stuff, but the website/radio show is free and you can learn alot. Other than the one book we have we have not bought anything, we just listen to the free show and we have read the one book. He has an envelope system (to divide up your paycheck for bills/expenses. We just used envelopes we already have and wrote on them. The envelope system took some discipline but it really helped us save money much quicker and not spend blindly. He says to assign evey dollar you make, give it a name ( example: I hade envelopes for utilities, food, gas, dog grooming, hair cuts, christmas, oil change/car expenses, etc. I even had one for me, you need to spoil yourself a little just with control.) He also has a smart phone app where you can listen to a lot of free advice.(just search Dave Ramsey in the app store.) The cool thing is that every Friday people call in and give a "Debt Free" scream, those who have finally paid off all their bills and are truly debt free. If all works out well, we will be there in 6-8 months.
We have paid off our cars, pre-pay our car insurance every year, paid off almost all credit cards (only one left! Used these alot when I was in nursing school/not working and really got in debt). Now we are saving to buy a home (sold the old one, kids are getting older..too big a house and payment...saving now to get something smaller and less of payment) and our only debt is the one last credit card and one small student loan. Can't wait to do the debt free scream.
I hope this helps someone like it helped me.