In 2008, Cherie and Brian Lowe found themselves deep underwater.
Between credit cards, student loans, car payments and a gap loan, the couple had racked up more than $127,000 in debt, but struggled to make a dent in paying it off.
"At that point, we had been married just about nine years and really we just didn't have a plan for our money," Cherie tells CNBC Make It. "We lived paycheck to paycheck, and when a crisis would arise, if we didn't have the cash to pay for it, we would put it on the credit card."
After several failed attempts at taking control, Brian came home one day and pitched a vision to Cherie of what their family's lives could look like without the debt. The couple decided it was time to make a change and they pledged to finally get a handle on their finances. On April 2, 2008, they set out on the first day of a 15-year plan to become debt-free.