"There are a lot of months we've paid all of our bills and there's nothing left and I still cry. And I think that I can't take my daughter to McDonald's because I did all that spending back then," admits Jeannie.
But with prayer and a plan they are trying desperately now to dig their way out of debt $19,000 in credit card debt, reports CBS News Correspondent Byron Pitts.
"Pretty much our mind set about money was, it's nothing but money. You spend, you'll have more," recalls Jeff. "It was like a lifetime shopping spree. Just pull the card. It was a blast."
And millions of Americans are taking the same ride and ending up in the same place. According to the Federal Reserve,
consumer credit debt stands at a record $1.5 trillion. While personal income has risen 72 percent in the past decade, personal debt is up 123 percent and rising.
Psychologist Olivia Mellan, who specializes in money issues, says Americans are drowning in debt. "There's tremendous societal pressure to urge us to just spend, spend, spend and fill up every need we have right now."
Eighteen-year-old Justin Sims, a senior in high school, says, "I use it for gas, clothes, whatever."
At universities across the country, kids can apply for a card and get a free gift. That's often how it starts.
The Bryants' faced reality and avoided bankruptcy by seeking credit counseling. They now live on a budget. But with nothing in savings and only Jeff working full time, Jeannie realizes they are one layoff or medical emergency away from financial ruin.
Still the walk to the mailbox isn't what it used to be. "Hey, no bills today," proclaims Jeannie.
And so for the Bryant's, and families like them, it's one day at a time without credit cards.
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