Zero Balance

How three families clawed their way out of the pit of debt -- and how you can do the same.
Crushing Burden

Unfortunately, for too many credit card users, interest payments can mushroom into a crushing burden. If you've been there, you know that when the balances and interest mount, they can bring you to the point of desperation. And worse than the financial hardship, big credit card debt is a self-image buster: If you can't even manage your personal finances, what can you do? You can feel vulnerable, and you're too embarrassed to share your woes with even close friends or family.

The credit card has become a national addiction, but there are increasingly effective ways to get that monkey off your back. Above all, bear in mind that you're not alone. Here are three families who slid noiselessly into a pit of debt and then, through ingenuity, tenacity, and will, clawed their way out.

Continued on page 2:  Generous Mom