I remember reading a news article a while back that said the definition of the American Dream has changed from home ownership and 2.5 kids to being debt-free and saving for retirement. I've been married a year and out of college for almost two years, and recently decided to really focus on getting out of debt so our only mandatory expenses are rent, utilities, insurance, phones, internet and food. Our monthly disposable income would increase substantially once we're there.
With two federal college loans, one private college loan, a vehicle payment, and two credit cards, it's a good-sized amount to pay off. The current plan is to live on one income and use the other entirely for paying off debt, and once it's done, never use cards/loans for anything unless it's an actual emergency (such as a medical issue) or something that exceeds a realistic income stream (such as buying a house, if and when that day comes). We'll keep a credit card for big purchases or vacations, but only use it to the point that we can immediately pay off the balance and no further.
I was curious if any other duders out there are currently doing something similar, and what your thoughts and experiences are on the subject. Is being debt-free and having some long-term savings a new American Dream? Is it just a reaction to excesses of the previous generation? Should we just take the free money and run?