Jean Chatzky
The average American owes thousands on credit cards. We have less equity in our homes and owe more on our cars than ever before. And if interest rates continue to rise, monthly payments could skyrocket. The unfortunate result is that many of us can't save or invest—or sleep, for that matter. Research shows we worry more about money than about any other aspect of our lives: our jobs, children, marriages, and friendships.

Over one million people have tuned in and downloaded Oprah's Debt Diet. So O, The Oprah Magazine asked David, Glinda and me—along with Dr. Robin Smith, the show's resident psychologist—to check in with three couples who'd been following the plan, either online or in the studio audience, from the beginning, just to see how it's working. We wanted to find out where these couples were succeeding, but even more where they were struggling, so we could help them over their "diet plateaus."

They owed money to banks, credit card companies and student loan organizations—and believed there was no end in sight. Today these three couples are lean, mean, debt-free machines. How did they do it? What could they do better?