Once upon a time there was a family. This typically American family found themselves with a fair amount of debt besides their mortgage. Spending had increased even though household income had been stagnant for a couple of years. A significant increase in household income was unlikely for the near term. What to do?
Of course some debt could be paid from existing credit lines available to the family. And if those lines weren't enough they could ask for an increase in the limit. The family came to the conclusion that this was not a viable option. They would merely be shuffling debt around and increasing their debt burden instead of meeting financial obligations.
The family decided the only responsible, ethical option was to drastically reduce their discretionary spending and pay the outstanding debts without incurring more debt. Lifestyle changes might be required to do this but living within their means became the goal. Everyone in the family contributed by thinking of ways that unnecessary spending could be curtailed.