'This Wasn't Easy': Can Families Cope With Cutting Back?

Two Families Adjusting to the New Normal: Time to Be Grown-Ups

The economic recession has changed the lives of millions of Americans, and for two families featured on "Good Morning America," pay cuts and unemployment meant making behavioral and lifestyle changes that weren't easy.

Brad and Anita Wiggins of Santa Clara, Calif., were almost $1,700 a month over budget.

Brad Wiggins, 53, an attorney, father of seven and grandfather of two, has taken a substantial income hit -- 62 percent.

Members of the Bell family of Houston also have seen their lifestyle change because of the recession.

Latavious Bell, a computer engineer, has been out of work for two months, and the family's household income is down 75 percent. He and his wife, Tawayna, struggled to cut back on spending on their two children and to limit dining out.

VIDEO: This Wasnt Easy: Can Families Cope With Cutting Back?
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Financial advisor Dave Ramsey gave both families a financial check-up, and they agreed to abide by his advice and make some drastic lifestyle changes.

Ramsey advised the Wigginses to refinance their mortgage, told Anita Wiggins that she needed to get back into the work force and stressed the importance of cutting costs.

Ramsey said it was important for the Bell family to discuss its financial situation with the kids and learn to say no.

He told Latavious Bell to be more aggressive with his job search and to consider work outside his field or part-time work.

He added that the family needed to cut back on shopping and eating out at fast food restaurants up to seven times a week, which costs them approximately $220 weekly.

VIDEO: Dave Ramsey talks two families into changing their lifestyles to make ends meet.
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Would these two families take Ramsey's advice and change their lifestyles? And what else could they do to cut costs and improve their finances?

The Wigginses and the Bells also got advice and tips via Skype from "GMA" workplace contributor Tory Johnson, consumer correspendent Elisabeth Leamy, financial contributor Mellody Hobson and technology correspondent Becky Worley.

CLICK HERE for Tory's Advice
CLICK HERE for Elisabeth's Advice
CLICK HERE for Mellody's Advice
CLICK HERE for Becky's Advice

Families Struggle With Change

In California, Anita Wiggins found the job search to be "pretty overwhelming."

"I'm having a hard time," she said. "This is really making me face stuff that I haven't wanted to face, do things that I haven't wanted to do."

Tory Johnson told Anita Wiggins that the first thing she should do is create a resume.

"Then, I want you to write down all of your specific skills and passions," Johnson said. "And finally Anita, take a deep breath."

Anita took Johnson's advice and got down to business.

"I was kind of in one of those crunch times where it's easy for me to think that I don't have anything to offer the world or there's nothing that I can get paid for," Anita Wiggins said.

Watching his wife struggle looking for a job was hard on Brad Wiggins.

"I have a lot of love and respect for Anita, and it's been difficult for me to see her in this situation," he said, choking up. "I don't really have the words, I guess. ... I don't have the words."

After Ramsey's visit, Latavious and Tawayna Bell sat down with their children to tell them they would not be able to go to camp this summer and that the family would be cutting back on trips to McDonald's.

"The situation is that right now we really have to tighten up our belts," Tawayna Bell said. "And I know Daddy doesn't really want to have to do this. It's just in our best interest now."

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