Official figures today confirmed the continuing fall in the number of bankruptcies as families cut back on their borrowing and those who do hit the buffers opt for cheaper ways of getting protection from creditors.
Total personal insolvencies fell by 11 per cent in 2011 to just under 120,000 in England and Wales, according to the Insolvency Service.
Within than total, the number of bankruptcies dropped sharply, by 29 per cent, to 41,845.
It's not unexpected for financial failures to drop back after a recession, following an initial surge, as households avoid new borrowing and banks and credit card companies restrict their lending.
There's also a tendency to put off applying for help until after Christmas and New Year celebrations, so some debt experts predict a rise in insolvencies in the first few months of 2012.
However, most dramatic has been the recent jump in Debt Relief Orders, a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy which doesn't involve going to court.
While bankruptcies declined last year, Debt Relief Orders rose 15% to 29,949.
DROs are designed for debtors with hardly any assets and debts of less than £15,000.
At the same time, many people in difficulty, along with small traders, have been opting been opting for Individual Voluntary Arrangements, under which payments to creditors can be reduced - rather than choosing bankruptcy.
Despite the overall fall last year, total insolvencies continue to run at more than twice the levels seen before the credit crunch and the lending boom which preceded it.