Here’s what I want to do:
A $1000 emergency fund. This will only be tapped for actual emergencies.
Our biggest problem is random spending. If we can control that, we can fix the rest in a fairly shot time. We need to work together and encourage each other, and force each other to start returning the stuff we don’t need. With that in mind, we're going on a strict budget. If it isn’t on the budget, we don’t buy it. If something comes up, we take from someplace else in the budget to cover it AFTER we agree to spend the ‘something came up’. We’ll leave a little bit in the budget for discretionary money, like pots and pans, gifts, eating out, movies, etc. We’ll have to track the discretionary and grocery money to keep ourselves under budget. We can review the budget together every month.
Attack the debt hard. Every cent I get paid from my carry permit classes goes to debt. I figure our regular budget comes with a certain amount on top of minimum payments, right now. As stuff gets paid off, more goes to the other debt. I want to focus on the debts from smallest to largest, to make a “debt snowball”(Bad advice from a strictly mathematical perspective, but emotionally it's right. Thanks Dave Ramsey.).
We'll pay off the smallest bits first to get visible progress and get that monthly payment going on the next thing. Any surprise money goes to the debt.
It will take a bit of sacrifice and discipline, but I think we are old enough to delay some gratification to get more later. Our kids should be the ones whining about wanting stuff now, not us.
I also want to start going through stuff and selling the extra crap. The baby stuff in the garage, the bar, some of the computer equipment that I don’t use can all go, including the motorcycle and my(cry) Evil Black Rifle. I want to downsize the extra BS. Simplify a bit. Sell or toss a bunch of stuff.
We’ve also got some cash set aside for ‘project money’. Outside of the budget. That’ll give us a patio door and a new screen door-maybe a couple of other small things, but the rest of our big projects will wait until we can afford them for real.
No more car payments…ever. We weren’t planning on one until we were out of debt, but once we are out of debt, we will be able to set aside $500/month for a new car, easily, without even noticing. In 2 years, that’s $12000, which is a good used car.
We both have to be on board for any of this to work. When it’s done, in 3 or 4 years, we’ll be comfortable for the rest of our lives.
We'll see what my wife has to say about the plan.