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Budgeting is a miraculous thing. So basic and fundamental and so easy to ignore. I am now dialing in the budgeting like never before. It’s astonishing. I suddenly have more money to pay for things. Instead of trying to pay for what I spent last month, I’m setting aside money to pays for what I will incur this month. And then I can see what’s left over to pay off past debt.

So I now have a super clear picture of where my money needs to go:

  • housing expenses (including utilities): $4,000
  • food: $720 (my former total downfall, often triple this amount)
  • transportation: $180
  • lifestyle: $1,160 (including dog food, once a month house cleaning, and pocket money for both of us mostly to avoid putting anything on a credit card but not a cent for stupid stuff like any more clothes or shoes)
  • insurance: $259
  • minimum for debt payments, including car loans, home equity loan, credit card debt: $3,000
  • Extra to throw at one debt at a time until it is totally obliterated: $2,000

Yes, we make a lot more than most folks, but the ratios are probably about the same for those of us who have been clueless about budgeting: still too high a percentage on housing and also way heavy in paying off debt.

So the debt payments are extreme now. Mortgage plus those debt payments take 2/3 of my income!!!

But I am now super focused on paying off all that debt. I can do it in six years — though kids college may throw a wrench in that, so let’s say eight years. And then those dollars can go to something for the future and the here and now, not the past and gone.


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