I thought the hard part was going to be a year of no shopping—that’s what kicked me into gear just five weeks ago, motivated by an op-ed by Ann Patchett: no more personal shopping for clothes, shoes, bags, or jewelry.
I was wrong.
The hard part is not being able to not shop fast enough to make all this debt go away. I was so clueless about the mess I was in. Serious denial. Crazy. Batshit. Crazy.
And now, as I wrote a few days ago, I am totally woke.
So now I make lists of how long it will take me to get out of debt. I’ve used a variety of budget apps to budget loose $4,000 a month. With that, along with my side consulting income, I think we will be
- free of credit card debt by January 2019;
- liberated from auto loan payments by March 2019 (and the two cars should see us through the end of the era of the personal automobile);
- flush with an emergency fund to cover three months expenses by June 2019;
- back to investing in retirement accounts (on top of what our employers already do) by August 2019;
- in the process of cash flowing our remaining kids’ college expenses through 2022;
- paying off the house by 2025 (there’s a lot of dreaming involved in this aspiration);
- and then maximizing our investments over the next five years until we retire in 2030 with, if my numbers and the economy hold up even moderately, about $2 million saved plus the worth of the house.
Those are the goals that will keep me focused. And I hardly care if I ever buy another pair of shoes again.