My wife and I decided we are going to get out of debt. We have been working on it for quite a while, but we are going to get serious. We already paid off our credit card debt, not that we really had much. Now we are working on the home equity line of credit. Then her car loan, and last my student loan. With the cash flow diverted from servicing this debt, we can pay off our mortgage in a few years.
Now there are a couple of problems in the way. One, the house needs an exterior remodel. New soffits, siding, windows, shingles, etc. I figure this could cost about $15k. And it needs to be done this summer. And another one is our children. Or rather the lack of them. We aint got any, and she wants some. I don't know if we can wait long enough to pay off everything. She will be quitting her job when we have kids. I say don't have 'em if you won't raise 'em. Plus she doesn't make enough justify being a working mom. Another problem is health insurance. We get it now from her job, and my employer doesn't offer it.
So I am considering paying off all our debts except the mortgage, and paying that down as much as we can till baby one arrives. Then maybe refinance the house to a ten year loan or something that I can handle on my income. I doubt the interest rates will be that favorable in a couple years though. It would be so much better not to have any house payment at all.
So one of the things we are going to do is a written budget. I learned about this from Dave Ramsey. We have been planning on this for a few months but we never actually did it. So I made up a excel spreadsheet. Every dollar is supposed to be accounted for.
I know this will be hard. I am going to try to quit buying worthless things like junk food and junk drinks. I don't drink alcohol (much) so I am ahead there. Mountain Dew will be hard to quit. I need to lose 30 pounds anyway. I drive a 10 year old pickup. I will have to keep driving it till it quits. Even though I hate the rusty pile of crap. I am considering ditching our cell phones. They are no longer under contract and we don't use them much. Cut out the fat everywhere we can. If we can do it, we will retire very comfortably barring any catastrophes.
But, it is hard knowing I won't be able to buy any toys. Or buy a new truck. There are quite a few things I want that I know I won't be able buy once we have kids. I guess I will have to grow up some. Thus far in our marriage we have just split up the bills and each kept our money separate. We can't do that any more. I have to face the fact that some day I will have to support a family and that it is no longer just my money anymore. Time to be a man.
Dave Ramsey's book talks about getting "Gazelle intense". You "live like no one else so later you can live like no one else." That is our goal. I am going to have to learn self discipline. Work more overtime. (I should be doing that right now). While the rest of America averages over $8,000 in credit card debt, and is one lost job from being homeless, we want be debt free. We will not be slaves to our payments.
I hope we have the stones to get it done.