I do computer end-user support. If they break it, I look to see if it is easy to fix, if they REALLY break it, I call the screwdriver and wrench brigade. I am fortunate that I regard computers as big fancy toys, so I get paid to play with toys. If I'm going to be working much of my life, this is not a bad way to do it, but after enough years, age will lock me out of computer work with businesses of any size, and I'm hoping to have enough by then to get by on whatever scut-work oldsters can get by that time.
As I said, I've given up on being debt-free, unless something changes it will never happen. Nothing in my life is as reliable as that next big expense just as I'm within a year of getting even. Thus, I have started saving. I have an account at ING, and am avoiding the problems with transfer limits by setting up accounts as lines in a spreadsheet instead of sub-accounts at ING. I have a cell that compares the allocations among all accounts against the balance, and if the cell is not zero, I've made an error. Positive values indicate unallocated money, negative over-allocated money.
Each of the account lines where it is applicable has a target value cell ( the goal) and a difference remaining cell.
I have an account for an emergency fund. My goal there is 4 months wages. I have to overshoot your suggested minimum as $1000 is about .8 of a paycheck (net) and is always short of the disaster of the year. I also have accounts for things like household repairs, auto repair, medical and dental expenses (the goal here is to have the money ahead, instead of paying behind as usual, my dentist and doctor are very good about this, but I still want to get ahead). I have an account for money to build up enough to make some form of higher-interest investment, I am attempting to get ahead of the car insurance (as I have discovered the hard way, utterly useless, but legally required). Then there is a line for the property taxes (I actually managed to pay off the mortgage coming up on two years ago) and homeowners insurance. I'm also budgeting for a few weekend trips, which are keyed to events that many of my friends go to. I gotta fit some fun in there.
I should hit the $1000 mark for the emergency fund by June, through the simple expedient that on my two-week pay cycle, June is a 3 paycheck month. The extra check will be divided among accounts, with the bulk going to the emergency fund.
It's going to be a rough year trying to get ahead of some of the bills, but the drag in installment fees adds up to some hundreds a year, I want to be rid of that.
Sorry to be so wordy, it's kind of a relief to find a group with this as a common problem that is making efforts to get out. Some of my friends...eek! And they aren't as far along as I am.