Thanks for the replies!
So what is your debt snowball?
The $150 on the CC is a bit of a debt snowball. We have rolled over minimum payments from 2 smaller cards onto that one.
Can you downgrade your phone plans to what you use? I assume $162 is for unlimited everything, but is there a chance you don't need unlimited?
This has been a struggle. AT&T has two data plans and we tried their smaller plan for awhile. We kept going over with what we felt was minimal use. Our contract has one more year on it and we will shop around at that point. We may also downgrade one of our phones from smartphone to a standard plan phone come Sept when we are due for an upgrade.
Cut the tithing and charitable giving.
The tithing is a personal non-negotiable. I do understand the perspective of channeling it somewhere else.
The charitable giving is in flux. In a perfect month it is given and other months it gets put towards entertainment or dining out. I know it should go towards debt. But getting habits reigned in can be difficult.
$300 for groceries and household expenses for 2 people seems very, very low for me. My wife and I spend about $800/month on these two categories.
This should be higher. And in my mind I would pull from our dining out category to supplement this one. I know it would go further here and could ultimately be a healthier choice.
$25 for salon/barber also seems low. How can you and your wife both get 1 haircut a month for this amount?
I get my hair cut roughly every 6 weeks. $15 a pop and then a tip. My wife has long hair and does not cut it. She does occasionally get a manicure or eyebrows waxed. This covers those expenses. But it is so infrequent that this small amount works for us.
$335/month for rent is extremely low. Is this sustainable in the long term, or is this a temporary, subsidized arrangement?
We have a great deal on our living situation. That is the price we are locked into for a month to month term. It's a single bedroom apartment that is just enough for us. Almost too small because we feel right on top of each other at times. Good neighborhood. Our landlord reimburses us for reasonable and approved upgrades (paint, light fixtures...)
It is by no means permanent but it works for now and we feel it's best to stick with it for the time being.
No discretionary spending?
I know we should have it. We aren't just drowning in debt and make enough to budget it.
How should I play that out? Perhaps allow my wife and I each a portion for discretionary spending. An adult allowance? I can get my books and guitar supplies and she can get... umm... shoes???
I have a check for $750 coming at the first of Aug and that will go towards the CC.
I am excited to get on track with paying off all of this.
Thanks for the insight. I am open to anything else and will definitely consider what you guys have already mentioned. Even if I seemed to balk at some of it in my replies.
We do need a bit of a mindset change in my house. I am the saver and my wife the spender. She sees the value in saving but doesn't really find joy in it. I on the other hand want to play games like "How little can we spend in the month of August!?"
So there is a balancing act of getting her to see things from my perspective, but also respecting hers and her not feeling deprived.
A little background info on my wife and I.
We are both 26. About to enter into our second year of marriage.
Both of us had pretty poor saving habits before marriage but our spending was not as bad as it could have been. Most of our debt my wife incurred in school.
She has wonderful credit history. Mine not so much. I hope to restore my credit in the future by reestablishing a good history but for now I that is not a focus.
We are both employed full time. No children and we intend to hold off on them for the next 4 to 5 years.
We also spend our spare time volunteering with our church. I have served as a youth pastor for the past three years.
My current job has a lot of career potential and I plan to be here for the long haul. We have great benefits, a good 401(k) and an ESOP. Which I will be vested in come April of next year.
A downside and weak link in our budget is that my wife does not have medical insurance. That is something that must be remedied. We also plan to add rental insurance and term life policies. Should probably do that sooner rather than later, but it has not been a focus yet.