I like these reading these journals and seeing how much people improve over the years. Helps me remember it takes time to build wealth and have someone to talk to about this because my wife hates talking about money and my friends are the Jones' and want to do nothing but vacation and blow money all the time (part of the reason I'm in the mess is I fell in with their line of thinking, but that's gone now).
I'm about to turn 31, married with 2 kids and I've been awful with my money for years. Spent the better part of 3 years trying to get into my current career and it took awhile, but I'm finally caught up and also getting paid very well. The problem is I also have a ton of debt. However, I'm finally on a budget and even working a 2nd job to speed up the process. Here's the breakdown (monthly amount ~ total amt due)
Mortgage $1,600/mo ~$213,500 4.5% fixed(just bought in August 2013, it's worth $215,000)
Student Loans- $150/mo right now ~ $42,000 (2 went to collections years ago and have a judgement out)
Truck- $630/mo ~ $30,000 6.9% interest
Car- $465/mo ~ $15,000 22.0% interest (I know, I know. Stupidly took the deal with hopes of refinancing later before I fully understood car depriciation and refinancing)
Amazon Card-$25/mo~ $1960 0% interest until Dec
AAFES Card- $56/mo ~ $526
Home Depot Card- $25/mo ~$308
Kohls- $25/mo ~ $204
Cell phones - $190
Electric, Water, Gas- $365
DirecTV - $81
YMCA- $70 (family plus daycare)
Car Insurance - $135
Netflix - $11
Misc Item -$80 (have to pay this for 2 years, don't want to say what it is though)
Total bills- $3953/mo Income after all deductions and 5% to the TSP (matched)- $5200, which will go up to $5600 within the month thanks to a schedule change.
We budget in $300/week for gas, groceries, beer, smokes (i'm working on quitting), and any fun money. So basically the total is $5150 going out a month.
TSP account - $20,000
I work a 2nd job that brings in about $100-200/week depending on the week. My wife currently is starting a business that in about a year will have some real nice profit. For now, there won't be a paycheck until about August but there aren't any start up costs. She sells stuff from time to time to bring in some extra cash. She also is a coach and gets paid $700/mo from Aug-Nov.
I'm getting a tax refund of $4652. As of now I claim Married 0 dependents on my taxes. I think I need to change that.
So to start out, any suggestions on ways to lower the monthly bills? If I cancel DirecTV, I'll have to pay a $360 early termination fee.
As for the tax refund, I wanted to use it to pay off the credit cards so I can free up $131/mo, then build up my E-fund to $2000 before I start hammering away at the car with 22% interest.
Should I build up the E-fund then pay the credit cards instead? With my 2nd job, I should have both done by the middle of March.
I know there is a lot going on and A LOT to work on.