Well I've come up with a plan after talking it over with the wife.
This is an excellent choice. It is essential for both spouses to be on the same page.
We keep the budget pretty simple... for example, last pay period we budgeted $505 between these categories: Grocery/Household, Car gas, Truck gas, Motorcycle gas, Dining/Ent., Cash, Misc. When we started budgeting we assigned higher amounts to all of these categories, but as we've went through it a few times we've got them down about as low as we can.
A few questions/suggestions:
Did you consider getting rid of one of the vehicles (there are 3)?
What about driving the motorcycle to work and not using the truck for a few months?
When was the last time you got a quote on your car/truck/motorcycle insurance? With our one vehicle we got a new quote and saved about half of our bill a year (over $500!). Discounts can often be greater with more than one vehicle…
Have you gotten rid of your landline phone and/or cable bill? Have you looked at the cell phone bill (smarthpnoe/data plans?) to see if you could reduce it?
Have you had a garage sale lately to get rid of some of your old junk and raise a little $$? We raised this way $200 last year in 2011 and $180 in 2010. And we plan on raising about that this year! (If we have anything left worth selling
You have two small children… Are they two boys, girl/boy, or two girls? If you have boys, an easy way to save money would be to buy a hair cutting kit for say $20-30 and just use it instead of paying for haircuts for a few months. In our area haircuts can be $10-$20. With girls it is a bit trickier... But maybe going to a beauty school would reduce costs ($10 instead of $30 or more at a salon).
After reading the thread you seem to be working 6 days a week. Is it possible for your wife do so something on the side to generate a little more income? Say babysit neighbors kids or something online? (I assume she keeps the kids) A friend of ours babysat a neighbor's kid and recieved a little extra for a year. It helped both her and the neighbor.
For more see this
thread on ways to save money.
So anyways, the plan with everything that is left over after bills and what we have to budget for the two week period is this... 75% will go to paying off debt, 10% will go savings, 5% will go in an automobile repair envelope, 5% will go in a holiday envelope (until it reaches a certain amount), and 5% will go in a fun envelope.
We decided that we think these numbers will work for us... most of the surplus is going toward debt, but we're still saving something for the emergency fund and a little bit for some fun.
This seems like a good plan. Is the savings specifically for your Emergency Fund or a general savings fund?
Right now we've got exactly $1,000 in the emergency fund, but would like to see it grow a little.
We're also going to pay off the debt in the order that DH suggested (and maybe others, but I don't remember). The higher interested CC's first, the lower interest CC, the car, the 401k loan, Sallie Mae, then my truck (well the truck should just be paid off by then anyways)
This seems like it will work for us, but the only way to know is to try it out and see.
The first thing to do is to have a plan. You’re on the right track! I would try to make that E-fund grow into $4-8k. With little kids and several vehicles there will always be emergencies to count on. What DH suggested is a good plan for the debt. Keep up the good work!