I VASTLY appreciate your comments, thank-you. I think today I'll try and clarify a bit more of my situation.
I went through Dave Ramsey's financial peace university about a year and a half ago. Just before signing up for the class I had come to the realization that the debt was real. I think that was the point when almost every penny coming in was going right back out before we ever saw it. We had spent to the point of having nothing left over for food, clothes, gas; we were overextended. But still I've always paid everything on time and never missed a payment. Before I signed up for the class I felt like we'd dug ourselves into a pit that we were NEVER going to get out of. To me it seemed like a dead end, like prison; life seemed doomed. Once I took the class I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. I realized that there was hope despite how far off it may be.
During the last year and a half we've paid down some debt. We stopped using credit cards the first day of class and haven't used them since. For the first time in 6 years our debt began to go down instead of up (sad, yes... and embarrassing) and it's been going down ever since. I've learned how to stop buying stuff and I really don't miss making purchases but food has been a real issue for me. I hate sticking to a budget and I wasn't ever able to do the cash spending money part of the Dave Ramsey program. I guess you could say that for the last year and a half we've VERY slowly been assimilating Dave Ramsey's principles and we've very slowly been climbing out of the hole. This $12 a day thing is my cash envelope part of the program.
The only principle left that I'm trying to work on is the budgeting TOGETHER. My husband doesn't want anything to do with the finances. I think he's too ashamed to deal with the real situation and so he doesn't want to hear about it or know about it or think about it. This basically sums up goal number 3 on my list. I need to try harder to comfortably get him on board.
This blog may make it sound like I'm super depressed and like I'm beating myself to a pulp but I'm going at this thing with every ounce of energy I've got. I want to get out of debt ASAP. I want to suck it up and be responsible. I'm not depressed but in writing this blog I hope to chronicle my journey and be able to look back on my mistakes and my successes. I'm just being brutally honest.
Our situation does sort of warrant full force frugality. We can't turn down the heat because we have two little dogs that start to shiver if it's one degree less than what it's set at. We don't have cable or cell phones. We do have netflix but I think my husband would die without that (and it is super cheap). I drive ALOT for work, but other than that we walk most places in town and don't drive around too much. Also we have a very fuel efficient car. I can't find any loop holes in the budget, any things we can pay less for or cut out... I think for the past year and half I've gotten it all down to the basics. Things are just tight. Our debt to income ratio is too high and unless we just suck it up, spend less, and pay down what we owe we're just going to have to keep penny pinching and money juggling. Honestly there's no extra money for spending if we want to get out of debt. If I budget in spending money (which wouldn't be very much) then we'd have to pay minimums on all our cards and they just wouldn't go down.
I would like to mention the light at the end of the tunnel once more. I do see hope in the future and I do plan on continuing to eat out and to buy new clothing now and again; I do plan to continue to travel (which is something we LOVE to do) and I'm ok with my husband buying CD's, games, and movies. But right now, right now I want to just tackle this thing and if it means not buying starbucks and all the other little things, which in my case is where my money goes, then I'm going to grit my teeth and fight the fight. So what if I'm uncomfortable for a little while. The victory will be well worth the fight. A life free of credit and debt where we're responsible spenders and savors, where we act our wage is something I look forward to with a joyful anticipation.
We are currently $9.36 over budget for the week.