We're joining now. Baby Step 1.
The pre-steps have always been done, we've never had a problem with those. We have a budget and we stick to it pretty well (the only thing we're not great on is sticking to our food budget, but that ends now). We have no credit card debt. Which is probably why it took us so long to see how deep in the hole we are. We always figured we were ahead of others. We started putting money in our retirement in our mid-20s. Paid off our previous car in 2 years instead of 4. Our yearly spending on haircuts is $0, for clothing is $0, for DVDs is $0. We have no cable and not even Netflix (just borrow movies from the library for free, that's it). We are sooooo frugal, right?
But we are soooo in the hole. We have $23k in student loans (down from $26k, oh, 7 years ago - in other words hardly touched). We have $7k left on our current car, which we only prepaid just a little unlike our previous car. And $107k on a mortgage. Sigh. We are deep in the hole.
I regret buying the car we did, though the car is actually great. We didn't buy it for prestige but strictly for reliability and good mileage etc. All the responsible reasons. And the reasons were really good. Only we couldn't afford to buy that car. We thought about buying a $1.5k clunker but ultimately chose the car we got. I am thinking that selling it would not be smart, but I don't know. We can pay it off in about 18 months so probably doesn't make sense? I've considered just not having a car at all, for a while at least, but we would have no way to get to our CSA farm to pick up our groceries for the rest of the year.
Rather than being excited about the DR pledge, I'm really bummed. Admitting we're in terrible shape is not easy, since we had this self-image of being SO GREAT with our money. Probably we USED to be good with our money, but since having a house and a kid that just went out the window. Hardly anything goes into retirement anymore (seriously, like $25 a month I think). We get excited if we send $10 extra on our car. That's how bad we've gotten. We just really blew it
I know DR says everyone should get their $1k EF in less than a month, but we have to save $450 more to do it and I don't know how in the world we can do that in a couple of weeks. Obviously we'd have to sell something but I don't know what. We already live frugal lives. DH does have a cell phone, but it costs him $8 a month and I think it's worth that for the safety value. I have no cell phone. We have no landline phone and pay only another $8/month on a VOIP line for the house. My point is, we've long since done all the stuff to trim our lifestyles, and I just don't know how to go forward. The one thing I did think of was we can sell my coin collection but I have no idea how much (or little) it will net us. Guys, we don't even have a sofa.
Sigh, I should be elated to start this but I'm really not. Which probably doesn't spell well for our success. By every calculation we will be far, far behind everyone else, it will take us probably twice the time for us to do every step (and probably more, for the 1st step - I don't know how to come up with $450 in less than maybe 3 months). I still want to do them - hell, I don't want to be enslaved forever - but it's just really daunting.