Joining in for the first time here :)
I've been following a system of sorts for paying down my debt ever since my ex and I split up, about a year and a half ago. I'm still very much in transition financially. I was a SAHM for 10+ years. Right now I am getting both spousal and child support, but am going back to school in the fall, and am currently working only sporadically for a friend's business. Because my ex is a higher income earner, my support payments are about right for the kids and I to live on (I have them 75% of the time). I'd be in very good financial state if it weren't for my debt- which is right now a mortgage of about 132k and other debt of about 40k. The debt is a result of what was my dysfunctional marriage- my ex is chronically unhappy, depressive, and has always sought out external things (expensive hobbies, *coughcoughAFFAIRS*) to make him happy. And, because I was codependant I *wanted* him to be happy, so I silently sat back and watch the debt accumulate on our line of credit. He was never involved in the day to day money stuff, so long as there was money in the chequing account to pay for whatever $800 camera lens he decided to buy on a whim, he didn't ask and didn't care. We also just had fundamentally different value systems. I felt that by being frugal we could afford to have me stay at home with the kids, while he quietly resented me for it. He has expensive tastes too, whereas second hand for most things is good enough for me. I also believed in saving for something as opposed to putting it on credit and paying it off later. Anyhow, I'm the perfect case study of how a dysfunctional marriage can lead to financial ruin, ha.
What's been totally eye-opening for me though is seeing how even though I'm running a household on little more than half of what I once was, I (when I'm careful) can actually have money left over at the end of the month. I guess that's what happens when $1200 towards an Italian suit doesn't suddenly disappear from the bank account!
Anyhow, I've done many of the things as outlined by the OP already. Thanks to a small inheritance I got recently, I have paid off all of my smallest credit cards. I've put $1000 into an emergency fund in a tax-free savings account. I have a budget, which I've been following. I've been selling off ex's old toys that he couldn't be bothered to take, and reselling some other things on eBay for a bit of extra profit. Future expenses I need to watch out for are car-related: I drive a 12 year old Volvo with 230k on it. I just sunk a grand into it, but I'm hoping to get a couple more years out of it. It definitely has been a good car, and everything I've had to do to it is wear & tear stuff.
Right now I'm focusing on paying down my 20k line of credit, and a 20k balance on (ugh) a mastercard. We're just about to sign our separation agreement after a year and a half of negotiation, and once that's done I'm going to be able to refinance my mortgage so that I roll everything into that, including the MC and the LOC. Then I'll just have one thing to pay down, at the lowest rate of interest possible.
Other than that, I am trying to simplify my life so that I can live as frugally and hassle-free as possible. I'm taking advantage of not working full-time and using that time to cook from scratch, garden, and learn some basic home repairs and maintenance. A major issue for me since we separated was that I made it top priority to stay in my current house for the sake of stability for the kids. I qualified for enough of a mortgage to buy out my ex, and the equity is my house has risen substantially since we bought 10 years ago, and is likely to continue going up as this is now a crazy expensive neighborhood, which it wasn't when we bought. I did crunch the numbers to look at whether it made sense to downsize (it's more house and definitely more lot than we need) but I literally can't afford to stay in the same neighborhood, which again for the sake of stability, I want to do. The kids have had a pretty good transition so far, and keeping things stable for them is my top priority.
My big question mark at the moment is what to do with the extra bit of inheritance that's left over (about 8k). Do I pay down debt? Do I contribute to my RRSP since I haven't all the while I've been a SAHM? It's a luxurious question to ask, I know, but I'm really stuck on what to do with it...
Thanks for reading if you've made it this far- I did not mean to write a book!