While the American--indeed, the world--economy is crumbling around me, I am actually in better financial shape than I have been in years. This is largely due to having a spouse who pulls his share of the weight, and, like me, is keenly interested in getting out of the debt we racked up during our personal life-crises.
I made a nice bit of mad-money during the last quarter, from my sewing side-job. About a quarter of it went to sewing expenses and reinvesting in the business. Another third I am saving. The remainder went to household expenses, such as buying a side of pasture-raised beef that should feed us for the next year.
With that savings as a cushion, and the optimistic, but not unrealistic, expectation that I will continue to generate sewing income during the upcoming year, I took a look at my budget and I decided to get more aggressive with my debts. I can feasibly have my car paid off in another year--in half the time allotted by the loan.
After that, I can start throwing some serious money at the big one, the consolidated debt that the SP and I collectively rolled up over the four years before we were married. I calculate I can have that paid off in two years. So--three years before we're free of consumer debt. I'll still have student loans after that, but I can make quick work of them and be completely debt-free before I'm 40. That's not to be sneered at.
I'm also looking at ways to save us money on food, since that's our primary expense. The beef is a big help. Our cost breaks down to about $3.99 per pound--that includes roasts, steaks, ribs, and a mess of hamburger--and it's hormone-free, antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef. I'm also considering joining a produce cooperative, but we're getting into the fall of the year and there aren't too many options right now. In spring, we'll see.
It helps to live frugally when your primary sources of entertainment are sewing, writing, and practicing. Don't need much in the way of expenses for that. In fact, that's how most of the current Old Masters got good at kung-fu--they grew up in Communist China, when no one had any money and half of them weren't allowed to work--all they could do to amuse themselves was practice.
By the way, I made an awesome chicken pot pie last night. Eating out has been a big drain on our budget, but I intend to go back to cooking more regularly. I'm going to be more careful about my time so I'm not neglecting my health in the interest of sewing work.