No. of Recommendations: 3
At one time I had 6 figure credit card debt and most of it was due to overspending that could have been avoided.

I have a sense that your fundamental problem is that you and your wife are not on the same page on these issues. It is possible that she is more of a spendthrift and you are more frugal. One could discern that from your posts. It may also be that it is easy for your to cut the expenses that aren't important to you but that there are expenses you consider essential that your wife would say could be cut...

When I remember back to those days when we were in debt, I remember that there were certain things that just seemed so important and I could give could reasons for keeping each and every one of those expenses.

I've seen that time and again in my own life and here. I can't cut X because it is important because of Y. And I am actually right. X is important. The thing is that deciding X is important doesn't make my "pie" of money any larger. That is, if I have a pie of money and 2 things are important and they take up only 1/3 of the pie then getting out of debt is probably easy. On the other hand, if I have a pie of money and 20 things are important and they collectively are the size of a pie and a half then getting out of debt is more challenging.

The reality though is that to get out of debt I either have to make the pie bigger (get more income) or make the pieces taken out of it smaller (cut expenses).

In your case, I gather you think your wife's plan to increase her income is unrealistic. I get the idea that you think she could possibly work a more regular job but she is reluctant (I understand the stay at home part with kids but with a 5 year old I would guess this issue will take care of itself soon as all kids will be in school).

The thing is to look realistically at your income and figure out your necessary -- truly necessary which doesn't include gymnastics or dance lessons, for example -- expenses and which would include debt service. Once you've done that, then you can consider some discretionary expenses. The key word is some. It took us longer to pay off debt that it could have in part because we did continue to have some discretionary expenses. I don't think we would have succeeded without having some. However, the key was to never increase our debt and always keep the debt total going down.

A couple of resources:

A good budgeting program may be helpful. I use You Need A Budget and recommend you look into it.

Also, consider reading some of Dave Ramsey. I don't agree with him on many things and his investment advice is awful. However, he is very good at the relationship part of deciding to get out of debt and how to deal with a spouse who may not be entirely on board.
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