No. of Recommendations: 4
Reading your comments makes me realize part of my problem is how fluid I am with the numbers. Too fluid.

That's a good realization. One of the other ways the 'fluidity' was exhibited was in how 'round' the debt numbers were. It can help to keep a spreadsheet of what the exact numbers are - it can make it feel more real if you are looking at the figure of $70,718.32 at the bottom of a column of numbers, instead of just mentally adding up the numbers to get to 'about $70,700'. And sometimes it can give you a nice surprise - if you have been rounding your numbers, the 'about $70,700' that you have in debt may actually be $70,438.29 - so a bit lower than you thought. (Of course, the surprise can go the other way, too, depending on generous your rounding was.)

In 2014, I have been concentrating mostly on interest reduction as my income increased, and expenses plateaued and in some cases decreased.

But in addition to reducing interest, I should also be focusing on honing down my budget. The problem is that many of my expenses are so variable - child care, gas, utilities, etc. I do use Mint and will use the 12 month averages to arrive at an actual number and will post them shortly.

Yes - there are 2 keys to paying off debt - managing the debt to ensure that you are paying the least you can in interest and ensuring that you are keeping the rest of your expenses as low as possible, so that you can apply more toward debt reduction.

One thing that can help to decrease expenses is to write down (or entering it into your phone, etc.) every penny that is spent when you spend it. Using Mint to gather transactions on a regular basis is useful, but doesn't seem to have as much impact in realizing how much as being spent, at least to me, as tracking purchases as you make them. Your personality may be different, and Mint may provide enough impact for you - but if you find yourself tending to overspend, you might want to try tracking expenses as they occur.

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