I have finally gotten back onto my feet after closing my eyes and making the most difficult decision I've ever made. When I got married, I quit my job and relocated hoping my experience would let me seamlessly transfer into similar job. Well that seam was 2 years and has drained all savings and emergency funds that we've had. During that time, I've figuratively been flipping burgers. I start a job later this month that is more than double what I make now and 1.5 times what I made before getting married. It's not GREAT money, but our household income will definitely be more than comfortable with the cost of living in the area.
$8k - CC cards (some 20+ % )
$2k - LOC, low % used for me to attend school
$20k - Student loan paid off by family member (no interest), but a man's word is a man's word, we are paying $400/mo
After the new job, we'll have pretty close to $3k extra /mo for expendables.
My concerns in order:
1) Wife needs a newer car no later than mid summer.
2) Current apartment rental renewal comes in May
3) Want first house
4) Want kids SOON, we are 30 & 31
1) I really haven't decided on a budget for a car, considering our current debt. Both of us are 6' or taller, so I don't want an econo box, even though both of us don't mind driving them. Ideally I'd want something ~mid size, 4 door, car with mileage and age that would get us another 2-3 years max before needing to get something family sized. My heart wants to pay cash, but I know I should do my homework on saving and paying w/ cash or getting immediate and paying monthly. Should I pay off CC's & LOC then save and pay cash, should I pay off CC's & LOC and then finance, should I just finance, etc.
2) The apartment living is crap. We want out badly but I know we need to be patient. We honestly couldn't improve the cost by signing somewhere else and it would just make one hell of a hassle to move. The question comes with how long should we sign another lease for. They offer month-to-month, 6 mo, 12 mo and 15 mo (which is what we are on now). The apartment agreement ties in with #3.
3) This is probably the biggest issue as we have the change in our pocket for a down payment and I've been advised by several respectable family members in very different directions. Some have advised to stay in apartment another year+, save as much as can for downpayment, and at the end of a year (or abouts), try to hit 20%. Others say forget the downpayment amount, shop now, throw together 5%, and get while the rates are low-ish (because economy is trending up).
4) We both want kids so bad, we can't stand it. Because I am more of a planner, I don't know if I should wait until we settle into a house or just start letting them pop out.
Any helpful advice is welcome.