Worrying about my finances is probably my #1 stress in my life. I'm not so far gone I'm not paying my bills, but I am not making significant progress on my tens of thousands of dollars of debt.
My wife and I decided to start getting serious about this. We track everything we spend and we know how much money we have. We're doing better about living within our means. I've taken on a small side consulting job, trying to do *something*.
But it just feels hopeless at times. I read personal finance books and most of the advice we're already following or don't apply to our current situation. A big example, Richard Bach's "Latte Factor". Basically, "all the money you spend on coffee and eating out, etc adds up". Well, guess what? We don't eat out except for the occassional date night. All my snacks are provided at work. I use my credit or debit cards maybe twice a week. I cut out the data plan for my cell phone, I've finally cancelled that gym membership that I don't use, etc. But it still feels insurmountable.
I guess the only solution is this:
"While cutting costs can make things easier in the short-term, it's usually much more productive to focus on boosting your income, so unless your expenses are irresponsibly high, I suggest you invest most of your planning attention on the income side."
Thanks, Steve. Most personal finance writers constantly harp on the fact that increasing your income is not going to help you. It's decreasing what you spend. Yes, this may be true for most people (it used to be for me -- that's why I got in this mess!), but there are those of us to whom it doesn't apply.
I just wish I knew what the answer to the focus on the income side is for me.