This morning, we paid off two more of our credit cards. Gone. Done. Good riddance. May we never see that debt ever again.
By cashing in our retirement funds and paying off much of the cc debt, we're going to save more than $1000 a month in expenses. That's exciting. That's a relief.
Do I feel concerned about our diminished retirement fund? A little, but I also feel like the economic situation has changed so much in the past ten years that putting one's money into the stock market is a real gamble anyway. I know many would disagree with our approach. This is simply what we need to do to live a better life now, and since nobody's guaranteed the future... I'd rather bet on the present.
We still have a ways to go. While I was in graduate school, I was paid a (rather small) salary for teaching and research assistantships. I was also lucky enough to receive health benefits. However, my alma mater does not allow grad students to work a second job (a rule that I think is irresponsible), so I couldn't bring in extra income. My husband, meanwhile, was busy working from home AND being the stay-at-home parent. We ended up putting a lot of expenses - including clothing, travel fares, furniture, etc. - on our credit cards, and the balances ballooned quickly. Even with what we've paid off, we still have about $7K to pay off.
And then there are the school loans, but that's another story. One debt at a time.