1. My own homework: made up an Income/Expense schedule for DH’s pay periods based on what I project his take home to be. It’ll be tight, but better than going backward.
2. Landed a child-transport job. It’s not much- $200 a month for about 15 hours of work…and it is all concentrated in the mornings. I’m going to put it in to BEF, then stockpile it towards paying off debt (if I can keep DH from overspending because he thinks it’s “free” money.)
3. re: budgeting.
It is hard, especially if you are not used to it. Some people (not saying you are) make it harder than it needs to be. The friends of ours who just moved out of state used to make it SO MUCH HARDER than necessary. Wife kept insisting that she had to keep ALL the receipts from EVERY expenditure EVERY MONTH for 4 months before she could set a realistic budget. So (here’s a surprise) consequently, she never did one, let alone followed one.
Personally, I prefer the “close enough” method. Which is:
Rent or mortgage
Utilities (take the highest one of each type and use that as your base point)
Credit card minimums (list each one)
Gas for the car
Anything else that has a recurring monthly (child care, child support, medical, tuition)
Groceries (I used to take everything I spent at a grocery store whether it was for groceries or cash and added that up. If it was astronomical I’d decide what was “reasonable” and use that as a budget point)
I don’t capture every single dime. Over time I do, but starting out the first few months, that just leads to money exhaustion.