When I was in debt, I paid $600 on my credit card. I also paid $350 on my car loan.
That's $950 a month unavailable for other things including paying bills and saving.
As I did that, I put some money into my 401k and I saved $50 to $100 a month.
So, technically, that means that since none of my other expenses have changed dramatically since I was paying off my debt in 2008, I should have a minimum pf $1,000 available to save.
But, since I paid off my consumer debt in June I haven't been saving anywhere near $1,000 a month.
I went back to my budget and spending record. For one thing, I spread the money out I had been saving into other spending categories, especially ones where I often went over. And, besides that, I just kinda started shopping and what not again!
I took a look at my savings goals for 2009 and I thought I could reach them faster if I saved the money I used to spend on debt. After all, I was living before that and having a pretty good time. So I must not NEED the money available to spend each month.
My plan for February is to have that $1,000 deposited automatically into my e-fund, vacation fund and 401k automatically from my paycheck. Even with this money going to savings, I will have enough left over for recurring bills (rent, cell phone, etc.) as well as other things I have to spend on each month (like food and public transportation). I also factored in expenses I pay annually, dividing the totals by 12 and adding that amount to the money that will be automatically deposited into my e-fund.
So, that's the plan. I will see how February goes. If it's smooth and I don't go overboard spending (thought I left some room to play!), then I should be good to go!