Thanks for your comments!

It took us approximately four years, there was a strange mix of unusual money coming in AND going out during that time.

After reaching where we’ve gotten so far, I’ve had to readjust things and am trying to get some envelopes and sinking funds built up, so I’m kind of taking a “snowball break” in order to be on track in that way.

I don’t have the funds to knock out Sallie Mae #2 in one year. Unfortunately. My shovel is smaller than it used to be. I do have about $2,000 from our tax refund and Extloans service, then I could probably scrape together a few hundred per month snowball plus any extra that came in to add to the minimum payment.

How much would we need in retirement? The short (but not meant to be flip) answer is probably as high as we can make it. I’d say we’d need to get it up to $900k at a minimum… although if I was able to get the rental property mortgage paid off – that would provide more cash flow and the number could be lower (though obviously the higher the better). I am only 39.5, but am self employed and my income is much more sporadic. I’m guessing that it could be a little less sporadic when the kids are older though… but dh is really hoping that I won’t have to work FULL TIME when he finally is able to retire… So I’m trying to get things in as good as shape as possible, as quickly as possible.

I do think that once I decide more definitely what direction I should take, I will once again become even more gazelle intense in a mad flurry of activity and trying to reach goals!

If I were to spend a few months righting the envelopes and sinking funds… and making plans… then perhaps Sally and Larry are both correct. I could take every available extra penny and split it something like 25% sinking funds; 35% snowball Sallie Mae; 35% to a Roth IRA, and 5% to college books fund. It wouldn’t get me all the way where I need to be right off of the bat, but if I make a concrete plan – I WILL stick to it and hopefully once I get that Sallie Mae #2 to budge, I will start seeing faster progress.

If dh does get a cost of living increase, I would snowball that. The first of the year, they may increase the match up to 5%… I would definitely take advantage of that if it happens. Also, once the alimony of $816.mo is paid off… I will have about 3 years of dh working full time (if all goes according to plan, of course) still that I can throw at everything. My youngest starts kindergarten in another year and a half, and my child care costs will go down SOME, but not disappear all of the way. All of these things would make a difference at various times.

I could get more gazelle intense. We aren’t frivolous, but there is some fat that could be trimmed out of the budget I’d say… and I also have some things around here that I need to declutter either for the tax write-off by donating, or to raise the cash by selling on Craigslist or Ebay.

I’ve been struggling with health issues, which throws a wrench in things – bill-wise, income-earning-wise, and ENERGY-wise!

Sometimes it feels like I just need a miracle, a magic wand, AND gazelle intensity! I know I just threw a lot at you all, and I thank you for muddling through it with me. It’s a very complicated situation!