I cannot tell you how many questions I have gotten asking how we balanced staying current on our bills while paying off debt.
Having walked down this path before I feel like I can relate to that overwhelming feeling that comes with paying off debt AND staying current.
The absolute first thing you have to do is get current. Everything else follows that. Even your $1,000 emergency fund follows getting current.
You have to get current on your bills. Call your creditors, or whomever you owe money to, and setup a payment plan. Do whatever you have to do to get it current.
Then after you do that, you start saving for your emergency funds. Dave Ramsey recommends having $1,000 in your emergency fund. (I feel a little more comfortable having a little bit more in there.)
After you have gotten current and built your basic starter emergency fund, then that is when you start paying off bills.
Line them up smallest to largest and throw any extra money you have at the smallest debt to get it paid off quickly.
After that first debt is paid off, you take the money you were paying on the smallest debt and put it toward the next debt. This creates a "snow ball" that allows you to pay off debt pretty quickly. My family was able to pay off $36,000 in two years on one income using this method.
The main thing to remember is that thousands of people have been in the same position you have and have gone on to pay off debt and live without the bondage of debt. So don't give up and do not quit!
What about you? What tips do you have for paying off debt quickly?