Debt servicing versus saving for retirement versus saving for house
I bet a lof of folks here are feeling demand for dollars on a number of fronts. In my case, I'm dealing with about $30,000 of student loan debt, trying to save up for retirement (coming to this party late), and would also like to buy a house in the next three or four years.
A bit of context: I'm mid-30s, single with no spouse, no kids. I make about $75 K on salary in a not-terribly-expensive Midwestern city. I don't have much in the way of savings or retirement money.
Without giving it too much thought, I'm putting about a third of my non-essential money (where "essential" means rent, utilities, subsistence-level groceries) toward each of the three categories mentioned above. I thought about putting it all into debt, thereby getting out of debt earlier, but I decided to put some money into retirement because I think it would be foolish to waste the power of compund interest, and to put some money into a house fund because, well, I'm tired of renting and want to own a house with a lawn for my dog to poop on, and a basement to turn into a man cave.
What I'm getting around to asking is tihs: for those of you who are in a similar situation, how did you decide to allocate your nonessential dollars to meet your various goals while dealing with debt?