This morning I read an article on Mr. Money Mustache about a woman who asked MMM advice on simplying their expenses. Her goal is to leave her job so she could spend more quality time with her children. MMM gave some very reasonable advice on how her family could make some adjustments in their lives to focus on the things that really matter to them and that they could reduce their expenses as a side effect; thus achieving their goals. It is worth a read.

This story really reminds me of us. Carrie and I have had a budget for many years now. For the most part we keep true to this budget, but over the last few years we have gotten a bit sloppy. After reading the MMM article I decided to take a look to see just how far off we have been this past year. I’m not going to list everything in the budget here, but here are the categories that we seem to have had the most trouble with this last year.

Food and Dining  actual: $1300.00  budget: $675.00 over: $625.00
Home actual: $1000.00 budget: $350.00 over: $650.00
Utilities actual: $500.00 budget: $456.00 over: $44.00
Auto actual: $442.00 budget: $461.00 under: $19.00
Entertainment actual: $233.00 budget: $150.00 over: $83.00

That’s $1383.00 over budget on these items every month (on average). If you consider that half of that overage is on Food and Dining it’s no wonder why I’m overweight right now. The home category isn’t entirely unexpected. We had a few unexpected expenses late in the year that we cashed flowed out of our monthly account instead of dipping into our emergency fund.

Next year…

Next year we plan to have a renewed push to get fit and to get our monthly budget back on track. This is very important because we are also starting a big push to pay off our home mortgage in 5 years or less. Here’s the thing, in order to do that, we need to make a $4000.00 mortgage payment every month. We currently make a $2000.00 payment, with that $1300.00 extra dollars, we are at $3300.00! That’s only $700.00 to go.

More on where we will get that extra bit later, but we can totally do this. And we will be healthier and happy as well.