I've focused on our top expenditures, as the smaller expenditures were thousands of dollars less than even the smallest of the large categories.
|Food & Dining||$10,949.66|
|Auto & Transport||$5,450.92|
Our home cost seems insane, but almost half of that was the refinance money we put down to get a better rate on our mortgage. Money well spent, and more importantly, not money we'll have to spend on the condo again.
Pets cost us approximately $1000 a month, and we swore this year would be better...but so far we're not really living up to that promise. Unforeseen circumstances have paraded us to the vet in order to have little Homer's spinal problem cleared up, and he's doing better, but it'll be a bit of road to recovery. I'd love to see our vet costs drop to at least half of last year's $12,709.57.
Travel is travel is travel. We did one epic international trip, many smaller international trips (hi, Canada!), as well as fun travel within the States. I imagine our travel expenditures will be lower this year, but I really don't mind our travel costs being this high. This is one area where I absolutely believe spending money is completely fine...and mostly absolutely awesome.
Our Food & Dining category includes our eating-out expenditures and groceries, and it's here where I really believe we can improve! Heck, we need to improve. We went overboard and know exactly where, when, and why it happens...which means we can do better.
The Financial portion of our expenditures is debt. That's not going away for another two years. We'll have to learn to live with it and feed the Beast even more if we want out on time. And we do want out on time. And then we'll have a new Beast to feed that goes by the name of New House (it promises many good things in return).
I'm not sure we'll shift much in our Auto category -- those costs are generally pretty fixed, although we did do a number of repairs last year on both our old and new-to-us vehicles. If this category does anything, it should be in a downward way.
When we look at this, I know both of us see the ways can do better, but at a certain point we have to look at whose idea of "better" we're promoting. And one day, hopefully soon, we'll look at it and see no real room for improvement.