Thanks Novik! I've answered a bunch of your questions below and tried really hard not to whine about how much I need stuff. I became less successful the farther down you read :) but you blew my mind with the fresh take and I'm really grateful for the help!
so adding an extra 900 a month only costs you ~500$/month really. (also consider maxing out your IRA if/when possible, given that you can take withdrawals to buy a house)
This is a really good point. I'm not sure about raising to 16% yet, but I might try working my way up to it. I don't want to run out of cash! The IRA is a really good point. I didn't put the dots together about being able to withdraw for a house (despite having that information in my brain) until you pointed it out. Definitely a good idea! Especially if I need to delay buying for whatever reason.
Can you give some more detail on the employee stock plan? You're paying 624$ a month into it. What's the return you're expecting, and in what timeframe? If you could divert that to savings, your house plans are 100% on track even with maxing out retirement accounts. More details please!
I'll add more detail above, but here are the cliffs notes
Every six months (November and May) my stocks vest and I get a 15% discount on company stock. Boom 15% return. I generally sell right away. The company does well so I can wait if it's unusually low, but I haven't encountered that yet. I can only change my contributions at these two times too so I'm locked in until May.
I use $100/mo of the last period's take as budget supplement (unnecessary now that I'm saving) and the rest was squandered prior to finding MMM. So to clarify: $100 of savings is "extra" from this fund and every six months I get a windfall of $4000. I don't know how to make that clear on my top chart, but I'll do my best. Probably have to remove that 100 from "savings"...
The boyfriend: I'm going assume that his work travel costs are relatively optimized, and he's considered if it makes sense to refinance his loans, and he's not earning an unreasonable low salary. Given those assumptions, what's the timeline for those loans being paid off? If it's shorter than the house buying timeline, there are some extra savings to be had when he's done and can shoulder an equal burden in the household. Similarly, you'll have an extra 300$/month in your budget in 3 years when your car is paid off.
He takes the bus at the moment and I'm teaching him to ride a bike. So travel is almost optimized, but the $70/mo for the pass isn't a huge dent. The loans (for both of us) still have 8 years. So not getting paid off too soon. So only expected change is an inflow of $70.
A few clarifying questions on your budget:
What's the 85$ in utilities for (since it's not electric/phone/internet/insurance)?
Water: 60, Gas: 25. Clarified up top. Gas doubled when we started cooking at home more often. We have a gas stove. Water is a division of apartment water so I don't have control over that.
How fixed is the 350$ medical, and does your insurance allow for an HSA to spend that pretax?
I was too dumb to properly look at my insurance this past time around. I know my company offers a plan with HSA. I'll make a note for next time. $350 is fixed unless medication prices go down. I expect them to rise.
Dining out - is that the occasional nice meal or lots of fast food? (I think we can suggest ways to reduce it if we know how/why/when it's spent)
This is a bit of both. Generally, one or two nicer meals out per month ($30/ea) and the rest is lunches. We bring sack lunches to work, but weekends are bad. We really like Chipotle. The two of us there skate just above $20 per meal. That happens almost every weekend - it's on the way home from the dog park so we walk past it every Saturday. Maybe we should just go to the park after lunch!
Same with the misc for 200$ - what kinds of things go in there?[
Various misc: clothing (work and casual), hobby spending (I do needlepoint and quilting), and the big one: household items that we just haven't acquired yet. Since we're both two years out of school, a lot of the big things aren't bought yet. So when we needed bath towels instead of the two beach towels it came out of this, or when we started cooking at home more and needed a knife and pan. We limit that kind of spending to $100/mo, but it's hard to cut this because there's always something else. For example, once boyfriend learns to ride a bike consistently we'll use this money for a bike, helmet, etc for him too (my mountain bike isn't great for commuting).
The biggest concern here is that the spending will move from life-necessities to lifestyle drift. It's easy to make excuses.
Making no changes, saving the remaining ~560/month for 3 years + 860/month for the next 3 years once your car is paid off gives you 51k after 6 years.
This is the most beautiful thing I ever read. I completely forgot to add in savings after loans are paid off in my calculations. And I forgot that my EF counts as cash on hand which I had added in my "Need for house" calculations.