Hello fellow Mustachians!
I tried to find my first ever post to update, but it seems to be lost in the interwebs (or I'm just failing at the search feature). I posted about 3 months ago with a semi-complainypants/nonmustachian budget, got a few face punches, and lived to tell about it. And in the meantime, really fixed up my finances (for a newb).
Our total spending dropped from around $5100 to $3700 a month (including mortgage and insane student loan payments). Ditched cable and the pool guy that caused so much consternation here. Dropped our food budget (pretty strict paleo for 2 adults plus some additional carbs for a 4 year old child) from about $500 plus $150 in dining out to $375 for groceries and $50 in dining out (which we only spend $20 of last month :). Gas dropped from around $275 to $150, which included many 40 mile round trips to visit a sick relative so it should be even less this month. I'm still struggling with our electric bill-- whole house is electric, and it was 120 degrees here last weekend. Even keeping the house at 82 degrees, we were using around 80 kw per day. It was $199 last month, expect it will be higher this month. Hopefully it will even out with cheaper bills from Oct-May (first year with the house, so no past bills to compare). And I've socked away $5k for a mini emergency fund. Most of this is just from actually paying attention to what we spend, and for the most part deciding it isn't worth it. The electric bill is the next one on my list to reduce, though we've done all of the obvious things, except upgrade to a variable speed pool pump.
Anyway, I mostly wanted to share this as a method of accountability for myself. My current savings rate (max 401k, HSA, savings contribution (switching to student loan principle now that the $5k is saved), student loan and mortgage principle) is 54% (of gross pay minus taxes). I'm shooting for 65% within the next year.
A big thanks to you all for the face punches and encouragement to get after this and get headed toward FI sooner rather than later. My (slightly ambitious) goal (given my student loans) is 10 years. Even if its 15, its a lot better than 35!