but it does highlight something that my DH and I have discovered in our own spending. There are categories where it’s relatively easy to cut back, at least over the short term, and we think gosh that’s great we cut back. However, there are categories where it takes some effort to cut back, either because those costs are harder to change and/or higher in general. Yet cuts there “count” more, either because once made they last, and/or because the actual cuts are a lot higher in saved $$$ over the passage of time. For instance, on our working farm, our feed costs are very high – it’s our second highest monthly bill. Only our mortgage is higher. Our eat-out costs are 1/10 to 1/20th of our feed costs. Sure we can cut back on eating out (and we’ve almost eliminated it), yet by eliminating it we haven’t touched our two biggest bills yet. That cut was only a drop in the bucket. If, on the other hand, we do our homework and shop around for better homeowner’s insurance (which we did in 2013) or if we tackle the feed bill (which we’re in the process of doing now), either of those might eliminate hundreds per month from our expenses. Most of you won’t have a feed bill, but everyone has some big monthly cost that we tend to think of as “untouchable.” I think a balance of both tactics – eliminating costs which are easy, but also knuckling down and doing the homework to put bid dents in the major bills – are perhaps the best recipe for long-term budget improvements. Just some encouragement to try……..