October – December 2016 Quarterly Budget Review

Budget Review

Each quarter I share a quarterly budget review of our spending so you can see the breakdown of how we allocate our money. It’s also great accountability for me and helps Dave and I to see how we are stewarding our finances.

Budget Review: October – December 2016 (actual spending)
budget breakdown piechartWhat happened this quarter?

Extra mortgage payments
The home-slice is bigger this quarter because we rented out our home for a weekend and came out with $450 profit that went toward our mortgage principal. We also have bi-weekly payments set up which results in 13 payments each year vs 12 payments. That extra payment happened this quarter. Wahoo!

Holiday gifts
We have a little money automatically transferred into a savings account each month so when the holidays come around we already have money accounted for to buy gifts. Of course, most of the gift-buying happened this quarter.

New wardrobe
Mama got a new wardrobe! I got 8 tops, a hoodie, a bathing suit, and a maxi dress for $125! I usually shop via Thred Up but I discovered Bellelily.com and snagged some great deals. This doesn’t show up in the pie chart because we had some bonus cash from credit card points so that covered the purchase.

dinner dateOur most expensive date ever
We met with a couple for pre-marital counseling and as a gift they gave us a $100 gift card to a super nice restaurant in the area. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time you know how cheap and frugal we are; I’m not sure we’ve ever spent more than $50 on dinner. It was fun to look at the FOOD on the menu first instead of the PRICE 😀 Of course we ended up picking the two most expensive things on the menu (duck and seabass) plus we got an appetizer and drinks. Our total actually came out to $99 so the $25 we spent out of pocket went toward the tip!

How much did your most expensive date cost?

Cheap Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Do you know what you’re doing for Valentine’s Day? Dave’s love language is quality time and physical touch (so is mine, conveniently), so we’d honestly be content making Sam the Cooking Guy’s Black Bean Salmon recipe together at home and curling up to a rented movie from the library. I think the last time we actually bought a gift for each other was Christmas 2008 when we were still dating! I don’t mind gifts, I just enjoy meaningful notes or gestures more when it comes to showing love.

This Valentine’s Day is on a Tuesday this year, which is convenient because lately we have something going on every night except Tuesdays. If we remember to make reservations, we plan to use the gift card we got for Christmas at a restaurant downtown. We might even use another gift card to an old-fashion movie theater downtown. Date night is planned!

If you don’t have gift cards but are looking for romantic ideas that won’t break your budget, here are a few cheap date ideas of our own and from friends we asked:

  • Look up events going on in your city. Sometimes there are free events discussed in the local newspaper or on your city’s website.
  • When Dave and I were at Michigan State, he took me to the Planetarium. They had a show that told a story about the constellations & was in a room with seats that reclined so you could watch it on the dome-shaped ceiling! It cost $2 each. Do you live near a campus with something like this?
  • Make a recipe for dinner that involves interactive prep work. My sister and her fiancé made their own wontons and had fun stuffing them & trying the final product. Even if you want to go out to eat, you could still have fun with dessert when you get back by decorating your own, for example:
  • One date night, Dave and I went to Meijer (a grocery store) for a date night and picked out embarrassing outfits for each other to try on. It provided a good hour of entertainment and laughs!


Feel free to share your ideas for enjoying a fun Valentine’s Day date without breaking the budget!