Beachgirl's Budget Blog

  • Referrals

    Capital One 360: Earn at least $25 for signing up
  • Debt-o-Meter (as of 10/31/15)

    Citicard BT - Paid Nov '14

    D's Law I - Paid Aug '14

    D's Law H - Paid Oct '14

    D's Law C - Paid Dec '14

    D's Law G - Paid Jan '15

    D's Law D - Paid Jun '15

    D's Priv #1
    Current Balance: $4,649.28
    Interest Rate: 4.75%
    Amount paid: $6,367.26

    D's Law A
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Note: $0 due based on IBR

    D's Law E
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Note: $0 due based on IBR

    D's Law F
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Note: $0 due based on IBR

    D's Priv #2
    Current Balance: $17,511.57
    Interest Rate: 3.44%
    Amount paid: $3,430.84

    D's Law B
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Note: $0 due based on IBR

    T's Law
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Note: $0 due based on IBR

    T's Fed #1
    Current Balance: $11,379.03
    Interest Rate: 1.375%
    Amount paid: $2,819.71

    T's Fed #2
    Current Balance: $19,704.10
    Interest Rate: 1.375%
    Amount paid: $6,295.90

Wedding Spending: Reception

Posted by beachgirl on 11/14/2015

We spent most of our wedding budget on the reception.  Overall, we spent $8,354.51.  It would’ve been nice to have spent less, but it covers a lot of things and we found many ways to save and keep that number from going higher.

Venue fees – $3,579.44

This included the fees associated with renting the venue for both the ceremony and reception, linens and dishes, the staff, gratuities, and taxes.  We used the same venue for both the ceremony and reception, so that saved some money.  And, since most of our guests were from out of town, it allowed them to only have to worry about getting to one location.

Food – $2,893.18

This covered the food at the reception for 79 guests and the desserts.  We made most of our desserts ourselves, only buying two gluten free chocolate cakes from Trader Joe’s (my aunt can’t eat gluten) and two carrot cakes from our local grocery store.  (We used one of the carrot cakes as our cake-cutting cake, so that’s the one with the Precious Moments figurine on top.)  For the desserts, we made brownies, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats, and two pound cakes.  The figurine was on my parent’s wedding cake, so it meant a lot to be able to use it on our cake.


I think making our own desserts saved us a lot of money.  We spent $128.18 on everything we needed for the desserts, including ingredients, a new brownie pan, serving platters, the store-bought desserts, and a stand to hold up a sign with info about the desserts.  (I used a piece of Ivory and Brown card stock left over from the invitations to do the dessert menu card.)  We easily would’ve spent significantly more than that on a traditional cake.  And it was a lot of fun making the desserts.

Beverages – $1,155.00

This covered beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages for 79 guests.

Centerpieces – $110.04

  • $8.55 – Mason jars
  • $24.95 – Pinecones
  • $4.79 – Tealights
  • $66.63 – Silk flowers
  • $5.12 – Wire cutter

We didn’t have to buy all the mason jars…my aunt collected many mason jars from friends, so we got a bunch for free.  (I can’t remember the exact number of mason jars we had, but it was like 6 or 7 boxes worth.)  That really saved some money.  I used 40% off coupons at Michaels to buy the tealights, silk flowers, and wire cutter, so that saved a bunch of money too.  We used some of the leftover brown and ivory card stock to make the table numbers.  My aunts let us borrow the leaf place mats and one of my aunts gave us the twine for free to tie the table numbers to the mason jars.


Guestbook – $28.91

  • $21.39 – Signature frame from Michael’s
  • $3.41 – Pens ($3.41)
  • $3.04 – 8×10 picture to put in the frame
  • $1.07 – Stand to hold up the instruction card

I used a piece of Ivory and Brown card stock left over from the invitations to do the instruction card.  We now have the signature frame hanging in our living room with the handfasting ribbons draped over it.  It’s great being able to look up and see that all the time.


This picture shows the guestbook frame lying on the table on the left and the escort board on the right.

Escort Board – $49.28

  • $16.05 – 6-pane window
  • $21.72 – Two stands to hold up the window
  • $11.51 – Paint

We found the window at Habitat for Humanity.  The paint was chipping and it wasn’t the right color.  So, I bought paint to make it look better.  (We’re eventually hoping to re-purpose it somehow when we buy a house.)  I used 6 pieces of Ivory and Brown card stock left over from the invitations to do the list of everyone’s names.

Card Box – $3.20

I already had a box, so I didn’t have to spend anything on that.  I bought some wrapping paper ($3.20) to decorate it.  I also used a piece of Brown card stock we had left over from doing the invitations to spell out “Cards” and attached it to the front of the box.

Music – $181.90

A friend of D’s served as the DJ.  The friend lives out west, so he couldn’t bring his own equipment with him.  So, we rented a microphone, speakers, and speaker stands for him to use.

Gifts – $253.56

This includes gifts for the wedding party, friends and family involved in the ceremony, people who helped set up the venue, and our friendors (officiant, photographer, videographer, and DJ).

Favors – $100.00

We made a donation to a charity in lieu of giving favors.

Posted in Wedding Planning | 2 Comments »

Wedding Spending: Ceremony

Posted by beachgirl on 11/11/2015

D and I really wanted our wedding ceremony to be very “us,” so we ended up writing our entire ceremony ourselves.  Some of our favorite aspects of our ceremony were:

  1. D is mostly Irish, so we did a handfasting ceremony.  One of my sisters spoke about the history of handfasting and some other things we came up with to go along with it, while my other sister wrapped our hands in the ribbon.  (See picture below.)
  2. D recorded himself playing “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” on the keyboard.  He, the officiant, our families, and our bridal party walked down to it playing.  D’s mom and grandma were so touched by that detail.
  3. Since we’re both attorneys, we decided to have someone “advocate” on both our behalves.  They each spoke about us individually (i.e., how they knew us, any funny stories) and as a couple.  It gave everyone in attendance a chance to know more about us and was really touching to hear what they had to say.
  4. We each wrote our own vows, which were very personal to us and our relationship.  For example, the first time D and I met, he asked me to watch his beer while he ran to the bathroom.  So, I vowed to always watch his beer when he needed to go to the bathroom.  It was very special to us to have it be so personal.

To help reduce our costs, I bought flowers at the local grocery store the day before the ceremony and then put them together myself (see picture below).  We also saved money by buying our rings on Etsy.  We found exactly what we wanted from a couple that makes the rings out of titanium.  Overall, we spent $203.64 on everything for the ceremony.

10994450_10153037246546488_4197207593119245716_n   10423311_10153037170081488_413045340113529743_n

Bouquets – $38.58

  • $32.05 – Bouquet flowers
  • $2.13 – Ribbon
  • $3.18 – Pearl pins
  • $1.22 – Floral tape

Rings – $83.00

  • $45.00 – D’s ring
  • $38.00 – My ring

Other – $82.06

  • $22.06 – Ribbons for handfasting
  • $60.00 – Marriage license

Posted in Wedding Planning | Leave a Comment »

October 2015: Debt Update

Posted by beachgirl on 11/08/2015

As I mentioned in our Net Worth post last week, we are starting to make payments on our loans that are under IBR.  I paid a total of $105.13 towards my two federal loans this month, and I’ll starting making payments of $95.07 on my law school loans next month.  We’re still waiting to find out the payment for D’s law school loans and the first payment on those probably won’t be due until December.  Because my federal loans have such low interest rates, the payments are already going towards principal.  And even though the interest is still making the overall total increase, it’s going up by less than it was previously ($235.88 in October compared to $306.21 in September).  Every little bit counts, and it’ll go up less once we’re making payments on all of the loans.


Posted in Debt Repayment | Leave a Comment »

October 2015: Snowflaking

Posted by beachgirl on 11/05/2015

Total to House Downpayment: $2,011.23

  • $760.00 – Monthly
  • $1,050.00 – Birthday money for both of us
  • $10.00 – earnings
  • $174.70 – 2nd job earnings
  • $6.00 – Pinecone earnings
  • $10.53 – Interest earned

Posted in Snowflake | Leave a Comment »

My Net Worth: October 2015

Posted by beachgirl on 11/02/2015

Net Worth

  • Current Net Worth: -$27,376.48
  • Change since previous month: +$8,331.00
  • Change since 12/31/2005: -$3,972.76

We had another great month this month.  And we’re getting closer and closer to a positive net worth.  We put a little over $2,000 towards our house down payment fund, and my retirement account increased by over $5,000.

We are also starting to make payments on our student loans that are under Income-Based repayment.  We applied back in September, but each of our three loan companies have taken different lengths of time in approving our application.  One went through right away without any problems and I made the first payment in October.  My other one required additional paperwork, but has been approved and I’ll be making the first payment in November.  D’s loan company was a lot more difficult in getting things approved and about communicating with us, so we’re still working on that one.  Hopefully it’ll get resolved soon.  For our higher interest rate loans, the payments won’t cover all the interest accruing, so those will continue to go up some (but less than they were since we’ll be paying some of the interest each month).  For our lower interest rate loans, we’re already seeing the payments going to principal, so that will help make a small dent in things.  Once we buy our house, we’ll put the majority of our extra money towards paying down the student loans (and I’ll post on that when we get to that point).

Posted in My Net Worth | Leave a Comment »

Wedding Spending: Attire

Posted by beachgirl on 10/31/2015

D and I decided to only have one attendant each, so that helped save us extra money when it came to attire.  I also did my own makeup and we used some items that we already had to save money.  In total, we spent $434.50 on our attire.

Girl’s Attire – $214.66

  • $127.31 – Dress from Nordstrom’s (I got it on sale)
  • $60.00 – Dress alterations
  • $10.70 – Shoes from Old Navy
  • $9.66 – Clutch
  • $6.99 – Wrap/shawl

I am not a girly-girl person, so I knew I wanted something really simple.  I also am not a big shopper, so I didn’t really want to go and try on a bunch of dresses.  So, I started out looking online.  And I was able to find a dress I loved pretty quickly (in fact, I think it was the first wedding item I bought) on Nordstrom’s website.  And it happened to be on sale.  Score!  And it only had to be hemmed, so the alterations were minimal.  I bought some simple sandals at Old Navy (and I wear them to work sometimes, so I feel like it was money very well spent).

I didn’t want to be a bride that made my bridesmaids wear ugly dresses that they’d never wear again.  So, I told my maid of honor that she could wear anything as long as it was a fall color.  Rather than spend money on a new dress when she had to travel for the wedding, she decided to wear a dress she already had.

Girl’s Hair & Makeup – $219.84

  • $12.32 – Various makeup items
  • $120.00 – Hair stylist for my hair on both the day of the wedding and my hair trial & tip
  • $15.52 – Hair band from Claire’s
  • $72.00 – Hair & tip for maid of honor’s hair

Even though I don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, I decided to do my own makeup.  I was worried that I’d feel too made up since I wasn’t used to wearing makeup.  I did a few trial runs, watched some online tutorials, read lots of articles, and ended up very happy with how it turned out.

I decided to have my hair done because I do not have the patience to do my own hair.  The stylist I found was wonderful and she did my hair exactly how I wanted.  My inspiration was Kelly Clarkson’s hair from her own wedding.  I found a hair band at Claire’s that ended up working perfectly.

We paid for my maid of honor to have her hair done, but she did her own makeup.

Groom’s Attire – $0.00

D used a suit he already owned, but did have it tailored.  He also bought a new shirt, tie, and belt.  However, his parents paid for all of this as a gift and I don’t know how much it ended up costing, so I’m not including it.  And he continues to wear the suit, shirt, tie, and belt for work and other occasions that we have to dress up for.

Posted in Wedding Planning | Leave a Comment »

It’s Our 1st Anniversary!

Posted by beachgirl on 10/26/2015

Today is D and my’s first anniversary!  I can’t believe it’s already been a year.  In celebration of our anniversary, I want to (finally) tell you about our wedding spending.  I had planned to do this a long time ago (once we knew all the costs), but life got in the way and I didn’t.  I’ll break down how much we spent on various categories and share ways that we saved money.

Today’s post will be about the the Stationery.  For the stationery, we had the Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs, and Thank You cards.  For all of these, we spent $251.74.

We saved money by making our own Save the Dates, Invitations, and Programs.  For a reminder of what the Save the Dates and Invitations looked like (and a breakdown of cost per STD or Invite), click here and here.

Save-the-Dates & Invitations – $213.61

  • $10.64 – Ivory card stock
  • $10.69 – Brown card stock
  • $6.20 – photo tape
  • $14.42 – paper cutter
  • $18.52 – envelopes
  • $5.70 – leaf stamp from Etsy
  • $4.48 – stamp ink
  • $28.92 – two address stamps
  • $29.04 – color printing of invitations
  • $85.00 – postage

D and I did everything ourselves except drawing the tree (which my aunt did) and printing the invitations in color (which we had done at Office Depot).  This saved a lot of money and we were really proud of how they came out.

Programs – $11.34

  • $2.14 – Ivory card stock
  • $9.20 – printing toner

We were able to print two programs per piece of paper.  The front of the program listed the sequence of events of the ceremony, while the back had the wedding party, a list of “friendors”, and a few other notes (including one to say that we made a donation to a charity in lieu of favors).

Thank You Cards – $26.79

  • $10.01 – 96 cards from Michael’s
  • $4.68 – pictures from our honeymoon for those who contributed to our honeymoon registry
  • $12.10 – postage

Posted in Wedding Planning | Leave a Comment »

September 2015: Debt Update

Posted by beachgirl on 10/09/2015

This is our last month of not paying on our Law/Federal loans.  I’ve already found out my new IBR payment for my Federal loans.  I need to submit one more thing to my law school loan holder and then I’ll find out my new IBR payment for that.  We’re still waiting on D’s loan holder to give us the amount for his payment too.  But we anticipate both of those payments will be due this month.  It’ll be nice making those payments and seeing some of the amounts going down.  (I think some of the loans will continue to go up as the payment will be less than the interest accruing each month, but it’s a start.)


Posted in Debt Repayment | Leave a Comment »

September 2015: Snowflaking

Posted by beachgirl on 10/06/2015

Total to House Downpayment: $2,000.34

  • $1,366.50 – Monthly
  • $370.00 – Tips
  • $156.12 – 2nd job earnings
  • $6.00 – Pinecone earnings
  • $85.13 – Left over from groceries
  • $10.40 – Ibotta earnings
  • $6.19 – Interest earned

Posted in Snowflake | Leave a Comment »

My Net Worth: September 2015

Posted by beachgirl on 10/03/2015

Net Worth

Change since 12/31/2005: -$12,303.76

This month showed a drastic improvement in our Net Worth.  D won a large settlement for a client and he got a percentage of the settlement.  We put a fair amount aside for taxes and another fair amount towards our house down payment fund.  It’s great seeing D’s hard work pay off!

Posted in My Net Worth | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers