Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to Survive with a Toddler in a Cast

I'll be honest. October has not been a banner month for our household. Two emergency room visits in two days rendered me the last one standing (or at least walking with the ability to bend both my legs) in our beleaguered little family (Aaron dislocated his kneecap and C broke his leg). At least I've been honing my ability to drive in downtown Boston as I shuttle people to and from work and doctor and physical therapy appointments.

Here are some of the things that have gotten me through the past few weeks.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Date Night Series: Dinner and a Movie for Cheap (Babysitting Included!)

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My sister-in-law once mentioned that she and my brother have made date night a priority. "It may be expensive, but it's cheaper than marriage counseling!" Seriously though, spending time together as a couple is important, especially when you have little munchkins. They say the best way to have happy, secure children is to have a happy, secure marriage. But really, for me, it's just nice to have a meal in which my table companion doesn't end the meal by dumping his bowl of Cheerios and milk all over himself and the floor. But what's a couple living on a tight budget to do? Enter Money Hip Mamas. We're starting a series of posts about how to do Date Night for cheap (subscribe by e-mail or like our Facebook page for updates). So let's start with the classic dinner and a movie. Here are some ways to save some of that precious moo-lah you've worked so hard to earn:



This is key. Where we live, babysitters run $

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Life Insurance: Term vs. Cash-Value

Remember how I tried to guilt you into getting at least some amount of life insurance in this post? (Sorry, I know, guilt is sort of a lame motivating tactic, but apparently I'm not above using it.) I briefly mentioned that we recommend "term" life insurance over "cash-value" life insurance, but thought that it would be worth addressing the differences between the two a little more in-depth.

There are two basic differences.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Brighten Up a Room in Three Easy (and Cheap!) Steps: Master Bedroom Makeover (Part 1/3)

Note: To check out how I made the headboard in our bedroom, check out my DIY Headboard post.

I've been painstakingly trying to figure out how to best capture our master bedroom makeover and then I realized (a) Nobody cares that much--I should probably chill out and (b) There's too much for one post. So I'm breaking it down into three posts, based on the three goals I had for this room--to infuse: (1) Light (2) Function and (3) Architectural detail.

Today I'm focusing on LIGHT! With just a few steps, my husband and I transformed our dark cave* of a bedroom into this bright and beautiful retreat (a must-have for happy, but often-very-tired parents).  
*This has become a bit of theme with our home renovations--taking dark and dowdy rooms and using light to make them seem bigger and brighter (see the bathroom makeover and living room makeover).

Let's take a look at what our bedroom looked like BEFORE:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Should I Give My Children an Allowance?

I'd like to start this post off by saying that you're the one best equipped to decide whether or not to give your child an allowance. Every kid and every situation is different. Plus my kid is not even two yet, so this is uncharted territory for us. That being said, I have stumbled across some words of advice regarding children and allowances that I really liked and wanted to share. Read and implement or ignore as you will.

I think Dave Ramsey* did a really great job of addressing the issue of how to "give" children money.

Here are his guidelines paraphrased and commentated by me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Arguing About Money? Two Things That Could Save Your Marriage

So I was reading this article about how arguments over finances are the #1 predictor of divorce. I think a lot of people suspected or assumed that was true, but this study proved it. The part of the article that got me excited was the researchers' suggestions for preventing and repairing those issues. They are two very simple things, yet so crucial, they could be the difference between making or breaking a marriage. And they're things anyone can do, financially-minded or not.

Marriage-Saver #1: Have a Fun Fund or "Mad Money" Account for Each Spouse

Our own MHM author Lauren addressed this issue months ago and she was dead-on. One of the first conclusions drawn by one of the study's co-author's Sonya Britt: "When one partner makes more money than the other partner, the couple has to decide if they each get to spend equal amounts of money on personal preference items." So how does a Fun Fund work?

Marriage-Saver #2: Have a Monthly Budget Meeting

To quote Sonya Britt again, "Couples should

Thursday, October 10, 2013

De-Mystifying the Mortgage Amortization Schedule

Every month you know you've got to make that pesky mortgage payment. Say it's $1,000. You hate seeing that money disappear from your bank account, but at least you know that you've just reduced your debt by $1,000, right? Wrong. Or, I guess I should say, mostly wrong.

When you make your mortgage payment, it's typically a fixed amount every month. But that whole amount is not reducing your debt. In fact,

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Favorite Things: Save on Diapers from Target, Power Salad Recipe, etc.

----------FOR MOMS----------  

1. Munchkin Nursery Projector and Sound System ($25 From Amazon)

I've had this puppy for over a year now and I am a FAN. I bought this to replace my son’s nap/bedtime sound machine that was nosily hobbling along on its last leg. I decided to spring for one with a projector and boy was I glad. This thing is awesome. The projector is

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Excel Packing Lists

Congratulations to Rivka W. for winning our giveaway! Your $25 Amazon gift card will be emailed to you before the end of the week! And thanks to everyone who participated!

I happened to pick up this trick from another accountant, Katie, though it really has nothing to do with accounting, except that maybe most accountants like Excel and being efficient. And this little life-hack, my friends, is called Excel Packing Lists.

I think we all know that making a list helps make packing easier--
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