Pages

Monday, December 30, 2013

Money Hip Chats: Clothes-Shopping Strategies



Lisa: Okay Lauren, my turn to pick the topic. Let’s talk about clothes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Functional Bedroom Touches (On a Budget): Master Bedroom Makeover (Part 2/3)


Congratulations to Betty J for winning our giveaway! Look for your Amazon gift card in your email sometime in the next week!

For Part 2 of my Master Bedroom Makeover, I wanted to highlight a few things we did to save space and make our room a little more functional (Part 1 was about how we made it brighter).

Pin this post for later--> http://www.pinterest.com/pin/195765915026226299/

(1) Sconces

My husband and I like to read before bed, but hated how bulky lamps took up so much room on our bedside table. We decided sconces were the perfect solution. The layout of our bedroom only allows for one place to put the bed, so we weren't nervous about permanently wiring them into the walls. We just made sure to space the sconces far enough apart to allow for a king-sized headboard in case we ever upgrade.

I chose these sconces from Restoration Hardware (I know, I'm a little RH-obsessed), waited for a sale (I'm always on a budget), and then bought them. They are just as beautiful in person as they were in the catalog. I opted for the linen shade (for its classical element) and the polished nickel (for its modern touch).

Monday, December 16, 2013

Being My Own Consumer Advocate: How Allegiant, Hobby Lobby, and Target Responded

Don't forget to enter our holiday giveaway on this post (Ends end of day TODAY!)
 
I'm from a family of six kids. We're all different, but one thing we have in common is our easy-going, non-confrontational personalities. I can't speak for my siblings, but that has sometimes translated into me being a total doormat, afraid to "rock the boat" or ask for anything. I fell into that category for most of my life until two things happened: (1) I went to business school and (2) I became a stay-at-home mom. Both of these made me realize that being assertive is not only a good thing, but sometimes necessary. It's up to me to be my own (and my kids') advocate when it comes to health, safety, and (especially applicable to this blog) my... consumerism. Weird thing to be an advocate about, I know. But when you're a stay-at-home mom living on a budget, it's up to you to make sure you get what you pay for.

First of all, let me clarify, I'm not talking about being a total jerk and/or verbally assaulting retail clerks who are just trying to do their job. Anyone who's ever worked directly with customers can tell you acting like a jerk isn't going to get you nearly as far as being respectful and kind. Even if it did, who wants to live their life yelling at people to get what they want? Not me.

Here are a few examples of how I've taken a stand (without being a jerk):

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How to Lock Your iPhone or iPad so Kids Have to Stay in an App (in 3 Easy Steps)

If I had a dollar for every time I complained to my sister that iPhones should have more parental controls, I might be as rich as the Woz himself. I desperately wanted my toddler to be able to FaceTime with his out-of-state grandparents without him constantly hanging up. Not to mention wanting to let him play his alphabet app without him calling people in my contact list (he's done that more times than I'd like to admit). Guess what--there is a way! And once you've set it up, it's takes about two seconds to do.

NOTE: it helps to lock the orientation of the phone/iPad. To do this: Swipe up from the bottom of the bottom of your screen to open the Control Center and tap on the Portrait Orientation Lock symbol.

How to lock your iPhone/iPad so your kids have to STAY IN AN APP

-and/or- 

How to disable parts of the screen (e.g. So they can't hang up on FaceTime or click on ad bars).

My little guy using my iPhone. That OtterBox case has paid for itself MANY times. :)
(Note: If you're reading this on your phone, you can Pin this for later so you don't have to go back and forth between screens.)

Step (1):

Monday, December 2, 2013

What You Should (AND SHOULD NOT!) Insure

Check out our holiday giveaway on our Christmas wreath tutorial

Okay, we have officially left the realm of "What is absolutely the only correct way to do things" and entered the land of "What Lisa believes, due to what she was taught by her CPA dad, college personal finance professor, and a bunch of other really smart people." Meaning, this is my own personal opinion. What you decide to insure or not insure is your personal decision since you're the one who will have to live with the consequences so don't sue me. Seriously, don't. :)

So here is my take on what you should and should not insure. It can be summed up in one brief sentence: INSURE ONLY WHAT YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE.

What do I mean by that?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holiday Shopping: Four Money-Saving Websites You Should Know About

It's that time of year again. In honor of Black Friday, let us show you how to do your holiday shopping, Money Hip Mamas style. :) Here are four money-saving website your should know about and how to use them to their full advantage.
1- Ebates - Get Extra Cash Back for Shopping Online

My tech-savvy husband first introduced me to

Monday, November 18, 2013

Money Hip Chat: Budgeting for Groceries

Lisa and I are starting a new monthly series on our blog called Money Hip Chats. It’s basically the transcript of an informal chat between the two of us. We write it together on a google doc and then post it for you! We thought it might be fun to occasionally switch things up and be a little more casual and fun.

For our first topic, I suggested budgeting. Lisa wisely wanted to be more specific and suggested grocery budgeting. To which I respond:

Monday, November 4, 2013

DIY Christmas Ornament Ball Wreath Tutorial - Cheap and Easy

 

Pin this for later-->   http://
http://bit.ly/173wvUI
Although I was a little concerned about what kind of internet browsers would be brought to this page by labeling this tutorial "Cheap and easy," there is no other way to describe this project. A lot of Christmas Glass Ball Ornament Wreath tutorials are a little spotty on the details, so I thought I'd throw another one out there for people like me who need very specific shopping lists and instructions (basically, "Crafting for Dummies").

Note: The number and size of ornament balls depends on the look you're going for. These instructions are for a wreath like mine pictured below.

Monday, October 28, 2013

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

Pin this post for later--> http://bit.ly/1g7LmAv

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:

 

(1) FREE BABYSITTING: DO A SWAP


This is key. Where we live, babysitters run $

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:

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

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

10 Money-Making Jobs for the Stay-At-Home Mom




About me: I met Lisa and Lauren in the Accounting program at BYU. After graduation I moved to Houston to work in audit for a large public accounting firm. I left my (good-paying,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcoming my new Money Hip Baby! (My Favorite Things for Pregnancy, Labor, and Newborns)

Well, this blog just hit a couple milestones. We reached over 10,000 views per month (thanks everyone for reading!) and... I just had another Money Hip Baby!
A little over a week ago I had my second baby, my first totally natural birth (to a 9-pounder, no less). It has been a beautiful experience. I am about 1,000 times less stressed this time around than I was with my first. So in celebration of this beautiful new baby, I thought I'd throw together a list of the things that have helped me the most throughout my pregnancy, labor & delivery, and recovery with a newborn.
I hope you enjoy (and that you'll add your own tips in the comments section)! By the way, if you haven't already liked our Facebook Page, please do so now!
My new little sweetie @ 5 days old. As you can imagine, I am completely smitten

-------PREGNANCY/PREPARATION-------

1. The Waiting Game

I know due dates are

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Favorite Things (#7) -- Kitchen and Cooking Tips


1- Clean/Dirty Dishwasher Trick

Is one of your most commonly uttered household phrases, "Are these dishes clean or dirty?" Or, worse, have you ever emptied half of the dishwasher before realizing, ew, those were dirty. Nevermore. And you won't even have to put one of those homemade signs or kitschy magnets on the door of your dishwasher. I learned this trick from a college roommate, made my husband learn it when we got married, and my own parents even adopted it after visiting me a few years ago.
The trick: IMMEDIATELY after emptying a clean dishwasher, before closing the door again, put the dishwasher soap/tab in the dispenser and close it.
Think about it: If the dishwasher soap dispenser is closed, you always know the dishes are dirty because as soon as the dishwasher runs and cleans the dishes, it will open and remain open until the dishes are emptied and a new tab is added and the dispenser is closed again. It takes a week or two to get in the habit, but once you do, you always know:

2- Easy way to dispose of grease

Am I the only

Monday, September 9, 2013

Saving For Kids' College Education—What You Need To Know: TOP 10 FAQs about 529 Plans

Pin this for later--> http://www.pinterest.com/pin/195765915025662742/
 
Does saving for your kid’s college education seem like a good idea, but that’s about as far as you’ve thought it through? Luckily for you, I’ve already gone through the pain of researching 529 plans for you (Don’t feel too bad for me—I voluntarily got a Masters in Accounting with an emphasis in taxation, so clearly I have a weird sense of what's "interesting"). Browse through these 10 FAQs and if you still have questions, shoot me a comment. I’ll either answer it here or in my next post about saving for college.

A quick note on the

Monday, September 2, 2013

How to Host a My Favorite Things Party

Back in July, my friend and I hosted a My Favorite Things party. It was basically just an excuse to have a girls night (I'm always looking for an excuse), but the exchange ended up being a total hit. Clearly, I love talking about My Favorite Things and turns out everyone else does, too.

(1) Pick a Theme

We did a basic two

Thursday, August 29, 2013

How to Cheaply Decorate a Kid's Room When You're Renting

I'll be honest- it is pretty hard for me to get motivated about decorating because we are (A) renting and (B) still in a phase of life where we seem to be moving every two years. Consequently, I tend to decorate in cheap ways that leave us with few holes in the wall to fill when we move out. (If you really want to decorate, like Lisa, check out this post.)

Enter Operation: Make Child's Room Less Prison-Like. 



1. I picked up some

Monday, August 26, 2013

Basic Guide To Getting Out of Debt (the SNL way) and Are You Prepared For a Financial Emergency?

Whether you’re losing sleep over how you’re going to make your next house payment or dodging calls from bill collectors, being in debt is stressful. It affects every part of your life and health, but not all is lost. With the right determination and plan, you can rise above your debt and breathe easy again.


 Step 1: STOP INCURRING ADDITIONAL DEBT
Stop borrowing and don’t buy

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Money Hip Friends: Budgeting with a Plan

Remember this post where I said we were trying to get our smart friend to write a guest post for us? Here it is. (And for those of you who don't know her, Paige is one of those people that is always #1 (usually literally) at whatever she does, so she's a good one to listen to.)

Paige, Lisa, and I are good friends from the BYU accounting program. She's a young mom of two little girls (2 ½ and 7 months), so life is busy, but having a budget and financial plan in place really helps her to simplify. She also loves to help others with their budgets and help them gain the peace of mind that comes from being in control of your finances.

I think I’ve made a budget, now what? Budgeting with a plan

From my experience, one of the main reasons that people fail at budgeting is because real life doesn’t always fit into an identical monthly mold. After you have worked and drawn up your first budget draft, there are three things to consider to make sure that you have a real, complete budget and sound financial plan:

Monday, August 19, 2013

DIY Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Detailed Arms

Update--WHERE I GOT MY SUPPLIES FROM:

I keep getting asked, so I'm putting all the links right here. Comment if you have any questions and I'll get back to you ASAP. Good luck! -Lisa
Foam Pad <--so much cheaper than buying custom foam! (p.s. That's the foam pad I used, but if want a more plush looking headboard, you could get this one).
Buttons <--(you'll need 30 buttons, so get 2 packs)
Batting
Upholstery nails/tacks (smooth finish) <--You'll need 5 packs to get 500 tacks (I used about 480 tacks).
- Upholstery Needle
- Staple Gun
Fabric (Yep, that's right. I used IKEA curtains. Note: On one side of the headboard, I had less than an inch of extra fabric to spare, so if you're risk-averse, you could just buy regular fabric.)
- Bottle of Downy Wrinkle Release




It's done! I saw this tutorial for a DIY Upholstered Headboard back in January, ordered all my supplies . . . then proceeded to have morning sickness/lack of energy for the next several months. Plus, my handsome carpenter (hubby) was out of town for months, so he didn't have time to get the initial frame done. But alas, we finally got around to it and it's done!
 
I thought the tutorial was very helpful (she answered so many questions in the comments, so search there if

Monday, August 12, 2013

Best Birthday Freebies


For you frugal people out there, you know the best part about birthdays is the never-ending stream of freebies! To take full advantage, you need to sign up far enough before your birthday to make it into their databases in time. I signed up around my birthday last year, so this year I just had to sit back and wait for the freebies to roll in. And now for y'all, I've compiled a list of the best of the best. You're welcome.

Pin this image to remind yourself to sign up:



Note: Before signing up, you need to have an older e-mail account that

Monday, August 5, 2013

Introducing Money Hip Mamas & $25 Amazon Giveaway

Welcome to Money Hip Mamas!

From back in the day---here's when we were "hooded" for our Masters Degrees: Lauren (left) and Lisa (right)

Hello!


We are ridiculously excited to introduce our blog to you!

We’ll start right off with two confessions. 1. We are accountants. 2. We love ourselves a good mommy blog.

Back in April, Lauren and I were talking about how we’ve noticed the blogosphere is filled with a million mommy blogs about cooking, fashion, parenting, etc., but hardly any about money and personal finance. And the relatively few that do talk about money seem to focus almost exclusively on the small stuff (*cough* couponing) and never mention the big stuff--the things that really affect your financial health ("Hey! Are you maxing out your employer's 401k match?--that's free money!" "Do you have enough life and disability insurance?" "Are you taking advantage of

Monday, July 29, 2013

Budgeting--Are you doing it right?

Why Budget: According to studies, the most powerful predictor of successful weight loss is TRACKING what you eat. So it shouldn’t be a shock to realize the best way to ensure healthy spending is to TRACK WHAT YOU SPEND. Take frequent and honest looks at your spending habits. For anyone who’s ever kept a food diary, you may be surprised by what and how much you are eating (FIVE bowls of Frosted Flakes! Really?!). Spending money is the same way—we’ve all developed some nasty habits. The first step to making those corrections is to track your spending so you can identify where you can “trim the fat.”

How to budget in three easy steps: 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Home Makeover: Living Room

I made a special blog post when we redid the bathroom so I thought it only fair the living room get the same attention. I've been putting this off because there's a lot more I want to do, but I feel like decorating is always a work in progress, so think of this as more of a snapshot in time than a finished product.

This is what our living room looked like when we bought our house.  In one word: fusty.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

DIY Home Makeover: Bathroom

Our old 1970s home was in need of a lot of TLC when we bought it three years ago. Wish we had the time and money to redo everything, but we're slowly making it around to each room. Can't believe it's already been 2.5 years since we redid our bathroom. Thought I'd post the writeup of the transformation.
Such a huge project for such a small room, but we're not talking putting in a new vanity and mirror. The floor had water damage down to the subfloor and it only had a tub (no shower), so we ripped out *everything* and started from scratch. No professionals whatsoever. Just my husband Bryan, my father-in-law, and me. It was unbelievable. When we started, I barely knew how to use a screwdriver. Now Bryan and I know how to demo, install a new construction window, stucco, remove a bathtub, plumbing (sewer and copper), repair a subfloor, install a new bathtub, install new drywall, texture, tile, wire a light fixture, install a toilet, vanity, etc.

This story is best told through pictures. I'd do just the before and after, but you really can't appreciate the after unless you at least glance at what it looked like in between.

Before.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

My Favorite Things (#6): Discounted Shipping, Better than Evite, Free Online Classes, and Book Recommendations

1. Coursera- Free

This highly rated new startup has impressive online courses from "legit" universities. Lauren and I took Stanford's Child Nutrition class (thoroughly enjoyed it), but they offer classes in a variety of subjects--science, humanities, design, business, and so on. Basically, the same kind of stuff you'd see on campus. Ever wanted to improve your public speaking? Study up on composing classical music? Take an intro to psychology? Maybe something you regret not taking while you were in college. They really have an impressive array of classes from actual professors. This is nice for when you're in one of those "learning" or "self-improvement" kicks, which should ideally be everyday of our lives. Check it out at coursera.org.

My Favorite Things (#5) Best Airline, Cleaning Tips, Discount Jamba, etc.

----------Techie----------

1. Fotor.com--Free!

Please tell me if you've found a better (free!) web-based collage creator, because I haven't. This isn't the first one I've used, but it is by far the best. Fotor.com

2. PBS App--Free!

This free app has a library of clips from PBS's kids shows. It updates weekly. So if your little one loves Sesame Street, Curious George, or basically any kids' show on PBS, this may be the App for you.

My Favorite Things (#4) How to Pin from your iPhone, Etc.

Okay, I've really gotten into these My Favorite Things Top Ten Posts. This 4th Edition is particularly long-winded, so may I recommend only reading the descriptions for the things that interest you (like you need me to tell you that) lest you swear off this blog forever in annoyance of my looooong posts. But seriously, this is a big 'un.

TECH TIPS

1. Remove Word Verification - Free


My Favorite Things (#3): Pomegranate, Navigation App, Ebates, etc.

1. Pomegranate trick - FREE

 
Love pomegranates (and their superfood properties), but hate picking all the seeds out? Most people know the water in a bowl trick, but do you know how to make the seeds just fall out with little effort--no picking involved? It's a four-minute YouTube investment, but once you successfully execute this move, you will never ever go back. My only other nugget of wisdom is if you're paranoid like me, wear an apron in case the pomegranate is extra juicy and squirts you.
http://youtu.be/jJ7dk9nDR-k 

My Favorite Things (#2): Jeans, Mattress Pad Heater, and Mom Products

It's time for another edition of Ten Tips/Tricks/Products/Recipes I love.  These will pop up on the blog at random because I just started keeping a list by my computer and only add things to it that are truly worthy of such a list. So whenever the list is full, I post. So here goes:

Products for Everyone 

1- Colgate Optic White Toothpaste - $3

 
This is another steal from mormon in manhattan. I tried it for myself and really like it. Think of it as whitening strips, meaning it didn't replace my usual toothpaste (which I also love), but this removes stains that other toothpastes don't. It says it takes a week to notice a difference, but I feel like I notice a difference every time I use it. I use it daily, including when I'm sprucing up before going out.

My Favorite Things (#1): Costco Prints, Cleaning Products, and Makeup

The best tips/tricks/products are always recommendations from a friend or a blog (from people who have actually used the product, not some beauty magazine editor who maybe tried it once), so I thought I'd compile a list of some of my favorites as of lately.

Tips

#1 Costco Prints - Hey Costco members, did y'all know you can order prints online and have as few or as many 4"x6" prints shipped to your home (or grandma's home..or whomever) and the shipping is free? So sweet! No need to pick them up. Suddenly, getting prints is so hassle free. Uploading is fast, prints are cheap, and as long as you don't need the prints immediately (it takes 6-9 business days to ship), you're set.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tax Series #3: What are some easy ways to file my return?

Tax time. It rolls around every year. How are you going to get that pesky return filed? Here at Money Hip Mamas, we're here to help. There are a million different tax preparation services, so I polled my friends (many of which are tax accountants themselves) to get the scoop on the best options out there.

Do-It-Yourself Software

For A Basic Return


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tax Series #1: How do I make estimated tax payments?

As mentioned on our taxes page, taxes are technically due in four quarterly installment throughout the year (not one lump sum on April 15th). Most people don’t even think about this because it’s automatically done for you by your employer before the money even hits your bank account. But if you’re self-employed or have income from other sources, you may have to make these “estimated payments.” They’re estimated because you don’t actually know how much you’ll really owe until you file your tax return and come up with the final amount.

How much do I need to pay?