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 12, 2013

A Functional Filing System: Part 1 of 2

Don't forget to enter our holiday giveaway on this post!

It seems like a lot of our readers are into organization, so I thought I'd throw out a few of the things that help me with my filing system. (Oh, the dreaded filing system.) Obviously, the best system is the one that works for you, so you may want to tweak/ignore/replace some of my suggestions. And since I don't want this to be the world's longest blog post, I'm going to split it into two parts: (1) physical filing and (2) digital filing and record retention (what to keep for how long).

In this part, we'll talk about the set-up of both your filing cabinet, as well as your inbox. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Huge Tax Tip: Bunching Itemized Deductions

As it nears year-end, we thought we'd revamp and re-run this post on bunching itemized deductions.

When your taxes are pretty simple, there aren't oodles and oodles of things you can do to save, but this is a tip that has literally saved my husband and I thousands of dollars (but I have used made up numbers in our example). It works primarily for people who don't already itemize (typically people who don't have a mortgage) and have large charitable contributions (like tithing, if you're a Mormon).

Font credit to rhonnadesigns.com

Before we start, it's probably best if you have a little background on how taxes work. I'd suggest checking out this riveting post and also this one (skim if you must) so we're on the same page.

All refreshed on how taxes work? Great.

So the basic premise is this.

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?
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