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).

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(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).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

What You Should (AND SHOULD NOT!) Insure

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


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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!)

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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 $

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 set times where they talk about the budget and if changes need to be made to the way they are allocating their money." She continues, "This advice remains the same no matter how long the couple has been married. Our preferences change all the time, so it is important that how the couple is spending money reflects changing preferences."
If Your Response Is, "Aww man...but I don't wanna budget.":
How much time per week would you be willing to dedicate to preventing the #1 predictor of divorce? If your answer is at least 30 minutes, then you have officially committed yourself to budgeting.
Have you ever heard that successful marriages take work? Well, this is exactly the kind of work they were talking about! Budgeting may be a pain at times, but it's a *whole* lot easier than dealing with the fallout from not doing it. Budgeting doesn't have to be hard (see our "How To Budget" here) and it doesn't have to be perfect. It's about putting something together that is good enough to facilitate that monthly discussion revolving around:
- How are we currently spending our money?
- How do we want to be spending our money?
- What changes do we need to make to reach those goals? (e.g. "How can we lower our gas expense?" "Do we need to allocate more money to groceries?")

Getting Started

Our marriage isn't perfect (Bryan won't play card games with me anymore--I'm kind of a sore loser). But despite our shortcomings, we don't argue about money or finances, largely due to our commitment to making a budget AND sticking to it. Even if you've never budgeted before, throw something together and adjust later as needed--it will never be perfect (it doesn't need to be), but you'll find it gets easier over time. Plus with all the free budgeting programs out there (as mentioned in Step #1 of our budgeting post), most of the work is done for you. Keeping your budget up to date may just be a matter of setting up your accounts and checking back on a regular basis to correct any errors the program may have made. By having a budget, the discussion about finances is when everyone is cool and you are logically making decisions based on needs and wants instead of pointing fingers and being accusatory about the spending habits of your spouse.
I'd suggest "tuning up" your budget (making sure the transactions get downloaded and correcting any mistakes) on a weekly basis, preferably around the same day/time each week so you don't forget.

Real Life Example

Every Sunday night, my husband and I spend about 15-30 minutes updating our budget. Once a month (usually on the first Sunday of the month so we can review the previous month) we have a "budget meeting" to review how we did and make adjustments as needed. Some months are smooth and it's a happy, 5-minute "looks good" discussion. Some months we realize certain expenses have gotten out of control and it takes 30 minutes to figure out how we're going to deal with it (e.g. "Maybe we need to take money from our entertainment budget and increase our grocery allowance" or "Ugh...time to cut back on eating out. Our dining out budget got slaughtered this month.") Sometimes it’s important to think about your major recurring expenses, as these can become too much for any budget for a variety of reasons, and it can be important to consider if it’s time to search for new Apartments for rent. It's a time investment, but because those discussions happen regularly in a productive and structured setting, we spend little to no time outside of those meetings discussing money and virtually no time arguing about it. It's a beautiful thing.

If you and your spouse argue about money, you're in the majority. But decide now to do something about it by taking these two steps towards a healthier relationship (and healthier finances!). It takes a bit of work, but the payoff is huge. Consider it an investment in the most important relationship in your life.

How have fun funds and budgets helped your marriage?

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

I'm adding 2 more GREAT Money-Making Jobs for the Stay-at-Home Moms that I have personally had success with. (Edited by Lisa - Creator of

#1: Bookkeeper - Own a 100% Virtual Bookkeeping business.

Not sure you have what it takes? Take this free introduction to bookkeeping class to find out!

#2: Blogger - Start your own blog!

Make money as a blogger through page views, ad revenue, affiliates, and paid content.
This is the blogging course I took - I highly recommend it!

#3: Start your own business

If you're thinking of starting your own business, I highly recommend this book: Will It Fly by Pat Flynn. It personally helped me design and build my successful businesses. It has over a thousand 5-star reviews for a reason. Pat Flynn walks you through the step-by-step process of creating a meaningful and successful business, starting with your "WHY" and your values for your business.

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


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 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.
If everyone is far apart, check out these virtual games to play on Zoom.

(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 of those large decorative papers from Paper Source and cut them into the first letter of whatever they were depicting (i.e., "S" is for superhero, which I later realized also had aliens and monsters on it- if C gets nightmares, I guess I have only myself to blame).
Lettering like this is ideal for nursery rooms too. Financially preparing for kids can be difficult, but not if you budget and use ideas like this.

2. I grabbed some rolls of plain black and navy wrapping paper and traced and cut out a duplicate of the letter for a shadow effect. 

3. I printed the text in thick black letters for  "is for <insert word here>" on card stock and cut out the letters. I did this for each of my five big letters. Yes, this is the one time in my life I've coveted one of these bad boys

4. I bought some colored paper and printed out the alphabet and numbers one through ten using the outline style in word art. I also flipped them so they were backwards so the outline would be on the reverse side after cutting.

I used regular paper on the "is for guitars" because I was lazy. Not a good idea-- note the curling. Stick with cardstock or at least construction paper.

I finished off with some numbers around the faux "Mondrian" I made with painters tape. I did have to make a couple holes to hang that one...

5. I made billions of those little "tape doughnuts" out of masking tape and painters tape and hung everything up. Depending on the tape you use, the paint on the walls, and how long you leave them up there, you may need to be prepared to clean off some residue when you take them down. 

6. I wanted to put a rug on the floor, but wasn't interested in spending hundreds of dollars. Enter the IKEA play mat solution. I bought four of these cheap, fun mats and duct taped them together on the back side. For under $60 that gives you a large floor covering and play area in one. C has tried pulling them apart one or two times, but has mostly left them alone. We bought one first, and noticed when we went back to get the next three they had switched from round corners to square corners, which makes this work even better (no gap in the middle where they come together).

Also, please note that C is holding a financial calculator.
There you have it. A fun, cheap decorating solution for a kid's room in a rental.

Tell us -- How do you decorate when you're in a temporary living situation?

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.

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 Fabric Headboard with Nailhead Detailed Arms

This post has been moved to my new blog, Find it here:

How to DIY Fabric Headboard with Tufted Buttons — Save Money!


More DIY Projects

Or check out these Financial Articles

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 & $50 Amazon Giveaway

Welcome to Money Hip Mamas!

Financial Mom, Save money, investing, money blog, #momlife

Welcome–I’m excited you’re here! My name is Lisa Schader. I am a Financial Coach and a MAcc (Master of Accountancy). I’ve been hooked on money management ever since my husband and I took a personal finance class together in graduate school.

We learned the essential lesson of wealth creation: living lean and budgeting are NOT enough. We needed to pack money away in retirement and investment accounts and make strategic career decisions–which we did–and it paid off! The day we realized we were on track for early retirement was an amazing day.


I give away a $50 Amazon Gift Card every month to someone participating in the FREE Money Fit Challenge!

Join the FREE Money Fit Challenge!

You’re more likely to accomplish financial goals if you have a supportive community and step-by-step instructions

(1) Join the supportive @MoneyFitMoms community (Instagram and Facebook)

(2) Get FREE step-by-step instructions and tools to accomplish all the Top 10 Money Fit Moves. (e.g. budgeting, pay off debt, investing, retirement, create a will)

Join the Money Fit Challenge!

Also, check out this article to see How to calculate your Financial Freedom Number

Or check out your Retirement Contributions and Income Limits

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.


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

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



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.

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.
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