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My Credit Score Dropped 47 Points & I’m Happy AF

When I first earned a spot in the 800 club people asked me questions about how to raise their credit score. The truth is, it isn’t a quick process but it can be an easy one if you understand how to play the credit score game. I was proud of myself because I felt like it was a reflection of my hard work. I would dare say, it gave me validation, experience, and a sense of purpose. My credit score continued to rise to 827 and then one day I opened an email with my updated credit score to see that it reached 847. 8-4-7!!! That’s right, I was only 3 points away from a PERFECT credit score and being that close made me lust for more.

Credit Score Drops After Paying Off Debt- She Makes Cents.png

For me, I found a perfect credit score to be sexy and I felt sexy for being so close to having one. Yet, I knew that my lust was for a fleeting goal so I lingered in the honeymoon stage of my 847 for as long as I could. It lasted for two months. I was not surprised one bit, though, because to understand why my score plummeted is to first understand how credit scores are calculated.

How Are Credit Scores Calculated?

Your credit score is a combination of debt history (35%), the amount owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new debt (10%), and type of debt used (10%). I didn’t have a credit card in college so my debt history began 10+ years ago when I got two loans to cover my college tuition for a year. My student loans represented the longest payment history and second largest debt owed outside of my mortgage. That is to say, my 10 years of on-time payments and one year of deferment toward student loan debt represented the two highest percentages that are used to calculate one’s credit score.

As the length of the payment history increased, the amount owed on my student loans decreased, and my debt to credit ratio was swinging in my favor, it created a perfect storm of excellent creditworthiness as measured by my FICO score. Hint hint: THIS…is how you get into the 800 club. I was snowballing my student loan debt so that when faced with a future change to the income of our household, the Mr. and I decided to pay off the remaining $7K and be done with the debt once and for all. One would think that the lowering my debt to credit ratio by eliminating the student loan debt would be enough to increase my credit score the last 3 points, but the opposite was true. Paying off this debt completely had the biggest negative impact on my high credit score. I watched my credit score fall 37 points and then another 10 more. So lame.

Even so, I would rather have a debt paid in full and suffer the consequences of a lower credit score than to draw out a debt payoff to get a perfect FICO score. Yes, I found the idea of having a perfect credit score sexy, but there is nothing sexier than a PAID IN FULL student loan balance…except the Mr. in a 3 piece suit. They say happiness is the new rich and inner peace is the new success. By that description, my paid in full student loan debt and my new credit score makes me “rich”, “successful”, oh….and happy AF.

She Makes Cents Logo- from Top Atlanta Blogger, Danielle YB Vason

How To Jumpstart Your Money Goals with the SMC Money Saving Challenge

Hey there, goal-setter!  I see YOU.  You are looking toward the new year and you are ready to make some changes.  You recognize what worked for you financially and what didn’t this past year and you are finally ready to do something your future self will thank you for.     

If this sounds like you, keep reading because the SMC Money Challenge may be just what you need…

WHAT IS THE 52 WEEK SMC MONEY CHALLENGE?

The SMC Money Challenge is back for its SEVENTH year!  This challenge is a weekly savings plan that works for everyone, no matter one’s level of financial literacy or income.  Hint Hint: accept the challenge, your future self (one year from now) will thank you! Every week you will cross off a number between 1-52 and apply that amount toward your money goal(s).   Bonus boxes are also available for those looking to push themselves to save even more.  SMC Money Tribe member, Cari, took advantage of the SMC Money Challenge bonus boxes on her money tracker and saved $15,000.00 in last year’s challenge. In the past three years, SMC Money Tribe leader, Danielle YB Vason and her husband used this challenge to pay off $44,000.00 in debt. Now, imagine what your money success story will be.

How to Jump Start Your Money Goals In the New Year from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

WHO IS THE SMC MONEY TRIBE?

The SMC Money Tribe is a community of goal-setting women who accepted the challenge to invest in their money and lifestyle goals with the best accountability partners out there- other women who are also shifting mindsets while tackling debt, saving money, and replacing bad money habits with smart money moves.   

Those who accept the challenge are most successful when they also join the SMC Money Tribe Facebook group for weekly check-ins to share their progress, ask questions, and cheer each other on.  By saving something every week, you get to practice your saving habit over and over until it becomes a lifestyle.  Remember, personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge.

SMC Money Tribe member, Cari, took advantage of the SMC Money Challenge bonus boxes on her money tracker and saved $15,000.00 in last year’s challenge.  

WHEN DOES THE CHALLENGE BEGIN?

Mark your calendars, the SMC Money Challenge begins Friday, January 1, 2021.  After that, weekly check-ins will open up every Thursday at 11:00am (EST) and will stay open until Friday night on the SMC Facebook Group.  During that time, SMC Money Tribe members are expected to invest in their goals by actively participating in weekly progress updates, money chats, and mini-challenges.  Interactive content related to the challenge will also be available on the @shemakescents Instagram page.

HOW TO JOIN THE 2021 SMC MONEY CHALLENGE

  1. Follow @shemakescents on Instagram
  2. Post this image below in your Instagram Story  (you MUST tag @shemakescents to I can see it).
  3. Join the SMC Facebook Group (this will be your home base for the tribe to ask questions, support each other, and hold each other accountable).
  4. Download your 2021 SMC Money Challenge Guides- Instagram version or Print version (Challenge Hack: Use the Instagram version to share your progress with the tribe & print the main version to add more private information to track your more personal goals at home).
  5. Set a calendar weekly to save your money & check-in

ARE YOU READY TO JUMPSTART YOUR MONEY GOALS?

Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. As an active member of the #SMCmoneytribe, you will no longer have to walk the path toward financial freedom and a fabulous lifestyle alone. Should you get off track, you can always catch up or start over, we just ask that you don’t give up on this challenge, your goals, or yourself. YOU can do it and you have an entire TRIBE of people cheering you on!

HOW TO SELECT THE PERFECT POWER WORD OF THE YEAR

Oh…My….Goodness.  We did it.  We survived 2020 (assuming we make it the next few days) and that is not to be taken lightly.  So now that you survived let’s get 2021 in order.  If you are a long time follower of She Makes Cents, you know that we start every new year with a power word/ word of the year to help set our intention. So let’s get started.

HOW TO SELECT THE PERFECT POWER WORD OF THE YEAR

When choosing a word of the year it is important to select a word that is both inspirational and aspirational. Power words are often verbs because they require action on your part to fully integrate them into your life. That’s right, it is time to be intentional with our actions. Ask yourself, what doesn’t feel like [your power word] in your life right now? Think about how you could apply your word to your goals for yourself. For example, the team from Dave Ramsey.com shares 7 areas in your life for S.M.A.R.T. goals. The goal categories are financial goals, spiritual goals, educational goals, career goals, family goals, fitness goals, and social goals. Does your word of the year apply to any, if not all, of the S.M.A.R.T. goal categories? If so, keep reading.

WHY POWER WORDS ARE EFFECTIVE

A power word is like a New Year’s resolution but so much better. When used correctly, it guides the intentions and goals that one sets for oneself. Since 2013, I have asked She Makes Cents readers to share one word to reflect their personal goals/resolutions/vision for the year ahead and the response every year is inspiring. I love doing this because with every 365 days that go by, we evolve and our needs, wants, and aspirations change. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of 2020 and my mental, physical, financial, and emotional evolution this year has inspired my power word for 2021.

Unlike in previous years, my 2021 power word works for every aspect of my life: financial, personal development, career, lifestyle, and quarantine life.

Looking back at my earlier power words, I remember where I was in my life, what was important, and what I needed to work on. In 2013 my word was balance. Then came focus (2014), passion (2015), bravery (2016), intention (2017), declutter (2018), bloom (2019) – fun fact, my daughter was born in 2019 and her name, Chloe, means “to bloom and discipline (2020). This year, I am very proud to share that my word of the year is SIMPLIFY.  

Power Word of the Year 2021 by Top Personal Finance and Lifestyle Blogger, Danielle YB Vason, of She Makes Cents.

By definition, simplify is a verb that means to make [something] less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier. For the year 2021, I challenge myself to simplify my financial goals, family goals, fitness goals, personal development goals, and every other area of my life.  I am looking forward to uncomplicating my life, goals, and actions and I look forward to seeing how much has changed one year from now.


I would love to hear your POWER Word of the Year. Please share your 2021 Word of the Year in the comments below, or hop over to the SMC Instagram to share your word there!


How I Reached My 2020 Money Goal Despite A Financial Pandemic

At the beginning of 2020, I set a goal to get my mortgage balance on our rental property under $40,000. I wrote the goal down on a post-it, shared it in the #SMCMoneyTribe group on Facebook, and dedicated one month of my SMC Money Challenge savings toward a large principal payment on my mortgage. Four weeks later, the Coronavirus pandemic hit followed by a financial pandemic and I forgot all about my BIG GOAL. At that point in 2020, my focus was trying to find toilet paper and make sure my family was fed.

Top Atlanta financial blogger, Danielle YB Vason, shares how she reached her 2020 money goal despite the financial pandemic

I started the year with “discipline” as my power word but “pivoting” became more appropriate. I had to pivot when some of my income sources became unreliable and my 2020 money goal got further and further out of focus. Then one day, after months of quarantining, I found my little post-it displaying my BIG GOAL. I took a moment and thought about how it would feel to have my mortgage look like most people’s new car payment. I thought about the long term money goals that my husband and I have for our family of three (plus 2 fur babies). Then…I thought about what it would feel like if it was paid off completely. Could I reach my goal by getting my mortgage under $40,000.00 this year? I wasn’t sure, but I sure as hell was going to try.

Since I wasn’t planning on traveling anytime soon due to the Coronavirus, I pivoted and used my travel sinking fund to make a principal payment in addition to the monthly mortgage & escrow payments. Then anytime I had extra money from a sinking fund, I would send another payment. One principle payment was as low as $15.00 but I didn’t care because that meant I was $15.00 closer to my goal. On December 11, 2020, I sent my last principal payment of $80.00 and with that payment, I hit my BIG MONEY GOAL for 2020. My current mortgage balance is $39,977.20. I am so proud of myself and I can’t wait to see what 2021 brings.

I walked into 2020 with excitement and hope. I plan to leave it with excitement that I survived and gratitude for both the big and small wins of this year.


WANT TO REACH YOUR 2021 GOALS?

Invest in your money and lifestyle goals with the #SMCMoneyTribe by following along. You will be informed, inspired, and empowered to use your “cents” to live the #fablife.


Why Yearly Power Words Are Important for Goal-Setters

 

2020 Word of the Year from top Atlanta blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents>

A power word is like a New Year’s resolution but so much better. When used correctly, it guides the intentions and goals that one sets for oneself. Since 2013, I have asked She Makes Cents readers to share one word to reflect their personal goals/resolutions/vision for the year ahead and the response every year is inspiring. I love doing this because with every 365 days that go by, we evolve and our needs, wants, and aspirations change. Looking back at my earlier power words, I remember where I was in my life, what was important, and what I needed to work on. In 2013 my word was balance. Then came focus (2014), passion (2015), bravery (2016), intention (2017), declutter (2018) and bloom (2019).  Fun fact, my daughter was born in 2019 and her name, Chloe, means “to bloom”.

2020 Word of the Year from top Atlanta blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes CentsMy power word for 2020 is DISCIPLINED. By definition, being disciplined is being trained to develop through self-control. The word “disciplined” is one that I will apply to every area of my life in a mental, physical, and spiritual sense. I will take this year as an opportunity to take a disciplined approach to complete the money challenge, hitting my milestones for my long term goals, and setting time aside for self-care. I was inspired by this quote, “You will never ALWAYS be motivated, so you must learn to be DISCIPLINED”. Truth be told, it is easy to be great when you are energized and motivated. The true value of a disciplined mindset reveals itself when you are too tired to keep pushing, when temptation is in the midst, and when distractions are everywhere but you’re strict with your goals and prevail anyway.

I’m so excited to apply a power word to my year and this one is all-encompassing to several areas of my life. I know many people do not do resolutions anymore, but I still do. Now that I have my word of the year, I can clarify my money, career, and lifestyle goals.

Talk to me in the comments below, what one word to reflect their personal goals/resolutions/vision for the year ahead?

How You Can Learn From Our First Money Fail of 2020

If you follow @shemakescents on Instagram, you know that we became a party of 3 with the birth of our daughter, Chloe, back in October.  Since her arrival 3 months ago, she has learned to hold her own bottle, sleep through the night, and has stolen our hearts.  Seriously, I cannot believe that she is 3 months already and I now understand when parents say they wish time would slow down.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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In 3 months, the Mr. and I have mastered overnight diaper changes, morning snuggles, and baby swaddles while being sleep deprived yet grateful. What we completely bombed was our plan to pay for our week-long hospital stay when she was born.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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We received a series of bills in November that totaled over $40,000.00, not including insurance.   My entire jaw hit the floor when I read that number and the breakdown given from hospital.  A big part that that number was because we had to stay for a week due to complications that happened during childbirth.  Even so, that five-figure estimate had our anxiety in high gear because we had to wait several weeks to see what the final bill was, after insurance. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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After another few weeks, we received a final bill with over 90% of it covered from insurance. THANK YOU, GOD! With very little left on our FSA card, we decided to schedule a payment after the new year so that we can use our new FSA cards with replenished funds. 𝐁𝐈𝐆 𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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While this is probably a DUH MOMENT for most of you reading this, I had not considered that we wouldn’t be allowed to pay for a 2019 medical expense on a 2020 FSA card. [le sigh] Thank goodness that we had a sinking fund for something else that we could borrow from. I would much rather borrow from myself than credit. That being said, the money saved from the SMCmoneychallenge will now be used to replenish my sinking fund.

Update: Using the SMC Money Challenge, I was able to pay back the full amount of the money I borrowed from a sinking fund to cover our budgeting mistake by week 6 of the money challenge.

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How To Crush Your 2020 Money Goals with the SMC Money Challenge

The SMC Money Challenge is back to help you crush your money goals in this new DECADE! Now it’s time for the SMC Money Tribe, a community of goal-setting women,  to accept the challenge and invest in their money and lifestyle goals in 2020. We are shifting mindsets while tackling debt, saving money, and replacing bad money habits with smart money moves.   

Beginning on January 2, 2020, weekly check-ins will take place Thursday through Sunday on Instagram.  To check-in, all you have to do is post your 2020 SMC Money Card on to your InstaStory, cross off your savings amount, and tag @shemakescents to share your progress.  The conversation will also continue in the private SMC Money Challenge Facebook group where tribe members invest in their goals by engaging in money chats and mini-challenges with the best accountability partners out there…other women with money-saving goals. Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. This is why a community for women to discuss personal finance without shame or embarrassment is important.

In the past two years, SMC Money Tribe leader, Danielle YB Vason and her hubby used the SMC Money Challenge to pay off $30,000.00 in debt. Other tribe members, like Victoria from Atlanta, shared a $27,000.00+ debt payoff and Angela from Australia saved enough money for a 5-week vacation to Mexico and the US. Regardless of whether you are joining the challenge to pay off debt, save for the future, or save for something specific like a house, wedding, or vacation, the SMC Money Challenge is for you!

How to Jump Start Your Money Goals In the New Year from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

How Does the 2020 SMC Money Challenge Work?

At the beginning of the year, a new money challenge guide is created. Each week, tribe members select one number from their money guide with the option to add “bonus” money and save that amount toward their money goal. With the bonus option, the sky’s the limit with one’s saving potential.

This year will be the fourth consecutive year I have accepted the challenge and so far I paid off my credit card, my student loans, a cell phone, and my car.  I am not a personal finance blogger who sold all of her stuff and lives off rice and beans.  I am not rich nor did I come from a wealthy family.  I am an “every girl” that woke up one day and decided I could do better for myself and for my future.  I made a choice to change my financial future.  What choice will you make today that your future self will thank you for?

How to Join the 2020 SMC Money Challenge?

  1. Follow @shemakescents on Instagram
  2. Post this image below in your Instagram Story  (you MUST tag @shemakescents to I can see it).
  3. Join the SMC Facebook Group (this will be your home base for the tribe to ask questions, support each other, and hold each other accountable).
  4. Download your 2020 SMC Money Challenge Guides- Instagram version or Print version (Challenge Hack: Use the Instagram version to share your progress with the tribe & print the main version to add more private information to track your more personal goals at home).

How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from top Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>
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How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>

Financial Planning How-To’s for Millennials and Generation Z from Personal Finance Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

She Makes Cents Founder, Danielle YB Vason, will be a featured panelist for a live #CreditChat discussing financial planning how-to’s for millennials and generation Z.  The panel, hosted by Experian, the leading global financial information services company, will take place on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 3:00pm (EST) and will feature a diverse mix of financial literacy enthusiast.

The panel will include: Rod Griffin: Director of Consumer Education and Awareness at Experian; Tori Dunlap: Money + Career Speaker and Coach; AK: Millennial Personal Finance Blogger; Danielle YB Vason: Founder of Personal Finance Blog She Makes Cents; Kevin Matthews: Director of Consumer Information; Joseph Francis: Financial Advisor; Tim: Owner of Life for The Better blog; Kali Roberge: Chief Content Officer & Co-Host of the Beyond Finances Podcast; Jelani Smith: Founder of Bay Street BlogThe Centsables: Financial Literacy for Kids; Melissa Pedersen: Director Of Strategic Partnerships for moneytips.com.


Join the Credit Chat on Twitter & Facebook Live

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This Bank Helps Customers Achieve Their Money Goals & It’s Expanding in Atlanta

This is a sponsored post…meaning mutually beneficial. You get access to information about a brand or product that I’m confident you will LOVE (at no cost to you) and I get compensated to tell you about it (which keeps She Makes Cents going strong)! For more information, check out the SMC disclosure policy.


Atlanta…Hollywood of the South, host to Superbowl LIII, and now home to over 39 award-winning bank branches dedicated to helping Atlanta customers and communities. Regions Bank, Member FDIC is expanding in the ATL with innovative branches that offer a wide variety of products and services that actually respect the time of busy people on the go. Imagine what you could do with the time you save when you are able to focus more on life and worry less about money- financial and lifestyle goals, anyone?

Since the beginning of the year, SMC Money Tribe members have started planning and sharing their goals. Whether you are paying down debt, saving for a big purchase, or for many of you… a big trip, Regions offers financial insights to help customers achieve their money goals… like finishing the SMC Money Challenge, per se.

Regions Bank helps customers with financial goals from top Atlanta #personalfinance blog, She Makes Cents #BankonRegions

All new Regions’ branches are outfitted with new technology and enhanced personal service to support customers when, where, and how they want to be serviced. With a winning combination of hands-on assistance and cutting edge technology, Regions’ provide their customers and the communities they serve with simplified banking experience.

Instead of waiting in traditional teller lines at the new branch locations, each customer is greeted by a Regions’ banker who can help customers develop plans to reach their long-term financial goals, as well as, assist with a variety of services ranging from cashing checks, accepting deposits, opening savings, and checking accounts. This way, you spend your time experiencing one-on-one service without feeling rushed…because planning your money and lifestyle goals are nothing to rush through.

TIME IS MONEY & REGIONS BANK HELPS YOU SAVE BOTH

One of the most cited SMC Money Tribe lifestyle goals, for the new year, is to free up more time for people and experiences that spark joy and feeds one’s soul.  Advanced features such as the Regions’ Video ATMs, Deposit Smart ATMs®, and Regions’ Virtual Concierge frees up time for customers of the new branches. Can’t make it to a branch during traditional banker’s hours? No problem! The flexibility of being able to connect with a Regions’ banker via a live two-way video to process teller transactions during extended hours on weekdays and on weekends, reduces the stress of trying to make it to the bank before it closes.  The same goes for the Deposit Smart ATMs® that can accept deposits and cash checks for customers at any time, day or night.

The Regions’ Virtual Concierge, which is made up of an experienced team of Regions’ bankers, is another service that provides additional flexibility to bank when and how you want…hello email, chat, phone, and even Linkedin options.  That’s right, from the comfort of… well, anywhere…you can engage with a banker who can assist you with everything from Online Banking to Remote Check Deposits, as well as receive guided advice on both short and long-term financial planning. This, my friends, is a MAJOR time-saving leap in lifestyle goals- to make better money moves in a way that is both accessible and tailored to one’s individual needs. 

Regions’ new cutting-edge branches are a great way for the company to show you how it can make a difference in your life.  As Regions unveils its new innovative branches, you’ll see and experience the bank’s new state-of-the-art design and learn how technology is providing you with a simple banking experience.


Check out the new branches

Sugar Hill
5905 Suwanee Road
Buford, GA 30518
Branch Opening: January 22, 2019

Bethelview Plaza
5530 Bethelview Road
Cumming, GA 30040
Branch Opening: March 18, 2019

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How To Jump Start Your 2019 Money Goals with the SMC Money Challenge

The SMC Money Challenge is back and better than ever. After a successful 2018 run, the SMC Money Tribe, a community of goal-setting women who accepted the challenge to invest in their money and lifestyle goals, is ready to take on a new money challenge. We are shifting mindsets while tackling debt, saving money, and replacing bad money habits with smart money moves. Beginning on January 3, 2019, weekly progress check-ins will open up every Thursday at 7pm (EST) and will stay open until Sunday at midnight in SMC Money Challenge Facebook group and on the She Makes Cents Instagram account. During that time, SMC Money Tribe members are expected to invest in their goals by participating in weekly progress updates, money chats, and mini-challenges with the best accountability partners out there…other women with money-saving goals. Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. This is why a community for women to discuss personal finance without shame or embarrassment is important.

Last year, SMC Money Tribe leader, Danielle YB Vason and her hubby, used the SMC Money Challenge to save money for EXTRA debt payments. In doing so, they paid off over $19,000.00 in debt in 2018 alone. Other tribe members, like Victoria from Atlanta, shared a $27,000.00 debt payoff and Angela from Australia saved enough money for a 5-week vacation to Mexico and the US. Regardless of whether you are joining the challenge to pay off debt, save for the future, or save for something specific like a house, wedding, or vacation, the SMC Money Challenge is for you!

How to Jump Start Your Money Goals In the New Year from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

How Does the 2019 SMC Money Challenge Work?

At the beginning of the year, a new money challenge guide is created (this is a FREE download for members of the SMC Money Tribe). Each week, tribe members select one number from their money guide with the option to add “bonus” money and save that amount toward their money goal. With the bonus option, the sky’s the limit with one’s saving potential.

Years ago, the 52 Week Money Challenge floated around the internet. It was a savings challenge that dared those who accepted to save the dollar amount that corresponded to that particular week of the year. For example, on week 1 you were expected to save $1.00 and on week 25 you were expected to save $25, and so on. If you were successful, by the end of the 52 weeks, you would have saved a grand total of $1387.00. The thing is, at the time that this challenge was beginning to gain popularity, I knew that it wouldn’t work for me. The idea of saving numbers like $49, $50, $51, and $52…during the holidays was a bit rich for my blood back in 2013. That is when I was inspired to create a “bingo” version where I had more control over my money and how much I saved each week. I selected one number between 1-52 weekly and I saved put that amount toward my debt payoff goal because, at the end of the year, it doesn’t matter how you saved because you will still end up with the same $1387.00. Years later I upped the ante with bonuses that allow tribe members to save a minimum of $1387.00 and a maximum with no limit.

It took a few attempts, but finally, the perfect mix of inspiration, determination, and discipline combined and I was able to make it through 52 weeks successfully. The next year, I added in “bonus boxes” on my money guide and saved a little more. Then I added a way to track the savings. You see, every year I complete the challenge, I find a new way to tweak it and make it better for next year and I must say the 2019 SMC Money Challenge guide is proof of that. Now, I am proud to say that I have successfully completed 156 consecutive weeks doing this challenge. In my three successful cycles of 52 weeks, I have used the money to make EXTRA payments to my debt snowball. I paid off my credit card debt, my student loans are paid in full, and when of writing this post, I am projected to pay off my car loan 4.8 years ahead of schedule (by February 2019)…and that is just a snippet of my journey.  I am not a personal finance blogger who sold all of her stuff and lives off rice and beans.  I am not rich nor did I come from a wealthy family.  I am an “every girl” that woke up one day and decided I could do better for myself and for my future.  I made a choice 156 weeks ago to change my financial future.  What choice will you make today that your future self will thank you for?

How to Join the 2019 SMC Money Challenge?

  1. Follow @shemakescents on Instagram
  2. Post this image below in your Instagram Story  or this image to your Instagram grid (you MUST tag @shemakescents to I can see it).
  3. Join the SMC Facebook Group (this will be your home base for the tribe to ask questions, support each other, and hold each other accountable).
  4. Print your FREE 2019 SMC Money Challenge Guide

How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from top Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>
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How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>

The Goal Setting Hack You Should Do BEFORE Starting Any Money Saving Challenge

BEFORE THE CHALLENGE

REFLECTION: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF ONE YEAR FROM NOW?

One of the powerful tools for goal planning is the ability to visualize a goal.  Many high achievers use visualization techniques as a practice to “see” their desired outcomes for themselves even before they happen.  As we approach the beginning of a new She Makes Cents Money Challenge, I will guide members of the #SMCmoneytribe, both new and old, by providing a weekly roadmap to success.  By engaging tried and true success techniques, our tribe will not only reach our goals for ourselves in the new year but surpass them.

Before we begin our new money savings challenge on week 1 of 2019, you need to first take a moment and write a quick letter to yourself..  The letter should be from your future self…one year from now, painting a picture of what you want your life to look like.  Make sure you include your big money goals, savings goals, and/or goals for your sinking funds.   Be as specific as you can because the more details you include the more you can prepare your mind to accept the image as possible.  Also, the challenge will get….well challenging.  Many people start out the year enthused and excited and slowly lose focus or discipline along the way.  By having this letter for yourself, when times get tough and “life happens” (my version of Dave Ramsey’s “Murphy”) it is nice to have this letter…this promise to yourself to inspire you and get you back on track.   Just think how nice it will be when you are looking back on your year, one year from now, and everything that you envisioned for yourself and family have manifested.

Do Something Your Future Self Will Thank You For- Motivational Quotes from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Below is a letter to my future self…

One year from now I am… driving around in my BMW that was PAID IN FULL 4.2 years ahead of schedule.  This happened back in February of 2019. I feel so relieved that I was able to eliminate another debt so that as a household, we can move on to our FINAL DEBT  in Baby Step 2 (BS2).  Not only does this get me and my household one step closer to our #debtfree goal, but it provides a little financial cushion/security for when “life happens”. One year from now my hubby and I have put a major dent in his car payoff because we have opted to snowball the money was used to pay off my car and students loans to pay off his car ahead of schedule, add to our sinking funds, and increase our savings.  We began the year with $26,176.81 of debt left on baby step 2 (BS2) and we are ending the year having paid over $10,000.00 toward our debt.

See how I am claiming that in advance?  When you think positively, write down your goals, affirm your plan, you prepare your mind to accept those positive affirmations as true.

[Related Post: How to Attract Financial Abundance]

Working on our finances together has strengthened our marriage because it gives us another opportunity to work together as a team.  We are better together and making better financial decisions is just one example of that. One year from now, we have funded sinking funds that covered ALL of our holiday expenses, our flights for travel, and those “oh shit” moments like replacing an AC unit or repairs for the bimmer.  We are building for a better future one dollar at a time.  We are happy.  We are one step closer to being 100% debt free (not including our mortgages) before my 35th birthday in 2020.

This exercise may feel strange at first because you are talking about things that haven’t yet happened in the past tense. You are reflecting on things that are not real…yet. It is important, though, because when the financial discipline required for this challenge starts to fade, you will have this vision…this image to inspire yourself to keep going even though the going may be getting tough.


Pro Tip:  Create a She Makes Cents Money Challenge folder and let this letter to yourself be the first thing you put in your folder.  The 2019 She Makes Cents Money Challenge will include several prompts and freebies throughout the year and keeping your folder in a safe place that you can access weekly will render BIG results.  If you want to be successful, this is one of the very first things you should do BEFORE the challenge starts January 3, 2019.


Goal Planning- Questions to ask yourself when setting goals from personal finance blog, She Makes Cents

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