{Super Charge Your 2016 Savings} 52 Week Money Challenge Like You Have Never Done Before!

Financial Affirmation: “I am aligned with the energy of wealth and abundance”.

Photo Credit- Colin Anderson (Getty Images)


It’s the first Friday of 2016 which means it is time for the Bingo Style version of the 52 Week Money Challenge.  For the past few years, I have  used the bingo format to help pay off my credit card debt, save for the holidays, and  save for a little extra for a wedding.  This year, I plan on using the extra money from this version of the challenge to get my credit card balance back to zero (another story for another day) and start snowballing my student loans.

Here Is How It Works!

I’m sure you have seen the original challenge floating around the internet where you make a weekly deposit that reflects the number of weeks of the year. For example, on week one you deposit $1.00 and on week 52 you deposit $52.00 and so on. However, doing it this way will have you shelling out the big bucks during the holidays when people’s money is the most limited.  One year, I even attempted to do the original challenge in reverse by saving more money at the beginning of the year and less the closer we get to the holiday season. The only problem with doing it that way was that I was shelling out a lot of money right after the holidays when… for most people, money is still a little tight. I  thought to myself…”Danielle, how can you find a way to honor the challenge in a way that will not hurt you financially”? Then I came up with the idea to create a “bingo” style format. At the end of the year, I would still end up with the same amount of $1378.00  and if I am having a tough financial week, I can pick a lower amount to save. The good thing about the bingo challenge is that you are able to start at any time and if you get off track, it’s easy to see where you need to make it up to get back on track.52 Week Challenge

What Makes 2016 Different?

The power of choosing how much you want to save is what has always made the Bingo Style different from the original 52 Week Challenge. This year, though, we have upped the ante and included optional bonus+ boxes for those who are able and willing to push themselves further on this challenge. It will take more sacrifice, but it will help you gain more strength and momentum toward your financial goals since you will be saving a minimum of $1928.00 versus $1378.00.

Check Ins

You know goals are more likely to materialize when we share them with others.  That being said, check ins will take place on Fridays at noon where I will share my progress on the challenge and its effect on my overall financial goals and I encourage you to do the same. I love hearing your stories of how you are doing in the challenge and the financial milestones you have accomplished by making saving a habit of your daily life.  Sometimes doing it with a friend or even a blogger friend like me, keeps you better motivated since  you aren’t in it alone.  If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, shoot me a line below or email me for the latest Bingo Style Money Challenge, free to  shemakescents readers!

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What Is a Zero Based Budget & Why You Need One

The Zero-Based Budget

A Zero-Based Budget or “zero balance budget” forces you to justify each expense by assigning a dollar amount to every move you make with your money. That is to say, your income minus your expenses, equals zero. Radio host and financial advisor Dave Ramsey explains, “If you cover all of your expenses during the month and you have $500 left over, you aren’t done with the budget yet”. Although Ramsey speaks of the zero based budget in terms of monthly spending, I prefer to budget twice a month since I have irregular income. You know exactly where your money is going, it leaves no room for overspending, and it is based on your current needs, which are clear advantages to this type of budget.

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I used to write down every expense to get an overview of how I spend money. It was good because I was able to see patterns in my spending that I was unaware of. Outside of being a very tedious task of tracking every expense (pre-smart phone apps), doing this sort of overview only happened AFTER I have already spent the money. Nowadays, I take a more proactive overview of my finances and I spend my income on paper BEFORE I spend a dime in reality by using a zero-based budget.

How to Make a Zero-Based Budget Work for YOU!

Sure there’s computer based software for budgeting, but I find a simple pleasure of the good ole’ pen to paper method. It’s my personal preference but in order for you to be diligent in your effort, you should choose whatever makes you most comfortable. Got your tools? Let’s go!

Read the Full Post Here: 6 Easy Ways to Make A Zero-Based Budget Work 

Let’s Connect!

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The Envelope System Saves $$$

Someone pinned this picture on Pinterest of them dividing their money into different envelops as suggested by financial expert, Dave Ramsey. His explanation of the envelope system was simple and made cents/sense, so I thought I’d share it. My thoughts are in PINK, of course. I hope you enjoy!

~Danielle

Get on a Simple System

The key component to Dave Ramsey’s, “Total Money Makeover” is the envelope system. What is the envelope system, you ask? Well, according to Ramsey, its “way to handle money still works. People used to always use cash envelopes and even Quicken to control their monthly spending, but very few do in today’s card swiping culture”. I will say that it works and the comments to post prove it. Check out Ramsey’s simple basics for starting a cash envelope system.

  1. Budget each paycheck. Budget is a dirty word to most people, but you must budget down to the last dime if you’re going to successfully implement the envelope system. While I know plenty of people who budget a certain percentage of each check, I budget specific figures.
  2. Divide and conquer. Of course, there will be budget items that you cannot include in your envelope system, like bills paid by check or automatic withdraw. However, you can create categories like food, gas, clothing, and entertainment. I usually work off three main categories: groceries, restaurants/entertainment, personal maintenance (hair, nails, or anything that will help me feel “pretty”). I chose these categories for myself because these are the areas I could be tempted to overspend. I pay my bills off the top and then I budget each paycheck into these categories, which were listed in order of importance.
  3. Fill ‘er Up. After you’ve categorized your cash expenses, fill each envelope with the money allotted for it in your budget. For example, if you allow $100 for clothing, put $100 in cash in your clothing envelope for the month.

From Ramsey

When it’s gone, it’s gone. Once you’ve spent all the money in a given envelope, you’re done spending for that category. If you go on a shopping spree and spend the $100 in your clothing envelope, you can’t spend any more on clothes until you budget for that category again. That means no visits to the ATM to withdraw more money!

Don’t be tempted. While debit cards can’t get you directly into debt, if used carelessly, they can cause you to over-spend. There’s something psychological about spending cash that hurts more than swiping a piece of plastic. If spending cash whenever possible can become a habit, you’ll be less likely to over-spend or buy on impulse.

Give it time. It will take a few months to perfect your envelope system. Don’t give up after a month or two if it’s not clicking. You’ll get the hang of it and see how beneficial the envelope system is as you dump debt, build wealth, and achieve financial peace! See … simple! Truth… I sort of fell of the wagon for a while. I actually, couldn’t remember what purse I put the envelopes in until today, when I found them, and I had $20 in my restaurant fund. I started back on the system TODAY!!! It takes work but most great things do….

photo credit: Tales From the Coop Keeper | content: David Ramsey

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What are your categories for your envelopes?

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