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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Regions Bank Brings High-Tech Banks to 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.


When Regions Bank, Member FDIC, asked me to share how they are enhancing the banking experience with their branches, I knew it was something the Atlanta members of the #SMCmoneytribe, specifically, would benefit from.

Regions Bank will open new high-tech bank branches in two metro Atlanta communities before the end of the year.  Each branch will offer innovative services and convenient features tailored to meet the needs of people on the go.  The mix of modern design, advanced technology, and access to face to face guidance will create a hybrid of service and technology that ensures a simple banking experience for busy customers.

Regions High Tech Banks- She Makes Cents

This is a good thing for the Atlanta area especially at a time when some banks are purging brick and mortar locations, customer services, and in-person interactions in exchange for computerized “assistants” who, at best, can connect your call or tell you your account balance. Regions, however, is blazing the trail by embracing traditional customer service with a modern technological twist.  In lieu of the traditional teller line, each customer is greeted by a Regions banker who will help you with a variety of services ranging from cashing checks to stuffing your money envelopes, accepting deposits for your sinking funds, as well as opening savings and checking accounts.  Interactions like these are important because they create a comfort level and trust between customers and those who service their financial transactions. Personally speaking, such service also lessens the opportunity for me to look like a lunatic yelling “speak to the representative” for the 5th time into my phone at an automated “assistant” because I can save time by skipping teller lines and automated calls to actually…WAIT FOR IT….speak to a real person.  GO FIGURE!

Regions Technology That Enhances The Banking Experience

The new branches will also offer new innovative services like Video Teller machines (VTM) that connect customers with a Regions Video Banker via a two-way video.  Video banking provides another option to speak directly to a representative who is equipped to process most teller transactions, help customers with account maintenance, and other general inquiries.  I imagine this feature will be most appreciated by busy customers who need assistance from a banker during extended hours on weekdays, as well as, weekends and most holidays.

Interior Branch Shot.jpgIn addition to video banking, Regions will provide its customers with advanced features such as DepositSmart ATMs that gives customers 24-hour access to accept deposits and cash checks and facial recognition/fingerprint technology for a more secure and efficient banking experience for those who have safety deposit boxes located at that branch.

Service That Enhances The Banking Experience

Whether it’s online or face to face, Regions is committed to helping customers achieve their long-term financial goals through advice, guidance, and education.  Seriously, when was the last time you could say that about a bank? As an Atlanta native, I look forward to seeing the impact of Regions to assist customers to reach their financial milestones and help people focus on more life and worry less about money.

Check out the new branches

North Decatur Square Inline
1565 Church Street- Suite 570
Decatur, GA 30033
Branch Opening: Dec. 10, 2018

Parkaire Landing
680 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30068
Branch Opening: Dec. 17, 2018

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Is the UltraFICO Score the Best Way To Boost YOUR Credit Score?

A new credit scoring system, called the UltraFICO Score, is being introduced in the new year and it could mean a boost in your credit score, making it easier for you to get better rates for large purchases like a car or home.  Launching in early 2019, this scoring system is designed to validate the score of consumers, but more importantly, it will be used to assess the willingness of consumers to share their personal financial data for a potentially higher score.  By opting in and linking with your checking, savings or money market accounts, your UltraFICO Score enhances your credit score based on indicators of responsible financial behavior.

The model, developed by FICO, will be implemented through Experian and borrower data will be aggregated through Finicity.  The UltraFICO score is slated to potentially boost the credit scores of 7 million people with financially savvy millennials in one of the best positions to take advantage of the new score system.  The UltraFICO score isn’t for everyone, but it just may be a great tool for you.

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Is the UltaFICO Score Right for Me?

According to the UltraFICO press release, “Experian, FICO and Finicity estimate this new score has the potential to improve credit access for the majority of Americans and is particularly relevant for those who fall in the grey area in terms of credit scores (scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s) or fall just below a lender’s score cut-off”.  The process for applying for loans will remain the same, with loan providers checking your FICO score. If you are rejected from a loan based on your FICO credit score, you may request that they pull your UltraFICO which then takes into consideration the way you handle your physical money in your checking, savings, and money market accounts. If you make more deposits than withdrawal, have no bounced checks,  maintain an average account balance and don’t have a history of overdrawn accounts, for example, then it may present you as more creditworthy than when considering your FICO score alone.

Again, this applies best to those who fall in the grey areas of credit scores.

Why the UltraFICO Score Could Be A Good Things for Millennials

Millennials are known for a lot of things, good and bad, but one thing I can say for sure, we learned a thing or two from the Great Recession of 2007-2008 when many of us were in college, graduating college, or in our first job right out of college. I mention this because that terrible time for the US economy taught millennials the importance of putting money aside in savings. A survey from Transamerica found that fully 39% of millennials are defined as “super savers” since they are saving more than 10% of their salary.  That’s close to the 15% experts often recommend.

Millennials have delayed several life milestones, like buying a house, because student loan debt is factored into one’s credit score.  Now, if someone were to opt-in to the UltaFICO Score for consideration when trying to be approved for a mortgage, it may be into their best interest to leverage their checking and savings account data to access more lending options and better terms.  Especially when the access to one’s financial data supports the super savers finding from the Transamerica survey.

Why I Don’t Believe the Hype of the UltraFICO Score 

There are several scenarios where I can see the UltraFICO Score as a smart money move, especially for those who are looking to secure an affordable mortgage.  If leveraging your data can help get you approved for a mortgage or even a lower interest rate, then by all means, make that smart money move, girlfriend.  Like I said earlier, it isn’t for everyone but it just may be the measurement tool for you.  

Personally, my mind flagged some of the language used in the UltraFICO Score press release and on the FICO website and my spidey senses (also known as my intuition) were tingling.  Both the press release and the website used basic persuasive writing techniques by infusing the announcement with positive power words like “empower” and “control” to give consumers the feeling that they are in control of their own credit score destiny. Yes, in theory, you are in control of your credit score, but sometimes past decisions and life circumstances are a more powerful reflection of why your credit score is what it is. I interpreted FICO’s declaration stating, “you are in control of your credit score”  to mean that if you choose to opt-in to this new scoring model then you are controlling the boost that your UltraFICO score may reflect.

The thing is, rarely do we get something for free. In this instance, this consumer empowerment message that you are being sold is for the bartered price of your personal financial data.  In a world where personal data is just as valuable as money, if not more, it makes me wonder if we as consumers are being blinded by the smoke and mirrors of a better credit score.  Just think of how much your financial data is really worth if they are willing to give you a little credit boost in exchange for it.

Only time will tell how this will really impact the scores of those who decide to opt-in.  As more information is available, the questions that many of us have will hopefully provide more insight in deciding which score, FICO or UltraFICO would be best for you.

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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.

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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

Why You Should be Talking to Your Friends About Money

Do you think “money” is still a taboo topic to discuss with friends and family?  What about complete strangers?  Seriously, I had to really ask myself, “what is it about the subject that people find uncouth, especially for women”?   For years I was plagued by these questions all the while sharing my money goals, successes, failures, and lessons with the world-wide-web so freely that Emily Post is probably clutching her pearls from the grave.  For me, the benefits outweighed any conversational manners that many of us were taught as children.    Not only am I able to measure my progress on the path to financial freedom by going back to old blog posts, I am also able to see the progress of my financial literacy and maturity.   None of which would have been possible if I avoided subjects like money, debt, and that bi-atch, Sallie Mae.

Benefits of Talking About Money with Friends from @shemakescents.According to a  study from Fidelity Investments, eight out of ten women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning.  The study went on to find that  65% of women are most inclined to speak to their friends about shopping tips, 44%  of women will speak to friends about issues at work, while only 25% of women are open to discussing spending habits and even less about investment ideas at 17%.  The benefits of participating in money talks and investing in one’s financial literacy overweigh the social taboo of the subject.  If you are embarrassed by your current financial status or level of financial literacy, it is time to get over it.  Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals.  


TWEET THIS: Tweet: Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals. via @shemakescents Repeat after me: Today is the day that I will acknowledge where I am in my financial journey and take a step and then another toward my goals

TWEET THIS: Tweet: 8 out of 10 women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning. https://ctt.ec/vcyK5+ via @shemakescents 8 out of 10 women confess they have refrained from discussing finances with those they are close to even though 92% of women want to learn more about financial planning.


The Benefits of Talking About Money With Your Inner Circle

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I remember at one point in my life when I was not so much trying to keep up with the Joneses but more so trying to keep up with my former self who would frequently pick up the check for the table.  I was trying to keep up an old lifestyle that honestly I had outgrown and instead of sharing my newly established money goals with my friends, I just slapped down a credit card and bought another round for the table.  At that time in my life, I was embarrassed to announce my relationship with the dreaded “B” word…. budget… or even more vulgar…. broke-ish.   When you bare your soul to the world, it leaves little room for the inauthentic.  At one point, I reached a high credit card balance and I no longer was willing to try to keep up with my old life.  Instead of saying yes to every social occasion and international trip, I decided to say yes to my finances, instead.  Looking back about 10 years ago, I could have saved myself some serious CA$H if I had shared my financial goals with my inner circle.  In fact, it might have open the conversation for others to share where they were on their journey, their tips, tricks, failures, and successes.  Today, that same inner circle has become a source of strength.  We keep each other honest and moving on the path we have set for ourselves.  We talk investing strategies, dominating debt, and goals of providing wealth to future generations that aren’t even born yet… all while sharing our tips on the best place to get balayage for our hair and organic nail shops.  

Money & Friendship- Why You Should be Talking to Your Friends About Your Money Goals from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes CentsLadies, we have got to start speaking up, leaning in, and getting in front of the barriers that keep us from living our best life.  I am not saying that you have to blast your business to the world like I do, but I am saying that you should talk about money with people you respect and those who will help hold you accountable.   Even though the number of women who shy away from money talks with their inner circle is frankly frightening, it is even more puzzling that women say more support would encourage them to be more engaged in their finances.   Imagine what we could do if we all took on the charge that empowered women empower women.  My accountability group members are better women for it because we have learned to accept ourselves and each other where we are in our journeys.  As we are maturing as women, so is our financial literacy and authenticity.

Join Our Financial Accountability Tribe

If you are looking for a community of goal-setting women, then the SMCmoneytribe may be the group for you.  Instead of one accountability partner, you will have access to a tribe of partners to share your story, bounce questions and ideas off of, and celebrate your milestones.   In addition to gaining personal finance tips and tricks that have worked for the people in the tribe, you will also gain confidence in speaking on the subject money with people supporting your journey to the fab life.  
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The Beginners Guide to Sinking Funds & Why YOU Need One

This year, I have vowed to be BETTER with my financial decisions.  In order to improve my behaviors and cultivate better money habits, I had to first take a look at areas where I need to focus on for improvement.  After the Mr. and I had to take $7000.00+ out of our savings to pay for a new roof and chimney repair on our rental property, I knew there had to be a better way for us to prepare for situations like this.  That 7K loss from our savings put a dent in that account and exposed a financial vulnerability that we didn’t realize existed. We were stable enough to not have to turn to credit to cover this expense, but pulling money from our savings was very scary considering that money is there to cover us in the event of job loss or a major life change.  I was an unsettling feeling and I knew that we needed to find a solution to our problem. Luckily, we came up with a plan to create a sinking fund so that we would be prepared for something like this.  It is something that will help us and I know it will help you too.

What is a Sinking Fund?

A sinking fund is an anticipatory fund that is used to save for a large future expense or the gradual repayment of a debt.  More than that, it is a proactive approach to your money. Sinking funds are very similar to the cash envelope system because it requires you to divide your income into categories and assign every dollar a job.  The main difference between the envelope system and a sinking fund is that your cash envelopes are for things you are spending on now like groceries, fuel for your car, and clothing. Your sinking fund, however, plans for future money goals.  We thought about some of the expenses that caught us off guard in the past, like emergency surgery for both of our dogs last year (that was a couple thousand dollars), or bills that are due all at once like insurance premiums. Then we came up with 10 sinking funds that we believed served our household money goals.  Check them out below.

Examples of Sinking Funds from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Now it is time to create your sinking fund categories. Grab a pen and paper (yep, we are doing this old school), your significant other (if applicable) and a glass a Rose’ (because it makes the experience so much better) and let’s make a money plan. When you are creating your categories, remember that you don’t want to make too many funds because it will take longer to fully fund your categories.  Plus, anything over 10 is too many to keep up with, in my opinion.  

She Makes Cents Cares: I love hearing from readers, so once you have created your sinking fund categories, let me know via the She Makes Cents Facebook group, Instagram, or Twitter.

How Much Money Should Be In My Sinking Fund?

After you have created your sinking fund categories, now it is time to figure out how much money you need to have saved for each.  First, you need to figure out the goal date and total amount needed for each of your sinking funds to be fully funded.  For example, I have to pay around $450.00 every 6 months for my portion of the car insurance premium.  To determine how much money I need in this particular sinking fund, I take my next due date and I divide my premium by that number of months. It usually breaks down like this for me:

$450.00 \ 6 months = $75.00 per month 

I would much rather save $75.00 per month for six months than to have to come up with $450.00 once every six months.  Yes, it’s the same amount of money but creating a monthly car insurance fund makes the amount of the premium easier to digest. The example above is an easy breakdown because we know exactly how much money is needed and when exactly we will need the money for this fund.  Now let’s look at an example for a type of sinking fund where you don’t have a hard due date and you are not certain of the full price.   Hello, Car Repair…it sounds like we are talking about you.

We have all experienced this.  You are driving around minding your own business when a yellow warning light illuminates your dashboard.  You take your car to the mechanic and you are hit with a $1,200.00 bill. What do you do?  More than likely, you charge it to your credit card if you don’t already have some money set aside for this type of expense.  CREDIT CARD = BAD IDEA. This is a moment when your Car Repair sinking fund will work for you. Even if your Car Repair Fund only has $800.00, that means you only have to come up with the remaining $400.00, which is easier to digest than $1,200.00.  Yes, this may have been an unexpected expense but it is also one you were prepared to handle.

By creating sinking funds you take control of your money.  You know where YOUR money is so you never have to ask yourself where it went.  You give it a purpose.  If you create sinking funds to cover your future needs, you are less likely to be a threat to your future financial self and that is something that everyone can benefit from.

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Real Life Examples of Sinking Funds for the Smart Saver & Spender- from money and lifestyle blog, She Makes Cents

 

Money Saving Hacks- The Beginner's Guide to SINKING FUNDS from money blog, She Makes Cents

2018 February Recap | 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

We are approaching week ten of the 2018 She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge and I must say, that this year’s money tribe is the most committed tribe we have had in three years.  For those of you who may be new to this blog, the She Makes Cents Money Tribe (SMCmoneytribe) is an uplifting community of women from all over the world that supports each other’s financial journey and savings endeavors.  Every week, we share our wins, big or small and celebrate each other’s progress.  At the beginning of the year, it is easy to be motivated by the “newness” of everything, but as the year goes on, many people find it  Generally, the month of February is when most people abandon the goals and habits they resolved to attain.  In fact,  according to Business Insider,  80% of people fail their New Year Resolutions by February so the #SMCmoneytribe is going strong means that we are beating the odds with our money goals and resolutions we made for ourselves at the beginning of 2018.  WAY TO GO, TRIBE!

How To Save Real Money With This Money Challenge | February Savings/Income Report 52 Week Bingo Money Challenge from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog, She Makes Cents

How To Save Real Money With This Money Challenge | February Savings/Income Report 52 Week Bingo Money Challenge from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog, She Makes Cents


February Recap: 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Back in January Recap of the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge, I shared a MAJOR goal to have my student loans PAID IN FULL by October 2019.  In order for me to reach this big money goal, I have to aim for smaller milestones along the way.  For the month of February, I saved a total of $210.00 on this challenge by crossing off $45, $15, $50, $49, plus a $51 bonus.  Every week, without fail, I select a number from the She Makes Cents Money Guide and I send that amount to my student loan provider.  Additionally, since the Mr. and I are knocking out this debt together, the Mr.’s contribution of $250.00 helped us to send an extra $460.00 (in addition to the monthly payment) toward student loan debt.

This time last year, I had over $18,000.00 in student loan debt with a goal to get my student loan balance to $12,505.00.  Not only did I hit that goal, I surpassed it before the end of the year.  By January 2018, I had a balance of $12,505.00 (the extra $5 was because of the daily accruing interest) and I closed the month of February at $11,378.37.


How to Join the 2018 SMC Money Tribe

How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge - from Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

The new 2018 SMC Money Tribe Facebook group will serve as a “home base” for the #SMCmoneytribe.  There you will be directed to fill out a quick registration form and download the money card. This is a space for active members and as a member of the SMCmoneytribe, you will gain exclusive content, motivation, and financial tips and tricks that will help you whether you are saving to pay down debt like me or saving to take a fabulous trip or two in the new year (also me).  This year, you will have the option to do your weekly check-ins on Friday and/or Saturday on all of our social media handles to make it easily accessible to people who are only active on certain platforms.

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN JOIN THE TRIBE & THE MONEY CHALLENGE…

  1. Join the SMC Money Tribe Facebook Group
  2. Complete the registration form to select your weekly check-in date
  3. Follow She Makes Cents on InstagramTwitterFacebook
  4. Pick a savings goal & get ready to save some $$$$ in 2018

    shemakescents header image - 2018