{Reader Check In} How Are You Doing?

I wanted to take a moment and check-in  on you, readers of shemakescents. With all that is going on in the world know this, you are loved and you are important. Here at shemakecents.com that love and importance of human life transcends race, gender, class, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and any other ways that people are discriminated against. Be safe out there and keep pushing toward whatever goals you what to meet.52 Week Challenge

With that being said, I want to encourage those of you who are still committed to the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. I am so proud of you! Saving money is the easiest part, the discipline to be consistent every week is the challenge. Today I crossed off $19.00 which puts my at a total savings of $1,194.00 (YTD).  I am so close to my 1st goal of paying off my credit card balance largely in part to my discipline and support from other people in the challenge.  The goal is to go into the month of August with a zero credit card balance.  Stay tuned!

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 If you would like to leave an encouraging message below or an update on your savings goals, I invite you to do so in our comments section below. 

{Financial Cents} BINGO Money Challenge Hits MAJOR Milestone

Coins of Knowledge

Hello Lovelies!  I have some exciting news to share with you this morning.  Yesterday I crossed off $14.00 – doesn’t sound too exciting yet, but wait for it….. – on the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge.  That $14.00 put me at the $1,000.00 mark for this money challenge!  –INSERT HAPPY DANCE!!!!

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On the same day that I hit the $1,000.00 mark in savings, I also hit the under $1,000.00 mark in my credit card balance!!!  While I am proud of the financial gains made in the first six months of this challenge, I am even more excited about the about the savings habits I have created for myself.  I believe that creating a healthy savings routine is the first step on my journey to DEBT FREE living.  I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine who made the observation that I have only been focusing on saving and not making increasing my sources of income a priority.  In a lot of ways she was correct.  I have placed a serious focus this year on saving because in the past, I would start the year strong with savings goals and plans for myself only to find some of them abandoned by mid-year.  That being said, splitting my focus between increasing streams of income and saving would have only created more problems at that point in my journey when I wasn’t steadfast in making saving a priority.  The phrase, “More Money, More Problems”, exists for a reason.  Without a healthy savings routine and more income coming in, I could have easily  created more debt and worsen bad spending habits.  I have spent the first six months of this year really focusing on correcting past bad behaviors and replacing them with healthy habits.  Now that I have solid saving habits, I can start also focusing on increasing income and using that increase to move on the next snowball in my overall financial plan- student loans debt. I attribute my success to personal will, saying no to social (sometimes), and having accountability partners, like readers of She Makes Cents to help keep me motivated.  I would love to hear how you are doing with this challenge… the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

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Please share below or feel free to email me.

{May Recap} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Coins of KnowledgeHey lovelies! I wanted to do a quick check-in this morning to see how you are doing on the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. I am well on my way with 23 boxes checked off (not including 3 bonus boxes) and step one of my snowball goal almost at the under $1,000.00 mark! Here is how the numbers are breaking down between January 2016- and May 2016.

As of yesterday when I crossed off $22.00 on the BINGO Money Sheet, I have saved a total of $938.00. Since June is the halfway point to the year, it is the perfect time to reset your goals if you have fallen off. The good thing about this challenge is that you can start at anytime and you can use the money for any goal. Right now, I am still using this money to pay down my credit card debt faster.  What started off as a $5,000.00 credit card balance at the beginning of the year is now down to $1437.00. After that, I will then snowball that money to knock out my student loan debt. After that…the sky’s the limit. This can be play money, shoe money, vacation money, or by that time… 529 Plan money for a future kiddo.

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{Week 17 Update} 52 Week BINGO Money Update

Well hello lovelies.  Certainly, I could not let the week go by without at least giving you an update on my progress.  Last week I was so pleased by the kind reception and celebration of shemakescents reader, Alysa, who saved a total of $515.00 so far (read her spotlight here, she is pretty awesome).  Her dedication to her goals is inspiring and she agrees that this challenge is an easy way to save money!   Today, I wanted to close the week letting you know that I have crossed $31.00 off of my 52 Week Bingo Money Sheet, which puts me at $143.00 saved so far this month.  Year to date I have saved  an extra $621.00 toward my current financial goal.

Bingo Money Sheet- Progress Pic

The great thing about this challenge is that you can alter it to fit your personal goals and lifestyle.  I start every year on the first Friday of the year, but you can start anytime.  

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Quick Tip:  If you have a larger savings goal, you can double up the numbers for a minimum of   $3800.00 before you even cross off the bonus boxes!

{Reader Success Story} A Shockingly Easy Way to Save Money for Fun

In my posts on this site, I share my progress toward financial freedom sort of like a diary to the world.   Sometimes the stories reveal  my failures and the things I learned from the experience so you don’t make the same mistakes.  More often than not, my stories are transparent accounts of gained confidence in regards to my financial literacy.    Every week, I have diligently crossed off numbers on the 52 Week BINGO Money Sheet and I update you on how those funds are being used. As of week 15, I have saved $590.00 extra dollars that I have put toward my credit card debt.  I am proud of myself but I am equally proud to know I haven’t been on this journey by myself. This week, I wanted to shift the focus off me and begin to  share the stories of other smart women who are kicking debt’s butt and redefining the “fab life” for themselves.  Our very first reader’s profile is from Alysa T., a 28 year Marketing and Communications Manager out of Washington, D.C.  A friend referred Alysa to shemakescents.com about 3 years ago and interestingly enough, the BINGO Money Challenge was the first article that she read.Alysa copy

When asked why she decided to join the challenge, Alysa explained, ” It’s a very simple and kind of fun way to put aside a little extra money each year! I think checking off all the boxes appeals to my organizational side too.  This year I’m putting [my savings] towards a vacation.  I am recently SCUBA certified and want to explore the underwater world more! It is awesome to know that she is using the money saved for things that (if you follow the blog, you already know what I am going to say) FEED-HER-SOUL!   Over the past few years, Alysa has become more than a loyal reader.  She is my Twitter pen-pal/accountability partner who sometimes sends me her progress updates before I have the chance to check-in.  I  LOVE THAT!  I love knowing that we are on this journey together.  “In past years”, Alysa reveals,  “I used it for a new computer and a down payment on a car”.  

SMC Reader- Alysa T copyThe journey towards financial freedom isn’t a easy one…if it was, no one would have debt and everyone would be building wealth.  Alysa’s  biggest financial goal is to get her emergency fund to a healthy level so she can put more savings towards fun things.  I’d say with a savings of $515.00 year to date, she is well on her way.cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpg

How Much Have You Saved on the BINGO Money Challenge?  Share Below


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52 Week Bingo Money Challenge Milestone

If I told you the last five days have been a whirlwind, I’m not sure you could even comprehend what I mean. In the past five days I served as a juror on a trial for two days, driven from Atlanta to Jackson, Mississippi, attended a funeral, got back on the road for the six-hour car trip home, just in time to make it to a Sunday wedding for my sorority sister. That being said, I missed last week’s check in and the March recap of the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. 

Check out a few pictures from the wedding!

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IMG_20160403_190433For the first week of April, I decided to cross off $23.00 + a bonus of $75.00. My first April contribution, including the bonus, is only $4.00 less than my entire last month’s savings. I’d say I am off to a good start for month. Overall, I have a saved a total of $556.00 that I have been using to make extra payments toward my credit card debt. Every extra payment is helping me shave off the repayment term, shave of compounding interest fees, and is improving my credit score because my debt to credit ratio is increasing. I would LOVE to have my credit card balance under the $500.00 mark by the end of May. With a balance of $2400.00+, only time and discipline will tell. Until then, I will keep crossing off numbers on my BINGO money sheet.

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{Week 12} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Coins of KnowledgeHello Lovelies! I must say, this month is flying by. I am staying steadfast with my progress on the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge, presented by shemakescents.com.  I crossed off $12.00 on my BINGO money sheet.  Last mentioned in week 11, I am redirecting money this month in preparation for another money goal.  That being said, I have crossed off some of the lower numbers this month.  This thing I love about this version of the challenge is that I can adjust my savings based off of my current goals and progress.  I started this year’s challenge with over $5,000.00 is credit card debt and I am down to $2650.00.  Sometimes I feel like that number is moving slowly; however, I have refused to get discouraged.

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpgWhat is Keeping YOU Motivated?

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{Week 10 Update} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

This past week, I crossed off $30.00 on the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. My hope was to cross off a higher number to I can pick up more momentum with the challenge; however, since I am on a zero-based budget, my money was allocated somewhere else. This brings me to a grand total of $426.00 saved so far doing this challenge. What I love the most about this is that it makes saving a little here or there super easy. Otherwise, I would have spent that on my Starbucks habit.  How is the challenge going for you?  Please share your progress below.  If this is your first time hearing about the BINGO style challenge, click here for more information.

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{February Recap} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Happy Saturday Lovelies!  I was about to do my regular weekly  update when I realized that the month of February is technically over (based on our BINGO schedule).   Oh how the time flies.  This week I crossed off $25.00 on the shemakescents BINGO money sheet.  Looking at my numbers, I was definitely able to save more in January than I was this month.  I am very proud of my progress and commitment  to this challenge and I am so very proud of those on this challenge with me.  I have heard inspiring stories from college students, mothers, couples, and career millennials.  This reveals to me that this challenge is helpful and fun for a diverse group of people.  My goal for March is to exceed the savings from January (the month  to beat). Since March 1st marks the 5th year anniversary for shemakescents.com I want to do it big!!

52 Week Challenge

Recap By The Numbers

January- $286.00

February- by the weeks

Year to Date Total: $396.00

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{Week 8 Recap} Beyonce’, Credit Cards, & the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

Sunday- the end of the week or start of a new one? For me, it is the wrap up to week eight of 2016 and time for the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge. To chose a number for the week, I start by looking at my bank account and seeing how much I can afford pay on top of my bills and money envelopes. While I manage my money on a zero-based style budget, I do leave a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses and this BINGO Challenge. I then review my credit card statement, since that is how I am using the extra money from this challenge.  Looking at the declining balance of credit card debt gets me right back on track when I start thinking about excess spending. For example, I was on the Ticketmaster site earlier this week determined to get BeeHive presale tickets for  Beyonce’s Formation Tour that went on sale at 10:00am.

beyonce-10-dollar-bill

9:44 am….I had my credit card out on my desk and was ready to purchase up to four tickets on my card.  But why?  I love going to Beyonce’ concerts.  “It’s about the experience”, is what I said to justify the “almost expense”.   I have only missed one of six Beyonce’s World Tours, I Am…Sasha Fierce, so to say that I’m really missing out might be a reach.

9:58am… Credit card is in hand and I am watching the countdown clock for the start of presale tickets.  I’m ready to risk my progress toward my financial milestone dates that I have set for myself as an individual and that my husband and I have set as a couple.

9:59:59… I hit refresh.  Picturing me, hubs, and another friend couple having the time of our lives.  Aww…the fun we are going to have.

10:00am…. I am entering my information trying to get tickets for the Atlanta show. So excited to tell the hubs that I got these tickets for us.

10:03am… “do not refresh or you will lose your place in line” Really Ticketmaster?

10:15am…  The same message is on the screen when the phone rings and I have to stop #OperationFormationTour and take care of business.giphy

Looking back, I have to credit divine intervention for me aborting #OperationFormationTour.  I was saved by the bell…or ring… especially considering  I was prepared to spend up to $150.00 per ticket for this concert.   If I am really being honest with myself, all of this was more about  FOMO (fear of missing out) than seeing my fifth Beyonce’ concert.  Dave Ramsey has famously affirmed, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else”.  There are a lot of broke people going to see Beyonce’ who are sacrificing responsibilities for what I am sure will be an epic experience.  I’m okay missing this concert (unless someone wants to graciously gift me tickets), if that means I am making strides to get to the point where the question  changes.  I am staying steadfast with my goals and very soon that the question will change from, Should we spend $150.00 per ticket? to What country to you want to see this concert in?  For now, I will focus on getting my finances into formation and I will cross off $15.00 on my BINGO money sheet.

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