Mint Interviews Danielle Y. Boler of She Makes Cents

interview.jpgIDanielle Boler- Creator of She Makes Cents copy

Back in March, I was contacted by an Editorial Assistant for Mint asking if I would be interested in doing an interview.  I interview people all the time, but rarely am I on the other side of questions.  Excited and a little nervous, I agreed.  Yesterday, they contacted me to let me know that the interview was published. 

Personal Finance Blogger, Danielle Boler Vason talks women and money in Mint Interview

Danielle Boler hopes to start a conversation about how women can make smarter financial decisions and live a fabulous life on her blog She Makes Cents. When it comes to how women view money compared to men, Danielle says she believes women are more cautious – which can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, saving more creates a good cushion for emergencies and other unforeseen events, but it can also prevent big financial gain. “Some believe it’s because women are not confident in making big financial decisions. I’m inclined to disagree,” she says. “When armed with the proper tools to make sound financial choices, women prove to be confident, powerful and commanding in their financial choices.” In the end, diversifying your financial portfolio (no matter what your gender) is important on every income level to make your money work for you, she says.

We recently checked out with the sassy blogger to learn more about her site and get her take on personal finance. Here’s what she had to say:

Click here to read the full interview and find out financial freedom is important!

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{Week 21 Update} 52 Week Challenge Helped Me Hit A Financial Milestone!

It’s week 21 of the 52 Week Challenge and I am five weeks away from the half-way point of the challenge I started on Friday, January 3, 2014. Over the course of 21 weeks, I have saved over $500.00 dollars that I would have spent on random bits and baubles. Doing this challenge, along with deciding to play a little Russian roulette with my finances, has helped me to pay off my ENTIRE credit card balance three months ahead of schedule.

52 Week ChallengeWhile some may think a money challenge like this is not worth the effort, I strongly disagree. Not only are you putting money aside for whatever your current financial goal may be, be it paying down debt, saving for a new car or home, or planning a wedding, you are also altering your previous financial behaviors. Personal finance is 80% BEHAVIOR and only 20% HEAD KNOWLEDGE! Just taking the steps to start a challenge like this means that you are getting into the habit of saving. Becoming successful in the challenge means that it has become a part of your lifestyle and not a temporary behavior change. I urge you, if you have thought about ways to save money to try this challenge BINGO style. It’s the easiest way to save extra money under your own terms.

Email me for a copy of my 52 Week Challenge Sheet & Start the Challenge TODAY!

Let’s Connect!

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{Week 17 Update} Why This Easy Financial Move is Worth the Risk

It’s funny how children’s fables are still relevant to adults and the decisions we make.    Are you familiar with the story about the Grasshopper and the Ant?  It’s the one  that provides an oral lesson about the virtues of hard work and planning for the future.  The fable is about a grasshopper that has spent the warm months singing and dancing while the ant worked to store up food for colder months. When winter arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger and begs the ant for food.  His lesson– it is best to prepare for the days of necessity. 

Last week was week 17 of my 52 Week Money Challenge and I am excited to announce that I am under the $1,000.00 mark for my credit card balance. This week I crossed off $51.00 on the SMC Bingo Money Sheet, which puts me at a total of $421.00 dollars in extra payments applied to my credit card balance this year. When I first made this goal a part of my financial plan, I thought that paying off this debt would take longer.  It’s not a glamorous or goal trendy. Most of my friends don’t even understand why I am making these type of financial goals for myself, but I can’t think of many things more delightful than not having to worry about massive debt.

Hare Brain Behavior

In the post, Is This Super Easy Financial Move worth the Risk?, I threw out the idea of going against Dave Ramsey’s advice to maintain a $1000.00 emergency fund.  I revealed that I was considering tapping into my emergency fund once I got my credit card balance under the $1000.00 mark. Well that moment is here and I have decided. I considered every suggestion that readers posted in the comment section of that post and on our Facebook page and I have decided to use $500.00, half of my emergency fund, to knock down my balance even faster. Not only would that put me ahead of my goal date, but I would also end up with more money back in my emergency fund AND savings because I would not be paying interest fees. That’s to say that once my emergency fund is back up to the recommended $1000.00 mark, I would continue put any extra money (up until the original goal date of August 1st) into my savings.

Slow-and-steady-moneySlow & Steady Wins the Race
Although, I have decided that tapping into the emergency fund is the best move for me. I would only do so under one condition – the results of the check engine diagnostic on my C-class Mercedes. If I can afford to pay for repairs to my car and knock out my credit card debt faster, without going into the emergency fund,  then that’s what I will do. Otherwise, I would risk using credit again to take care of this unexpected expense, which is a point that many of you readers brought up when I first presented this idea, and defeats the purpose of having an emergency fund in the first place.

Does slow and steady win the race every time? I’m not sure about EVERY TIME, but I do know that it has become a well-known lesson for a reason. I’m just hoping that this time, I’m an exception to the rule. Only time will tell and I can’t wait to let you know how things turned out.  Like the ant, I am preparing for days of necessity through working hard and planning for the future.  Why not make my money work for me?

Do you consider yourself a financial grasshopper or ant?

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{SMC Announcement} Danielle Boler for FeeX

FeeX LogoJust recently I teamed up with a company called FeeX to join the conversation of about money for their company blog.  The content is a mix of personal stories, financial insights, news, and interviews and I am honored to be a part of the discussion.  FeeX is a free service that uncovers the hidden fees in your retirement accounts—initially IRAs—and estimates the damage that these fees are inflicting on your retirement savings.  Are you one of the 7 out of 10 Americans that are completely unaware of the fees eating away at your retirement savings?  I think this type of service is cool and a great way to learn more about retirement savings while adding my twenty-something voice to their blog.  Check me out!

Let’s Connect!

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{Donating to My Alma Mater} Why I Give Even When I’m Saving

One reason that I have over $20,000 in student loans is because I chose to attend Spelman College, one of the nation’s top liberal arts colleges and #1 ranked HBCU. I was offered full music and academic scholarships during my senior year of high school to other colleges and turned them down to attend a school Forbes ranks among the nation’s top ten best women’s colleges. I got a little “something something” based on my academic achievements, but when everyone beside you is a Valedictorian and Salutatorian of their high school class, just being in the top 5% isn’t really scholarship worthy.  While I know my parents supported whatever decision I made, I am sure on some level my Dad’s wallet would have been very okay with a FREE education, elsewhere.

Michelle-Obama-Speaks-at-Spelman-College

Why I Spelman

Making the choice about where I would attend school was the first major decision that I ever made for myself.  It marked the transition from childhood to adulthood and  helped shape the course of not only my career, but also my life. In the end, I did not even consider the price of tuition (estimated $120,000) because I knew without a doubt, that Spelman was the right place for me. From the moment I walked onto the campus, so many beautiful, intelligent, and diverse women from around the world welcomed me. For the first time, I was “at home” in an academic space where standards and honor are raised.

spelman oprah

Why I Give Even When I’m Saving

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Earlier in my matriculation, I noticed the presence and pride of the alumnae. I was told that I was standing on the shoulders of greatness, hard work, and those who came before me.  Now is my time to help provide opportunities that help prepare the next generation of women who will change the world.  Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum acknowledges in the 2012-2013 Report of Philanthropy that “a college education is a privilege.”  According to Tatum, “We live in challenging times when educated women are needed more than ever.  The generosity of alumnae, corporations, faculty, friends, foundations, parents, staff, and our current students has secured vital financial support to develop  these change agents.  [Spelman] appreciates your contributions to scholarships, facility, renovations, innovative initiates such as Wellness Revolution, faculty and student research, and support of Spelman’s Annual Fund- all of which are critical for Spelman women to succeed.”  Yes, I have financial goals and a financial plan; but there is nothing like going back and seeing the women who are now standing on my shoulders and in need of support.  Giving back doesn’t always have to be in the form of financial contribution, however, I do highly recommend it.  Every year, Spelman announces a goal for it’s Every Woman Every Year campaign.  This year’s goal, like the year before, is to surpass 50% alumnae participation or 8,667 alumnae donors by April 11, 2014, the 133rd Anniversary of Spelman’s founding.  I make my contribution every year on this date and charge every Spelman alumna to show the impact of her voice, by making a contribution to Spelman in honor of our founding.  If you don’t give back to your school, I encourage you to do so.   If we don’t invest in where we came from, how can we expect anyone else to?

Happy Founder’s Day Spelman College

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{Week 14 Update} 52 Week Money Challenge

Financial FreedomIt’s Friday already and time for your 52 Week Money Challenge reminder.  For those of you, like me, who began on January 3, 2014, we are 14 weeks in for this year!  Today, I crossed off $25.00 from the SMC bingo style money sheet , which puts me at a grand total of an extra $344.00 saved thus far.  The closer we get to August 1, 2014, my goal date to have a zero balance on my credit card, the more excited I get.  In some ways, the feeling I get every time I see the balance drop is becoming stronger than the high I get from shopping.  I am planning for big things to happen THIS MONTH by paying my set payment of $300.00 per month + the 52 Week Challenge each Friday + the possibility of a somewhat risky financial move, which I will talk about in Monday’s post.  Stay tuned to see how I plan to slash my credit card balance from $1345.00 (current balance) to less than $500.00 by the end of the month by taking of gamble with my finances.  If you want big rewards, sometimes you have to take big risks! 

{Week 13} 52 Week Money Challenge Bingo Style

She Makes Cents

Someone recently asked me “what was the point of doing a money challenge, it’s not like you are saving a substantial amount?”  My reply was simple, “every little bit helps me get one step closer to my goals”.  I am very serious about having a zero balance on my credit card by August 1, 2014 and using funds saved from this challenge helps me pay off my balance faster.  Today, I crossed number 17 off my bingo style money challenge sheet which gives me a grand total of $319.00 additional dollars added to help pay off the balance on my cards.  A while ago, I decided that instead of payment the minimum + the 52 Week Challenge weekly payment I would decide on a set payment to make every two weeks and add the money from the challenge on top of that.  This has allowed me to chop off interest payments as well. 

How Are You Doing On the Challenge?

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SMC- 52 Week Money ChallengeThis morning has proved to be on of those rare occasions where I am awake before the doggies and the Mr.  I thought to myself, this would be the perfect time to blog!  I was preparing for a cool {Beauty Cents} post, when I realized I completely forgot about my 52 Week Money Challenge on yesterday.  This week I am planning on crossing off number 27 (which I will do right after I post this) which puts me at a total of $269.00 of extra money.  If you are doing the challenge, comment below on your progress.  If you have yet to start, I encourage you to do so.  This doesn’t have to be just a New Year’s challenge, but rather a yearly challenge.  Your year starts when you start, so today is as good of day as any! 

Do you want of Bingo Money Sheet? Email Me

Happy Saving!

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{TuitionBites} Service That Pays Down Your Student Loans

Update: Tution Bites is no longer in business

In the quest toward financial freedom, I have tried some pretty crazy things.  Some worked out well and others…well, let’s just say there is a reason I didn’t write about them.  This week, I clicked the twitter handle @tuitionbites because I thought the name was catchy.  Little did I know, I would be introduced to a new(ish) concept that combines e-commerce and crowd-funding.  The service from TuitonBites claims to help people pay off student loans by shaving years off of a student loan repayment term and saving thousands in interest over the life of the loan.  The original tweet boasted about one person’s ability to get $100.00 per month paid to the principle of their loan… I was intrigued. 

Starbucks = Big Bucks?

Is it too good to be true? Being the researcher that I am, I decided to sign up five days ago.  My plan is to give it the good ole college try for about 6 months so I can report back to you, the readers of SMC, on whether I believe it is a smart financial move or a waste of time. Apparently, it works by sharing a personalized URL  with friends and family and a portion of every order, 25-30% depending on the item, gets direct deposited into your student loan account.  Buyers can even donate additional funds toward your student loan balance to help you reach your financial goals faster, so if you know a someone who may want to help you out (hello Uncle Moneybags), you might want to let them know asap since interest accrues daily.  When  I signed up a few days ago, the item of the month was chocolate cookies for $20.00.  TWENTY DOLLARS for chocolate cookie…during Girl Scout season?!! I thought that the price was steep and I worried that every item sold on this site would have an inflated cost or would be a product that people wouldn’t really want to buy.  Yesterday, however, I was so excited to see that this month’s item is a $25.00 eGift card from Starbucks for only $22.50, that’s 10% off to anyone who purchases from your store (insert angels singing here).  Once received, you can print out the card to give to the cashier, use it right from your smartphone or transfer the balance to a registered Starbucks card.  I see it like this, if it features affordable products that people like or want to try, something that saves money of things you regularly buy and helps pay down massive student loan debt, then it could be a win-win.  Only time will tell, so stay tuned as I keep you updated on whether this is a smart financial move or a waste of time.  If you want coffee in the meantime, I’m sure I can help you with that!

Does TuitionBites really make an impact? 100extra She Makes Cents

Do you think a service like this is worth the effort?

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{Week 9 Update} 52 Week Challenge

Hello Lovelies!  It is Friday, which means it is time to contribute to your 52 Week Savings.  Since restarting my Bingo Style  version of the official money challenge back in January,  I have saved a total of $242.00 that have been applied toward my credit card principal.  I seriously cannot stress just how easy this process is.   I revealed early last year that my credit card balance was up to $5300.00 and paying a little over the minimum + the 52 Bingo Style, I have gotten my balance down to $1899.00.  August 1st, my goal date for a zero balance, is right around the corner and things are starting to really pick up!

Do you want a copy of my Bingo Style Money Sheet?  Email Me!

Happy Saving!

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