Millennial First Time Homebuyers: Send Me Your Questions

Millennials are breaking into the housing market with great force with hopes of attaining one of the biggest stepping-stones to the American Dream- homeownership.   Whether or not the American Dream still exists is questionable, but one thing that is certain is that as the largest active generation in the housing market at 34%, millennials are making lemonade out of lemons and turning the boomerang generation into homeowners.

Millennial First Time Home Buyers | Get Your Questions Answered on She Makes Cents

Buying a house is the largest financial investment that most people make in their lifetime.  Its benefits, especially if the path to homeownership is achieved by establishing better money habits before buying, result in financial rewards throughout the year.

Before buying a home, first-time buyers should save for a down payment, raise one’s credit score, and figure out how much house they can actually afford.  To take the savings benefits one step further, first-time millennial buyers are urged to do a little research of their own to see what tax breaks are available that makes the home buying process a little more affordable.  

Keeping affordability in mind, the housing and financial industries have teamed up to offer resources that make the transition of renting to owning easier for first-time and millennial buyers. By anticipating some of the financial setbacks plaguing millennials, such as staggering student loan debt, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) have changed the amount allowed to be financed and lowered some of the qualifications to attract young buyers.  I bought my house five days after my 24th birthday with an FHA loan.  This was the best move for me at that time because I was looking for a nice apartment when I came across a property that was priced so well I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity.  I hadn’t saved specifically for a home or better yet a traditional 20% down payment, but I did have enough to put down to secure an FHA loan and become a homeowner by age 24.

Homeownership is affordable, attainable, and provides financial advantages for those who choose this path over renting.  While millennials are changing the narrative of the American Dream, one thing still rings true. Homeownership is still a good way to achieve wealth in the United States and thanks to the financial advantages of homeownership, the dream is so much sweeter. She Makes Cents | Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog for Goal Setting Millennial Women

Are you thinking about buying your first home and have questions about the homebuying process?  Leave your comment or question below and/or tweet me @shemakescents to have your question answered.

How To Make a Movie Date More Affordable

Do you remember when dinner and a movie was a go-to date night activity? It was fun, it was easy if you and your date liked the same movies, and it was cheap…ish. Nowadays, dinner and a movie can easily run a couple close to $100.00+. If you break down the price of two tickets, dinner, and libations you can easily drop some serious cash before you even sit back to watch the movie. Seven dollar popcorn and a five dollar soda, anyone? Umm…no thank you.  According to the National Association of Theatre Owners, the average cost of going to the movies hit a record high in the of $8.84 in the first quarter of 2017. I don’t know about you, but a $9.00 movie ticket sounds good to me considering the prices in my area are more along the lines of $16.50 per ticket. In fact, at the time of writing this post, I checked on two standard tickets to my local theatre and with taxes, the total comes up to $39.56 for just two standard movie tickets. No reclining seats, no RPX upgrades, no popcorn, and no candy.Affordable Date Night Ideas | How to Go to the Movies for LessSince our very first date to the movies, the Mr. and I have been regular moviegoers and during that time, we have picked up a few ways to make the experience work a little better for our budgets. Below are a few ways we experience one of our favorite date night activities… dinner and a movie.

  1. Tuesdays. Before we were married, Thursday was our standing “date night”. This all changed when I found out about Ticket “Twosdays” that many service providers and rewards programs offer.  As an AT&T customer, we take advantage of the nice perk of two standard 2D movie tickets for the price of one.  I love it because it saves money and it breaks up the week to get us out of our routine.   If we are having a movie-themed date night, we try to plan for Tuesday and you can too even if you don’t have AT&T.  Other companies like T-Mobile and AMC movies have similar deals.
  2.  Movie & Then Dinner. Going to the movies before dinner is a nice twist on the dinner and a movie classic.  If you eat dinner first, you miss the opportunity to save on matinée pricing, which depending on where you live could be a savings of $7.00 or more per ticket.  Additionally, you are less likely to load up on movie food or overpriced drinks by going to dinner first.   If this is the first date, having a shared experience of attending the movie first can help fill in the blanks of awkward first date conversation during dinner.    
  3. Actually Netflix & Chill.  You can save money on a movie night experience from the comfort of your own home.  In fact, this may be one of the best ways to watch a movie with your significant other… all snuggled up on the sofa together.  You can have wine, whatever you like to eat, and you never have to worry about missing an important scene during a bathroom break.  We all know what the teenage colloquialism of “Netflix and chill” means, but this money-saving tip works best if you actually watch the movie.  
  4. Free Movie Screenings.  The word “free” simply means that you don’t have to pay money.  That being said, you can get access to advanced movie screenings weeks before the official release date in exchange for your opinion of it.  How do you do it?  Check out sites like GoFoBo.com or AdvancedMovieScreenings.com and sign up.  I have done this a couple of times and really enjoy it because I can usually get two tickets and share the experience with someone else.  Pro Tip: Make sure that you arrive early.  They often over share the free code to attend the screening, so once theatre is full you will be denied entry.   

If going to the movies is one of your go-to date night ideas, why not save money doing it.  In fact, with these tips, there is little reason to ever pay full price for a movie if you can help it.  The stars do not always align where people are able to make an earlier movie or get out on a work night, but if you can, use your “cents” and save some money!

{Money & Relationships} 5 Reasons to Have the “Money Talk” with Your Partner

You and your significant other have been together for a while. You have met the parents (and they like you…hopefully), you leave stuff at each other’s homes, and you’ve even claimed each other on social media! Sure, you have done all of the public things to show your significant other and the world that you care about your relationship but have you taken the necessary steps to reduce stress and drama in your relationship from a financial standpoint? I will be honest with you; having the money talk isn’t fun or comfortable, but it is enlightening and crucial to all serious relationships.

Money & Relationships- from Millennial Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents.png

I bet you searched him on Google and scoped his Instagram page when you were first getting to know him. Outside of being curious, you wanted to protect yourself by getting a head start to any red flags.  Simply put,  you wanted to figure out what you may be getting yourself into. No judgment, it’s smart and we all do it. If you protected yourself in the beginning, why wouldn’t you protect yourself now that things are getting serious?  Starting the conversation does not make you greedy or look like a gold digger.  In fact, it shows that you are looking at this relationship for the long-term.  Former Secret Service agent and Cosmo contributor,  Evy Pompouras’ gives advice about reading people in any situation, which will come in handy when you have the conversation with your beaux.  Pompouras says, “don’t openly judge, even if you don’t like what they have to say.  When people feel your disapproval, they will filter themselves, hold back information, or shut down”.  Remember you both had a life before your relationship and both of your financial decisions up until now will reveal that.  If you are ready to get serious about your relationship you should also be ready to get serious about your finances if you haven’t done so already.

FIND OUT EACH OTHER’S SPENDING & SAVING STYLE

This makes sense on so many levels.  This is not a situation where you are trying to figure out if he is a spender or a saver, but more so how he spends and how he saves.  This may be an eye-opening revelation for you as well since most people do not generally look at money and relationships in those terms.  Are you financially compatible?  Does your super saver style clash with his overspending?  

KNOW THINE SELF

 In the midst of “The Talk” you may start to learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before.  It is easier to see red flags in others than it is to see in ourselves.  You may find areas of yourself and your financial situation that need to be cleaned up… not for him or a relationship, but for your own financial security.  This is the time for you to take some responsibility for yourself, review your debts and assets, and come up with a personalized financial plan. 

HELPS YOU PLAN FOR A SHARED FUTURE

Let me first say that a shared future does not necessarily imply marriage.  A shared future looks like whatever you want it to look like as long as you two are in it together.  Some couples will move in together and will have to decide who will pay what.  Others may continue to live separately and your money talk for the future may include more social decisions.  How often will we go to restaurants, movies, concerts, on vacations?  Who will pay for what?  Or for those who see wedding bells in their future, well you should get in the habit of having weekly money talks and a review of how finances coming in and going out are affecting the household dynamic.  You don’t want to be the woman who hides shopping bags in the trunk of her car, but rather a woman who proudly shows off the goodies that she bought with financial confidence.

PREVENTIVE CARE FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP

If I told you that you could reduce the chance of burning yourself using a curling wand while creating date night hair just by using the little black gloves that come with it, would you use them?  How about if  I showed you the hands of someone who burned themselves because they didn’t use a glove?  Would you be more likely to use a glove then?  Probably, even if it was just for a short time.  Well, what if I told you that having the “money talk” and the subsequent follow-up talks with your significant other will reduce the chance of financial stress and lessen the risk of break up?  How about if I followed up stories about real relationships that burned because of money issues?  Would you have the talk, then?  Think about it like this, taking these steps becomes preventive care for your relationship.  Beyoncé said if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.  I’m telling you if you like it then you should put the black gloves of your relationship on and have the talk!  Save your relationship before it needs saving.

So you now have an idea of what you are getting yourself into… remember this is just the start and you should have several follow-up conversations.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will be well worth the effort in the end.  We were seriously dating the first time the Mr. and I discussed money in detail.  It was slightly difficult to start the conversation because I didn’t want him to think that I was only after him for this money.  I explained to him that I was needing reassurance that we were financially compatible and I wanted to introduce a sort of financial intimacy into our relationship.   He was open to it and so was I.  If you have never discussed personal finance with your partner, I encourage you to not let another day go by.  If you are starting the conversation TODAY and don’t know how to start, check out this list of questions that I reference every time the Mr. and I have “the talk”. 

shemakescents.com (30).png

Monday Motivation | Measure Your Progress Not Your To Do List

The other day I was thinking about all the things I still want to do this year and started to get a little overwhelmed. As someone who is always looking forward and setting new goals, it is easy to get lost in what is left on the rolling to do list. Raise your hand if you can relate. By spending energy constantly thinking about how much we still have to do, we lose focus on what we have done already. One of my personal goals at the beginning of the year was to celebrate my successes, big and small, which to be frank; I have not really kept up with.Monday Motivation | Goal Setting Life Hack to Make Your Progress Feel More Impactful and Less Overwhelming

So today, I am encouraging everyone, myself especially, to review how we measure success and progress. Instead of focusing on how much you have left to do on a goal or project, measure your progress by much you have done already. Success Magazine backs up this paradigm with research. According to an article by Mel Robbins, a motivational speaker and entrepreneur, “research proves that seeing your progress and how much you have completed will inspire you to keep pushing”. I will celebrate the fact that I hit my money milestone with my student loans and not on the fact that I have a way to go before I can eliminate my student loan debt altogether. Reaching that milestone was not easy so I have to take a moment and appreciate how far I have come on that path to financial freedom. In addition to keeping a rolling to do list, start a “did it” list that you can go back and refer to when you need a motivational push to keep going. As I said, it is easy to get overwhelmed and forget all the great things you have accomplished. Measuring your progress by what you have accomplished and keeping a rolling list of things that you have completed so far will help each action, big so small, feel more impactful.Goal Setting Tips from She Makes Cents

5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance

A few weeks ago, a company called HealthIQ that celebrates health-conscious people with social and financial rewards, contacted me to create a quiz about millennials and life insurance. Yes, I can now add professional quiz writer to my resume! Since then, I have been reflecting on what happens to our loved ones financially when we pass on. This also came around the time a classmate of mine from high school passed away suddenly from a random heart complication leaving his fiancé and young daughter to pick up the pieces. One day you are living life and YOLOing and the next moment….well, you know how that goes. I am no longer in the headspace of thinking I am invincible, which means it is time for me to get a plan for my family in case the worst happens. Apparently, that means I’m growing up. While doing my research for my quiz, which you can take here, I realized there are several benefits to buying life insurance at an early age and right now millennials are in the best position to take advantage. While it is not a cheerful conversation to have, it is a necessary one and one that can protect those who depend on you and your income should the worst-case scenario happen. Since many millennials are delaying marriage and children, it is easy to say that there is no benefit of buying life insurance; however, that is not the case.  Other dependents such as parents who cosigned a loan or business partners for the millennial entrepreneurs out there also depend on you and your income and will be left with a great financial burden of debt, your funeral expenses, and trouble covering living expenses if proper measures are not in place.

5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance from Top Millennial Finance Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

What Is Life Insurance?

If you ask my new insurance agent, he would tell you that life insurance is a “love policy”. I, however, prefer the explanation from Fidelity, which explains that, a life insurance policy as “a contract with an insurance company. In exchange for premium payments, the insurance company provides a lump-sum payment, known as a death benefit, to beneficiaries upon the insured’s death”. To bring it to terms that we can all understand, it is what GoFundMe has become when loved ones pass. I have to say this, but GoFundMe should not be your go to plan to cover the funeral expenses of a loved one or to cover the financial burden that you may leave to your family.

Do Millennials Need Life Insurance?

Yes and yes. It will be easier to understand once you break things down by life stages. Millennials make up the awesome generation of people who are born between 1982-2002 which means that older millennials could be in the home buying, marriage, and kids stage while younger millennials are in the college life and first real job stage. So do all millennials need life insurance? The answer to that will depend on whom you ask. I believe everyone should have life insurance that at least covers one’s funeral expenses. Now in terms of a larger payout, known as a death benefit, I think that depends on who relies your income. To determine if you need life insurance, financial expert and writer, Suze Orman, presents this question for you to ask yourself: “If I were to die today (or if my spouse/partner were to die today), will those I/we support be able to take care of themselves? If the answer is no, then you need life insurance”. Let’s be honest here, the subject of life insurance is morbid, boring, and a bit off-putting, but it is a necessary conversation that needs to be had by all.

5 Things Every Millennial Should Know About Life Insurance

  1. If Your Parent Is a Cosigner On Your Student Loans. A few years back, I remembered hearing a story about a grieving father who was struggling to pay his dead son’s student loan debt. During the height of his grief and after paying for funeral expenses, debt collectors began to harass him regarding his son’s missed student loan payment. That was the first time I remember learning that your debts don’t always go away when you pass. I thought about that Dad and then I thought about my own. So what happens to your student loan debt if you pass away? If you have Federal student loans, your loans will be discharged and your family will not be responsible for your debt. Parents with Parent PLUS loan borrowers are also eligible loans to have their loans discharged in the event of the student’s death since it is also a Federal loan. To receive the discharge, the surviving cosigner must submit a copy of the death certificate to their loan provider. However, if you have private loans, your family may inherit your debt, which for the class of 2016 is an estimated $37,172 and growing. According to this article from CNBC, “Even if your spouse doesn’t co-sign for you, he or she can also be held liable for a private student loan if you borrow while married and you reside in a community property state”.

  2. If You Are a Single Parent.
    While millennials are delaying getting married, a recent poll from Gallup reveals that almost half of surveyed millennials age 34 have children although they have never been married. Because of their single status, many parents elect their minor children to receive the death benefit to financial protect their children if something were to happen. Making a minor a beneficiary will cause major problems since life insurance companies do not payouts to children under the age of 18 or their guardians. If you are a single parent, you should consider setting up a trust to benefit the child and naming that trust as the beneficiary. This way, you can avoid costly court fees and you can have things managed based on the directions you have left in your trust.

  3. If You Have Life Insurance Through Your Employer.
    Congratulations, you have a real job with real benefits! I am so proud of you. Now it is time to go through and fully understand the scope of your benefits package. Many employers offer life insurance as a part of their benefits package, but is that enough? Something else, I would like you to consider is how long you plan to stay with your current company. According to a Gallup report, 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year.  Employee life insurance is provided as a group life plan and when you leave your job, you are no longer a member of the “group”.  Your former employer is no longer obligated to pay the premium; therefore, your coverage is terminated unless you convert your policy to an individual plan, often at a higher rate. Your best bet is to get an individual term policy in addition to your employer-based policy so that you will be covered.
  4. If You Think Life Insurance is a Financial Investment.
    Life insurance is NOT a financial investment. Let me say that again. Life insurance is NOT a financial investment But what about cash value life insurance, you ask?
    That’s not what your agent told you, is it? The good folks over at
    Investopedia define cash life insurance as “a type of life insurance policy that pays out upon the policyholder’s death, and also accumulates value during the policyholder’s lifetime”. Sounds good, right?
    Well not so fast… The idea of investing is appealing… even sexy to most millennials (or is that just me?) but insurance as an investment is a terrible idea that yields a very low return. If you are looking to invest your money or save your money, there are much better options out there like mutual funds, Roth IRAs, stocks, and bonds. Suze Orman maintains, “Under no circumstances do you want ‘cash-value insurance’ no matter how fabulous the agent makes it sound”. My financial guru, Dave Ramsey, agrees. Ramsey argues, “It is a horrible product that makes insurance companies the most money, which means insurance salespeople get the best commission on this trash”. I am inclined to agree with them both. Insurance is insurance and your investments are investments. Does life insurance provide financial protection for your family? Yes. Is the “investment” component of a cash life policy, also referred to as whole life, universal life, and variable life, a good investment? Absolutely not. If you have this type of policy, you should cancel it and thank me later.
  5. If You Don’t Know Where to Start.
    Many people know the importance of life insurance but have not taken the plunge. For the millennials out there, you will never be as young as you are right now in this moment.  Why not take advantage of the financial benefits of buying life insurance while you are young and in presumably good health. Millennials with a clean bill of health will find qualifying for coverage easier and more affordable, think less than $300.00 for the year for a $500,000 policy. So what type of policy do you recommend? Millennials looking to buy into a life insurance policy should consider a term insurance policy because the policy length can be tailored to your needs, it’s affordable, and you can lock in your rate while you are young. The maximum term for a life insurance policy is generally 30 years.  Since premiums never get cheaper, millennials can get an upper hand on their finances by locking in a lower rate for the maximum term.

I recently read something from Dave Ramsey that completely changed how I think of all of this… adulting. “The death rate for human beings is 100 percent. You are going to dies someday! None of us know when that’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean it should catch us totally unprepared”. Yes, you can still enjoy your youth while protecting your future. That’s why I have recently jumped on the life insurance bandwagon. Last week the Mr. and I met our agent in person to talk about our options and I encourage you to do the same.

Do you have life insurance questions or want to tell me about your experience with life insurance, please comment below or leave me a message via Twitter or Facebook.

Nighttime Beauty Routine to Start Your Week Off Right

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With a plenty of beauty hacks on the internet, it is easy to feel like a guinea pig to expensive products and extensive beauty practices. I want to have that Beyonce’ “I woke up like this” experience, especially when kicking off the workweek. So how do I do that? A good night’s sleep and a several glasses of water for starters. There are several benefits of getting a good night’s sleep but before I even make it to bed, I have to get through my bedtime routine. In the past two years, I have started to really put an emphasis on self-care and investing in oneself. As goal crushing women who are busting career barriers, making smart money moves, living the fab life, and trying to thrive in their relationships, sometimes it is hard to take a moment for oneself. I wanted to share my beauty routine that costs less than $100.00 and takes less than an hour.

Nighttime Beauty Routine for the Best Night's Sleep via Atlanta Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

  1. Take Off Your Day. I start my wind down process by washing my face with unscented activated charcoal soap that does wonders for my eczema since it is also loaded with moisturizing oils like avocado and jojoba. The soap I use is about $8.00, but it lasts so long, especially when you cut it in fourths and use a section at a time.     I then put on a rose infused face mask and let that sit while I prepare myself for my relaxing bath.

    Activated Charcoal Soap $8.00 |FreshRose Face Mask  $57.00                 

  2. Take A Relaxing Bath. During the hustle and bustle of the week, I don’t have time to take a long relaxing bath, but on weekends, I make the time. I run a long hot bath and let 2 cups of Dr. Teals Soothe and Sleep Lavender dissolve into the water while I pull my hair into a top knot. Since Epson salt is known to relieve sore muscles and lavender is used in the treatment of anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia, all of which I experience from time to time, it is the perfect relaxing combo to add to my beauty routine. With all of the lights turned off and nothing but candlelight, I soak in the tub while watching bad reality television.

    Dr. Teals Soothe and Sleep Lavender $4.00

  3. Oil Up. I have been obsessed with growing my eyelashes naturally and I started brushing my clean natural lashes with Argan oil every other night.  I use an old mascara wand (that has been cleaned, of course) and carefully moisturize my lashes.  After that, I drink one last glass of water and then put on the best lip balm I have ever tried. It is a citrus balm for the brand, Oh Honey and it leaves my lips feeling moisturized throughout the night for less than $4.00.  After applying the balm, I usually kiss the Mr. good night so he can feel how soft the lip balm makes my lips.

                    Argan Oil $11.00Oh Honey Lip Balm $3.50

  4. Positive Vibes Only.  While it may sound counterintuitive, I have to fall asleep with the television on.  To increase the chances of good dreams, I try to go to sleep to something fun and lighthearted like my favorite show, Modern Family as background white noise.  It is part of the process to help me fall asleep faster. 

After a relaxing bath, a face mask,  along with moisturized lashes and lips, I am ready to get a good night’s sleep.  Although these are not the traditional beauty hacks that people usually share, these are my go tos that keep my skin supple and healthy.shemakescents.com (7)

Monday Motivation | Take a Step Toward Your Purpose

As you are getting back into the groove of the work week, I want you to take a moment to think about this.  Every step you take counts, no matter how big or small.  When you take a step forward,  you are one step closer to reaching your goals and understanding your purpose.  Sometimes our actions stop reflecting our goals, and whether we recognize it or not, it becomes a step back…putting us further away from our purpose  Think about everyone who talks about how they are going to get out of debt but continue to spend.  They say we are the sum of what we repeatedly do, so let’s make excellence a habit…starting today!

Inspiration to Take a Step Toward Your Purpose & Reaching Your Goals via personal finance blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents | Monday Motivation

Why is it so hard to take the first step?   We let fear paralyze us.  Or we tell ourselves that it’s not worth the effort until you are able to make one huge step toward your goals.  We tell ourselves that our dreams and goals are too lofty.  We sell ourselves the idea that it will never happen for us.  The lines between one day and day one blur.  If this sounds familiar, let today’s motivational post shift your mindset.

You Are Greatness in the Making

If you are comfortable with your money and career, then it is time to do something that pushes you outside your comfort zone to a level of greatness you have yet to meet.  If you are saving money for something specific, push your goal date up by a few months.  If you are comfortable in your career, find a way to expand your value with the company.  Join a professional organization and expand your network.  Whatever your goals are, do not stand still or fall behind.  Some of the scariest things garner the most delicious rewards. You can do it.  You are greatness in the making.  You can be the woman you always wanted to be.  Oprah Winfrey once said to you should “create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe”.  I believe I will be debt free.  I believe that with hard work and consistency I can get and give everything from my dream career that I have envisioned for myself.  I believe I will travel the world.  I believe that I deserve financial security.  I believe I have the right to change my mind.  I believe I am worth it and then I add tax.  I also believe these things for you.

My Baby Step to Becoming Debt Free

Every year, I challenge myself to use the money saved from the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge, an easier and more lucrative version of the 52-week money challenge, to help me snowball my debt.  Just recently, I have shared my experience with my inner circle in hopes that it would also inspire them to take control of their finances.  For me, the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge represents a step in the right direction.  It is a step that is creating better saving habits for me and gets me one step closer to eliminating my student loan debt faster.  It is a step that is not tiring nor leaves me feeling financially stretched to the max.  If I had waited until I was in a place to throw a major lump sum amount at my debt, I might still be waiting.  No matter what, every week I cross off one number on my money challenge card and I don’t judge myself if the number is low.  Every dollar counts the same way that every step counts which is how I have saved an extra $1,117.00 as of the first Friday in August.  The first Friday in January I took a step and started the challenge.  What step will you take today?  Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Monday Motivation | The Impact of Blessing Others

I was in the middle of writing a post to tell you all about the car that I bought last week when my doorbell rang.    Oh well, you will have to wait to hear that story.  I left my office and peeked out the door.  You see, I normally will not open the door when I am not expecting clients nor guests during daytime hours.  For whatever reason, I did and what happened after that inspired today’s motivational post to you.

I opened the door to see a woman carrying an apple and a back of books.  She told me that she left a domestic violence situation today and that she would appreciate any help she could get.  Instead of standing on a corner begging, she thought it would be safer to go door to door and ask people for a little help.  I could barely hear her as she was sharing her story, over the loud barks of my rumbustious four legged office assistants.  Apparently, neighbors of mine, many of whom also work from home, sent her on her way with fruit, granola bars, and change to help her eat later that evening.  The woman said while she appreciated the kindness of people to share food from their own home, she was hoping to have enough money to eat at a place of her own choosing.  I asked her where she would go if she had enough money.  Her answer- McDonald’s.  I asked her to hold on a second, closed the door, and prayed that I had one last blessing bag left.

Monday Motivation | Charge from top blogger, Danielle YB Vason, to bless someone else today | What is a blessing bag?

What is a blessing bag?

Last year, with the help of a few friends, I went out and bought a collection of personal care items that I hand out to Atlanta’s homeless community.  Last year’s bag included a toothbrush, toothbrush holder, toothpaste, tissue, mini hand sanitizer, deodorant, lip balm, a $5.00 McDonald’s gift card, and other items like a hat and hand warmers for the colder months.  

You can call it luck or a God send, but I did have one more bag left.  I usually keep them in my car but because I just got a new car, the very last bag was sitting in my living room waiting to go into my new car.  In addition to the personal care items, I went to my pantry and added an apple and a bottled water.  I then went to my linen closet and loaded her up on travel size face wash, shampoo, conditioner, and most importantly feminine hygiene products.  Can you imagine not being able to afford personal care items when you are on your cycle?  It took me a couple of minutes to upgrade her bag, but I knew it would be worth the wait for her.  She was just hoping for a bottled water or some change…like she actually asked if I had pennies I could spare.  When she saw what I put together for her, she started to tear up.

One Bag, Many Blessings

I know there are pessimists out there who would say that it was probably a con but if so, I don’t care.  For whatever reason, a series of events caused me to have one last bag, be in my home office today, and actually open the door to show compassion to a total stranger.  Imagine what kind of world we could live in if more people had more compassion for others.  How can I, who talks constantly about empowering women not stop to help a fellow woman who is humbly asking for help?  

I shared this as today’s motivational post to charge you to be a blessing and do something kind for someone else today.  That could include calling someone to tell them you love them, visiting an elderly relative or neighbor, or encouraging someone who is unsure about their path.  The beautiful thing about it is your options for blessing someone else are endless.  I felt energized and she left feeling hopeful and I can’t think of anything more fabulous.   Today’s interaction has inspired me to do another round of blessing bags.  In fact, I think I will add that to my goals for next month…aka my birthday month!

 If you would like to help or want ideas on how you can make your own version of a blessing bag, please leave a comment below. 

How to Apply Money Affirmations To Make Your Goals A Reality

Money Affirmations to Manifest Abundance from Personal Finance Blog for Women, She Makes Cents by Danielle YB Vason | Law of AttractionAn affirmation is a strong, positive statement that something is already so.  It is a way of “making firm” that which you are imagining.  So I ask you this, when you think about your goals and desires for yourself, is it a negative or positive experience for you?  If you visualize your goals in a positive way, you affirm the presence of positivity in that area of your life.   For you, that change is already in motion because you are attracting that abundant energy into your life.  The same can be said for negative thoughts.  According to personal development author, Shakti Gawain,  “When we create something, we always create it first in thought form.  A thought or idea always precedes manifestation”.  Think about what greatness we can bring to our goals and desires if we affirmed them in success.  In this post,  Money Affirmations to Attract Financial Abundance    I shared some techniques that will help you release your negative mindset with money so you can approach your finances from a mental state of confidence, pride, and positivity.  Today I am here to share some new financial affirmations that can help you take back control over your financial goals.  

Money Affirmations To Attract Wealth

When we form positive associations with money we give ourselves permission to prepare ourselves to receive it.  We no longer fear it or fear what it would be like to not have it.  I invite you to start in inspiration pinboard and pin the below affirmations them there. Then print them, share them, and/or place them in various places so that you can have reminders of the desires you are affirming for yourself.  Add them to your vision board, your bathroom mirror, your refrigerator, your Instagram account (seriously, think about how often you check your IG account in a day), or your desk.  Speak them aloud and add your own name to give it more power. Instead of saying, “I attract wealth and abundance” try saying “[Insert your name] attracts wealth and abundance”.  Why, you ask?  Well studies show that the adult brain activates, when one hears, their own name.  Below are some of the newer affirmations I have added to my practice and I hope you add them to yours to attract a more positive experience with money.

Money Affirmations to Manifest Abundance from Personal Finance Blog for Women, She Makes Cents | Law of Attraction

What Are Your Favorite Money Affirmations? Please share with She Makes Cents readers

Money Challenge Half Year Review

There are times when you are working toward a goal and it is hard to see the progress of your work.  This, my friends, is not one of those stories.  Since January of this year, the #SMCmoneytribe and I have used the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge that I created to save towards each of our money goals.  Many members of the SMC Money Tribe are saving for a dream vacation and it makes me proud that because of their planning and saving, their dream to see the world can happen without disrupting their long-term money goals.  I, on the other hand, am saving money to use as extra payments toward my student loan debt.  This process is known as a debt snowball.  Snowballing your debts helps you pay them off much faster and can save thousands of dollars in interest.  In my case, my student loans are keeping me from progressing to Baby Step 3 from financial guru Dave Ramsey because they are the last of my debts, not including my mortgage. 

Top Atlanta Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents, shares her story on how she is tackling her debt using her money challenge and Dave Ramsey Baby Steps

JUNE RECAP

Last month was the first time I can remember actually seeing progress to reduce my student debt and this month blew last month’s money recap out of the water.  For the month of June, I saved more money than any of the previous months and the last four months combined.  I sent two major snowballs to my student loan provider to pay down the balance instead of pushing back my next due date.  This lets your money work for you and not the other way around.  I also saved $326.00 for the month and hit the $700.00 YTD mark for this challenge.  With a contribution from the Mr., we have saved a combined $1,575.00 that we could have easily spent on frivolous things.  Thanks, babe!  Teamwork makes the dream work.

MONEY GOAL TRACKING

At the beginning of the year, I wrote out my money goals and one of them were to pay off my credit card debt, which I did.  The second one was to have my student loans at or under $15,000.00 by the end of the year.  Around April of this year, I upped that goal date to October and then again, in May, I thought I would push myself further and make it a goal to have the balance at $15,000.00 by the end of my birthday month, August.  I did this because a goal date of the end of the year ensured that I would hit the goal, but with such a long time to work toward the goal, it took away the hustle for it.  By pushing the date up to August, it really forces me to review how I am spending and saving money and keeps me motivated to the short-term goal at hand.

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