52 Week BINGO Money Challenge | Week 9 Update

 

Welcome to weekend #SMCmoneytribe!  This week I crossed off $20.00 on the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge.  At the end of next month, I will take the money saved between January and April to make a lump sum payment on my Navient student loan principal.    My goal is to deplete my money challenge savings every four months to get my snowball moving a little faster.     Interested in joining our money challenge, click here for your FREE money card printable.shemakescents-com-2jump-start your way savings or lifestyle goals, click here to get your FREE money card download. 

Major Milestone | She Makes Cents 6th Year Anniversary!

blogiversarySix years ago shemakescents started as a way for me to share my financial journey with the world… and by that I mean my dad and my cousin Dot because they were the only two people reading my stuff in the early days.  I kept writing because I wanted to share my story and connect with others.  I knew my financial journey felt different from my other twenty-something friends because they would come to me with their questions about buying a house and how to get ahead of student loan debt during a recession. Soon, other people joined my dad and cousin in subscribing to the blog and that was the first time I really felt like I wasn’t talking to myself.  In the past 6 years, I have been so surprised by the people who take a moment out of their busy day to tell me how much they enjoy reading shemakescents.  You have been with me when I paid off my credit card, bought a car off Craigslist and got married.  To the 1.3 MILLION visitors to she makes cents…. thank you for joining me for the past 6 years.  Stay tuned, 2017 has the potential to be our best year yet!

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Money Challenge 2017 | February Savings Recap

Hello  #SMCmoneytribe!  Can you believe that we just finished the second month of the she makes cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge?  I sure can’t.  As we approach a new month I can’t  help by wonder, how many of you are still going strong on the challenge?  According to  Business Insider, 80% of people fail their New Year Resolutions by February.  It is easy to have a laser focus on your money, career, and lifestyle goals when a clear transition is before you.  Think about all of the people who vow to do better in the new year, who will start clean eating on Monday (aka the start of the new week), and who pledge to start saving more once they earn their next paycheck.  Anybody recognize themselves in the statements above?… as I raise my own hand.  The thing about all of those examples is that is pushes off you goals to another day; therefore, delaying your ultimate reward- a goal accomplished.  Last Friday marked the end of month 2 for the she makes cents  52 Week BINGO Money Challenge and the best thing about our money challenge is that you can easily catch up if you have fallen behind or you start over. The greatest thing about this challenge is that as long as you don’t stop, you will win at your financial goals.

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 February Recap

Below is the financial breakdown for the month of February.  As you can see, I crossed off lower numbers than the previous month.    I saved an extra $41.00 this month putting me at a YTD of  $149.00.  I  am really looking forward to March.  Hopefully, I will cross off my first bonus box of the year.

How Are You Doing on the Money Challenge? I’d love to hear from you!


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Steals & Deals | White Pineapple Lamp

I have been obsessed with pineapples before they became a trend. A friend of mine once shared the funniest story about pineapples and since then, every time I saw something pineapple related I thought of him. Being from the south, they are also a welcoming sign of hospitality so it’s no wonder why I incorporating pineapple decor for the shemakescents office was a must.  I was on the hunt to replace my desk lamp since the layout of the new shemakescents office is totally different that where I blogged since 2011.  Then it came down to two options.

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The more expensive lamp gave me the chic and slightly playful design and I wanted to blend into the design.  What it was lacking was respect to my budget.  I kept looking and while shopping at Hobby Lobby one day with my best friend, I found the exact lamp I was looking for; aesthetically and financially.  In fact, I loved it more for the gold accents that match other gold accents in the office.  Retailing at $59.99 + the 40% off coupon that I use EVERY TIME I shop at Hobby Lobby, I ended up paying $36.00 (not including taxes).  This has been my favorite decor steal, thus far, for the shemakescents office!steals-deals-1

Jumpstart Your Week With Action!

I know Monday’s can come with a bit of eek to them.  It represents the end of the leisurely weekend where brunch rules supreme and making time for the things you want to do becomes a priority (#WeekendGoals).  Now it is back to reality and time to prioritize all the things that need to happen to help you be successful throughout the week.  I want you to think about this quote. “You are always one decision away from a totally different life”.  The decisions you make, good or bad, big or small, can have a major impact on the direction your life takes.  I once made the small decision to go see my little sister dance in a recital and I met my husband.  I have a friend who was unhappy with her job but loved her career.  She made the decision to apply to three jobs in three weeks and she now has a signed offer at another company with better benefits and a better salary.  Since following through on a decision requires action you need to think about what actions you make today that will align with your money, career, or lifestyle goals for tomorrow.header-logo-2017

The Biggest Mistake Women Make During Career Introductions

As an avid reader of the Cosmo, I have been a fan of Joanna Coles, former Editor-In-Chief, since her early days of at the magazine.  She expanded the content to career advice, finances, and other less traditional “Cosmo” topics making it my all around go to along with Forbes and Inc.  That’s right, I am a Cosmo girl.  My fan girl experience, with regards to Joanna, went to a level 10 when she liked and retweeted something I wrote back in 2014  about rock star women in business.  I felt like that was a small example of how supportive she is of women and their careers.  She is one of my celebrity mentors (in my mind) that I actually have never met but learn so much from.2

Career Advice from Joanna Coles

While watching episode 1 of So Cosmo, Joanna imparted her wisdom on a group of unsuspecting millennials visiting the Cosmo office.  During an introduction exchange between Joanna and the group, one woman introduced herself  by her first name only.  Joanna explains, “First rule of Joanne Coles, women in particular should always say both names [when introducing their selves].  Women always go, hi, I’m Julie.  You have to go hi, I’m Julie Thompson.  Men never ever worry about doing that.”  She further goes on to explain her rationale behind the “first rule of Joanna Coles” to relationship expert, Matthew Hussey, who overheard the exchange between Coles and the millennials.  “It is very important.  It’s my signature thing. Cause you think of yourself as Matthew Hussey, but if you were a girl you would just think of yourself as Matthew.”


Hello, I am….

In that moment, I replayed several instances when I introduced myself to clients as simply Danielle when my male counterpart would introduce himself first name last name.  While doing a little research about introductions, I found that when people properly introduce themselves by first name last name, the other people is more likely to rememer you and your name.  Remember my whole, Hi nice to meet you, I forgot your name already phase??  Perhaps this would have helped everyone back then.  What I like about the “first rule of Joanna Coles”,  is the expression of assertiveness  and dominance in the first introduction.   It’s like “leaning in” before anyone has even had time to make any judgements, good, bad, or indifferent, and letting them know you are  a boss chick in the room.  If this is the first rule of Joanna Coles, I can’t wait to see what else I learn from my celebrity mentor.She Makes Cents Logo

Block Anything That Gets In The Way of Your Goals | Money Challenge Week 5

Hello Lovelies and welcome to Super Bowl weekend.  This folks, is a big deal for everyone from my hometown of Atlanta!  Since it is Super Bowl weekend, I will break down today’s money inspiration for you in sports terms. I want to inspire you to check your financial plan.  Is it current?  Does it reflect your current financial status and goals (gosh, the last time I posted mine was in 2013)?  If you’ve never created a financial plan that’s okay too because today is a great time to do so.  Your financial plan is like your game playbook.  Your money is the football and it is your job to block anything that gets in your way of getting to you getting to your goal.  To do so, you have to reference your financial playbook from time to time.  There will be setbacks (see How to Comeback from a Setback), people who will attempt to block your progress, and times you may have to go out of bounds.   Trust me, you can win at this debt game! Let’s turn your Xs and Os to dollar signs.  shemakescents-com-1The weekly habit of saving money with the She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge will always be a part of my financial plan.  I saved $108.00 dollars for the month of January and today I have crossed off $21.00 putting me at a YTD of $129.00.  I can’t wait to see how many thousands of dollars I save again this year.   So many of you shared with me that your savings will be going toward vacations and paying down debt.  Let’s make sure that you have also included this money challenge into your financial plan so we can see your savings increase and your money challenge rewards materialize.  Everyone have a fantastic weekend and Atlanta Rise Up!shemakescents-com-2

How The Debt to Credit Ratio Affects Your Credit Score

debt-to-credit-ratio-credit-score-she-makes-centsLast year, one of my girlfriends and I decided that we were going to pay off our credit cards at the same time.  I was paying down debt to start my snowball and get me one step closer to Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step Three.  She was knocking down her revolving debt before she purchased her first home.  In the process of us paying down our credit cards, we were both offered limit increases from our perspective credit card companies.  I accepted the increase and she declined. Her rationale to decline was that she was trying to get rid of her monthly credit card payments because a limit increase would only entice her to spend.  For me, accepting the almost $5,000.00 increase meant that I was lowering my debt to credit ratio.

What is A Debt to Credit Ratio?

A debt to credit ratio or a credit utilization ratio is just as it sounds….It’s the ratio of how much money you owe a particular debt as compared to the credit limit.  If you have $4,000.00 balance on $10,000.00 credit limit, your debt represents 40% of your credit limit.  The lower the ratio or percentage the better impact one’s credit score.

How The Debt to Credit Ratio Affects Your Credit Score

Outside of your payment history, your “amount owed” or debt to credit ratio, is the second highest factor in calculating an estimated 30% your credit score.  Keep your balance under the 30% mark and you stay on the lower side of the debt to credit ratio, which is where most personal finance gurus would urge you to stay if you have to carry a balance.

At the same time that my credit card limit jumped up $5,000.00, my balance was quickly decreasing and I had a credit score of 786.   The next month it moved up six points and stayed that way for three months.   In July, the month I paid off my credit card, it jumped to 806 for about two months.  I started using my credit card just a little bit carrying a small balance and it went back down to an 800 for about three months.  I was on a high when I saw my score increasing so to see the decrease was disappointing…even if it was only a 6 point drop.  I vowed then to do whatever I could to not let my credit card balance roll over to the next month ever again.   I am happy to report that I currently have an 810 credit score.  Moral of the story… lower your debt to credit ratio and it will have a positive impact on your credit score.  You can do this by making on time payments to lower your debt balances and if you are offered a limit increase, take it only if you can continue to be responsible with your financial goals.shemakescents-com

3 Organic Products That Will Change Your Beauty Routine

I wanted to take a moment and share three game-changing organic products under the $15.00 price point.  Not only have I personally sampled each recommended product, they have now replaced other beauty staples in my daily routine.  While some organic products can be more expensive than their chemically treated counterparts, these are a splurge, if you can even call it that, that is worth the upgrade.  Be good to your body and it will be good to you!

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Charcoal Soap

I’ve been wanting to try charcoal soap for a while after hearing that it removes toxins, pulls all the gross stuff from your pores, and helps with skin issues like my eczema, which conventionally flares during the winter months.  While walking through Atlanta’s  Krog Street Market, I came across this lovely handmade soap shop called Mama Handmade Bath & Body that has since become one of my favorite places to explore there.  While playing with sample oils and inhaling the fabulous scents of the different types of soaps, I found several bars of raw handmade charcoal soap.  I purchased a bar for $8.00 so I could give it a try.  For almost 3 weeks, I have washed my face with this vegan soap and follow-up with the Cerve moisturizer every morning and night.   I knew that it was a naturally anti-fungal and antibacterial soap but was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was loaded with moisturizing oils like avocado, jojoba, and wheat germ.  My face is so clear and smooth and  I have gotten so many compliments on my skin (check out my IG for my Jan 19th selfie…no foundation at all with a little blush!!!) I love that I am not clogging my pores with unnecessary ingredients. 

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Organic Argan Oil

Argan oil, produced from the kernels of the Argan tree, is becoming very popular in the cosmetic world because of the restorative benefits for hair, skin, nails.  I hear it also does wonders for pregnant women with stretch marks.   I was asked to try out a sample of 100% pure Moroccan Argan oil from a brand called Actually Organic and I wanted to see what the hype was all about.

Around the same time the 1 oz bottle of  Argan oil arrived, I have weening myself off gel manicures and was suffering from soft and brittle nails that would break if you just looked at them.  I started moisturizing both my cuticles and my nails and guess what happened… my nails started to grow again. I could even look at them and they would not break.  I then started to use the oil to help heal dry eczema patches on my body and I have really enjoyed the results of smooth nourished skin in these dry winter months.  I originally thought that $12.00 a bottle was a little steep for a 1 oz bottle, but I quickly learned that a little product goes a long way.  This bottle will last me through the August, which is perfect considering Argan oil in its pure form has a 12-month shelf life.  I apply oil to my nails about once a week and I use the oil on my skin to heal specific problem areas like my elbows, inside of my ears (strange, I know), and the crease of my hands. ~ Thank you to the Actually Organic team for providing the She Makes Cents team with this product ~

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Organic Nail Polish Remover

I will be honest, I have had a sample bottle of organic nail polish remover from an old Birchbox for a few months now.  I was cleaning out the house in one of those Kondo Method type of purges when I decided that I would do one of two things with the stockpile of unopened beauty products- use it up or donate to a local women’s shelter.  My 4oz bottle of Soybean and Tea Tree Oil organic nail polish remover from Karma Naturals was on the chopping block because I have always used a standard nail polish remover.  Yes, traditional removers are full of all sorts of harsh chemicals but they always got the job done.  As it was going into the pile of products that would soon be donated, I decided to keep it to see how it removes pink nail polish from my toes.   Compared to traditional removers, it takes a little longer to remove nail polish but that was okay with me once I felt how moisturized my bare toenails were.  It was amazing!!!  I now even take my own bottle of organic remover with my when I go to the nail salon so that they don’t use the harsh remover that I was used to.  This is a vegan and cruelty-free product that has replaced my previous brand FOREVER.

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Money Challenge | January Savings Recap


Hello #SMCmoneytribe and welcome to the weekend!  We are a month into the challenge with almost 50% more participants than the previous year.  Great job everyonet ladies!!! That says to me, they there are people out there making smarter money moves in 2017.  What made this year different for me was including the Mr. so we can double the money from this challenge.  Full disclosure…. the Mr. decided it was easier for him to remember if he just set a fixed amount of $50.00 per week to the challenge.  It makes it easier for him and I like it because even if I cross off a lower amount, I have the $50.00 to add to it.

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Show Me the Money!!!

Week one was all about learning how to win at the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge.  For week two, the focus was inspiring you to stay motivated toward your savings goals.  It is easy to keep your eyes on the prize in the beginning of the year, also know as Resolutions Season,  but getting through 52 weeks is only hard if you lose motivation.  Week three, the country paused to witness the transition of presidential power and we did too.  Before I knew it, we successfully completed month one of the money challenge.  Below is the financial breakdown for the month of January.monthly-review-template

How to Join the Challenge

Want to join the #SMCmoneytribe to get access to a tribe of goal minded accountability partners who are invested in your success and your FREE bingo money guide?  Click here, fill in your info, and we will do the rest.

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