How To Win on the She Makes Cents Money Challenge

Happy 1st Friday of 2017 everyone and welcome to the 2017 version of the She Makes Cents Money Challenge!  Need a quick overview of the She Makes Cents Money Challenge?… click hereIf you know me, you know I LOVE Fridays.  It’s the day I eat tacos and drink margaritas with a sugar rim, it kicks off the weekend, and it’s the day I make smart money moves on the She Makes Cents Bingo Money Challenge!bingo-money-challenge

The Benefits

They say you should do something today that your future self will thank you for and that is what this money challenge is for me and the #SMCmoneytribe.  As a part of the #SMCmoneytribe you will take this financial journey with the best accountability partners….other readers like you.  Last year I paid off my credit card completely and I am still carrying a zero balance (insert angels singing…seriously can you hear them?).  While I have used the money from this challenge to help pay down debt, other members of the tribe have used their savings to go on vacations, pay for professional certifications, holiday gifts for family, and to ramp up their emergency funds.  By accepting this challenge, you will gain more than the financial payout… you will gain a new sense of discipline, determination, and better money habits overall.

Should you get off track, you can always catch up or start over, we just ask that you don’t give up on this challenge, your goals, or yourself.  YOU can do it and you have an entire TRIBE of people cheering you on!

Double the Fundanielle-yb-vason-and-michael-vason

This year I have talked the Mr. into participating…sort of like a dollar for dollar matching.  For every number I cross off and save, he will match it.  If we decided to “double of fun” last year, we would have saved almost $4,000.00 together.  I’m doing this with the hubby because we have a shared travel goals and an invested goal to reduce my student loan debt.  The cool thing is that you don’t need a spouse to double your savings, you can do this with anyone who you know and trust who shares your goal.  Saving for a girl’s trip, why not combine efforts with your bestie(s)?

If you share your progress on social media (which I highly recommend), please make sure you use the hashtags #SMCmoneytribe so the tribe can cheer you on!

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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{2016 Money Recap} She Makes Cents Money Challenge Success!!

Hello #SMCmoneytribe!  It’s the last Friday of the year and I am so happy to hear from you all who are completing the She Makes Cents  52 Week BINGO Money Challenge  today and tomorrow. I officially finished mine today!  In the past three years I have attempted to complete this challenge, I would accomplish a short term goal and just stop.  This year, however, I have made it all the way to the end thanks to my accountability partners in the #SMCmoneytribe, as well as, my will to stay focus on my goals of zero credit card debt (mission accomplished) and snowballing my student loans (current goal in progress).2016-52-week-money-challenge

She Makes Cents Money Challenge vs. the 52 Week Money Challenge

The She Makes Cents Money Challenge is a variation of the traditional 52 Week Money Challenge.  In the traditional version, participants save a specific dollar amount based on the corresponding week.  For example on week one you save $1.00 and on week 52 you save $52.00.  Doing it this way would have you shelling out the bigger bucks in the weeks leading up to the holidays.  No Bueno.  Also, doing the traditional version only leaves you with $1378.00, which is not bad for money that you would normally spend unintentionally, but it could be better.  With the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge, you have the same time period, 52 weeks, but you empowered to decide how much you save on a weekly basis.  You control your own money and have the ability to cross of boxes that correspond to your current financial situation at any given time, which is how is should always be.  Plus with the bonus boxes you can save $1900.00+.

The Breakdown of Money

This past year,  I found myself keeping track of the weekly and monthly savings and comparing the amounts during my frequent progress reports.  I saved the most money in the month of January with $286.00  and the least amount of money during the month of September with $76.00.  Below is my breakdown of the monthly savings that reflect my grand total savings for 2016… an even $1900.00!!!!2016-money-challenge-yearly-report

Join the #SMCmoneytribe

Thank you to everyone who did this challenge this past year.  It was so much fun.  We all cultivated the habit of saving and you might have made a new friend in the process like I did, hi Alysa!  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 money guide?  Click here, fill in your info, and we will do the rest.  Mark your calender’s for the next round of the challenge starting January 7th!

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{Mark Your Calendars} The 2017 BINGO Money Challenge is Here!

I only have one more week of the 2016 version of this money challenge and I am excited for the updated 2017 version that starts in January. This challenge is not meant to make you rich, but it quickly shows you how putting aside money here or there (or actually every Friday/Saturday) quickly adds up to something great.

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 money guide?  Click here, fill in your info, and we will do the rest.

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{Money Goals} This Money Challenge Beats All Other Money Challenges

Hello Lovelies.  Welcome to the weekend!  It’s time for check-in for the shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge (if you are new to shemakescents.com, click here for a recap of the challenge).  Today I crossed off $37.00 on the BINGO Challenge putting me at a year to date total of $1498.00.  My year to date total is just one example of how this version of the 52 Week Challenge  can help you double your savings opportunity. The original version caps your savings potential at $1378.00, which I have already surpassed.  From January to July, I used this money to help me pay down my credit card payments faster.  From July to today, I have saved $800+ on this challenge  to make a principal payment  to my student loans once I get to the $1000.00 mark.  shemakescents money challenge

How can you save too?

The great thing about this challenge, is that you can start anytime and it works on everyone’s budget.  Just email us at info@shemakescents.com  for your FREE copy of the BINGO Money Challenge sheet. The best way to stay in the challenge is to join our Twitter/Facebook check-ins so that you have the support of the community of readers participating in the challenge.  To join the twitter check-in, simply tweet me!

Tweet: I joined the @shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge to help me reach my #moneygoals.

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{YTD Update} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

She Makes Cents

As we approach the end of week 33, I must say, staying  on top of the 52 Week BINGO Challenge is taking a little more discipline, for me, than in past weeks.  I had a goal to pay off my credit card by August 1st and I beat that goal by a month.  How, you ask?  Well, the closer I got to a zero balance on that debt, the more aggressive I became with this financial goal.  As always, I paid more than the minimum balance and started dumping any and all unassigned money toward that goal.  In working toward the big credit card payoff, I developed a solid habit of saving.  Now that this first goal is done and the high of the gratification is dwindling down, it does look slightly daunting when I look at my next goal on the snowball– my student loans with it’s $18,593.25 balance.  Ugh!!  I plan on making quarterly payments towards the principle with the money that was previously allocated to my credit card minimum + the 52 Week BINGO Challenge to shave off years of interest and thousands of dollars.

Related Post: {Debt Management} How to Shorten the Length of Your Loans & Reduce Interest

52 Week Challenge

Heavy Chains of Habit- Good or Bad?

Chains of habit are too light until they are too heavy to be broken.  Think about it like this, if you are in the habit of putting money aside every week, at the end of the year the weight of your weekly sacrifice would be greater than if you only saved for one week and then gave up.  Every week, saving $10.00 here, $70.00 there, $100.00 every once in a while might not seem like a big deal at the time, but every penny adds up.  Every time you save makes the habit of saving that much stronger.  The same can be said for  bad habits.  Spending $10.00 here and $70.00 there may not seem like a big deal in the moment.  But over time, that random spending becomes a bad habit and the weight of your debt becomes a heavy burden to carry.

YTD 52 Week BINGO Challenge

Doing the original 52 Week Challenge would result in $1378.00 for the entire year.  Doing the #shemakescents BINGO version has me at $1395.00 YTD with another 19 weeks to go for the rest of the year.

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{Life Skills} How To Comeback From A Setback

Goals and Setbacks

I came across this quote the other day and I thought it was too good not to share.  I talk and write about goals all the time, but I rarely write about how to stay on track after a setback.   In the simplest of definitions, a setback occurs when there is a reversal in progress.  Last year, I had a slight financial setback when I put a few thousand dollars on my previously paid off credit card.  I consider this a setback because it literally set me back and an entire year of my money snowball and the added interest I will be paying to make up that year is definitely a reversal of progress. This year, my setback was not being exactly where I wanted to be career wise.  This is something that has stressed me out a great deal until I realized this is my arrow year.  They say an arrow can be shot only by pulling it backward so when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great.  I hope this post launches you back onto your chosen path to greatness.

4 Steps to Come Back from A Set Backsetbacks-and-come-backs-she-makes-cents

  1. Question Your Goals.  Are the goals you set for yourself still relevant?  What was important to you six months ago, may not even be on your radar anymore.  That being said, it is okay to abandon goals that you have outgrown for more relevant endeavors.   Take a step back and examine your career, relationships, and finances and decide what’s worth resetting and what can be let go.

  2.  Setbacks Are Meant for Learning.   Okay, so your proverbial “tire” got a flat.  What was your lesson?  Was it to slow down?  Focus more on the road ahead?  Lean into the curves that life throws you?  The only waste of a setback is not learning the lesson.  A lesson missed is a mistake waiting to be repeated.

  3. Break Down Your Goals Into Smaller Manageable Goals.  Sometimes people have a reversal in progress when they get overwhelmed by the task at hand.  It’s like eating pizza.  You shouldn’t be able to eat the entire pie at one time, you have to eat it slice by slice.  Weird example, I know… but you get the point.  Here’s something a little more personal.  I have a goal to be debt free (not including our mortgages) in the next five years.  If I looked at the $27,000 in credit card and student loan debt in its entirety, I might have easily gotten overwhelmed with my goal.  I had to break it down into smaller manageable goals.  First I separated the debts- $5,000.00 for credit cards and $22,000.00 for the remainder of my student loans.  I then set separate goals dates to be done with the debt.  For example, my goal was to pay off my credit card debt by August 1, 2016,  and I am happy to report that I accomplished that goal ahead of time.  I did that by setting weekly goals with the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge and bi-weekly goals of making a minimum $150.00 payment every two weeks regardless of the minimum payment.  With the credit cards out of the way, I am now able to snowball that money to tackle  part two of my student loans and knock out that remaining debt in four years or less.  

  4. Set a Goal Date & Get Her Done.  In this post, “{Got Goals} How To Make and Achieve Your Goals” I break down the tools needed to complete this step.  Check out the post and you will see what I’m talking about.  Don’t forget when breaking down your goals into smaller manageable goals to assign milestone markers for you to stop and reflect on your progress. When I got my credit card under the $1,000.00 mark, I stopped and patted myself on the back because I could see my achievements in the near future. shemakescents-com

{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. 

{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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{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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