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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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

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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How to Stay Motivated To Save Money


she makes cents money blogHappy Friday #SMCmoneytribe.  I am coming to you on week two of the She Makes Cents Money Challenge to talk about the subject of motivation.  I imagine most people join this challenge for one major reason; they want their future financial situation to be better than their current circumstances.  This can be with respect to a very specific goal, such as saving for vacation or it could simply be the catalyst to fostering better saving habits like starting an emergency fund.  Either way, you accepted the challenge and are in it to win it, so I ask you…what keeps you motivated?

How I Stay Motivated

It’s very strange to say, but I am just as motivated by not disappointing readers like you as I am to clear my now $18,025.00 balance on my student loans.  This goes back to the idea of the #SMCmoneytribe and the village of supportive accountability partners who know my goal and know my progress.  Should I miss a week, which has happened before…hey, I am human, I think about all the people whom I’m sharing this experience with and I do whatever it takes to catch up.  I tell people all the time, if you get off track, either catch up or start over but don’t give up.Quotes

Watching my balance go down is also a very gratifying feeling.  I know where I started, I know where I want to be, and I know that timeline I have given myself to accomplish my ultimate goal to be completely debt free, not including my mortgage, within the next 3 years.

When I had credit card debt, I would allocate the weekly deposits from this challenge along with a monthly set payment of $300.00 to pay off my balance quickly.  Once I eliminated that debt, I set aside that $300.00 + the weekly deposits from this challenge to make quarterly lump sum payments towards my student loan principal.  This, my friends is what you call snowballing your debt.  I know how I excited I get to see my balance on the student loans go down at the slow pace it is currently moving since so much of the payment goes towards interest and not the principal.  The idea that my balance is about to make a major decrease by attacking the principal head on is the fuel I need to keep me motivated toward my larger goal of debt-free living.

Week 2 Update | She Makes Cents Money Challenge

For week two, I decided to cross off $25.00 on my bingo money card.  Since the Mr. and I are joining forces this year, that gives us a joint year-to-date (YTD) total of $145.00.

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What’s Your Motivation To Save? Please share below

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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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{2017 BINGO Money Challenge} The Easiest Way to Save Money In the New Year

It’s the season when people begin making new plans to start afresh in the New Year. We make goals/resolutions and we vow to take this great opportunity to reset and do better than the year before. Sound familiar? It’s important that we take time to reflect on this crazy year so we are that much more successful when we start over in 2017.   Were your financial goals attained? Did you fall off? Did your goals change? easietway-toavemoney

shemakescents  BINGO Money Challenge

This year some of my most basic financial goals included paying off my credit cards, snowballing my student loans, seeing the shemakescents BINGO Money Challenge to completion.  For those of you who are new to shemakescents.com, the BINGO Money Challenge is a remix of the popular 52 Week Money Challenge that went viral a few years ago.  The original challenge was to make a weekly deposit that reflects the number of weeks of the year. For example, on week one you deposit $1.00 and on week 52 you deposit $52.00 and so on.  However, doing it this way will have you shelling out the big bucks during the holidays when people’s money is the most limited.   I thought to myself…”Danielle, how can you find a way to honor the challenge in a way that will not hurt you financially?”  Then I came up with the idea to create a “bingo” style format.  The original version only has a max savings potential of $1378.00 whereas this version has an average of $1900.00+ .

This year, I have been pretty successful with this goal and my other financial goals from the stand point that I never gave up. There were a few bumps in the road but I pushed through and so many of you did too.  In pushing through, I was able to find more efficient ways to work towards my 2017 money goals.

Introducing the #SMCmoneytribe

In reflecting on the past year, I noticed that those of you who participated in the weekly check-ins for the shemakescents BINGO Money Challenge, via Twitter and the Facebook group (click the links to follow), had the highest success rates.  For 2017, all those who take part in the BINGO Money Challenge will become members of the #SMCmoneytribe giving you access to personalized check-ins, support of others with similar money goals, and a FREE printable of the 2017 version of the bingo money sheet.  Together we will reach our money goals and enjoy the company of other goal-oriented readers.  Past members have used their savings for travel, holiday gifts, pay down debt, save for a car down payment, and pay for professional certifications.  The sky is the limit with the savings because of the bonus boxes and if you really want to up the ante you can do so by doubling the value of each box.

Related Post: {Reader Success Story} A Shockingly Easy Way to Save Money for Fun2017-tribe-quote

If you would like the full benefits of joining our #SMCmoneytribe, please click here.  We would love to have you apart of our group.  Did I mention I have saved a little under $1,900.00 with two more weeks to go for the year??    If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at info@shemakescents.com .  

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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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{Week 17 Update} 52 Week BINGO Money Update

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

Bingo Money Sheet- Progress Pic

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

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