Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps Explained

Hey #SMCmoneytribe!  Yesterday I took a little time out of my day to create an infographic for you that provides a quick overview into Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps.  I wanted to do this for you because I reference these steps in a lot of my writing because they have become the meat and potatoes of my financial plan.  If you are a long time reader of She Makes Cents, you might remember when I was so excited to get to the second part of Baby Step 2 that I tried a risky financial move of playing financial Russian Roulette.  Let’s just say the outcome was not what I expected when my car broke down one week later and I only had half of an emergency fund to help me out.  (P.S. According to Ramsey, car maintenance is not an emergency and rather something that should be budgeted for).she makes cents

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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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{Week 4 Progress Report} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

It’s the fourth Friday of the year which means it’s time for the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge.  Today I have crossed off $20.00 on my BINGO money sheet.  This puts me at a total of $245.00 extra dollars to be applied to my credit card balance.  What makes this challenge exciting to me is that fact that I’m saving little chucks of money that I don’t miss in my day to day life.  I know with each passing week, those “little chucks of money” will start snowballing into something bigger. 

Caucasian businesswoman with tip jar

Here is how month has broken down so far:

  • Week One: $35.00
  • Week Two: $40.00
  • Week Three $50.00 + $100.00 (bonus)
  • Week Four: $20.00

We are lucky enough to have five weeks in January, which is great because you gain an extra opportunity to save a little more while the momentum is good and people are still somewhat on focus with their 2016 resolutions.

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How Much Have You Saved So Far?

{Week 3 Progress Report} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

It’s Friday and week 3 for me for the 52 Week BINGO Challenge. This week I am crossing off $50 and my first bonus box for $100.00 for a combined savings of $150.00 for week 3 and a grand total of $225.00. Every day I receive emails with inspiring stories of people, their financial goals, and their progress of making smarter money moves. It makes me so happy to get check-ins on Fridays, especially from people who have joined the challenge.  I hope is it shows readers of shemakescents that you are not on this financial journey alone.

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If you would like a personalized check in, please leave your twitter handle below or tweet me at @shemakescents.

How Much Have You Saved So Far? Please Share Below.

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{Week 2 Progress Report} 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge

It’s the start of the year and people are still very focused with their resolutions.  For some, the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge is another goal on their resolution list.  For me, it has to be a lifestyle.  For the past few years, I have accepted the challenge to save for a specific amount to  help with paying down my credit card, saving  for the holidays, or even saving to help out with my wedding to the Mr; however, once I accomplished the goal, I fell off.  I was doing well with a zero balance and then I started to swipe my credit card for wedding expenses so now I am back to the beginning of Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 2. That’s why they call it a challenge because it is challenging.

Happy Friday

 This year, I am back at the goal of wiping out my $3,886.78 credit card balance completely by or before May 1, 2016.  My plan is to pay a set amount every two weeks plus the  savings from BINGO money challenge, every Friday.  Once the credit card balance is non-existent,  I can start snowballing my student loans so I can shorten the length of the term dramatically and reduce the amount of interest I would have to pay back.    Today, I marking off  number 40 on my Bingo Money Sheet (leave a comment below for your FREE copy of the 2016 BINGO style sheet).

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{Super Charge Your 2016 Savings} 52 Week Money Challenge Like You Have Never Done Before!

Financial Affirmation: “I am aligned with the energy of wealth and abundance”.

Photo Credit- Colin Anderson (Getty Images)


It’s the first Friday of 2016 which means it is time for the Bingo Style version of the 52 Week Money Challenge.  For the past few years, I have  used the bingo format to help pay off my credit card debt, save for the holidays, and  save for a little extra for a wedding.  This year, I plan on using the extra money from this version of the challenge to get my credit card balance back to zero (another story for another day) and start snowballing my student loans.

Here Is How It Works!

I’m sure you have seen the original challenge floating around the internet where you 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.  One year, I even attempted to do the original challenge in reverse by saving more money at the beginning of the year and less the closer we get to the holiday season. The only problem with doing it that way was that I was shelling out a lot of money right after the holidays when… for most people, money is still a little tight. 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. At the end of the year, I would still end up with the same amount of $1378.00  and if I am having a tough financial week, I can pick a lower amount to save. The good thing about the bingo challenge is that you are able to start at any time and if you get off track, it’s easy to see where you need to make it up to get back on track.52 Week Challenge

What Makes 2016 Different?

The power of choosing how much you want to save is what has always made the Bingo Style different from the original 52 Week Challenge. This year, though, we have upped the ante and included optional bonus+ boxes for those who are able and willing to push themselves further on this challenge. It will take more sacrifice, but it will help you gain more strength and momentum toward your financial goals since you will be saving a minimum of $1928.00 versus $1378.00.

Check Ins

You know goals are more likely to materialize when we share them with others.  That being said, check ins will take place on Fridays at noon where I will share my progress on the challenge and its effect on my overall financial goals and I encourage you to do the same. I love hearing your stories of how you are doing in the challenge and the financial milestones you have accomplished by making saving a habit of your daily life.  Sometimes doing it with a friend or even a blogger friend like me, keeps you better motivated since  you aren’t in it alone.  If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, shoot me a line below or email me for the latest Bingo Style Money Challenge, free to  shemakescents readers!

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{2015 Week 11 Update} 52 Week Money Challenge

I believe that through knowledge and discipline, financial peace is possible for all of us.      -Dave Ramsey

52 Week Challenge

I’ve been contacted by quite a few of you asking for a copy of the 52 Week Money Challenge, which shows me that I am not the only one looking to save money.  While you won’t save a MAJOR windfall doing this challenge, you will gain financial discipline.  It’s harder than you think to get in the habit of saving but once up pick up the skill, it’s well worth the effort.  If you are new to She Makes Cents, I am happy to report that I paid off my credit card doing this challenge as additional payments over the minimum.  I am now adding this extra money to my wedding savings account after I see how much I have left from doing a zero based budget…aka, my saving grace!

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How Are You Going Use Your $1300+ ?

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{Mobile Money} 3 Fool Proof Tips to Keep Your Mobile Banking Secure

I remember not too long ago when mobile banking and payments was taboo.  It was thought to be unsafe by many people; a scary black hole in which unsuspecting users where trusting their entire financial lives.  Today, this is not the case.  Even with constant public breaches of personal information, consumer comfort seems to be at an all time high.  Instead of the traditional wallet with several forms of payment, people are leaning on the convenience of the mobile wallet. Perhaps, it is the evolution of technology and one’s daily mastery use of it or even the ease of access that makes cashing a check by taking a picture instead of driving to the bank, that much more appealing.  With an estimated $8.6 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) annually of card payments fraud, what should you do to keep your money and information secure?

tumblr_n699bwWDTS1s322uwo1_500Free Wifi + Mobile Payments = No Bueno. Logging on to free Wi-Fi in public spacing is like holding up a neon sign saying, “Please rob me”.  The reason for this is that public Wi-Fi is simply that…..public.  It is not encrypted since you don’t have to enter a password for access.  That is to say, that those who also share the network with you have access to certain sites you visit, even those with the https:// in front of it, which denotes a secured website.  Want to keep your access secure white using public Wi-Fi?  To start, only visit sites that don’t require you to enter a password like SheMakesCents.

Open Tabs On PhoneLog Out.  When you sign into your mobile banking, look at the balance of your student loans, or pay a bill through online bill pay, it is imperative that you not only log out when finished, but close the tab.  Cell phones and other mobile devices store so much of your private information that has the ability to collect your personal data when you visit other sites.  Think about it, if you had your banking tab open at the same time as your Facebook tab, for instance, you might start seeing banking ads in your timeline.

apple_pay_credit_cards_primary-100413350-primary.idgeStored Mobile Payment Information.  Keep track of the apps that you allow to store your payment information.  With all the conveniences of iTunes, services like Zifity who bring food to your front door, Uber who provides car service and even Fandango the movie ticket savior (I hate standing in long lines) it’s easy to lose track of who has access to your credit card/ banking information for mobile payments.

To enjoy the convenience of mobile banking and payments, is to make smart decisions, be as proactive as you can to protect your devices and access to your information.  Data breaches happen and for those highly skilled hackers these tip may not matter. But if you are on top these fool proof suggestions, it can make it harder for the average Joe to prevail in robbing you blind.

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{Super Charge Your 2015 Savings} 52 Week Money Challenge | Bingo Style

Can I get a “BINGO”?  It’s a new year, which means it is time for the 52 Week Money Challenge.  I can tell by looking into my stats for the She Makes Cents that people are researching ways to save money in the new year. I mean really, we can all do something a little different with our financial decisions that will set us up for financial success.  For the past two years now, I have taken part in the 52 Week Money Challenge.  In participating for the past two years, I created a simpler way to save that was both lucrative and effortless.  My She Makes Cents Bingo Style Sheet, free for She Makes Cents readers, has made it easier for those participating in the challenge to save money on one’s own terms.  Using my Bingo Style Sheet has helped me to pay off my credit card debt, save for the holidays, and start saving for my wedding in October.  

52 Week Challenge

How Does It Work?

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 27 you deposit $27.00 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.  At the end of the year, I would still end up with the same amount of $1378.00 (without doing any of the bonuses) and if I am having a tough financial week, I can pick a lower amount to save.  The good thing about the bingo challenge is that you are able to start at any time and if you get off track, it’s easy to see where you need to make it up to get back on track.

Still Need Motivation?

I will post my progress on Fridays and I invite you to keep us up to date on your progress.  I love hearing your stories of how you are doing in the challenge and the financial milestones you have accomplished by making saving a habit of your daily life.  Sometimes doing it with a friend or even a blogger like me, keeps you better motivated since  you aren’t in it alone.  If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, shoot me a line below.  Happy Saving!

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How Are You Going Use Your $1300+ ?

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SMC Book Club: January Selection

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light. – Vera Nazarian

I am an avid reader and every year I set out to read at least 12 books a year.  It’s a resolution that when of making, seems simple.  But yet, as the year goes on I find myself getting caught up in things that pull my focus away.  That 12 book goal starts feeling like 1200 books.  Last month, in a few moments of down time, I took a pink post-it and made a list of books that I have been wanting to read.  I then took it a step forward and bought the first book on my list.  It was an autographed copy, at that! Afterward, I told my girlfriends from work who also seemed interested in some of the reads on my list and [insert angel choir here] the birth of the She Makes Cents Book Club was born.  For the past month, I kept going back and forth about whether I would present it to the world as a monthly book suggestion, book review, or a book club and then I remembered about why I love books in the first place.  Reading and discussing books with other people allows you to understand the same material, often time from a different point of view than one’s own.  That is one of the things I miss about college… the ability to have open dialogue about a multitude of subjects.

So Here Is How It Will Work:

Every month we will select a new book  and announce that selection a week before the start of every month.  This will give you time to go to your local book store, library, or download to your device. Selections for the books will come from readers suggestions and the list I started on the post-it.  We ask that selections embrace powerful women, business cents, fictional favorites, and anything that informs and inspires us to be the people we aspire to be.  With that being said, I am happy to announce the SMC Book Club: January Selection to be The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Fürstenberg.  I have always been a fan of her as a woman  and I was so happy to see that she is exactly who I hoped her to be when watching her reality show “House of DVF”.  This book explores the subject of her roots, love, beauty, and business; thus, making it the perfect choice for our January Selection.  I hope you pick up the book and join the SMC team as we read our January selection.  Discussions for this book can be found in the comments below starting Monday, January 5th. 

Happy Reading!Books

Photo Credit: |dvf.com

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Want to Join Book Club? Leave a Book Suggestion Below.

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