{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.

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpg  Visit SMC on Facebook  Visit SMC on Twitter  Visit SMC on Twitter  Visit SMC  Email SMC

{The Countdown Begins} She Makes Cents Returns

SMC Returns

A Key Benefit of Parents Funding Their Children’s College Expenses

I remember I asked the question on the SMC Facebook page, “Should parents help fund their children’s college expenses?”  The responses ranged from, “Oh, hell no” to “If I have the means, why not give back to the next generation”.  My Dad helped me and because of that, I graduated with about $25,000 in student loan debt, as opposed to $125,000+/ for a top-tier private college. According to USA Today, “in all but one state, the average graduate owed more than $20,000 in 2013, and in six states, the average student debt was more than $30,000.”  So what does this all mean post graduation?  It means that a generation is starting their adult lives in the red. When it’s time to make major financial decisions, such as buying a house, like our parent’s generation was able to do, the road to home ownership and financial freedom seems non-existent.

Stebo 008

A Key Benefit of Parents Funding Their Children’s College Expenses

I bought my house for my 24th birthday on a whim.  In fact, my story of how I purchased a home for my 24th birthday was nothing more than a beautiful blessing.  I had not saved one dime specifically for a purchase of this type.  In fact, I was simply praying for a way to get out of my parent’s house after moving back from college.  At this time in my life, Sallie Mae and I were close friends because I had my student loans paid a year in advance even with the recession picking up steam.  For about two weeks, I was looking on the internet for apartments when I recalled a financial seminar I attended in college where one of the panelists made the point that “renting was paying for something you would never own”.  I wondered could I afford to own.  With a strong push from my friend Jason, I took a leap of faith, that some would call a poor financial decision, and I made an offer on a property, without looking at other properties.  That was just four days after of my 24th birthday.

Read the full story here: Why I Think Parents Should Their Kids’ College Expenses

How Was I Able to Make Such A Big Financial Decision in Just 4 days?  Found out in the full story:

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpg

 FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

Food For Thought: Finances & Job Security

Truth- There is nothing secure about job security. In fact, the emotional and physical stress that people experience over worry of losing a job and not being able to keep up a lifestyle or provide for a family is all too common. According to this article from the Wall Street Journal, “As many as two-thirds of people in the U.S. don’t have the recommended six months of expenses saved. The percentage of people with savings enough to cover at least three months shrank to 40 % in 2014, compared with 45%, a year earlier.”

save-money-after-job-lose-lay-off

So when do you make a plan for the worst? Well, it’s better to have one in place before you need it…and I hope you will never need it. Having the recommended six months of expenses is just that- a recommendation. You have to figure out what amount works best for you and if you are like me, having a goal and a plan to get more than the recommended amount would put my mind at ease, since it can still take more than six months to secure a new place on your career path. The good news is, it is never too late to start protecting yourself financially.  Are you saving enough? If not, don’t undercut yourself by saving a little this week and skipping next week.  Get in the habit of paying yourself first!  You owe it to yourself and those you support to be financially secure in a world where job security isn’t secure.

Companies are downsizing, departments are being eliminated, and employers are trimming the fat. If you lost your job today, how long would you be able to survive financially?

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpg

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Show Me the Money} Tuition Bites Six-Month Review

UPDATE: TUITION BITES HAS GONE OUT OF BUSINESS

She Makes CentsSix months ago I signed up for a service that claims to help people pay off student loans by shaving years off of a student loan repayment term and saving thousands in interest over the life of the loan. I decided to try it using my own student loan debt information, record my progress, and give honest feedback.

Welcome to my review of Tuition Bites!

Signing up on the site was very easy and within minutes, I had my very own online storefront. According to Tuition Bites, they have a “new featured item available for all our members to promote through their storefront”, however, since signing up six months ago, I have only been able to feature discounted Starbucks gift cards because the “new featured item” is always Starbucks! While I LOVE Starbucks and love getting 10% off a $25.00 gift card, I found it difficult to get others excited about checking out and buying from my storefront if the product never changes.

Show Me the Money!Tuition Bites

Regardless of what item is being feature, the goal is to sell so that a portion of every order, 25-30% depending on the item, is direct deposited into your linked account. To be honest, I was a little worried about giving my account information to a website I wasn’t very familiar with, but I must say that they are quick to add your financial cut from the sale(s) to your financial aid account. My first month I had three sales- one from me, one from my dad, and one from a cool She Makes Cents reader which equaled to about $20.00 paid directly to Sallie Mae.

My Verdict

I must admit that because the product only changed once…from $20.00 cookies to a Starbucks eGift card, I quickly lost interest in promoting my storefront. That’s the only downside I see. Like I said before, if it features affordable products that people like or want to try, something that saves money of things you regularly buy, and helps pay down massive student loan debt, then it could be a worth the time it takes to promote your storefront. In a culture where time is money, it is only worth the time, in my opinion, if there were more product options for people supporting your storefront.

Final Grade: B-/C+

How are you paying down your student loans?

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Splurge or Save} Christian Louboutin Nail Polish


christian-louboutin-nail-polish

Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I have an affinity toward nail polish. The Mr. once described my behavior in a Sephora on the Las Vegas strip as a “lioness approaching her prey”. With that being said, I have tried it all and I must say, nail polish should not be a splurge. Take the Christian Louboutin nail lacquer that was released yesterday. For $50.00 a bottle, that is smaller than the average nail polish bottle I might add, what are you getting?- A nice rouge polish that can be replicated with OPI or even NYX polish (which is becoming my new favorite because of how long it lasts). You see, you are paying for a name, cool branding with the spiked top, and for people to see you wearing Christian Louboutin. But unlike his shoes, which can be readily identified by their distinctive red bottoms, no one is going to recognize your Rouge Louboutin polish. Think about it like this, 12 bottles of polish could buy you a pair of Louboutin heels…which I would consider a better investment, by far.  

Splurge or Save? : SAVE

Danielle

cropped-logo-twitter2014.jpgWould you spend $50.00 for nail polish?

  Visit SMC on Facebook  Visit SMC on Twitter  Visit SMC on Twitter  Visit SMC  Email SMC

shemakescents{at}gmail {dot}com |  Instagram  @shemakescents 

 

{Style Cents} The Most Stylish Way to Destroy A Credit Card

Credit Card Name Necklace{Photo Source: Clossette}

I saw this picture not too long ago from the blogger and self-proclaimed JeDIY master, Yuka Yoneda, of Clossette.com and my mind started to race.  That’s right, you are looking at a fabulously easy DIY name necklace repurposed from her old Macy’s card.  People cut up credit cards all the time to celebrate a BIG pay off, to keep themselves from going into further credit card debt, or because they were issued a new card.  No matter the reason, this is definitely a more stylish option than going all Edward Scissor Hands on your old card.  I still can’t fathom the thought of doing the “big chop” on my credit card once it hits a zero balance. It’s hard to shift that paradigm of having a credit card simply “in case of emergencies” but I am starting realize that is what my emergency fund is for.  I’m not sure if I am ready to cut my current card, but I have a card or two that had to be replaced because of a corporate breach.  If you are taking part in this DIY, remember to first demagnetize the card, shred the card after you have removed your “name plate”, and dispose on trash day.

Chic or Cheap?

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

>

{Week 14 Update} 52 Week Money Challenge

Financial FreedomIt’s Friday already and time for your 52 Week Money Challenge reminder.  For those of you, like me, who began on January 3, 2014, we are 14 weeks in for this year!  Today, I crossed off $25.00 from the SMC bingo style money sheet , which puts me at a grand total of an extra $344.00 saved thus far.  The closer we get to August 1, 2014, my goal date to have a zero balance on my credit card, the more excited I get.  In some ways, the feeling I get every time I see the balance drop is becoming stronger than the high I get from shopping.  I am planning for big things to happen THIS MONTH by paying my set payment of $300.00 per month + the 52 Week Challenge each Friday + the possibility of a somewhat risky financial move, which I will talk about in Monday’s post.  Stay tuned to see how I plan to slash my credit card balance from $1345.00 (current balance) to less than $500.00 by the end of the month by taking of gamble with my finances.  If you want big rewards, sometimes you have to take big risks! 

{Business Cents} Is Thinking Like A Woman Not Enough to Become A Boss?

9c2d326e08156891c113faeb9431eb10

I like the quote “Act like a Lady, Think like a Boss”, but after admittedly over thinking it, it might not be as empowering as I once believed.  Perhaps, the shift in my thought process came after the quote was expanded to say, “look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, & work like a boss”.  First off, I’m not a girl, rather a grown woman climbing the corporate ladder and this quote, in my opinion, perpetuates two very poignant paradigms that have been instilled in our culture.  The first, that thinking like a man yields better professional results and the second; thinking like a woman is inferior.  Is thinking like a woman not enough to become a boss?  Is this part of the reason gender and pay inequality is still very present in the workplace?  Better yet, are we losing the “corporate game” because we are playing “like a girl”?She Makes Cents

Join SMC next Wednesday as we begin our “Like a Girl” series as I take on topics of Women, Business, & Money explored through studies, career experts, and personal experiences.  My goal is to redefine the standard of measurement while shedding light on some awesome women who are kicking ass and taking names in their careers!

Your Thoughts…?

FACEBOOK, TWITTER, PINTEREST, RSS Feed,

Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com