{Financial Cents} BINGO Money Challenge Hits MAJOR Milestone

Coins of Knowledge

Hello Lovelies!  I have some exciting news to share with you this morning.  Yesterday I crossed off $14.00 – doesn’t sound too exciting yet, but wait for it….. – on the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge.  That $14.00 put me at the $1,000.00 mark for this money challenge!  –INSERT HAPPY DANCE!!!!

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On the same day that I hit the $1,000.00 mark in savings, I also hit the under $1,000.00 mark in my credit card balance!!!  While I am proud of the financial gains made in the first six months of this challenge, I am even more excited about the about the savings habits I have created for myself.  I believe that creating a healthy savings routine is the first step on my journey to DEBT FREE living.  I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine who made the observation that I have only been focusing on saving and not making increasing my sources of income a priority.  In a lot of ways she was correct.  I have placed a serious focus this year on saving because in the past, I would start the year strong with savings goals and plans for myself only to find some of them abandoned by mid-year.  That being said, splitting my focus between increasing streams of income and saving would have only created more problems at that point in my journey when I wasn’t steadfast in making saving a priority.  The phrase, “More Money, More Problems”, exists for a reason.  Without a healthy savings routine and more income coming in, I could have easily  created more debt and worsen bad spending habits.  I have spent the first six months of this year really focusing on correcting past bad behaviors and replacing them with healthy habits.  Now that I have solid saving habits, I can start also focusing on increasing income and using that increase to move on the next snowball in my overall financial plan- student loans debt. I attribute my success to personal will, saying no to social (sometimes), and having accountability partners, like readers of She Makes Cents to help keep me motivated.  I would love to hear how you are doing with this challenge… the good, the bad, and the ugly.  

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{Week 13} 52 Week Money Challenge Bingo Style

She Makes Cents

Someone recently asked me “what was the point of doing a money challenge, it’s not like you are saving a substantial amount?”  My reply was simple, “every little bit helps me get one step closer to my goals”.  I am very serious about having a zero balance on my credit card by August 1, 2014 and using funds saved from this challenge helps me pay off my balance faster.  Today, I crossed number 17 off my bingo style money challenge sheet which gives me a grand total of $319.00 additional dollars added to help pay off the balance on my cards.  A while ago, I decided that instead of payment the minimum + the 52 Week Challenge weekly payment I would decide on a set payment to make every two weeks and add the money from the challenge on top of that.  This has allowed me to chop off interest payments as well. 

How Are You Doing On the Challenge?

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SMC- 52 Week Money ChallengeThis morning has proved to be on of those rare occasions where I am awake before the doggies and the Mr.  I thought to myself, this would be the perfect time to blog!  I was preparing for a cool {Beauty Cents} post, when I realized I completely forgot about my 52 Week Money Challenge on yesterday.  This week I am planning on crossing off number 27 (which I will do right after I post this) which puts me at a total of $269.00 of extra money.  If you are doing the challenge, comment below on your progress.  If you have yet to start, I encourage you to do so.  This doesn’t have to be just a New Year’s challenge, but rather a yearly challenge.  Your year starts when you start, so today is as good of day as any! 

Do you want of Bingo Money Sheet? Email Me

Happy Saving!

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{TuitionBites} Service That Pays Down Your Student Loans

In the quest toward financial freedom, I have tried some pretty crazy things.  Some worked out well and others…well, let’s just say there is a reason I didn’t write about them.  This week, I clicked the twitter handle @tuitionbites because I thought the name was catchy.  Little did I know, I would be introduced to a new(ish) concept that combines e-commerce and crowd-funding.  The service from TuitonBites 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.  The original tweet boasted about one person’s ability to get $100.00 per month paid to the principle of their loan… I was intrigued. 

Starbucks = Big Bucks?

Is it too good to be true? Being the researcher that I am, I decided to sign up five days ago.  My plan is to give it the good ole college try for about 6 months so I can report back to you, the readers of SMC, on whether I believe it is a smart financial move or a waste of time. Apparently, it works by sharing a personalized URL (>check out my storefront here) with friends and family and a portion of every order, 25-30% depending on the item, gets direct deposited into your student loan account.  Buyers can even donate additional funds toward your student loan balance to help you reach your financial goals faster, so if you know a someone who may want to help you out (hello Uncle Moneybags), you might want to let them know asap since interest accrues daily.  When  I signed up a few days ago, the item of the month was chocolate cookies for $20.00.  TWENTY DOLLARS for chocolate cookie…during Girl Scout season?!! I thought that the price was steep and I worried that every item sold on this site would have an inflated cost or would be a product that people wouldn’t really want to buy.  Yesterday, however, I was so excited to see that this month’s item is a $25.00 eGift card from Starbucks for only $22.50, that’s 10% off to anyone who purchases from your store (insert angels singing here).  Once received, you can print out the card to give to the cashier, use it right from your smart phone or transfer the balance to a registered Starbucks card.  I see it like this, 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 win-win.  Only time will tell, so stay tuned as I keep you updated on whether this is a smart financial move or a waste of time.  If you want coffee in the meantime, I’m sure I can help you with that!

What Does A Storefront Look Like?Tuition Bites

Does TuitionBites really make an impact? 100extra She Makes Cents

Do you think a service like this is worth the effort?

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{Week 9 Update} 52 Week Challenge

Hello Lovelies!  It is Friday, which means it is time to contribute to your 52 Week Savings.  Since restarting my Bingo Style  version of the official money challenge back in January,  I have saved a total of $242.00 that have been applied toward my credit card principal.  I seriously cannot stress just how easy this process is.   I revealed early last year that my credit card balance was up to $5300.00 and paying a little over the minimum + the 52 Bingo Style, I have gotten my balance down to $1899.00.  August 1st, my goal date for a zero balance, is right around the corner and things are starting to really pick up!

Do you want a copy of my Bingo Style Money Sheet?  Email Me!

Happy Saving!

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{Throwback Thursday} The Best of SheMakesCents.com!

Every Thursday, social media is flooded with the hashtag #tbt (Throwback Thursday) as people take a  moment to reflect on their past and how far they have come.  In celebration of this weekly milestone, I would like to invite you on a journey to the beginning.  This Saturday, March 1st will mark the 3 year Blogiversary for She Makes Cents and I wanted to share some of my favorite posts of the past.  Happy Throwback Thursday Lovelies! 

Broke Is The New Black

Identity Theft Credit Cards

She Makes Cents

Happy Throwback Thursday!

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Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com

{SMC Journal} SMC Listed on 10 Best Financial Blogs for Women

bc-1January 16, 2014

I can’t think of a more fitting time to start my SMC Journal than today.  Yesterday, I received a surprising email from a representative from BadCredit.org, a site created to help Americans with subpar credit find the information and resources they need to make successful credit decisions.  The email was to inform me that  SheMakesCents.com was named one of 10 Best Finance Blogs for Women.  It’s so exciting to know that people out there in cyberspace are actually reading MY blog and visiting MY site.  I hope that any recognition from being included on this list opens doors for the site so that I can continue to inspire YOU, the reader.  The fab life doesn’t have to come at a hefty price tag.  It’s especially fulfilling to know that I have awesome readers out there who not only share their own stories with me, but readers who are willing to join me on my own journey toward financial freedom.

xoxo, Danielle

 

{Living Paycheck to Paycheck} Are You Working for the Weekend or Living for Payday?

She Makes Cents

{Financial Cents} How Long Should You Keep Your Financial Records?

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{Financial Cents} Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor?

Just as slaves born into slavery can’t visualize freedom, we Americans don’t know what it would be like to wake up to NO debt.
Dave Ramsey, Total Money Makeover

Is Your Way of Thinking Making You Poor.pngYour alarm clock sounds, alerting you that a new day has come. You awake to find yourself owning a car without a car payment, a home without a mortgage, an education without student loans, and credit card(s) with a zero balance. How did you get to this financial freedom? Did you a) win the lottery, b) rob a bank Sugar & Spice style, or c) align your behaviors with your long-term financial goals? Well, the answer to the question depends on whom you ask.

I told a friend of mine that I was working to become debt free and she looked me right in my face and laughed. I mean laughed to the point of tears while telling me how unrealistic I was being. “Everyone has debt”, she alleged. If this were her outlook on financial freedom, I would guess that she could image a debt free life comes only as a result of a windfall. She will either rob the bank or win the lottery. I, however, understand how even the most minute  sacrifices will help me get closer to my financial goals. I have to think beyond the day-to-day and month-to-month if I want to build  generational wealth. Financial expert, Dave Ramsey adds, “We have been sold debt with such repetition […] that it’s hard for people to imagine what it would be like to have no payments”. Debt shouldn’t be the normal status quo and I am not comfortable adopting that mind-set. When the day comes when I wake up with no mortgage, no student loans, and no credit card balance, I know it will be a result of my financial plan and my commitment to it.

Is Debt Normal? Share Your Thoughts…