How To Jump Start Your 2019 Money Goals with the SMC Money Challenge

The SMC Money Challenge is back and better than ever. After a successful 2018 run, the SMC Money Tribe, a community of goal-setting women who accepted the challenge to invest in their money and lifestyle goals, is ready to take on a new money challenge. We are shifting mindsets while tackling debt, saving money, and replacing bad money habits with smart money moves. Beginning on January 3, 2019, weekly progress check-ins will open up every Thursday at 7pm (EST) and will stay open until Sunday at midnight in SMC Money Challenge Facebook group and on the She Makes Cents Instagram account. During that time, SMC Money Tribe members are expected to invest in their goals by participating in weekly progress updates, money chats, and mini-challenges with the best accountability partners out there…other women with money-saving goals. Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. This is why a community for women to discuss personal finance without shame or embarrassment is important.

Last year, SMC Money Tribe leader, Danielle YB Vason and her hubby, used the SMC Money Challenge to save money for EXTRA debt payments. In doing so, they paid off over $19,000.00 in debt in 2018 alone. Other tribe members, like Victoria from Atlanta, shared a $27,000.00 debt payoff and Angela from Australia saved enough money for a 5-week vacation to Mexico and the US. Regardless of whether you are joining the challenge to pay off debt, save for the future, or save for something specific like a house, wedding, or vacation, the SMC Money Challenge is for you!

How to Jump Start Your Money Goals In the New Year from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

How Does the 2019 SMC Money Challenge Work?

At the beginning of the year, a new money challenge guide is created (this is a FREE download for members of the SMC Money Tribe). Each week, tribe members select one number from their money guide with the option to add “bonus” money and save that amount toward their money goal. With the bonus option, the sky’s the limit with one’s saving potential.

Years ago, the 52 Week Money Challenge floated around the internet. It was a savings challenge that dared those who accepted to save the dollar amount that corresponded to that particular week of the year. For example, on week 1 you were expected to save $1.00 and on week 25 you were expected to save $25, and so on. If you were successful, by the end of the 52 weeks, you would have saved a grand total of $1387.00. The thing is, at the time that this challenge was beginning to gain popularity, I knew that it wouldn’t work for me. The idea of saving numbers like $49, $50, $51, and $52…during the holidays was a bit rich for my blood back in 2013. That is when I was inspired to create a “bingo” version where I had more control over my money and how much I saved each week. I selected one number between 1-52 weekly and I saved put that amount toward my debt payoff goal because, at the end of the year, it doesn’t matter how you saved because you will still end up with the same $1387.00. Years later I upped the ante with bonuses that allow tribe members to save a minimum of $1387.00 and a maximum with no limit.

It took a few attempts, but finally, the perfect mix of inspiration, determination, and discipline combined and I was able to make it through 52 weeks successfully. The next year, I added in “bonus boxes” on my money guide and saved a little more. Then I added a way to track the savings. You see, every year I complete the challenge, I find a new way to tweak it and make it better for next year and I must say the 2019 SMC Money Challenge guide is proof of that. Now, I am proud to say that I have successfully completed 156 consecutive weeks doing this challenge. In my three successful cycles of 52 weeks, I have used the money to make EXTRA payments to my debt snowball. I paid off my credit card debt, my student loans are paid in full, and when of writing this post, I am projected to pay off my car loan 4.8 years ahead of schedule (by February 2019)…and that is just a snippet of my journey.  I am not a personal finance blogger who sold all of her stuff and lives off rice and beans.  I am not rich nor did I come from a wealthy family.  I am an “every girl” that woke up one day and decided I could do better for myself and for my future.  I made a choice 156 weeks ago to change my financial future.  What choice will you make today that your future self will thank you for?

How to Join the 2019 SMC Money Challenge?

  1. Follow @shemakescents on Instagram
  2. Post this image below in your Instagram Story  or this image to your Instagram grid (you MUST tag @shemakescents to I can see it).
  3. Join the SMC Facebook Group (this will be your home base for the tribe to ask questions, support each other, and hold each other accountable).
  4. Print your FREE 2019 SMC Money Challenge Guide

How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from top Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>
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How to Join the Best Money Saving Challenge from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents>

{Money Hack} Quick Guide to the Debt Snowball

If you are a frequent reader of shemakescents, then you will constantly hear me referring to a snowball, but what exactly does a snow ball have to do with personal finance? The snowball is a metaphor that represents my current financial goals. Picture this… someone picks up a small handful of snow and creates a ball. That ball is then pushed down a hill and with every rotation picks up more snow and speed. By the time it reaches the bottom of the hill, the ball has multiplied in size. Money SnowballPhoto Credit: PM Images

Now let’s break it down…

  •  Simply picking up the ice to form a ball represents motivation. Most people would have seen the snow but left it alone because it’s too cold to bother with.
  •  The small ball, created from motivation, is a manifestation of the strength of my current financial situation. It’s small right now, but will grow with better money habits ahead.
  •  The snow ball being pushed represents my obligation to myself not to settle or stay stagnant. You have to keep moving to make progress. With every rotation (aka payment above the minimum) the fight against debt gains momentum until it gets to the bottom of the hill aka “The Land of Financial Freedom”.

Financially speaking, it looks like this:

Current Credit Card Minimum Payment = $89.00
The Average Monthly Payment I Make = $450.00 ($300.00 per month + the average of the 2016 version 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge) will have me credit card free in 9 months at the longest.

Once the credit card has a zero balance, that money will be “snowballed” onto my monthly student loans. Instead of paying the $200.00 minimum for those, I will then pay $200.00 + $450.00 to equal $650.00 per month on student loan debt. Doing this will shave 12 years and 7 months off my expected repayment term and save me about $6,555.55 on interest alone.

Once the student loans are eliminated, I will then have an extra $650.00 every month.  That’s an extra $7,800 per year that could be applied to savings, investments, or a down payment for a large purchase.

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