{Wedding Budget} Could My Wedding Expenses Be Tax Deductible?

Have you ever had an ah-ha moment in front of total strangers? You know, when the light bulb goes off and your mind starts racing. Well, I had that moment early this summer when meeting with a bride and her CPA father to discuss her décor for her wedding. We were talking trends in weddings, when someone asked, “what happens to the wedding flowers after the wedding?”. I told them of the article I read that inspired me for my own wedding (which then was just a daydream). The article suggested that couples donate extra floral left from the wedding to the residents of a senior care facility. While there, ask the residents for their wedding advice so that they get visitors and the newlyweds get advice from generations before. I thought it was a great idea and a sweet way to start a marriage- giving. The bride’s father interjected agreeing that it was a great idea! Especially since, you could write it off on your taxes. AH….HA…..MOMENT!Tax Deductible Wedding copy

Who knew that some wedding expenses are tax-deductible? I starting researching wedding related tax-deductions using an online tax calculator in planning my own wedding and I was surprised by what I found.

Click here to  find  the secrets behind tax-deductible wedding expenses and how they can work for you!

What are your thoughts on tax-deductible wedding expenses?

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This post was first featured on the FeeX blog.

{Week 21 Update} 52 Week Challenge Helped Me Hit A Financial Milestone!

It’s week 21 of the 52 Week Challenge and I am five weeks away from the half-way point of the challenge I started on Friday, January 3, 2014. Over the course of 21 weeks, I have saved over $500.00 dollars that I would have spent on random bits and baubles. Doing this challenge, along with deciding to play a little Russian roulette with my finances, has helped me to pay off my ENTIRE credit card balance three months ahead of schedule.

52 Week ChallengeWhile some may think a money challenge like this is not worth the effort, I strongly disagree. Not only are you putting money aside for whatever your current financial goal may be, be it paying down debt, saving for a new car or home, or planning a wedding, you are also altering your previous financial behaviors. Personal finance is 80% BEHAVIOR and only 20% HEAD KNOWLEDGE! Just taking the steps to start a challenge like this means that you are getting into the habit of saving. Becoming successful in the challenge means that it has become a part of your lifestyle and not a temporary behavior change. I urge you, if you have thought about ways to save money to try this challenge BINGO style. It’s the easiest way to save extra money under your own terms.

Email me for a copy of my 52 Week Challenge Sheet & Start the Challenge TODAY!

Let’s Connect!

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{Beauty Cents} Have We Forgotten What True Beauty Looks Like?

Real Women, Real Reactions!

BuzzFeed asked women to take part in an experiment where they were treated to hair and makeup by a glam squad and then modeled in a professional photo shoot. After the shoot, a Photoshop expert retouched the photos to make the women look like the glamorous cover models we see on magazines.  They were thinner, lighter in complexion, and smoother. Each woman was shown the picture of their “transformations” and their reaction was not what many would expect.

I recently read a comment someone posted in reaction to the picture below of models and their “before” look (no makeup and pre-photoshop).  The person tagged the picture with the comment, “this should make you feel better about yourself”. I personally do not resonate with this reaction. As women we have to stop chasing perfection and start embracing ourselves and each other for the things that make us beautiful and unique. What is perfect, anyway? Beauty is the opposite of perfection; it’s about confidence, charisma, and character!

She Makes Cents

What makes you beautiful?

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{Lifestyle Cents} Highly Successful People Make This Type of List…

she decided to start living the life she imagined…

I’m always reading something and back in December, I came across another one of those Things Successful People Do Differently articles. This article, however, has changed the way I approach goals for myself. As I was going down the list, I was giving myself mental gold stars for every bullet point that I was doing at that time. Read something educational everyday- Check. Keep a To-Do List- Check Check

Then the article mentioned that in addition to To-Do lists, which I am notorious for making, highly successful people are said to make and keep a current “To Be” list. I immediately grabbed a pen and paper and started listing who I wanted to be. Why hadn’t I thought of this before? Or had I? She Makes CentsLike so many people, I have taken to Pinterest to design my perfect hypothetical wedding, plan the design for my perfectly organized home, cook like a chef, have a body like a model, a bank account like a Hilton (seriously with all of the high fashion pins I have, I would need that type of budget) and if I were anything like my Pinterest persona, I was able to drop random knowledge about random things at the drop of a hat. Did you know that marshmallows help brown sugar stay soft?  Perhaps, I thought to myself, these boards I created for myself are puzzle pieces that make up the person I’m looking to become.  My To-Be list is a daily reminder to do something that helps me be the person I want to be. Every time I look at my list or add something to it, I become laser focus on becoming the person I want to be.
Check Out Some of the Points from my December To-Be List:

I want to be…

organized, punctual, chic,
polished, grounded, fit,
healthy,
supportive, well spoken, charitable, prepared,

financially free

Yes, I will continue to pre-plan my wedding because I hope to be a bride someday. As far as having a home that reflects my style, why wait. I have yet to pin a picture of a beautifully decorated home that was cluttered and unorganized. Before trying to spend money on more stuff, I have started simplifying and repurposing what I already have. Instead of just pinning pictures of delicious looking meals, I have started to cook the very recipes I was saving. As far as my high fashion pins, I know it is smart to have investment pieces so I must choose wisely.  I decided to start living the life I imagined by penning it (pen to paper) and acting accordingly… you know instead of just Pinning It. 

Who Do You Want to Be?

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Target to Pay for Free Credit Monitoring & Identity Theft Protection for One Year

She Makes CentsTwo weeks ago, I received a letter from my bank informing me that my card information may have been compromised.  Was I surprised?  Not really.  I like 70 million other consumers got my shop on at Target AND I Michaels Arts  & Crafts, who also announced their credit breach (Double Whammy).  I’m not too worried though. because I am taking the necessary steps when someone believes their identity may have been compromised.  I ordered a new card with a new number, I confirmed my fraud alerts with the bank, and I plan on taking Target on for their offer of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to all Target guests who shopped U.S. stores during their breach.

After a thorough review of options, Target has chosen ProtectMyID, provided by Experian—a leading global information services company that helps people understand and keep track of their credit reports, as well as monitor for and resolve identity theft. Request an activation code before April 23, 2014 and then register for the offer through ProtectMyID before April 30, 2014.

Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to request an activation code and read below for details on how the offer works.

In addition to a complimentary copy of their credit report, guests who sign up will receive daily credit monitoring, identity theft insurance (except where prohibited by law), and have access to personalized assistance from a highly trained Fraud Resolution Agent. Access to the Fraud Resolution Agent will continue even after other benefits of the initial one-year ProtectMyID membership expire. After 12 months, those who register have the option to continue their memberships at their own expense.

This ProtectMyID package includes the necessary tools guests need for credit monitoring and identity theft protection. It does not include Experian credit score or reports from Equifax and TransUnion. When visiting the enrollment site, guests will have the option to purchase these additional products at their own expense if they choose, but are not required to purchase a credit score to receive the benefits of credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

How to Enroll

Enrolling online is fast, secure, easy and accessible at any time. Here’s how to register:

1. Visit creditmonitoring.target.com to request an activation code. Guests will be required to submit their name and an email address. After submitting their information, Target will email guests within 72 hours with their unique activation code and directions for how to enroll in ProtectMyID. Guests should look for this email and check that it does not end up in a “junk” mailbox. Emails collected during this process will only be used for the purpose of sending an activation code for free credit monitoring.

2. After guests receive their activation code from Target, they may visit www.protectmyid.com/target and use the code to start the enrollment process. It will be important for guests to verify the code they enter matches the notification they received from Target. Also, guests must be sure to click the red “Click to Redeem Your Activation Code” button (or use the “ENTER” key).

3. Enroll in ProtectMyID: Guests will need to provide Experian with personal information, such as name, address, date of birth and social security number. Experian asks for personal information so that identities can be verified during the registration process and future log-ins. This is strictly a security measure to ensure no one else, including Target, will have access to your information.

4. After completing these steps, guests can begin to take advantage of all the ProtectMyID features.

For More Information, Visit Target.com

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{Debt Management} How to Shorten the Length of Your Loans & Reduce Interest

She Makes CentsWanting to get control of your finances is great, but there is nothing like the empowering feeling of knowing when this MAJOR life goal could actually be attainable. After examining my debts, pay off amounts, and interest rates, I am proud to announce that my magic number is 8 years and 3 months to be debt free! Having an end date for a goal helps to make it more tangible and keeps me encouraged to hit my payment milestones from my personalized Financial Plan.

One Year from Now- Operation Credit Card

In January of this year, I revealed that I racked up $5300.00 in credit card debt, after getting it down to a zero balance. It happened by not adapting my spending habits to my drop in income. Today, that balance is now around $3400.00 by paying a little more every month on the minimum and doing the 52 Week Money Challenge (Bingo Style). Dare I say it out loud, I will have NO credit card debt by this time next year (insert fireworks here)! I’m truly proud of the way I have tackled this particular debt obstacle because I’m doing it at my own speed. I don’t even miss the extra money that I’m using to knock the balance down faster. If I were okay with just paying the minimum, it would take me 4 years and 3 months, instead of one year, to complete step one of my financial plan. Once the credit card is paid off, my monthly credit card payments will become extra payments to my student loans and so on…this is called the Snowball Method.

Four and a Half Years from Now- Goodbye Sallie Mae

debt-freeI have a love/hate relationship with Sallie Mae. Although we go back about ten years, she is not my friend nor is she yours. Don’t let her fool you. Yes, in times of financial need, she was there but in reality most people end up paying more than double for their educational loans. Currently, I pay the minimum $200 per month for my educational loans with more money being applied toward interest and not the principal. As I’m sure you know, paying just the minimum and nothing more will result in years and years of interest and a longer pay off timeline. In fact, by adding the money I would normally use for Operation Credit Card to make two or three lump sum payments per year toward the principle, not interest, I will shorten the length of my loan by 10 years and 11 months. Five years ago, I was a recent college graduate and while a lot has happened in that time, I still feel like time flew by. Knowing that these next five years could go by just as quickly helps keep me motivated. One day, four and a half years from today, I will be able to say goodbye to my financial frienemy- Sallie Mae for good.

Eight Years and Three Months- Debt Free

A lot can happen in eight plus years that could slow down my timeline or cause me to come up with a new goal altogether. Regardless of what life throws my way, I hope a victorious sprint toward financial freedom is in my foreseeable future. In eight years, my home will be a rental property providing is a great form of passive income. Having it completely paid off allows a greater financial contribution to my household. The idea of never having to think about another mortgage payment for my current house is a blessing in itself and I plan on tackling this debt by using the Snowball Method. In the same breath that I say goodbye to Sallie Mae, I will be begin this last phase by saying hello to extra payments, consisting of my monthly credit card payments and Sallie Mae payments, on top of my current mortgage.

What’s the point of all of this? Sure, I could continue to pay the minimum on my bills every month and I will forever owe someone but I have 17,636 reasons why that won’t work for me. Yep, having a plan and attacking my plan will help me save an overall of $17,635.15 in interest payments. While yes, I am at the beginning of my journey, I take solace in knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel.

How Long Will It Take You to Be Debt Free?

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{Book Cents} 3 Books I Can’t Wait to Read!

I Like Big Books & I Cannot Lie!

I can be somewhat weird about books. Rarely do I lend them out because I’m afraid people won’t take care of them as I do. I don’t write or mark in them unless I have to; and when I do, I usually buy another clean copy. Weird, right? I haven’t even told you how I pick out books. I am very loyal to authors I like, I’m open to recommendations, but more often than not, I pick out books because I think the title is interesting. While I’m currently reading the Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, I am always on the search for more books. Below are three that I have on my list to pick up.

Check them out!


Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office by Lois P. Frankel, PhD


Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman 


Bubbly on Your Budget by Marjorie Hillis

How Do You Pick Your Next Read?

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{The Green Experiment} How Going Green Can Save You Green

The Green Experiment, have you heard of it? If not, let me be the first to introduce how “going green” with your finances could really save you money. At its most basic level, it is doing away with your debit and credit cards and living off cash for a specified period of time. Did you know that most people spend more when they pay with cards over cash? One psychologically reason for this is that people can’t “see” the money dwindle down when using cards. If you are using the oh so fab, envelope system, you are already living a green life. For others, this experiment might not be as easy as it sounds.  For those of you up for the challenge, let’s see how you do for ONE week with cash only.  My thoughts… you will start saving money because you can physically see your wad dwindle with every purchase.   Hopefully, this will cause you to determine to spend or to save. Sophia Banay from Glamour magazine adds, “all you need to determine whether you can afford something is peek in your wallet.”  If you are down for the challenge, She Makes Cents is going green starting Sunday, August 5th.

Are You Down for the Challenge?

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