5 Things You Should Do Before Starting the SMC Money Challenge

It is important to challenge yourself every now and then. This helps you push beyond what you have previously done before. The more you challenge yourself and succeed, the greater your confidence in your ability to do it again next time. Good habits form and eventually they become lifestyle changes. When you accept a financial challenge, like the SMC Money Challenge, it doesn’t just help you grow your skills and knowledge, it helps you grow your belief that you can. The 2021 SMC Money Challenge begins January 1st in the #SMCmoneytribe FB group but before you start, here are some of my favorite ways I kickstart my money goals at the beginning of each year.

the beginner’s guide to hacking a money challenge

  1. Download & Print your money tracker for the year. Sometimes it is easy to forget the progress you are making.  In the SMC Money Challenge, there will be weeks where the progress seems minuscule and other times where the progression of better money habits and actions is obvious.  Using the tracker will help remind you at the end of the 52 weeks just how far you’ve come.
  2. Pick a S.M.A.R.T.E.R money goal.  Are you paying off debt, saving for a rainy day, putting money in a sinking fund for a specific purchase, or investing? Now is the time to make sure your goal(s) is clear and attainable.  Is it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound, evaluate, and reviewed?
  3. Tell Your Money Where to Go.   If you are using the challenge to pay off debt, I recommend that you make a principal payment toward your debt instead of putting that money in a savings account or sinking fund (that is one of my easiest tricks for paying off my student loans 11 years ahead of schedule).  However, if you are using the money you save in this challenge for sinking funds or boosting your emergency fund, I would consider opening a high-yield savings account and transferring your challenge money into it each week instead. 
  4. Set a Reminder.  Add a reminder to your phone or calendar to remind you to check-in.  By saving something every week, you get to practice your savings habit over and over again.  Remember, it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.  YOU WILL NEED A REMINDER if you want to make it through ALL 52 weeks.
  5. Invite a Friend. There is nothing better than getting support and supporting people you know, IRL (in real life). Iron sharpens iron. Glow up together with your friends to become real #squadgoals.


ARE YOU READY TO JUMPSTART YOUR MONEY GOALS?

Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. As an active member of the #SMCmoneytribe, you will no longer have to walk the path toward financial freedom and a fabulous lifestyle alone. Should you get off track, you can always catch up or start over, we just ask that you don’t give up on this challenge, your goals, or yourself. YOU can do it and you have an entire TRIBE of people cheering you on!

How To Jumpstart Your Money Goals with the SMC Money Saving Challenge

Hey there, goal-setter!  I see YOU.  You are looking toward the new year and you are ready to make some changes.  You recognize what worked for you financially and what didn’t this past year and you are finally ready to do something your future self will thank you for.     

If this sounds like you, keep reading because the SMC Money Challenge may be just what you need…

WHAT IS THE 52 WEEK SMC MONEY CHALLENGE?

The SMC Money Challenge is back for its SEVENTH year!  This challenge is a weekly savings plan that works for everyone, no matter one’s level of financial literacy or income.  Hint Hint: accept the challenge, your future self (one year from now) will thank you! Every week you will cross off a number between 1-52 and apply that amount toward your money goal(s).   Bonus boxes are also available for those looking to push themselves to save even more.  SMC Money Tribe member, Cari, took advantage of the SMC Money Challenge bonus boxes on her money tracker and saved $15,000.00 in last year’s challenge. In the past three years, SMC Money Tribe leader, Danielle YB Vason and her husband used this challenge to pay off $44,000.00 in debt. Now, imagine what your money success story will be.

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

WHO IS THE SMC MONEY TRIBE?

The SMC Money Tribe is a community of goal-setting women who accepted the challenge to invest in their money and lifestyle goals with the best accountability partners out there- other women who are also shifting mindsets while tackling debt, saving money, and replacing bad money habits with smart money moves.   

Those who accept the challenge are most successful when they also join the SMC Money Tribe Facebook group for weekly check-ins to share their progress, ask questions, and cheer each other on.  By saving something every week, you get to practice your saving habit over and over until it becomes a lifestyle.  Remember, personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge.

SMC Money Tribe member, Cari, took advantage of the SMC Money Challenge bonus boxes on her money tracker and saved $15,000.00 in last year’s challenge.  

WHEN DOES THE CHALLENGE BEGIN?

Mark your calendars, the SMC Money Challenge begins Friday, January 1, 2021.  After that, weekly check-ins will open up every Thursday at 11:00am (EST) and will stay open until Friday night on the SMC Facebook Group.  During that time, SMC Money Tribe members are expected to invest in their goals by actively participating in weekly progress updates, money chats, and mini-challenges.  Interactive content related to the challenge will also be available on the @shemakescents Instagram page.

HOW TO JOIN THE 2021 SMC MONEY CHALLENGE

  1. Follow @shemakescents on Instagram
  2. Post this image below in your Instagram Story  (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. Download your 2021 SMC Money Challenge Guides- Instagram version or Print version (Challenge Hack: Use the Instagram version to share your progress with the tribe & print the main version to add more private information to track your more personal goals at home).
  5. Set a calendar weekly to save your money & check-in

ARE YOU READY TO JUMPSTART YOUR MONEY GOALS?

Often women are left to fend for themselves with regards to money matters. As an active member of the #SMCmoneytribe, you will no longer have to walk the path toward financial freedom and a fabulous lifestyle alone. Should you get off track, you can always catch up or start over, we just ask that you don’t give up on this challenge, your goals, or yourself. YOU can do it and you have an entire TRIBE of people cheering you on!

How You Can Learn From Our First Money Fail of 2020

If you follow @shemakescents on Instagram, you know that we became a party of 3 with the birth of our daughter, Chloe, back in October.  Since her arrival 3 months ago, she has learned to hold her own bottle, sleep through the night, and has stolen our hearts.  Seriously, I cannot believe that she is 3 months already and I now understand when parents say they wish time would slow down.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
In 3 months, the Mr. and I have mastered overnight diaper changes, morning snuggles, and baby swaddles while being sleep deprived yet grateful. What we completely bombed was our plan to pay for our week-long hospital stay when she was born.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
We received a series of bills in November that totaled over $40,000.00, not including insurance.   My entire jaw hit the floor when I read that number and the breakdown given from hospital.  A big part that that number was because we had to stay for a week due to complications that happened during childbirth.  Even so, that five-figure estimate had our anxiety in high gear because we had to wait several weeks to see what the final bill was, after insurance. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
After another few weeks, we received a final bill with over 90% of it covered from insurance. THANK YOU, GOD! With very little left on our FSA card, we decided to schedule a payment after the new year so that we can use our new FSA cards with replenished funds. 𝐁𝐈𝐆 𝐌𝐈𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
While this is probably a DUH MOMENT for most of you reading this, I had not considered that we wouldn’t be allowed to pay for a 2019 medical expense on a 2020 FSA card. [le sigh] Thank goodness that we had a sinking fund for something else that we could borrow from. I would much rather borrow from myself than credit. That being said, the money saved from the SMCmoneychallenge will now be used to replenish my sinking fund.

Update: Using the SMC Money Challenge, I was able to pay back the full amount of the money I borrowed from a sinking fund to cover our budgeting mistake by week 6 of the money challenge.

cropped-smc-logo-copy1.jpg⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The Goal Setting Hack You Should Do BEFORE Starting Any Money Saving Challenge

BEFORE THE CHALLENGE

REFLECTION: WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF ONE YEAR FROM NOW?

One of the powerful tools for goal planning is the ability to visualize a goal.  Many high achievers use visualization techniques as a practice to “see” their desired outcomes for themselves even before they happen.  As we approach the beginning of a new She Makes Cents Money Challenge, I will guide members of the #SMCmoneytribe, both new and old, by providing a weekly roadmap to success.  By engaging tried and true success techniques, our tribe will not only reach our goals for ourselves in the new year but surpass them.

Before we begin our new money savings challenge on week 1 of 2019, you need to first take a moment and write a quick letter to yourself..  The letter should be from your future self…one year from now, painting a picture of what you want your life to look like.  Make sure you include your big money goals, savings goals, and/or goals for your sinking funds.   Be as specific as you can because the more details you include the more you can prepare your mind to accept the image as possible.  Also, the challenge will get….well challenging.  Many people start out the year enthused and excited and slowly lose focus or discipline along the way.  By having this letter for yourself, when times get tough and “life happens” (my version of Dave Ramsey’s “Murphy”) it is nice to have this letter…this promise to yourself to inspire you and get you back on track.   Just think how nice it will be when you are looking back on your year, one year from now, and everything that you envisioned for yourself and family have manifested.

Do Something Your Future Self Will Thank You For- Motivational Quotes from Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents

Below is a letter to my future self…

One year from now I am… driving around in my BMW that was PAID IN FULL 4.2 years ahead of schedule.  This happened back in February of 2019. I feel so relieved that I was able to eliminate another debt so that as a household, we can move on to our FINAL DEBT  in Baby Step 2 (BS2).  Not only does this get me and my household one step closer to our #debtfree goal, but it provides a little financial cushion/security for when “life happens”. One year from now my hubby and I have put a major dent in his car payoff because we have opted to snowball the money was used to pay off my car and students loans to pay off his car ahead of schedule, add to our sinking funds, and increase our savings.  We began the year with $26,176.81 of debt left on baby step 2 (BS2) and we are ending the year having paid over $10,000.00 toward our debt.

See how I am claiming that in advance?  When you think positively, write down your goals, affirm your plan, you prepare your mind to accept those positive affirmations as true.

[Related Post: How to Attract Financial Abundance]

Working on our finances together has strengthened our marriage because it gives us another opportunity to work together as a team.  We are better together and making better financial decisions is just one example of that. One year from now, we have funded sinking funds that covered ALL of our holiday expenses, our flights for travel, and those “oh shit” moments like replacing an AC unit or repairs for the bimmer.  We are building for a better future one dollar at a time.  We are happy.  We are one step closer to being 100% debt free (not including our mortgages) before my 35th birthday in 2020.

This exercise may feel strange at first because you are talking about things that haven’t yet happened in the past tense. You are reflecting on things that are not real…yet. It is important, though, because when the financial discipline required for this challenge starts to fade, you will have this vision…this image to inspire yourself to keep going even though the going may be getting tough.


Pro Tip:  Create a She Makes Cents Money Challenge folder and let this letter to yourself be the first thing you put in your folder.  The 2019 She Makes Cents Money Challenge will include several prompts and freebies throughout the year and keeping your folder in a safe place that you can access weekly will render BIG results.  If you want to be successful, this is one of the very first things you should do BEFORE the challenge starts January 3, 2019.


Goal Planning- Questions to ask yourself when setting goals from personal finance blog, She Makes Cents

<