{Hello Spring} March Photo-A-Day Challenge

I am super excited for the month of March.  On Saturday, March 1st we will celebrate 3 Years of financial literacy and fun here on SheMakesCents.com. You can help kick off the photo challenge right by wishing us a Happy Blogiversary!  On the 9th we celebrate Colin’s birthday (who is Colin, you ask…click here to find out why I think he and his story is worth knowing) and on the 20th we officially welcome spring to the new year.  To switch it up, I ask that you use #shemakescents and tag us with your uploads @shemakescents!  The best pictures will be posted throughout the month!
She Makes Cents

use hashtag #shemakescents and tag us @shemakescents

Picture Perfect with She Makes Cents

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{Financial Cents} How Meeting Your “Spending Self” Saves You Money

She Makes CentsJournals are great for the soul, and even better to read on down the line. They are crucial in understanding the person that you are, and the person that you are becoming. The same applies for finances. If you like buying expensive perfume when you are fighting with your boyfriend, then you must write about it vehemently, and display it in a way that will show you just how much it affects you. This way, you can align your emotional extremities up with your financial extremities, and come up with a combative plan to avoid unnecessary losses. Today I bought my first money journal, and I can’t wait to write in it daily recording…everything!
I want to show you how you can use a money journal to introduce YOU to what I like to call your “spending self.” If used properly, your journal will educate you on what motivates you to spend. It affords you the opportunity to identify your spending triggers and in turn show you ways to cut back on spending and save more money. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Purchase your Money Journal: This step is completely up to you. I went to Target and purchased a small MEAD spiral for a buck 50. You may be an “app” girl, or you may choose to get one of the mini composition notebooks. Either way, this is entirely your choice. However, I wouldn’t recommend spending a boatload on something that will be conserving you money!

Document your daily spending: This is the one of the most imperative parts of possessing a money journal. You absolutely must write down every single dime that you spend, and more importantly, why you spend it. This is because many women are prone to impulsive and emotional spending. This kind of spending can get very ugly, very fast. Document your spending with the intent to really understand your precise reasons for spending.

After a month, assess your records: Why do you spend?  The path to financial freedom begins once you identify the crux of your spending and how you can cut these costs. Your goal is to gain control of yourself, your impulses, and ultimately your finances. You can do this by adequately documenting and assessing the money you spend and why you spend it. After assessing your pattern, decide on your plan of action, and how you will ensure that casual expenditures do not continue to occur.

Establish and make changes accordingly: You have documented your spending for at least a month, and you realize that when you feel down, you often buy expensive jewelry. However, you have noticed that in a month you have a ton of jewelry that you do not even wear! You also notice that you are in a financial crunch and you savings are dwindling! This is an apparent problem that you must combat as the owner of a money journal.

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat: Every month, you should gain new information in your inventory that is going to show you weak areas in your spending habits. You must take action, and actively participate in implementing the tactics that will enforce financial competency. Take control of your finances; you can do it! The moment you see how much you can save, you will be so proud.

Have You Met Your Spending Self?

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{Causes We Support} One Day Without Shoes

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes by taking off yours!

One Day Without Shoes is TOMS’ annual day to bring global awareness to children’s health and education by going without shoes. It’s amazing the conversations that can ignite when we come together to create positive change.  I can’t wait to see all the ways people are going without shoes around the world to generate conversations about children’s health and education. Let’s get people talking.  If you are social media, use hashtag #withoutshoes

day-without-shoes

More info at www.onedaywithoutshoes.com

Leave Your Footprint!

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{Financial Cents} How To Make A Financial Plan

Sometimes I need to remind myself that a goal without a plan is just a wish. Every morning I would pray for financial blessings but somehow found myself going through the motions, which was slowing my progress to my goal of zero debt. For me, it is about finding that balance between enjoying my lifestyle and making financially sound decisions. I have been bitten by the travel bug and I can’t wait to explore the world, I live for bottomless mimosas at brunch, and I believe shoes and the right lipstick makes the outfit. However, I also believe in building hefty savings, going into marriage without bad debt (i.e. credit card and student loans), and building generational wealth. I must agree with Dave Ramsey, financial guru, who affirms, “Personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge”. I am working on the behavior part. I found that even though I enjoy shopping, I’m more likely to shop when I’m bored. Recently, I started filling that boredom with QT with the Mr. walking and exploring our city. I am focusing on better decisions, which will yield better behavior. Every cause has an effect and every decision has a financial consequence; that’s why coming up with a personalized financial plan has been my saving grace. Yes, I prayed for financial blessing…I still do, but I have also added the caveat that with financial blessings come financial responsibility.

Check Out My Financial Plan!

1.  Write down your debt & don’t forget to include people you owe money.    I was talking with a childhood friend who says he had zero debt.  As we got to talking it was revealed that he did not include the almost $7,000 he owed to a family member and the card he maxed out in his college days.  Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.  Once we dove deeper into our conversation, he and I started listing our debt.  My list was simple- one credit card, student loans, and mortgage.  His, well…let’s just say that I composed a very sobering list on his behalf that included all the debt that he could remember.  Seeing your debt listed makes it more real.

2.  Emergency Fund Minimum.  Baby Step One of the Total Money Makeover is to get your emergency fund to $1,000 if you have an annual income of $20,000 or more.  “Your car will need repairs and your kids will outgrow their clothes. These are not emergencies; they are items that belong in your budget. If you don’t budget for them, they will feel like emergencies”.  It was this statement from the book that caused me to stop dead in my tracks and redefine what I considered an emergency versus saving.

3.  52 Week Money Challenge- BINGO Style.  This was actually a part of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013.  The challenge is to make a weekly deposit that reflects the number of weeks of the year. For example, on week one you deposit $1.00 and on week 27 you deposit $27.00 and so on.  I took the challenge one step further by remixing it into a BINGO style which makes it easier to be successful.  In the end, you will have saved $1378.00!  I’m using the money from the challenge to pay down the balance on my credit card, birthday, and holidays. Update: In 2016, I saved $1,900.00 doing this challenge.  Want to join in on the 2017 version, grab your FREE copy of the bingo card here.

4.  Tackle Your List.  I revealed in the post, Tackle Your Credit Card Debt Today, that as of January I started with $5300 in credit card debt.  I have reduced my debt down to $0.00  by paying a little over the minimum and applying the Bingo Style money to the balance EVERY Friday (I have yet to miss one), but that was interest is killing me.   While making additional payments to the credit card, I am making the minimum payment toward my student loans and mortgage.  Once the credit card was paid off, I will now apply that money to extra payments to my student loans and so on…this is called the Snowball Method.  Now, I will confess, if I had more debt, I would recommend switching between the Snowball Method and the Avalanche method, which we will discuss later in the Financial Cents series.

5.  Emergency & Savings.  Don’t forget to save that money you are no longer paying to others.  Use it to prepare for the future.  Emergencies will arise and more than likely something will come up that will cause you to tap into your savings….be prepared.

She Makes Cents Wants to Know If Personal FInance More Behavior or Knowledge?

{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…

{Kiss & Makeup} 3 Gorgeous Makeup Trends for Spring

Look Good, Feel Good!

My makeup kit runs the gamut of price points- from Stila to Maybelline to Chanel to ELF.  Why?  Because somewhere between my growing love for all things makeup and my seasonal makeup purge that I recommend every woman do, I have come to realize that it’s more about the look of the final product than it is about the brand name.   Below are 3 gorgeous looks for Spring from my tweeps and beauty experts over at Nordstrom.  Your goal should be to find colors and products that make you look and feel as fabulous as you are in whatever your budget allows.  Each look can be recreated using your favorite brands!     

Makeup Trends for Spring

make up for women of color

make up tips 2013

Photo Credit: My Twitter Friend Nordstrom

Looking for suggestions on where to find some great beauty products?  Check out my list of some of my favorites:

How Your “Lean In” Might Make You More Money


Money Talk At Work. Yay or Nay?

For months, I have been researching and preparing myself to have series of what I can only call uncomfortable conversations. Surprisingly enough, I found it uncomfortable to bring up the topic of money and compensation in the workplace. Talking about money management for women of all ages and women’s right to be whatever they like… be it the boss, the fashionista, Suzie homemaker, or a combination of it all, is what I LOVE to do! While some view the conversation of money as uncomfortable and impolite, I have always been unapologetic about the topic because I recognize that the benefits of the conversation outweigh the discomfort. Over the maturation of this site and of my development into “real” adulthood, a sort of financial confidence on the subject of debt management has come over me. During that same time, I have realized that while the benefit of the conversation outweighs the stress it may cause, starting and engaging in conversations about my career path and the appropriate compensation has brought up a new feeling of uneasiness and forced me to become a human pendulum of leaning in and leaning back.

What does “Lean In” truly mean?

The phrase “lean in” comes from Sheryl Sandberg, author of the book Lean In, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, and now contributing writer for Cosmo (which I LOVE). It is a phrase used to encourage women to achieve one’s goals and tighten the gap of inequalities in the workplace. The book, which I just started, challenges women to change the conservation from what we can’t do, to what we can.  I believe my lean in started when I polled a number of women on the She Makes Cents fan page and asked the question, Have You Ever Asked for a Raise? That one question commenced my research of women in business, gender/minority inequality in the workplace, and what has surprisingly become my platform of choice, the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. My research confirmed some things I already knew. On average, a woman makes less than a man for doing the same job. This is a fact and for many reasons, but one I had never considered was that women are statistically less likely than men to ask for a raise. Learning this forced me to sit up, dust my fear off, “lean in” and take responsibility in deciding that NOW was the time for my talent, career path, and financial compensation to fall in line. I invite you to stay tuned as I dive into topics such as understanding the best time to ask for a raise, networking tips, work/life balance, leadership skills and personal branding.

Tell Us About Your Last “Lean In”!

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{Financial Cents} What Your Wallet Say About You?

leath_travel_wallet_7

What’s In Your Wallet?

I’ve heard it said that you can tell a lot about a women based on the style of purse she carries and the contents within. Is she well taken care of? Polished? Neat? Messy? High maintenance? Laid back? I want to take this a step further and look at the center of money- the wallet. A women’s purse may reveal a lot about her, but her wallet sheds light on what she finds important and how she spends her hard earned money. Parents my keep photographers of their children.  Entrepreneurs may carry business cards.  Me, I carry a mix of business and pleasure. Below is my emerald green Cynthia Rowley leather wallet that I bought myself for Christmas and some of the contents within.  wallets

What does your wallet say about YOU?

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{Friday Funnies} Our Favorite Commerical of the Week

It’s been a while since we posted a Friday Funny but this little girl and her impersonation of the werewolf crack me up EVERY time!!!

Happy Friday Folks!

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{Style Cents} Colorful Office Accessories to Brighten Up Your Desk

When I was decorating my office, I was having the hardest time finding chic office accessories that were as cute as they were functional.  I’m always on the lookout for that unique product that will fit the bill.  Below is a compilation of products that help my technologically savvy readers, like you, to be mobile in style.  P.S. I got a great deal on my Quirky Converage from Birchbox! I use to charge everything that has a USB attachment! I love that it keeps my office looking polished and sleek, while being functional.

Pinned Image

Which Accessory Do You Like Best?

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