Monday Motivation | What ONE Power Word Reflects Your Vision for 2018?

It’s the first day….better yet, the first Monday of the new year and I couldn’t think of a better time to urge you to choose a power word to reflect your goal of self-improvement for the new year. Around this time, people reflect on the past year and envision the promise for greatness to come. The most successful people write down their goals, thoughts, and ideas to manifest the power of the law of attraction. Oprah explains, “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life because you become what you believe”. Back in 2013, I asked readers of She Makes Cents to share one word to reflect their personal goals/resolutions/vision for the year ahead and the response I got was inspiring. Since this, I have asked the same questions to readers every year on the first day of the New Year. With every 365 days that go by, we evolve and our needs, wants, and aspirations change.  That being said, it is important to create a foundational vision with a “power word” to help guide the path ahead. Looking back at my earlier words, I remember where I was in my life, what was important, and what I needed to work on.  In 2013 my word was balance.  Then came focus (2014), passion (2015), bravery (2016), and intention (2017).  Power Word of 2018 | Word of the Year from Money, Career, Lifestyle Blog, She Makes CentsFor 2018, I chose “Declutter” as my power word. By definition, the act of decluttering requires one to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, and complications. It also requires you to organize and prioritize your commitments and material possessions. The word “declutter” is one that I will apply to every area of my life in a mental, physical, and spiritual sense. I will take this year as an opportunity to declutter my finances, organize my career goals and execute those ideas, and rid my space of disorder. Back in 2011, researchers from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute studied what happens how the brain processes clutter.

When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.

I have never been so excited to apply a power word to my year and this one is all-encompassing to severals areas of my life.  I know many people do not do resolutions anymore, but I still do.  Now that I have my word of the year, I can create resolutions where I can clarify my goals and visions while ridding and mess and disorder that may negatively impact my money, career, or lifestyle.shemakescents.com

Monday Motivation | Signs It Is Time For You to Refuel Your Life

You are driving your car and the light signaling that you are running out of gas goes on.  How do you react?  Are you the type of person who never experiences this because you would never let your gas level get to that point, let alone even under the halfway mark?  Are you the type who immediately detours to the nearest gas station?  Or, are you the type that is completely unfazed by the warning light?  When I was younger, I made sure I never let my tank get below ¼ because I was intentional about taking good care of the car.  Over time, I started getting adventurous and stopped thinking about the sludge that my car was running on when I ignored all the warning signs to refuel.  Not only is driving on an empty tank dangerous, it often ends up costing you more than you think.

How To Refuel Your Life | Self Care Tips for Women from Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

All of the above are true statements for proper and basic car maintenance AND they are also true for your life.  You are still you in the analogy above because you have the power to make the decision to STOP and REFUEL when your mental, physical, and spiritual tank is low.  The car, well that can represent anything from your mind, body, career, money, lifestyle, relationships, etc…. anything that is an essence of you.  You see, when we ignore the warning signs of life we miss out on opportunities to refuel and invest back in ourselves.  I call this process “feeding your soul”.  It is so much harder to be productive in all areas of your life when you are running on sludge and close to emptiness.  The best way to avoid a low life tank is to make time to rejuvenate and figure out what feeds your soul.

Simple Ways to Refuel Yourself

Back when I was living off my reserve energy and had little to no energy to breathe life into my career and relationships, I was doing more harm to myself than necessary.  To combat this, I made a list of all of the things that I do that I lose time in.  This list included reading, enjoying the company of close friends, snuggling on the sofa with my hubby, going on walks with my dogs, making brand boards for clients, even being back in a dance studio environment.  I found that these were activities that I didn’t watch the clock while doing, but rather got lost in a moment.  Whether I have five minutes or 5 hours to give to these sorts of activities, I found that when I made time for things that feed my soul, I am also feeding my life tank so that I can be creative and successful in other areas of my life.

Going through life with the low fuel light on is one of those things that we know we shouldn’t do but still let happen from time to time.  Only when you are well fed will you have the fuel to feed your hustle in the best way.  Otherwise, you will starve your hustle, your mind, your money, your career, and your relationships when you are running on empty. Today, I want to urge you to take better care of yourself before warning signs, that often manifest as exhaustion and/or a health scare, gets your attention.  Refuel yourself this week and you will be a better person for it.How To Refuel Your Life | Self Care Tips for Women from Blogger, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents

52 Week BINGO Money Challenge | October Recap & End of the Year Money Goals

This morning, I took out my shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge card to forecast what the next seven weeks of the year will be like, from a money savings goal perspective. Since January, I have saved money every week with the challenge and in doing so; I have cultivated a habit of saving. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey says that “personal finance is 80% behavior and 20″ head knowledge” and I am very inclined to agree. If you are a new reader and have no idea what the 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge is, click here to catch up. After forecasting the rest of the year to see whether I would be able to hit my latest money goal, getting my student loans to $12,500 or under by December 31, 2017, I started doing money projections for 2018.

First, I calculated how much and how quickly my debt would decrease if I made the same amount of money and repeated my most success money moves as I did this year. I then upped the ante to see how adding another $100 per month or $200 per month would get me closer to my goal of eliminating my student loan debt altogether. Finally, I increased my snowball calculations to see how quickly my debt would decrease if my income increased to match what I put on my vision board.  Looking at debt from these three different perspectives shows me the true cost of making different and better money moves, as well as, how quickly I can dump my debt.She Makes Cents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge | Success StoryWhy do I do this, you ask? Sometimes I need a visual reminder of my goal at hand. I hear so many people say that they will never pay their debt off or that they are so overwhelmed by their debt that they choose not to even think about it, let alone to look at it. Do you remember that time, I broke down the difference between one day versus day one? If I waited years ago to get serious about tackling my debt, especially my student loans, I would never have been projected to hit my goal date by 2020, eleven years ahead of Sallie’s Mae schedule. The visual of saving eleven years of interest is enough to keep me motivated for these next three years.  That is because when you visualize something, especially positive associations with money, you give yourselves permission to prepare yourself to receive it.  

You don’t have to make a lot of money to get back on course with your money savings goals, nor do you have to be a personal finance guru. In the past two years, I have thrown an extra $5,550.00+ toward this debt (on top of my monthly payment) by chipping away at it piece by piece. In order to crush your savings goals, you first must change your mindset about your ability to succeed. Then you change your bad money habits and replace them with great money habits that honor your money goals. You see, it is not what we do every once in a while that makes us successful. Success is gained in our daily habits.

As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, I look forward to making new and fresh goals for myself. I look forward to not repeating my mistakes of the past and being willing to step out on faith when it comes to opportunities that come my way. Today, I affirm my success with my money goals for myself and for you too.
She Makes Cents | Money, Career, & Lifestyle Blog for Goal Setting Millennial Women

52 Week BINGO Money Challenge | May Recap

Hello lovelies and welcome to a 3-day weekend! Congrats to everyone who is going strong on the She Makes Cents BINGO Money Challenge.  It makes me so happy when members of the #SMCmoneytribe share their progress and uplift each other.  I also love hearing how so many of you are making the challenge work best for you and your lifestyle.  For example, Angela from Australia wanted to maximize her savings for an anniversary trip to the United States, so I created a custom double version for her and her husband.  As of May 1st, they have already saved $1032.00 and that money is constantly growing for them!!!!  Some are saving a fixed amount every month (hey Kechia) but all in all, the majority of you are tackling this challenge the good ole’ fashion way…one week at a time with your trusty money card sheet.  Regardless of where you are in your progress, you are already winning at the habit of saving.  There is a quote that I really like from Roger Crawford that says, “Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional”.  Every person who has accepted this money challenge is refusing to allow their money or lack of it defeat them.  Every dollar you save is getting you that much closer to your dream vacation, it’s getting you that much closer to paying off debt, or that much closer to building your emergency fund.  While everyone’s goals are different, just know that you can do it and that you have an entire tribe of women behind you to help cheer you on along the way.“Being challenged in life is inevitable, but being defeated is optional”. | Quotes on She Makes Cents

My Growth on the Money Challenge

My progress on the money challenge is much different this year than years past.  My sources of income have changed and I no longer get paid on a consistent schedule, but rather on a client by client basis.  Ugh…entrepreneurial life at its greatest!    At this point in the challenge, I am usually hundreds of dollars ahead of my current progress.  For half of a second that bothered me because I am always trying to be better than I was before.  The beautiful thing is, this challenge is made to support the one’s financial changes and in the end that numbers are the same if you complete the challenge.  As long as I complete every box, I will end up in the same savings range as the years before.  What difference does it really make if I am crossing out low to mid numbers during the first part of the year and higher numbers toward the end of the year?  It actually makes no real difference at all.  In the effort to save more money this year than any of the previous years, I must focus on the four bonus boxes that are still empty on my money card.

Sharing Money Goals

Do you remember when I announced that the Mr. would be joining me in the challenge?  Well, he just started last month.  For him, doing the weekly version of the SMC money challenge was another thing added to his “honey-do” list that he never got around to.  That is one of the reasons it took him four months to join in.  He later suggested, instead of doing a dollar for dollar match, that he might try contributing a fixed amount every paycheck toward the challenge.  So far his YTD contribution has been $500.00!  From a financial standpoint, the numbers at the end of the year will be higher doing it this way than if he were doing a dollar for dollar match, because $250.00 per month translates into about $62.00+ per week and $62.00 will always be higher than $52.00, our highest (non-bonus) box on the money card.  It’s easy for him, it works for me, and it gets us closer to our debt free money goals.

Related Article: How to Win on the She Makes Cents Money Challenge

May Recap 

For the month of May, I saved $89.00 which puts me at a YTD of $376.00 by myself and $876.00 when combined with the Mr.   Every dollar saved on this challenge is helping me pay off my student loans.  Outside of our mortgages, this is the only debt we are carrying because we work hard to pay off any credit card debt that we rack up before each billing cycle.  At the end of April, I made my first lump sum payment of $679.00 toward the principle and I had originally planned to make a lump sum payment every quarter.  However, after seeing my payment drop a new passion for hitting certain milestones was reignited.  Now, I plan to make a lump sum payment every time the balance in the money challenge is over the $225.00 mark.  At the beginning of the year, my main money goal was to have my student loans under the $15K mark by the end of the year, but I decided to up the ante and push that goal date to the end of August (my birthday month).

I can’t wait to hear your progress on this challenge.  Please feel free to tweet me @shemakescents, email me, or stop by our Facebook page to say hello.  I love hearing from you and I love to hear your progress, motivation, struggles, and suggestions.  Until then, happy saving to you and yours.

Want to join the challenge?  Click here for your FREE money card download.

HOW WOULD YOUR LIFE CHANGE IF YOU ACCOMPLISHED YOUR MONEY GOALS?

 

 

 

5 Trips Every Girl Should Take This Year!

Travel the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer.  So how do you travel when money is tight?  Before getting married, I had a money envelope where I would set aside $50.00-$100.00 per check specifically for travel goals.  I started the habit when the Mr. decided he wanted to celebrate his 30th birthday in Germany. Saving for that trip got me into the habit of making travel a priority.  Germany was actually our first time traveling together….EVER.  We stayed there a few days and then road tripped our way to Prague, in the Czech Republic with his best friends where we rang in his 30th birthday!  Wow, that seems like so long ago.  After that, I kept saving so that when it was time for another trip, I already had money saved.  When we got married, I stopped saving for travel and put that money toward saving for a wedding.  I guess I never picked back up the habit of saving for travel.  That ends now!

The goal is to travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.  According to a survey from by the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 55% of Americans did not take all of their vacation days leaving approximately 658 million unused vacation days on the table.  Taking time for yourself is a very important form of self-care which is why I have created this list of vacation ideas that every millennial woman should strive to take this year.  As you sit in cubicle nation or look out of your office window and picture yourself on a sandy beach with a frose’ in hand, just think that this can all be a reality.  Even you don’t get a lot of vacation time (raise your hand if you have been there) you can monopolize on 3 day holiday weekends to make your days stretch.

The Girl’s Trip

The Road Trip

The Couple’s Trip

The Solo Trip

The Staycation

How Lifestyle Inflation Is Keeping You From Getting Rich

lifestyle-inflation

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. wasn’t lying when he said “mo money, mo problems”.  That because of something called Lifestyle Inflation where your “lifestyle” needs increase as your income increases; thus, keeping you in the same financial situation.  This reality creeps up when people have debt, don’t save, don’t invest.  They don’t keep up with the Joneses, they are the Joneses.  By no means do I believe that one doesn’t deserve nice things.  In fact, I believe no one should have to sacrifice a quality lifestyle because of lack of resources.   A quality lifestyle comes at a price but let’s try to not dig ourselves into a money pit to experience the finer things in life.

CONFESSION OF A  LIFESTYLE INFLATING MILLENNIAL

I remember being at my job out of college and making around an entry level salary. I owned my car outright, had my student loans paid a year in advance, and was on my way to buying my first house. Back then, you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t living a rich life. I wasn’t rich from a financial standpoint but it was the first time where I was “adulting” and was able to fund my lifestyle by myself.  This was a big deal considering a year and a half before that, I was a senior at Spelman College eating pizza at 1:00 am while pulling all-nighters.   As time passed, income changed, and lifestyle needs matured, I found myself “needing” more.  I had to get another car after mine was totaled in an accident but I couldn’t bear the idea of not driving a luxury German car (thanks Dad for that addiction).  I spent money on home decor so I could have a  “magazine ready” home.  I upgraded my wardrobe.  I was making a little money and working with people whose hourly rate was a luxury car note.  I wanted to show my family and friends that I had it all together….that I belonged in my new life.  That all changed when I left a promising career in one field to follow other dreams for another field.  It was in the transition that I started to place a serious effort in saving money and making smarter financial moves.  I had to.  It was my new reality, we were in a recession, and I was no longer constantly surrounded by the Joneses.  I took the time to invest in my own financial literacy so I could better understand how to stretch my money.  This was also around the time she makes cents was born.

BALLIN’ & BROKE

As you vibrate higher so will your expectations of people, experiences,  and things around you. The good thing is there are ways around lifestyle inflation where you can enhance your life without feeling broke. Lifestyle inflation keeps you in a constant state of financial paralysis because your need for “things” is keeping pace with your increasing lifestyle.  That’s how a millennial couple with no kids can feel financially stretched in a $100,000+ income household. Stay tuned as we dive deeper into the topics of lifestyle inflating from a millennial perspective and explore opportunities to elevate your life without the elevated price tag.shemakescents-com-1