{Starbucks Deal} 10% Off a $25.00 + A Starbucks Secret Menu Recipe

Update: This deal has been extended through July 31, 2014!

Cute Starbucks Pictures

Photo Credit: We Heart It

Want your Starbucks for less?  Click here to buy your $25.00 Starbucks eCard for 10% off!!  This offer is exclusive to friends of She Makes Cents (SMC) and offered through the SMC Tuition Bites storefront.  I bought one yesterday and received my eCard via email.  I now have the choice to print out , use it right from my smart phone, or transfer the balance to a registered Starbucks card.  Since I have yet to register a Starbucks card (unbelievable, right?), I’m going to add the credit to an existing gift card and register it so I can start racking up points and free drinks!  I’m using mine to try some drinks from the secret menu I posted two years ago and a few new ones since then.  Just remember, the offer end on 3/31/14.

Cotton Candy Frappuccino, Anyone?

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Starbucks Cotton Candy Frappuccino

This item is very popular drink from Starbucks.  All you have to do is ask your barista for a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino with 1-2 pumps of Raspberry Syrup.  That’s it!  Sometimes I have even had the baristas offer their own twist of secret drinks and those have been delicious too.  It’s all about having fun, getting a great deal (like the 10% off), and trying something new.

 

What’s Your Favorite Drink at Starbucks?

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Fashion Cents} Brand Loyalty or Brand Validation?

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Danielle and I have discussed how the psychological obsession with expensive products and luxury labels can lead to financial trouble. While setting up shop for the most relaxed SMC meeting ever, we discussed our favorite brands. Danielle likes O.P.I. nail polish and has a shoe game that would blow you away. I, however, have recently recovered from a serious infatuation with True Religion brand jeans and the both of these are pricey for the types of products they are. Sometimes within one’s own living circumstances, it makes no sense to step out of one’s’ budget for the sake of feeling validated by a brand. So why do so many people do it? Which has more value, brand loyalty or brand validation?

Let’s begin the conversation by defining these terms. Brand Loyalty is your devotion to a particular brand because of its proven usefulness. This is a tried and true product or brand that has won you, the customer, over for its merit or quality. (THINK: I’m loyal to Charmin tissue because of its thickness.) Brand validation, as its name suggests, is when a product’s mere reputation trumps the importance of its merit; thus fueling one’s desire for the label more so than the product. Yep, we let a brand validate us without proving itself worthy of its cost.

Brand names and their reputations are impossible to evade. Because of this, it is almost too easy to get lost in a particular brand so much so, that we allow it to eat out our pockets. The place where both brand obsession and financial logic intersect is where I am in my journey to financial freedom….SMC too, since she has repeatedly admitted that Chanel makes her feel pretty. In no way am I discouraging splurging for yourself or investing in expensive products that will hold you down in the long run. I, for one, own expensive jeans that have lasted years. When operating on a budget, though, it is imperative to think critically about the items you choose to spend your money on, and why. Are you loyal to your brands because they actually fulfill their purpose, or are your brands validating you while nipping away at your money? Granted, there is no cookie cutter way to address the issue of our obsessions with luxury brands. However, acknowledgment of this issue is a surefire way to begin searching for smarter ways to shop for the things you love…while staying within a budget, of course:)

Have you ever allowed a brand names to validate your purchase?  

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{52 Week Money Challenge} The Easiest Way to Save $1,000+

Click here for update and a “remix” to this MONEY CHALLENGE!  Can we say…so much easier to save, than the original!!

SMC- 52 Week Money Challenge

Today I was introduced to the 52 Week Money Challenge by a fellow blogger, DLWinfrey from Pretty Girls Rock Dresses (PGRDresses). 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. It sort of reminds me of when I was little and my big brother would give me money that corresponded with my age ($5.00 for my fifth birthday and $10 for my tenth birthday). This is week one of 2013, so if you are interested, you better put your dollar to the side. I plan on using the money saved throughout the year for holiday purchases and paying down credit card debt. Just think, by this time next year, I could have saved $1,378 just by participating in this challenge. While I don’t know who came up with this challenge, I do thank them. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it won’t break the bank.  Plus the remix of this money challenge makes it so even easier.

52 Week Money Challenge

What Will You Do With Your Savings?

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{Financial Goals} Tackle Your Credit Card Debt Today

Slow-and-steady-moneyHave you ever heard the phrase, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”? Well I’m starting to think that is true. Like many of you, I always have financial goals… some I have shared on this blog and others I have not. As we start this brand new year, I have to ask myself, were my goals of last year actual goals or just wishes for the future? I started reflecting on this the other day while looking at older posts about financial goals. Sure, I can list some of my goals but without a plan, how can I help you as readers follow my financial journey? Isn’t that the point of all of this? I also started wondering how much is too much to share? The answers to these questions will unfold throughout 2013, but for today, getting a plan together is the priority.

The Problem: In my pre-She Makes Cents life, I worked every month and in a short amount of time, I paid off my credit card. Then the bottom fell out and I was using my credit card to simply…live (very honest moment). Long story short, my balance of about $5300 (rounding up) is nowhere near, where it should be. Why, you may ask? Because I was caught up. I started swiping to get the “cash back” deals that I told myself I would pay it off at the end of the month and didn’t. I wasn’t using my envelopes as I should have and I might not have fully realized the my new financial situation.

The Solution: In reading some of my older posts, I remembered a period where I locked my credit card up in a safe deposit box.  Initially, I just wanted to see how long I could go without credit card spending.   I wasn’t swiping, I wasn’t living beyond my means, and the balance was slowly decreasing over time. I am a very goal oriented person, so I know adding the component of an end goal date, one of the tips featured in the post How to Make and Achieve Your Goals, will help.  Thinking back, why did I ever take the card back out?

The Plan: If you are in a similar situation, this is how I plan on making this wish into a goal and a goal into a “been there done that”. While I would like to have this paid off in a year, I know I may need cushion. My end goal date for credit card payoff is August of 2014. That means, with my interest rate, I will need to be making a payment of $294.36 per month to be credit card free by next August (check out the credit card payoff calculator at the bottom of my sidebar to figure out yours).  Instead of paying the minimum, which is NEVER a good look, I will pay the fixed rate listed above or more.  Also, whenever there are cash back deals through my bank, I will use the “rewards” to pay down my credit card. In my research, I have heard the advice to pick up the phone and call your credit card company for a reduced interest rate but depending the company, they may label you as a “high risk” customer and close your account, so do your research first. 

How Are Your Eliminating Your Credit Card Debt?

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{Happy Monday} Behind the Scenes of SMC

Happy Monday Folks!! Around this time of the year, people tend to reflect on things they want to change. I decided that I would not wait until the New Year and start making positive changes NOW; hence, the new look of the site. In addition to the new layout of SMC, we are getting our offices in order. Here are some offices that are giving me everything I need in terms of inspiration.

Check my inspiration for the new SMC office!


{Happiness} SMC hits 1,000,000 views!

 

 Time to dance on the table and drink champagne….oh wait, it’s not even the weekend yet.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you. For those of you who frequent SMC, you may have heard me mention my latest goal is to set realistic goals. In doing so, I set a goal to hit the one million mark by March 1, 2013 (the 2 year Anniversary for SMC). Needless to say, I was beyond overjoyed when I checked my stats this past Saturday and realized, not only did I hit the million mark, but I surpassed it.  It has been amazingly cathartic to create SMC.  Over the course of this experience…and it has been an experience, I have posted 355 posts about finances, fashion, and all things fabulous and you’ve been there along the way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for joining me as I balance finances fabulously.  YOU ROCK!

xoxo,

Danielle B.