Financial Tip Friday! – 52 Week Money Challenge REVISED!

Welcome to Financial Tip Friday! The first of many, I hope.

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52 Week Money Challenge

52 Week Money Challenge

I’m sure you’ve seen this image before. The 52 Week Money Challenge was posted everywhere at the beginning of last year and has resurrected itself yet again in 2014. It’s an awesome and super easy way to save $1,378 in one year. Even though it’s very easy, I failed the challenge last year. I kept forgetting about it or the end of the week was an inconvenient time for me to go and get cash out so I’ve been looking for a better way to approach the challenge.

Last year, She Makes Cents came up with an incredible way to participate in the 52 Week Money Challenge by doing it BINGO STYLE! Check it out:

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

Bingo Style 52 Week Challenge

By using this method you can spare yourself the larger contributions later in the year around the holidays by making the larger deposits whenever you can throughout the year! At the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll still have the same total amount. You can check out Danielle’s post here and if you’d like her bingo style template you can email her at shemakescents@gmail.com.

I’ve also come up with a way to really intensify the challenge this year!

Level 1 – First Quarter Double

1st Quarter Double

This is a great way to save almost $100 more by just pushing yourself a little harder to save more money.

Level 2 – 26 Week Double

26 Week Double

By doubling the totals for half of the year you’re able to save $351 more dollars and the most you’ll have to save a week is $52.

Level 3 – Full Year Double

Full Year Double

Now this challenge is not for the faint of heart. This is some serious savings. Saving almost $3,000 in a year on top of what you’re already saving is something crazy! My husband and I both get paid bi-weekly but our pay days happen to fall on opposite Fridays, which is fabulous! So every Friday one of us is getting paid so this could definitely be a challenge that I may have to try and really push myself to do. It won’t be easy and if it becomes too much then I can always go back to the original challenge and still be ahead of the game.

So my challenge to all of my readers is to push yourself and try amping up your 52 week money challenge this year! Try one of these levels of savings and let me know how it goes but hurry because tomorrow is the end of week 1 so decide how much you’ll be saving!

Here is the link for you to download all of the PDF’s of level 1-3 of the 52 Week Double Money Challenge:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/iowa63dh2ultdzp/OFkNedXjLk

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Tips to get your new grad ready for COLLEGE!

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If school isn’t out already, then it’s about to be out and it’s the perfect time to talk about getting your child, sibling, niece, nephew, or whoever ready for COLLEGE! My younger sister, Rachel, just graduated from high school and you already know that if you’ve been keeping up with my blog for the past month or so LOL. Luckily she’s doing her first year at a community college but if your recent high school graduate is getting ready to pack up and leave for college there’s a few things you may need to do.

Start by getting them to do everyday things on their own. Things that you may be doing for them like waking them up or doing their laundry or doing their grocery shopping. It is now time to have them waking up to an alarm clock, doing their own laundry, and try giving them the grocery list and sending them to the grocery store. You’re not going to be there to walk into their bedroom and rip the covers off and tell them to wake up so make sure that when they need to get up at a certain time, that they’re a custom to waking up to an alarm clock. If your graduate doesn’t know how to do laundry at this point in their life, they really need a wake up call! Show them and have them do their own laundry for the summer. Most colleges don’t have a mommy laundry service. A lot of college students go on meal plans and such but at this point they should have developed some kind of money management skills so try writing out a list of the groceries that the household needs and send them to the store with a budget. Not only will this give you a break but you’ll get to see how they do on a budget, which is what they’ll be working with when they go off to school.

And speaking of budget, if you’re going to be giving your children a monthly allowance while they’re away at school, go to a bank branch near the campus. Talk to them about the monthly budget they’ll be receiving, if any, and discuss how to handle it as far as groceries and everyday expenses go. Also talk to them about what to do if they run out of money. Don’t say things like, “call us and we’ll transfer more money over”. You don’t want to make it too easy for them. Tell them that you’ll figure out things for them to do in order to acquire more money.

Most college students have a dorm mate or a suite mate or something along those lines. Usually they’re able to communicate with their new roomie before hand but they’re not able to get to know each other that well through email, texts, or phone calls. Talk to them about how to resolve problems that may arise regarding their new room mate. Advanced problem-solving will definitely help when confrontations come up.

College is way different than high school especially when the student is away from home. Try printing out or going to the school and picking up their course load for the first semester. Try and put together a game plan of how they’re going to accomplish this along with other activities they may be partaking in. Go over what needs to happen if they can’t make it to a class and the procedure they’ll need to take in order to let their professors know and get the work or notes they may have missed.

How will they get to class and around campus? Do they have a car? If not, transportation may be a big deal. Bikes are a BIG mode of transportation to getting around campus. Normally, everything you need is around the campus and can be reached by bicycle. Ask the campus about bike storage facilities. If they don’t have a car and you’re looking for one, consider buying a clunker.

Make sure your new college student knows where the student health center is and what services are available, including birth control. I know, it’s a touchy subject but sometimes they’re not the ones that need the help. It could be their roommate. No matter what, just have a conversation about all the services that the health center provides.

After they’ve been at school for awhile there may be a little friction when they come home on breaks. They’ve been away and on their own for awhile now and may not want to accept your house rules again. Just realize that this is a new phase for them and for yourself. Sitting and having dinner and not being able to answer their cell phone or go out with friends may be a problem. Just be prepared for the tension!

I hope some of these tips help get your new high school grad ready for this brand new chapter in their lives!

Top 5 Organizational Mistakes!

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1. Not finishing what you startSome people think that organizing a certain room is a great idea that they get so excited and think it’ll be so easy that when they finally start they get overwhelmed and quit halfway through. Before you start a new project make a list of all the things that need to get done in that area. This way you’ll be able to see what needs done and be prepared if it takes you longer than you thought. 

2. Buying organizational products before you know what you needI’m guilty of this one! Remember in August when I said that I was going to clean out all of the closets in my apartment? Well, I finally got around to cleaning my bedroom closet last weekend. But before I started I made a trip to Walmart for a few hampers, a basket for my bathroom, hooks for behind the door, and a shoe rack. Luckily, I was able to use everything I purchased. Also, sometimes I’ll buy something just because it seems useful and maybe it’s pretty but then I don’t end up using it or I’ll leave it out and find that it doesn’t serve a purpose.

3. Not throwing away/donating clothes or toys right away I do this all the time! Actually, as I type this I have 1 box and 2 garbage bags full of clothes in my closet that need to be donated and thrown away. When you do this, it never feels like your project is complete, which can lead to a mess much sooner rather than later.  “Oh, I never finished cleaning this closet so it doesn’t matter if I just leave this sweater on the floor for now. I’ll pick it up when I finish.” (Yes, that is the kind of conversation I have with myself)

4. Holding onto something because you think it could be usefulHave you ever not thrown away those ugly tennis shoes from high school because you think they might come back in style? OR “I couldn’t possibly throw away that old spatchula. I may need it if the other 4 spatchulas that I have grow legs and run away.” OR “Can’t throw away that old Mickey Mouse doll. What if someone brings their child over and I don’t have a toy for them to play with?” LOL.. I have no idea but if you haven’t used it for awhile, don’t make an excuse to keep it around. It’s only taking up space! Most of my clutter consists of items I think I MIGHT need at some point or I’m keeping it because I think someone else MIGHT need it. Just throw it away and clear some space!

5. If you have an organizational plan for a room or space in your home, don’t keep it to yourselfYou just finished cleaning off the dining room table. Everything that was on the table was either thrown away or has found a new permanent spot. Then your husband comes home and puts his briefcase and all of today’s mail on the table and then your kids come home and throw their book bags and toys on the table as well. If you’ve got a new found organizational plan for a certain space, make sure you communicate that plan with your family. They won’t know that the new table is no longer for everything and the kitchen sink if you don’t make it known. Just a side note, I’m not sure why I’m cracking up. I just thought of the above situation in my head and thought it was hilarious. I imagined this proud, accomplished mother, all smiles because she’s just finally finished cleaning off her dining room table that was covered in mountains of junk. Then, within a matter of 30 seconds her husband walks through the door, on his cell phone. He drops off everything on the table. His briefcase, the mail, change he may have had in his pocket, a couple receipts from today’s lunch purchase. He’s talking loudly on the phone to someone, I imagine it’s probably a colleague, and he’s on his way to the bedroom to get changed but he takes a quick second to kiss his wife, whose now looking bewildered, on the cheek. The room is silent, but only for a moment and then a stampede of children come in. Actually, maybe just three of them. One of them is around the age of 6. He blows his nose in a tissue and then throws it on the table along with his Batman lunch box and book bag. Behind him is an 11 year old girl, probably named Bridget or something, she’s just coming home from swim team practice and throws her wet towel on the table. Finally, her oldest son, she’s hoping that he’s old enough to realize that his stinky, sweaty hockey equipment doesn’t belong on the dining room table. She’s holding her breath, praying that he’ll take it straight to the garage or at least the mudroom. He walks towards her with a smile. He says, “hey mom! How are you? Have a good day?”  and kisses her on the cheek. He has passed the dining room table without dropping his stinky bag on the table! She smiles slightly, relieved. She always knew how smart he was. Her son goes to the refrigerator, pulls out a bottle of water and starts walking toward the living room…. Not before dropping his big, moldy smelling hockey bag on the dining room table. And the mother’s excitement turns to complete disappointment. HAHAHAHAHA! Really over the top but that’s what I thought of. 

Anyways, I hope this helps! Happy Monday everyone!