Thanks Giving Tips From The Salvation Army: Serve a Wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner — and Save Money!

Our friend, Nike Chillemi, was kind enough to share this money saving article. It might be June but it’s never too early to start planning for the holidays! 🙂

3 Tips for Keeping Costs Under Control

The Salvation Army works hard to ensure that every dollar you donate is used as efficiently and effectively as possible — Doing the Most Good, for the most people, in the most need. In that spirit, we offer these money-saving tips to help you stretch your own budget this Thanksgiving.

Tip #1: Keep It Simple. Instead of five kinds of pies and a dozen side dishes, trim your Thanksgiving menu down to those favorites everyone loves. Also, choose simpler recipes rather than those requiring the purchase of spices and other ingredients you won’t be likely to use again.

Tip #2: Start Shopping Now. The earlier you shop, the more time you have to take advantage of weekly sale prices and coupons. You can also save money by comparison shopping — visiting different stores, and scooping up the best buys at each.

Tip #3: Use Natural Decor. Look to nature, and save on store-bought Thanksgiving decorations. Bring the beauty of the season indoors with your own display of autumn leaves, pine cones, acorns, and other natural elements.

For more information on the Salvation Army:
THE SALVATION ARMY
GREATER NEW YORK DIVISION
120 W. 14th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 337-7339
www.SalvationArmyNY.org


Nike Chillemi

Like so many writers, I started writing at a very young age. I still have the Crayola, fully illustrated book I penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about my then totally off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call me a crime fictionista. My passion is crime fiction. I like my bad guys really bad and my good guys smarter and better.

I write hard-boiled detective novels with a soul. My detectives, both male and female, are jump into the fray, tough, shoot it up types. Yet, they’re all vulnerable. They’re not so hard-boiled they couldn’t be actual people.

I’m the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. I writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. I was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category, a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories, and a judge in the Eric Hoffer Awards in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

My four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s, has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. My new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press became a best seller in Amazon’s private investigator category, won the Grace Award 2014,  and has also garnered critical acclaim.

I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN).

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3 Questions Wednesday with Kristen Hogrefe

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Kristen!

Kristen Hogrefe is an author, speaker, and English teacher. She also serves as a mentor for Word Weavers International and works with the teens in her church’s youth group. Her new release, The Revisionary (Write Integrity Press), is the first book in her YA trilogy The Rogues. The novel is a dystopia of a different kind—one where characters look back to their civilization’s heritage for hope and wisdom to move forward. You can find Kristen outdoors in the Florida sunshine or online at www.KristenHogrefe.com.

Question:  What inspires you?

Kristen:  Many things inspire me. For starters, nature inspires me. God’s creation provides an endless resource for my imagination! Also, my fellow writers (Word Weaver friends) inspire me as do some of my favorite authors and books. However, I think that writing is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration (to borrow that famous quote by Thomas Edison). Writing requires discipline and hard work. Finding inspiration is easy. Putting in the long hours is the tough part, but the end result is worth the effort.

Good answer!

Next question is a bit of fun–You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Kristen: I would be a spiral blue and yellow crayon (same concept as a twisty ice cream cone): yellow for sunshine and blue for ocean. I’m definitely a Florida girl! I’ve lived in the Sunshine State my whole life and keep a volleyball and beach chair in my car trunk—ready for any spontaneous trips.

Yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom, and understanding, according to my trusty “favorite colors” page. Blue is compassionate, and caring, among other things. What those two colors signify to me, is a sunny day with crystal blue skies! Good color choice.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Kristen: As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I loved animals and didn’t think there could possibly be a better job—that is, until I realized that needles and blood make me queasy. Now, I just have one kitty named Ness, and enjoy writing and teaching.

At one time, I thought a veterinarian would be a good career choice, if a love for animals was all it took. Like you, I reconsidered when faced with the facts. Sounds like you made a good decision!

Readers, I hope you enjoyed this week’s 3 Questions Wednesday. You’ll find Kristen at the following locations:

Kristen is @kjhogrefe on Twitter.

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/kristenhogrefe.author/

Website: https://kristenhogrefe.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/KristenHogrefe/e/B004FZXG7U/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


I #amreading Kristen’s newly released YA dystopian novel, The Revisionary–it’s riveting!  Here are the details about the book–

A Revisionary rewrites the rules. A Rogue breaks them. Which one is she?

Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy accepts her Revisionary draft to the Crystal Globe with one goal: earn a Dome seat so she can amend the satellite rules and rescue her brother. Her plan derails when Head Gage Eliab brands her as a suspect in a campus Rogue attack, and in her quest to clear her name, she questions if the vigilante Brotherhood responsible might not be the real villain.

Her shifting loyalties pit her against Luther Danforth, her Court Citizen ally who believes in reform, not revolution. Joining the Brotherhood makes a future with him impossible—and Portia must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or to break them.

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Financial Peace

By Betty Boyd

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Most people at one time or another have had financial struggles. While my husband was alive, we always worked from a budget. As he got sicker and sicker, it became more difficult to stay on top of all the bills. Once he passed, all the medical bills started to pile up. Luckily, I had insurance money to pay them off.

Today, I still use a budget. Being retired and running a business has made me more aware of keeping track of my dollars. One of the best people I’ve ever heard in addressing challenges relevant to budgeting is Dave Ramsey. He is an author, speaker and has a daily radio program that tackles financial issues.

People call into his show, with so many different scenarios. Some of his best advice:

  • Snowball your credit card debit, from the biggest to the smallest.
  • Don’t take out a loan on a car, but rather pay cash for it.
  • Have an emergency fund of at least six months.
  • Put back as much savings as you can afford.
  • Once you pay off your debt, don’t get back into it.

Dave Ramsey has a program called Financial Peace University, which can be taken individually, or where a lot of churches will sponsor it for the congregates to take advantage of. This is a system of how get out debt, and save for your future. Here is the link for more information about Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey. Financial Peace University and Dave Ramsey

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Money will always be needed. I have taken advantage of some of Dave Ramsey’s advice, and I’m constantly working on my own financial peace. One more idea is to have a will, a power of attorney, and a safe place to keep your important documents for your family to find.

Writing Prompt: What are some of your tips for your financial peace story?

 

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Coupons: A Family Tradition

By Bonita Y. McCoy

Coupons saved my way of life.

When my oldest son was a baby, we lived in a neighborhood that had sidewalks. This was the first house we had owned, and money was tight. Because we were a one-car family, I would take the baby out for a stroll in the afternoons just to get a break.

I began to notice on recycling day that many of my neighbors didn’t keep their coupon booklets but rather tossed them in with the other recycling. It took a bit of nerve, but if I spotted the booklets on top of the bins, I stopped and pulled them out. We needed all our pennies, and coupons were one way I could help cut the cost of our groceries.  After all, I was a stay at home mom, and I wanted to do my part.

Over the next several months, I began to find more and more of the booklets at the top of the bins. My neighbors were becoming aware of my weekly walks on recycling day and made the effort to make the coupons accessible for me.

Their ministry to my little family lasted for nearly two years until we moved.

During this time, my aunt in Mississippi also began sending me an encouraging note along with coupons for diapers and other items that she knew I used. Through the generosity of my aunt and neighbors, I was able to keep our grocery bill within our budget.

Today, coupons play an important role as a ministry tool for me and my family. We have given coupons for diapers and formula to new mothers and young families, and we have sent specific coupons to friends when it was a product that we knew they used often.

Within my family, I exchange them with my mother-in-law, and on the flip side, I pass them along to my own daughter-in-law.  They have become a family tradition, of sorts. Even my youngest son knows to ask for a coupon before going to get a haircut. For us, couponing works.

Five Coupon Tips:

  • Don’t buy items just because you have a coupon. The idea is to save money. If the store brand is cheaper or the coupon is for something you don’t normally use, it won’t save you money.
  • Team up with a buddy. Nobody can keep up with all the sales. Find someone who is interested and swap coupon booklets every week or two.
  • Don’t be an extreme coupon-er if it isn’t you. Do what fits your life style. Some people have notebook binders; others like me have the wallet-sized coupon holder that fits in your purse.
  • Put your coupons somewhere, like in your purse or your car, so you’ll have them with you when you’re out. The number #1 problem with using coupons – leaving them at home.
  • Remember coupons can be used as a ministry tool. You can use them to purchase needed items for food banks or homeless shelters, or you can find a neighbor who could benefit from your unused coupons and share with them, like my neighbors did for me.

Coupons have played a vital role in the life of my family. They are a McCoy tradition. We use them to save money for sure, but more than that, we use them to bless others.

Click to tweet: Coupons saved my way of life.

Writing Prompt:  The coupon made me think of my neighbor Lenita…


Hello! I’m Bonita Y. McCoy. I hail from the Great State of Alabama where I live on a five-acre farm with three horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who I’ve had for over twenty-five years. I am a mother to three mostly grown sons and one beautiful daughter-in-law who joined us from Japan. I love God, and I love to write. My blog is an expression of both these passions. Drop by and visit.

www.beautifulpiecesofgrace.blogspot.com

3 Questions Wednesday with Leila Tualla

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Leila Tualla

Leila Tualla is a Filipino American writer, and author of a Christian YA contemporary romance, Love, Defined. She can be seen drinking copious amounts of caffeine while chasing after two miracle babies. She is a 2-time Preeclampsia Survivor, and online Advocate.
When she’s not writing about her Preeclampsia journey or chasing after her tiny “Mexipino” bosses, she can also be found buried in books.

Thanks for joining us today, Leila. Here’s the first question:

What inspires you?

Leila: My family inspires me to be better person. Children are our legacies, and I want to be remembered for my kindness by the actions of the little loves I left behind.

What a wonderful outlook and goal. Next question–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Leila: I would be lavender. It’s pretty, and sweet, and unassuming. It’s not bold and loud like purple, but there’s just something about that color that makes you pause…at least, I’d like to think so. I can be shy around people, but I’ve been told that even though I would swear I blended in with the background, people seem to remember me. Of course, how many Leila’s do people meet on a daily basis?

Nice. I read that a “lavender” person is usually creative, charming, witty and civilized. What do you think? Comments, anyone? Last question–

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Leila: I wanted to be a teacher just so I could give stickers and write in pretty colored pens!

Cute!

Readers–Leila is offering a signed copy of her book, Love Defined–so comment to win! As usual, if we have lots of comments, we’ll draw for the winner and let you know. Here’s more about the book:

Love Defined by Leila Tualla

Click on book to buy Print Version.

In their final summer before graduating college, three childhood friends expect an uncomplicated transition to adulthood…but learn they all still have some growing up to do.

Alex Makapulo is facing a crisis of faith.

Raised a Catholic, Alex is considering becoming a member of her best friend Jack Page’s church—against her family’s wishes—but she can’t quite take the final step of baptism. Jack loves Alex and doesn’t understand her hesitation, and Alex wonders if Jack’s love is a blessing or a distraction to test her religious conviction.

Lori Hanson embarks on the trip of a lifetime.

For her twenty-second birthday, Lori’s grandfather presents her with a summer vacation in England. While preparing for her adventure, she meets British musician Colin Watson online and quickly falls for him. They plan to hook up when she lands in London, but her grandfather forbids it. Due to complicated family dynamics, Lori must regretfully comply with his wishes, though she vows never to forgive him.

Andy Taylor is looking for love in all the wrong places.

When Andy runs into an old crush, she decides she wants a more meaningful relationship with sexy Miles Webber. But when she confides in Alex, her friend warns her Miles only wants her for sex. Andy becomes angry and devises a reckless plan to distract Alex’s attention from her relationship. Things don’t go quite as she expected, though, and Andy is left facing a crushing moral dilemma.

As the summer unfolds, three young women learn love and faith go hand in hand, not everything is black and white, and sometimes in a fast-paced world you have to slow down, breathe a little, and find your own definition of love.

Kindle Buy-Link


Leila Tualla reads various novels, and her book reviews can be found at www.leilatualla.com/bookshelf.  She is currently working on a memoir about her Preeclampsia journey, 2-time NICU hospital experiences, bouts with anxiety, and postpartum depression, tentatively titled, “Preeclampsia can SUCK it.”

More places to find Leila:
www.facebook.com/leilatuallam
www.instagram.com/leilatualla
www.twitter.com/leilatualla


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