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 Steps to Living Debt-Free

By Randy Tramp

mombizcoach

We were 30,000 dollars in debt. We needed out—fast.

That began a journey of discovery. For the next few minutes, I’d like to relate to you my findings.

Starting with credit cards. Not only did we need to pay them off, but we also needed a new mentality; one, I’m proud to have obtained.

(1)  Pay off your credit cards monthly.

It may sound like a simple thing, but unless you have this cemented into your thinking, you’ll never rise to financial freedom.

To get our cards paid off, we tackled one at a time. With laser determination, we conquered the highest interest card. Once zeroed, we directed all the money to the next one. It snowballed until we had every card paid off.

Today it feels good to get a monthly reward check.

We didn’t stop there.

(2)  Make payments to your savings account.

With the credit cards paid off, we had extra money each week. Immediately that extra money was designated. Emergency fund. Car savings and regular savings.

Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies. Having extra cash when something breaks down keeps a family in smooth waters. You may be asking, “We have a hard time paying our bills, how can we save extra?” Let me answer that, by saying this: “Start with a small amount and be consistent.” If it’s ten dollars a week, keep putting that amount in your savings. Over a year’s time, it’ll be over five hundred dollars. Put more in – well you can do the math.

We’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by paying for our vehicles with cash. How? We make monthly car payments—to our savings account, then use that money to buy a car.

(3)  Pay Extra on your Mortgage.

You’d be surprised at how a few extra dollars to your mortgage interest adds up. It does.

I’ve calculated my mortgage considering my retirement. When I hit that age, both our houses will be paid off.

The last thing I want to talk about is giving. I know it’s a non-stopper in conversations. That’s why I put it last, even though it should be first.

We’re wired to be selfish and self-centered. Nothing flows when we live in that nature. Giving creates a flow, allowing God to bless. I’m not speaking give a dollar and get two back. Blessings come in all different forms.

Give, and it will be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Luke 6:38 (NIV)

Our journey was one step at a time. Are you ready to join me?

Click to tweet: Lowered stress happens when you plan for emergencies.

Writing Prompt: Think of a way one of your characters in your current WIP can give a blessing, expecting none in return. Write it.


Randy Tramp is a freelancer, writing articles for newspapers and magazines. He’s just published his debut novel, Night to Knight.
He served in the Navy for eight years, supervised inmates at a Federal prison for twelve years and ministered as a children’s Pastor for twelve years. During this time, while on a missions trip, he taught African’s about children’s ministry.
His passion is to see families strengthened and relationships restored. He and his wife Kim are parents of eleven children (eight adopted) and five grandchildren, ranging in ages from two to thirty-two.
You can connect with Randy at:

Night to Knight

night-to-knightSpecial Forces Mark Steele commands an operation to save two American Missionaries. He’s injured and dismissed from the Special Forces. Not wanting to take a desk job, the Navy discharges him. Mark becomes discouraged until he discovers a new purpose in life—locate and return abducted children to their family.

To protect his wife from emotional stress, Mark doesn’t tell her. During one of Mark’s missions, Kaitlyn finds a crumbled paper in the wastebasket next to his desk. She calls the number and hears a female’s voice, then Mark’s voice in the background. “We’re a married couple headed to Phoenix,” Mark says…

Read more about Randy’s book here.


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3 Questions Wednesday with Traci Wooden-Carlisle

Happy Wednesday!  Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God.

She’s offered to give away two awesome prizes to two blessed commentors: a digital copy of Missing Destiny, gifted through, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords.  Also, a pendant and earring set of multicolored horses to go with the theme of Missing Destiny which mostly takes place on an equine therapy ranch.

 So read on and see how you can win…

First Question:

What inspires you?

Traci: Acts of kindness and love that I see people perform in everyday situations inspires me. I love seeing God move through people and I love the way He teaches me through others as well as circumstances my characters go through in my books.

I love small acts of kindness too! 🙂

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

Traci: I would be blue and white swirl so children can make their own cloud animals on rainy days.

Beautiful thought. Last question:

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

Traci: At 11, I knew I wanted to be an author. I took a round-a-bout way of getting there, but it only took 29 years from the birth of that dream.

Thanks so much for dropping by, Traci.

Click to tweet: Fun author interview with Traci Wooden-Carlisle . #WriterWednesday #amwriting

Traci has graciously offered to give away two awesome prizes: a digital copy of Missing Destiny, gifted through, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Smashwords.  Also, a pendant and earring set of multicolored horses. Don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered to win!


Missing Destiny

She spends Friday nights with charts and graphs. His best friend is a dog named Sebastian. 
All she’s ever wanted was peace and to feel she belonged. All he ever wanted was to disappear.
She’s a city girl hiding in a small town. He’s back home hiding from his past.
If life were perfect, they could be each other’s missing destiny.

When a mysterious man becomes a threat to her health Dr. Shauna Nathan, a workaholic scientist, is about to lose control over her emotions and her life.

Her family steps in to protect her even if it means disrupting her otherwise predictable and orderly existence by bribing her with a chance to spend time with her old college roommate and surround herself with her one true passion — horses.

She heads to a ranch in Chandler County to hide from her stalker. Instead, she might find there healing she looks for — and love she doesn’t. 

Horse therapist Zach moved to New York, had a successful career in finance, a beautiful wife, and daughter one day and the next it was all gone. He came back to Chandler County to come to terms with his loss and find a modicum of peace as a ranch hand- turned therapist at Murphy’s Equestrian Therapy Center. He has lost everyone he loved. Would he risk his heart again for Shauna? 

Though the ruthless killer on Shauna’s trail will stop at nothing to destroy her, will Zach and Shauna escape danger and find happiness in each other’s arms and their missing destiny?

Amazon – https://goo.gl/LsaMJi

Barnesandnoble – https://goo.gl/tvoBls

Kobo – https://goo.gl/ymhoOE


Traci Wooden-Carlisle began writing poetry and short stories as soon as she was able to form words on paper. She used that as a way to creating worlds, as well as, to communicate with God.

Mrs. Wooden-Carlisle lives in San Diego with her husband. She teaches fitness classes, runs a jewelry and craft business, and is currently writing the third book in her Christian-fiction romance series.

Amazon Author Page – https://goo.gl/mpD2YX

Bookbub – https://goo.gl/WMGebX

website: www.tawcarlisle.com

www.facebook.com/traciwoodencarlisle

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6548758.Traci_Wooden_Carlisle

www.instagram.com/tawcarlisle

www.twitter.com/traciwcarlisle

www.pinterest.com/tawcarlisle

May Winners

May is over and most schools are out for the summer. I know my grandchildren are elated. How about you? The month of May saw six more winners on our blog.

Janell Butler Wojtowicz’ offer of a Kindle copy of Embracing Hope has been won by Janetta. Congrats!

Mimionlife has been picked to win a Kindle copy of Katie Clark’s book, Securing the Handyman’s Heart. 

Stephenia H. McGee is gifting an E-book copy of In His Eyes also to Mimionlife. She was the only one to leave a comment. An easy victory 🙂

The winner of a $10 Starbucks gift card from Melissa Henderson is Becky Hrivnak. Woo hoo!

Susan Holt Simpson is a contributor to Michelle Medlock Adam’s book, Love and Care for the One and Only You. She is graciously giving this book (print version) to lelandandbecky.

The winner of Waiting For Butterflies by Karen Sargent is Frank! Yay!

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment. We so appreciate you! And please don’t forget us while you’re enjoying your summer 🙂

Digital Coupons: Click and Save

Hi! Jennifer Hallmark here. I’m super excited about our topic this month: Best Ways to Save Money. I don’t know about you, but I’m always searching for new methods to stretch a dollar. Be sure to drop by every Monday and Friday in June for a new post. And now, my take on digital coupons.

Extreme couponing. I tried it. Bought the special notebook, fixed all the tabs inside, and purchased a newspaper. According to the instructor (yes, I even went to a class), the money would soon be rolling in.

Except that was the only newspaper I ever bought. By the time I clipped all the coupons and filled my notebook, I was confused. And you don’t even want to know about the shopping trip with me stumbling all over Publix.

It didn’t work.

Now I’m not saying it won’t work, because people have proven it does. It just didn’t work for me. So I put my notebook in a drawer and whispered a prayer. “God, if I’m going to save money, there has to be an easier way.”

Cue the angelic choir.

Did you know your smart phone can carry digital coupons?  I’m no expert at this but I can tell you how it works with the stores that I clip them from. You can add what you want and when the coupon expires, it disappears. Most stores probably work in similar ways. Just get out your smart phone and let’s start collecting coupons and saving money.

The area I live in is very rural so I do most of my shopping in the small town of Moulton, fifteen miles away. The stores I use for couponing are Dollar General, CVS, and Gateway Foodland. I also use Publix digital coupons, but it’s about 35 miles away. Let’s start with the one I use most.

Dollar General-go to their website and sign up. Then you can go to digital coupons. You can look through the available coupons and add what you want to your phone. When I get an email with their new ad, I go to the coupon section and add more. At the moment, I have 292 coupons. Any time I’m shopping I can look through my coupons and add them to my list. If I’m in a hurry, I still enter my phone number in the payment terminal before I check out so it will look over my coupons for me. I’ve saved $99.43 so far using these coupons.

Gateway Foodland & PublixI do the same thing. Make an account, add coupons, then start saving. I have 190 coupons loaded at Foodland and close to that at Publix. And new coupons come each Wednesday to my email.

CVSThis one is a little different. I signed up for their extra care card since I purchase my prescriptions here. I add their deals from the app on my phone. I also get extra care bucks back (I have to spend at CVS) when I fill so many prescriptions and at different times get coupons for a percentage off certain items.

I love couponing this way. Wednesday is usually the day I sit down, add all my coupons, and make my list. I can have everything added in thirty minutes or less and make my list for shopping.

One more tip of a way I save money. I have the Wal-Mart app on my phone and I’m signed up for Savings Catcher. Again, I first created an account. I scan each receipt as I get them and they search for all the stores in the area for a lower price. Say, if Foodland has milk cheaper in their ads, Wal-Mart loads the difference on an e-shopping card. So far, I’ve saved over $50 from price compare.

Hooray! I can chunk the notebook, put my scissors away, and rid myself of the headache. I wonder what people will think up next?

Click to tweet: “God, if I’m going to save money, there has to be an easier way.”

Writing Prompt: Cassie gripped my hands, her eyes pleading. “But by using digital coupons, I can save enough to pay for my phone in less than a year.”

I shook my head. Then…

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3 Questions Wednesday with Karen Sargent

Happy Wednesday!  Author Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. Let’s see how she tackles our questions…

First Question:

What inspires you?

Karen:  Momhood inspires me. For nearly 21 years I’ve loved being a mom, and that’s long enough to look back and realize I expected too much from myself—just like moms typically do. I expected perfection and always fell short because I compared myself to moms who loved to cook (my least favorite book is a recipe book!) and to moms whose homes were spotless (I’m good at moving clutter from one room to another and closing the door). I overlooked what I did well. Like my own mom, I’m a good listener and I have honest conversations about the hard stuff.

I try to remember what it was like to be a young adult and that my girls are still learning how to do life. It took time for me to sort the important from the trivial, but once I did, I was inspired to share. So I started The MOM Journey, a blog where moms aren’t perfect and that’s perfectly okay. Being a mom has also inspired the novels I write. Each explores the depth of a mother’s love and how that love can reach beyond possible. I love being a teacher. I love being a writer. But most of all, I love being a mom.

What a great way to look at inspiration. Now…

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

Karen: My crayon color would be passionately purple. First, purple is my favorite color…inspired by guess what? Momhood! When my first daughter was born, I loved dressing her in frills and lace, but there was so much pink!

Just to be different, I started to dress her in purple instead, and somewhere along the way purple became my favorite color. It makes my heart happy! Passionately…that’s genetic. I credit my Italian grandparents. Whatever we feel, we feel deeply.

I like that. Color should make the heart happy. 🙂

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

Karen: I wanted to write before I could write. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with a crayon, pretending to write words. However, I never dreamed I could be a writer. I chose to be an English teacher instead, so I could be surrounded by books and writing. My desire to write would wiggle every now and then to remind me it was still there, but I was busy raising two daughters and 120 students each year. Little did I realize that being a teacher and a mom were preparing me for Waiting for Butterflies. Teaching students to read great literature and to express themselves in writing taught me to be a better story teller and writer. And being a mom gave me something important to write about.

It’s amazing how life prepares us for writing. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Make sure and leave a comment if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway of a print copy of Waiting for Butterflies.


Waiting For Butterflies

A mother’s love never ends—not even when her life does.

Longing for her family after a tragic accident, Maggie becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her death. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out.

A tender portrait of a mother whose love reaches beyond possible, Waiting for Butterflies will embrace your heart and not let go.

Buy the book.


Karen Sargent creates characters whose imperfect faith collides with real-life conflicts, taking readers on a journey through grace and redemption to discover enduring hope. A romantic element is woven within each story. Her writing has been featured in Guidepost’s Angels on Earth magazine and on ForEveryMom.com.

When she is not writing, she teaches high school and college English in the beautiful Arcadia Valley where she resides with her husband and two daughters.

Website: karensargentbooks.com

The MOM Journey Blog: karensargentbooks.com/blog

Facebook: Facebook.com/KarenSargentAuthor

Twitter: Twitter.com/KarenSargent_87

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/KarenSargent87

Memorial Day-A Time for Remembrance

By Steve Connolly – Alabama Metal Art

Marked as the official start of Summer, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. It is, however, the day we all should remember and honor all Americans who lost their lives while serving in the country’s armed forces.

Growing up in a small New England town, I vividly remember marching in the Memorial Day Parade. We would line up at the cemetery just outside of town. Many of the town’s residents stood around the gravestones waiting for the program to start. Soon, a lone trumpeter would begin playing taps. It always gave me chills to hear. After a brief word and a prayer, the band would come alive with a patriotic march. Our march into town, although several miles, was always fun. It was good to see people waving flags, and clapping as we marched by.

Looking Back a Ways

For our family, Memorial Day held a tradition for us in the way of planting our summer vegetable garden. We kept our fingers crossed that the Northern New England weather would cooperate and we would not have to worry about any rogue frosts. Mom and I would be out in the dirt on our hands and knees carefully measuring the depth and spacing of each seed. Being amateur farmers at best, we needed all the luck we could muster when it came to gardening. Planting took us hours to get it all done, but once it was finished, it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Surprisingly, we had great success with our vegetable gardens.

New Traditions with a Young Family

As I got older and had a family of my own, new traditions were started. Moving to a new town now made me an onlooker of parades instead of a participant. Our family would stand along the parade route waving and clapping as floats and bands went by. The kids loved parades as many of the float riders would throw candy to all standing on the roadside. Being in a small town when the parade was finished, we would walk home up the hill laughing and chasing each other. Our kids always loved these family times. Later that afternoon, the grill would be fired up for a small family feast in the back yard. Hot dogs, chips, cold watermelon and ice-cream were carried out to the picnic table. Often, I would look at that ole picnic table and think, someday I have got to paint this thing. 🙂

Fireworks at the Lake

Throughout the day, the excitement would build in anticipation of the evening fireworks show. Every Memorial Day, the town would present an extraordinary light show for all who gathered around the lake in the center of town. Watching fireworks set off from the middle of the lake was always exciting. Not only did the sky light up with many colors but the lake water did as well. Some years we would watch from a park across the lake. I laugh now when I think of a friend who would give us a bang by bang commentary on the fireworks. In the later years when the kids had grown and moved out of the house, I would sit in our upstairs window and watch the fireworks. I would guess it is an advantage of living in a small town where everything is close together.

A Big Change in Location

Moving to Alabama in 1989 gave me another perspective on how people celebrate Memorial Day.  “Alabama Jubilee” was the phrase that kept crossing my path. Hearing it so often, I had to find out what it meant. Research pointed to the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic held at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama over the Memorial Day weekend.

In fact, this year’s celebration will be its 40th year. Thinking back to our first visit to the Jubilee, I was taken back by the number of balloons and how beautiful they were. It was dreamlike seeing these large balloons inflate and slowly ascend into the morning sky. If my memory is correct, there must have been over 50 balloons participating in the Jubilee that day.

These days we find ourselves gravitating toward a quieter celebration with family and friends. It is fun to sit out on the back deck watching the young ones running around the yard. Having fun with water balloons, checking out the latest addition to the farm animals, or running circles around the yard in the go-cart. It gives us a chance to sit back and ponder our many blessings. It is a time for us to realize that the freedom to have these blessings is because of the many who have gone before us and sacrificed their lives. May we never forget or take them for granted.

Click to tweet: May we never forget the sacrifices made by our military.

Writing Prompt: Consider adding a Memorial Day celebration to your novel or short story.


Steve Connolly works for Alabama Metal Art and would like to share a little about the company.

Who is Alabama Metal Art? We are a small business located in the Shoals Area of Alabama in the city of Florence. We are a close-knit group of employees, who work together to provide a unique product for our customers.  Each one of our metal art products are individually crafted for you.

Our product line includes but not limited to:

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