VetTix is A great way to show appreciation to our Veterans and their families.
A few months ago a friend of ours sat with his wife in the audience at Symphony Hall in Phoenix to enjoy hearing the orchestra who was accompanied by Phoenix Symphony Chorus. Tickets to the symphony usually cost between $25 and $120, but for our friend Aaron and his wife, who were sitting in some of the best seats in the house, there was no charge.
Aaron served for 4 years in the Air Force and as a veteran is participating in a program called VetTix where he is given tickets to cultural and sporting events at no charge.
What is Vet Tix?
VetTix.com is the website for the Veteran Tickets Foundation (VTF) which is a nationwide non-profit, 501c(3) organization based in Phoenix AZ. VTF was established in 2009 by Michael Focareto, who is a disabled US Navy veteran. The concept for VetTix came to Michael when he was given a ticket to attend the 2008 Super Bowl between the Giants and the Patriots which was held in Phoenix, AZ. As he sat watching the game he noticed that the seat next to him was vacant the entire time—a Super Bowl seat went unused! He thought, “Someone gave me a ticket, why couldn’t this seat next to me have been given to another veteran?” The vision was sparked and Michael was the man to make it happen – he started procuring and giving away event tickets to veterans in 2008.
In 2009 the Arizona Diamondbacks professional baseball team donated 40 tickets to be given to veterans to attend. VetTix received a good amount of publicity and since then more than 1.9 million tickets have been distributed to more than 400,000 military families. The retail value of the tickets exceeds $66 million dollars.
How to sign up for VetTix?
If you or a friend are: currently serving in the military; primary next of kin or spouse of a service person who was Killed in Action’ or are an honorably discharged veteran, you are eligible to participate in VetTix. Just go to VetTix.org and sign up for the program. You’ll need to read the instructions about how to verify your status. It’s a relatively simple process that our future son-in-law, Nolan completed it in about 15 minutes.
How does VetTix work?
Once you sign up, you earn 2 appreciation coins each month just for being part of VetTix. The coins are used to buy chances to win tickets for events. I coin per chance to win a ticket in the initial lottery draw. You can earn 15 more appreciation coins by referring friends, or by wearing VetTix gear to events and sharing photos on social media (10 appreciation coins).
When you want to attend an event, you simply search the site, find an event you want to attend, then submit your name and coins for the event. There are events listed in all 50 states for all kinds of event including concerts, ballet and symphony performances, football, baseball, basketball and even roller derby events. Tickets are awarded through a lottery system so there is some lag time from when you submit your request to the time you find out if you’re going to the event.
The system is very fair and organized. Once you create your account on the website you can read all of the rules, additional ways to win appreciation coins and about other services that VetTix offers.
What can civilians do to participate in VetTix?
A million dollars sure sounds like a hefty sum, but this number is actually within reach for many Americans. With the right saving tactics, financial strategy, and foresight, you too could retire with the lovely sum of $1 million sitting pretty in your bank account, so read on for the money-saving tips you need to make this a reality.
Start Saving Early
If you’re fresh out of college, the last thing you’re thinking about while handling housing, car, and insurance payments—on top of astronomical student loans—is putting money away for retirement. However, it’s in your twenties that you lay the proper foundation for a million dollar retirement. Making a million dollars by retirement is a marathon not a sprint, and those people who successfully save this money do so over a long period of time, often spanning multiple decades. The right return rates could see your money expanding exponentially over the years, so the sooner, the better.
Making the Right Investments
Stocks are one of the best ways to build long term savings, and can do more things for your wallet that a regular savings account or deposit could never. Some financial experts wager that of your million dollars reached by retirement, half should be the result of dividends, capital gains or various other returns. If you need help trying to decide where to invest your money, consider employing the help of a financial advisor, at least for a consultation to get some idea of where you should begin.
Want more money to put away? Spend less. If you can budget with the help of a site like Mvelopes.com or a tool like our budgeting system, to live marginally below your actual means, you can set aside money even if you never earn more. Live comfortably, but avoid unnecessary lavish purchases. Saving for retirement isn’t a one and done process, it’s a lifelong commitment to putting money aside and looking at the big picture. You might go through some hard times, and have to spend some money, but it’s essential that you continue to save after you’re through the storm.
Don’t Withdraw Early
If you want to retire with a million dollars in your pocket, then do everything in your power to avoid the temptation of pulling out retirement money early. When you withdraw early, whether that be from an IRA or 401(k) account, you’ll be penalized or taxed—either way, you’re spending more to get your own money. When you input money into a retirement account, consider it gone; that is, until you reach retirement age. The biggest mistake individuals make is regarding their retirement account as emergency savings. As you change jobs throughout your life, it might be enticing to cash out your 401(k) before moving onto another company, but it’s in your best interest to put that money into an individual retirement account or rolling it into your new employer’s plan.
Get Rid of Debt
If you’re living under a pile of debt, you’re throwing away money each year to interest. It’s essential that you get rid of debt before retirement, of course, but it’s also important to unbury yourself from crippling accounts as you start to save. Sometimes it’s worth it to put saving on hold simply to dig yourself out of debt. Once you have cleared your accounts, it’s important to avoid landing yourself in the same situation. Don’t fall into the trap of accruing credit card debt Read More...
We believe that family roots and preserving a family heritage is critical to the success of families and of a nation. A native tongue is lost by the 3rd generation - so are cooking, sewing and frugality skills. Because of this commitment we are sharing a different kind of blog post today.
We were speaking at a couple of conferences in Orlando last year and had taken a couple of days to visit the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. During our Epcot’s World Showcase we visited the American Adventure Pavilion we stumbled upon a wonderful book being sold there–My Heritage Book.
An Idea that Preserves Families. We met the author and struck up a conversation about the uniqueness of her product. It’s a customizable book that is designed to give children a knowledge and appreciation of their unique heritage. The way Deanna Bufo Novak designed the book, it can incorporate up to 6 different nationalities. The information and illustrations are detailed enough to give a good sense of the country, but concise enough to keep a child’s attention.
Because these books are custom made to your child’s ethnicity, and because they are very affordable, we think they make a great addition to holiday gift giving and to any family’s library.
And, if you scroll to the bottom of the page, you can get a special discount that Deanna created just for our readers.
We asked Deanna to tell us a little about the creation of the My Heritage Book.
I have had a love of heritage for as long as I can remember. I am of Italian descent and have always been proud of it. As a child, I would ask my great-grandfather countless questions: about life in Italy, what it was like coming to America, and why we ate macaroni every Sunday. I adored his broken-English answers.
Fortunately, I was constantly surrounded by family, including my great-grandfather, grandparents, parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Little did I know as a 6-year-old girl asking those questions that I was embarking on the same journey that millions embark upon today.
Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I felt a need for her to learn about being Italian and to be proud of it, as I am, but also wanted her to learn about and be proud of her Polish and Czech heritage from her dad. I knew it would be a balancing act, but one well worth the effort.
Our Heritage became important. At the same time, I noticed that my mom suddenly seemed even more Italian and my mother-in-law seemed even more Polish. I realized they had the same feelings I did and were trying to “teach” their newborn granddaughter something very dear to them. They wanted our daughter to know about her family’s history and traditions—I thought she was a very lucky little girl. I also thought every child should be so fortunate, and the idea for My Heritage Book was born.
As I searched Read More...
Spring – the time for plants and trees to come back to life and in many parts of the country families can be outside to enjoy more temperate weather and outdoor activities. And if you’re looking for fun, it’s a time full of inexpensive recreational activities.
If we just look ahead at the upcoming holidays there are plenty of opportunities for fun on the less expensive side.
Are there special Spring events in your area that tourists usually attend? Well, maybe you would enjoy them too? How about visiting an open house at a state wildlife rehabilitation center. The first time we attended, we were amazed to learn about numerous creatures that we hadn’t realized lived in our area. Are there car races, boat races, air shows, horse shows, dog shows, art shows, craft fairs and music festivals in your area? These can be fun events to attend, and if they do charge admission there are usually ways to get discount tickets. Just search a little, or consider volunteering to help with the events.
A myriad of college and high school spring concerts and recitals in April and May. Each year many college senior music majors are required to put on a final recital. These can be a lot of fun as website subscribers Beth and Curtis from Spokane, WA, experienced. “Most universities publish dates and times of their recitals in the local newspaper or online. One of our most enjoyable evenings was spent in a university recital hall listening to a solo tuba recital. It was memorable and quite entertaining — and, best of all, it was absolutely free.”
Salute the music
If you ever get the opportunity to hear one of our military bands perform, don’t miss it. They are phenomenal — and free, too.
Game Fun — Done for Cheap Anytime
Doreen Hallman from Phoenix, AZ encourages family game nights. “For years we did a monthly game night with friends and their kids. It usually consisted of a host couple and two other families, preferable with kids the same ages. Little kids can be put down to sleep and you don’t need a baby sitter. Everyone brings “substantial hors d’oeuvres” which become dinner for the night.”
You could expand on Doreen’s idea a little and take the games outside for a park night of Capture the Flag, or an afternoon of kickball, Wiffle ball or any other family friendly outdoor game.
SPRING OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
In springtime, outdoor dates or family activities could include visiting an arboretum, strawberry picking, bird watching, or hiking through fields of wildflowers, the forest, desert or mountain trails.
We especially enjoy this season as our citrus trees are in full bloom — nothing compares to taking a walk while the smell of fresh citrus blossoms waft through the air and hundreds of butterflies dart about.
It’s also a great time to make use of city parks, play Frisbee golf, volleyball, use a jogging trail or exercise equipment that many parks now have along trails. Or take a leisurely bike ride down some quiet streets or through a nature preserve. In Scottsdale we have a flood control Green Belt with a paved path where hundreds of people walk, rollerblade, jog and ride bikes for dozens of miles – it’s a beautiful area and a great place to go in the spring.
Annette just read the book “Pitchin’ A Fit: Overcoming Angry and Stressed-Out Parenting” by Israel and Brook Wayne. It’s a new book with an awesome message. This book is written from a faith-based perspective, but even if this isn’t where you’re coming from, we don’t believe it will be offensive in any way.
Parenting isn't for Wimps
Anyone who has kids will tell you that that parenting isn’t for wimps. But even the most courageous and confident parents will admit that there are times when even they feel inadequate to the task. This book is a reminder that you’re not alone and that there is hope and encouragement no matter your past experience.
LIsten to this interview with Israel and Book Wayne, hosted by Shaun Tabatt
Overcoming their Past
Israel shares some details about the abusive home he came from and how he has healed from that experience. Brook shares the perfectionist attitudes she embraced as a young adult and how she has had to loosen her grip in order to become a healthier parent.
No matter your background, you will be able to relate to this book and receive encouragement and practical tools for moving to a better place in your parenting.
The authors take the on the every-day challenges of parenting and systematically provide solutions for overcoming anger, while equipping you to embrace patience and affirmation as you deal with your kids.
Equipped to Love
We’ve never met a parent who wanted to become a “screaming-mimi,” but unfortunately that’s where many of us end up in our parenting because we’re so unaware of what’s happening in our own hearts. The Wayne’s discuss how to identify anger triggers and then how to diffuse them. They share how to motivate reluctant children and how you can keep your relationship strong with your kids even through the tumultuous teen years. Their goal is to equip us to lead our families with patience and love, which will result in a home filled with grace and peace.
I wish this book were around when we were first starting to raise our kids. If you want a renewed perspective for your parenting, don’t even wait, order a copy now, it’s that good.