It's that time of year to prepare for 2018. That means working on my planner, getting my stuff for taxes together as well as making sure I'm ready for the 52 Week Money/Savings Challenge. This will be my fifth year doing this. If you'd like to read about my past experiences:
2014 – Year 1 – click here (scroll down to get to the 52 week challenge part)
The savings habit does get easier each year, but as usual, we ran into budgeting issues when unexpected expenses cropped up. That seems to be the norm around here. Some people use a bank account for their savings instead of a jar which keeps them from using the cash if they needed, but once again as in years past, having this jar on hand was a lifesaver at times, so I'm sticking with my jar.
I managed to save 52 weeks worth of money, but I also raided my jar throughout the year. I wasn't good paying it back, either, but I still ended up with enough for us to have a very nice Christmas!
I managed to check off all the boxes.
I ended up raiding the jar and not paying back the IOUs.
This is what I had left on Black Friday!
Today, I made my 2018 jar. My cat Spirit gave up helping me and decided to nap instead!
If you take a look at the chart I keep inside the jar, you'll see Xs. That's because I don't use this copy of the chart to track amounts, only weeks that I put in an amount. My royalties arrive monthly (or quarterly or every six months) and aren't consistent, so I don't go in order—I skip around based on the extra money I have each month—but this second sheet lets me see how many weeks I'm ahead or behind for the year. Some months I am able to check off several boxes, but other times just one or occasionally none. My goal is to be finished with the savings challenge by Black Friday. I don't have extra money to save once December arrives!
There are many variations as to how to do this savings challenge—little amounts to start, bigger ones, jump around, etc.—so if you're interested in trying this, figure out what works best for you and the way you get paid. Search on “savings jar” or “52 week money or savings challenge” if you want to see how others do this. The past posts that I linked to above also have links to a few blogs about this.
If you're on a fixed income or don't have much extra to save, consider using a jar for spare change. That adds up after a while. The real goal of these savings challenge isn't the amount that's put into a jar it's to get people in the habit of saving, so any amount put away is good!
I'll be using the same chart I found a few years ago on this blog post that explains how this works and got me started (use this link if you just want to print out the chart.) I'll continue to save monthly due to the way I get paid, but this year, as with last, I'm going to call my savings jar a “rainy day fund” because that's really what it's become and I'm so grateful to have that cash around when we need it!
Sweet romance lovers, how would you like a new Kindle and pick of ebooks for the New Year? Twenty authors have teamed up to bring you an awesome holiday book fair and multi-prize giveaway. Enter and you might be one of 7 winners to claim Kindles and/or prize packs up for grabs where you choose the books YOU want to win!
Plus, shop our selection of clean/sweet romances for the perfect holiday read (most 99 cents). To go to our website, click here! You can also use the rafflecopter below, but don't forget to check out the Book Fair on the website.
There's also a bonus giveaway that just went up yesterday for a Kindle Fire 7. To enter that one, click here!
This Giveaway is Sponsored by
Anne Stone • April Fire • Barbara Lohr • Debbie White • Donna R. Mercer • Donna Schlachter • Jackie Weger • Jeanette Lewis • Jina Bacarr • Josie Riviera • Kristy Tate • Liz Durano • Melissa McClone • Michelle Jo Quinn • Nikki Lynn Barrett • Norah Bennett • Rose Chapman • Suzanne Jenkins • Uvi Poznansky • Victoria Pinder • Aileen Harkwood
LET THERE BE LIGHT has everything–romance, adventure… puppies! If you love dogs, destiny, and dreams come true, then don’t miss this Alaskan adventure inspired by one part Romeo and Juliet and one part The Little Mermaid.
About the book!
Scarlett Cole is caught between two worlds. Accustomed to living out her adventures between the pages of great books, she now has the opportunity to participate in the sporting tradition she loves so much. Unfortunately, she’ll only have one chance to make a name for herself in the dog-sledding world before she needs to put these aspirations aside forever.
Henry Mitchell is another new contender in the great race, and he comes with a large media following. Challenged to place in the top ten of the Iditarod or forfeit his grandfather’s riches, failure could mean losing everything.
Do either Scarlett or Henry have what it takes? And what will happen when the sport places them in direct competition with each other? Will these star-crossed racers find something sweeter amidst their bitter rivalry?
Harkening to the great literary traditions of Romeo and Juliet and The Little Mermaid, Let There Be Light is a new twist on the most epic of love stories. Don’t miss the chance to lose your heart to two courageous teams of sled dogs and the humans that love them in this tale set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. Order your copy today!
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa's way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she's not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.
If you want to increase your number of entries in the giveaway, just enter below by answering the question correctly (It's easy, I promise!) and then share with your friends for your chance to win a very special prize pack. You’ll get 5 entries for every friend who joins through your Lucky Link, so spread the word wide and far.
If you have trouble with the bonus entry widget, click here to go to a webpage where you can enter!
I have another “authors with heart” spotlight and prize pack from this year's 2017 project! In these features, you get to hear about a book and have a chance to win a prize! Each featured author helped with the 2017 Mother's Day thermal bags that were donated to two Washington state Fisher Houses—VA Puget Sound Healthcare System in Seattle and Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM.
This week's spotlight features Jane Porter‘s newest release MIRACLE ON CHANCE AVENUE. This is Book #2 in Jane's Love on Chance Avenue series. Here's what a reviewer had to say about Janes's book:
“Ms. Porter has given us readers a wonderful, touching gift in Miracle On Chance Avenue – and for that I say a heartfelt thank you.
I would highly recommend this story to any Romance reader but especially to those readers who love the people of Marietta, Montana almost like family.”—Marsha @ Keeper Bookshelf
Here's the blurb for MIRACLE ON CHANCE AVENUE:
Rory Douglas rarely returns to his hometown of Marietta, choosing instead to unleash his demons competing on the American Extreme Bull Riding Tour. But after a particularly bruising season, Rory visits Marietta with the idea of buying an investment property and planning for a future he never imagined or wanted.
After ten years as a flight attendant, Sadie Mann has turned in her wings to focus on her shabby chic business and becoming a single mom. Adjusting to her new life is proving harder than she expected and the last thing she needs is unrequited love, Rory Douglas, home for the holidays. Everyone knows he avoids Marietta, Christmas, and settling down, so why is he back now?
Rory and Sadie have never had a chance, but maybe this Christmas will bring the miracle they're looking for.
This book sounds fabulous and very emotional if you're a fan of Marietta set stories and know the history of the Douglas family. I read the first book in the series and am looking forward to this one. What do you think?
Comment to be entered to win a Christmas themed prize pack that includes all you see in the picture: fleece throw, stuffed snowman, dish towel, cookie cutters, scarf, socks, hot cocoa packet, 3 candies (Sour Patch Kids, Whoppers, candy cane sticks), cupcake holders, mini ornament, bottlecap key chain, tissue, nail file, recipe card, and bookmarks! I'll pick the winner from the comment section using random.org and announce the name next Sunday night (December 17th) here on this post and on my Facebook page, so be sure to check back! The winner must contact me by Tuesday, December 19th to claim their prize so please check back to see if you won. I do not contact winners.
*** Giveaway over. The winner is Robin in NC! Please see comments on how to claim your prize! ***
Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to entries from Monday, December 11th, to Sunday, December 17th at 9 pm PST. Must be 18 or older to enter. Winner is chosen using random.org and must claim their prize by 12/19/17. Odds of winning are determined by the number of entries. Not responsible for loss or damage during shipping. Unclaimed prizes will be given away at a later date, either here on the website or on my Facebook page. Void where prohibited.
A special thanks to Jane for sponsoring a tote bag for the Seattle/JBLM Fisher House moms on Mother's Day. She's been part of this effort for a couple of years, and I really appreciate her support!
Here is another “authors with heart” spotlight and prize pack from this year's 2017 project! In these features, you get to hear about a book and have a chance to win a prize! Each featured author helped with the 2017 Mother's Day thermal bags that were donated to two Washington state Fisher Houses—VA Puget Sound Healthcare System in Seattle and Madigan Army Medical Center at JBLM.
In the spotlight this week is Terri Reed‘s Classified K-9 Unit Christmas' YULETIDE STALKING. This duet also includes Lenora Worth's A KILLER CHRISTMAS. This is part of Love Inspired Suspense Classified K-9 Unit. Here's what a reviewer had to say about Terri's book:
“Another fast-paced suspense to keep me on my toes!..This one had a few twists that I didn't see coming and ended in my heart pounding so fast I could hardly breath! Past meets present with this race between good and evil and seeing justice served!”—Amazon Reviewer
Here's the blurb for YULETIDE STALKING:
Determined to stop an arsonist with the help of his accelerant-detecting K-9 partner, FBI agent Tim Ramsey must protect the only witness. But when the criminal begins stalking Vickie Petrov, can Tim convince her to trust him…and help her survive to see another Christmas?
Here's the blurb for A KILLER CHRISTMAS, the other story in the duet:
When FBI K-9 agent Nina Atkins thwarts an attempted murder, she becomes a target of the killer—the same hit man US Marshal Thomas Grant is tracking. Even caught in the crosshairs, Nina’s reluctant to share her case, but working with Thomas may be the only way to capture a murderer before she becomes his next victim.
I love Terri's writing and am fortunate to have read her story before it was published. Lucky me! I really enjoyed along with the other books in this K-9 series. Lenora's TRACKER was in the spotlight title a while back! What do you think?
Comment to be entered to win a Christmas themed prize pack that includes all you see in the picture: Fleece throw, stuffed bear, oven mitt, two kitchen towel, cranberry and white chip cookie mix, socks, snowman ornament, mini ornament, Mike and Ikes, peppermint candy, hot cocoa mix, bottle top key chain, nail file and bookmarks! I'll pick the winner from the comment section using random.org and announce the name next Monday (December 11th) here on this post and on my Facebook page, so be sure to check back! The winner must contact me by Monday, December 18th to claim their prize so please check back to see if you won. I do not contact winners.
*** Giveaway closed. The winner is Nicole Ortiz! Please see comments on how to claim your prize.***
Rules: No purchase necessary. Open to entries from Tuesday, December 5th, to Monday, December 11th at 6 am PST. Must be 18 or older to enter. Winner is chosen using random.org. Odds of winning are determined by the number of entries. Not responsible for loss or damage during shipping. Unclaimed prizes will be given away at a later date, either here on the website or on my Facebook page. Void where prohibited.
A special thanks to Terri for sponsoring a tote bag and donating books for the Seattle/JBLM Fisher House moms on Mother's Day. I really appreciate her support!