Hope Wissel

Thank You for Your Service

Today is officially Veteran’s Day even though the federal holiday was celebrated yesterday.

What is Veteran’s Day?

“We remember those who died BUT Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime,” It is a holiday “is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge their contributions to our national security, and to underscore the fact all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of our military families?

Every week, households across the country get the Sunday paper which is typically filled manufacturer coupons.  Some cut out what we can use while others simply put the entire batch in the recycling bin never to be seen again.  Did you know you could help our military families and all it would cost you would be the postage?

Recycling coupons is a GREAT way to “give back” to our military families. Military families can use current and EXPIRED (up to 3 months from the expiration date) manufacturers coupons at the BX/PX.  Such an easy way to help others who risk their lives for us every day.

I never realized how much the “small” things we take for granted are appreciated by our military families and our troops until about 14 years ago.  My best friend’s husband, Bill, was deployed to Bagram in the early days of “Operation Freedom”.

A one month deployment turned into a 6 month stint during a time when there was no family support groups – just friends and family who got Stephanie and the four kids (Jen, Sean, Ryan & Shane) through the many days and long nights.  Every penny counted and believe it or not, coupons helped. Here is a quote from her Facebook page on Veteran’s Day –

” On Veterans Day, don’t count the days or the months. Just please remember every family of every soldier – and if you don’t know what to say, just do a random act of kindness like taking out the trash for a soldier’s wife while her husband is at home. Small things mean a lot. I know.  November 11, 2012 at 8:37pm  

Today, there are many businesses saluting veterans and active-duty military personnel.  They’re offering freebies and special discounts to show their appreciation for all those who have sacrificed for their country.  Proof of service such as a military ID is typically required and a few businesses will allow dressing in uniform as a form of identification.
Check with your location to see if they are participating:

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill: Free meal from a special menu Saturday at any of the nearly 1,800 locations.

Bob Evans: Free meal from a special menu available all day Saturday at all locations.

Bonefish Grill: Free Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Free small order of traditional or boneless wings with a side of fries.

Chili’s: Free meal from a special menu.

Cracker Barrel: Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free doughnut of choice, while supplies last.

Friendly’s: Free meal from a special menu at participating locations.

Little Caesars: Free Hot-N-Ready lunch combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LongHorn Steakhouse: Free appetizer or dessert. Plus guests dining with veterans will receive 10% off their meals.

Muscle Maker Grill: Free meal at participating locations.

Olive Garden: Free meal from a select menu.

Outback Steakhouse: Free Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage.

Panera Bread: Free breakfast sandwiches until 10 a.m. Saturday at participating locations. After 10 a.m., military members get a coupon for a free pastry to use on a future visit.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer or dessert.

Red Robin: Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with bottomless fries.

Ruby Tuesday: Free appetizer up to $10.

TGI Friday’s: Free lunch menu item up to $12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Plus get a coupon for $5 off next meal.

Wawa: Free coffee, any size, all day Saturday for veterans, active military and family members.

Great Clips: Veterans and active duty get a free haircut on Veterans Day or pick up a free haircut card to use through Dec. 31. Also non-veterans who get a haircut Saturday get a free haircut card to give to a veteran.

Many stores offer military discounts year-round, but a handful are only on Veterans Day.

A.C. Moore: 15% off your total regular and sale price purchase with valid ID every day.

Home Depot: 10% discount.

Jo-Ann Fabric: 10% discount for military service members and their families year round.

Lowe’s: 10% discount.

Michaels: 15% discount for military families every day.

Have you served in the military?  You can get your ID card at most county office buildings with a copy of your DD214.

Do you know a vet who could use some cheering up?  I have HERO bags made up and ready to send out.  Complete the form below and I will send them out or if local, I would be happy to drop it off to bring a smile and a thank you to one of our Veterans.


If you should see someone from the military today – Thank them!  They don’t just sacrifice their lives on Veteran’s Day but EVERY DAY!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday Recipes

Save Money Grocery Shopping


Thank you to Makingsenseofcents for some of these tips….

I went grocery shopping this past weekend – nothing special, most of us do it every week, right?  It is only hubby and I so you would think it would be relatively cheap, right?  I only cook twice a week with enough to freeze meals for the week while he is at work.  I am always amazed the total is about $100 a week.  Eating healthy with lots of fruits and veggies is expensive combined with no dairy, no gluten and no soy products.

Did you know the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food?  Did you know most families waste around 40% of food each month!  That’s about $300 on an average monthly bill of $750.  YIKES!!!  Wouldn’t you rather keep $300 in your pocket? Here are some tips to help you………

#1 Plan your grocery trips with a list.

I know, you try.  You make a list of what you need.  You scour the circulars to find  sales, and the best deals.  Then you realize you have to go to 4 different stores to save money but are you really saving if you have to spend the money on time and gas?  Or, if you are like me, I make a list and half the time I forget to take it with me.  Shopping without the list is a bad idea.  How about putting your list on your phone?  When was the last time you left home without your phone?  I also tag where the sales are on the items I need so if I am running errands and go by the store, I stop in quick, pick up what is on sale and nothing else.

#2  Meal plan to save money on groceries.

Meal planning can completely change your life. We eat healthier, we save money, and we waste less food.  Planning doesn’t mean just in your head, it means actually writing it down so everyone knows the menu for the week.  It makes life so much easier.

#3 Use coupons when grocery shopping.

Do you use them?  I will admit I was a coupon cutter for years then I got out of it.  Now, I do most of my coupons through apps at the various stores.  I also take advantage of other apps which reward me for shopping – Cartwheel from Target, Whole Foods app, Receipt Hog and Shop Kick.  What are some of your favorite apps?

#4 Don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.

This one is HUGE for me especially now when my diet is restricted to no gluten, no dairy and no soy.  Shopping when you’re hungry leads you to spending more money and not sticking to your list or your budget or your diet!

#5 Compare prices on items.

I was a name brand snob for years.  The truth is generic items aren’t always cheaper than their name brand counterparts, but sometimes they are.  I price compare our most frequently used products and get the best price for them whether they are generic or not – cheaper (with the same taste) is the name of the game.

#6 Don’t forget about the top and bottom shelves.

Did you know the middle shelves at grocery stores contain the most expensive items?   It is usually where people’s eyes are usually drawn to this area.  When you go shopping, be sure to scan prices and items on the other shelves to make sure you’re not missing out on a better deal.

#7 Sign up for grocery store’s loyalty card.

I know this may sound like a no brainer, right?  Most stores now have loyalty cards where you can save 10% or more on your purchase each time.  I have a key ring in my purse with LOTS of these cards.  They are all in one spot and easy to use.  Not a store you usually shop at – check with the person in front or behind you in line, they may be willing to share the discount with you.

#8 Shop with cash.

This is toughest one for me… I am a debit card girl all the way.  Hubby is the cash person.  The truth is one of the best ways to save money on groceries is to go shopping with only cash.  By doing this, you stick to your grocery list and your budget because you know exactly how much money you have to spend.

What are your best tips for saving money on groceries? Share them with us..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Clear the Clutter

Mini Organizing Tips


Here are some quick tasks that will help you get things neat, clean, and clutter-free,

#1 Clear Off a Surface in Minutes.  Have you noticed that paper pileups in one spot – bills, school forms, and takeout menus all accumulate. Mount a pretty rack on the wall above that spot and keep it all together without cluttering the counter.


#2 Corral Loose Coupons and Store Credits.  Are you always forgetting to use coupons and store credits/ gift cards.  Keep them in one spot that’s easy to access when you’re shopping—and that spot is the car.

13083194_1043041842401634_4446719247204189267_n#3 Store Shoes Toe to Heel
Flipping one shoe leaves room to fit more pairs, so you won’t have an overflow hogging the closet floor.


#4 Start a Returns Bin.  A medium-size basket (or tote) placed next to the front door is a great place to drop library books you’ve read, tools you’ve borrowed from a neighbor, and clothing purchases you’ve changed your mind on. The visual will remind you to bring stuff back.


#5 Streamline Your Wallet.  Bogged down with store reward cards, go digital. Download the FREE CardStar app, take a photo of each card and upload it, then toss the hard copy. At the store, the bar codes can be scanned at checkout.


#6 Organize Electronic Bills.  Download the FREE FileThis app and gather all your financial docs in one spot. You will be able quickly access them anywhere. Select the institutions you want the app to collect from, enter your usernames and passwords, and your statements will download to a secure cloud.

#7 Make the Fridge More Functional.  Move condiments from the door to a lazy Susan on the middle shelf so you can find things with a quick spin. Turn the door space into a zone for grab-and-go snacks and beverages. Food on top, weightier drinks down below.


#8 Shrink the Kids’ Puzzle Collection. The pieces may be tiny, but the boxes aren’t. Diminish the bulkiness by putting puzzles into zipper-style freezer bags. Cut out the full picture from the box to store along with the pieces.


#9 Closet Time-Saver.  When you take out something out of the closet, put the empty hanger back at one end of the rod (the same end each time). Collecting them all in one spot keeps clothes neat and means never having to hunt for a hanger again.


#10 Magnetize the Little Things.  Tired of losing bobby pins, tweezers, and nail scissors in the back of a drawer or the bottom of a toiletry bag? Attach them to a magnetic strip adhered to the inside of the medicine-cabinet door.


What is your favorite mini tip for getting and staying organized?  Share it with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derul day!

Hope Wissel

5 Steps To A Fun Date Night On A Budget

This is a blog originally written by Lynette Barbieri

Spending a small fortune on date night isn’t going to make the night any more memorable – except when the bill arrives. There are plenty of ways to have a wonderful night out for any occassion without blowing your budget. Here are some ideas:

1. Go somewhere new – Visit that museum you’ve always been intending to get to but never seem to have the time. Take a boat or scenic train ride. Catch a play or romantic movie you both have been wanting to see. Getting out and doing something new, especially for harried parents, helps your relationship keep going strong.

2. Whip up something romantic – Fix your sweetheart his or her favorite meal. And even if you’re not known as the most enthusiastic of chefs, Chicken parmesan and a no bake chocolate cake are way easier than they look. Make something that allows you to do most of the prep work ahead of time and finish at the last minute. This is where those Internet cooking channels can come in handy.


3. Make it a day out – If it’s warm where you are, consider a picnic at your favorite park or at the beach or pool. This is a picnic you’ll want to do up right with an old style wicker basket, champagne, fruits, pickles, delicious sandwiches, veggies with dipping sauce, cake, and good chocolates. Bring along some romantic music and a thick blanket on which to put everything – including yourselves. Don’t forget the bottle of wine.

4. Trip the light fantastic – Have a romantic dinner at home, and then head out to dance the night away. If one or both of you aren’t big on dancing, a couple of hours of ballroom dance lessons could be a romantic and new experience. There are Internet specials galore for introductory dance lessons. You can go to the gym, hike together, or a simple walk by the beach could work too.

5. Start the day right – The perfect day starts with the always trusty breakfast in bed. Think how pleased your loved one will be to wake up to the aromas of freshly brewed coffee, warm apple muffins, crispy bacon, and fluffy omelets. Especially if that loved one happens to be you!

Having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Don’t forget to use coupons too. You can get discounts on dinner, movies, activities and more. Remember paying yourself first is the #1 rule of the money game!

Thank you Lynette for these great tips.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Hope Wissel

Happy Memorial Day!

For some today is an extra day off.  For others it is spending time with family and friends in an effort to kick off the summer season…Today is really about remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Those who gave their lives so that we might live in freedom. It is also about celebrating the lives of those who dedicated themselves to serving our country and who returned home to their families.

LUT camo

I hate to say this but I was never one to really think about what this holiday really meant UNTIL my best friends husband was deployed as part of Operation Freedom.  It was then that I found myself really understanding the sacrifices made not only my our military men and women but those of their families.

Being a part of Thirty One, I have had the pleasure of meeting many military wives and I blessed to be a part of a company that gives back on a variety of levels.  Not only does Thirty One ship to APO/FPO but they also donate product and funds to support our troops across the country.

Working in WaWa part-time, I have come to know more men who have been in the military as well as those who are now serving.  I love being able to thank them for their service to our country in a small way – even if it is with just FREE cup of coffee.

There is also another GREAT way to help our military families with coupons – current and expired (less than 3 months old). Did you know that military families can use coupons in the PX that are up to 6 months past the expiration date?  I have been working with the Cranford VFW for some time to collect expired (and current) coupons to share with our military families across the country.  A small thing that means so much to them.

As you are out and about today, if you see some of these courageous men and women.  Thank them for their sacrifices to ensure that we live in a country that is free.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!