Senate Armed Services Subcommittee Hearing on Personnel March 26 #KeepYourPromise

NMFA

When you break a promise you’re tampering with the delicate formula upon which the strength and vitality of all – volunteer force is based.

The National Military Family Associations continues to fight for Military Families in this budget  battle. Members of NMFA team will be joining other organizations to testify before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel next week March 26, telling Congress to KeepYourPromise Tell National Military Family Association, what do you want Congress to know? The National Military Family Association is counting down the days until they testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. Tell them what you want Congress to know about how the proposed budget that will  affect Military Families at Info@MilitaryFamily.org.  For a listing of the members of the committee http://www.armed-services.senate.gov/hearings/active-guard-reserve-and-civilian-personnel-programs_03/26/14

Trans- Siberian Orchestra…I had no idea of their support for the Military.

TSO ConcertTrans- Siberian Orchestra…I had no idea of their support for the Military.

Last night I had the privilege of going to my very first Trans-Siberian Concert. I was so excited you would have thought I was going to the candy store on our drive to the Concert. I have wanted to always go for the past 10 years, my husband could not contain my excitement for this 30 min drive. This year was possible, my girls were finally at the age were they would appreciate it and enjoy!

Right before the show started Al Pitrelli came out on stage with a group of Marines from the St. Louis area. He introduced the Marines to the Audience and told us that with every concert Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) does they donate one dollar to a local charity. They choose to donate to the Marines Toys for Tots programs. They donated over $8000.00 last night. Being a Military Spouse I was impressed TSO would do this. I later learned at every concert they do in the United States they donate to a Military related organization, for example also the USO. So let’s do the Math, they do approximately 70 Concerts here in the United States in November and December and donate one dollar of every ticket sale. This brought such joy to me that an organization supports the military as TSO does.

Just as I thought the concert was about to end, Al came up to the Microphone the words that came out amazed me. Trans-Siberian Orchestra wanted to salute the Military and thank them for their service and sacrifices. Because of every member, present and past thousands of Men and Women have stood up to give us the freedom to perform as we do. At this point I am starting to tear up, that they would recognize all the members of the Military who will not be home with their families this Christmas. I now know why I have loved Trans-Siberian Orchestra for so many years, not just their amazing talent but the goodwill they have towards others.

One of my favorite songs: Christmas Canyon

If you get the chance to attend one of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concerts I highly recommend it!

Military PCS …Renting a home and how to start my search?

homeflagYour orders are in hand and you are deciding do I live on Base/Post or the economy?  Where do I start my search ? There is  also a valuable  resources for renting at a new duty station by using Military by Owner.   These homes are listed by current home owners and some Property Managers in Duty Station Areas. Also check out the AF Housing page for your specific area.  Remember to check on your new BAH rates for 2014 for many have changed.

Many of us are used to looking up homes to rent on ARHN which was sponsored by DOD. Effective 1 January 2014, the Department of Defense sponsorship of AHRN will expire.

The website will remain active as a commercial site. The housing offices continue to provide support services to members and their families; military housing encourages service members to visit the AF housing public website at www.housing.af.mil.

Look the properties   over carefully and be sure to ask questions about any apartment or house you are   considering renting. Consider the following:
Some quick questions to consider when living off base or post:

Does the rent cover all   utilities, or will you be responsible for paying for them yourself? If you will   be paying for heat, water, or other utilities ask whether the landlord can   provide an estimated monthly or annual cost for the rental   property.

What kind of security does the building have? Are the doors,   windows and entrances secured? Are the stairs safe and well lighted? Are the   fire escapes easily accessible?

What sort of commute will you have to   school or work and what is nearby in terms of restaurants, shopping,   entertainment and other places you frequently visit? Also, what are the   neighbors like (students, families, retirees) and is this the right setting for   you?

Who is responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of common areas   (stairwells, hallways, etc.) and appliances, furnace filters and other items   within the property which may need to be serviced?

Is the landlord or   property management readily available during nights and weekends and what are   the procedures for emergency services, repairs or lock-outs?

What kind   of parking is available? Is there an extra charge for a parking   spot?

Are storms windows, screens and shades   provided?

2014 Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 5 percent for 2014.

AR-130119943[1]2014 Basic Allowance for Housing rates will increase an average of 5 percent when they take effect on January 1, 2014. An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members during the year.

Ever wonder how they get the BAH Rate? Three components are included in the BAH computation:  median current market rent; average utilities (including electricity, heat, and water/sewer) and average renter’s insurance.

Total housing costs are calculated for six housing profiles (based on dwelling type and number of bedrooms) in each military housing area.  BAH rates are then calculated for each pay grade, both with and without dependents.  An estimated $20 billion will be paid to approximately one million service members in 2014.

Get more details about the rate changes and how they will affect you, http://go.usa.gov/ZgHw.

The Ability to Repay Rule…One of Seven New Mortgage Rules that take effect in January 2014

ImageFor many Americans, buying a home is one of the biggest purchases they will ever make. People want to make their own purchase, but they want a little help: someone to stand by their side and make sure they are not getting tricked into a bad deal. They want a deal that’s clear and understandable, and they want to know that if you do your homework and follow plain logic, you can make a responsible decision that you can live with over time. And if you do run into trouble down the road, you will be able to talk with someone who is responsive in helping you work through your options. 

That’s why CFPB has taken action to make the mortgage market work better. CFPB is  making it a priority to give you the information you need about shopping for a mortgage, maintaining your current mortgage, and getting help if you need it. It’s why CFPB wrote the Ability to Repay rule. It’s a straightforward rule that does not change anything about your current mortgage, but for new mortgages received after January 10, 2014, it puts behind us the irresponsible lending that disrupted the housing market and so badly damaged our economy. But while it provides strong new consumer protections, it preserves needed access to mortgage credit. 

The Ability to Repay rule is one of seven new mortgage rules that take effect in January 10, 2014

Today is #GivingTuesday….How do you plan to celebrate this national day of giving?

giving tuesdayOne of my favorite quotes “We make a living by what we get, But we make a life by what we give” ~ Winston Churchill

How do you plan to celebrate this national day of giving? Whether your contribution is time, skills, funds or ideas, it can make all the
difference.

You might ask what is #GivingTuesday? #GivingTuesday provides a wonderful opportunity for a national conversation about the ability of all Americans to participate in positive action. Indeed, the American impulse to help our fellow neighbor transcends politics and exemplifies our national spirit. Whether it’s a family at the dinner table talking about giving to a local school organizing a blood drive to a large company organizing its employees to volunteer to an entire city rallying its residents to drive change – people everywhere can find their own ways to celebrate their common bond of community.

SnipSnap…My New Favorite App, a Great Way to Save Money when Shopping!

8Everyone loves saving money, but few have the time or the patience to cut out and organize a bunch of coupons like me.  I always cut the coupons out and leave them at home.  I put Snipsnap to the test last night during the start of Black Friday shopping and was surprised of the outcome.  Most stores I went to the employees knew I was using SnipSnap when I was at the checkout, they would tell me what coupon was the best, and what coupon would work with the Black Friday Deals.  I was thrilled at how many of the stores employees would tell me how to get the best deal.  After last night I am sold on SnipSnap and how easy it is to use.

The SnipSnap app allows anyone to convert a printed coupon into a digital, mobile format, which they can easily search and retrieve on their smartphone. All a user needs to do is snap a picture of the offer… and the app works its magic to scan all of the printed text and images. With SnipSnap, you just open the app, use your camera to scan the coupon, and SnipSnap’s OCR will convert the barcode on the coupon photo into a sharp digital barcode that you can scan at the register. The app also collects and organizes all of the coupons that every other SnipSnap user has added, and lets you download them to your phone. In the settings screen, you can even enable background location awareness so the app can remind you when you’re near a store you have coupons for, or you can just choose to be notified when one is about to expire.

Happy Holiday Shopping, I am sure you will love the ease of using SnipSnap!

Putting things in perspective…In 2013

PerspectivesunI usually will not write on a political event or story.  But , I heard an email read on the Bret Baier show and it really put a lot into perspective being the IT Geek I am.  Having an item broken down and compared to history really intrigued me.

“Putting things in perspective:

March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days.

December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day.

What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this progressive federal government to build a working webpage.  Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks,  planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa,  Invading Italy, D-Day,  Battle of the Bulge, Race to Berlin – all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!!

And in that amount of time – this administration can’t build a working webpage.”

The Exchange Awarding Prizes up to $17,000 For Best Homecoming Picture!

AAFESThe Exchange is proud to serve those who serve.  To show their appreciation to all returning troops, The Exchange and vendor partners are saying ” Thanks for your service and your family’s sacrifice.” With monthly prize giveaways, weekly savings and specials. Check out the Homeward Bound events throughout 2014

From Nov. 1-Dec. 31, authorized shoppers can enter the “Homeward Bound” contest by submitting a picture or video of a military welcome home experience, along with a 50-word or less description, for a shot at the $10,000 Exchange gift card grand prize. You never know your  picture may be worth a thousand words,  but in the The Exchange Service’s latest contest a picture and 50 words could be worth $10,000 For the grand prize.  In addition to the grand prize, the second-place winner will receive a $5,000 gift card and third place will take home a $2,000 gift card.