Debt Counseling
Credit Counseling, Debt

Debt Counseling When You Show Signs of Overspending

Some people use the New Year as a time to make positive changes such as overcoming overspending habits. If you show signs of having an overspending habit, it makes financial sense to receive debt counseling. With certified and trained credit counselors, it is simple to get your finances back on track. According to a piece by, most people do not solve their personal finance problems until they recognize they have a problem. When credit card bills pile up or you can only afford to make the minimum payment on credit cards, it is time to seek advice from professionals who deal with financial issues every day. A debt management plan is a simple way to get out of credit card debt quickly, but many consumers are not aware of the option to make one payment to all of their creditors. The right credit counseling agency negotiates for lower interest rates. If you aren’t sure whether you have an overspending habit, consider some of the signs.

Seeing the signs

Some of the signs of an overspending habit include finding clothes in your closet with the tags still attached. Ask yourself what you do with a pay raise. Do you increase your savings or allow your expenses to rise? If you can’t afford to fix practical issues such as an air conditioner or your car but own expensive luxury items, it’s another sign of money mismanagement. A positive approach for the New Year is debt counseling.

Filling the void

Instead of spending money when you feel bored or lonely, experts suggest finding other habits or activities. Choose free activities such as walking or watching television, but avoid commercials that tempt you to shop.

Consolidating debt

When you use your credit card to make purchase you can’t really afford, it often takes years or even decades. According to, a $500 impulse purchase could cost about $175 in interest if you paid the minimum balance. Once you consolidate debt with a debt management plan, you typically pay less in interest to save you money and accelerate the payoff process.

Other advantages of debt counseling include giving you a chance for openness about money with someone who is not personally involved in your family and personal life. A credit counselor helps you stay accountable by serving as a support system until you develop your own network and devise a financial plan and budget.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we provide debt counseling and advice on boosting your credit score and eliminating credit card debt. For more information on overcoming a spending habit, please contact us.


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Debt Counseling
Credit Counseling, Debt

Feeling Financially Overextended? Debt Counseling Can Help!

If you find yourself with more bills than money at the end of the month and are faced with making a decision about which over-the-limit credit card to placate with a minimum payment, you owe it to yourself to try debt counseling through Christian Credit Counselors.

It can be frightening and overwhelming to find yourself with a mountain of debt but no plan to resolve it; know that you are not alone. A March 2015 CBS News story reported that more than half of all Americans said they felt “financially insecure”, and the average household credit card balance was $7,200.

Christian Consumer Counselors are here to help you with prayers, resources and guidance. When you contact us for a debt counseling session, here’s what you can expect:

No judgment. We understand that there are many reasons debt can accumulate and spiral out of control. We will never pass judgment on you, or make you feel bad about the amount of debt you owe or the number of credit cards with outstanding balances.
We listen. Our experienced and certified counselors will ask you questions about your income, expenses and debts in an attempt to understand the situation so we can offer real solutions and alternatives to help you get back on the right financial path.
Education. We will take the time to explain budgeting and will help you establish a monthly plan to help you allocate your resources. We will also provide you with unbiased information about options for lowering your debt.
Through our relationships with more than 400 creditors, we are able to negotiate lowered interest rates and monthly payments for you, to help you get out of debt years faster (and in many cases, decades faster!) than if you were to tackle your debt on your own, without our assistance. Your counselor will walk through your debts with you one by one, and will identify how much you could save by using our unsecured debt consolidation program.

Take the first step toward feeling more financially secure by contacting us today. You’ll be glad you did!


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Christian Credit Counselors
Christian Credit Counselors

Credit Counseling From a Christian Perspective

We all have trouble from time to time when it comes to finances. Maybe it’s a purchase we really shouldn’t have made at this time, or maybe it’s buying a new item instead of paying a current bill. Either way, we have to take responsibility for our financial health, and become determined to succeed with it. This can be achieved, and Christian Credit Counseling is here to help you do just that.

One way we can help give you more information about good financial health is to take a look at what the Bible says about how we should manage our finances. God wants us to be responsible as well. Here is what His Scriptures have to say about money, finances, and how they should fit into our lives:

Malachi 3:10 – Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. — Regardless of our current situation, we should always offer our tithes. God won’t let us get further behind in debt because we follow His will.
Matthew 6:24 – No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. — Money is a tool God has given us. He isn’t saying that having money makes you evil, it’s when you love money more than you love Him that causes problems.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 – Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless. — Again, don’t make money your #1 priority- that’s God’s position. Use money like the tool it’s intended to be, and keep in mind that there are other things more important than wealth.

If you find that you are in need of help consolidating your debt, please contact us. We are here to help you reclaim your peace of mind, not to judge you. Let us show you how we can help you today.


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Debt Counseling
Credit Counseling, Debt

4 Ways Debt Counseling Will Change Your Life

The effects of carrying too much debt is soul-crushing. When you’re struggling to pay off your bills, you don’t have the extra money to do the things that will make you happier. Many people feel lost when they look at their bills, but it doesn’t have to be this way. With debt counseling from Christian Credit Counselors, you’ll start to see a lot of positive changes in your life.

Faster Payoff

Multiple bills and high interest rates make it very difficult to pay off that debt. An experienced debt counselor can help you take a good hard look at your financial situation. In many cases, a consolidation loan can help you reduce interest rates and pay off your loans faster. Even having a neutral third-party look at your budget to find the areas where you can make changes can help you learn how to eliminate your debt.

Better Credit Scores

As you make a bigger commitment toward paying off debt and making all of your payments on time, your credit score will start to rise. This makes it easier for you to get the loans you might need in the future, and you’ll enjoy lower interest rates. Higher credit scores can also mean lower insurance premiums and a qualifying for a better job.

Less Stress

Money — or lack of money — is a big source of stress for many people. If you’re looking at your credit card balances and wondering how you’ll ever pay them off while still affording groceries and other living expenses, you undoubtedly feel stress at least some of the time. However, debt counseling provides you with a plan for paying off that debt. Even if you know it will take a few years to get out of debt, at least you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

More Financial Freedom

Debt counselors can give you a greater sense of financial literacy. Not only will you learn how to pay off your debts, but you’ll be able to budget your money and make smarter choices when it comes to borrowing money in the future. Once you pay off those debts, you’ll have the skills and dedication to put that extra money into retirement accounts or finally save up to take a big family vacation.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we treat everyone with the respect they deserve. We understand that people may have made mistakes in the past, but there’s no reason things can’t turn around for the future. Contact us to set up an appointment for debt counseling and see how your life will start to change.


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Credit Counseling
Credit Counseling

Credit Counseling Tips: How To Shop Smart

Finding ways to save money is a smart idea for many reasons. One successful way to cut costs while going through credit counseling is by practicing smart shopping. Keep the following tips in mind as you purchase the things you need.

Create a Budget. No matter what you are planning to purchase, sticking to your budget means you must resist impulse buys. Have an idea of what you are comfortably able to spend and don’t go over that amount. In fact, do your best to underspend.
Wants Versus Needs. Decide what items you simply want and what you actually need. Cutting back on the things you want can save you money and many times, these things do not prove useful in the long run.
Pay with Cash. When you can, pay with cash and not credit cards. When you create a budget and stick to it, you really don’t want to incur any additional debt. Plus, making purchases with credit cards will end up costing you more as they incur interest.
Use Coupons. While it may take some getting used to, look for coupons for the items you are planning to purchase. It may seem like a small amount to save, but a dollar here and there can quickly add up. Use the coupons you find on websites, in newspapers, and in store ads.
Shop Alone. When you aren’t tempted to make unplanned purchases, it is easier to stick to your list and your budget.
Shop Around. There are typically many choices no matter what you are shopping for. Take some time to compare prices by checking between stores, or even on the internet. Also, keep an eye on sales flyers to help you find great deals on items you need.
Buy in Bulk. As you shop for household staples or groceries, many times you can find good deals if you buy in bulk. It might cost a bit more initially, but it will save money in the long run.
Online Shopping. There are a lot of great deals on the internet if you want to find them. Shop with caution, though and make sure you are purchasing from a reputable merchant.
At Christian Credit Counselors, we want to help you make smart financial decisions. For any questions you may have, don’t hesitate to contact us.


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Debt Consolidation
Debt, Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation Tips When Working to Save for Retirement

When your credit card debt gets in the way of saving for retirement, it is frustrating. According to an article by, there are situations when credit card debt prevents you from saving responsibly for retirement. It does not make financial sense to put aside 10 or 20 percent for retirement when you have high interest rate credit cards at high balances you can’t pay. With debt consolidation, you avoid the conflict because you work on the goal to save for retirement and get out of debt at the same time. A new Pew Research study shows most people don’t have enough money for emergencies let alone retirement savings. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they experienced a major financial surprise in the past year such as loss of income, death or significant loss from a car or home. Financial setbacks aren’t as difficult to handle when you have a budget.

Paying a strict budget

Some people don’t do well financially because they have no structure. With a Debt Management plan, you get the structure you need. Every month you make one payment to cover your credit card debt. A trained credit counselor guides you when making a strict budget to follow that also includes some discretionary spending and flexibility. Saving for retirement is an item to add to your budget.

Preventing reoccurring debt

When a person earns a lot of money, they also tend to spend more money. If you lose your job or can no longer work, massive credit card debt creates larger burdens compared to people with lower income who never qualified for a high credit limit. By consolidating your debt through a Christian credit counseling program, you gain a specific and doable plan to get out of debt. You can then stay out of debt by putting money aside in a Roth IRA and savings account in case you stop working.

Experts say the other major benefit of debt consolidation is the lower interest rate that most people achieve through a Debt Management program. Getting rid of credit card debt by the time you retire or in your younger years helps you avoid bankruptcy and problems in your senior years. Research shows senior bankruptcy filings went up during the recession. Focus on debt elimination and start a retirement savings plan to avoid financial risks.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we help consumers get out of debt with a solid Debt Management Plan. For more information on debt consolidation please contact us.


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Overcoming Shame of Credit Card Debt with Positive Debt Counseling

Some people feel shamed or embarrassed by their credit card debt. By receiving debt counseling from positive and upbeat credit counselors, you can overcome fears associated with budgeting, debt and money management. According to an article by, most young people realize that credit card debt creates a burden. However, it is common for people starting out to rely on credit cards to help maintain their lifestyle. Experts suggest seeking debt counseling to get off the carousel of balance transfer credit cards. By agreeing to a debt management plan, you consolidate all of your credit card debt so life becomes less stressful. Many consumers feel an immediate sense of relief once they identify a doable plan to face debt head-on. According to, 39 percent of consumers say felt ashamed of their credit card debt. While it’s healthy to feel some regret so you make better choices, the best plan is to get out of debt with a positive attitude.

Owning up without feeling stigma

Carrying a lot of credit card debt comes with a social stigma. While it is important to own up to any overspending habits and poor budgeting and savings habits, the key is to learn and adopt better habits. In fact, if you don’t own up to your errors, experts say you could start to ignore your personal finances. With debt counseling, you stay motivated to tackle your debt instead of ignoring it. Also, most creditors will agree to a lower interest rate when you start a debt management plan to pay off what you owe in less time.

Taking action to get out of debt

Some people perpetuate their debt problem by taking no action or simply transferring balances from one card to the next. While you could enjoy a lower interest rate for a window of time, most people run up even more debt until they put their credit cards aside. Don’t shut down because of shame. Instead reach out for help from certified and trained credit counselors who withhold judgment but don’t withhold support.

Letting go of the shame

In one study, experts found people felt less shame about their credit card debt when they determined their money beliefs. When you stay practical and level-headed about personal finances, you more easily achieve your goal of a debt-free life. It is important to separate how you feel about yourself and how you feel about your credit card balance. Debt counseling often increases feelings of hope.

At Christian Credit Counselors, we help you create a sound budget, save money, improve your credit score and learn to reach your financial goals. Talk to us about a debt consolidation plan to get out of credit card debt 80 percent faster than other methods. For more information about debt counseling and overcoming shame related to money issues, please contact us.


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Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Consumer, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Credit Score, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Consolidation, Finance, Goals, Holiday Tips, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving, Taxes, Uncategorized

Ditching Debt in the New Year

skTo learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here.


[column type=”two-thirds” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px”]Dear Chuck:

I know that getting out of debt is a great New Year’s resolution (I’m willing to try that one again!) but do you have any advice on something else that I should prioritize?

Looking for a New Idea.

Dear New Idea,

First, Happy New Year! This is a great question since most resolutions involve getting in better shape physically or fiscally (financially — may be a better word here)!

My encouragement is to keep this as your top priority as it is likely the best financial move you can make. You should also work to establish an Emergency Savings account.[/column]


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I have an idea that could kill two birds with one proverbial stone — this year get your taxes organized as quickly as possible so that you can file in January and put that money to work for you. The fact is, most of us are giving the government an interest free loan by having our withholding too high. We don’t realize that when we get that refund check, that money — which could have been working for you — has been sitting with Uncle Sam waiting for you to ask him to mail it back to you.

The average tax refund is more than $3,100, a good start on debt reduction in the New Years. You can file your taxes by mid-January, and if you file on-line, a refund won’t be far behind.

To get started, gather your tax records, and look through your finances for potential deductions. You can find some great tax tips from Crown here. One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you are a Do-It-Yourself tax preparers, whether you want to hire an accountant, or, like a good friend of mine in personal finance, do all of the above. You can save a little money by preparing your own taxes first and then having a professional take a look for a smaller fee. Your legwork can lead to savings.

With the help of tax filing software, filing your own taxes is a good idea if you keep good records and don’t have a complicated return. There are a number of good firms that help you to file on-line. We prefer since we share the same values. But there are a number of others such as TurboTax, H&R Block or even an easy file process at

Be aware that you will likely need to file a long form tax return if you’ve experienced a major life event, such as whether you got divorced or married, received an inheritance, came into some unexpected money, adopted a child or moved for work. File the long form if you own a business, have unusual deductions, or need to manage assets, especially if they are in multiple states.

Once you get your taxes filed and your refund is in your hand, if you have not previously tithed on this income, I recommend that you do so off your refund check. Then be sure to fully fund an emergency savings account, if you haven’t already. At Crown, we counsel people to first have an emergency fund of at least $1,000. If you need help in learning how to create a budget that includes tithing, click here, to see how to organize one.

But next, take that refund and get started on your resolution to get out debt. Try the debt snowball method and start by paying off the most expensive debt first. That is usually the credit card charging you the highest interest rate. Then work your way to the next debt using the money you are now saving by paying off the first debt completely. This will allow you to develop a snowball effect! Crown has many free resources to help you on your journey to becoming debt free, but if you need a debt management counselor to help you one-on-one, you can contact our friends at Christian Credit Counselors a non-profit organization that helps individuals consolidate and develop a plan to pay off your debt.

You’ll start your New Year better able to financially handle what comes next. It is certainly a guaranteed method to reduce stress!



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Budgeting, Credit Counseling, Debt, Finance, Money Management, Taxes, Uncategorized

Tackling the Fear of Filing Taxes

Tackling the Fear of Filing Taxes

The holidays are over, a new year has begun, and now we are rolling into February: a month that brings Valentine’s Day to mind. Some people look forward to receiving candy hearts while others dread spending Valentine’s Day alone. However, getting snubbed by Cupid isn’t the only thing people dread in February. They also are very apprehensive about filing their taxes. How do you get started? How much money will you get back? How much will you owe? It’s enough to cause your stress level to skyrocket. Luckily, there are some things you can do to take the sting out of filing your taxes:


[column type=”one-fourth” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” ]dreadingtaxes[/column]

[column type=”three-fourths” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” last=”true”]

  • File your taxes as soon as you can. The due date for filing this year is April 18th. It is usually April 15th but that falls on a federal holiday and a Friday, thus, the due date is moved to the next normal business day on Monday the 18th which gives you a few extra days to file. Now that January is over, you should have received most of your information, such as your W-2s, in the mail. If you absolutely cannot file by the due date, you may want to go to the IRS website to see if you can file for an extension.[/column]


  • Look at all of your preparation options. It’s not a bad idea to research national organizations with locations near you that may offer free tax preparation for individuals with certain income limits. For example, United Way Worldwide has a program available during tax season called  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) that is sponsored by the IRS. Volunteers (such as retired CPAs) help families with a household income of under $53,000 prepare taxes for free, while another program helps you prepare your own taxes if your income is below $60,000 per year.
  • Research credits and deductions. There are some that could save you money which you may not know existed. For example, if you are eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit you would be able to claim a credit for expenses that you paid for child care so that you could work or look for work.
  • Make a plan for your tax refund or payment by creating/using a budget. Planning can drastically decrease stress and eliminate the temptation of unnecessary spending. If you get a refund, budget your money so you can tithe and achieve the priority of paying down debt. If you do not get a refund and you owe money, it is even more crucial to create a budget plan to pay the IRS. You have payment options. The best option, of course, is to budget and pay before the due date. If you cannot pay by the due date, there are options for payment plans. You may be eligible for an online payment agreement with the IRS. If not, you can still pay in installments by filing for an installment agreement (Form 9465). It is important to note that you must file all tax returns before applying for any payment agreement with the IRS. Also, keep in mind that if you do not pay by the due date you will be subject to penalties and interest. For more information on this and other payment options, visit or contact the IRS directly.


Learning helpful tips like these, researching your options, and making a plan will help reduce the fear of filing your taxes, thus, allowing you to focus more on positivity, tranquility and love, no matter what month of the year it is.


Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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Activities, Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Consumer, Coupons, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Credit Score, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Finance, Freebie, Goals, Holiday Tips, Kids & Money, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving, Uncategorized

14 Money-Saving Valentine’s Day Ideas!

Debt Free Valentine’s

Want to celebrate Valentine’s Day without going into debt? Think fun.

Some of the best gifts involve sharing time, along with a little thoughtfulness. And the memories last far longer than a dozen roses or a box of chocolates. Here are 14 ways to express your love on the 14th — or any other day for that matter.

For a spouse or significant other:

1. Time in a bottle:

Give your hardworking spouse a full day to do whatever he or she wants — or just to relax — no interruptions allowed. For him, that mean he gets to engage in his hobby, watch the game, play 18 holes or do absolutely nothing. For her, that might mean you feed and entertain the kids while she indulges in a good book, a bubble bath or a manicure. Announce your gift — along with your most heartfelt message of love and appreciation — in your best handwriting or play with various fonts on your home computer. Clean up an old wine bottle and insert the rolled-up message tied with a red bow.

2. Dining out:

Sure, you can take your loved one out to dinner, but that can get expensive. Instead, eat out — as in outdoors. A picnic in a park or at the beach will fill the bill. In frostier climes, set up a picnic blanket and basket at the dining room table, on the living room floor or in the middle of that king-size bed. Add a rose or two (rather than a dozen) for atmosphere.

3. New adventures:

Do something different. Go somewhere you’ve never been before, or “someplace you haven’t been in a while that’s special,” says John Gray, author of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.” The site of your first date, for example. When you vary your routine, “that’s what creates the memory,” he says.

4. Surprise, surprise:

For guys that don’t normally cook, Gray says, your best attempt at a home-cooked meal can be a huge treat and doesn’t have to cost anything. Or hide a note under her pillow the night before or little notes around the house on the day, telling her what she means to you. Look at the little things. “What men don’t realize about Valentine’s Day is that it doesn’t have to cost a lot,” says Gray. “Little things make the difference. The surprise factor is nice, whenever possible,” Gray says.

5. Culture up:

Does your significant other delight in museums, foreign films or rare books? In most metro areas, you can find high-culture, low-dollar activities if you know where to look. (Start with the local paper, check online and you can even call the local library or cultural organizations for suggestions.) Many museums have free days. Movie houses have special times when tickets are heavily discounted. For the book lover, plan a trip to a rare book shop, and splurge for cappuccino and biscotti at a nearby coffee house.

For the parents:

6. Creature comforts:

For mom or dad it’s always a good idea to focus on the creature comforts. Let her sleep late and bring her coffee or orange juice and a simple breakfast in bed. “Some of the best stuff is free,” says Melina Bellows, author of “The Fun Book for Moms: 102 Ways to Celebrate Family,” and editor in chief of National Geographic Kids. Give dad or mom — especially if you have a single parent — the gift of an hour of “me-time” when they get home from work just to decompress, says Eric Stromer, author of “Do-It-Yourself Family: Fun and Useful Home Projects the Whole Family Can Make Together,” and host of HGTV’s “Over Your Head” and AOL’s “Do-It-Yourself with Eric Stromer.” “Try it Friday or Monday,” he says. If you know dad will retreat to his man-cave, post some kind of thank you note or affirmation there, just to let him know how much you appreciate his hard work.

7. Get techy wid it:

The perfect gift for parents from teens and college kids. “Offer to be mom’s tech concierge,” says Bellows. Teach her to text, or show her how to download music or movies. If she’s wanted to investigate social networking, introduce her to Facebook, and create (with her permission) a page for her, so that she can catch up with her high school and college friends. Or, if you have a few bucks, do the old mixed tape one better and load up her MP3 player with a playlist of music you know she’ll like.

8. Child labor:

Sure, you’re busy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a little time making sure your parents know you love them. Make a book of coupons for your parents filled with jobs you promise to do for the week, month or year: things like shining dad’s shoes, washing mom’s car, watering the plants or even taking out the trash.

For the kids:

9. Cooking up some love:

Kids will remember the Valentine’s Day they baked cookies with mom or dad. With little kids, opt for something simple, like heart-shaped cookies. With older children, consider cupcakes with more elaborate Valentine’s Day decorations. Then turn off the TV one night and have family game time or story time. Get out the old favorites or create a few new ones.

10. Treasure of love:

Kathy Peel, author of “The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy, Organized Home,” suggests hosting a treasure hunt. “Post clues (pictures, rhymes or words) to direct family members from one location to another until they find their treasure: a small Valentine’s Day gift,” she says.

11. Get crafty:

Try a family craft project, says Stromer. “Nothing spells love more than a heart made out of balsa wood and hung on the front door,” he says. Balsa is inexpensive, easy to work with (you can often use tools that you already have), and available at local craft stores. Paint it, let it dry and display it prominently, says Stromer.

12. Start the day with love:

Celebrate with a Valentine’s Day breakfast, says Bellows. For a lot of families, the morning routine is hectic. So take some time on Saturday for a leisurely breakfast. Go for something traditional with a twist, like their favorite pancakes in heart shapes. Keep with the Valentine’s theme by using lots of strawberry or cherry syrup and whipped cream. And focus on the foods they really love.

13. Work together:

Take a few hours on Saturday to work together as a family on a project geared to the abilities of the kids. Build — or even just hang — a bird house. You can find kits in craft stores or if you’re not handy, take the children to pick out a seed ball. Then, together, select a spot where it can be seen from indoors and hang it. Not only do you help foster local wildlife (and help creatures during the cold winter months), you and your family get to enjoy a little bit of nature in your own backyard. Another thought: Make your own kite. A little newspaper (or other heavy paper or light cloth), some balsa wood (available at craft stores), string and poster paints can add up to a pretty fantastic kite. (Check Internet sites or children’s craft books at the library if you need examples or instructions.) See who can design the prettiest, fastest, most colorful or most unusual kite. You can display them in the kids’ rooms or around the house. Then on the first sunny, windy day, try them out.

For any situation:

14. Be a friend:

Know someone who’s alone? Set aside some time to share a meal, go on an outing, or swap recipes or gossip. It can cost virtually nothing, and you’ll likely gain a lot more than you give.


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