Thanksgiving for the Military

It’s Thanksgiving in America, and Americans certainly have a lot of reasons to give thanks.  Although you may dream of a plump turkey and pumpkin pie, the classic cuisine is just a fraction of this holiday.  After all, this day allows us to do so much more than eat poultry.  This day also gives us the opportunity to show our gratitude for those who make this holiday possible: our soldiers and veterans.


Celebrating Thanksgiving certainly would be different without the brave men and women who defend our country.  In fact, without them, there probably wouldn’t be any celebration at all.  This Thanksgiving, ask yourself how your holiday would be different without them.  What would your country become if you suddenly didn’t have brave souls willing to leave their homes to protect yours?

Remember, your freedom comes at a price.  The men and women who serve – these heroes who fight for your freedom – are the ones paying that price.  For some, it’s cost them their health, their lives, their opportunity to celebrate the way you are now.  This year, as you’re gathered around the dinner table counting your many blessings, make sure that our heroes, past and present, are in your thoughts.

Don’t forget to thank them this Thanksgiving.

A Celebration to Honor America’s Heroes

As we reflect on our heroes this time of year, there are some facts that we simply cannot ignore.  Perhaps most important for us to remember is the fact that our freedom comes at a price.  Thousands of our soldiers and veterans have given their time, energy, and loyalty to fight for our freedom.  They are the ones who paid the biggest portion of that price.

Veterans Day Infographic and Facts


You see, that price wasn’t just paid in tax dollars.

Some of our soldiers and veterans paid for it with their health.  Not only do our soldiers face the risk of physical injury for their service, but they also risk their own mental and emotional health.  Do you know how many of our veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?  Do you understand the kind of stress and heartache they endure because of PTSD?  Do you know how it affects them and their families every day?

Some of them paid for it with their lives. Each time their service is needed, some of these men and women will answer their call to duty and never return.  Do you know how many of our Americans didn’t return from overseas this year?  Do you understand the reason they’re not returning was because they sacrificed their own lives so you could keep living yours?  Do you truly appreciate that sacrifice?

And finally, remember the others who have paid a high price: the family, friends, and loved ones of these veterans have felt the burden of this cost as well.  Remember that they have sustained wounds as well.  Remember that they have sacrificed as well.  Remember to thank and appreciate them this holiday as well.

How will you celebrate these heroes on Veterans Day?  You can learn a little more about our soldiers to more fully appreciate their sacrifice with the infographic here, or even visit one of the listed links to show support.

Why We Should All Be Mad About Christmas Music in November

Why Be Mad about Christmas Music in NovemberIt’s the first day of November.  You’re at the grocery store, getting your regular necessities (and maybe some of that on-sale Halloween candy, too).  And that’s when you hear it.  As you casually stroll down the aisle on this beautiful, crisp fall day, you’re suddenly assaulted by an inescapable sound – “Jingle Bells.”

That’s right.  The Christmas fiends are at it again.  Halloween has just passed, Thanksgiving isn’t for weeks, and already they’re pushing this holiday on you like obnoxious a bunch of pesky holiday-invaders.

It’s not that you don’How Can You Celebrate Christmas Before Thanksgivingt like Christmas – it may even be one of your favorite holidays.  But come on – how can you begin to celebrate Christmas before you’ve even had a chance to celebrate Thanksgiving?  We can’t deck the halls and trim the tree before we even carve the turkey!

Poor Thanksgiving receives the short end of the stick way too often.  Metaphorically, it is the “middle-child” of our holidays.  Placed right between Halloween and Christmas, this significant celebration gets overlooked all too often.  Given the fact that this holiday gives us to the opportunity celebrate gratitude itself, it seems rather ungrateful of us to ignore it, don’t you think?  The irony there is almost funny.  Almost.

The good news is, you and a few courageous others have recognized this, and a push-back to defend Thanksgiving and its rightful claim to November has begun.  More and more, you and those who share your indignation are standing up to the big, bad Christmas intruders.  In fact, go ahead to take a minute and pat yourself on the back right now.

And then, try to wrap your mind around this: there’s one holiday that is even more neglected than Don't Forget or Neglect Veterans DayThanksgiving.  Think of it this way.  If Thanksgiving is the “middle child” of the winter holidays, then Veterans Day is more like your forgotten step-cousin.  Although it’s actually far worse than that.  It’s worse than that because this “step-cousin” is the very reason why we have the privilege of celebrating this holiday – or any other holiday.

So why don’t we have this same kind of outrage when comes to overlooking Veterans Day?  In many ways, the sad irony in this situation is even greater than that of Thanksgiving.  Overlooking Thanksgiving means we’re ignoring all our reasons to be grateful; overlooking Veterans Day means we’re ignoring the very reason we have anything to be grateful for.

The brave men and women we’re neglecting aren’t just the reason we can celebrate holidays; they’re the reason we can live freely every day.  They are the reason we have safety and security in our own homes.  They are the very support of America.  So why don’t we take the time to support them – to celebrate them – when this day rolls around every year?Celebrating, Respecing, and Remembering Veterans Day

This year is a chance for all of us to make a change.  This year, let’s recognize the people who make American life a possibility, and do it in the easiest way possible: simply celebrate.  Don’t treat the upcoming Veterans Day like just another Wednesday.  There are so many ways to do this.  You can donate to a charity that supports veterans.  You could call a veteran and thank them for their service.  You could even just spend a few moments in silence to remember what our heroes have sacrificed for you to live another day in a free country.

Don’t forget to appreciate the men and women who served and are still serving to ensure your freedom.  Don’t forget the sacrifices they’ve made and what you have because of it.  Don’t forget to celebrate this Veterans Day.

Don't Forget to Celebrate Veterans Day


Recognizing Their Fight for Our Freedom

If you were born and raised in America, then hopefully you know a little something about your nation.  You probably know you have the right of free speech and the right to remain silent.  You probably know that this is the “land of opportunity,” a great “melting pot,” and the “home of the free, land of the brave.”  You probably know plenty of other facts about America too, including its history, culture, and more.

But how much to you know about the brave men and women who have made all of this possible?  Do you think about them very often?  This upcoming Veterans Day, here’s your chance.  Don’t let this special day pass you by without reflecting on exactly what these heroes do to make your everyday life possible.

These men and women are the support of your country. Take some time to recognize their sacrifices.  It might help to start with the numbers, but don’t forget that there are real people behind each of these statistics.  These people have sacrificed time with their families and put their own lives in jeopardy.  These people are the reason that our freedom has been preserved today.

Do you know their reason for making that kind of sacrifice?  They do it for you, and millions of other Americans.  Your life and the lives of your loved ones are built upon their sacrifice. Take some time to recognize their fight for your freedom this Veterans Day.


Veterans Day Infographic 2015

Remember Independence Day

After the 4th of July, Don’t Forget to Celebrate Independence


Remembering the Fourth

The 4th of July is America’s birthday, and the day we look back and remember all the difficulties and trials our ancestors went through to ensure our freedom. People from all over the political spectrum come together to celebrate our independence and freedom. Now that the 4th of July has passed, it becomes very easy to slip back into our bad habits of getting caught up in our differences and forgetting our similarities. The truth is that we should take the spirit of Independence day with us all year round. Shooting off fireworks and barbecuing with friends and family is great, to be sure, but we should make a special effort to do our forefathers justice.


Actively Learn About our Country

Read the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence once per month to strongly familiarize yourself with the things contained in them. Watch some documentaries about American history and US presidents, and learn more about how our country got to where it is today. In addition to that, stay current with political affairs and keep track of your representation, both in your state capitol and in Washington, D.C. Be an informed voter, and know where you stand on key issues and know why you stand there. Don’t be afraid to engage in some political philosophy and question your own stances.


Follow the US Military’s Social Media Channels

American Social MediaIf you’re a fan of cool technology, inspirational stories, and exciting events, then following the social media channels of the branches of the US military can be a fun way to keep your patriotic feelings up. Keeping apprised of updates to the military can also contribute to the paragraph above, as it helps you learn about what our country is doing both at home and on the world stage. If you disapprove of what the Military is doing, you can use social media to promote a better way of doing things. We all love this great nation and want it to go the best direction possible. You can help do this by following the branches of the US military and sharing their updates along with your opinion.


Get Involved with Local and State Government

You’d be surprised how helpful you can be as a volunteer in your local community. Working with your city or county government on a volunteer or even a paid basis can be a great way to build your appreciation for your community and increase your understanding of what government does (and whether you personally believe it should continue to do so). Most importantly, service builds a strong sense of pride and loyalty. When you help make something great, you feel more loyal and proud of it than if you just stood by and watched. By getting involved with local and state government, you can make the difference you used to hope others would make, and you never know, maybe you’ll find a new career path!


Make a List of Our Nation’s Symbols

There are a lot of symbols used in our nation. Our currency is chock full of them, the American Flag, the Statue of Liberty, and many others are out there. If you make a list of our Nation’s symbols and then go through the effort of learning what they all mean and how they work with each other, you’ll definitely gain a finer appreciation and understanding for the founding fathers and our heritage.


Perform Service for Other CountriesGet Involved in the Community

Visiting places that have less freedom than us and serving them can be a very eye-opening experience. Having spoken with many veterans about the most meaningful times in their military service, I can attest that those who spent time in humanitarian efforts usually cite them as being the most powerful experience, and one that strengthened their appreciation for the country they live in. This may only be an option for some people, but for those who are able, this can be a fantastic way to serve others and keep the spirit of patriotism alive in yourself and those around you all year round.


Holiday Freebies for Military Members

It can be difficult if you’re in the military and away from your family over the holiday’s, including Christmas and New Year’s. However, there are some benefits that come with being in the military during this special time of year. The infographic below highlights some of those benefits that we hope add to your joy this holiday season.

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Holiday Freebies for Military Members by Low VA Rates
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Flag Day Guide to American Flag Code

American’s are celebrating Flag Day tomorrow. The United States flag code prescribes specific etiquette to assure that the American flag is treated properly and taken care of correctly. The infographic below breaks down that code and gives you a simple guide to treating the American flag properly. We hope you join us at Low VA Rates in enjoying Flag Day 2013.

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Flag Day Guide to American Flag Code by Low VA Rates
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Must See Memorial Day Celebrations During Your Lifetime

Memorial Day 2013 will be celebrated a week from today, next Monday 5/27/13. In that spirit, we created the following infographic detailing what we think are some of the most amazing Memorial Day celebrations that you’ve just gotta see during your lifetime. Let us know in the comments if you’ve ever attending any of these events and what you thought of it, or what you like to do on Memorial Day to honor United States Veterans. We are excited to celebrate Memorial Day this coming week!

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Must See Memorial Day Celebrations During Your Lifetime by Low VA Rates
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Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions

The start of the New Year is always a time to take a step back and examine our lives to decide what we need to improve on.  Every New Year millions of new resolutions are set and days later, millions are broken.

Every January the same New Year’s resolutions are used over and over again.  I asked my family and friends what they typically set as their New Year goals and here are the five most popular answers they gave:

1)      Lose weight/Get in shape

2)      Spend more time with family

3)      Better financial situation (new job, get out of debt, etc.)

4)      Quit a bad habit (Smoking, drinking, drugs, etc.)

5)      Provide more service/Help others

According to, the top 10 list of New Year’s resolutions is pretty similar:

1)      Spend More Time with Family and Friends

2)      Fit in Fitness

3)      Tame the Bulge

4)      Quit Smoking

5)      Enjoy Life More

6)      Quit Drinking

7)      Get out of debt

8)      Learn Something New

9)      Help Others

10)   Get Organized

New Year’s resolutions provide a great way to refocus our priorities and help us remember what is really important in our lives.  However, the real question is how do we actually follow through with our resolutions?  Anyone can set a New Year’s Resolution, but not many of us have figured out how to keep our resolutions.  Here are three ideas to help you keep your 2013 New Year’s Resolutions:


1)      Make a specific daily plan about how you are going to reach your resolution

Most Resolutions fall by the wayside because they are not specific enough.  For example, if you set a goal to “get in shape” you need to specify a plan of how to do that and determine a measurable goal.  Here is what a plan could look like:

Goal:  Get in shape (Lose 20 lbs.)

  • Exercise for at least 45 minutes 6 times a week.
  • Monday:  Run on the treadmill, Tuesday:  Lift weights, Wednesday:  Play Tennis, Thursday:  Ride my bike, Friday: Day off, Saturday:  Sit-ups and Pushups, Sunday:  Swim

A daily plan can go a long way to helping you actually reach your goals.  Daily and frequent reminders of the ultimate goal give individuals a much better chance of actually achieving the goal.


2)      Write down the goal and keep it somewhere it will be seen often

Human beings are constantly bombarded with things to distract us from our main goals.  Write down your goal (and plan) and keep it someplace that you will always see it.  Here are some suggestions of the places to keep the goal to ensure we remember it:

  • Cell phone background
  • Desktop/Tablet background
  • Fridge/Microwave
  • Dashboard in your car
  • Bathroom mirror

Find a place that works for you and it will be a constant reminder of your New Year’s resolution.


3)      Share the same goal with someone close to you

I’m not talking about just telling a friend or family member about your goal, but actually sharing the same goal.  There is strength in numbers.  Sharing a common goal with someone close to you can provide a nice support.  If the goal is to quit smoking, find a friend or family member that wants the same thing and conquer it together.  On days when the goal seems too hard to conquer, your goal partner can lift you up and help you through it.


Good luck with the New Year’s Resolutions and hopefully you can have a wonderful 2013!

Making the most of your money during the Holiday Season

With Christmas around the corner and the New Year quickly following, now is a great time to start thinking about a few simple ways to ensure your finances are in order.

In 2012, the average American spent approximately $925 on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.  Making November and December the “most wonderful time of the year”, but also, the most expensive time of the year!

How can Americans save some extra money during the holiday?  There are a few simple things that can make a big difference in the long run.  Here are our 5 tips to create more money during the holiday season.


1)      Use Cash NOT Credit Cards

Research indicates that buyers using cash are less likely to spend more than their planned budget.  Using cash also ensures that families do not go into unnecessary debt during the holiday season.  It takes a little extra planning to use cash instead of credit cards during the holiday season, but will definitely pay dividends.


2)      Refinance Your Home Loan

Why pay unnecessary interest on your home loan when interest rates are at an all-time low?  Refinancing your home loan can have families hundreds of dollars every month and thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.  This is a simple way to free up some extra cash and save a lot of money.


3)      Create an online Christmas Card

Christmas cards have become a great way to stay in touch with families and friends.  However, they can be VERY expensive!  Since 99.9% of society now has some sort of online presence, an online Christmas card can save families hundreds of dollars and deliver the same message.  You can also spend a little extra time and effort to add some cool effects to your online Christmas card that are not possible with traditional cards.


4)      Assign family members to get gifts for other family members

If your family is a little older (out of the Santa Clause phase), try assigning each family member to buy a gift for another family member.  This technique usually works out very well for the giver and receiver.  The person giving the gift gets to experience the “giving” side of Christmas and the person receiving the gift usually appreciates the gift more knowing a sibling selected it for them.


5)      Pay off debt instead of buying presents for husband or wife

Let’s face it, once you are married and have children, receiving Christmas presents is just not as cool as it used to be.  Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on presents for your spouse, have a conversation today to talk about paying off your debt instead.  This obviously has to be a mutual decision between husband and wife (otherwise you can look pretty stupid with no present on Christmas morning!), but can pay huge dividends in getting your finances in line and possibly increasing your credit score.


The holiday season does not have to be a time to break the bank account and put Americans in financial stress.  Follow these 5 tips and brainstorm with your spouse other ways that can help you save some additional money during the Holiday Season so you can truly think of it as “the most wonderful time of the year!”

Christmas Around the World

Christmas is celebrated in different ways all over the world. This infographic gives some insight on how others celebrate their Christmas holidays. We hope you enjoy this infographic and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a holiday season.

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Christmas Around the World
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