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Whether you want to admit or not, the holidays are fast approaching and planning ahead is key to managing your money, sothatyou don’t overextendyourselfor go into debt. Last year, the average American spent $882.45 on Christmas gifts, food, decorations, travel, and other miscellaneous holiday-related expenses, according to the7 Tips To Budget Holiday Spending

How To Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season

7 Ways To Holiday Savings Using Credit Cards

Homecoming floats constructed in half the time as usual

Pi Beta Phi deviated from its original plan for Float to instead highlight its philanthropy. Photo courtesy Pi Beta Phi. By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer. This …
Pi Beta Phi deviated from its original plan for Float to instead highlight its philanthropy. Photo courtesy Pi Beta Phi.

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

This year’s Homecoming float participants will be showing their work at McLane Stadium for a pep rally on Friday night where the audience can get an up-close look.

“McLane on Friday night will be the big event, the Homecoming event,” Frisco senior Ashley Madden, parade chairperson, said.

Kappa Alpha Order with Alpha Phi, Phi Kappa Chi with Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi will present their floats for judging on Thursday and will be awarded in front of everyone on Friday.

“It’s kind of like after a normal parade they get parked in front of Tidwell to be able to walk over and look at. That’s the general idea,” Madden said. “We’re hoping to draw more of a crowd this year because they’re more front and center, so people can see the work that has gone into them. There will also be a video shown during the prep rally about the work that went into the floats.”

Madden said groups usually work eight weeks on floats, but this year they only had about four weeks to finish.

“They lost originally two weeks when we came back to school, when no organizations could meet and then they also lost an additional week when Baylor extended that,” Madden said. “And so that was the official build time, but I feel like they lost a lot of time over the summer. In normal years, they submit their themes and their designs in the summer. Then, they get approved, and they can start ordering materials and start on the first day of school, but because everything was so up in the air over the summer, it got pushed back.”

Celina senior Ben Whisman, float coordinator, said his expectations in the beginning also changed over time. There were plans for 13 floats from organization chairs, he said, and only three floats remain now.

Portland, Ore. senior Kate Pitcher, float chair for Pi Beta Phi, said they decided to stick with plans for a float because it has been the only activity chapter members are allowed to do together.

“We felt like it would just be unifying for our organization and fun and to be able to take advantage of that opportunity to see each other in person,” Pitcher said.

No float design rules or requirements have changed except for determining the float class, Whisman said. Floats are organized into classes, depending on how much money each group plans to spend. They are judged by class and a grand champion is awarded across all classes usually. This year is a little different.

“They do not have to designate a class standing until they finalize everything and then go, we spent this much money, so we will be in this class,” Whisman said. “That’s completely fine with me. I think we’re going to have one in each category, but that might change to where they all end up in one class. No matter what, I think all of them are still going to be fantastic because I’m still blown away with the amount of time that they’ve had yet the level that they’ve done.”

Pitcher said they stuck with a simpler theme and promoted their philanthropy this year. In doing so, she said that Pi Beta Phi was able to donate $3,000 to their philanthropy with the leftover float budget and plans on donating the 2,000 books used in the float display to elementary school kids.

“Originally, we had picked a theme with the fraternity that we paired with, but when they dropped out, we didn’t feel like we had the building capabilities to continue with that theme,” Pitcher said. “And so because it is kind of a weird year with COVID, we decided to make our float theme our philanthropy, which is ‘Read, Lead, Achieve.’ So chapter members actually donated books to our book displays on the float, and the main feature on our float is a giant rainbow made out of books.”

Baylor alumni won’t be able to see these floats in person though. The pep rally was approved as an in-person event, but to meet social distancing guidelines and safety requirements, only students are allowed to attend in person. Up to 1,000 students will be allowed in each event location at McLane: the stadium, alumni tailgate area and student tailgate area, Madden said.

Freshly Squeezed: 05.09.19

Food delivery service, DoorDash, has arrived in Australia. The $18.6 billion company, founded in San Fransisco, currently services food delivery to the …

The National Retail Association is fighting a Christmas Eve part-day public holiday and Myer’s FY19 results have been shared. Get a healthy dose of news as we uncover the day’s top stories in e-commerce and retail.

Myer’s Online Sales Rise

Myer has released its yearly sales results. Its EBITDA (Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) is up 7.4 per cent, leaving it at $160.1 million. However, its total sales are down 3.5 per cent to $1,991.8 million, with comparable-store sales down 1.3 per cent. “This result demonstrates our focus on profitable sales, a disciplined management of costs and cash, as well as deleveraging the business,” explained John King, Myer’s CEO and Managing Director. “In the first year of the Customer First Plan, we have progressed a number of strategic initiatives, but recognise there is much more to be done to transform this business in the interests of customers and shareholders.” Read more about the results here.

DoorDash Enters Melbourne

Food delivery service, DoorDash, has arrived in Australia. The $18.6 billion company, founded in San Fransisco, currently services food delivery to the USA and Canada. Melbourne is the first location that the service has chosen to travel to outside the North American market. “We are excited Australia is our first international expansion outside of North America,” explained Thomas Stephens, the General Manager of DoorDash Australia. “We dove deep into the Australian market and quickly realised two things — restaurants want more from their delivery partners, and not all Melburnians have access to the selection that they should expect.”

NRA Fights Against Qld’s Christmas Eve Part-Day Public Holiday Plans

The National Retail Association has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ), Queensland Hotels Association (QHA) and the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) to prevent the proposal of Christmas Eve part-day public holiday. “A Christmas Eve public holiday from 6 pm onwards was last considered in the comprehensive review of Queensland trading hours conducted by former Labor State Minister Mr John Mickel. The review rejected the proposal, noting the financial impact on industry,” explained the NRA in a statement.

“This proposal will result in one of the following outcomes, none of which are desirable to either business owners or the workers they employ: small business passing on the extra costs to consumers via higher prices; operators closing their doors for trade during the affected hours; or owners sending staff home and working the public holiday hours themselves with no extra pay. Those who will be hurt most by this are not large multi-nationals, but mum-and-dad small businesses who work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet. Many of these outlets also rely on the Christmas trade period to support their operation during more lean times of the year. This proposed public holiday is blindly following the mistakes made in other states and will kill off one of Queensland’s best times to celebrate with their community. No business can suddenly afford to increase costs at this time, so hotels and tourism operators will either close or reduce staff hours.”

“Massive decline in trade due to public holidays have already happened for the AFL Grand Final Parade in Melbourne and Christmas Eve in South Australia. It is inconceivable that Labor would ignore the pleas of regional Queenslanders by increasing the price of going to the hotel, or having this vital part of their community shut. Hours worked in the state economy are down 200,000 year to date and business confidence levels reflect both poor hiring intentions as well as a business investment. The Christmas Eve proposal also runs counter to the voice of regional Queensland businesses who are telling us they simply cannot afford the government’s $137 million policy. Queensland currently ranks sixth behind Tasmania for employment and overall economic activity and measures such as this will not help turn that worrying fact around. We strongly urge the State Government to reconsider this move and the detrimental costs it will have on Queensland businesses,” the statement concluded.

Catch up on yesterday’s Freshly Squeezed news here.

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Diaspora folk mark Mothers’ Day ‘with cash’

Evelyn Makena @evemake_g. A card from her son, a text message from her mother in Siaya County, a bunch of her favourite flowers – orchids – and …

Evelyn Makena @evemake_g

A card from her son, a text message from her mother in Siaya County, a bunch of her favourite flowers – orchids – and a drink from her husband pretty much sum up Faith Mirunde Hakala’s typical Mother’s Day celebrations.

The Kenyan resident of Tempere, Finland says her mother is not keen on the day and only sends Faith a message “because everyone else is doing it”.

But Faith surprises her during the day anyway. This year, when Faith was thinking of possible gifts to give her mother this Mother’s Day, the idea of building her a kindergarten came to mind.

Deliver dream

For a long time, her mother, a retired primary school teacher whose career spanned over 40 years aspired of putting up a kindergarten. A fortnight ago, Faith sent her mother funds to initiate the project as a Mother’s Day gift.

“She has always wanted to run a kindergarten. It’s her dream, I must give it to her,” she says. Yesterday, as the world marked this year’s day, a survey revealed that eight out of 10 Kenyans living abroad who celebrate Mother’s Day do so by sending money home.

The survey by international money transfer service WorldRemit shows that among those who sent their mums money, 84 per cent also give them a call and 50 per cent send them a gift.

Faith is among the 66 per cent of estimated three million Kenyans in the diaspora who send their mothers money. The mother of one moved to Finland in 2004 . “I send her money as often as she requires,” she says. Faith visits her mother once in a year and she alternately does the same.

Seen less

About four out of 10 of those surveyed said they have not seen their mothers in the last two years. “Mother’s Day is an important time for three million Kenyans living abroad to show their mums that they’re thinking of them. Our online money transfer service makes it easier for them to send money to their mothers during this day,”said Sharon Kinyanjui, Head of East and Central Africa at WorldRemit.

“Customers make transfers at any-time from anywhere with just a few taps on their smartphones. The company delivers notifications to both the sender and the recipient when the money has been sent and received to help one stay connected at every stage of the money transfer journey.” In 2018 Kenyans in diaspora sent home Sh270 billion ranking remittances among top foreign exchange earner.

OFWs remittances increase markedly for Mother’s Day — WorldRemit

ONLINE MONEY transfer service WorldRemit said remittance activity from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) tends to increase in the run-up to …


ONLINE MONEY transfer service WorldRemit said remittance activity from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) tends to increase in the run-up to Mother’s Day.

WorldRemit Managing Director for Asia-Pacific Michael Liu said Filipino customers tend to increase their remittance activity shortly before Mother’s Day.

“We do see remittance activity increase during events like Mother’s Day. Last year, WorldRemit saw an increase of remittances in the week leading up to Mother’s Day of 13%,” he told BusinessWorld on Friday.

According to a WorldRemit survey, 99% of OFWs observe Mother’s Day and 82% celebrate the holiday by sending money to their mothers. More than half of WorldRemit’s OFW customers have transferred money online for Mother’s Day.

“We conducted a survey of our Filipino customers in connection to Mothers Day activities — 62% said they send money to their Mothers for Mother’s day… Our conclusion (is that) Mother’s day is an important day for our OFWs,” he added.

The survey also shows that 78% call their mothers on the phone to mark the occasion and 52% send gifts. Mr. Liu added that WorldRemit also observes “an increase in value” in money sent during Mother’s Day from the usual amount OFWs typically send.

“We see an increase in average amount sent. Not only do OFWs send on a more regular basis in the period leading up to these events but they do send more. We do see an increase in transaction value, transaction output (during these periods),” he said. — Gillian M. Cortez