The food ads are mighty attractive at this time of year even up here in Anchorage, where prices are noticeably higher than in the Lower 48.

A few of the items currently being offered at decent sale prices: bacon, eggs, cheese, soup, canned tomatoes, flour, chicken broth, coffee, yams, canned and plain frozen vegetables, crackers (I’m partial to the cracked pepper and olive oil Triscuits), potatoes, butter, apples and canned beans.

The idea is to get us to buy extra ingredients for holiday meals and those homemade sweets. But why not buy extra ingredients for ourselves?

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If you’re looking for a $100 head start on holiday shopping, be sure to enter the giveaway sponsored by Consumerism Commentary. The deadline to enter is 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. You can enter up to five different ways.

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Since getting my candy/jelly thermometer from Amazon.com recently I have learned a new and entirely dangerous skill: making caramels for Christmas gifts.

I know they are dangerous because:

  • Somebody had to scrape out all candy that stuck to the saucepan, right?
  • I couldn’t in good conscience give a gift without making sure it tasted OK.

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Today’s post is a bit of a grab-bag.

To anyone interested in joining Swagbucks: I might be able to get you 100 extra points. On Saturday evening I took part in an online chat about shopping/rewards sites. Those “attending” were given a code to offer to new referrals in addition to the usual 30-point sign-up bonus.

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Yesterday I went into a drugstore and found several aisles completely stocked for Christmas: lights, ornaments, wrapping paper, toys, candy and, of course, traditional sacred images such as Mickey Mouse wearing a Santa hat. Sigh.

While too-early Christmas marketing and commercialism in general both bug me, I am also practical enough to acknowledge they exist — and to help a reader stretch his/her dollars to the utmost. That’s why I’m happy to announce a giveaway sponsored by the Consumerism Commentary blog: a $100 Amazon gift card, just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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