thAll around the country people recently celebrated the first day of summer (calendar-wise). The weather was gorgeous in Anchorage but I was a little sad. Up here, summer solstice means that in a day or so the light turns around.

If that sounds defeatist, it’s because it is. We’ll still have tons of light for quite some time, much more illumination than the Lower 48 gets. But I can’t shake the notion that it’s now going the other way.

I felt that way every solstice during my previous tenure in Alaska (1984-2001) and I feel that way now. May and June are the best months, in my opinion, even if the latter does turn on us each year on or around June 21. 


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thThe recently released film “The Kings of Summer” concerns a trio of teen-aged males who run away from home. They don’t run far, mind you — just a mile or so away, where they propose to build a cabin in the woods and live off the land and out from under their parents’ thumbs.

Not that they’re particularly good at this. The chicken they eat for dinner comes from a nearby Boston Market and their cabin is slapped together with pilfered materials.

But it’s their place, their escape from what they see as the impossible oppression they suffer in the outside world.

“These are not the sophisticated ‘Gossip Girl’ teenagers but gawky innocents desperate to grow up and prove self-sufficiency. We’ve all been there,” notes New York Times film reviewer Stephen Holden.

This week’s giveaway is a pair of gift cards suggested by the film: a $10 card for the AMC Theatres movie chain and a $10 Boston Market card. Of course, you can use the movie card to see any movie you like, not just “The Kings of Summer.”

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thSome readers have asked for a heads-up when I have magazine articles out. Right now I do: the cover story in the June issue of All You magazine.

Should have put this up sooner since it’s already almost July (!), but better late than really late.

“Save $100 on groceries this month” is a topic that appeals to just about everyone who’s worried about food prices. And we should be worried: Our overall grocery bills ]will rise as much as 4% overall in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Food is a fixed expense – you can’t live without it! – but it’s one with a fair amount of wiggle room. You probably can’t convince your family to eat less. But suppose just a little creativity allowed you to shave $100 off your grocery budget each month.

What could you do with an extra $1,200 a year?

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thYep, another made-up-just-for-fun holiday. This one came about in 1994 and was invented by a publicist who suggested that people treat themselves and also those around them.

Your definition of “splurge” may vary. Here’s what I think: Whether they’re experiences or lasting treats, a splurge can not only brighten your day but help keep you on the frugal path.

Utter, slavish denial of self can lead to falling off the wagon in a big, big way, which will undermine – or undo – the progress you’ve made toward meeting your financial goals.

But there’s no reason to overpay for a splurge, be it a trip abroad or a really good cupcake. That’s why I’m suggesting eight ways to do it up without overdoing it.

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th“Adulthood 101: Teaching grads about the real world” is the topic of a Tweetchat to be sponsored by Ally Bank on Tuesday.

Whether you’ve got advice to share or are wondering how best to help the neomatriculate in your life, drop by: You could win a $100 Amazon gift card.

From 2 to 3 p.m. Eastern, featured guest Bankrate.com will address issues such as student loans, retirement planning, home-buying and — for the elders — how to encourage rather than enable. Other personal finance specialists will likely check in, too. I’ll be there myself.

Never attended a Tweetchat? Think of it as a virtual party, one in which everybody’s talking about the same thing. It’s fast-moving and entertaining and, in this case, educational.

The best part? Since we’re all limited to 140 characters nobody has enough space to be pompous.

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