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thA couple of weeks ago I gave away a box of swag obtained at conferences in New Orleans, Austin and Kansas City, Mo. At the time I promised a second giveaway of other such items.

I misspoke myself. But I did it for you!

Specifically, the folks at the Swagbucks rewards program stepped in and offered to give away a $50 e-gift card. Couldn’t down a chance for a reader to gain a $50 advantage on this year’s holiday shopping (or for a gift for themselves), so I put the second box on hold.

(The $50 prize is still up for grabs: You have until Dec. 5 to enter. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it.)

That second box o’ oddities is the subject of this week’s giveaway. Among the items included are:


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thOur Black Friday has come and gone, a reprise of last year’s experience at the loneliest drugstore in the world: Two of the stores we visited were practically tomblike.

The third, Play It Again Sports, held the possibility of new skis for DF at 50 percent off. However, it also held googols of optimistic winter sports enthusiasts (we have maybe a quarter-inch of snow on the ground) and determined-looking hockey parents. We backed off quickly due to our shared Claus-trophobia.

But at the other two? We walked in, bought what we wanted and walked back out. No pushing and shoving, no pepper spray and no buying things we didn’t need.

(Well, I did buy one thing I don’t need. More on that in a minute.)

That’s the kind of Black Friday I prefer, especially since a study from NerdWallet bears out what a lot of us already suspected: that those BF “deals” often aren’t as good as they’re made out to be.


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thWhen it comes to paying off holiday debts, who finishes last? If you guessed “low-income shoppers,” you guessed wrong. According to a study from the NerdWallet personal finance site, the middle class takes longer than anyone else to finish paying off Christmas costs.

People who earn from $50k to $75k take an average of 2.6 months to cover holiday celebrations. Compare that to folks who earn $50k or less and take an average of two months.

“Those who spend more in an effort to ‘keep up’ end up paying the price later,” says Matthew Ong, senior retail analyst at NerdWallet.

“Middle-class households could end up in a risky position this holiday season if they have ample credit to make purchases but incomes too thin to comfortably pay the bills later.”

 


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th-1Fun fact: During the holiday season, the lowest price for toys is about 10 days before Christmas.

Funner fact: You can get a $50 head start on your toy-buying (or anything-else-buying) if you win this week’s giveaway.

The Swagbucks rewards site has offered to award one lucky reader his or her choice of a $50 e-gift card from the Rewards Store. It’s quite the lineup of cards for restaurants, electronics emporia, retaurants, entertainment and other categories (including my personal favorite, Amazon).

This giveaway is a little different: You must be a member of Swagbucks and earn at least 50 points between now and 7 p.m. PST Friday, Dec. 5. Instead of entering up to five different ways, leave one comment with your Swagbucks user name.


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thProbably not, according to Insure.com. Choosing a red car won’t mean higher insurance rates, either.

These are just two pervasive myths out there, according to the insurance-quote site. While new cars certainly do get stolen, professional thieves are much more likely to steal older models and part them out, and color is not considered when companies determine rates.

“I hope no one passed up the red Miata they really wanted because they thought the insurance would be more expensive,” says Amy Danise, editorial director of Insure.com.


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