th2 Guest posts, gift cards and loups garou.I did my first-ever guest post on my daughter’s site, I Pick Up Pennies. Always meant to, just never got around to it until this weekend.

“Want to save money? ‘Chop’ your kitchen” was generated by my fondness for a  Food Network program called “Chopped,” which requires chefs to create meals from mystery ingredients. Some of them are delicious and traditional (steak, poultry, seafood) and some are just cruel (durian, goat brains, duck testicles).

Not that I think you should save money by eating fowl balls, mind you. Instead the post suggests that you “chop” your pantry, fridge and freezer, i.e., find ways to use what’s on hand instead of calling out for pizza. The food waste in our country is astonishing. What could eating in more often do for your budgetary bottom line?

Think those leftovers look forlorn? Get creative!


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9781118518557 p0 v2 s260x420 199x300 Giveaway: Do More, Spend Less.Brad Wilson wasn’t content just to found BradsDeals.com, TravelHacks.com and annually renewing sites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  To spread his “everything you know about being a consumer is wrong” message, he also wrote a book.

Do More, Spend Less: The New Secrets of Living the Good Life for Less” describes the behaviors and hacks that let Wilson earn more than 5 million frequent flyer miles, get half-off his iPhone and plan, arrange a 25% discount on new cars, spend three weeks at the Park Hyatt Paris for $20 and get a 0%, six-figure line of credit to build a business.

Until recently marketing has had a tight grip on our wallets, he notes, but thanks to the Internet “the playing field is tilting in our favor.”

Internet deal-hunting has made it possible for consumers to look beyond the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Sometimes far beyond.


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th8 150x150 Giveaway: A book for those going out on their own.Is there a young ‘un in your family who’s about to fly the coop? Or do you know of a recent grad who’s jonesing to live solo? This week’s giveaway could be a nice pre-housewarming gift. That is, it can help them learn some of the things they need to know about leaving the nest.

I’m Free, I’m Free, I’m Free! Now What?” was written by a woman I know who wants to give “easygoing, mildly cynical guidance” to those about to set up housekeeping.

But couldn’t you give a new young lessee much or all of the knowledge s/he needs? Probably. Will they listen? Not necessarily.

Hence the subtitle of Janet McCart’s book: “A Semi-Serious Guide to Early Housekeeping or Things You Wouldn’t Let Your Family Tell You.” Some young people are skilled at tuning out what their parents say but would believe it if they read it in a book.


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new book Giveaway: The Cheap Chicas Guide to Style.I like Liliana Vasquez’ style. Not just her sartorial sense, but her common sense. Here are a couple of examples of the blogger and author’s advice:

“Labels don’t define us – they’re just little pieces of cloth that tell you how to take care of your garment.”

“Remember: Style can’t be bought. It comes from confidence and creativity.”

“Age is nothing but a number, but our style has to evolve as we get older whether we like it or not.”

“You don’t have to adhere completely to the fashion world’s rules to curate your own style.”

Vazquez, who blogs at The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style, from her smart, practical and, yes, thrifty advice. “The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style: Secrets to Shopping Cheap and Looking Chic” is this week’s giveaway.


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thumb Prepping: It’s not just for grownups anymore.Dallas resident Bernie Carr sees no reason that city dwellers can’t be ready for trying times. Having written The Apartment Prepper blog for several years and having written “The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster,” Carr has made preparedness more accessible to a lot of folks who don’t own bunkers.*

Now she’s taking on a new audience: kids.

Not to scare them into stockpiling skateboard wheels and Fruit Roll-Ups, but rather to make the idea of getting ready for any challenge – be it power failure or hurricane, earthquake or zombie apocalypse – less frightening.

Her new picture book, “Jake & Miller’s Big Adventure: A Prepper’s Book for Kids” (Ulysses Press) is designed to show young readers that it’s smarter to be prepared than scared. While imagining an amazing trip (deserts, mountains, jungle, a cave) they pack the supplies they need to stay warm, fed and safe.

Carr has donated a copy of the book for this week’s giveaway. Whether you’re a parent or a teacher, whether you live in Tornado Alley or on the Ring of Fire, Jake and Miller’s story can show kids that getting ready isn’t scary – it’s smart.


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