th3 150x150 Giveaway: The three conference swag box.In the past few months I’ve attended conferences in New Orleans, Austin and Kansas City, Mo. If you’ve ever attended a conference you’ll know how many items are available from the expo hall, the conference rooms and the “Welcome!” bag.

Previous conference-swag giveaways have been popular, so I decided to do it again.

Twice.

That’s right: I brought home so many oddments that they wouldn’t all fit into a single Priority Mail flat-rate box. That means two giveaways rather than one.


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th The Black Friday 2014 giveaway.Some people think Black Friday is fading away. Me, I think it’s simply spreading out.

Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the way whether you like it or not — and you can bet that Saturday and Sunday will have their own forms of deal-mongering, too.

Don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday? Prefer to buy locally? Do what works for you. But this week’s giveaway is designed to provide a little help for shoppers of all stripes, plus a little entertainment afterwards.

Up for grabs are:


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th3 Giveaway: Cold and flu package 2014.Even if you get a flu shot — and I think you should — you still run a chance of getting the flu. According to Consumer Reports, vaccination prevents the illness 80 percent of the time in adults younger than 65.

But a non-flu virus — including the common cold — can make you feel pretty crummy, too. The insult to such injury is the price tags on cold/flu nostrums.

That’s why I put together a cold and flu package giveaway each year. Judging from the numbers of comments the package always gets, you folks don’t like paying retail, either.


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th Free womens health screenings on Oct. 11.Thyroid issues can wreak havoc with your health and well-being, causing problems like low energy, depression and weight gain. Seven years ago. I was crawling through the days, attributing my severe fatigue to the work-plus-university schedule. (Or maybe just a failure of will.)

Then a friend suggested I have my thyroid tested. Seems it wasn’t a question of willpower after all. Now a tiny daily pill takes care of things.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, women can get a free TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test at any Sam’s Club that has a pharmacy (about 600 locations nationwide).


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th6 150x150 A frugal (and cultured!) date night.Earlier this month DF and I had an evening out. It was a classy affair, with wine, freshly grilled meats, beautiful things to see, and interesting conversations with friends and total strangers.

It was completely free, and we can do it every month if we like. Specifically, on the first Friday of every month. That’s when a handful of artsy places in Anchorage (including two universities) have public receptions for new exhibits.

This is an increasingly common practice in U.S. towns and cities. Whether it’s called “First Friday” or “Artwalk” or whatever, it’s a chance to enjoy works new and old – and, often, to get free food.

This has long been a frugal hack for starving students and also for those dating on a budget: something to eat plus a chance to look all cultured-like. But it works just as well when you’re out of school, and also when you’re happily partnered or just want an outing with friends. Who doesn’t want free food and wine?


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