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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card225 300x150 Giveaway: Two $25 gift cards, via Swagbucks.Any time I give away a gift card the response is tremendous. And why not? Although some people think that GCs make awful presents, the chance to get a head start on a want or a need is fine by me. (And, apparently, by you.)

This week’s giveaway, sponsored by the Swagbucks rewards program, gives two lucky readers $25 in scrip – or, maybe in cash.

That’s because the winners get to choose any $25 e-gift card that Swagbucks offers, and among those offers is a $25 PayPal card. Thus you could choose to cash in for greenbacks or stick with shopping, at sites like Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Lowe’s, Home Depot, CVS, iTunes, GameStop and many others.


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th5 Go to the movies on me.Summer blockbusters mean lots of things: excitement, drama, peril, animation, pratfalls, talking animals, jokes about body parts.

They also mean a nice break from reality in a dark and air-conditioned room. In some areas of the country that’s a really welcome respite.

But given that the average cost of a movie ticket is more than $8, movies can put a hurt on the budget.

That’s why this week’s giveaway is a $10 Fandango gift card.


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