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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th 1 Giveaway: $10 in Starbucks scrip.As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I’m always bemused by the reaction when I offer Starbucks gift cards as a giveaway. The last time I did this I got 226 entries. For a $10 card!

Then again, it’s summer and even though I don’t care for the bean I do have to admit that the cold drinks at Starbucks are pretty refreshing and tasty.

That is, unless they trash them up with coffee.

Win this week’s $10 giveaway, though, and you can order whatever you like.


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th4 Giveaway: A $10 Starbucks gift card.It’s summer and it’s hot. Beat the heat, if only temporarily, with a frou-frou cold beverage at Starbucks.

Some people say that hot tea and hot coffee are actually more cooling. They may be right.

To me, though, an iced tea or cold soft drink or even plain old water is what I want when I’m feeling hot and sticky.

Full disclosure: I don’t generally go to Starbucks because, well, frugal. But this week I’m making it easier on some reader’s budget by giving away $10 worth of SB gift cards.

Lemonade, iced coffee, Frappuccino, iced tea, something called a Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher – take your pick, as long as it’s under ten bucks.


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