th4 150x150 13 ways to use unwanted gift cards.Wise Bread recently posted an article called “What can I do with the gift cards I don’t want?” Sounds like a flawed premise, right? Who wouldn’t want a gift card?

Not so, according to writer Holly Johnson.

“You might end up with a gift card to a store or restaurant you unquestionably dislike,” she says.

“Even worse, you might get an inexpensive gift card to a place where nothing is cheap — like a $10 gift card to a restaurant where entrees start at $19.”

She suggested half a dozen ways to deal. I’ll see her those six, and raise her another seven.


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The bonus turkey.

th The bonus turkey.If you’re still seeing good prices on Meleagris gallopavo in your local supermarket, buy an extra one. In fact, buy the biggest one your freezer can hold.

Here’s why.

Last month we bought a bonus 20-pounder, i.e., one not for Thanksgiving. After DF cooked it on the Weber we wound up with 18 pounds of meat and more than a quart of broth for future soup or gravy.

We gave ourselves extra Frugal Points for skimming the cooled fat off the top and freezing it for future sautéing purposes, and for picking tiny bits of meat off the boiled-down carcass. Hey, we got enough for three turkey salad sandwiches – and we ate them that week, because we weren’t sick of the bird yet.

That’s because it was the week before Thanksgiving and we hadn’t already undergone an unending series of turkey leftovers, hot turkey sandwiches, creamed turkey, turkey soup and turkey surprise. Those 18 pounds of bonus turkey went first into quart-sized canning jars and then into the pressure canner.


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th2 Change that changes lives.It was a good year for found money: a $20 bill, two fivers, a singleton, 13 quarters, 47 dimes, 15 nickels and 216 pennies, plus a ngwee from Zambia. (You find the most interesting specie in Coinstar machines.)  

That $41.86 will become a $50 donation to the Alaska Food Bank. As my 8-year-old nephew and I stacked and wrapped the coins, I pointed out that while it’s fun to find a $20 bill even the pennies add up over time. I’d be writing about this, I said, and maybe it would remind them that dimes add up to dollars.  

“Maybe it will remind them to pick money up,” he said. “Or not to drop it.”


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GetAttachment1 How frugalists do Manhattan.I saw “The Book of Mormon” from a front-row seat on Broadway for $32. No, a number is not missing from either the beginning or the end of that figure.

My name finally got drawn in the daily ticket lottery. I’ve entered the drawing every day during every trip to New York for the past few years, never dreaming that I’d actually have a shot.

The guy sitting behind me said he’d paid $500 for his seat. That’s my rent, dude. No way am I paying that much for a show, no matter how acclaimed. I still can’t believe I paid so little, but the accompanying photo proves that I did indeed shell out just $32 for seat A-105. The Lottery Dude also handed each winner a cool “I won ‘The Book of Mormon’ lottery!” badge as a souvenir.

But that was just one way I saved money on this trip.


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th8 Paycheck too small? Maybe youre just ugly.If you’ve got a face made for radio or a body that doesn’t fit Madison Avenue’s image, you may feel that you’re not getting a fair shake. And you may be right.

For example, tall people earn more than shorter ones. Overweight men earn less (and overweight women earn a lot less) than non-obese coworkers.

And this one really frosts me: A Harvard University study indicates that women who wear makeup are seen as “more trustworthy and competent.” Hey, not all of us want to put on war paint each day.

Unfair, but true: How your looks affect your pay,” on Money Talks News, discusses the ways bosses can legally discriminate against you.

Sometimes those ways are pretty ridiculous. One employment law expert has heard from people who got canned because supervisors didn’t like their shoes. Seriously.


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