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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th4 150x150 Tomorrows Tweetchat could make you $100 richer.Those of you who actually enter the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes [hand goes up] may remember the $5,000 bonus award you could get if the PCH team ever showed up at your front door.

You were supposed to look at the camera and say something like, “I just won a gazillion dollars in the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes! Now I know it’s real!”

Why someone who’d just won a gazillion dollars would be compos mentis enough to remember to say that – and why he’d even care about an extra five grand – was never explained to my satisfaction. That won’t stop me from pirating the slogan, however:

“Last month I won a $100 Amazon card from the Ally Bank Tweetchat! Now I know it’s real!”

 

Ally Bank Tweetchat screenshot winner 300x187 Tomorrows Tweetchat could make you $100 richer.

(Yeah, that’s some teeny print. But if you click on the screenshot you’ll see my Twitter handle, @DLFreedman, as one of the winners.)

I already knew it was real, because a Surviving and Thriving reader wrote to tell me she’d won a card. That made me happy.

You may already be a winner!

It would also make me happy if one (or two!) of you guys won the Amazon scrip at tomorrow’s Ally Bank Tweetchat. Certainly it’s a topic to which we can all relate: “Developing enviable saving habits.”


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th 1 150x147 Let me buy you a coffee.It’s that odd time of the year: Sometimes chilly and sometimes balmy. Even here in Anchorage we’re feeling mood-swingy with regard to the weather: in the 40s and raining sideways one day, sunny and in the low 60s another day.

So what do we want: hot chocolate or fancy iced tea?

Whatever it is, I’m buying the next round. This week’s giveaway is $10 worth of Starbucks gift cards.


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th9 How I saved more than $100 last night.We’re in the middle of a project to turn a giant three-sided building into a smaller shed, a greenhouse and a deck. When I say “we,” it’s the royal we. DF and one of his sons are doing most of the work.

He’s reusing wood from the original structure plus some boards another DIYer had given him. DF also found a great deal on paint at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and an even better deal at the “free” section of the city landfill.

Yet certain purchases — cedar boards for the deck and something called Suntuf clear PC roof panels for the greenhouse — can’t be scrounged. The roof panels are on sale at Home Depot but even so cost almost $25 a pop.

The final tally will be about $750, a figure that made us both gasp – and sent me straight to GiftCardGranny.com, an aggregator site for discounted gift cards.

Within three minutes I’d determined the best deal and ordered it. Total savings: $107.30. Wish I could earn at that rate every day.


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s0660153 sc7 300x300 Want a $50 Staples card?I must have been one of the nerdiest kids in Cumberland County, NJ, because I looked forward to the first day of school.

The first hint was the mid-August appearance of school supplies at Woolworth’s, Mr. Big, Diskay and other stores in the small city closest to our rural township. While the other kids shrieked and grabbed their throats in despair, I secretly  loved the sight of all that notebook paper waiting to be filled with words.

Back when the Earth was still cooling, “school supplies” mostly meant a blue three-ring binder (but only if last year’s was completely kaput), yellow No. 2 pencils (no pens until at least fifth grade), wide-ruled paper and maybe, if you were lucky, a big pink eraser. We made bookcovers out of brown grocery bags. Only the teacher had crayons and Magic Markers.

If eight-year-old me had seen the box of school supplies Staples shipped last week, the sensory overload might have put me in the emergency room.

A composition book with a leaf-and-ladybug design in pale pink and orange. Refillable mechanical pencils made just for small children, i.e., with “break-resistant” lead. Two-pocket folders with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle motifs. A clipboard with an oh-so-cuuute of a beagle puppy. th5 150x150 Want a $50 Staples card?

Three-by-five-inch lined journals in bright florals and random, boldly colored patterns. Erasers that look like lipsticks, complete to the plastic top — and in patterns that match the journals. Pencils in patterns that match both the erasers and the journals, and a Spongebob Squarepants pencil sharpener to ready them for writing.

Want some of this for yourself? Or anything else Staples sells? Enter this week’s giveaway.


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