thWe’re spending less on back-to-school shopping this year, according to the National Retail Federation: an average of $630.36 per family with kids in K-12. That’s about $39 less than last year.

Almost one in five families are already shopping, both to avoid crowds and to spread out the cost among multiple paychecks.

I’ve got another way for you to stretch your BTS budget: Win the $25 gift card I’m giving away this week.

The card is good at five different stores: Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Piperlime. Spend it all in one place, or go from store to store.


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thHot enough for ya? That’s what I figured. Although recent temperatures aren’t unduly onerous except in places like Phoenix, even an 80-something day can take the starch right out of you.

That’s why this week’s giveaway is a two-pronged approach to beating the heat: a literary getaway and a cold to drink, consumed in an air-conditioned place, to go with it.


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thWe’re in the middle of a many-days-long heatwave, i.e., temperatures in the 70s and even the low 80s. When the sun is out almost nonstop, you feel lost in a dreamy golden haze all day.

It’s incredibly hard to concentrate on work right now, so I’m going to make this week’s giveaway fairly simple: $10 worth of scrip to the online behemoth.

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thRecently I attended “Press Publish,” a one-day seminar presented in Phoenix by WordPress. If you’re a writer (published or not) and one of these seminars comes to your neck of the woods, by all means go.

The day was crammed with programs from WordPress professionals (including a group of “happiness engineers” — what a cool thing to have on a business card) and pro bloggers. It didn’t cost much (they even had a coupon!) and the breakfast, lunch and snacks were great. (At least one blogger from Alaska went a little overboard on the fresh pineapple.)

In addition, writers (published or not) from a wide section of Arizona got to meet one another. I truly believe the event changed lives.

But on to this week’s giveaway. (There’s a connection. I promise.)

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thNot in person, of course — unless you happen to live in Anchorage and be the winner of this week’s giveaway.

I’m offering $25 worth of Fandango scrip. Since it’s accepted in so many places, it’s likely you’ll be able to see at least a couple of movies on me.

Or one movie and a bunch of concessions. Your call!

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