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thToday is Sept. 1. Thought about your holiday shopping yet?

Yes, it’s early – we’ve still got about 16 weeks to buy and wrap – but the smart money is on early planning.

A cash-back shopping site called Dollar Dig stands ready to help you out – both by saving you money on purchases and by sponsoring a giveaway of Amazon gift cards. Five winners will be chosen, for one $50 and four $25 cards.

Regular readers of my site know that I’m a diehard cash-back user. Not ordering through one of these sites is like begging to pay more than you must.

You’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up at Dollar Dig. Once you’ve earned an additional $20 in rebates you can request a withdrawal.

How do you get those rebates? By buying stuff you were going to buy anyway – and by starting your shopping tour at DollarDig.com. Here’s why.

 


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thI just got back from voting in the primary election, a civic duty made pleasant by the beauty of the weather: blue skies after many days of rain, big puffy clouds and a slight breeze that stirred the faint but unmistakable fragrance of decaying vegetation.

Yes, summer is on the wane. Wildflowers and gardens alike are dying back – hence the smell of plant life sinking gradually to earth. Birch leaves are falling like golden rain in my BFF’s back yard. Most of the fireweed has spawned out, although a few defiant pinky-lavender blossoms still show up here and there.

The sun’s angle and intensity have both changed noticeably. As I noted in the linked article, “August sun compared to June sun is like a social kiss: close enough to get its point across but far enough away to feel like display rather than true affection.”

 


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thThe time to prepare for disasters – or even moderate inconveniences – is before they happen. This week’s giveaway can help.

The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster” is the latest book from Bernie Carr, she of the Apartment Prepper blog.

Ignore the stereotypes about wild-eyed prepper nutcases stockpiling bullets and Spam. Preparing for power outages, extreme weather and the like just makes sense. In fact, the government urges us all to have at least several days’ worth of supplies on hand. Just ask anyone who’s ever lived through an ice storm whether it’s a bad idea to be a prepper.

 


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th-1Take a look at personal finance articles aimed at women. How many of them focus on topics like using coupons, getting the best prices for school clothes and cutting back on our purse collections?

Those are all good things to do. But why aren’t women getting information about building real wealth?

Women make 85 percent of consumer purchases. (Hint: Not all of them are of Jimmy Choo footwear.) Yet they are too often ignored, patronized or marginalized by the financial planning industry.

Kimberly Palmer, author of “Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How To Build Wealth While Raising A Family,” has a friend in that line of work. He told her about a colleague who talked to the husband and referred to the wife in the third person. The wife was sitting right next to her spouse.

That’s why we need books like this one. We do need to worry our pretty li’l heads about money.

 


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th-2It’s 77 degrees here and I’m melting, melting

Which is a little embarrassing to admit. Although I grew up in a hot-and-humid area and also sweltered through the occasional 100-degree heat wave in Seattle* my blood has done got thin.

Like many other Alaskans, I perceive temps in the 60s as warm enough, thanks. When it his 70 I start fanning myself. Now that it’s closer to 80 than 70, I’m panting like a black dog in the noonday sun.

Right now I’m pet-sitting a black dog (Rottweiler/black Lab mix), a furry solar collector whose solution is simple: When he’s not in the house, he spends his time underneath the deck attached to the greenhouse DF built

I’m the wrong size – and the wrong flexibility factor – to follow him under there, so I cope by staying out of the direct sun and drinking lots of water and iced tea. It’s supposed to be in the mid- to high 70s all week.

 


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