thOne of my most reliable frugal hacks is using discounted gift cards to pay both for everyday and special purchases. Depending on the card you can save as much as 35 percent. Only amateurs pay retail.

You can buy certain types of cards at a discount at places like Costco. My favorite way to get them is through the secondary market. One of those resellers, GiftCardRescue.com, has offered to sponsor this week’s giveaway: a $50 Target card.

GiftCardRescue.com sells cards for more than 600 merchants. Use them to save consistently on the things you buy regularly (pet food, hobby supplies, groceries, gasoline, meals out) as well as for holiday shopping or special projects. I saved more than $100 on gift cards for materials for a greenhouse DF is building. But I also keep a McDonald’s gift card on hand so that I can treat my nephews, and I never pay full price for toiletries (Walgreens), haircuts (Regis) or movies (Cinemark).

And yeah, sometimes I send away for discounted GCs for my weekly giveaways.

GiftCardRescue.com also buys unwanted cards, paying up to 92 percent of face value. So if a well-meaning relative gave vegetarian you some steakhouse scrip at Christmas, why not sell it and use the cash for something more suitable?

Easter is coming and Target is a great place to get basket makings and spring fashions for the kids (and the grownups). Even if you don’t have kids or celebrate that particular holiday you’ll likely find something you want or need at Target.

(For best-practice shopping tips, see “Target deals: How to save big at your favorite retailer,” a piece I did for Grandparents.com.)

To enter the giveaway, use your e-mail address to log in on the Rafflecopter widget below. After that, enter your e-mail address again to sign up for the  GiftCardRescue.com newsletter.

The deadline is 12:00 a.m. PST Wednesday, March 4. GiftCardRescue.com will notify the winner, so make sure to use an e-mail you check regularly.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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thThe folks at H&R Block recently mailed out a couple of logo items for the 2014 tax season. Naturally I just had to turn mine into a giveaway – adding, of course, a few artistic touches of my own.

There’s a particularly high snafu potential this year due to the Affordable Care Act. Too, there was the customer service misstep by Intuit, which made major changes to the Deluxe version of its popular TurboTax software in a way some customers didn’t like. (H&R Block responded with an offer of a free replacement product; follow the link for details.)

So in advance of any issues you may or may not have, you should enter to win the 2014 Tax Season Survival Kit. It includes:


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soundsofsony-giveawayJust in time for the 57th annual Grammy Awards, the folks at Savings.com are giving away a trio of Sony portable party systems with Bluetooth and NFC.

It would be great if all three went to readers of Surviving and Thriving. Failing that, even one winner would do.

You have until 11:59 p.m. EST Saturday, Feb. 7 to try.


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31bj+FtE-zLReaction is always enthusiastic whenever I give away one of the “Tundra” comic strip collections. Why shouldn’t it be? Chad Carpenter is a very funny guy.

He’s also resourceful, having come up with an extremely portable and dual-use version of his best-selling anthologies: “Tundra” playing cards. (Insert your own “playing with a full deck” joke here.)

A set of the playing cards are up for grabs this week. As the artist suggests, use these for a poker game and see if anyone at the table can keep a straight face.


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thI’m going to be in Phoenix for about a week starting midday Feb. 16. Although my daughter and I have several jaunts planned, we’re also interested in having a blogger and/or reader meet-up.

Anybody interested?

It would almost certainly take place after the workday ends at 5 p.m. or so, although we’d certain push it further if other folks work later. We know that several other PF bloggers live in Phoenix, but are there other writers, too? And would readers be interested in hanging out with us?


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