th-1Some money experts come across as professional scolds who harangue us about the bad things we’ve done and the good things we haven’t done.

No wonder some people prefer to unload their money woes to friends. Even if our pals gently point out our goofs, at least they’re not telling us how stupid we are.

The problem is that not all friends will hold us accountable, either because they don’t want to hurt our feelings or they don’t know much about money themselves. Thus we run the risk of getting advice that’s well-intentioned but not really in our best interests.

Ever confess to having gone a little off the rails at the mall only to have your BFF blithely chirp, “Oh, well, it happens to all of us!” Or fret about how you shouldn’t have gotten such an expensive car and have some other dude say, “Aw, come on! Live a little!”

Beverly Harzog won’t tell you anything like that. Instead, she’ll be the friend everyone should have: One who cares enough to convince you to get control of your spending and who offers to stand by you every step of the way.

Harzog recently released a new book, “The Debt Escape Plan,” and it’s up for grabs in this week’s giveaway.


read more

KohlsSpring Giveaway

Every so often Savings.com gives things away through its affiliates, the DealPros. I’m happy to give readers a chance at the latest promotion: a $50 Kohl’s gift card.

Twenty of these cards will be given away. Here’s how to enter to be one of the winners.


read more

th-1The Academy Awards have come and gone. Seen the prize-winners yet?

The summer movie season is nearly here. Got your must-see list going? (I’m looking at you, “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Might even spring for a midnight screening.)

Ticket prices are a bummer, but I can help. That is, I can help if you live near an AMC theater and win this week’s giveaway. I can even offer you something to drink.


read more

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.

This is different from the usual giveaway procedure, so I feel the need to emphasize it. The winner’s name will be chosen by Rafflecopter. Leaving your name in the comment section won’t enter you in this giveaway.

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


read more

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:


read more