card225 300x150 Giveaway: Two $25 gift cards, via Swagbucks.Any time I give away a gift card the response is tremendous. And why not? Although some people think that GCs make awful presents, the chance to get a head start on a want or a need is fine by me. (And, apparently, by you.)

This week’s giveaway, sponsored by the Swagbucks rewards program, gives two lucky readers $25 in scrip – or, maybe in cash.

That’s because the winners get to choose any $25 e-gift card that Swagbucks offers, and among those offers is a $25 PayPal card. Thus you could choose to cash in for greenbacks or stick with shopping, at sites like Amazon, Target, Starbucks, Lowe’s, Home Depot, CVS, iTunes, GameStop and many others.


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th2 Guest posts, gift cards and loups garou.I did my first-ever guest post on my daughter’s site, I Pick Up Pennies. Always meant to, just never got around to it until this weekend.

“Want to save money? ‘Chop’ your kitchen” was generated by my fondness for a  Food Network program called “Chopped,” which requires chefs to create meals from mystery ingredients. Some of them are delicious and traditional (steak, poultry, seafood) and some are just cruel (durian, goat brains, duck testicles).

Not that I think you should save money by eating fowl balls, mind you. Instead the post suggests that you “chop” your pantry, fridge and freezer, i.e., find ways to use what’s on hand instead of calling out for pizza. The food waste in our country is astonishing. What could eating in more often do for your budgetary bottom line?

Think those leftovers look forlorn? Get creative!


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9781118518557 p0 v2 s260x420 199x300 Giveaway: Do More, Spend Less.Brad Wilson wasn’t content just to found BradsDeals.com, TravelHacks.com and annually renewing sites for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  To spread his “everything you know about being a consumer is wrong” message, he also wrote a book.

Do More, Spend Less: The New Secrets of Living the Good Life for Less” describes the behaviors and hacks that let Wilson earn more than 5 million frequent flyer miles, get half-off his iPhone and plan, arrange a 25% discount on new cars, spend three weeks at the Park Hyatt Paris for $20 and get a 0%, six-figure line of credit to build a business.

Until recently marketing has had a tight grip on our wallets, he notes, but thanks to the Internet “the playing field is tilting in our favor.”

Internet deal-hunting has made it possible for consumers to look beyond the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Sometimes far beyond.


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th 1 150x147 Get yourself a cold drink. Im buying.Writing this from Austin, Texas, where I’m down for a spot of bidness. (Thanks, Savings.com, for inviting me to SaveUp2014 once more.) It’s pretty warm — not unbearable, just noticeably warmer than Anchorage. Then again, so are a lot of places.

(Quick aside: If you’re in the area, hope you’ll join me for brunch on Sunday, Aug. 3, at The Shady Grove.)

The heat helped me decide to put up another $10 Starbucks gift card for the weekly giveaway. Even if you don’t like coffee (I sure don’t), you can always find something interesting to drink there. You can also find air conditioning, which becomes increasingly important at this time of year.

Or you can save the scrip until the weather turns, then get one of those frou-frou coffee drinks or a fancy hot chocolate. Whatever works for you.


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th8 150x150 Giveaway: A book for those going out on their own.Is there a young ‘un in your family who’s about to fly the coop? Or do you know of a recent grad who’s jonesing to live solo? This week’s giveaway could be a nice pre-housewarming gift. That is, it can help them learn some of the things they need to know about leaving the nest.

I’m Free, I’m Free, I’m Free! Now What?” was written by a woman I know who wants to give “easygoing, mildly cynical guidance” to those about to set up housekeeping.

But couldn’t you give a new young lessee much or all of the knowledge s/he needs? Probably. Will they listen? Not necessarily.

Hence the subtitle of Janet McCart’s book: “A Semi-Serious Guide to Early Housekeeping or Things You Wouldn’t Let Your Family Tell You.” Some young people are skilled at tuning out what their parents say but would believe it if they read it in a book.


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