th The Black Friday 2014 giveaway.Some people think Black Friday is fading away. Me, I think it’s simply spreading out.

Gray Thursday, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are on the way whether you like it or not — and you can bet that Saturday and Sunday will have their own forms of deal-mongering, too.

Don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving or Black Friday? Prefer to buy locally? Do what works for you. But this week’s giveaway is designed to provide a little help for shoppers of all stripes, plus a little entertainment afterwards.

Up for grabs are:


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th9 Traveling for Thanksgiving? You need this bag.Heading to your family of origin for turkey day? Or going somewhere as un-familial as possible?

Either way, it’s irritating to have spend big bucks for teeny-tiny toiletries in order to satisfy the Transportation Security Administration.

Thus I’m offering yet another TSA-friendly travel kit, in plenty of time to receive it before your long Thanksgiving weekend trip with a carry-on bag.


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th1 150x150 Return of the Coffeehouse Cliche giveaway.I had every intention of making my next two giveaways about conference swag. Having been to three cons in the past three months, I have enough tchotchkes — some useful, some goofy — to create two medium flat-rate boxes of oddness.

But I’m getting ready to go out of town yet again, and the idea of sorting and listing all those things made me want to lie down and scream. Thus I came up with a compromise: yet another “Coffeehouse Cliche” giveaway with a couple of items from the Financial Blogger Conference. That is to say, the two easiest ones to grab.

This time around the notebook is a real conversation-starter: Its cover says “NerdWallet” in blue and lime-green.


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th3 Giveaway: Cold and flu package 2014.Even if you get a flu shot — and I think you should — you still run a chance of getting the flu. According to Consumer Reports, vaccination prevents the illness 80 percent of the time in adults younger than 65.

But a non-flu virus — including the common cold — can make you feel pretty crummy, too. The insult to such injury is the price tags on cold/flu nostrums.

That’s why I put together a cold and flu package giveaway each year. Judging from the numbers of comments the package always gets, you folks don’t like paying retail, either.


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ec Giveaway: The Practical Negotiator.A time-honored frugal hack is to negotiate — salary, real estate, holiday arrangements (your parents’ house? his parents’ house?), the price of that beater you want to buy from Craigslist.

Trouble is, many people don’t really know how to negotiate — they’ve never seen it done, they lack self-confidence or face a cultural barrier with regard to haggling.

This week’s giveaway can help.

The Practical Negotiator: How to Argue Your Point, Plead Your Case and Prevail in Any Situation” was written by Steven P. Cohen, president of The Negotiation Skills Company Inc.

Although some people associate the word with backroom politics or high-stakes business, the author says that negotiation “takes place in the daily life of regular people who are trying to reach collaborative agreement in the family unit, on the job or as a consumer.”


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