"I am going out with a friend at 5 pm and should be back in 30 minutes. Anyways, I will call you." - A typical sentence spoken or written today.
I knew of only anyway, until recently I began to hear sentences similar to the one above. Now I get to hear and read more and more of anyways, prompting me to find out the legitimacy of its usage anyway.
Merriam-Webster dictionary tells me that anyways is a colloquial expression to mean anyhow or anyway or anywise; or in other words in any manner whatever. I am told it is found in some dialects in the United States.
Paul Brians of the Department of English, Washington State University, says: ... anyways is best avoided in formal written English: an advice today's college students would do well to heed. He says, "The two-word phrase any way has many legitimate uses, however: Is there any way to prevent the impending disaster?"
Kevin Drum wrote in Washington Monthly says: "... there is no such word as anyways. It's anyway. ... anyways is listed in standard dictionaries... as... nonstandard, archaic, colloquial, or dialect versions of anyway. I think I'd still argue that this makes it unsuitable for standard written English, but then again so are "heh," "um," "er," "gotta," and "dunno," which are all blogosphere favorites for capturing conversational tone."
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language are quoted in dictionary.com defining anways as non-standard.
Anyway, avoid anyways at least on formal, official occasions.