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Contest Entries

A homeless person holding up a sign

My Frugal Life: Street Theatre"Here I am, over here!" signaled the young man in a holey, paint spattered T-shirt and cutoffs. His arms waved a mile a minute, as he attempted to catch the attention of someone just pulling into Publix's parking lot.


Good, Clean Fun, people blowing bubbles

My Frugal Life: Good, Clean FunBubbles are among the oldest and most popular of children's playthings. Even when families have no money for toys, they can usually find a wire to twist into a circle and some soap suds.


Mancala game board from an egg carton

Egg Carton Mancala GameMancala is considered one of the oldest games in the world and is played just about everywhere nowadays. When my students played, they used dried beans and empty egg cartons.


Giving bread to the needy.

My Frugal Life: Hungry ChildrenRecently, I read A.E. Hotchner's King of the Hill. In this tender, touching memoir, Aaron recalls hunger back in the 30's when he was twelve and left to fend for himself:


A family that just discovered their geocache

Try Geocaching This SummerAs soon as I hear, "Hey, Gigi, let's go geocaching," from one of my grandkids, I'm ready to go.


Cuba artwork

My Frugal Life: Making-Do In CubaSeveral years ago, Barbara, an amiga from D.C., delivered some medicinas to a family in Cuba. They invited her to stay with them and to attend their little girl's birthday party.


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An abandoned grocery cart on the road.

My Frugal Life: Price Hike"Hey, Bob, look!" I said as we neared a bus stop in my neighborhood. "Now why would anyone want to do that?" he grumbled, outraged at the eyesore we'd just driven past, a gang of abandoned shopping carts.


Logo for ThriftyFun Tips

My Frugal Life: Use Every BitRemember the satisfaction you felt at being able to extract that last bit of toothpaste or shampoo or cold cream? Remember how long it took? Each day you thought there couldn't possibly be anything left in that tube, bottle, or jar, but there always was.


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My Frugal Life: GiGi's Labor of Love"Hey, Lady! What are you looking for?" asked the driver. "A penny," said I from the pavement next to him. "It's sort of a game I'm playing, and I need to find the penny myself. You know (I lied), for luck."


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Becoming Your Own Handyman"Bill, before you go, would you look at my toilet? It's been running for weeks."Soon after the bathroom debacle, Marilyn enrolled in a continuing education class: Basic Repairs that Anyone Can Do". She figured she could save time and money (and avoid inconveniencing relatives and neighbors) by learning how to repair or replace toilets and other household items on her own.


Woman Being Carried in Sedan Chair

My Frugal Life: Making DoVa, at 87 years old, wanted to visit Copan. She'd been there before in 1941, when her husband had helped to unearth and restore a Mayan maize god. At the time, she and her two babies had travelled by horseback from Guatemala to "Las Ruinas" to see Leonard and his discovery.


Monk holding a monkey on his lap

My Frugal Life: Buddha's ExampleThe Gautama Buddha, over 25 centuries ago, commended frugality. As an example, he taught the first monks and nuns to make their robes from "pure cloth" that is cloth that no one wanted.


Wallpaper Caper

Wallpaper CaperRecently, when I tried to replace the wallpaper in my kitchen, I learned that "Sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."



Shape-Shifters"I want to fly like the birds and be the greatest in all the world," wishes Wily Coyote. To indulge his desires, a playful flock of crows lend him their feathers, but when they realize how rude and boastful he is, they take them back.


Toys from Trash

My Frugal Life: Toys from Trash"Tolan, how cool is that?" queried Papa who had just put together a wagon with his three year old grandson. And posing with his newly created robot, twelve year old Cole said, "I think I'll be able to use this for school too."


Beer Cans

My Son's Beer Can CollectionBack in the late 70's, I was a canologist's assistant; that is, I helped my teenage son collect beer cans. The hobby was a fun one, but since it's now passe, and since the 77th anniversary of the beer can is just around the corner (Jan 24), I'd like to reminisce:



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