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Calling all penny pinchers, bring on the savings

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 31, 2002

Could you be the Tampa Bay area's No. 1 Cheapskate? Or do you know somebody else who might qualify? We want to hear from you.

We're calling for entries in the First Annual Times Cheapskate Contest.

If you dry your paper towels for reuse or flush your toilet with water saved from your shower, you might be a contender. If your spouse, children or friends complain about your frugality, you're probably the kind of person we have in mind.

We invite you to send us your favorite money-saving ideas. We'll print the best for the benefit of all our Times readers and select a winner.

But first, in the interest of full disclosure, we have to confess that we didn't think up this idea ourselves. We are so cheap, we stole it from Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jeff Brown, whose column often appears on page 4 of Sunday's Money and Business section.

Brown recently conducted his own cheapskate contest among Inquirer readers. The winner: a frugal flosser who ties his dental floss into a 10-inch loop instead of using the 18-inch string manufacturers recommend. After each use, he sterilizes the floss with alcohol and allows it to air dry for reuse. He claims to get 14 days use with this technique, reducing annual flossing expenses from $5.27 to 21 cents.

Surely, we thought, someone in the Tampa Bay area can come up with an idea at least as interesting. The challenge is yours.

Please send your ideas along with your name, address and telephone number by e-mail to or by regular mail to Cheapskate Contest, Helen Huntley, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731-1121.

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