Want to save 50% at the supermarket? Here's help.I’m the grocery store customer who challenges the scanner. Yes, it slows things up a little. But I’m not going to pay $2.89 a pound just because someone forgot to tell the computer that hams are on sale this week.

That’s me. And you? You might be the person behind me, grinding her teeth in frustration because I won’t accept anything other than the advertised price.

My apologies if your checkout is delayed by 60 seconds. But that $1.90-per-pound savings times eight pounds represents almost $16. My budget won’t let me back down.

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Diana B. gets the Godiva and Amazon. Congratulations, Diana, and please respond to my e-mail so your treats can be sent.

Thanks to all who left comments. Maybe next time the random number generator will like you best of all.

Speaking of which: Be sure to check out this Friday’s giveaway, which is somewhat otherworldly.

Rhubarb in every yard

I recently attended a barbecue that was wryly dubbed “Grill, baby, grill!” by its hosts. As I was leaving they gave me a small sack of newly cut rhubarb. Alaskans are nuts about the stuff. In the old days, rhubarb was the first fresh food of the year. To the pioneers it must have tasted positively ambrosial after a winter of sourdough bread and boiled beans.

Modern-day sourdoughs can get all the fresh produce they want at Costco, yet they  maintain an ancestral fondness for this vegetable that masquerades as a fruit. Even people who don’t eat it grow it, probably because it takes no horticultural talent at all. Stick a rhubarb root into dry cat litter and by morning you’ll have enough stalks to bake a pie. (Stick it in used cat litter and you’ll have enough for two pies.)

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Want to drop a bad habit or develop a good one? You need a plan. Or, rather, you need a list.

We Americans love our lists. We especially love short lists. Just check the headlines on magazines, features sites or blogs. You’ll almost certainly see ones like “Three easy steps to lose weight/stop smoking/become a millionaire.”

Having a list makes us feel we’re already halfway to achieving our goals. Lists make us feel confident and in charge: I’ve got it all figured out! Now I just have to implement it!

It’s never really that simple, of course. If three steps were all it took, we’d be surrounded by thin, rich people whose fingers were unstained.

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So the economy’s not so great. That’s no reason to give up recreation.

The best things in life are free. Some of the other things are cheap — say, a dollar or less.

Just off the top of my head:

Wash your car. Use an environmentally friendly soap. It’s a good excuse to squirt each other with the hose on a sticky day.

Hit the dollar store. Buy sidewalk chalk, a kite, some bubble-blowing stuff or a generic Frisbee. Then take it to the park. OK, so you may have to add a few cents in sales tax. You’re still spending a dollar, but being charged tax. (Not to split hairs.)

Create your own “drive-in.” Weather permitting, set up a TV in your driveway and screen movies outdoors. Kids are especially delighted by anything out of the ordinary. But don’t be surprised if grown-up neighbors also walk over to see what’s on.

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Blogs you can dance to.

It’s been fun trotting around the blogosphere this week. Why keep it all to myself?

Delayed gratification,” at Girl With the Red Balloon

What’s your frugal Kryptonite?” at I Pick Up Pennies

The words I hate to say the most” at Modern Tightwad

Overcoming the wall” at Financial Samurai

A critique of marriage, from a bride-to-be” at Tiger Beatdown

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