That’s the question I ask in my current Living With Less column over at MSN Money. “Can your life be richer without TV?” refers to wealth both actual and abstract.

Non-watchers told me they save money (sometimes a lot of money) on cable costs and tend to spend less (sometimes a lot less) because they and their kids aren’t bombarded with ads and product placement. They find their lives are richer in other ways, too.

And they get more sleep.

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A couple of carnivals.

My work is in two blog carnivals this week.

If life is the currency, I’m already rich” was chosen for the Festival of Frugality over at Money Beagle.

Who would Jesus strafe?” is in the Best of Me Symphony at Dodgeblogium.

The benefit of blog carnivals is that you get introduced to a lot of different sites you probably wouldn’t have found on your own — which means, of course, that you get introduced to a lot of different points of view. Check out the links above and stretch your brain a bit. It hurts only for a little while.

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My extended family has loads of skill sets and garages full of equipment. They’re either professional electricians, plumbers, carpenters or mechanics or else they know enough about it not to wind up in the ER.

They’ll drywall or paint or landscape or bring over their log-splitters. They’ll help you wrestle a heating oil storage tank into place, or wire a surround-sound system for your man-cave.  They’ll cut down a tree or spread bark mulch or dig a hole right where you want it.

It’s a loose system of favor-trading. You need something, you ask. The guy or gal who can do it will eventually ask for something in return. Nobody keeps score. It all evens out – and even if it isn’t strictly “fair,” everyone is pretty happy with the arrangement.

I miss that kind of networking. Then again, I’m the one who moved away. It’s my own fault if I have to hire someone to do the kind of thing cousin Denny would have traded for.

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Congratulations to lostAnnfound, she whom the random number generator loved this week. She gets the EnviTote, a reusable canvas shopping bag that is both rugged and eco-friendly.

Ann: Please respond to my e-mail requesting your mailing address. I’ll put it in the mail before I fly back to Seattle on Thursday.

(I’ve been here just over one month. It seems to have gone so quickly.)

Thanks to all who entered. Be sure to check back on Friday, because it just might be a chocolate sort of day.

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Still in New Jersey, still feeling squeezed and sad – yet still finding joy in life. And, occasionally, time to read.

Americans are getting deeper in debt at I Pick Up Pennies

Shari’ah law is coming! Lock up your daughters! at Still Small Voice

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