thMy most recent post on Money Talks News is “How to pay bottom dollar for diapers.” I was startled to see how much people can spend to cover their babies’ butts: anywhere from $1,900 to $2,500.

Myself, I used cloth diapers and highly recommend that route, especially since the diapers have gotten much better. They’re prefolded like disposables, so you just tuck them into covers (no more plastic pants). In fact, they’re so well-made that they have resale value after Junior gets toilet-trained.

That bonus is part of the reason that Kerry Taylor at the Squawkfox personal finance site says she spent only about $550 for her daughter’s didies. That includes the initial purchase, the extra utility costs (she washed nappies every other day) and a butt-friendly detergent.

I can go her one better: I paid $2.99 per dozen for cloth diapers when my daughter was born. Believe it or not, they were “slightly irregular.” Yes, I bought factory seconds.

What’s more, for 15 months I washed the diapers by hand on a scrub-board, because as a broke and exhausted single mom in Philly I could afford neither the time nor the money to go to the laundromat. I hope none of you are ever that hard up.

Cloth diapers really aren’t as awful as people think. Yes, there’s a bit of an “ick” factor but let’s face it: If you have a baby, you are going to have to touch some poop even if you use disposables.

So how to save money on cloth didies? So glad you asked.

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Victoria's Secret braceletNow that things are more or less back to normal, it’s time to resume the weekly giveaways. This week’s prize would make a good Valentine’s Day gift, provided the winner answers on time – and provided that the winner’s sweetie likes jewelry.

It’s a bracelet from Victoria’s Secret, made of “rose gold” links with a sparkly angel-wing catch. Well, most people think it’s an angel-wing catch. My 7-year-old nephew spent the day with me yesterday and opined that the catch “looks like a mustache.”

A rhinestone mustache, mind you. (Admit it: The song “Rhinestone Cowboy” will now be stuck in your head all day.)

The giveaway is sponsored by my daughter’s website, I Pick Up Pennies. Hope you’ll give her a visit and browse around a bit.

For a shot at linky bling, enter by:

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thThe demon malware has been vanquished at last. How odd it felt to be unable to write or check comments for a week. And, yeah, to look at pageviews. (Number monkey, right here.)

I missed you guys, and appreciate the Facebook comments saying you missed coming to the site. While the break certainly didn’t hurt me, given the sorrow and disruption surrounding recent events, it made me feel disconnected.

Even though I don’t post daily I’ve come to rely on the chance to put my thoughts out into the blogosphere – and to listen to feedback from readers.

For me the point of having a personal blog isn’t to make money. It’s to start conversations.


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thRecently I followed a link at Grumpy Rumblings of the (Formerly) Untenured to a website called Thought Catalog. The article in question is called “18 things women shouldn’t have to justify.”

Things like “putting themselves first,” “how little or how much they’re eating” and “not having baby fever.”

I particularly loved the “amount of makeup worn on any given day.” The writer, Brianna Wiest, says we can go au naturale or “work it like you’re in a drag show…Your face. Your rules.”

I’ve been known to put on a little makeup when I’m having photos taken, but mostly it just seems like more trouble than it’s worth. And again: Nobody tells guys that they ought to wear a concealer or that a good mascara would make their eyes look larger.

Now I’ll see Brianna her 18, and raise her six of my own. Among other things I’m through explaining are:

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thI’m writing this from Sky Harbor in Phoenix, which touts itself as the “friendliest” airport. Certainly this is true of its TSA agents, one of whom got to second base with me without even buying me dinner.

Of course, she was just doing her job. An alarm sounded when I went through security. A quick glance at the monitor showed the word “explosives.”

A couple of agents moved in with a gait that was both casual and swift, if that makes any sense. It was a “hey, everything’s fine” crossed with “holy crap, that woman might be packing.”

Hint: I wasn’t.

But rules are rules, so I had to go through several levels of safety checks.

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