Taking money saving online

Barbara Stankus doesn't mind if you call her a spendthrift, or even a twit.

She and the rest of the TWITS &

which stands for Totally and Wholly Informed Tightwads &

are battling rising prices by sharing money-saving tips online.

Stankus started the TWITS e-mail newsletter in 2006, but it never really took off until the economy started to dip downward this year, she said. At least once a week, she sends out a digest of all the tips she has received from the group's 15 members &

everything from which store has a great deal on tissue to how to get the most mileage out of health care coverage.

"I'm not embarrassed to be a bargain-hunter," she said. "I'm willing to spend a lot of money on some things, but there are other things I just need to get a bargain if I can."

When she moved to Ashland from the Bay area three years ago, she discovered the cost of living was higher than she expected. She and another single friend commiserated on the challenges of buying in bulk for one, and the TWITS were born.

Marta Gomez, 62, said she has returned to some of the thrifty habits she cultivated while trying to raise a family since prices have started to spike. The TWITS provides an alternative to making impulse buys on great deals, she said.

"I find myself &

even if something seems so inexpensive, even if it's not an item I would need or ever buy &

I immediately think 'Oh, but somebody in the group might,' so I pass it on," she said.

The e-mail list also sometimes contains giveaways for members, such as extra garden plants that Wendy Eppinger, 71, offered to her fellow TWITS.

She's also sent out advice on where to find a $2.99 bottle of decent Chardonnay and the cheapest place to stop for gas on a trip to San Francisco.

"For me, finding bargains is half of a game," she said. "I think it's fun. I'm also living on a fixed income so that does have something to do with it, but to me I just enjoy finding bargains. You don't have to spend a lot of money for things that you want or need if you really shop around and know your prices."

The group is now considering expanding their list into a Web site, but their biggest concern, of course, is that it not cost any money.

Staff writer can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 227 or .

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