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Tightwad Contest (G)

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A Tightwad Contest in Oakland has been won by a retired welder who separates two-ply toilet paper to save money.

"It's no trouble at all; it just takes a little practice," said Luis Torres, 64, who won top honors in a "How Cheap Are You?" contest sponsored by the Oakland Tribune. He also buys generic groceries and day-old baked goods, reuses plastic bags and never tosses out soap slivers. "I always did things to save money," said Torres, who attributes his frugal ways to growing up with 14 siblings.

Runners-up included a Berkeley couple who said they save dental floss on a bathroom hook for reuse, and a Richmond man who claimed he refreezes used ice cubes. (One couple said they collect 2-for-1 coupons to restaurants and then invite another couple. "We make them pay for their half, and we dine free," they wrote.) And from Elmer Hurren in El Cerrito came this admission: When his vacuum cleaner bag fills, Hurren cuts one end, empties it and sews it up for reuse.

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