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Everyday Cheapskate: Turning off the light can save

Just when I think I’ve heard every possible way to save time and money, I open my mail only to find new and clever ideas I’d never thought of. No doubt about it, I have the smartest readers in the world. (And good-looking, too!)

DIM SEARCH. I learned this tip by accident, and it has saved me a bundle. If your kids are constantly in and out of the refrigerator eating the food faster than you can replenish it, remove the light bulb. If they are really hungry, they will take the time to search, otherwise it won’t be worth the bother. — Leslie M., Massachusetts

SILVER CLEANER. To clean your silver without harsh commercial chemical products, use the miracle powder in your pantry: baking soda. I used it on my silver candleholders when I was in a pinch and it worked wonders. Make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and massage in gently with an old toothbrush. Rinse under warm water, or if the piece is too big, wipe off with a wet cloth and buff to a shine with a clean cotton towel. I will never go back to $10 cleaners now that I’ve found the 50-cent solution. — Angela H., California

DRY ERASE BOARD. Instead of paying $20 for a small, white dry-erase marker board, we purchased an 8-foot sheet of white tub paneling. It works just the same as a white board and it’s HUGE! The best part: It cost only $15. We did not frame ours, but you could, of course. — Debbie P., Mississippi

CHEAPER THAN STARBUCKS. One of our favorite haunts is a local college coffee shop. We can buy good coffee and lattes for about a third of the cost of other coffee shops. The food on many campuses is good and very reasonable, and you do not have to be alumni or a student to patronize. I have even found, at certain times of the year, that the bookstore has some great sales. — Mary Beth D., Washington

TUITION SAVER. Most colleges and universities offer their full-time employees free tuition as part of their employment benefits package. But it can get even better. Many extend free or reduced tuition to the employees’ dependent children as well. This is working so well for my son and me. I work at an Ivy League school, so free tuition represents a tidy sum. The university I work for will even pay up to 40 percent of the cost of the tuition if my son attends another university. — Paulette A., Pennsylvania

QUICK BANK. I got into the habit of saving my one-dollar bills like some people save pennies. At the end of the day, I remove them from my other bills and stash them away. It’s not uncommon for me to accumulate $2,000 in a year. That sure comes in handy for a vacation or something special for the family. — Rob J., California

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