With USAA Federal Savings, checking accounts have no minimum-balance requirement or monthly service fees. The bank provides postage-paid envelopes to send in deposits, and refunds fees charged for using non-USAA ATMs for 10 transactions a month, at up to $1.50 for each transaction. Your first order of designer checks is free.

USAA Federal Savings, fully insured by the FDIC, also offers savings, money-market and IRA accounts. The bank has no branches, so you do all your banking by mail, phone, Internet, e-mail and ATM. Call 800-531-8080 to get a USAA membership number. Then open an account by phone or by visiting www.usaa.com and clicking on "member access."

$$ Saver … You earn interest when you maintain a balance of $1,000 in your checking account.

More $$ Savers …

Switch from commercial window cleaner (18 cents an ounce) to club soda (2 cents an ounce). It works amazingly well.

Add an extra can of water when you mix concentrated fruit juice. You’ll achieve an immediate 25 percent savings on the cost of juice, and the difference in taste is nearly undetectable.

All alkaline batteries (name-brand, store-brand and generic) perform equally well in most cases. Always opt for the cheapest.

If not stained, wool items may be professionally cleaned only once a year. Be sure to hang them between wearings and air them out occasionally to allow the natural fibers to breathe.

Add ½ cup baking soda (very inexpensive) to the wash cycle to reduce your liquid laundry detergent.

© 2000 The Cheapskate Monthly. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

"The Cheapskate Monthly" was founded in 1992 by Mary Hunt.  What began as a newsletter to encourage and empower people to break free from the bondage of consumer debt has grown into a huge community of ordinary people who have achieved remarkable success in their quest to effectively manage their money and stay out of debt.  Today, "The Cheapskate Monthly" is read by close to 100,000 Cheapskates.    Click here to subscribe.