Years ago one of our sales people bragged to a customer about how much money he could save by advertising in our paper. That’s great to know, the customer replied, but what I really want to know is how much money I can make by advertising.

That was then and now is, well, one of the deeper and more prolonged recessions that most of us have encountered. While we still believe that there is a lot of good, profitable business taking place in the central New Jersey-Route 1 corridor that this newspaper serves, we also think that people don’t want to be extravagant in the pursuit of that business.

As this week’s cover story suggests, lots of people are discovering new ways to save money (or rediscovering some old ones that our depression-era parents tried to instill many years ago). And, totally apart from what we still think are exceedingly reasonable advertising rates, this newspaper offers some bargains of its own.

Free Ads for Jobseekers. As every employment counselor will tell you, hunting for a job usually requires casting a wide net. And this is one small part of the net, and it’s free. (See page 46.)

Free Ads for Singles. Match.com and Craig’s List are all the rage for singles, but we have seen a steady stream of people using our free classified ads. And the number of people responding (paying the princely sum of $1 for us to forward their letter on to the person placing the ad) seems to be on the rise.

On Monday of this week, for example, we received four replies to singles ads. One advertiser currently running an ad in this issue — see page 31 — already has 12 responses (we keep count). The appeal: The person seeing your ad either works or lives within the U.S. 1 circulation area.

Free Announcements of Your Group’s Meeting or Event. Lots of people already know about this, but almost every week we get a call from someone who asks if it is possible to list an event, and if so how much it would cost. The answer is yes and it’s free. Go to the events listings of this paper (beginning on page 12 of this issue) or click on the events link at our home page, www.princetoninfo.com.

Free Listing of Your Business. One of the vignettes in our cover story involved our editor shopping around for a new hot water heater. Where did he get the names and phone numbers of the plumbers he called? From the company database at our website, princetoninfo.com. He had a list of 25 to choose from. Not one of the 25 had paid a dime for the listing.

We could cite a few other free services (including online archives of old stories — handy when you are preparing for a job interview). But one thing we won’t list as free is the paper you hold in your hand. As we have said before, this paper isn’t really free. You pay for it with your time. And that, we are sure, is as valuable now as it ever was.

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