Dear Heloise: My credit card was charging me a $39 ANNUAL FEE. I spoke to a representative, but they wouldn't waive the fee, so I closed the card. Did I do the right thing? - A Reader, via email
That depends. Closing a credit card could negatively affect your credit score. It might lower the amount of "available credit" you have, and could hinder your chance of getting a car loan or a mortgage. However, eliminating consumer debt is not a bad thing overall. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: My sheriff's department has a new program: "The 9 P.M. Routine."
To lower the chance that my car will get broken into, the program recommends that before going to bed, I should remove valuables, lock the car and take the keys with me. Sounds obvious, but it's a good reminder for everyone, as we are all so busy nowadays. - Meghan in Indiana
Meghan, this is a national campaign, fueled by social media, to remind people to protect not only their vehicles, but also their homes. The hashtag #9PMRoutine is trending. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: I wanted to lose 20 pounds in the new year, so I got two glass jars and 20 marbles. I put all the marbles in one jar, and for each pound I lose, I transfer one marble into the second jar.
It's a good visual so I can see my progress! - Amy R. in Pittsburgh
Nice job, and here's to a healthier you! - Heloise

Dear Heloise: I keep fit by walking the house, end to end and side to side. My husband recorded some songs that make me want to snap my fingers and tap my toes. I go happily through the house dancing and singing, and thoroughly enjoying my exercise. I've reliably met goals this way for many years. I add two 5-pound weights three days a week and use them while stepping side to side in time with the music. - La Nelda H., Robinson, Texas

Dear Heloise: I use wine bottles for "vases" to decorate with dried flowers. I have bottles from all the way back to 1919. - Rick T., Nipomo, Calif
Fresh flowers, too! Sounds lovely. - Heloise

Dear Heloise: To celebrate my 80th birthday, I take a picture of myself each day. I've learned I like to take pictures, and they all don't have to be of the cat! I read your column every day in The (Youngstown, Ohio) Vindicator. - Marianne W., Youngstown, Ohio
Marianne, happy birthday - celebrate YOU! - Hugs, Heloise

Vinegar goes to the mat to clean tub
Dear Heloise: My wife wanted to wash some SMELLY DOORMATS

in our washer with a steel tub that, over the years, had become dingy.
She washed the mats and put vinegar in the washer to soak. To our surprise, the inside of the washing machine is now shiny, thanks to the vinegar. - Bud M., via email
Bud, here's a Heloise high-five for you! The acid in the vinegar and the scrubbing action of the doormats worked together to "polish" and clean the tub of your washer!
Vinegar is a workhorse around the house. Cheap, safe, readily available and versatile, it's often my go-to for cleaning quandaries.

I've compiled my favorite hints, helps and recipes involving vinegar in a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It's easy! Visit my updated website,, to order, or send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Pair heated vinegar with baking soda for a bubbly, scrubbly clean! - Heloise

Dear Heloise: Why are most queen-size blankets, quilts and comforters made square (90 by 90) when the mattresses are 60 by 80? They are too short to cover the end of the mattress, especially now with the thicker models of mattresses. - Sharon H., via email
Good question, Sharon. Manufacturers? -
- Heloise

Dear Heloise: My husband doesn't get cold, but I do! I needed a lightweight blanket only for my side of our bed, and nothing was working right.
I took an extra flat sheet, folded it in half lengthwise and tucked it in between the top sheet and quilt on my side. It's just the right weight and doesn't slide. - Mary H., via email

Dear Heloise: Please tell restaurant owners: It would be nice if they had at least one or two vegan items on the menu besides a salad and a baked potato. Maybe a rice dish or a vegetable burger?
Also, we could not find a restaurant open on Thanksgiving that served anything vegan. - Doris R., Middletown, Ohio
Great points: more vegan variety, and a Thanksgiving vegan-friendly menu! Happy to spread the word. - Heloise

P.S. Readers, in case you didn't know, a vegan is someone who does not eat or use animal products in any way.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise(at) I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.
(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.