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Dear Readers: The holidays are about over, so what’s next? Here come the CREDIT CARD BILLS.
If you need assistance with managing your money, here are some hints from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (www.consumer.ftc.gov):
• How much money do you really have? You may not know. Write down all money coming in and all money going out. Then note all the expenses that seldom change: rent/mortgage, insurance, auto loan and electric bill. Next, list variable expenses: entertainment, food, clothing. What's left is what's paid toward your debt. If you have a lot of debt, cut back on entertainment and eating out.
• Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy. If you're having trouble paying a credit card, call the company and say so. Stay ahead of the situation. You can usually make arrangements for a lesser payment or even skip a payment. Don't feel embarrassed; you are not alone.
• Finally, there are laws to protect you from aggressive collection agents. Hopefully, things don't get this far, but collectors cannot call you before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m., and they cannot bully, threaten or state mistruths to you.
Don't be afraid to face your debt - it will decrease with time and diligence. - Heloise
Dear Readers: It's fun to post online and participate in conversations with other folks about current events, etc., but there are rules. Even if you have an opposing viewpoint from someone else, you can still get along. Keep in mind that your comments should be:
1. Helpful and polite.
2. Brief and clear.
3. And, most importantly, respectful toward others' views and opinions.
Never attack someone personally. These steps are critical for kids to practice early on, too. Monitor their online presence. - Heloise
A NOBLE NAME
Dear Heloise: Your column is read and enjoyed daily via The (Uniontown, Pa.) Herald-Standard newspaper. Your recent item about the use of "Dear" in the greeting of a business letter might benefit from an additional explanation.
The word has evolved over the centuries and has several meanings, some of which have been lost to time.
Prior to the 20th century, one of these now-obsolete meanings of "dear" was "noble." "Dear Sir" (or "Madam" or surname) might be said today as "Noble Sir." Another extrapolation might include "Honorable Sir." - David K., Farmington, Pa.
Dear Heloise: I wish groups to which I donate would stop sending return-address stickers in thank-you notes. I cannot possibly use them all, and I'm tired of cutting them up - I don't want them in the trash or the recycle bin. - Delores C., via email
Dear Heloise: If people still send checks in the mail, they should fold the check and then straighten it out again. That way it won't lay flat against other papers in the envelope and possibly be lost. - Mike, via email
It's easier to grab out of the envelope too! - Heloise
Pick up what your pooch dropped!
Dear Readers: Today's SOUND OFF is about doggy droppings:
"Dear Heloise: The neighborhood I live in is very well maintained, except for a couple of people who walk their dogs but don't pick up their doggy droppings. We have a city law that requires people to pick up dog poo, but not everyone does. It's not only inconsiderate and disgusting, but it's unsanitary too." - Julia B., Wabash, Ind.
Julia, I have to agree with you. Every pet owner has responsibilities, and one of them is to dispose of their pet's waste in the correct manner. Letting your dog deposit its waste on someone else's lawn, in a park or anywhere other than your own yard is being irresponsible and selfish. - Heloise
Dear Heloise: Here's a hint for you: My twin boys were afraid of hotel rooms because they were strange to them. So whenever we traveled, I brought a night light, and it seemed to calm their fears and eliminate the bad dreams. It also helped them find the bathroom at night. - Paula R., Coos Bay, Ore.
Dear Heloise: With a household of eight children (his, mine and ours), it gets hectic in the mornings while I try to get everyone off to school. It seems like every day two or more leave something behind that they need for school, and I have to load up the car and run it over to the school. How do we get organized around here? - Tina in Wisconsin
Tina, place a plastic bin or cardboard box in each child's room and tell them to place the things they need to take to school in that box at night before they go to bed. All books, homework, papers, gym clothes, lunch (if possible) and money need to go in the box. It's their responsibility to organize what they need for school the next day. - Heloise
WASHING ON THE ROAD
Dear Heloise: I sometimes have to wash my underthings by hand in a hotel sink. However, they never seem to dry by morning. What should I do? - Janet L., Claremont, N.H.
Janet, before you hang them up, roll your items in a dry towel, then press down on the towel or wring it. Get out as much moisture as possible. Use a hair dryer in the morning if they aren't done drying. - Heloise
(c)2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.