Is it time to pay for the hol­i­days?

Antelope Valley Press - - Valley Life -

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

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

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 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, Penn­syl­va­nia

No thanks

Dear Heloise: I wish groups to which I do­nate would stop send­ing re­turn-ad­dress stick­ers in thankyou 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

Check, please

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

Send a money-sav­ing or time-sav­ing 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 [email protected] I can’t an­swer your let­ter per­son­ally but will use the best hints re­ceived in my col­umn.

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