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 DEAR READER: 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.
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. It’s a good reminder for everyone.
— Meghan in Indiana DEAR READER: 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.
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
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., 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
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.
— Marianne W., Youngstown, Ohio
Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email