HELP­FUL HINTS

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

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

HELOISE

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