Hints from Heloise

Dear Heloise: Using a credit card just to earn points sounds like a dumb idea to me. I'm always looking for the best value of every product and service I buy, so amassing points toward free merchandise or free services (usually have to earn thousands of points before you can redeem them) is just encouraging me to overspend.


I implore your readers to check out the fine print on these offers. Some credit cards charge an annual fee and if the balance isn't paid in full each month, interest is added on.


Don't spend more than you normally would just to get something for "free." I guarantee you it's not free - you've paid for it one way or another. - Mike in New York


Mike, thanks for the reminder about the cost of credit. It's also a good idea to write out a monthly budget, one that includes everyday expenses, to have a clear picture of how each dollar is spent. Readers, what do you think of these points programs? - Heloise


TECH TUESDAY


Dear Heloise: I read the letter about the mom whose children taught her to use the calendar on her smart phone. I use mine as well, but I keep a paper calendar as a backup.


Every appointment I enter in my phone gets put on the wall calendar when I get home. I have had phones freeze up and need replacement, and while cloud backup is good, nothing beats words on a calendar for being there when I need it. Love your column. - Ed B. in Camarillo, Calif.


Ed, sometimes old school is best! - Heloise


WHAT IS A RECESSION?


Dear Readers: Lots of things have changed in our lives because of COVID-19. Are you reluctant to spend money right now? You're not alone. In fact, the United States is in a recession. A recession is a decline in economic activity lasting more than a few months. And during this pandemic, with a majority of businesses shuttered for the public's safety, there has been a lot less spending on goods and services, and millions of jobs were lost. But Americans are a resilient bunch. We will get through this and come out stronger on the other side. - Heloise


COUPON QUEEN


Dear Heloise: I put the grocery coupons I plan to use at the grocery store that day in my billfold next to my credit card. I have to open my wallet when I pay for my groceries, and my coupons are right there. - Mary H. in Arlington, Vir.


Mary, great idea! I love hints that make grocery shopping easier, and this is a good one for those of us who often forget coupons. Speaking of forgetting, I have often forgotten my reusable grocery bags, so now I put them on the backseat on the driver's side where they are more visible. - 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 Heloise@Heloise.com. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.


Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.