Hints From Heloise: A method for paying bills

Dear Readers: One of the jobs most people dread is making out and PAYING BILLS! It’s easy to put off, but don’t let your bills be late, because you will end up paying more in interest and late fees. Try the following hints to help keep things a bit more organized:

When you get home from work, instead of just sitting down, why not take time to do a few small things, like paying bills or sorting paperwork? Or, do the “work” while watching TV and the endless commercials that come on. Keep a basket with bills and other paperwork by your chair. You also can place birthday or other-occasion cards that need to be sent in the basket.

An additional Heloise Hint: Try to get in the habit of paying bills on a schedule — say, every Wednesday or on the first and 15th. Hope this helps you stay a little better organized and get bill paying done on time. -- Heloise

P.S.: If you pay bills online, it’s important to keep up with due dates, and be aware that some online banking services are not 24/7. Check with yours to see what the cutoff date and time are. It could be midnight on Friday, and the payment won’t “go out” until Monday.

PET PAL

Dear Readers: Kathy Wan of Carrollton, Tex., sent in a photo of her cat, Miss Babe, lying next to the window watching for squirrels. Kathy says, “She stays on watch until she goes to sleep.” To see Miss Babe on squirrel watch, visit my Web site at www.Heloise.com and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise

CLEANING AN UPRIGHT FREEZER

Dear Heloise: I have enjoyed and read your column daily in our local Daily Sun. Here is my hint: When cleaning my upright garage freezer, I discovered that a large foam cooler comes in handy. Put frozen foods, including small ice packs, into the cooler.

Turn off the freezer, and then use a hair dryer on each shelf to melt the ice. It also is helpful to put a cookie sheet on each shelf to catch the water and ice. -- Phyllis Cote, The Villages, Fla.

HEALTH HINT

Dear Heloise: My husband has a medical condition and cannot eat anything with seeds. As a substitute for raisins in recipes, I cut up prunes or plums. They taste similar, and he can enjoy homemade oatmeal “raisin” cookies again. For recipes that call for a can of tomatoes, I substitute vegetable juice and tomato paste. They have started putting sesame and poppy seeds in most of the breadcrumbs now, so I either grind plain bread myself or buy plain crumbs. -- Melanie Kirschner in Pennsylvania

FISHING WEIGHTS

Dear Heloise: We use old keys for fishing weights instead of the lead weights. Fishing weights can be expensive. The keys work well, and we have caught plenty of fish while using them. -- Ralph, via e-mail

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.

, King Features Syndicate

 
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