Dear Heloise:

With postage changing so often, and with the subsequent issuing of stamps that can be added to the old first-class stamp in order to get the new, correct amount, why is it so difficult to put the amount on the stamps?

I have unmarked 3-cent, 2-cent and 1-cent stamps. When I use an old stamp, I don't know which to add to it to get the right amount. I have started writing the amount on the borders of sheets, but it would be so much easier if I could just look at the stamp and see how much it is.

Brenda, Sidney, Ohio

You are singing my song, loud and clear! This is troublesome to me, too. So, my office researchers called the U.S. Postal Service, and here is the answer: A number of first-run stamps without the value printed on them are produced to be used until stamps for the new postage rate are approved and printed.

You can call the Postal Service at 800-275-8777 and describe the stamp -- a representative will be glad to tell you the value. Or go to its Web site at www.usps.com, where you will find a list of issued stamps and their values in the collectors corner under "stamp issues."

P.S. Thanks to our postal workers, who move billions of pieces of mail a year.

Dear Heloise:

When a friend has a new baby, I enclose a self-addressed and stamped postcard with my gift. The new parents can just drop it in the mail; then I know they have received it.

I only do this for new parents, because their time is so valuable for their new baby, and it need not be spent on me. Most do write a sweet note on the postcard and think this is a great idea.

Anne Walsh, via e-mail

Dear Heloise:

I tape lots of movies, and after I tape something, I cut the movie description from the television guide and tape it to the video cover box. This makes it easier to keep track of things I have already taped.

J.M., Lancaster, OhioDear Heloise:

When I buy a new appliance, television or anything that has a model number or serial number that I might need later, this is what I do:

Before putting it in place, I take the owner's manual and write the numbers down on the front of it. Then I attach the sales slip. This way, I have all the information I need and do not have to look in several different places if it needs repairs.

Zelda Boyer, Cedar Hill, Tex.

Send a money- or time-saving 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 when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.(c)2003, King Features Syndicate