Dear Heloise:

I read your hint about the couple who were surprised that there was a limit on their debit card. I've worked in banking for more than 20 years and know that most banks (given 24 hours notice) can increase the limit on a debit card if the customer will let the bank know. This can be done when someone knows ahead of time that he or she wants to make a large purchase (e.g., a computer) with a debit card, or if the person is traveling out of the state or country and might be making large purchases or using a debit card a lot.

Of course, the customer should notify the bank after the purchase is made so that the bank can take the limit back down to the original amount. With all the identity theft today, it's really for the customers' protection that the limit is not set too high.

Kathy, Dallas

How right you are, and thanks for reminding us. Folks, listen to the expert and call your bank ahead of time.

Dear Heloise:

I have five closets, and when the seasons are about to change, I dry-clean some of my clothes, then store them, still in cleaner bags, until their season rolls around again.

The clothes that aren't dry-cleaned are still placed in cleaner bags for storage. Am I doing more harm to my clothes than good?

S. Nauls, Houston

Clothes should NEVER be stored for a long time in plastic bags. Plastic doesn't allow clothing to "breathe," and in high-humidity states, it can cause mildew and mold. Also, plastic allows light to penetrate, which can cause fading.

There are terrific cloth garment bags that can keep the fabric safe from stains and fading. If you don't want to get garment bags, you can use sheets.

Dear Heloise:

My daughter hosted a baby shower. When we went in, she gave us an envelope to write our name and address on. She used these to draw door prizes, and then they were used to mail thank-you cards. Another gift for the mother-to-be.

A Reader, via e-mail

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)2004, King Features Syndicate