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Hints From Heloise: Resist the pressure to buy more than you need

Today’s Sound Off is about ordering online:

Dear Heloise: With the pandemic still here, many people are ordering things online and having them delivered to their homes. It’s very convenient, but they use tricks to get you to buy more than you need or should spend.

If you’re buying a water heater or maybe an oven, monthly payments can be a handy way to handle the transaction. However, we tend to forget that those monthly bills add up. It may have seemed that $15 a month was nothing. You could do that for something you wanted, but if that $15 per month turns into one of several monthly payments, you could be facing a mountain of debt in no time.

Another trick is to tell you there are only five of an item left in stock to create a sense of urgency. Sleep on it. You might find that you don’t really need/want the item after all. Be careful. Send all of the emails that companies send you to your spam file to avoid the temptation to buy things you can easily live without. Instead, save your money. You’ll be glad you did when it begins to really add up.

— Carrie W., Detroit

Additional uses for cardboard boxes:

● Box up pet supplies to donate to a shelter.

● Help your kids make a fort out of them.

● Store winter clothing and Christmas ornaments.

● Break apart and put in the recycle bin.

● Pack away blankets and baby clothing, or save if you’re moving soon.

Dear Heloise: My husband has a phobia of which he is ashamed but won't seek help. He is afraid of shots and blood tests because he is afraid of needles. Is there help for this?

— Laura C., Billings, Mont.

Laura C.: Yes there is. I recommend asking your family physician for help. He or she may know of some treatment or person who can help your husband overcome this fear. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there are people the world over who share this distaste for being stuck with a needle.

I usually just tell myself that in three minutes it’ll all be over. It usually works for me, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.

Dear Heloise: My daughter, my granddaughter and I were planning a trip to see family a few states away, and as we were placing the infant seat in the car it dawned on me that I knew nothing about the car seat. There were so many straps and gadgets that I worried I wouldn't know what to do in case of an accident. We practiced with everything for about an hour until I felt comfortable with it. I'm so glad we did, because now I know how to remove my granddaughter in less than two minutes, should the need arise.

— Jean L., Lincoln, Neb.

Jean L.: This is an important idea in any situation. A car seat is nice, but for the protection of the child everyone should rehearse how to properly strap a child in and how to quickly remove them.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

2021, King Features Syndicate