Dear Heloise: I am a college student, and I am always looking for ways to cut expenses. Instead of buying my COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS, I rent them. Many college bookstores have started renting textbooks for the semester. You also can go online and find several companies that do it for a very reasonable price. Textbooks are a major expense, and limiting it can really help in the long run. -- Jack in Illinois
Jack, renting textbooks is a great idea! There are a few things to think about when renting textbooks. Writing and highlighting usually are frowned upon. If you do a lot of writing in the book, it can cause it to not be returnable, and you could be charged the full price.
Another thing to think about is whether you will want to keep the books. Certain books, like those in your particular major, could be handy to have around in the future. If that is the case, you might want to buy a new copy.
A good hint is to get your book list each semester, go to the bookstore and just look at each book to decide if you should rent or buy it. Even if you rent half of your books each semester, you will be saving a good amount of money. -- Heloise
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Dear Heloise: My travel hint is that I always take a power strip (the plug with five or six outlets) to keep all my chargeable items in one place. Most cruise ships and hotel rooms don’t have many outlets, and I can plug in both our phones and tablets, and whatever else we have, in one place. Another advantage is when we get ready to leave, the chargers are all together, and we no longer stand the risk of leaving one behind. -- Judi in Anaheim Hills, Calif.
Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your column in our little local paper, The (Huntingdon, Pa.) Daily News. Here is my helpful hint: If you wear one of the small cellphone headsets that just sticks in your ear and rests against your face, over time the tiny holes will get clogged with makeup and dirt. Just take a soft toothbrush and gently clean out the holes. -- Peg K., Huntingdon, Pa.
PICTURE THE TRAIL
Dear Heloise: I love to go hiking. We have many parks in my city that have many trails. It can sometimes get confusing, especially if you are not familiar with the park. My hint is to take a picture of the trail map before starting out on your hike. That way, if you get lost or turned around, you have something to reference. -- Tina in Texas
Dear Heloise: I put my dog’s water and food bowls on a bathmat. It catches lots of grime. It can be put in the sink and scrubbed with a brush and dish liquid to clean. -- A Reader, via e-mail