Dear Readers: To rent a home or to buy? That is the question. Here are some factors to think about:

How long will you live in the home? Less than three years? Rent. The fees associated with buying a home (inspections, closing costs, appraisals, etc.) stack up and can easily eat into any equity you might build.

Affording a $2,000 rent payment doesn’t necessarily mean that you can afford the same amount for a house payment. Again, in homeownership there are added costs of insurance, taxes, fees, maintenance and utilities. On the other hand, buying a home can protect you from rising rents.

Experts agree: Practice saving and amassing cash for several months before looking into homeownership.

Talk with a financial adviser to figure out the better choice for you and your family.

Dear Readers: Have you ever wondered why, in English, for words that contain the letter Q, U is always right next door? Let’s take a look:

The sound that these letters together make, a “kwuh” sound (like in “quarter” or “queen”), is called a digraph — two letters that together make only one sound. Q and U appear only before other vowel sounds, like in “quote,” “quit,” “quaint” or “quilt.”

Of course, there are exceptions. The word “qi,” for example. Can you think of other exceptions?

Dear Heloise: I put puffy stickers on my desk. They ensure that my keyboard and mouse don't slide, and they are a conversation starter, that's for sure.

Katie A. in San Antonio

Katie A. in San Antonio: This is a fun idea. Make sure the stickers don’t leave residue on the desk.

Dear Heloise: I am recovering from a broken bone in my foot. My pants and tops have no pockets for a phone or tissues. I popped on a perky little kiddie apron with pockets, and now I can maneuver anywhere in the house.

JoAnn B., Troutman, N.C.

Dear Heloise: I recently saw in your column some other uses for pool noodles. Here's one more: I cut pool noodles and insert them in my tall boots to keep them standing upright in the closet.

Faye S., Florence, Ala.

Dear Heloise: I've cleared my desk of the stand that was chock-full of business cards. I've taken pictures on my phone of all of them, front and back, so all my contacts can be easily found.

Dean M. in Arizona

Dear Readers: When you have a minute, check out my new, fresh, redesigned website, It’s full of hints, helps and, of course, pets. Order one of my helpful pamphlets or books!

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

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