Dear Heloise: I am writing about your article stating that one should mail DAMAGED MONEY to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for a replacement and insure it through the post office.

I was sending my brother a gift card and wanted to insure it. I was told that the post office DID NOT insure money or gift cards, because people could say, for instance, that they sent $100 to someone when they actually sent only $10.

Did the clerk at the post office give me the wrong information, or was she correct? -- Sherry, via e-mail

The postal worker was correct. However, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing RECOMMENDS mailing the damaged money via registered mail, return receipt requested, if you can’t hand-deliver it to the bureau in Washington, D.C.

But the U.S. Postal Service tells customers NEVER to mail money. If you must mail U.S. currency, meaning money, to someone, it suggests buying a postal money order for the dollar amount and using registered mail for maximum security.

The scant possibility of a registered letter being “lost, stolen or destroyed” is pretty small, considering the huge amount of mail that is processed — send it registered!

Here are hints if you must mail a gift card: Keep the receipts. Use registered mail, return receipt requested. Or use a private delivery service. -- Heloise

P.S.: Even if the damaged money “goes missing,” no one can spend it anyway!


Dear Heloise: If I need a small amount of cash and can’t find an ATM, I go into the closest market, drugstore or convenience store. I buy a pack of gum or mints using my debit card and ask for cash back.

Just remember that some stores set a limit for the amount you can get back, which will be lower than an ATM’s limit. -- Michelle L. in Washington

This is a good hint when in a pinch. But do the merchant a favor and buy more than a pack of gum! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Here is a hint from Linda, whom I met while doing a speech for the Knights of Columbus’s 113th convention this year in San Antonio. It’s a fabulous hint:

“Dear Heloise: When my mother retired, I gave her a sewing machine and lessons to learn how to quilt. Her whole life, she had talked about wanting to learn how to make a quilt but never had the time. I thought retirement was the perfect time to let her enjoy what she didn’t have time to do before. -- Linda”

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: To keep clothes from being damaged in the washing machine, fasten the hooks on bras. This keeps them from hooking onto other garments. Better yet, place them in a lingerie bag, but still keep those hooks fastened! -- Sue M. in Ohio

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

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