Dollars on track

Dear Heloise: Another calendar year is soon to be upon us, and it’s a great time to think about MONEY MANAGEMENT. My family and I like to get our finances back on track after holiday spending.

We write down every dollar we earn, every dollar we save, every dollar we donate and every dollar we spend. Then we look at our regular expenses: bills and payments. Finally, we can decide which purchases we need to make, and which purchases we want to make now and down the road.

Looking at our money together on paper, as a family, teaches everybody the value of work, and we’ve grown closer because of it!

— Mary S.,

Fort Wayne, Ind.

Mary, the family that plans financial goals together can have smoother sailing than those who don’t.

— Heloise

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Dear Heloise: We have a big family, and while we teach our kids the meaning of Christmas and to GIVE, of course there are toys, games, etc., they want for themselves. It’s only natural!

We start a list TODAY, the day after the big day, on the refrigerator of items that might have been forgotten, so that when birthdays, Easter and other holidays roll around, we’ll have some good ideas for gifts.

— Ronald W., Erie, Pa.

WALLET WOES

Dear Readers: If you carry your wallet in your back pants pocket, you can be in line for back pain, especially when sitting for long periods of time and when driving.

A bulky wallet can push against the nerves of the spine and compress them; this means back pain! Do clean out your wallet and carry as little as necessary in it. When sitting a long time, or driving a long time, take it out of the back pocket!

— Heloise

TWO KITCHEN HINTS

Hi, Heloise: Just popping into your column to give your readers two kitchen hints:

1. To help peel a hard-boiled egg, when it’s cool, roll it on the counter for a bit to loosen the shell, then crack and peel.

2. Plain, unflavored dental floss can cut a cake! The floss will make a clean, beautiful cut.

— Poppy M.

in Minneapolis

CLOSET HOOKS

Dear Heloise: I use shower-curtain hooks over my closet rod to hold jeans, handbags, scarves and other items I want to store hanging up.

The hooks are strong, sturdy and cheap, and I can make more room in my dresser drawers for T-shirts and necessaries.

— Jeannette E., Bowling Green, Ky.

LIGHT READING

Dear Heloise: I have a collection of small magazines and books that I keep just for traveling. (I don’t have an e-reader, and I’d be afraid that I would lose it on the road anyway.)

This reading material is light and fun; there are puzzles and games included, and the best part is that I can leave the books behind for someone else to enjoy, and at the same time, I am emptying my drawer at home!

— Kathryn A. in New York

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Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise(at)Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.