Dear Readers: Who doesn't love saving money with COUPONS? They can be a great way to help reduce your grocery bills, but sometimes it can cost more to use coupons. Here are some hints to help you make the most of them:
* Clip coupons only for items you use or need. Just because there is a coupon for something doesn't mean you have to use it. If it is an item you wouldn't normally buy, then don't! Why waste your money?
* Check store-brand prices against the coupons. If a name-brand item is still more expensive with the coupon than the store brand, and you don't mind the store brand, then don't buy the name brand.
* Watch for deals on products you have been considering trying. Sometimes manufacturers will give good deals to get consumers to try a new product.
* Try to match up coupons with items already on sale. You can save a bundle this way.
* Coupon-swap with friends and family. If there is a coupon for a product a friend uses that you don't, give it away, and vice versa.
Readers, any hints you have for using coupons? Write in and let me know. -- Heloise
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P.O. Box 795000
San Antonio, TX 78279-5000
Dear Readers: One of the hardest things to travel with is pressed powder, eye shadows, face powder or blushes. They usually end up cracked, and crumble after a while. This is especially true if you check your suitcase or carry them in your purse. What I finally learned (after more than 2.5 million miles on one airline alone) is to cut a cotton pad or fold a tissue the size of the container and then put it inside. This holds the powder down and acts as an extra barrier if it does break. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have a problem remembering where I parked when coming out of a mall or someplace I am not familiar with. I thought "I wonder if I run my windshield wipers and manipulate them so they will be halfway up on the windshield." I know it looks a little goofy, but when I walk out to my car from shopping or whatever, I just look across the lot for the car with the wipers halfway up. -- Dale in Nebraska
Well, this is one way! If you have a camera phone (which most of us do today), snap a photo of a "landmark" or something to clue you as to where you have parked. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I needed to replace the drawstring on a pair of sweatpants in a pinch. I didn't have an actual drawstring cord, so I used an extra-long shoelace from a pair of high-top sneakers. It was long enough to go around my waist, and the aglet tips made it easy to lace through the waistband. I knotted the ends, snipped off the aglets, and it worked great -- better than the original cord! -- L.R., via email