Managing your money

Dear Heloise: I like to be organized, but an area I have trouble with is a big one — my FINANCES. Do you have some hints to help? — Emily E., Boise, Idaho

Emily, it’s important to know where all your money is, and to know that it is behaving! Here are some hints:

* Write down all of your expenses that are the same each month: rent/mortgage, car payment, cable bill and insurance.

* Then figure the amounts for expenses that can vary: Other utility bills, groceries and credit card payments would go here.

* Then write down big, unpredictable or rare expenses you might have: Household repairs and vacations go here.

* Document all the income you have for the month. Include pay, dividends, the sale of items, refunds, etc.

Note trends in all of these areas. Soon a pattern will emerge, and you can see where you can save, and where you can spend more.

It’s important for you to stay on top of your finances. Writing a budget and accounting for all the money you have will help your bank account grow! — Heloise

P.S. There are some budgeting apps and tools on the computer that you can use to help you manage your money. Find one that suits you.


Dear Heloise: When I carry liquids, lotions, creams and gels in my handbag, I always seal each container in a plastic sandwich bag. I don’t want to risk a spill or a messy, greasy cleanup. — Mary C., Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

I’m all for saving those handbags! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I’ve solved the problem of going to the grocery store and winding up with a shopping cart that has a wobbly wheel, pulls to one side or has a clicking noise.

I do the following: I take one or two carts back up to the store from the parking lot. This way, I can “test-drive” a cart and ensure that the cart I push around the store is a good one. This also assists the store in rounding up carts left in the parking lot. Everyone should take in a cart or two instead of walking past and leaving them on the lot. — James A., Abilene, Texas

Wonderful, James! Alert store personnel of the bad cart, and help out the cart-pushers by bringing in a cart, especially in that Texas heat! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: When we go on camping trips to the mountains, I bring whistles and put them on strings and hang one around everyone’s neck when they go exploring.

I blow my whistle and wait for a return whistle — no one gets lost! — Donna in California


Dear Readers: Before traveling, call your credit/debit card company and/or bank to let them know, so they won’t flag your card for suspicious usage. This can save a lot of time. — Heloise

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) I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2017 by King Features Syndicate Inc.