Living Columns & Blogs

Hints from Heloise: Credit card statement surprises

DEAR HELOISE: Please do not let other people make the same mistake we did. In June 2010, we leased a new vehicle. With that came free satellite radio for three months. After the three months of free radio, the radio was automatically shut off. Since November 2010 until December 2013, we were billed $16 a month on our credit card.

We acknowledge that we did not pay attention to our credit-card statement, as we noticed this only when we paid off our card as a New Year’s resolution. When we called the radio company, it would not reimburse us, and even the credit-card company would go back only three months to help us out.

– M.O. in New York

DEAR M.O.: A good consumer warning! Remember to check credit-card statements every month. You have a much better chance of disputing charges if you notice them right away.

DEAR HELOISE: I travel often with my two daughters for dance competitions requiring overnight stays in hotels. Hotels typically provide three to four bath towels, which simply are not enough for three females with long hair, who require two towels apiece.

Here is my hint: Leave a note with a small gratuity for housekeeping. I even specifically ask, in the note, for the exact amount of towels I would like to be left in the room. I have never been disappointed, and my requests have always been taken care of.

– Linda W., via email

DEAR LINDA: Linda, you also can call housekeeping and ask for extra towels as soon as you arrive. Plus, please do always tip housekeeping – most times they are left out, and they do a very, very hard job!

DEAR READERS: Recently, I shared information about the difficulty of recycling prescription bottles. At Heloise Central, we started brainstorming all the uses for these bottles and wanted to give some hints to help keep these bottles out of the trash:

• Keep one in the car to hold spare change.

• When traveling, use to hold cotton balls or cotton swabs.

• Pack with thread, needles and safety pins for an emergency sewing kit.

Readers, now it’s your turn. Let us know how you reuse these bottles.

P.S.: You can ask your pharmacist for “not child resistant” caps. These caps can be taken off, turned over and reattached to the same bottle. Now the bottle can be opened with a simple turn. Do this only in households without children.

DEAR HELOISE: I have come up with a great use for old rubber kitchen gloves.

When my long-haired yellow Labrador comes outside with me, I put on old rubber gloves to give him a thorough rubdown. The dog hair comes off in sheets! He loves it because it is a great petting session. This works on cats, also.

– Joan M. in California

DEAR HELOISE: The best thing I have found to keep in my kitchen drawer is a roll of masking tape. The tape can be used to tape up and seal all kinds of things: wax paper, plastic bags, box lids, trash wrapped in newspaper and so on.

The tape can be pulled off and put right back on several times.

– Marshall W. in Ohio