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DEAR HELOISE: After graduating from school, it's a good idea to make a copy of your diploma prior to framing it or storing it. Many employers are now requiring a diploma copy (high school as well as college) for prospective and current employees. Schools usually can provide you with a copy of your transcript, but not of your diploma. Having a copy in a file is much handier than searching Mom's attic years later or trying to get a decent copy of a framed diploma.

-- Anne H. in Arkansas

DEAR READERS: What is the annual percentage rate (APR) on your credit card? The APR is a number that represents, by percentage, the interest you pay. When applying for a credit card with different companies, you want to look for the one offering the lowest APR.

However, there are different types of APRs to consider. Some companies will offer an "introductory" or "promotional" APR for a limited time. Usually, this APR is offered for no longer than a year, and then the rate goes up.

Two other kinds are "purchase APRs," which apply only to items charged on the card, and "cash-advance APRs," which have much higher rates. Be a savvy consumer and read all the terms and conditions before applying.

DEAR HELOISE: The paint on our porch was chipping, so I bought paint-and-epoxy remover. While trying to peel the paint off a little at a time, I got the idea to get my wallpaper steamer out and try it. I would start the edge with a wire brush, and it would peel off in big sheets, just like when removing wallpaper. This made the job much better, and there were no chemicals to burn my hands.

-- Linda B., via email

DEAR READER: You don't mention what type of paint was used to paint the porch, but the steamer worked, so you discovered a great hint the old-fashioned way -- by trial and error.

DEAR HELOISE: When I am using a gift card at restaurants, I wind up with a small balance, usually less than a dollar. I ask the cashier to pass on the balance to the next customer (they might not let you put it in the tip jar). I just try to pass it on.

-- A Reader in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: As a senior citizen with arthritis in my hands, I often find it difficult to remove the lid packaging from medications, vitamins and sealed bottles.

I purchased a small, needle-nose pair of pliers with a spring action that helps grip the plastic shrink wrap on the outside of the bottles. It also helps lift off the safety seal on the inside. This will work for mayonnaise jars and other foods with safety seals, too.

-- Joan, via email

DEAR HELOISE: A wine stopper works perfectly in glass soda bottles. It helps to keep the fizz in.

-- A Reader, via email

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Style on 07/15/2014

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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