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DEAR HELOISE: When manufacturers stamp the "best by" dates on cans, they often place the stamp on top of the ringed ridges, which makes it almost impossible to read.

They are fulfilling their responsibility to mark the date, but what good does it do if you cannot read it?

-- Nick in Little Rock

DEAR READER: Great point. Let's clear up some confusion on terms related to this:

• "Best by": A hint as to when the product should be used for its optimum quality.

• "Use by": After this date, the product quality goes down rapidly.

• "Sell by": For the retailer, the date by when the product must be pulled from the shelf.

You can't go solely by smell, taste or appearance to judge whether a food is safe to eat. Use these dates as a guide.

DEAR HELOISE: My friend lent me some money. I wanted to pay her back, but I wasn't able to deposit cash into her checking account. What is this about?

-- Lindsay N., Ohio

DEAR READER: This is a new trend, especially among the big banks. They are looking to stop money laundering, and they want to cut expenses.

"Money laundering" means trying to hide the source of ill-gotten gains. The vast majority of transactions are legitimate, so this bank policy is a result of "a few bad apples."

Also, having to count large sums of cash requires manpower, which costs money.

Speak to the branch manager. Depositing a check or money order is still OK, or you can add yourself as a signer on the account, which requires the original account holder's permission.

DEAR READERS: Here are Christmas shopping hints:

• Make a list and stick to it. People who shop without a list can spend about 20% more.

• Use a price comparison app. Scanning a bar code can reveal prices at nearby stores, so you can see the best deal.

• Ask stores to price match.

• Buy small gifts and supplies in bulk. You can store for later or share the cost with a friend.

DEAR HELOISE: My son-in-law and daughter bought their first home. It occurred to me that young couples need practical items, so as housewarming gifts, I give one or two of the following: gift certificate to a hardware store, hand cart, wheelbarrow, rake, shovel, hammer, welcome mat or cleaning supplies. These are items they need.

-- Meghan S., Deleware

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

Style on 11/05/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints


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