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DEAR HELOISE: It's important to make sure you get copies of all medical tests, operations, hospital stays and the doctor's findings to keep for your records.

I recently tried to get records from a prior surgery that required a month's hospital stay. I was told they no longer existed and the doctor had died. They would have really helped with my current medical issues. I now get copies of everything and keep them marked and in a safe place.

-- Alice C. in New Jersey

DEAR HELOISE: With restaurant prices on the rise, I save money by keeping a zippered bag in my purse full of restaurant coupons. If my family and I decide to grab a bite for lunch while out shopping, I have them with me. No more regretting forgotten coupons or missing out on discounts.

-- Donna in Texas

DEAR READER: That's a great idea. We all need to save when we can. If you don't carry a purse, you can leave a bag of coupons in your car's glove box.

DEAR READERS: The U.S. Department of State issues a safety warning system for travelers, so before visiting a foreign country, it's important to check to see if there is a high travel warning in place. These warnings are issued on a four-point scale starting with the least dangerous.

• Level 1: Exercise normal precautions. It's generally safe for U.S. travelers, but there may be areas of crime or unrest.

• Level 2: Exercise increased caution. May be susceptible to higher than normal safety risks, including disaster recovery, high crime rates or a threat of terrorism. You may not need to cancel your travel plans, but don't ignore the warning issued.

• Level 3: Reconsider travel. Traveling to areas under this warning should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. There may have been a natural disaster, an increased risk of kidnapping, terrorism or civil unrest.

• Level 4: Do not travel. You are taking your life and safety into your own hands if you visit these regions. These are nations that are anti-American and will not think twice about harassing, detaining or incarcerating you.

DEAR READERS: There are a number of debt relief companies that are scamming people out of money and not delivering what they promise.

Here are some warning signs that a debt relief company may not be legitimate:

• It asks for fees upfront before anything has been done for you.

• It tells you to stop all communication with your creditors.

• It guarantees to reduce your debt by a specified date.

• It demands financial information before discussing your situation.

Do your homework before selecting a debt relief company. Check with your state's attorney general and the Consumer Protection Office ( to see if there are complaints filed against the company you plan to use.

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

MovieStyle on 03/13/2020

Print Headline: Helpful Hints


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