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by HELOISE | May 3, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: With the pandemic still here, many people are ordering things online and having them delivered to their homes. It’s very convenient, but they use tricks to get you to buy more than you need or should spend.

If you’re buying a water heater or maybe a new oven, monthly payments can be a handy way to handle the transaction. However, we tend to forget that those monthly bills add up. It may have seemed that $15 a month was nothing. You could do that for something you wanted, but if that $15 per month turns into one of several monthly payments, you could be facing a mountain of debt in no time.

— Carrie W., Detroit DEAR READERS: Additional uses for cardboard boxes: Box up pet supplies to donate to a shelter.

Help your kids make a fort out of them.

Store winter clothing and Christmas ornaments.

Break apart and put in the recycle bin.

Pack away blankets and baby clothing, or save if you’re moving soon.

DEAR HELOISE: My husband has a phobia of which he is ashamed but won’t seek help. He is afraid of shots and blood tests because he is afraid of needles. Is there help for this?

— Laura C., Billings, Mont.

DEAR READER: Yes there is. I recommend asking your family physician for help. He or she may know of some treatment or person who can help your husband overcome this fear. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, and there are people the world over who share this distaste for being stuck with a needle.

I usually just tell myself that in three minutes it’ll all be over. It usually works for me, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.

DEAR HELOISE: My daughter, my granddaughter and I were planning a trip to see family a few states away, and as we were placing the infant seat in the car it dawned on me that I knew nothing about the car seat. There were so many straps and gadgets that I worried I wouldn’t know what to do in case of a wreck. We practiced with everything for about an hour until I felt comfortable with it. I’m so glad we did, because now I know how to remove my granddaughter in less than two minutes, should the need arise.

— Jean L., Lincoln, Neb.

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


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