dear Heloise: Check the bank that issued your credit card to see if it offers a virtual account number. This VAN (as it is called) can be used for online purchases, where your security might be compromised. You can have as many as you like for various businesses or just go with one for all your online purchases. The bank recognizes VANs as belonging to your actual credit card, but if you are hacked, you need only close the one that was used. This avoids having to notify ALL those companies who regularly charge your card for services.
— Michelle Braverman, Houston
Michelle, thank you for sending this information. Credit card safety is important to all of us.
Dear Heloise: With some parts of the country experiencing an extended, severe drought, I wish to offer my humble water-saving ideas. I see my house roof as a huge water collection system.
Thus, I have tilted all my gutters to drain into several vegetable gardens strategically placed near the downspout. I have placed 50-gallon barrels to collect water to use between storms.
I soap one corner of my facecloth and wipe clean my face with another corner before rinsing the cloth, just once, so I save water. Stay hydrated.
— Dale N., Dayton, Ohio
Dear Heloise: I have a hard time remembering to bring the reusable shopping bags when I grocery shop. But today I came up with a sure-to-work solution: After writing out my grocery list, I pin it to the reusable bag. It works. Maybe this will help someone else who is trying to change for the better.
— Corrinne B., by email
Dear Heloise: I have a difficult time carving out weekly bathroom cleaning sessions in my schedule. So I used alliteration to develop an easy system that allows me to spend no more than 10 minutes a day, and it keeps my bathroom clean all week long. Monday: mirrors. Tuesday: toilet and trash. Wednesday: window and walls. Thursday: tub. Friday: floor. Saturday: sink. When I incorporate these into my morning routine, it takes almost no time at all but leaves me with a bathroom that is consistently presentable and hygienic.
— Julie D., via email
Julie, this is so clever, and what an organized way to clean and remember what to do each day.
Dear Heloise: I use a small, round hand-held mirror to pluck my eyebrows. I always worried I would drop it. So now I’m using a cellphone holder on it. There are straps and rings one can attach to cellphones. I am using the strap one.
— Jacquelina C., by email
Send a money-saving or time-saving hint to Heloise, PO Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.