Hints from Heloise: Disposable statements only need to be kept 12 months

Dear Heloise: How long should I keep savings account and IRA account statements? I’ve saved these since the accounts were opened years ago, and won’t start taking from either account for 10 years.

The savings accounts are monthly, and the IRA statements are quarterly, so you can imagine how much paper I have. Can I shred these, or will I need them for the future? — Maxine, via email

Maxine, great question. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (www.fdic.gov) suggests keeping bank account statements for 12 months. If there’s a tax component to your savings account, save that record for seven years. Then shred away.

IRA statements are different. Hold on to your statements for the life of the account. When folks start withdrawing money from their IRAs, that is when problems can arise.

One way to reduce the paper pileup? Scan all the documents into a PDF file.

Always check with your tax adviser, CPA or the IRS. — Heloise


Dear Readers: Got a helium balloon that’s floated to the top of your cathedral ceiling? Grab another helium balloon tied to a long length of string, and get some tape rolled sticky-side out. Adhere the tape to the balloon, and release enough string to meet the wayward balloon. Both balloons should come down together. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I am a retired police officer and do the family grocery shopping. I’ve observed ladies’ purses open in their shopping carts.

Purses should be closed to avoid theft of a wallet. Take the “seat belt” strap and thread it through the purse strap and click it. This will prevent a thief from stealing your purse and save you the frustration and angst of replacing its contents.

Should someone try to make off with the purse, the person will get only a few inches away, drag the cart, alert you to the attempt and abandon the theft. — Jim C., Dayton, Ohio


Dear Heloise: Feeding hummingbirds is fun and rewarding, but keeping feeders clean is so important to prevent spreading disease.

The little feeding holes are hard to clean, but the tiny brushes designed to clean between teeth make the job easy. Find them in the dental supplies section. I read your column in The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review. — Janet L., Kellogg, Idaho


Dear Heloise: When I’m getting ready for bed, I spritz on some light fragrance. The scent relaxes me, it’s fresh and clean, and the sheets and pillows end up smelling good, too.

I’m not going to save my perfumes for just the daylight. — Judy B., Anderson, Ind.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. 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