Hints from Heloise: The big score

Dear Readers: Your CREDIT SCORE is important when you are building your financial future. Your credit score is a number (from 300 to 850) that considers many factors: if you pay your bills on time, how many credit accounts you have, how much you use that credit, how many new accounts you open, any delinquent accounts you may have, and other things.

Companies may look at your credit score when deciding whether to lend you money, sell you goods or services and then collect for them over time, or sell you a home.

Businesses know that your past behavior is a good indication of what may happen in the future. Keep your bills up to date, and try not to overextend yourself. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: Every time we dine out with the grandchildren, we get food from the children’s menu, but we are given adult-sized utensils.

How is a 2-year-old expected to use the same-size fork and spoon as me? Restaurants, why not invest in child-size utensils?

We try to remember to bring our own, but sometimes we forget. Thank you for helping get the word out. We love your column. — Amy in New Jersey


Dear Heloise: Online reviews can be helpful, but reviewers must be careful that they are reviewing the correct item. Often, I’ll read a review and the description given by the reviewer doesn’t match the item I’m looking at.

The reviewer should mention the item by the descriptive name or model number and color, if applicable.

If the person is giving a negative review, it needs to be given for the correct item. This not only helps the reader, but the vendor as well. — P.J., Ocala, Fla.

Great hint, P.J.! And give the company a chance to make it right before writing a negative review. The company should be more than happy to resolve any issues. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband died in February, and I have learned a lot of things the hard way since then. Here is a practical hint: Think twice about which companies you give authorization to bill your credit card directly for payment.

For groups like health clubs, as an example, know that you may have difficulty getting them to stop billing when you stop using their services.

It also is harder to dispute a charge with this arrangement. The provider may cooperate only when communicating directly with the cardholder. — Carol G., via email

My condolences on the loss of your husband, Carol. Thanks for the thoughtful hint for my readers. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I love your column here in Bozeman, Montana! Recently, while organizing travel things, I put the leftover euro currency in a bag with the plug adapters we use while visiting Italy. Next trip, we will be all set! — Peter J., via email

Wonderful hint, Peter! — Heloise

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(at)Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.