With a little planning, ‘No spend’ pays off big

Dear Heloise: My friends and I are trying something new. We are taking one day per week and making it a “NO SPEND” DAY. The goal is to spend absolutely NO money during the course of that one day. Sounds great, right? It’s not as easy as it sounds, and it requires planning.

The biggest plan necessary is for lunch and snacks at work and school. This can be an incredible expense. We didn’t realize how much money we are actually spending!

We shop for meals one day per week and make a list to take to the store, and stick to that list.

We are college students, and every penny is important to us. The “no spend” challenge is a hard one, but it’s worth it! We can see the difference in our bank accounts. — Carrie S., Austin, Texas

Kudos, Carrie! Planning ahead? I’m in. Saving dollars? I’m in! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I enjoy your column. Can’t we buy a windup watch anymore? Many big-box retailers won’t change batteries for watches unless you’ve purchased the watch from them.

I hope I can put a “bug” in someone’s ear to get manufacturers to make windup watches. — A Senior Citizen in Pittsburgh


Dear Heloise: Here are some of my hints:

* With a felt pen, I label and date everything I put into my refrigerator.

* I made a throw with a large pocket for the arm of my rocker. I keep a flashlight, a phone and the TV remote in it.

* On the end table, I have a pen and paper. Each time I call a company for repairs or anything, I write down the name of the company, the date and time, and the phone number I called.

* When I bake cookies, I freeze and wrap them separately. I can pack them for lunches.

— Elaine H., Port Charlotte, Fla.


Dear Heloise: I wrap gifts in reusable shopping bags. These can be purchased anywhere in a variety of colors, patterns, etc. Add some tissue paper, a few strands of curly ribbon, and voila — two gifts in one! — Betsy S., Fredericksburg, Va.


Dear Heloise: I taught my kids the correct words for their body parts, not cute “baby-talk” terms. It was difficult at first, I admit, but many experts say that we need to be real with our children at all times. Embarrassment passes quickly.

This could come in handy if the child has a medical issue. The child may have to talk to a teacher, doctor or other authority figure. We need to understand our kids! — Sarah D. in North Carolina

Honesty is always best. Very young children may not understand big words, but do the best you can. — Heloise


Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.