Friends at stores, around neighborhood

Dear Heloise: We all know that using coupons can SAVE A LOT OF MONEY, but here are some other hints I use, too:

Get to know the store’s management and salespeople. Many times they can clue you in on upcoming sales on certain items. They also can tell you when certain items (such as meats and fresh veggies) get marked down.

It’s old wisdom, but don’t shop when you’re hungry. Try not to bring children, if possible — they do tend to want a lot of things that are not on your list.

When staples such as canned goods, paper products and personal items are on sale, and you know you will use them, stock up. They don’t go bad. — Ann C. in New York City

May I add? Go with a list, and try to stick to it to avoid impulse buying, which can make the final bill a lot more than you planned on spending. Try the store-brand products, which cost less and can be equivalent to brand names. Do a HELOISE TEST and buy one name brand, then one store brand. Test them to see if the store brand is up to your liking. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: When a new family moves into the neighborhood, I host a “get acquainted” coffee or after-work tea and soft drinks. We make a map of our neighborhood with names, addresses, emails and phone numbers of residents on our block. Getting to know your neighbors can help in many ways. One in particular is watching each other’s property during vacations or when someone is out of town. — A Reader, via email


Dear Heloise: I’m a salesperson who meets a lot of new people daily. One of the first impressions is a simple handshake. You would not believe how some people shake hands.

Here are some hints I’ve learned: Make sure your handshake is firm and not limp and squishy. Please, try to have clean hands and not damp or wet ones. Look the other person in the eye and smile, especially when it’s a first meeting. — John T. in New York City


Dear Heloise: Since we have to supply our own bags at the market, here’s my hint: Put all the bags into one bag, and attach it to the seat belt in the child seat. Let them hang off the side. — Jo Costanzo, Camarillo, Calif.


Dear Heloise: Those security questions on websites? A good safety measure, but I always answer incorrectly as an added safety measure. Some of the common questions I’ve seen: high school you went to, favorite dog’s name, etc. I use an alternative answer or spell the answer backward. — Hollie B., Corpus Christi, Texas


Dear Heloise: Please tell parents that when they are out for a walk or bicycle ride to make sure the youngest is riding and/or walking in front of them. Many times I have seen the youngest child struggling to keep up. — J.D., Rockville, Md.