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DEAR HELOISE: In this colder weather, many charities will be asking for donations to help the homeless and the needy. Many are reputable agencies whose only goal is to help others. However, it's also a time when some scam artists try to make their bogus phone calls and emails sound legitimate, but they're really out to help only themselves. Don't let them pressure you to give right now. It's a warning sign that they are scammers. If they request payment in cash, gift card or wire transfer, it's another sign of a scammer. Before you hand over a dime, check them out on or But whatever you do, do not hand out any financial or personal information. Don't assume requests for help on social media or crowdfunding sites are legitimate. Do your research before you hand over your hard earned money.

-- Paul B., Chicago

DEAR READERS: Uses for old pillowcases:

• Cut a hole in the center of the bottom and use to slip over clothes to protect them.

• Place over tender plants to protect from the cold.

• Use in place of plastic bags for shopping.

• Cover decorative pillows that are being stored for next season.

• Slip over a ceiling fan blade and when you pull it off, use enough pressure from your hands to remove dust.

DEAR HELOISE: You may have boxes of unsweetened cereal with less than a bowl left to eat. One good way to use the remainder is to sprinkle it into a bowl of hot soup. It's a delicious, crunchy way to use the remaining cereal. It peps up the soup.

-- M.D., Colorado Springs, Colo.

DEAR READER: This is a clever way to use that small portion left in a cereal box. Some people also like to crumble it up and put it in a bird feeder with seeds.

DEAR HELOISE: Your recent hint concerning the use of turn signals for changing lanes was good. However, one important thing was missing. When changing lanes, you must first look to make sure there is no vehicle just to your rear in the next lane to which you wish to change.

Numerous times I have had to brake quickly to miss the car ahead of me that is changing lanes without the driver first checking to make sure all is clear.

-- Larry in Amarillo, Texas

DEAR READER: You bring up an excellent point. Most drivers do not use their side mirrors as much as they should. Many cars have a "blind spot," and their side mirrors help them navigate the highways and avoid a wreck.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

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