DEAR HELOISE: It seems as if every time I go out and make a purchase, someone is trying to get me to sign up for a credit card. I always politely say, "No, thanks," but then most get pushy -- and sometimes obnoxious -- about my refusal.
Yesterday, a young man at a tire store was pushing a credit card while my tires were being rotated. I said, "No, thank you," and that's when he got sarcastic and rude.
He told me I was out of step with the rest of the world, that I'd been left behind with the rest of my generation. I asked to see the manager. I explained that I came in for an oil change and to have my tires rotated ... not to be insulted or have a credit card application rammed down my throat.
There are millions of people like me who refuse to use a credit card except in an emergency. I already have a credit card that I use for such occasions. I don't use cards from stores, and I don't spend frivolously on junk I don't need. My first questions before I purchase something always are: Do I really need this? How will this benefit me?
I'm not stingy with money and donate to four different charities on a regular basis. When my two grandsons went to college, I paid for all their books, and anyone who's been to college can tell you that college books are expensive.
This business of pushing credit cards has got to stop. I've had friends who got themselves into trouble by overspending with credit cards. One couple even filed for bankruptcy. When someone wants you to apply for a credit card, think very carefully about what comes after the purchase. You might enjoy the item or service, but will you be as happy when the bill arrives?
-- J.J., in Oklahoma City
DEAR READER: I couldn't have said it better myself!
DEAR READERS: Got an old, chipped coffee mug that you don't drink out of anymore, but want to keep anyway?
Use it to scoop out dog or cat food from a large bag.
Turn the chipped side toward the wall and use it to hold a small bouquet of flowers.
Plant a succulent in it and place it in a small space.
Keep loose change inside the mug for coin-operated machines.
DEAR HELOISE: More times than I care to tell you, I've lost a sock. Usually, it's a soft cotton sock I use when playing tennis. I found I had a pile of these socks, which had accumulated over several years. Some are white, while others have various patterns. I suppose I could have made weird looking sock monkeys out of them, but instead, I came up with a few new ways to use them:
I inserted a tennis ball in one and sewed the open end closed, which makes for a great dog toy. I put plastic ice cubes in one and sewed it close, to keep in the freezer for injuries. I took another one and placed quarters in it for toll bridges, which I keep in the console of my vehicle. I'm still finding new ways to use them all the time.
-- Troy A., Rockaway, N.J.
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