Heloise

Dear Heloise: Tell the lady whose husband doesn’t like using coupons (he feels it makes them look poor or cheap) to use self-checkout. No one will know they use coupons. However, I agree that using coupons is nothing but smart. Some manufacturers may put out coupons instead of lowering prices and certainly expect customers to use them.

 — Mary, via e-mail

Travel hint

Dear Heloise: Whenever I prepare for my return trip home, I always wipe down the soles of my shoes with disposable anti-bacterial wipes before placing them in a plastic bag and packing them back in my suitcase. This prevents any dirt and germs from getting on my other items.

 — Debbie in New Hampshire

Payroll fraud

Dear Heloise: There is a new scam that is occurring with increasing frequency. The human resources department of a business receives an email from an employee requesting a change in their automatic deposit at work. The problem is that the employee did not send the request; a scammer did. The money is funneled to the scammer’s account at another bank. If your paycheck doesn’t show up in your bank account, call your HR department to find out why.

 — Kathy F. in Pennsylvania

Naughty cats

Dear Heloise: My two old tomcats sprayed my bottom kitchen cabinets (like male cats do) to mark their territory. How do I get rid of the smell? I’ve used soap and water, but still there is a small trace of odor. Help.

 — Janet D., Exeter,

Rhode Island

Janet, the soap and water was a good idea, but if it’s the smell you’re after, you would be better off by mixing a solution of 50% white vinegar with 50% water and about four drops of liquid detergent. This is an easy and simple method of eliminating odors. You’ll find more hints like this in my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More. To receive a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at www.Heloise.com. FYI: To help eliminate cooking odors, add some cinnamon to a pan of water and vinegar on the stove and boil it.— Heloise

A hot one

Dear Heloise: When the directions say to “preheat” the oven at the beginning of a recipe has always bothered me. Most ovens take about five minutes max to get to the right temperature, while making the dough or batter takes much longer. It seems to be a waste of energy to have the oven on for so long.

For instance, when I bake cookies, I do not turn the oven on until the dough is ready to form into cookies on the pan. I offer this as an energy-saving measure.

 — Ruth E., Terre Haute, Indiana

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