Get your utility bill under control

Hints from Heloise

Dear Heloise: With prices on nearly everything going up and wages not improving, it’s important for all of us to save where we can. I have some hints on utility bills that will help keep some of your utilities at a reasonable monthly rate:

— Wash dishes and laundry only when you can wash a full load. If you have clothing that’s not filthy but needs to be freshened, wash it on a “quick setting” if your machine has such a setting. You’ll use up less water and electricity.

— Check that your outdoor faucets aren’t leaking. I had two faucets outside that were dripping, and I didn’t know until my water bill of $305 came in the mail.

— Change your furnace filter every month. Buy cheap ones, but change them monthly.

— Don’t let your toilet tank keep running. This can add up quickly and increase your water bill.

— Don’t run water when you wash dishes by hand or when you brush your teeth. You’re wasting water.

— If your house is chilly, put on a sweater. If it gets too warm in the summer and you live in a warm climate, invest in ceiling fans that will keep air moving in your home. If you have air conditioning, set the temperature between 76-79 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, plant trees that can block the sun’s heat around your property and home.

Let’s all economize a little to save a lot of money. — Ava M., Beaverton, Oregon


Dear Heloise: What exactly are superfoods, and what are they supposed to do? — Douglas B., Sugar Land, Texas

Douglas, “superfoods,” as they are called, are foods that provide people with nutrients such as folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. You’ll find these in abundance in dark, leafy green vegetables. Other examples of superfoods are:

— Fresh coconuts

— Avocados

— Eggs

— Almonds

— Flaxseeds

— Berries

— Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, radishes, kale, etc.)

— Salmon

— Carrots

Besides providing us with vitamins and minerals, these foods also have antioxidants and fiber, both of which our bodies need to function properly. — Heloise


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