Hints from Heloise: Stimulus payments

Published 1:20 pm Saturday, March 6, 2021

Dear Readers: Those economic stimulus payments many of us received last year and into this year? Let’s take a look:

1. The CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) is an economic impetus program passed by Congress in March of 2020 that provided many Americans a cash payment (around $1,200 per individual).

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This was designed as an offset to government-mandated stay-at-home orders and closures of businesses. The closures were put in place in an attempt to quell the COVID-19 virus. Relief to businesses and organizations was also provided.

2. There was a second payment of around $600 per individual as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, along with more stimulus dollars for businesses.

Do you have to repay these dollars? No. And you don’t claim the payment as income on your tax return either. Also, the second payment was given free of encumbrances (the money cannot be garnished, etc.).

These acts are incredibly detailed and complex. Check with your tax preparer, bank officer or financial adviser for more information. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I keep my car keys on my nightstand. If anything happens during the night, I can use the “panic” button on my key fob to set off the alarm on my car and thereby alert the neighbors. This works in an apartment complex or in a subdivision. —  Brittany T. in Dallas, Texas


Dear Heloise: I teach my daughter, who is away at college, that there are times when it is OK to lie. When a suspicious person asks her the following:

Are you traveling alone?

Are you out alone?

Are you headed home alone?

It’s for sure OK to lie. — Richard K. in Ohio


Dear Heloise: To style a baggie sweater, sweatshirt or pullover, I pop it on and start accessorizing with necklaces and bracelets (I like lots of each for chunkiness and texture). I roll the sleeves up twice and tie a thin ribbon, string or belt around the garment on my waistline, and pull the top up and over the ribbon or belt to finish the look. — Janna W. in Illinois

Janna, excellent! By the way, experts agree: If you’re wearing a looser, baggier top, finish with a snug bottom. If your jeans or pants are looser, complete that look with a fitted, shapely top. Balance. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I keep my most important documents in an accordion file binder that I can grab and go in case of an emergency. Tabs can include Home, Auto Insurance, Will, Emergency Contacts, Bank Account Numbers, etc.

This system is easy to update, maintain and store. Your readers might want to keep this folder as a backup with photocopies, and the originals in a safe, etc. — Betty M. in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: Please remind your readers when walking on the street to walk facing oncoming traffic. I see so many people walking with their backs to traffic and talking on a cellphone. Walkers need to stay vigilant. — Sharon, The Villages, Fla.

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com. I can’t answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

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