Dear Readers: If you are planning on doing any DIGGING ON YOUR PROPERTY, you could encounter buried lines for power, water, sewer, gas or cable communications (for TV and internet).

Striking these lines can interrupt service, but it can also cause serious injury or result in expensive repairs.

How can you help prevent this? Call 811 BEFORE you dig. Each state has an 811 system. The phone representative will ask you information about your plans to dig, and will let the correct utility companies know. Also dial 811 if you have struck a power line or other line. They will advise you how to proceed. -- Heloise

BANK ON THESE FOODS

Dear Readers: Do you wonder what food banks need? Here is a list:


Nuts and healthy snacks like granola
Canned soups, stews and chili
Peanut butter
Canned meats (salmon, chicken, tuna)
Whole-grain cereals
Foods with pop-top lids

What's NOT a good donation? Anything in a glass jar, candy, sugary drinks and bulk packages of staples like rice, noodles and flour. Call the food bank in your city for more information. -- Heloise

SEAT STATS

Dear Heloise: I just read the hint in your column about sitting in the front row of the classroom. One of my college professors admitted that the middle four seats on the front row are called (by professors) the "A" section.

That makes sense. People who choose those seats are usually highly motivated and are there to learn. -- Linda, via email

NUMBERS GAME

Hi, Heloise: I store passwords in my phone contacts. I list the contact ("health care provider," "bank," etc.) and retrieve the password as a phone number or list it under notes.

I use an abbreviated form of the actual password, but it's enough to help me remember it. -- Michele B. in California

P.S. I enjoy reading your helpful hints!

LARGE LABEL

Dear Heloise: A previous reader suggested using your smartphone to assist in reading prescription bottles.

Many pharmacies offer a "large label" option for patients. Ask your pharmacist if this option is available for your scripts. If available, it's as simple as the pharmacist checking a box on your profile. -- John L., via email

CARD ALTERNATIVE

Dear Heloise: I have always hated the idea that we look at an expensive greeting card once and throw it away.

My remedy: I buy a funny book that complements the person or theme and write a note, quote or Bible verse in the front and sign it.

Libraries, garage sales, thrift stores and online are great suppliers of gently used books for the budget-minded. I wrap my card/book in with the present so it does not get lost. -- A Reader, via email

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.