Ellen Phillips

I know our really cold weather is ahead of us so what can I do to help salvage energy bills?

’T is the Saturday of Christmas

More gift ideas abound, some of which arrived from readers. While all are interesting, I never would have thought of some of them when shopping at non-traditional "gift" stores.

Q: With funds so short and lots of family coming for the holidays, do you have any suggestions to conserve money instead of spending too much on gifts? -- Sam and Sara Saver

As holiday gift-giving time approaches, a few money-saving tips may be just the thing to offer. Just be sure to read any and all fine print before all purchases to ensure you're getting exactly what you want. (Also use the gift card tips after the holiday

I'd like to send long-distance flowers to my parents for their anniversary but I got burned the last time I sent my wife Valentine's Day flowers. Any advice on what to watch for?

Q: Now that the new cars are coming out, what's some purchase advice you can give me other than the same old buy at the end of the month, etc.? -- Hettie Haggle A: Dear Ms. Haggle: That "same old" is still a great strategy to save money when buying a new vehicle.

Let me suggest some common sense ideas that many of us already execute and a few others some folks might not necessarily think about as regards their credit scores. I'll begin with the ones we generally already carry out.

One of my dearest friends, who has obviously forgotten all advice over the years, asked me recently about buying her credit report. (She must not have read my column's advice, either.)

I vaguely remember a column where you discussed Halloween safety practices. My child is old enough to go to a party this year, and I want to be sure he's safe, so will you remind us again?

My husband thinks I’m obsessed about our wallets being stolen, but I learned my lesson after a thief used my credit card a few months ago. What advice can I give my nay-sayer spouse so he thinks I’m practical?

I was at my bank’s ATM one night last week and became quite uncomfortable when a suspicious-looking couple hung around while I was in the vestibule. They finally left before I exited, so I really don’t know if they were innocent or not. Did I do the right thing?

My friends at the FBI’s white-collar fraud division have done it again.

Q: I’ve had it with my hairdresser. Not only has she cut my hair crooked the last two times, but she just colored it way too blonde. I want my money back and also want to change stylists within the same shop, so what can I do? — Jackie Jagged

As my most loyal readers know, I love to come up on unique companies that exist pretty much with consumer service exclusively in mind, and this week’s column is no exception.

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