Dear Readers: Do you have paper money that is terribly mangled, soiled or torn up? Rodents, insects, fire, water, buried in the backyard ... all of these things can damage cash to the point that it is unusable. Don't worry, though. The money is more than likely replaceable.

A division of the U.S. Treasury Department, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (www.bep.gov) can replace mutilated paper money. Here are some of their guidelines:

• You must either have at least 50% of the bill or, if less than 50 percent, the cause of mutilation must be evident.

• Don't handle the money any more than necessary and don't unroll or straighten the money either.

• Write a letter estimating the value of the currency, include your contact information and an explanation of how the mutilation occurred.

It can take a long time to valuate these claims; have patience. — Heloise

P.S. Coins that are damaged are returnable to, and replaceable through, the United States Mint (www.usmint.gov).

Tech Tuesday — texting etiquette

Dear Readers: Texting is a quick and easy way to communicate with someone, but there are rules. Keep texts brief and respect the recipient's time. Perhaps text only between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

If the person doesn't respond right away, it's OK; they might be driving or in a meeting. However, if you're the recipient, respond in a timely fashion. Don't call in response to a text unless you have permission.

Your sense of humor may not come across in a text, so avoid sarcasm. Emojis (those little pictures usually used to convey a feeling) are OK with friends, but probably not with your boss. Don't type in all capital letters — that can be construed as shouting.

Make sure words are spelled correctly. It's fine to abbreviate common words (for example, "bc" for because and "w" for with). But, if you do make a tiny spelling error, it's typically not necessary to correct what you sent if the recipient can figure it out.

Double-check who you are texting; make sure it's the correct person! How embarrassing to text the wrong person!

Last but not least, never text while walking, and certainly never while driving. — Heloise

Emergency cash

Dear Heloise: My friends all tell me to have a credit card for emergencies. I had a better idea. I worked extra and sold some things I don't use and was able to save $1,000. This is a good beginning emergency fund. And cash is cash — no interest! — Shelly in Pennsylvania

Shelly, a smarter way to go! Avoiding debt is always a good idea. — Heloise

Sponsored content?

Dear Readers: When browsing the internet, you may come across the term "sponsored content," which might look like an editorial or a genuine news article inside the website you are reading.

Sponsored content is code for an advertisement. It's designed to look like a news report, but the writers of the sponsored content are trying to sell you something. Be aware. — Heloise

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001, or you can fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

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