Home Improvement Money-Saving Secrets If you've been putting off updating or sprucing up your home because of the high cost of home improvements, today's readers are sure to inspire you to do those projects yourself, for less! HARDWOOD FLOORING. My husband and I wanted a hardwood floor, …Read more. Life in the Middle Between Parents and Adult Children Every day I drive by a beautiful new assisted living complex under construction close to where I live. As beautiful as this place is, it's become a daily reminder to me for how difficult it can be to talk to aging parents about their health and …Read more. Unclog a Drain without Chemicals A plugged-up sink, shower or tub drain sends most people running for either a bottle of caustic drain cleaner or a plumber's phone number. But wait. This could well be a job you can do yourself without chemicals or a big bill. Assess the situation. …Read more. The Joy of Laundry Start with one of the principles of living beneath your means: Take care of what you have. Next, add one of the most effective ways to reduce stress: Find an activity that gives you a sense of personal satisfaction. And what do you have? Laundry! No,…Read more.more articles
When You Should (and Shouldn't) Give Your Social Security Number
Dear Mary: I recently refused to give my Social Security number to a cable company when I simply was inquiring about the cost of services. The clerk stated that without the number, she would be unable to give me a quote. Some companies ask for it as a second form of identification. When is it appropriate to give your Social Security number, and when is it inappropriate and risky to give this information? — Thomas W., Illinois
Dear Thomas: Anybody can ask for your Social Security number, but that doesn't mean you have to give it out. When a company asks for your number even though it is not authorized by law to have it, you should ask these questions: Why do you need my Social Security number? How is my number going to be used? What laws require me to give you my SSN? What are the consequences if I refuse to provide you with my SSN? Are there any alternative numbers I can use to obtain this service? You should be able to give an alternative source to identify yourself, such as the last four digits of your SSN or your driver's license number.
According to the Social Security Administration, there are specific laws that require a person to provide his or her SSN for certain purposes. In general, an SSN is required by the Internal Revenue Service for tax returns; the Department of the Treasury for U.S. savings bonds; employers for wage- and tax-reporting purposes; banks for monetary transactions; the Department of Labor for workers' compensation; the Department of Education for student loans; states to administer taxes; general public assistance; and states for child support enforcement and for services such as commercial driver's licenses, food stamps, Medicaid, unemployment compensation and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Dear Mary: I've come to trust the great advice you give us day to day.
Dear Araceli: Both marble and travertine, as beautiful as they are, can be tricky to maintain. Any kind of product that is acidic will dull the shine, and some things can cause the colors to darken over time. That being said, do not use Windex, vinegar, bleach, Lime-A-Way, ammonia or lemon juice to clean those surfaces. All will dull the shine over time. For general cleaning, use non-citrus liquid dishwashing soap and water. Original blue Dawn is ideal. To remove a stain, make a paste of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Cover the stain, and allow the paste to sit until it's dry, or about an hour. Then remove the dried paste, and rinse with clear water. Buff it dry. To make the marble and travertine shine, buff with dry cornstarch and a soft clean cloth.
Do you have a question for Mary? E-mail her at email@example.com, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com and author of 18 books, including "Can I Pay My Credit Card Bill With a Credit Card?" To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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