Home & Leisure



Everyday Cheapskate: The Best Space Heaters to Keep Heating Costs Under Control

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Even though winter is still weeks away, we need to brace now for a rude surprise coming soon. I'm talking about winter heating bills. Natural gas and heating fuel prices are surging.

The most efficient and easiest way to keep your home's winter heating bills under control is to set the main source of heat very low then strategically supplement ...Read more

Susan Tompor/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Susan Tompor: I-Bond rates can be an inflation hedge

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the cost of bacon and other goods sizzles, more people want to protect their savings from getting burnt to a crisp by inflation.

One simple move, which I wrote about this past summer as well, involves setting aside some money in inflation-protected savings bonds, known as I Bonds.

You're likely going to hear even more about I Bonds come ...Read more


Carla Fried: Medicare -- what they don't tell you

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In less than 15 years, Americans 65 years old and older will outnumber Americans under 18.

If you’re one of millions rounding the bend toward 65 in the next decade or so, getting up to speed now on Medicare's intricacies will help you avoid costly mistakes. To get you started, here are more nuanced takes on five truisms about Medicare.

—�...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Easy Homemade Soup to Soothe the Soul and Budget

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I have a treat for you today: A recipe for classic butternut squash soup that is ridiculously quick and easy. Easy on the wallet, too. Thick, creamy and full of flavor, this is a company-worthy butternut soup recipe you will make now and forever!

Before we get going here, and just in case you are not into home cooking, let me assure you that ...Read more


Carla Fried: Too many retirement accounts? How to get organized

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you’re approaching retirement, chances are you’ve had more than a few job changes. A government report tracking baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964) estimates they hopped jobs an average of 12 times before hitting their mid 50s.

Orphaned 401(k)s

Even if you changed jobs half as much, you likely have a few 401(k) accounts you left behind. ...Read more

Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/TNS

US aid to renters picked up to $2.8 billion in September

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

State and local governments picked up the pace of distributing emergency rental assistance funds in September amid a push from the Biden administration to accelerate payments to households.

A program record of $2.8 billion was released last month, bringing the total to $10.7 billion, out of the $46.5 billion appropriated by Congress to prevent ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Why We Need to Start Planning for Christmas Now

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Brisk mornings, fall colors, pumpkin pie and apple cider. Autumn is just the best time of year, right? While we're thinking toward Halloween and Thanksgiving, consider this a strong nudge to put Christmas high on the list. Start planning now and you'll benefit in so many ways come December.

Before I find myself dealing with angry responses from...Read more

Art of Design: Making Your Home Unique

Consumer / Art of Design /

The biggest fear that many homeowners have when decorating their home is to get it wrong and/or to end up with an interior that looks like a stage set, a furniture store or worse yet, like the Joneses. No matter how much you might like someone else's interior design, everyone wants a look of their own. Usually your home is your largest ...Read more

Arianne Cohen: Even with Google, knowing stuff is crucial to basic reasoning

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

What’s the difference between socialism and communism? How does global warming occur? What’s an economy of scale?

Easily Google-able questions — and parents’ own unhappy recollections of learning that relied on rote memorization — may encourage households to lighten up on the accumulation of knowledge in young minds. “They can ...Read more


Arianne Cohen: Did someone criticize your parenting? How to react

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Few behaviors are as triggering as someone suggesting bad parenting — your bad parenting. Perhaps a co-worker innocently wonders whether you ever cook homemade meals for your kids, or a teacher’s email suggests that all kindergarten parents chaperone field trips.

You think, “Ugh, I’m a horrible parent.”

Rather than looking at these ...Read more

Julia Wall/The News & Observer/TNS

'Where do they think I'm going to stay?' Soaring NC housing prices erase Black neighborhoods

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the last three years, J.C. and Telza Perry have watched construction crews tear down seven of 14 houses on their block of East Jones Street, replacing them with towering two-story moderns that have sold for more than half a million dollars.

It stings a little.

The Perrys bought their home for $9,000 in 1968, adding granite...Read more

David McNew/Getty Images North America/TNS

Hot, hot, hot ... warm: SoCal home values hit new record, but price rises are slowing

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California home prices set another record last month, but the market is cooling despite the all-time price high.

The region's six-county median sales price — the point at which half the homes sold for more and half for less — climbed 1.3% from August to $688,500 in September, according to data released Wednesday from real estate ...Read more


US existing-homes sales rise 7%, the most in a year

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in September by the most in a year, suggesting a slight easing in home-price growth and lower mortgage rates a month earlier provided a tailwind for demand.

Contract closings increased 7% from the prior month, the most since September 2020, to an annualized 6.29 million, figures from the National ...Read more

Carla Roman/TNS

Real estate Q&A: What can neighbors do about hoarder's unkempt home?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: A resident of our community is a hoarder and does not maintain his home. We are concerned that the condition of his home will attract pests and cause other problems. The association’s management company sent him letters, but nothing came of it, and the problem is getting worse. Can anything be done? —Brett

A: Dealing with this situation ...Read more

JANE TYSKA/San Jose Mercury News/TNS

Homebuyer 'love letters' may stir bias. (But they often work)

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Several years ago, Kristine Chadwick and her family were trying to buy a house in Eugene, Oregon. The market was competitive, so her agent suggested she write a letter to the seller, describing her husband, three kids, two dogs and one cat, and why she wanted to raise her family in the house. Hers was not the highest bid, but she got the house ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: You Can Have the Things You Love

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Frugality. It's a word that for many people screams deprivation; poverty. I get letters from readers who say they've had it with trying to live below their means and never having anything they love. "What's the point if all of this deprivation if it just makes me feel even more miserable?" was the way one woman closed her letter.

Look, I can't ...Read more

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Susan Tompor: How to find gifts -- and joy -- if a toy shortage hits during the holidays

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The holiday shopping frenzy has always been driven by FOMO. But this year, the fear of missing out is colliding smack dab into the fear of running out.

The ongoing message we're hearing a month before Thanksgiving is buy now before it's too late. A QVC host in mid-October proclaimed that products will be sparse across the board for all ...Read more

Kevin Cable/Dreamstime/TNS

After canker catastrophe, scientists want to bring back Florida's zest for citrus

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Floridians still shudder at the memory. The knock on the door. The warnings to cooperate or be arrested. Then chain-saw crews destroying prized lemon and orange trees in an effort to wipe out citrus canker.

And all for nothing. Despite the loss of almost 900,000 trees in residential areas, the state’s eradication ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Get $1,000 Into Your Emergency Fund Painlessly

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

The most important thing you can do to make your personal economy strong is to have an umbrella -- an emergency fund with enough money in it to pay all your bills for six months. And it needs to be safe and secure in a bank account.

You read that right -- half a year's income! Wait. You can't imagine being able to save even 50 bucks? No worries...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Another Brilliant Way to Use WD-40 Around the House

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I had to laugh when I opened my mail to read how one reader was able to get his glass shower doors so clean and sparkly that they looked like new. I had a can of his remedy sitting right there next to my computer.

Hold on! Than can of WD-40 was NOT there to be used as a computer screen cleaner. I've never tried it, do not intend to and hope you...Read more