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Everyday Cheapskate: How to Beat Inflation at the Supermarket

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Could you handle a big announcement that overnight food costs in the United States have miraculously dropped by 20%? That you will see this miracle in your local grocery or supermarket on your next visit? You can if you pay attention and then heed what you're about to read. Know this: There's not one single way to reduce your family's food costs...Read more

Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee/TNS

Here's how much you have to earn to qualify as middle class, new study says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The household income required to be considered middle class in the United States varies depending on where you live. In California, the price is high.

As of 2022, middle-class household income ranged between $61,270 and $183,810 in the Golden State, according to a recent analysis from personal finance site GoBankingRates.

That’s roughly a 50...Read more

Allison Schrager: Private equity is no place for your nest egg

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Retirement is expensive. If you’re lucky, yours will last a few decades, and you’ll be earning no or very little income. So if you want to have enough money when you retire, you basically have three options: Save more, take more risk with your investments, or work longer.

Many people find the first and third options undesirable or ...Read more

David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

No one likes shopping for home or auto insurance. Here are tips to make saving less onerous

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Jay Schleicher has seen his fair share of insurance claims during his career as an agent.

Like when a renter fluffed a blanket and tore down a ceiling sprinkler, flooding their townhome unit with $40,000 in water damage. Or when a homeowner came back from vacation to a wet, stinky basement thanks to a backed-up sewer drain. Earlier this month, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Erase the Miles with a Birthday Cake Kit, Plus More Great Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love to celebrate, and it is always fun to come up with new ways to mark special occasions. Everyone should have a birthday cake on their birthday, but for that faraway friend or family member, sometimes a homemade cake just isn't in the cards -- until now!

BIRTHDAY CAKE KIT. Just because you are not geographically close doesn't mean you can'...Read more

Cynthia Farmer/Dreamstime/TNS

The humble radiator is getting a climate-friendly upgrade

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Open the door to an apartment at 2 Charlton Street, and the space will look like any of the 3.6 million units in New York.

That is, with one notable exception: The windows are likely to be closed in the winter, a rarity in older New York buildings where the heat is often blasting from radiators. And yet the unit will be a Goldilocks ...Read more

US mortgage rates decrease for second week, falling to 7.02%

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Mortgage rates in the U.S. eased further, relieving some pressure on buyers forging ahead in a tough U.S. housing market.

The average for a 30-year, fixed loan was 7.02%, down from 7.09% last week, Freddie Mac said in a statement Thursday. It’s the fifth-straight week with mortgage rates above 7%.

While the recent pullback helps to ease ...Read more

Robert Willett/The News & Observer/TNS

'Sandwich generation': How this family built an ADU for aging parents in their yard

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

RALEIGH, North Carolina — It’s Friday night. Sara and Lee Stein are leaving their home to meet her mother and stepfather, Abby and Bob Millhauser, for an early dinner.

From their front door, they walk 42 steps to reach her parents’ brand-new, 940-square-foot accessory dwelling unit (ADU). It’s even less (14 steps) if they leave from the...Read more

Ana Ramirez/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS

San Diego's coastal zoning loophole 'pitting neighbor against neighbor'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego zoning loophole is pitting neighbors against one another in Crown Point and making every coastal community in the city, from Ocean Beach to La Jolla, vulnerable to similar battles.

All across the city’s coastal zone, large backyard apartments can be built directly next to a neighboring property with no setback or ...Read more

Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Buying a home in Southern California? There are now more options

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

For much of the past year, the Southern California housing market has been defined by an extreme shortage of homes for sale.

The abnormal scarcity — compounded by the region's long-running underproduction of housing — emerged when homeowners chose not to sell and give up pandemic-era mortgage rates. The so-called seller strike helped pushed...Read more

Real estate Q&A: How can we facilitate home renovations?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We plan on fully remodeling our kitchen and having some other work done on our home. What can we do to make sure the process goes smoothly? — Ted

A: Planning properly and having reasonable expectations is essential when getting into any major project.

When hiring contractors and drawing up plans, try to be very specific about what you ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Caught in the Credit Card Debt Trap

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: I have three credit cards with interest rates upwards of 30%, the result of late payments in the past. With my limited budget, I can only manage the minimum monthly payment on each, which is more than $200 per account.

Despite paying on time for many months now, huge finance (interest) charges have pushed me over the limit on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Put Some Sparkle in Your Spring Cleaning

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If the arrival of spring has you energized you the way it has me, I say let's take advantage and do a bit of spring cleaning!

Earl Proulx's wonderful book "Yankee Home Hints" is bursting with tips for cheap, easy, quick home cleaning. I could sit for hours reading this classic tome. Instead, I've plucked a few of Earl's spring-cleaning tips on ...Read more

Don Pollard/Office of New York Gov. Kathy Hochul/TNS/TNS

Brooklyn's Red Hook Marine Terminal takes step toward mixed-use future: Hochul, Adams

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A once-bustling but worn-down industrial Brooklyn marine terminal could be converted into a mixed-use area, perhaps including housing, officials said Tuesday.

Mayor Adams said the city aims to “reimagine” the 122-acre port, which is nestled between Red Hook and the Columbia Street Waterfront District. The terminal is set to be transferred ...Read more

Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post/TNS

Skyrocketing home insurance rates, loss of coverage roil Colorado's strained housing market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Coloradans looking to buy homes or simply hold onto their property face a barrage of challenges: a white-hot real estate market, high interest rates and soaring property taxes. You can add surging home insurance rates to the pile of problems eroding the landscape of affordable housing options.

Colorado homeowners are reporting premium increases...Read more

Treat buy now, pay later loans like real debt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It’s been close to two years since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicated it was looking to tighten regulations on popular “buy now, pay later” services. Since then, the sector has grown to $300 billion. It’s time to bring meaningful transparency to an industry that has drawn in legions of consumers, including those ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Burning Mail Is Never a Good Thing

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

It's been years since I read the news story about a U.S. Postal Service worker in Louisiana who, after getting caught, pleaded guilty to destroying mail -- a federal crime. Turns out that for at least 18 months, instead of delivering the mail to his postal customers, this guy took it home and burned it. He estimated he burned 20 tubs of mail. ...Read more

Maritza Cruz/Bay Area News Group/TNS

Newsom's latest insurance move could help Californians avoid canceled policies -- but they'll have to pay

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As some Californians continue scrambling for ways to affordably insure their homes, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a push to expedite how quickly insurance companies can increase rates.

Speedier approvals for rate hikes is one of the key reforms insurers say is necessary for them to stay afloat amid a growing number of costly claims in ...Read more

Piecing together the puzzle of college financial aid

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

There's been a lot of drama this spring for families seeking college financial aid.

The trouble stems from a revamp of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), where changes and technology glitches have been an ongoing source of frustration for families.

The federal government, meanwhile, was significantly delayed in relaying data...Read more

Home insurance mistakes to avoid as we enter hurricane season

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Nobody likes paying for homeowner insurance.

That’s been especially true in Florida, where over the past few years, as more frequent storms and high litigation rates have doubled the cost of insurance for just about everyone who owns a home.

It’s tempting for homeowners, particularly seniors on fixed incomes, to put off critical upgrades ...Read more