Home & Leisure



Everyday Cheapskate: Problems, Mistakes and Mysteries -- and How to Solve Them

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Laundry challenges, it seems, come in every size, shape, and intensity. Rather than thinking there is no solution for that stain, shrunken item or another laundry disaster, consider the ways you can recover and renew situations gone bad.


Don't be too quick to toss out that favorite sweater that just got shrunk in the hot wash or went ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: In Investing, No Risk Means No Reward

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Dear Cheapskate: This may be the ultimate in stupid questions but it's been plaguing me for a while. Is there any value in converting my existing 401(k) into cash without removing the funds from my 401(k)? Do they even allow that? I hate losing all that lovely money as things dip and swirl. I would continue to contribute at my existing rate, 12%...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Clever Readers Share Their Best Time- and Money-Saving Tips

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

My email inbox, much like yours, I'm sure, is often brimming with spam, ads and all kinds of other delete-worthy messages. But I dare not do a big global delete to empty it out because I would miss all your super fun, amazingly helpful and otherwise downright fun tips and tricks. Today, I'm sharing.

I enjoy baking, but don't like measuring ...Read more


Only richest 20% of Americans still have excess pandemic savings

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans outside the wealthiest 20% of the country have run out of extra savings and now have less cash on hand than they did when the pandemic began, according to the latest Federal Reserve study of household finances.

For the bottom 80% of households by income, bank deposits and other liquid assets were lower in June this year than they ...Read more

Johnny Milano/Sun Sentinel/TNS

Floridians stunned by Citizens Insurance 'depopulation' letters

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Tens of thousands of customers of Florida's state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp. are getting a stunning surprise in their mailboxes.

It’s a letter from Citizens’ “Depopulation Unit” stating their policies have been assumed by a private-market company.

Cause for celebration? Not if the private company’s estimated annual ...Read more

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS

The race is on for more EV charging stations at stores, offices and apartments

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When city approval of a proposed $350 million skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles was on the line, project manager Hamid Behdad knew he had to give in to the last-minute demand of a planning commissioner to quadruple the number of electric vehicle charging stations in the condominium tower.

"When you are in the heat of the hearing in the last ...Read more

There's room for a pet in your heart, but is there room in your budget?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans will spend more than $140 billion on their pets this year.

Much of that will go to normal expenses like food, toys and routine checkups, according to the American Pet Products Association. But sometimes Scooby finds his way into mysteries that can lead to eye-popping price tags.

"As anyone with a pet knows, things are going to come ...Read more


What does it cost to build a fire pit?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

They constantly rank among the top requested design features on American Society of Landscape Architecture surveys. Among outdoor decor renovations, “fire features” (fire pits and fireplaces) were among the top: Purchases of them rose 18 percent in 2022, according to the “2023 Houzz & Home Study.”

Affordability may be part of the fire ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Simple Tips to Persuade Your Car Keep Going for 200,000 Miles or Longer

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

With new and used cars still painfully expensive, it seems that Americans are holding on to their vehicles longer. The average age of a passenger vehicle on the road has just hit a record 12.5 years. And no wonder now that the average monthly car payment for new vehicles hit $725 in the first quarter of 2023. Suddenly, for many, taking on that ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

California home insurers plan return to fire zones under new deal

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After a summer that saw many of California's top home insurers pull back from the state market, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara announced Thursday that he struck a deal with the insurance industry to encourage new coverage in the state.

Insurers, Lara said, agreed to return to the high-risk fire zones in the hills and canyons of California ...Read more

Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS

LA's first legal 3-D-printed house is here. It was built by students in just 15 months

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — Tucked alongside a large dorm building on the fringes of Woodbury University's campus in Burbank is a small but very eye-catching house. The 425-square-foot home is contained by a gently curving concrete form equipped with a generous porch and a dramatic sloping roof. Slender, carefully staggered floor-to-ceiling windows gently ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Who is supposed to fix electrical issues in shared wall?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I live in an apartment building that was converted to condominiums decades ago. Given the age of the building, many unit owners are doing extensive upgrades. During these upgrades, several unit owners discovered the electrical outlets on the shared wall to the abutting unit are connected to the electrical source in the adjoining unit. Whose ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

From ice cream to illusions, immersive attractions are here to stay, and they're one of the brightest spots in retail

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Several years ago, immersive experiences showcasing popular artists such as Prince and Vincent van Gogh began popping up around Chicago, putting life back into the streets and filling once-vacant storefronts.

It was unclear whether immersive-style attractions, which allow guests to interact with the exhibits around them, were a passing fad or ...Read more

Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

This lender helps small developers build houses in Philadelphia

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Studying accounting at La Salle University, Latisha Redmond knew she wanted to go into business: “You don’t have to take a state job or do the cookie-cutter deal. You can create whatever you want.” In 2012 she started buying Philadelphia rowhouses (at what now look like bargain prices).

Jesse Fells was a star basketball guard at ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: My Favorite Kitchen Money Savers

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I'm crazy about gadgets, everything from quirky can openers to smartphones. Hand me a Swiss Army knife and I'm in heaven -- the more blades and utensils the better.

Today I want to tell you about four gadgets for the kitchen that I consider wise investments -- money savers!

All are inexpensive enough to pay for themselves in a short period of ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Groceries Last Even Longer

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A recent column on the proper storage for fresh fruits and vegetables generated a lot of great reader feedback -- plus dozens of new tips and tricks to make all grocery items last longer. I love this stuff so much, I must admit to being slightly compulsive -- gathering, testing and assessing techniques. Here are a few of my new favorites:

...Read more


What's the difference between a home renovation and a remodel?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Before you take on a new project, it’s important to understand the differences between a remodel versus renovation.

Not only does each one come with its own range of costs, time frames and permit rules, but they may also differ in the value you’ll recoup from your investment. Considerations like these can help guide your decision and ...Read more


How much hardwood flooring costs, and how to save

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Hardwood flooring provides one of the best returns on investment. The National Realtor Association’s 2022 Remodeling Impact Report states that homeowners who install new wood flooring before selling their homes recoup 118 percent of the cost at resale. That means hardwood floors essentially pay for themselves.

But before deciding to take on ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Make Brown-Bagging Better Than Buying Lunch

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I know people who try to convince themselves they can buy lunch every day for less than they'd spend if they brought a bagged lunch to work. That kind of flawed thinking could well be the reason those same people complain that they do not make enough money to save any of it. Eating lunch out day after day is expensive. Here, let me do the math: ...Read more

TOM GRALISH/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Most of us are worried about Christmas shopping, but we're going to spend a lot anyway

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Ho, ho, happy September.

It still feels like summer. The kids have only been back at school for a matter of days. And astronomical fall is still a week away.

But, hate to break it to you: It’s pretty much the holiday season.

At least in the retail world.

Deloitte unveiled its holiday shopping forecast last week, predicting retail sales ...Read more