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Everyday Cheapskate: New Restaurant Fees Showing up on the Bill

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Times are tough. Inflation is at a 40-year high. Restaurants continue to face budget-busting challenges from the pandemic and labor crisis. But that's not all. As I write this sentence, food prices have increased by 18%, a number that may be even higher as you read.

Here's the weird thing. You may look at the menu for your favorite restaurant ...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Proposed surf park in California desert is rejected by La Quinta City Council

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A developer's proposal to build a surfing lagoon in the Coachella Valley desert has been rejected by the city of La Quinta after residents raised concerns about noise, lighting and the resort's substantial water footprint in a time of severe drought.

The City Council's five members voted unanimously Wednesday night against a zoning change ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What should we do about lease after long-time tenant's death?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We have rented an apartment to the same gentleman for the last 10 years. We sign a new lease each year, and he has been a great tenant. Sadly, he recently passed away unexpectedly. What are we supposed to do with his belongings and the lease? — Sandy

A: When someone passes away, their legal existence continues in their “estate.” An ...Read more

Arvin Temkar/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS

How zombies transformed this town in Georgia

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In 2011, “The Walking Dead” needed to find a downtown to turn into a fictional city for Season 3 of what was becoming the biggest basic cable show of all time.

Michael Riley, locations manager for the AMC zombie series, thought of the town of Senoia, Georgia, 35 miles southwest of Atlanta, with its charming stretch of historic buildings and...Read more

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Surfing in the desert? A developer's plan for a surf lagoon sparks outrage

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

In a part of the Coachella Valley where exclusive neighborhoods wrap around lush golf courses and ponds, a stretch of open desert could be transformed into a new sort of artificial oasis.

A developer has plans for hundreds of homes and a resort featuring a surfing lagoon. If La Quinta, California's City Council endorses the proposal, the sandy ...Read more

Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

To sell or not to sell? How home sellers are adjusting to a softening market

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With the frenzied housing market coming to an end, some sellers are considering putting their homes up for rent instead.

Rising mortgage rates and lower buyer demand are causing sellers to feel less hopeful about garnering high prices for their homes. As a result, they’re weighing their options when it comes to whether to wait out the market,...Read more

JESSICA GRIFFIN/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

More of Philadelphia's apartments are being built in a factory and put together later like LEGOs

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

One morning last month, a crane swung massive boxes across a clear blue sky and gently slotted them among the apartments under construction at 23rd and Race Streets in Philadelphia. Inside the boxes were toilets in bathrooms, closets in bedrooms, countertops in kitchens — all the makings of homes.

The 160-unit Edgewater II is one of the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Make It Yourself: Copper Cleaner, Aluminum Cleaner and Dishwasher Detergent

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are so many good reasons to make your own household cleaners. It's cheaper, healthier and greener, too. The homemade household cleaners I share with you from time to time do not contain chemicals. That means you can always count on them to be nontoxic.

Dear Cheapskate: The copper post tops on my deck are becoming tarnished. Do you know of...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: For the Love of a Good Iron

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

While it's true that life is uncertain, there's at least one thing of which I am very sure: I will never be held hostage for refusing to iron.

Unlike Billie Jo Tyrrell, whose son Robert held her at gunpoint for six hours because she refused to iron his clothes, I love to iron. I'm not saying that I would be that thrilled to do it for a 29-year ...Read more

St. Louis Realtor trade group apologizes for discrimination, aims to boost Black homeownership

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The St. Louis region’s largest real estate trade group on Monday unveiled a plan to boost African American homeownership as part of an effort to redress its decades-long role in perpetuating housing discrimination.

The St. Louis Realtors say the new initiative is an atonement for how it helped to keep the region segregated; many African ...Read more

Biden student debt cancellation plan won't lower college costs, labor economist says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Beth Akers began her freshman year at Ithaca College in upstate New York. But she had qualms about the debt she would take on at that private school, so she transferred to a less-expensive public school: the University at Albany-the State University of New York, or SUNY.

“And the rest, as they say, was history,” Akers said in an email. “I...Read more

Tyger Williams/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

Will inflation push Pa. legislature to give cost-of-living raises to state and school retirees?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With inflation topping 8% this year for the first time since 1981, Pennsylvania officials are mulling what to do about state and public school retirees' demands for the first pension cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) since 2004.

In the state Senate, two Democrats, Katie Muth and John Kane, who represent districts in Philadelphia's western ...Read more

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Southern California's housing slowdown shows in August home prices

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Southern California median home price remained unchanged in August from the previous month as rising mortgage rates made houses even less affordable for many people.

The six-county region's median held steady at $740,000, the fourth consecutive month prices didn't increase, according to data released Tuesday by real estate firm DQNews.

...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Don't Be Scared; Be Prepared

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If there is one thing most people take for granted, it is food. U.S. supermarkets are always well stocked, and we don't think much about how all that food gets there. When pushed to consider it, I wager most of us assume there are huge warehouses somewhere filled with enough food to feed the nation for some unknown period of time.

The truth is,...Read more

Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Luxury hotel proposal pits celebrities against celebrities in wealthy LA enclave

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A proposal to build a luxury hotel in a swanky, wooded enclave of Benedict Canyon has pitted some of L.A.'s biggest deal makers, movie executives and celebrities against each other in a pitched battle over the future of one of L.A.'s most expensive neighborhoods.

The Beverly Hills-adjacent site of the upscale hotel project — in a neighborhood...Read more

Survey: Half of workers who got a raise or higher-paying job say their pay didn't keep up with inflation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Americans are seeing the fastest wage growth in decades, and the majority of workers in a Bankrate survey say they’ve gotten at least some kind of income boost over the past 12 months — but the hottest inflation in almost four decades could be keeping them from fully reaping those benefits.

Nearly half of workers (48%) got a raise this past...Read more

Average credit score remains at record high, but warning signs abound

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The average American’s credit score is 716 according to FICO, the company that created the most-used credit scoring formula. FICO publishes this data every six months, and this is the third time in a row that the average credit score has been 716.

Before this plateau, there had been a steady upward trend. The average credit score has not ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

Alexis Leondis: Savers, it's time to choose an online bank

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

You should reconsider the bank you use, at least for some of your savings. Chances are, if you're a customer at one of the major retail banks, you’re leaving real money on the table.

High-yield online savings accounts are finally starting to feel like they are in fact, high-yielding — or at least higher yielding than they’ve been in ...Read more

Dreamstime/Dreamstime/TNS

More Americans are stuck with long-term credit-card debt

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

More U.S. consumers are saddled with credit-card debts for longer periods of time, according to a survey, struggling to pay down amid high inflation and rising interest rates.

Sixty percent of credit-card debtors say they have been in credit-card debt for at least a year, up from 50% a year ago, CreditCards.com said in a report Monday. The ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Careful! The Kids Are Watching

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

If you speak English in your home, your kids are not likely to come out speaking Italian. Kids learn through observation and imitation. And they don't miss a thing. Children are shaped from the very beginning of life by the way their parents live. They are ever-attentive witnesses of grown-up behaviors. They take their cues from what they see ...Read more