Home & Leisure

Natasha Frost: How to avoid paying $135 for a $12 prescription

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

After I recently experienced a mild allergic reaction to a bee sting, my doctor prescribed prednisone, a gentle steroid to help bring down the inflammation. At the RiteAid near my home, I paid $9.99 for six pills, to be taken over three days. It seemed like a reasonable price -- until I got home, searched Google and realized the Walgreens nearby...Read more

Jeff D. Opdyke: Call it gig, freelance, whatever — a guide to finding project work

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

As the unemployment rate approaches 14%, older workers are suffering disproportionately in the pandemic. For some, though, there might be a reprieve: freelancing.

Though not traditionally an arena where Gen X and boomer workers seek employment, the growth in work from home, online jobs and the elevated rates of joblessness are drawing 55+ ...Read more

How to keep backyard play sets clean during the pandemic this summer

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With public playgrounds closed or offering restricted hours, the safest place for children to have outdoor fun is in the security of their own backyard, right?

Yes, say health officials, but families should still adhere to some basic safety precautions.


Since the coronavirus is most easily spread ...Read more

Apple taps first $400 million of $2.5 billion California housing pledge

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Making a down payment on its housing pledge, Apple announced Monday it has committed $400 million to affordable housing projects this year across California, including immediate assistance for struggling Bay Area tenants and four, new low-income projects across the region.

The short-term aid and construction projects mark the first installment ...Read more

Social Graces: Here's what to say to people not wearing their face mask correctly

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: How should you tell people they are wearing their mask incorrectly?

A: If you encounter someone wearing a mask incorrectly, be gracious and give the person the benefit of the doubt. Avoid putting anyone on the defense by offering unsolicited advice. Instead take a helpful approach. Smile with your eyes, and say something as simple as, &...Read more

Hot Property: Matthew Perry cuts price on 'mansion in the sky'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- The price for Matthew Perry's "mansion in the sky" is coming back down to earth. The actor of "Friends" fame relisted his Century City penthouse this week for $27 million, down from $35 million last year.

Located within the Century high-rise, the full-floor residence was reimagined during Perry's ownership by architect Scott ...Read more

Neal Templin: 6 steps to reduce risk of a fire engulfing your home

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Hotter, drier weather has produced a spate of destructive fires, but there are key steps homeowners can take to lessen the risks.

This includes understanding which communities are most threatened by wildfires before you buy a house, as well as making your home and yard more fire-resistant after you move in.

Even as the climate keeps warming, ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: What can we do about loud, partying neighbors?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: We live next door to a house that has recently turned into a busy short-term vacation rental. The guests party to all hours outside in the pool and otherwise misbehave. We tried speaking to the owner and even calling the police. Nothing works. What can we do? -- Tracy

Q: Our neighbors are very loud. They yell and play loud music at all hours...Read more

Susan Tompor: As talk builds for second stimulus, questions remain about first payout

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

And now, time for "It's Not a Stimulus Scam, the Sequel."

First, consumers had to be assured in June that the navy blue Visa debit cards that just showed up in the mail beginning in late May really did contain stimulus money. The unexpected plastic card wasn't a scam or a special promotion, as some thought.

Now, letters from the U.S. ...Read more

Berkeley breaks ground on unprecedented project: Affordable apartments with a homeless shelter

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Berkeley, Calif., officials and nonprofit leaders broke ground Tuesday on housing for more than 200 homeless and low-income residents -- an unusual project set to become the city's largest affordable housing development.

The project, which will be built on a city-owned parking lot downtown, will include a unique mix of rental housing for low-...Read more

Office leasing in LA falls to lowest level since Great Recession

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Office leasing in Los Angeles County fell to its lowest point since the Great Recession in the second quarter as many businesses reeling from coronavirus restrictions and economic uncertainty halted their searches for new space.

Leasing transactions were about 60% to 70% below normal for that time of year, according to real ...Read more

Wade Millward: New opportunity for some service workers — solar installation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you're waiting for your job in services -- retail or otherwise -- to restart or to ramp back up to full hours, you might consider switching to solar installation, a fast-growing job market.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts solar installer jobs will grow by 63% between 2018 and 2028, for an addition of 6,100 jobs. Annual median ...Read more

2021 health plans granted leeway to limit consumers' benefit from drug coupons

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Without medication to manage her plaque psoriasis, Jennifer Brown's face, scalp, trunk and neck periodically become covered in painful red, flaky patches so dry they crack and bleed.

She has gotten relief from medications, but they come at a high price. For a while she was on Humira, made by AbbVie, with an average retail price of roughly $8,...Read more

Carla Fried: The best way to make college affordable

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Families committed to college, but with the good sense to also know that cost matters, have long had motivation to consider community college. The case for community college is even stronger today, with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis upending household finances.

And this is so not about settling. There are plenty of great careers...Read more

Carla Fried: A 401(k) loan to pay off credit cards is super messy

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

No matter how low interest rates are in many parts of our financial lives -- a 30-year fixed rate mortgage was 3.2% in late June, federal undergraduate student loans for the upcoming academic year have a fixed rate of 2.75% -- we know the rate charged on unpaid credit card balances to be insanely expensive: The average is nearly 17% these days. ...Read more

Susan Tompor: July 15 tax return deadline is right around the corner: What to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you still need to file that 2019 income tax return, it's time to get cracking.

July 15 is the new April 15 for those who still have not filed a tax return. The traditional April income tax deadline was extended this year for 2019 tax returns, due to the upheaval created by COVID-19.

The one-time extension applied for some state and ...Read more

In Florida Keys, $5.5 billion hurricane protection plan would buy 300 homes, raise thousands

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Protecting the Florida Keys from the future's stronger storms and rising seas involves retreating from the most dangerous spots. That process will be by choice, for now.

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a $5.5 billion plan to keep the island chain functioning after a devastating storm. It involves strengthening U.S. 1 in six...Read more

Hot Property: Will Arnett lists award-winning home for $11 million

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- There's always money in the banana stand, to borrow from the show "Arrested Development." But it might take a few more frozen banana sales to afford the Beverly Hills Post Office-area home of Will Arnett, who plays Gob Bluth on the show.

Listed for $10.995 million, the actor's steel-framed house is a reimagining of a design by ...Read more

Natasha Frost: 4 steps to avoiding a horrible co-living situation

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

With the unemployment rate at its highest since the Great Depression, perhaps you're one of the many Americans currently having difficult conversations -- or avoiding one -- on the topic of sharing space.

That might mean welcoming a roommate into your home, crashing with Mom and Pop for the foreseeable future, or taking the plunge to work from ...Read more

Some homeowners struggled to pay PACE improvement loans. The coronavirus made it harder

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- It wasn't until the work was done that Marcelino and Josefina Rodriguez said they learned the truth.

They had been signed up for a roughly $45,000 PACE home improvement loan at nearly 10% interest -- even though they said a woman working with the contractor told them their new roof and water heater would be free through a ...Read more