Home & Leisure


Growing my first pot plant was easy -- until it was time to smoke it

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES — For almost as long as I've known about the cannabis plant, I've wanted to grow my own weed. This is partly because I like everything about it; not just the psychoactive effect of combusting and inhaling it, but also the way it looks, from the slender serrated fan leaves to the densely packed flowers shimmering with a crystal-like...Read more


Carla Fried: Out-of-pocket -- the healthcare number you need to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Beyond premiums and deductibles, a bigger potential expense

You know what your household spends each month for your health insurance premium. And you likely know how much you need to kick in — your annual deductible — to cover medical bills before insurance starts actually covering things.

But what about your maximum annual out-of-pocket ...Read more

Social Graces: How to address a friend who keeps bringing up your past

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Your friend keeps embarrassing you in social circles by bringing up things you did in the past for laughs. How do you gracefully put a stop to it?

A: This is a great question because I have experienced this issue firsthand. A friend has done it to me for years. My usual response is to smile and try to laugh off whatever tale she is ...Read more


Day traders take wall street by storm again in record dip buying

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

On Monday at around 1 p.m. in New York, just as U.S. stocks were gripped by the worst trading session in months, Google searches for the “Dow Jones” spiked.

By the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had clawed back some of the biggest losses, and the next day posted its best performance in a month.

This week is lesson to ...Read more


Susan Tompor: Ready to sell your used car? You may be surprised by its value

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

I'd never, ever call my 2004 Pacifica a clunker. But it has played one in print more than once when I've written about how old cars are bringing home some serious cash.

Back in 2010, used cars were in hot demand and short supply after a Great Recession strategy took many older cars off the road as a way to push new metal off the lot.

Cash-for-...Read more

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Florida homebuyers should rent and wait out housing boom, experts say

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Researchers are urging Florida homebuyers to consider renting while they wait for the state’s overheated market to cool as soaring prices in South Florida hit records in June.

Statewide, they say, homes are overvalued by 21.76%. creating a risk that buyers could get stuck with overpriced homes for significant periods of time until prices ...Read more

Ellen M. Banner/Digital/TNS

After watching decades of gentrification, Seattle church calls on city to return land

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

At a small park near his church, the Rev. Robert Jeffrey Sr. sees a chance for Seattle to take a step toward righting decades of housing discrimination and gentrification in the historically Black Central District.

Jeffrey's New Hope Missionary Baptist Church once owned a nearby plot of land in what is now the Spruce Street Mini Park. In 1969, ...Read more


'Upzoning' in my backyard? California bill won't turbocharge home building, study says

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A bill advancing through the California Legislature to allow for denser home building in single-family zones would be likely to produce an uptick in the state’s housing supply, but the so-called upzoning probably won’t cause mass redevelopment, according to a report published Wednesday.

The study by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation ...Read more

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'Mega-development' for the Chicago's South Side gets official nod

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The Chicago City Council has approved the sale of the former Michael Reese Hospital site and zoning for a $4 billion mixed-use redevelopment, inching the proposed Bronzeville lakefront project closer to breaking ground.

The $97 million sale of the medical campus will allow a coalition of development companies to move forward on nearly 8 million...Read more


Real estate Q&A: Can my HOA charge me $1,000 to have a tree removed?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: I would like to remove a tree on our homeowner association’s property in front of my house. My association wants to charge me around $1,000 for removing the tree, stump grinding and replacing the sod. My question is, can I be charged for this procedure? —Rita

A: Landscaping on your community’s common property belongs to the community ...Read more

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'We Don't Have Much, but This Is Our Home'

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

DALLAS — Juana, a 52-year-old Mexican immigrant who has lived in the northwest part of this city for more than a decade, was carefully packing the family photos that had decorated the walls of her one-bedroom apartment when her phone rang.

It was almost 3 p.m. and her landlord had given her until 5 p.m. to pay the nearly $12,000 she owed in ...Read more


Carla Fried: Medicare Part B premiums headed higher for millions of retirees

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, the government picks up the vast majority of your medical bills. But not all. And the cost of a key part of Medicare coverage is expected to cost higher-income households significantly more in the coming years.

Medicare Part B means testing

Nearly all enrollees are required to pay a monthly premium for ...Read more

David McNew/Getty Images North America/TNS

Another month, another record: SoCal home prices hit all-time high

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Southern California's real estate market hit another historic peak in June, with home prices soaring to yet another all-time high, though analysts see the extreme bidding wars of the last year beginning to ease.

June's median home price of $680,000 tops the previous record of $667,000, set in May, according to data released Tuesday by data firm...Read more


Stop feeding, cooling birds if you want to really help them

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A mysterious, unidentified contagious disease is sickening and killing birds in Middle Atlantic states, and it is breaking the hearts of bird lovers who are being told to remove feeders and bird baths from their yards.

On July 1, the Pennsylvania Game Commission released an alert recommending that people remove their bird feeders and baths ...Read more

Arianne Cohen: Why technical high schools help boys more than girls, and how to spot a high-quality program

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Say your beloved high-schooler is less than spectacular at academics. “I think we all feel comfortable saying that four-year college may not be the perfect fit for every kid,” says Eric Brunner, a professor of economics and policy at the University of Connecticut. These days trade schools teach everything from the trades to graphics to sound...Read more


As the eviction moratorium expires, South Florida renters are left vulnerable

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Many renters, unable to pay rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, could be forced from their homes soon.

A federal moratorium on evictions will expire at the end of the month, giving landlords the ability to boot tenants for first time in over a year. Many renters will become vulnerable to homelessness or forced to seek scarce affordable housing, ...Read more


Carla Fried: Will you need long-term care? And what'll it cost?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Chances are you’ve come across a headline or two pointing out that retirement healthcare costs will likely run well into the six figures. What often gets lost in translation is that those scary estimated costs are spread out over a retirement that is expected to last 20 or more years.

As an analysis by T. Rowe Price calmly pointed out, when ...Read more

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Now it's possible to file for bankruptcy even if you can't afford the fees

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It’s tough to file for personal bankruptcy when you’re flat broke.

That’s why a number of South Florida bankruptcy law firms are offering clients “no-money-down” or “low-money-down” plans to help ease their long trip back to financial health when they file for Chapter 7 under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The provision allows people ...Read more

Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer/Dreamstime/TNS

Robinhood Sets Sights on a $35 Billion Valuation in Its IPO

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Robinhood Markets Inc. is seeking a valuation of $35 billion in its initial public offering, just short of the highest analyst projections, as the free trading app advances toward a debut likely to draw in buyers from its own novice investor base.

The company at the center of this year’s meme stock frenzy will market 55 million shares for $38...Read more

Life Skills: Should you invite your work spouse home to meet your real spouse?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Your work spouse wants to come over and meet your real spouse. How should you proceed?

A: For some people, having their work spouse meet their real spouse is a completely uncomplicated event. Of course these two important people in your life want to meet each other, right? If it’s that easy, it’s that easy. No need to think too hard ...Read more