Home & Leisure



On Philanthropy: New study outlines unprecedented financial risk to many nonprofits

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Across the United States, more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations engage in remarkable work to transform lives, communities and the planet. Unfortunately, these organizations currently face a wide range of growing pressures.

Consider these facts:

--In 2013, nonprofit organizations employed more than 10.6 percent of the workforce (14.4 ...Read more

Susan Tompor: Drive for Uber? Deliver for Amazon? Here are tax rules to know

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

The nasty secret of being a new entrepreneur is that your tax bill might be way higher than you'd imagine.

When you're driving for Uber, delivering for Amazon, picking up freelance jobs or otherwise participating in the gig economy, you aren't working for a boss who is required to withhold taxes from a regular paycheck. As a result, you're ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: Help! My neighbor's hedge is encroaching on my property

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: Our neighbors have planted a hedge about a foot over our property line. We have approached them several times asking that they move the hedge onto their property, but they won't. What can we do now? -- Kathryn

A: You already started the right way by trying to speak with your neighbors about the problem and are smart to be concerned about ...Read more

Here's How: House Design for Outdoor Privacy

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I have purchased a lot in a new subdivision and I am planning the house. My family likes to be outdoors on a deck and patio. What are some design considerations which will provide outdoor privacy? -- Kendra N.

Dear Kendra: In many new subdivisions, the first thing the builders do is knock down all the trees and vegetation, which ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Readers Want to Know About Air Fryers and Cleaning Dirty Leather

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Today, I am responding to two questions pulled out of my overly stuffed email inbox. I love when my readers write to me, especially when they ask the questions that so many others are asking. I believe that means we can refer to these as FAQs -- frequently asked questions!

Dear Mary: Air fryers are all the rage and, from what everyone tells me,...Read more

How to choose pre-move upgrades on a new house

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

One of the most exciting parts of buying a brand-new home is picking out the cabinets, flooring, fixtures and finishes to make it your own. Going into a designer showroom is like being a kid in a candy shop, and there's a lot to choose from.

Homebuyers need to keep in mind, however, that it all comes with a price tag, and the model home that ...Read more

Luxuries in office buildings: There's an app for that

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

CHICAGO -- For many Chicago workers, a day at the office may soon feel more like a night at the Ritz.

Two of the largest office landlords in Chicago, Tishman Speyer and Sterling Bay, are set to unveil concierge-type amenities packages at their properties, accessible by smartphone apps.

"Bringing services to the fingertips of employees is the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Could You Go a Year Without Spending?

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

A few years back, Eric and Donna Reed shopped for groceries and household products just once for an entire year. How on Earth? I know. That was my reaction, too.

The Reeds got the idea after reading a column in USA Today wherein the writer confessed to his weakness when it came to buying clothes. So driven to buy new sweaters, slacks or shoes ...Read more

Millennials — paying the rent, hoping for help later

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It's not an easy time to be young and low-paid in the Bay Area.

But most millennials are still making their own way -- only about 1 in 10 in the region get help from their parents to pay rent, according to a new study by Apartment List.

Young people in the Bay Area face high costs of living -- rental prices remain among the steepest in the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Can you depend on a rate lock?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A rate lock is a commitment by a mortgage lender to lend a stated amount to a specified borrower posting a specified property as collateral, at a stipulated interest rate and points. An important proviso is that the loan must be closed within a specified "lock period," which is usually 15 to 60 days. The lock protects the applicant against the ...Read more

The Mortgage Professor: Can you depend on a rate lock?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

A rate lock is a commitment by a mortgage lender to lend a stated amount to a specified borrower posting a specified property as collateral, at a stipulated interest rate and points. An important proviso is that the loan must be closed within a specified "lock period," which is usually 15 to 60 days. The lock protects the applicant against the ...Read more

Facebook, with 2,000 employees in Seattle, expands into new building

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

SEATTLE -- Facebook, which has doubled the size of its workforce in Seattle in two years, has started moving into the second of four buildings the social-networking firm will be leasing in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood.

The inaugural workers in the office, members of Facebook's infrastructure team, didn't have to go far. The new digs,...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: A New Kitchen Is Her Reward for Getting out of Debt

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Imagine for a moment that you were not in debt and didn't have to send those big payments to credit card companies every month. What would you do with that money instead?

One reader I heard from recently faced that exact and, may I say, awesome, situation. Her reward for getting out of debt was the freedom to start paying herself every month ...Read more

Small Spaces: Danish Concept of 'Hygge'

Consumer / Small Spaces /

Millennials as a group are likely living in more nontraditional patterns than any other American population group. They are young, but many are well on their way down their professional path. While some have not yet landed their dream job, others are working two jobs to make ends meet, as they live independently. They face challenges and are ...Read more

How hard is it to build in Silicon Valley? Here's one example

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS GATOS, Calif. -- Los Gatos has planned for homes and commercial development on the site of the last orchard in town for more than two decades. But even with willing investors, millions spent in project costs, more than 100 community meetings and a lawsuit by developers, not a single house or shop has been built.

Welcome to some of the ...Read more

In red-hot Bay Area housing market, 'love letters' help buyers close the deal

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

When Nicole Nuss saw the little yellow house in Vallejo, Calif., with its white picket fence and huge yard for her beloved dog, she knew she wanted to live there more than she'd ever wanted anything.

But in a real estate market where homes fly off the shelf in days and buyers compete with cash offers that are tens of thousands of dollars over ...Read more

Forecasters: Philly's millennial transplants will depart for the 'burbs. Millennials: Nah

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

PHILADELPHIA -- No, Philadelphia's millennial transplants haven't run off to the suburbs just yet.

Researchers have been curious about what's happening to the young people who moved to the city from 2005 to 2016 -- a 41 percent hike, bigger than that experienced by any of the 10 other largest U.S. metropolises.

Has the influx slowed? Have the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Frugal Ways to Use This for That

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

I love to discover a second use for something most of us have around the house or can easily find. Today's first tip may give you a big surprise, and for sure a good laugh. By the way -- this really works!

POTTY LINER. Line the bottom of baskets and pots with a disposable diaper (yes, clean and unused!) before you put in the potting soil and ...Read more

House Calls: Buying First Investment

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Ms. Lank: My husband has a chance to buy the house next door to us. They would give us a mortgage, and we would rent it out. He was wondering whether you have any guidelines for how we could know whether it would pay to do it. Any info or advice you have would be helpful. -- B. L.

Answer: You folks are following my standard advice: As real ...Read more

Art of Design: Making Your Home Unique

Consumer / Art of Design /

The biggest fear that many homeowners have when decorating their home is to get it wrong and/or to end up with an interior that looks like a stage set, a furniture store or worse yet, like the Joneses. No matter how much you might like someone else's interior design, everyone wants a look of their own. Usually your home is your largest ...Read more