Home & Leisure



On the House: For seniors looking to age at home, virtual villages offer support

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

It takes a village to raise a child, the old proverb says.

Turns out it also takes one to help an adult age.

In all corners of the United States, people who are growing older are turning to villages -- virtual villages, that is -- for support. Need a ride to the doctor? Someone to watch the cat while you're on vacation? The village can help. ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Ask Me Anything, Toilet Paper Pricing, Rust on Linens, Rusty Lettuce

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are few things as confusing to the price-conscious shopper as standing there in the toilet tissue aisle attempting to ascertain the best value. I can't think of a better time than today to review the simple math needed to come up with the best answer -- every time.

Dear Mary: Is there any way to reasonably comparison shop for toilet paper...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: All You Need to Know to Make Your Own Wool Dryer Balls

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Whenever I write about the benefits of using wool dryer balls in place of laundry softeners, I get a few responses gently raking me over the coals for suggesting we should spend money for commercially manufactured wool dryer balls when it's so easy to make them ourselves.

Yes, I could do that, and so could you. But unless you have a super cheap...Read more

Small Spaces: The New Trend Is No Trend

Consumer / Small Spaces /

It's spring, a fine time to talk about fresh design ideas. We are in a period that embraces just about anything; there is acceptance for every genre, from vintage to crisp, modern precision. Being freed from any specific look is liberating! As you arm yourself to complete a design project, this is good news.

Eclectic interiors are luscious to ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Clean out Clutter to Improve the Quality of Your Life

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

What would you do if you actually had to use everything you own, including all that stuff in the drawers, cupboards, closets, shelves and boxes in your kitchen, bedrooms, living room, basement, attic, garage, rafters, driveway, patio, side yard and cars?

Most of us will never accomplish such an overwhelming task. Instead, we pack it, stack it ...Read more

$1 million in retirement savings might run out before you do

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If you could retire with $1 million, would you rather move to a city where your money lasts longer, or would you choose for a place with more activities, access to more services -- and a higher cost?

If the city you choose is Fort Lauderdale, you can expect easy access to an active, urban lifestyle with highly rated restaurants, a popular beach...Read more

House Calls: Closing Value

Consumer / Edith Lank /

Hi, Edith: I read an article in which a writer suggested a method of estimating the value of one's home by analyzing "closing values." You responded by saying in part that there's nothing more accurate than recent "comparable" sales.

My question to you is this: What was the writer's definition of "closing values"? I took that to mean selling ...Read more

Art of Design: Finishing Touches: Accessories

Consumer / Art of Design /

Accessories are the accents that help personalize your home. Think of accessories like the jewelry one wears when dressing up. Accessories are decorative pillows, throws, objet d'art, vases, candy dishes, decanters, trays, cachepots and art. Surround yourselves with objects that are either meaningful, and that are things you love or reflect your...Read more

Still haven't filed your taxes? Here's how to maximize your refund and keep your data safe

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Good news for tax procrastinators: You have a little more time than you think to file your federal income tax forms.

Tax day this year is on Tuesday, April 17 because the usual deadline -- April 15 -- falls on a Sunday. And Monday, April 16 is Emancipation Day, a holiday observed in Washington, D.C.

Still, the deadline is creeping up. If you ...Read more

Hot Property: It was once Archie Bunker's place

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES--The former Malibu home of late actor Carroll O'Connor and documentary producer Nancy Fields O'Connor is back up for sale with a fresh new look. It's offered as a pocket listing, with an asking price in the $20-million range.

The beachfront house, which sits on a narrow lot on Broad Beach, was owned by the O'Connors for more than 30...Read more

'Tax transcript' program doesn't shield borrowers' data

Consumer / The Nation's Housing /

WASHINGTON -- In an era of unceasing horror stories about breaches of sensitive consumer information, here's some disquieting news for homebuyers: Federal auditors say the popular "tax transcript" program run by the IRS and used by millions of mortgage applicants a year lacks adequate security protections against disclosures of tax-return ...Read more

Downtown Fort Worth is growing fast, but is it becoming too wealthy and white?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

FORT WORTH, Tex. -- The growth of downtown Fort Worth during the past several decades is by just about any definition a tremendous success story.

But is the city center getting too wealthy for its own good?

Downtown Fort Worth's ZIP code (76102) is the sixth most gentrified neighborhood in the United States, according to recently released ...Read more

Bed in a box: Is buying a mattress online right for you?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

If it's been more than a few years since you've shopped for a new bed, mattress-buying has changed dramatically.

Although most people still prefer buying a mattress in a physical store, a research report from the Better Sleep Council, a nonprofit organization supported by the sleep-products industry, showed 27 percent of people would consider ...Read more

Real estate Q&A: House encroaches on utility easement — is this a problem?

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

Q: My house was built 2 feet into the utility easements. There is a utility pole with electric transmission wires 3 feet from the back of my house. If the pole should need to be replaced, would the utility company be able to place it in the same spot? -- William

A: Yes, and you might have some other concerns. An easement is a legal term for ...Read more

Here's How: Seal the Walls of a Brick House

Consumer / Here's How /

Dear James: I have a problem where some floors near the outside walls get damp when there is a heavy rain. The walls are brick over insulated stud walls. What, if anything, can I do to stop this problem? -- Jennifer K.

Dear Jennifer: The types of walls you have are called brick veneer. The 2x4 studded insulated wall supports the house and the ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Trucs in the Kitchen

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Fast-food runs, deli detours and grocery carts loaded with prepared food can drain a food budget faster than a houseful of hungry teenagers. The secret for slashing your family's food bill is to cook at home. And the way to become confident in the kitchen is to learn a few strategic trucs of the trade.

"Truc" (rhymes with "fluke") is a French ...Read more

Bay Area trend: Low earners move out, high earners move in

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

New residents to the Bay Area are earning far more than the people they're chasing out, a new report says, pushing up home prices and highlighting the gap between owners and renters in Silicon Valley.

Lower income workers moving out of the Bay Area were being replaced by younger workers making about $12,640 more annually from 2005 to 2016, ...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: Everything You Need to Know About HELs

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

Thinking of dipping into your home's equity? There was a time, and not so long ago, that a home equity loan, or HEL, was tough to get. It was generally considered a risk no prudent homeowner should consider.

Whereas mortgage lenders used to adhere to strict guidelines that kept homeowners from getting in over their heads, the financial services...Read more

Everyday Cheapskate: How to Prevent Pilling on Flannel Sheets

Consumer / Everyday Cheapskate /

There are a few things as comforting as slipping between super soft, comfy flannel sheets on a cold winter night.

But not all flannel is created equal. The problem with flannel and other raised fiber fabrics like fleece and knits is the heartbreak of "pills" -- those little raised balls that develop, creating a lumpy surface.

The solution to ...Read more

As China puts the brakes on overseas investment, Los Angeles' development boom takes a hit

Consumer / Home and Consumer News /

LOS ANGELES -- Last year, Chinese investors interested in buying or developing property in Southern California peppered World Trade Center Los Angeles officials with questions about how best to break into the market.

What's the difference between city governments and county governments, they might ask. Or, are tax incentives for hotel builders ...Read more