Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Ways to Use Your Expiring Produce

      23 January 2019

      Did you get a little overzealous with that last trip to the farmers market, resulting in a produce bin bursting with items ready to eat ASAP? The following are simple tricks to make use of your expiring produce, which will allow you to waste less and stretch your dollar.

      Make stock. Celery, carrots, peppers or herbs begging to be used, pronto? Give them a quick chop, toss them in a pot with ample water and a splash of salt, bring it to a boil and then simmer for an hour. Strain your produce and reserve the liquid for tasty soup stock. Pro tip: you can freeze the stock for later use!

      Pickle it. Cucumbers aren't the only things you can pickle. Carrots, peppers, onion and jicama make great pickles - all you need is vinegar and salt!

      Make dog food. You aren't the only one who loves to eat your veggies. Toss wilting produce in a crock-pot with rice and chicken and create your own healthy dog food. Just make sure to skip mushroom, onion, garlic, chives, tomato or potato as they can be toxic for your furry friend.

      Freeze them. This works best for super ripe fruit - chop them up and freeze for easy smoothie additions. Not a smoothie fan? Juice or blend your fruit first and make popsicles or tasty ice cubes to jazz up your water.

      Make muffins. Carrots, zucchini, bananas, oh my! Use some of these staples to create a batch of healthier muffins for you and your family to enjoy.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • This Year, Americans are Shedding the Debt Before the Weight

      23 January 2019

      Despite our focus on slimming down and getting healthy, turns out that this year, more Americans are choosing to put their wallets on a diet instead. According to a survey from CompareCards.com, losing debt ranked above losing weight when it came to New Year’s resolutions. Given that credit card debt is at a record high, and fluctuating interest rates could send that debt even higher, this commitment to bringing debt down is a good thing.

      Here’s how the survey statistics played out:

      Losing debt is a bigger priority than losing weight. More than 4 in 10 Americans (41 percent) say losing debt is a top priority in the new year, while 34 percent said losing weight would be their primary focus.

      Millennials and Generation X are most focused on bringing down debt. Nearly half of millennials and Gen Xers (both at 47 percent) said debt was their top priority. Just 34 percent of Boomers, 31 percent of the Silent Generation and 29 percent of Generation Z said the same.

      Men are less likely to make either weight loss or debt reduction a priority. A third of men (33 percent) said neither losing weight nor losing debt would be a top priority of theirs in 2019. That compares to just 19 percent of women. However, the most common response for both men (38 percent) and women (43 percent) was that losing debt would be their main priority.

      Wealthy Americans are most likely to prioritize weight loss. Nearly half (47 percent) of people with $100,000 or more in income said losing weight is a top priority, versus 27 percent who plan to prioritize losing debt. Among those with incomes of $75K and up, more said weight loss was a top priority. Among those with incomes of $75K or less, more said debt loss was a top priority.

      Americans are not willing to spend much money to be healthier. When asked "How much are you willing to spend to lose weight/be healthier after the holidays?" just 15 percent said they'd be open to spending more than $100, while 43 percent said they don't plan to change their health habits at all after the holidays.

      If you’re among those who are looking to start reducing debt, some simple yet effective steps to take, include:

      - Consider an introductory zero-percent balance transfer credit card to help reduce any high-interest card debt you're carrying.

      - Pay more than the minimum payment on credit cards.

      - Pay your highest interest debts first.

      - Use your tax refund to pay down debt.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Top Interior Design Trends Revealed

      23 January 2019

      Looking to be on point with your home decor this year? Then consider the insights from the second annual Interior Designer Trends Survey from 1stdibs, a global destination for designers and collectors.

      The survey, which garnered the opinions of hundreds of leading designers from around the world, reflects which style trends are on deck for the year ahead...and which ones are on their way out.

      According to interior designers, some of the biggest design statements, furniture styles, materials, colors and patterns to watch for include:

      Artisanal look: About half (49 percent) indicate that they will source artisanal and one-of-a-kind pieces, up from 42 percent from last year.

      Customized pieces: 58 percent say they are customizing their pieces in some way, up 44 percent from last year.

      Modern vibes: As in last year's survey, modern styles - including Scandinavian modern, mid-century modern, Art Deco and American modern - will continue to play a big role in interior design.

      Amped-up color: Homeowners are continuing to gravitate towards color, including warmer and brighter shades, such as jewel tones like emerald green.

      Eclectic styles: With no one design period dominating the scene, look for home styling that incorporates a variety of periods.

      Play with patterns: A wide range of patterns will be popular, including abstract and large-scale designs, geometric shapes, and nature patterns, such as florals.

      Material matters: Wood, metal, brass and other natural materials will play a big role in home decor in the year ahead.

      And what interior looks are expected to wane this year? Designers are looking to decrease their use of the following: purple hues; industrial metals and reclaimed/recycled woods; and old-world classic styles.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Transitioning Back to Work After Baby

      23 January 2019

      (Family Features)--Just when you were getting the hang of having a baby at home, it's time to go back to work. Beyond the expected changes such as picking work tasks back up and catching up on things you've missed, your priorities have most likely shifted now that you're a parent.

      It's normal for parents to feel anxious about transitioning back to work after having a baby, but they don't have to do it alone. Most new parents have built-in support systems of friends and family, but if their child will be attending daycare, that structure can provide additional help through the transition.

      To help make the transition back to work as seamless as possible, consider these tips from infant teachers at KinderCare, which has been caring for children for almost 50 years.

      1. Choose a daycare near work.
      A parent's first instinct might be to choose a daycare that's close to home, but once you return to work you may appreciate having your baby nearby - whether to breastfeed or just get some mid-day snuggles.

      "We have an open-door policy," says Regina Campisi, a nine-year KinderCare infant teacher. "Come in during your lunch break, feed your baby, have lunch with us and get to know your child's teachers. Be a part of the educational process. It's important to bridge that gap between work and school."

      2. Feel comfortable with your child care provider.
      Parents know their babies best. Most daycare centers are willing to work with parents to answer questions and create a positive experience for both parents and children.

      Campisi recommends visiting your daycare of choice at least once before and once after your baby is born.
      "Before you have your baby, you're going to have all these questions," Campisi says. "After you have your baby, you're going to have different questions. You're going to want to show your daycare provider what your baby needs."

      Above all else, parents should feel completely at ease when their baby is at daycare. If parents feel comfortable and safe and know that their baby is in the right hands, it can make going back to work easier.

      3. Take care of yourself.
      When parents are on leave, sleepless nights are one thing. However, once parents have to get up at a certain time for work again and get their baby ready for daycare, they can find they're operating on a whole new level of sleep deprivation.

      "Going back to work is a very fast-paced time for working parents," says infant teacher Megan Martina, who has worked with KinderCare for seven years. "That's why it's important to rest and take care of yourself. Make sure you're eating and that you have someone to help you."

      "I always say, 'Don't pour from an empty cup,'" Campisi says. "If you have a day off, let me take care of your baby. Go to the grocery store; take a long shower; take a lunch break; get a new book; do something for you."

      Source: KinderCare

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Money-Saving Tips to Put to Work, Now

      22 January 2019

      If this is the year you promised yourself you would get hold of your finances, it’s not too late to get in gear. Check out the seven easy and rewarding strategies laid out for PopSugar.com by Chase Slate’s financial education ambassador Brittney Castro:

      List your debt - Make a list of every debt you owe, the balance, the interest, the minimum payment. Note the account with the highest interest rate, because you want to pay that down fastest as you plan your attack.

      Consider balance transfers - Shifting some of your debt to credit cards with lower interest rates or introductory 0 percent interest rates could help you pay down balances faster.

      Know your credit score - Keeping your credit score healthy is crucial for important events like renting a home, securing a mortgage, and leasing or buying a car.  Keep tabs on your credit score and watch it improve as you pay down debt.

      Follow the 50-30-20 rule - An ideal to work toward is to spend 50 percent of your income on bills, put 20 percent into savings, and use 30 percent for fun and variable spending.

      Have weekly money dates - Just you, if you’re single, or with your spouse or significant other if you co-mingle funds. It’s a time to set, review, or modify your budget and check on your progress on paying down bills and other goals.

      Set up automatic savings - As soon as you have your spending under control and your goals set, arrange for automatic transfers of money directly into your savings account. It doesn’t have to be a massive amount. Even one percent or five percent of every paycheck saved will quickly begin to mount up. The important thing is to start!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.