Renting a home is temporary, but the upgrades you make don’t need to be. Update your rental home with these ideas … and then take them with you when you move.
On the walls: Add removable wallpaper and framed art.
Use creative shelving units to hide awkward outlets. Choose new curtains.
In the bathroom: Upgrade the showerhead. Choose a new
Upgrade electricals: Install your own light fixtures
throughout the home. Swap standard light switches with dimmer switches. Add a
smart thermostat and wireless speakers.
Add personality: Add color with furniture covers and throw pillows. Use removable washi tape or stainless-steel contact paper on boring appliances (find both at craft or home stores). Place plants throughout the home. Switch bland doorknobs and kitchen hardware for more stylish ones.
like the rest of the body, the brain needs to be kept in shape, too. Here are a
few tips to keep the brain healthy and ward off cognitive impairment:
Stimulate your mind.
Puzzles or any other mental challenges are a great way to generate new cells in
the brain and develop plasticity (the brain’s ability to rewire itself).
Crosswords, sudoku, or any math exercises are great.
Moving your body — especially aerobic activity like running or fast-paced
walking — can help prevent mental decline.
Watch what you eat.
Another great way to keep the brain in shape is through nutritious foods which
can prevent diseases, like diabetes, that take a toll on the brain. Think: colorful
vegetables, high fiber foods, low sodium, and less processed foods. Antioxidant
rich foods, like berries and citrus, help reduce oxidative stress (which
creates a toxic imbalance) and can even lessen the effects of dementia.
Improve your blood pressure.High blood pressure has been linked to cognitive decline. Keep blood
pressure low by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, reducing
stress, and limiting alcohol.
Texting with friends, scrolling through social media feeds,
and checking our email just one more time: Every day we become a little more
reliant on digital technology to do our work, stay informed, and remain
connected with friends and family. The more we lean into technology, the harder
it can be to get away from it.
Having a digital addiction means
having the inability to control our use of technology — an affliction that
approximately two-thirds of the population appears to have to some extent,
according to Trend Hunter. Break the habit (or avoid it!) with these four tips.
Track tech habits. Measuring and acknowledging how much time you spend on technology puts the problem into perspective. This information alone may be an incentive to cut back. Apps like Moment (InTheMoment.io) and QualityTime (QualityTimeApp.com) help you track and manage time spent on technology.
Don’t trust yourself. We may think we can just kick
the digital habit at any time, but that’s the problem with a habit. Avoid
temptation by removing digital devices from reach. Lock them up or give them to
someone else to hold on to for a certain amount of time or at certain times of
the day. Also, keep them out of the bedroom at night.
Turn off notifications. Every time you’re notified about
a new email, message, or news update, there’s a compelling reason to drop what
you’re doing and check in with your tech. Disable all but the most urgent
notifications from your web and mobile apps.
Ease into a digital detox. It’s healthy to take a break from technology, but like any addiction, start small. Have a meal without your smartphone at your side. Then go for a shopping trip without it. You don’t need to quit using technology altogether; instead, focus on easing up on your dependency
Don’t let a bad credit score get in the way of a comfortable retirement. Here are a few ways to keep a good credit score when you retire or improve a credit score that could use a boost.
Keep those long-held credit card accounts, even if you rarely use
them. Using credit cards regularly (but not excessively!) helps establish or
improve your credit score.
Purchase some items on credit even if you have the savings to pay
them off right away. This is an excellent method to improve a lower score. Make
your payments on time and avoid fees to keep your bill low.
Check your credit score on a regular basis. You can get one free
copy every 12 months from each of the big three companies (Equifax, Experian,
and TransUnion). This not only helps you track whether your efforts are
working, it also gives you a better chance to spot potential red flags like
identity theft. Visit www.annualcreditreport.com to
Replacing a vehicle’s engine is costly and inconvenient.
Keep yours running as long as possible with a few key good habits.
Don’t race a car’s engine when you start it up, especially in cold weather.
Accelerate slowly when you begin driving, and don’t drive at high speeds or
accelerate quickly when it’s very hot or cold outside.
common to let a car “warm up” by letting it idle before driving, but this
results in soot deposits on cylinder walls, oil contamination, and other
conditions that can have a long-term, negative impact. Note: if it’s
very cold out, you should warm the engine up before driving to allow oil and
other fluids to circulate.
for a longer period of time during low-traffic hours is easier on your engine
and better for the environment.
wheel-well splash guards.
These help keep water, slush, and salt from splashing into the engine
compartment, which can cause damage.
Most people have some form of internal critic—a nagging voice that highlights all your mistakes and pretends your triumphs don’t exist. Some consideration of both positive outcomes and ramifications of your actions can be healthy, but when you let your inner critic take over it can cause severe and long-lasting damage to your self-esteem. So take control!
Start by paying
closer attention to what that little voice is saying. It may even help to write
down what you’re thinking. When negative commentary is in front of you in black
and white, you may be better able to see what’s true and what’s not. Once
you’ve got a clearer idea of what your inner critic is telling you, here are
some tools to help turn down its volume.
from the criticism.
Rephrase negative thoughts as if someone else is saying them to you, rather
than you talking to yourself. When they come from outside, it’s easier to
refute criticisms with evidence to the contrary.
negativity. Instead of
focusing on a feeling that you “messed up,” try saying, “it was a valuable
learning experience and I’ll handle it differently next time.”
dwell on the past. Rather
than spending hours or days thinking about a misstep you made, apologize out
loud to whoever you think you failed and explain what you’ll do to avoid
repeating the same error. This can help you move past the issue and stop
thinking about it.
can lead to an inner dialogue peppered with “never” and “always,” but life is
rarely so binary. Shift from, “I never do anything right” to something
truer—such as, “I do some things well and can learn to do other things better.”
your own best friend. If
your best friend let you in on what their inner critic says, you’d offer
support and gently point out why those critiques aren’t accurate. Learning to
apply this same kindness to yourself is an important tool in the effort to
Knowing when and how much to tip for services rendered can be confusing. While leaving one is technically optional, a tip is a critical part of the wages that waitstaff, taxi drivers, barbers, delivery drivers, and other essential workers earn. In fact, many states allow workers to be paid far less than minimum wage if they also get tips.
Plan to tip the people who serve you in restaurants, hotels, bars, taxis
(or rideshares), and beauty salons. And while your own financial situation
should go into the decision of how much to tip, here are some general
Restaurants: A tip of 15-20% indicates you’re pleased with the service.
Leave more for a truly five-star experience. If the service was bad, consider
talking to a manager before you simply skip the tip. Note that many restaurants
will automatically include a gratuity for a large group, so find out if the tip
has already been added to your bill before you pay.
Hotels: If you get help bringing your bags to your room or hailing
a taxi, be prepared with $2 per bag hauled or $5 per taxi hailed. If the bags are
heavy or the doorman has to stand in the rain for you, tip more. Leave
$3-5 each day for housekeeping.
Bars/Clubs: Tip the bartender $1-2 per drink, or 10-15% on a bar bill.
For coat check at the club, $2-3 per coat is good (even if there’s a charge for
Salons: Tipping your hairdresser or nail technician 15-20% is a
Taxis/Rideshares: Tipping about 15% for taxis or rideshares is fairly
standard, though if the driver helps you with heavy bags consider tipping more.
Delivery: For food deliveries, tips of 10-15% are a good idea (more if
the weather is terrible). For package deliveries, however, no tip is expected.
mind that tipping etiquette varies considerably in other countries, so before
you travel be sure to read about the local tipping customs.
The September Jobs Report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 7.9%. Though that percentage is well below what experts projected earlier this year, it still means millions of people are without work. There’s no way to minimize the tremendous impact this pandemic-induced recession continues to have on many Americans.
However, the latest Home Purchase Sentiment Index from Fannie Mae shows how more and more Americans believe the worst is behind us, and their personal employment situation is good. The index revealed:
“The percentage of respondents who say they are not concerned about losing their job in the next 12 months increased from 78% to 83%, while the percentage who say they are concerned decreased from 22% to 16%. As a result, the net share of Americans who say they are not concerned about losing their job increased 11 percentage points.”
Americans Are Game-Changers Too
Americans are naturally optimistic and have always responded to challenges with both resiliency and resourcefulness. Today is no different. As an example, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) just reported:
“Americans are starting new businesses at the fastest rate in more than a decade, according to government data, seizing on pent-up demand and new opportunities after the pandemic shut down and reshaped the economy.”
Why would someone start a business in the middle of an economic crisis? The WSJ explains:
“The jump may be one sign that the pandemic is speeding up ‘creative destruction,’ the concept…to describe how new, innovative businesses often displace older, less-efficient ones, buoying long-term prosperity.”
The WSJ also notes that these new businesses will have a positive impact on the overall employment situation, as new businesses “are a critical engine of job creation. Startups have historically accounted for around one-fifth of job creation.”
For the millions of Americans still unemployed, we hope for a quick return to the workforce. We should, however, realize that over 90% of people are still employed, and some are venturing into new business start-ups. Perhaps the next big game-changing company is right around the corner.
The 2020 housing market has surpassed all expectations and continues to drive the nation’s economic recovery. The question is, will this positive trend continue throughout the rest of the year, especially given the uncertainty around the current health crisis, the upcoming election, and more?
Here’s a look at what several industry-leading experts have to say.
“Home sales continue to amaze, and there are plenty of buyers in the pipeline ready to enter the market…Further gains in sales are likely for the remainder of the year, with mortgage rates hovering around 3% and with continued job recovery.”
“Homeowners’ balance sheets continue to be bolstered by home price appreciation, which in turn mitigated foreclosure pressures…Although the exact contours of the economic recovery remain uncertain, we expect current equity gains, fueled by strong demand for available homes, will continue to support homeowners in the near term.”
“Zillow’s predictions for seasonally adjusted home prices and pending sales are more optimistic than previous forecasts because sales and prices have stayed strong through the summer months amid increasingly short inventory and high demand.
The pandemic also pushed the buying season further back in the year, adding to recent sales. Future sources of uncertainty including lapsed fiscal relief, the long-term fate of policies supporting the rental and mortgage market, and virus-specific factors, were incorporated into this outlook.”
Many economists are in unison, indicating the housing market will continue to fuel the economy through the end of the year, maintaining this unprecedented strength.