Consumer Real Estate News

    • 9 Tips to Help You Control Your Spending

      6 July 2020

      Let’s be honest: Spending money can sometimes be too easy for our own good. With a few purchases here, a few purchases there, bills and receipts add up quickly, and before we know it­–poof!–it seems like our money has disappeared.

      Only it wasn’t a magic trick; it was likely a lack of self-control, financial awareness, or both. If you find this disappearing act happening often or simply want to start saving more money, try these nine tips from American Consumer Credit Counseling to help you reign in your spending:

      Track spending. Tracking where your money goes can be easy. Certain apps will help you track what you are spending your money on so you can see where to cut back.

      Try cash only. To help control spending, take out only the money you need. By using cash, you physically see your money leave your hands and won’t be left with any surprises.

      Budget. It’s important to have a budget. By creating one, you establish a spending plan to ensure you always have enough money for necessities.

      Make a list. Write a list of what you need before you go shopping–and stick to it. This’ll help you avoid spending extra money on impulse buys.

      Take your time online. When shopping online, don’t buy things without considering if you really need them. If you’re tempted to buy an item, put it in your cart. Then take a few hours or a few days to think it over.

      Compare prices. Comparison shop before you buy, especially when you’re making big purchases. Check out a few stores and online options to find the best price and look at similar items.

      Live within your means. Only spend what you have. Maybe it’s time to stop using your credit card altogether and stick to your debit card or cash.

      DIY. If you have a small project around the house, do some research and fix it yourself instead of spending the extra money to have someone do it for you.Understand needs vs. wants. Needs are the things we can’t survive without, such as housing, clothing and food. Wants are the things that’ll make our lives more pleasurable but aren’t essential for survival, such as travel and entertainment.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 4 Ways to Help Transition Pets to Post-Quarantine Routines

      6 July 2020

      (Family Features) As states ease COVID-19 restrictions and people get out of the house to return to work, pets around the country may see their daily routines of hanging out with everyone come to an end.

      Some dogs and cats handle routine changes easily. For others, a routine change at home can cause behavior issues, nervousness or separation anxiety.

      A Suzy survey of 5,000 U.S. pet owners found nearly 70% of respondents are concerned their pets will have new or additional anxiety when they return to work. It’s important to prepare pets for changes in routine, especially those that are new to a home, for their well-being and harmony of the whole family.

      Consider these post-quarantine transition tips.

      Make a Plan
      The key to any plan is making sure everyone knows what to do. This goes for veteran pet owners and the owners of more than 221,000 new pets adopted or fostered since March, according to the 24Pet ShelterWatch Report. Pet owners should agree on the plan for their pets and details should be shared with children who help with care.

      “Pet owners should make a plan with minimal and realistic changes to help their dogs or cats adapt to new routines,” said veterinarian Elizabeth DeLomba, MBA, senior veterinary services consultant at VetriScience Laboratories. “Start by offering your pets belongings that make them feel safe and comfortable and add small things that promote mental and physical stimulation.”

      Practice the New Routine
      Ease your pet into being alone by spending short periods of time away from him or her both in and outside the home and work your way up to hours of separation.

      Use practice time to get your dog or cat used to what happens before you leave for work, comfortable with a crate or other safe space and acquainted with a new toy, treat or someone who will check on him or her during the day.

      Before you leave, take your pet for a walk or play at home to get energy out prior to your departure. When it is time to leave, don’t make a big deal out of leaving. Say goodbye long before you leave then leave calmly.

      Try a Calming Supplement
      The survey revealed that 65% of respondents plan to use a nutritional supplement to help their dog or cat cope with any anxiety a new routine brings. Over the counter calming supplements like VetriScience Composure chews can help pets relax during stressful times without changing their personality or energy level. Calming supplements come in bite-size chews or a liquid dosage and can help relieve stress for dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes.


      “Fear and anxiety disorders affect 23 million dogs in the U.S. alone,” DeLomba said. “Supplements may offer a convenient approach for managing separation anxiety and other behavioral issues. The ingredients in supplements work together to make a positive impact on behavior and anxiousness, which results in a calmer, more focused pet.”

      Keep Them Stimulated
      Don’t let your dog or cat feel bored when home alone. Play music, keep a television on or use a white noise machine to create some constant sound. If your pet isn’t into watching television, keep him or her busy with a treat-dispensing toy that requires some work. Or stuff a toy with peanut butter, freeze it and give it to your dog when you leave. These ideas can help keep your pet’s mind stimulated and encourage him or her to focus on something other than being alone.

      Start thinking about a plan for your pet and ask your veterinarian if you have concerns about behavioral changes. Learn more and find the full survey results at

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Tips for Low-Maintenance Landscaping

      6 July 2020

      Having a beautifully landscaped property makes your home instantly more welcoming and can also increase your home value by boosting your curb appeal. However, unless you are willing to get down-and-dirty, or want to budget for a consistent landscaping team, a beautiful yard can seem like a daunting undertaking. Thankfully, there are some excellent options for low-maintenance landscaping for any home that you will love.

      Go For Mulch
      Whether you opt for an expansive lawn with easy to care for foliage surrounding it, or you opt for an even lower maintenance option to cover the expanse of your yard, you will no-doubt want to create a few planting beds to add visual appeal and variety. In these areas, keep it simple by covering the bed with a barrier cloth and mulch for weed control. You can opt to replace organic mulch (which will provide your garden with nutrients) annually, or select rubber mulch for a truly hands-off option. There are pros and cons for both options depending on your climate, so consult a local garden expert to find out what is best for your needs.

      Choose River Rock
      While river rock requires a larger upfront investment than mulch, it can be used in areas where mulch may have been used. Its benefits are similar to that of inorganic mulch--it will not decay over the course of the year and will not need to be replaced. Large river rocks can serve as an accent or focal-point in an otherwise plant-based yard, while smaller river rocks can take the place of full lawns.

      Low-Maintenance Plant Choices
      Native or Xeric plants are the perfect options to ensure that your yard has greenery without needing to be constantly tended to. Plants that grow locally are less-likely to need excessive care to flourish in your yard and climate, making them a logical inclusion in your landscaping. Alternatively xeriscaping your yard by adding Succulents like Aloe Vera, hearty ornamental sages, and Artemisia is an excellent way to add texture and beauty while remaining relatively drought resistant. This can allow you to conserve water and reduce your need to water often, but still have a visually appealing yard.

      Having curb appeal doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your hard-earned weekends on the yard. A little knowledge of your local climate can do a lot to ensure that your landscaping is low-maintenance and lasts for years to come.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Signs It's Time for a New Mattress

      3 July 2020

      A good night’s rest helps you have a good day, not to mention stay healthy and alert. But if your mattress no longer gives you the proper comfort and support, it could mess with the many benefits of quality sleep.

      Is it time for you to buy a new mattress? To help you decide, Consumer Reports offers these five signs that your mattress might be shot and worth replacing:

      1. It’s a little lumpy. Lumps or deep indentations can happen over time, no matter which materials a mattress is made of. It may also sag, causing you to roll to the center.

      2. The foam is failing. Spilling water on certain types of foam may cause damage to the adhesive between the layers, causing them to shift. The foam may also just degrade over time.

      3. You’re waking up sore. A worn-out mattress might no longer support your spine’s natural curve, causing stress to other parts of your body as you sleep. If you’re suddenly waking up with unexplained soreness, your mattress might no longer be giving you the support you need.

      4. You can feel the foundation. Sleeping in the same spot every night can compress the layers so much over time that you can begin to feel the bed slats or whatever else the mattress is placed on.

      5. The springs are poking you. Ouch! If you’ve moved your mattress often or sat in the same spot for extended periods of time (such as when watching TV in bed), you’ve probably pushed its innards out of alignment and a spring might’ve been pushed out of place.

      If your mattress is still in good shape, Consumer Reports also offers a few simple tips to help it stay that way.

      For example, you should rotate and/or flip your mattress at least twice a year to prevent long-term pressure in certain spots from denting or otherwise damaging those areas. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to learn when and how to perform this duty properly for the type of mattress you own.

      Another way to help preserve your mattress is to avoid unnecessary stress caused by, say, sitting at the edge to put your shoes on or bouncing in and out of bed. The gentler you are with your mattress, the longer it’ll likely last.

      Sweet dreams!

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 3 Tips to Help Your Kids Love Veggies

      3 July 2020

      Getting kids to eat their veggies can be hard to navigate--especially if you hope that they’ll eventually enjoy them. Thankfully, giving children the opportunity to love new vegetables is not as hard as it can seem. With a few tips that allow you to give your kids autonomy with their food options, you’ll soon find them reaching for the veggies each meal.

      Take A Field Trip
      Visit a nearby farm; taking children on a field trip to see where fresh food comes from is an excellent way to get them familiar with fresh vegetables before they ever consider needing to take a bite. Many farms offer tours or family days. These tour days not only show kids the labor and love that goes into growing your food, but also includes activities and games. Consider taking your kids along for a fun day where they can bring home a souvenir in the form of a veggie to eat later.

      Let Them Decide
      As a child, many things are chosen for you. From when to sleep and where to play, adults set the parameters for the day. When it comes to food, giving your child a bit of extra autonomy can make meals fun instead of a battle of wills. Take a quick trip to your favorite grocery store or farmers market and let the kids decide what veggie they would like. Let them choose a favorite, or ask them to pick a new item they haven’t seen before. A great weekend activity, this can be an exciting way for parents to branch out and try a new recipe, and can give children the power of autonomy over their food. Just be sure to make it soon so your child’s excitement doesn’t waine. Making the food a week later and forcing them to eat it defeats the purpose.

      Make Them Sous-Chefs for the Day
      Kids love to help, and they love messy fun. Get them in the kitchen with you helping whenever age appropriate. Truly young children can assist with stirring and mixing ingredients, while older children may be able to cut soft foods or stir items cooking on low heat. Having children become active participants in the cooking process can make them appreciate the care that goes into meal preparation and get them excited about the end result.

      Getting your kids to love veggies may be a slow process, but it doesn’t have to be a battle. With a few tricks of your sleeve, it can even be fun.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.