Consumer Real Estate News

    • Americans are Turning to Side Hustles to Combat Inflation

      6 October 2022

      (Family Features) As inflation increases, many Americans are looking for ways to make some extra cash to reach financial goals faster, save for a big purchase or simply make ends meet. In fact, 41% of Americans need additional income from sources like side hustles, according to a Bankrate survey, up from 31% in 2019.
       
      The rise of the gig economy and a variety of side hustle options may be a solution for some. One option, the Spark Driver platform, powers delivery services for Walmart, Sam’s Club and other retailers, allowing drivers to deliver everything from groceries and cleaning supplies to tools and home decor. Available in more than 600 cities and all 50 states, the platform allows independent contractors to earn money by delivering or shopping and delivering orders in flexible, convenient time windows of their choosing.
       
      What is a Side Hustle?
      Different from full-time or part-time employment, a side hustle is a flexible way to provide services while being your own boss. You control which opportunities you want to take and can independently supplement your primary income or bridge the gap between jobs. Side hustles can even provide opportunities for people who can’t work traditional jobs. In fact, 93% of Americans have a side hustle, according to research from insuranks.com, and 44% of survey respondents said they’re doing it to make ends meet. Gig opportunities, like shopping orders and delivering goods using your personal vehicle, are increasingly popular as side hustles.
       
      Benefits of Side Hustles
      While most people turn to side hustles because of the potential for additional earnings, there are other benefits that can make them a fit for you and your situation, such as:

      • Flexibility and Convenience: Available almost anywhere at times that work for your schedule, side hustles allow you to be your own boss and earn extra cash when you want. Be sure to pick one that fits your schedule and can be done at any time. Many offer different windows of time to complete the service and let you choose where you’re willing to travel to, which makes it easy to plan around other obligations.
      • Earning Potential: Many people turn to side hustles as a supplement to full-time positions with specific, money-oriented goals in mind. For example, most drivers on the Spark Driver platform drive as a secondary source of income. In order to reach a desired goal, it’s important to know how much you can expect to earn. When receiving an offer, the platform will show the minimum amount you earn for completing the delivery, so drivers know their earnings before accepting offers. Most deliveries also allow for tips, and incentives and referrals create additional opportunities for increasing earnings.
      • Simplicity: The ideal side hustle is one that can be done without heavy investment or training. Many gig opportunities offer quick sign-up processes through easy-to-use apps and only require a background check, smartphone, valid driver’s license and operational vehicle.
      Learn more about how to make extra cash through gig opportunities by visiting drive4spark.com or downloading the app.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Should You Get a Store Credit Card?

      6 October 2022

      If you make a purchase at a department store or another type of business, an employee may ask you if you would like to sign up for a store credit card that can be used exclusively to buy items at that chain. Doing so can offer benefits and save you money, but it can also cost you. 

      You May Qualify for Substantial Discounts
      Often, when retailers offer a store credit card, they sweeten the deal by providing a discount on items that are being purchased at that time. If you’re making an expensive transaction, that initial discount can save you a significant amount of money.

      Retailers typically reward loyal customers by providing ongoing opportunities to save. After you sign up for a store credit card, you may regularly receive additional discounts and coupons that consumers without store credit cards don’t get. You may be able to use those discounts on items that are already on sale. 

      You May Pay a Lot in Interest
      Store credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than traditional credit cards. If you’re disciplined and you pay off your balance in full each month, that won’t be a problem. If, however, you carry a balance from month to month, those interest charges can add up. Even if you get discounts at the time of purchase, the total you wind up spending in interest may be much more than the amount you save.

      Your Credit May Improve, or It May Suffer
      If you have a low credit score and you’ve had trouble getting approved for a traditional credit card, you may have a better chance at getting a store credit card. Since store cards have higher interest rates, they have less stringent guidelines to qualify. If you get a store credit card and use it responsibly, you can build your credit. 

      Any time you apply for a new line of credit, the business checks your credit. A hard inquiry is reported to the credit bureaus, and it causes your credit score to take a small hit. If you have too many hard inquiries in a short period of time, that can cause more harm and can make it difficult to qualify for another form of credit, such as a mortgage or a car loan.

      The credit limits on store credit cards are usually lower than the limits on traditional credit cards. If you don’t pay off your balance in full each month, you may quickly find yourself approaching your limit. A high credit utilization ratio (percentage of available credit you are using) can hurt your credit score.

      Is a Store Credit Card Right for You?
      Applying for a store credit card may or may not be a wise move. It depends on your circumstances and how you would use the card. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before you make a decision.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 6 Creative Ways to Top Your Toast

      6 October 2022

      Toast is an often overlooked breakfast staple that can easily be dismissed as a measly side to eggs and bacon. But with a little creativity and these fun ideas, you can easily make your toast the all star of breakfast foods.  

      Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey
      Peanut butter and banana is a tide and true combination that provides plenty of healthy proteins, fats and potassium. Take this classic toast topping to the next level by drizzling a bit of honey over top. It’s too sweet to resist! 

      Avocado, Balsamic and Feta
      Avocado toast is all the rage at all the hottest brunch spots. Skip the meal out and make this fan favorite in the comfort of your own kitchen at a fraction of the cost. Top your toast with a half a smashed avocado, a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette and a sprinkling of feta. Finish with a dash of salt for a delicious morning meal. 

      Cinnamon Sugar 
      Keep it simple with this classic toast topper. Butter your toast then combine 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon with 1 tablespoon of sugar for the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Sprinkle on top and enjoy! 

      Hummus, Sundried Tomatoes and Feta
      Looking for something more savory? Look no further! Top your toast with a layer of hummus. Place sundried tomatoes and finish with a sprinkle of feta. It’s the perfect Mediterranean inspired flavor to start the morning off right. 

      Ricotta and Raspberries 
      This sweet and creamy option is an easy way to turn up your toast. Spread a layer of ricotta over the toast, then top with raspberries. If you want to add a little extra sweetness, drizzle honey on top and enjoy!

      Avocado and Strawberries 
      This unlikely pairing is the perfect combination of savory and sweet. Smash half an avocado onto a piece of toast, then layer with thinly sliced strawberries to bring your toast to the next level. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Simple Family Meals Fit for Fall

      5 October 2022

      (Family Features) Maintaining a healthy eating plan can be challenging year-round, and busier fall schedules can make those goals even more difficult. Finding easy-to-make favorites can keep you and your loved ones on track as you navigate those hectic moments this autumn.
       
      One simple yet delicious solution: Chopped Salad Kits and Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kits from Dole, which make it easy to incorporate vegetables without the hassle of kitchen prep. Take the guesswork out of meal planning for your time-starved family with these limited-ingredient, kit-based dishes.
       
      Mexican Street Corn Bowls with Grilled Chicken provide a perfect balance of hearty yet nutritious flavor while taking advantage of the convenience of prepackaged ingredients. Perfect for fall weather, Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Soup requires just three ingredients and hungry loved ones for a filling meal worth celebrating.
       
      For more original easy-to-make fall recipes, nutritional insights and information, visit Dole.com or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. 
       
      Mexican Street Corn Bowls with Grilled Chicken
      Prep time: 20 minutes
      Cook time: 8 minutes
      Servings: 4
       
      1 cup dry instant brown rice
      1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
      2 large ears fresh corn, silks and husks removed
      1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
      3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
      3 Dole Limes, juice only (about 3 tablespoons), divided
      2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
      1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
      2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
      1 package (12.9 ounces) DOLE® Chopped Chipotle & Cheddar Kit
      1 Dole Avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
      1 cup chopped Dole Pineapple
       
      Prepare grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat. Prepare rice according to package instructions.
       
      Brush all sides of chicken and corn with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place chicken and corn on hot grill rack; cover and cook 8 minutes, or until grill marks appear and internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 F, turning chicken once and corn frequently. Transfer chicken and corn to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut corn kernels from cobs into medium bowl. Slice chicken 1/4-inch thick crosswise.
       
      Add 1 tablespoon lime juice, cilantro and paprika to corn; toss and fold in Parmesan cheese. In small bowl, whisk dressing from salad kit and remaining lime juice.
       
      Serve rice in bowls topped with avocado, pineapple, chicken, corn mixture and remaining contents of salad kit drizzled with dressing mixture. 
       
      Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Soup
      Prep time: 15 minutes
      Cook time: 35 minutes
      Servings: 4
       
      1 DOLE® Homestyle Roasted Herb Sheet Pan Meal Starter Kit
      1 container (32 ounces) chicken broth
      1 cup whole-wheat pasta shells, cooked
       
      Prepare sheet pan meal starter kit according to package instructions. Transfer to cutting board and carefully cut chicken and vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces.
       
      In medium saucepot over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth to simmer. Stir in pasta shells, chicken and vegetables. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes, or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • How to Pack Dishes for Your Upcoming Move

      5 October 2022

      When it comes to packing for a move, the kitchen is generally the most difficult room to tackle. Dishes are fragile and you need to take extra care to get them to your new home in the same condition they were in when you packed them. Here are some simple and effective strategies.

      Use the Right Supplies
      When moving fragile belongings, cardboard boxes are safer than plastic containers. If you don’t have the boxes that your dishes originally came in, you can buy boxes that are designed for dishes, but that can be expensive and unnecessary. 

      You can pack dishes safely in ordinary cardboard boxes, provided you wrap and pad them carefully. Since you will be inserting dishes vertically, make sure you choose boxes that are tall enough.

      Use packing paper, not bubble wrap. Packing paper is easy to crumple up and put in and around dishes, and it will create air pockets to provide cushioning. Bubble wrap, on the other hand, is bulkier, harder to work with and takes up more space. 

      You will need a lot of packing paper. Be sure to buy enough paper, as well as plenty of tape, so you don’t have to take an unplanned trip shopping trip to get more. 

      Pack Dishes Carefully
      Place a plate or bowl in the center of a sheet of packing paper and wrap it securely. Once you have enough wrapped dishes to fill a box, insert them vertically. Packing dishes that way will make them less likely to break than laying them flat. 

      Pack items that are the same size together to make the best use of the space you have. Packing dishes tightly will prevent movement, which in turn will prevent damage. After you put dishes in a box, fill in any empty spaces with more packing paper. 

      To pack cups and glasses, stuff wadded-up packing paper inside and wrap more paper around the handles and stems. Then wrap a sheet of packing paper entirely around each cup or glass. Pack glasses and cups with the same shape together. Stand them upright and fill in any gaps with more crumpled paper. 

      Take Precautions to Prevent Damage
      Before you put anything inside a box, thoroughly tape the bottom so it won’t come open during the move. Crumple up some packing paper and create a layer of padding a few inches deep in the bottom of the box. 

      Don’t make the boxes too heavy. You don’t want someone to drop a box full of dishes while loading or unloading the moving truck. Tape each box securely and label it “Fragile.”

      Published with permission from RISMedia.