Weâve heard the insurance tagline over and over: âSwitch and save money today.â Every insurance company claims to have the best deal. But, how can you get a good deal while maintaining the appropriate amount of coverage? Weâve got you coveredâliterally, and with no extra cost to you. Check out these ten ways to help lower your car insurance.
1. Get Quotes Annually
Insurance rates are increasing every year, so your insurance premiums will naturally increase over time. However, a huge spike in your insurance bill might mean itâs time to switch providers. Every year or two, use aÂ car insurance quote finder to compare your current insurance rate to competitors. You can also sign up forÂ Jerry.Ai, a tool thatÂ automatically checks for the lowest insurance rates before your policy renewal. Requesting quotes annually will ensure that your rates remain low and competitive.Â
2. Bundle Your Insurance Plans
Insurance companies often offer discounts when you bundle home, auto, or life insurance. Plus, you have the added convenience of paying all your insurance on one bill. If youâre satisfied with your insurance rates, you can stay with the same company to build up discount opportunities. Some insurance companies will give discounts to their long-term customers, also known as a customer loyalty discount. Bundling and customer loyalty can help you lower your overall insurance costs.
3. Get Rid of Insurance You Donât Need
Older vehicles require less insurance depending on their overall value. For example, you may not need collision and comprehensive coverage on a vehicle if its value is less than your deductible combined with your insurance premium. If you have a car thatâs only worth $1,000â$3,000, you might decide to get rid of some of your insurance and purchase a replacement vehicle out of pocket in the case of an accident. If you donât drop unneeded insurance, you can end up spending more on your premiums than what the total car is worth.
4. Increase Your Deductible
A deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket as a result of an accident. An increased deductible means lower premium rates. This is a great option for individuals who can keep enough cash savings to cover their deductible in the event of any emergency. Ask your insurance agent about raising your deductible to see how your premiums will fluctuate.
5. Drive Safely
This one might seem kind of obvious, but driving safely is the best way to keep your insurance rates low. Insurance providers record your driving history, including any accident reports or traffic tickets. These instances accrue points that eventually lead to increased insurance rates. Even if you switch insurance providers, companies will be able to access your driving history. Try your best to avoid speeding, running red lights, and driving recklessly. Be smart, and drive smart.
If you do get a ticket, take a defensive driving class to get the points taken off your record. A defensive driving class is an online or in-person course created by individual states to teach drivers how to anticipate dangerous situations and make educated driving decisions. In some states, taking this class canÂ reduce your insurance by 10 percent.
The defensive driving course may seem expensive for a single ticket, but it will end up saving you money on your insurance premiums. You can usually take driving school once a year. If you keep a clean driving record for three to five years, you could save on your insurance rates.
6. Improve YourÂ Credit Score
Studies show that drivers with a higher credit score are more responsible behind the wheel. Drivers with higher credit scores cost the insurance company less than individuals with a low credit score. A credit score is just another way for insurance companies to measure riskâthe very thing insurance companies seek to avoid. Improving your credit score can also help you qualify for auto and home loans. Study yourÂ credit report and find ways toÂ improve your overall credit score.
Are you looking for a way to monitor your credit needs? Check outÂ ExtraCredit by Credit.com. It has five killer features, each specifically designed to help you outâno matter what shape your credit is in.Â
Sign up for ExtraCredit today!
7. Pick the Right Vehicle
Insurance rates fluctuate based on the make and model of a car. This is something to consider when purchasing a new or used car. A car such as a Toyota or Chevy will be significantly cheaper to insure than a Porsche. Thatâs because itâs less risk for insurance companies. Remember, getting a cheaper insurance premium is dependent on your ability to minimize risk for the insurance company.Â Picking a car brand with an affordable initial price and reasonable upkeep costs can help you save money on insurance and your vehicle in general. You can also save on car insurance by selecting a smaller car with installed safety features.
8. Choose a Group Insurance Plan
People under the same household can create a group policy to save money. The plan will be more expensive as you add individuals to your group policy, but cheaper than if everyone was on their own insurance plan. Members of the insurance plan either need to be related or have joint ownership of the car. Each of the drivers will be insured for all the cars your family owns. Younger drivers will be more expensive to insure because of their added risk. Look for additional discounts to minimize your total group rate.
9. Ask Your Insurance Provider About Other Discounts
Car insurance companies often have additional discounts for specific groups of people. For example, if you are a member of the military, you can get a discount at some insurance companies. You can also lower the insurance premium for your teenage driver through a good student discount. Some other car insurance discounts include the following:
Government employees and retirees discount
Multiple vehicle discountÂ
Homeowners discount (separate from the bundling discount)Â
Paperless billing discountÂ
Hybrid or green vehicle discountÂ
Driver education discount for people under 21
Automatic payments or paid-in-full discountÂ
Ask your insurance provider about additional discounts to see if you qualify.
10. Find Out About Pay-as-You-Go or Usage-Based Insurance
If you donât use your car often, you may be able to save on your insurance. Some companies offerÂ a discount for driving under 10,000 miles in a single year. Other companies offer a pay as you go plan that allows you to pay a base rate and then pay per mile. These discounts could save you money if you do not have a long work commute or if you rarely use your car. This may also be a good incentive to use public transportation when possible.Â
We all want to save money on car insurance, but thatâs not the only factor in becoming a smart insurance customer. Before diving into savings, first determine your insurance needs and goals. Do your research to find out the difference betweenÂ liability and full coverage insurance. Once you have the right coverage, you can start chipping away at your rates by following these ten tips to lower your car insurance.Â
The post 10 Proven Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance appeared first on Credit.com.
The last thing you should do is pay for stuff. So weâve put together a list of 100 places where you can get birthday freebies, updated for 2021.
Most of these places require you to sign up for their email list or join their rewards club at least seven days before your birthday.
So get busy now and enjoy the free birthday stuff as it rolls in on your big day.
100 Places to Get Birthday Freebies
These restaurants and retailers will provide you with free treats for your birthday. Be sure to sign up in advance.
A&W All American Food
Get a free root beer float on your birthday by joining the Mug Club.
Sign up for ABC Liquor Access to get a âbirthday gift.â
Become an AMC Stubs Insider to get a free large popcorn during your birthday month. If youâre a Premiere or A-List member, youâll also get a free large fountain drink.
As a member of the Anthro Loyalty program, you will get a âspecial treat to celebrate your birthday.â
Sign up for the email club, and get $5 off when you spend at least $25. Youâll also get a free appetizer when you sign up.
Sign up for Arbyâs emails and get a free milkshake and curly fries on your birthday when you buy any sandwich. Youâll also get a free small fries and small soft drink when you sign up.
Au Bon Pain
Join the Eclub, and get a free coffee and pastry on your birthday. Youâll also get a travel mug and daily discounts on coffee just for signing up.
Download the Pretzel Perks app, and get a free pretzel on your birthday.
You need to spend $10 to join Avedaâs loyalty rewards program, but youâll receive a birthday gift valued at $23, as well as double points for your next Aveda purchase.
Sign up for Club Baja to get a âspecial offerâ on your birthday.
Sign up for the Friends and Benefits loyalty program to get âbirthday gifts.â
Create an account, join the Birthday Club, and get a free scoop of ice cream on your birthday.
When you sign up to receive Banana Republicâs emails, you can opt to also get a âbirthday gift.â
bdâs Mongolian Grill
Get a free meal on your birthday when you join the bdâs Rewards eClub, plus get a $5 coupon just for signing up.
Register for the Chefâs Table, and youâll get a $30 birthday certificate.
My Best Buy members get a âbirthday gift.â
Joining the I Love Big Boy email club gets you a free meal on your birthday.
Join Premier Rewards Plus and get a free Pizookie for your birthday. Whatâs that? Itâs a big, warm cookie smothered in ice creamâ¦ yum. Whatâs even better is you donât have to wait for your birthday â youâll also get a free Pizookie just for signing up.
Black Angus Steakhouse
Join the Prime Club to get a free steak dinner on your first birthday as a member.
Get a free Bo-Berry Biscuit with a purchase on your birthday as a member of the Bojanglesâ eClub.
Members of the Brueggerâs Bagels eClub will enjoy a âfree treatâ on their birthday, as well as a free bagel and cream cheese just for signing up.
Buca di Beppo
Youâll receive a free pasta after signing up, as well as a $20 birthday gift for joining the eClub.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Sign up for Blazinâ Rewards to get free birthday wings during your birth month.
Join Fudgie Fanatics to receive a free treat for your birthday. You can get a small soft serve birthday cone, take $2 off any cake (except for a small square) or take $3 off any sheet cake.
Chevys Fresh Mex
Members of the eClub get a free entree on their birthday, as well as a free appetizer for signing up.
Join Chick-fil-A One to get a âbirthday reward.â
Get a free dessert for your birthday when you join My Chiliâs Rewards Club, plus get free chips and salsa or a non-alcoholic beverage with every visit!
Join the Chipotle rewards program to get free chips and guacamole on your birthday when you make a purchase of $5 or more. When you sign up and make your first purchase, youâll also get free chips and a choice of guacamole, queso blanco or salsa.
Subscribe to Club Cinnabon to get a free iced coffee on your birthday and a free order of BonBites for signing up.
Cold Stone Creamery
Get a BOGO coupon for your birthday by signing up for the My Cold Stone Club. Youâll also get a BOGO coupon just for signing up!
Members of the Greater Rewards program get a âbirthday giftâ in addition to a welcome gift from the sportswear and outdoor gear retailer.
Join the POP! (Perfectly Organized Perks) program to get a birthday gift.
Enjoy a free sundae on your birthday when you sign up for MyCulverâs. Youâll also get a BOGO value basket when you sign up.
As a member of the ExtraCare Beauty Club, youâll get âbirthday gifts with beauty surprises,â as well as 10% off for joining.
If youâre a Raving Fan eClub member, you can enjoy a regular-size premium shake for your birthday, plus youâll get two free grilled chicken tacos when you sign up.
Sign up for Dennyâs Rewards program online or via the mobile app. Youâll get 20% off your next visit, plus a free stack of buttermilk pancakes on your birthday when you order online at Dennys.com.
Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW)
Join the free DSW VIP Club to get a $5 birthday reward. Youâll also get $5 on your birthday if you spend $200 annually as a VIP Gold member, and youâll get $10 if you spend $500 annually as a VIP Elite member.
Get free Dippinâ Dots for your birthday when you join the Dot Crazy! Email Club.
Get a free beverage on your birthday by signing up for the DD Perks Rewards Program.
Join Edible Rewards and receive a free 12-count chocolate dipped fruit box (valued at $29.99) during your birthday month. Youâll also get a $5 coupon for signing up (valid for 30 days).
Einstein Bros. Bagels
Get a free egg sandwich with a purchase on your birthday when you join the Shmear Society â not totally free, but hey, youâll need something to help wash that sandwich down. Youâll have 14 days to claim your reward.
Join the Famous Nation and get a free dessert with a value of up to $9.00 for your birthday.
Famously You Rewards members get a $5 birthday cash reward.
Sign up for Firehouse Rewards for a free medium sub on your birthday or in the six days that follow it.
Get a BOGO breakfast, brunch or lunch for your birthday as a member of the Sun EClub.
When you become a BFF Club member, youâll receive a free birthday sundae.
As a member of the Godiva Rewards Club, youâll get a free birthday chocolate offer every year.
Habit Burger Grill
Be sure to join Habit Burger Grillâs CharClub to enjoy a free Charburger on your birthday.
Sign up for My Harkins Rewards and receive a $5 birthday coupon to use at the concessions.
Sign up for Hard Rock Rewards to get an âannual birthday offerâ from the cafe and shops.
Get 10 free boneless birthday wings when you sign up for Hootclub. Youâll also get $5 off your first purchase of $25 or more when you sign up.
Houlihanâs Restaurant and Bar
Email club members get a free birthday entree, plus $10 off just for joining.
Sign up for MyHop and get free pancakes on your birthday. Youâll also get free pancakes on the anniversary of your sign-up.
Challenge yourself to score as many birthday freebies as possible and make the celebration â and savings â last all month!
J. Crew Factory
When you sign up for Factory First, youâll get an extra 20% off and free shipping on your birthday. Youâll also get an extra 15% off your first purchase after signing up.
Receive a birthday gift when you sign up for JCPenney Rewards. If you are not a JCPenney credit card member, you must have earned points within the last 21 months.
Jersey Mikeâs Subs
Get a free birthday sub when you sign up for the email club.
Kendra Scott offers a 50% birthday discount on one fashion jewelry or color bar item. It also offers a 25% discount on fine jewelry, sterling silver jewelry or gold vermeil jewelry. You can also get 25% off a home goods item. Find out more information here.
Members of the Kohlâs Rewards program get a âspecial birthday gift.â
Krispy Kreme Rewards members receive a free Original Glazed Dozen. Youâll also get a free doughnut when you sign up.
As a member of the Longhorn Steakhouseâs eClub, youâll get âspecial offers and couponsâ on your birthday. Youâll also get a free appetizer when you sign up.
Join the eClub, and get $5 off the purchase of two entrees, plus two free slices of pie, the choice of a free âMarieâs Magnificent Sixâ or a free slice of pie with the purchase of an entree on your birthday. Youâll also get a special dine-in offer for signing up. The company also sends special offers for your wedding anniversary and allows you to add family members so they can get birthday rewards.
Moeâs Southwest Grill
Sign up for Rockinâ Rewards and get a coupon for a free birthday burrito, plus a free cup of queso just for signing up.
Nothing Bundt Cakes
Join the Nothing Bundt Cakes eClub and get a free Bundtlet on your birthday.
Opt into the Birthday Club when you subscribe to Old Navyâs emails to get a âfree birthday gift.â
Get a complimentary dessert on your birthday by signing up for the eClub. Youâll get a free dessert or appetizer when you sign up.
On the Border
Join Club Cantina and get free queso on your birthday, and just for signing up.
Members of the Pandora Club get a 15% discount during their birthday month. This offer can only be used one time and is valid on regular-priced jewelry only.
Sign up for My Wei Rewards and choose from these birthday freebies: crab wontons, traditional edamame, vegetable spring rolls or pork egg roll. The reward will automatically appear in your app seven days prior to your birthday.
Members of the MyPerkins Club receive a free Magnificent Seven meal on their birthdays. The meal includes two eggs, any way you like, plus two smoked bacon strips and three buttermilk pancakes. Plus youâll get a 20% off coupon for signing up. You will also be able to add your children ages 12 and under so they can get birthday rewards, too.
Sign up for a Pinkcard or download the app, and receive a free yogurt on your birthday.
Sign up for the Pita Pit Rewards Club and receive a free pita on your birthday.
Join the Hut Rewards program to get a âbirthday reward.â
Join the Planet Smoothie Club and receive a free smoothie for your birthday.
Sign up for Redbox Perks and receive a free birthday rental (it must be used within 60 days). Youâll also get a free one-night rental for signing up (that offer is valid for two weeks).
Enjoy a âbirthday surpriseâ when you sign up for the My Red Lobster Rewards program.
Register for the Red Robin Royalty Program, and get a free birthday burger.
Get a free Italian ice on your birthday when you download Ritaâs Ice App.
Romanoâs Macaroni Grill
Sign up for the email club, and get a free dessert on your birthday.
As a member of So Connected, youâll get a choice of a free burger or a free garden bar entree on your birthday. Youâll also get a free appetizer for signing up.
Beauty Insiders are eligible to choose a free makeup or skin care gift for their birthday.
Become a member of the Slice Society to get a birthday surprise. Youâll also get a free New York slice when you buy a beverage after signing up.
Get a free Big Deal Combo meal on your big day by joining the âQ Crew, plus a $5 coupon just for joining.
Receive a free cupcake (make that a bakerâs dozen if youâre a Red Velvet tier member) for your birthday when you join Sprinkles Perks.
Get a birthday beverage or food item as a member of Starbucks Rewards.
Sign up for the Subway MyWay Rewards program and the sandwich-making company will give you âsomething specialâ on your birthday.
As a birthday reward, âyouâll receive a Swag Up for a 55 SB credit when you redeem your next gift card.â
Be sure to check out our Swagbucks review for how to get the most out of Swagbucks.
Sign up for TCBY emails, and receive your first 3 ounces free on your birthday.
Sign up for the email club and youâll get a free appetizer or a sidekick of ribs on your birthday.
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The Melting Pot
Members of Club Fondue will get a âbirthday voucher.â
The Spaghetti Warehouse
Join the Warehouse Club, and get a free meal on your birthday, plus a free appetizer with an entree purchase for becoming a member of the club.
Become a Flathead and receive a free dessert for your birthday. Youâll also get a free Tijuana Trio when you sign up.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Download the Tropical Smoothie Cafe app to be eligible for a birthday reward. What you get depends on your loyalty tier, but it ranges from a $2 reward to a free menu item.
As an Ultamate Rewards member, youâll get an offer for extra bonus points on all purchases during your birthday month.
Download the Uniqlo app to get a birthday coupon during your birthday month.
Uno Pizzeria & Grill
Join the Uno Insiderâs Club, and receive a free dessert on your birthday, as well as a free appetizer with an entree purchase when you join.
Make sure youâre a member of the Waffle House Regulars Club to receive a free waffle on your birthday. Youâll also get free hashbrowns when you sign up.
Join the Wiener Loversâ Club, and get a free coupon each year on your birthday, plus a free chili dog for joining.
Members of World Market Rewards get a âsurprise offerâ on their birthday, plus a 15% coupon for signing up.
Join the YOMO Club, and get free yogurt on your birthday.
Sign up for the Zax Club and get a free Big Zax Snak on your birthday, plus a free sandwich meal for signing up.
Who doesn’t love getting something for nothing? Visit The Penny Hoarder Shop to see what freebies are available.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Thereâs this mansion in Beverly Hills that a large part of the worldâs population has already seen, even though they might not realize it.
Itâs a historic house thatâs been used in endless Hollywood movies, TV series, and music videos. After you finish reading this article, you might just realize that youâve seen this house before, too. Well, now you will also know its history, and when you see it again on your TV screen (and more than likely, you will), youâll recognize it.
The place weâre referring to is known as Greystone Mansion or Doheny Mansion, and itâs located at 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. The Tudor Revival mansion was originally completed in 1928, after three yearsâ worth of construction and a total cost of over $4 million — an insane amount at the time.Â
The inception of Doheny Mansion
The 55-room, 46,000-square-foot mansion lies on a 16-acre site within Trousdale Estates. It was designed by architect Gordon Kaufmann and built by the P.J. Walker Company. The land was actually a wedding gift from oil tycoon Edward Doheny to his son, Edward âNedâ Doheny, and his new wife, Lucy Smith.
Edward Doheny was an American oil tycoon who drilled the first oil well in Los Angeles in 1892. His story was depicted in the Academy Award-winning movie There Will Be Blood, starring Daniel Day-Lewis. Interestingly enough, the movie was actually filmed at Doheny Mansion.
Ned Dohenyâs house became known as Greystone because it was built mainly of stone, and has a grey, stone-cold appearance. The house took roughly three years to build, and included stables, kennels, tennis courts, a gatehouse, a swimming pool and pavilion, a lake with babbling brooks and waterfalls, and even a fire station.
A bittersweet move-in for the Dohenys
Unfortunately, Ned Doheny didnât get to enjoy his new home for too long. Just four months after moving into Greystone Mansion, Doheny was found dead in the house, alongside his secretary and friend, Hugh Plunkett. The case was ruled a murder-suicide, however, some claim that thereâs more to that story.
Doheny was killed by his own gun, and he was not buried with the rest of his family, but in a different cemetery, just a few yards away from where Plunkett was laid to rest. This has led some to believe that Doheny might have committed suicide, however, this is just a theory that certainly adds a bit of mystery to Greystone Mansion.
Following Ned Dohenyâs death, his wife Lucy remarried and lived in the house with her children until 1955. Greystone Mansion was later sold to Paul Trousdale, the developer of Trousdale Estates, who then sold it to Henry Crown of Chicago. The businessman never actually lived in the house, but leased it out to film studios — and thatâs how Greystoneâs prolific movie career started.Â
Over the decades, Greystone Mansion has been featured in numerous Hollywood movies and TV series, including classics like The Big Lebowski, Eraserhead, The Witches of Eastwick, Death Becomes Her, Batman & Robin, The Bodyguard, Dark Shadows, The Prestige, The Social Network, and X-Men.
The mansion has also made appearances in TV series, including Alias and The Young and the Restless, and it also played the part of Chilton Academy in Gilmore Girls.
Last but not least, Greystone Mansion has been featured in commercials and even music videos. You might have already toured the house alongside Robert Downey Jr., in the music video for Elton Johnâs single I Want Love. Let us refresh your memory:
In 1965, the City of Beverly Hills purchased Greystone Mansion, and a few years later, the property became a public city park. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, as Doheny Estate/Greystone.
The mansion continues to be used as a filming location and a destination for special events such as music festivals, fundraisers, and even weddings. Greystone Mansion houses the Beverly Hills Flower & Garden Festival, the yearly Catskills West drama camp, and The Annual Hollywood Ball, among others.
A carefully preserved slice of L.A. history
Greystone Mansion is a remarkable feat of architecture, and most of its original features have been carefully preserved over the years. The property features hand-carved oak banisters, balustrades and rafters, seven chimneys, each designed by a different artist, a movie theater room, a billiard room, a hidden bar, and a two-lane original Brunswick bowling alley. The alley was renovated so that it could be used by the filming crew for There Will Be Blood.Â
Thereâs a grand hall with distinctive, black-and-white marble floors and a very famous staircase. In fact, the staircase at Greystone Mansion has been featured in numerous productions, due to its majestic appearance.
Greystone Mansion also included a servantâs quarters that took up two entire floors on the east wing and was built to accommodate a live-in staff of 15.
There was also a living room with a balcony where musicians performed at special events, and a kitchen pantry with a secret wall safe that held the familyâs silver and gold kitchenware.
This stunning, stone-clad Beverly Hills mansion continues to attract filming crews, and weâre definitely going to be seeing it again on the big screen. At the same time, its beautiful, lush gardens and its rich history will continue to attract visitors from around the world.
Here’s a further glimpse into the mansion’s history, to keep you occupied until you get a chance to visit in person:
Featured image courtesy of The City of Beverly Hills
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The post Greystone Mansion: the Most Familiar House You’ve Never Visited appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
Drew and Jonathan Scott of “Property Brothers” know that nearly all of us could use more space (particularly as the pandemic drags on and on). Now that the new year’s first episode of “Celebrity IOU” has arrived, they’ve broken out their top tricks for opening up a small house without breaking the bank.
In the Season 2 episode, “Rainn Wilson’s Surprise,” the Scotts meet the actor Rainn Wilson, of “The Office,” who wants to give his beloved nanny, Leslie, a living-room makeover.
Leslie’s Los Angeles home could definitely use it, given that the space is seriously dated and undeniably cramped. With her kids (and nieces and nephews) often running around the house, Wilson knows that this living space needs to be more kid-friendly, too.
Read on to find out how Drew and Jonathan open up this small living space, which might inspire some upgrades around your own home, too.
Remove kitchen cabinets to open up more space
When Wilson brings Drew and Jonathan to Leslie’s home, one of the first things the brothers notice is the kitchenâs cabinets.
The row of cabinets blocks sightlines to the living space and makes the kitchen feel separated from the rest of the house. Jonathan explains that the style is typical of the era the home was built in, but says itâs not a great feature for those who are making the meals.
âWhoeverâs in there, all of a sudden, it feels like a cave,â Jonathan says.
So, the brothers remove some cabinets and, to make up for the missing cabinet space,Â add smarter storage to the rest of the kitchen (like adding lots of drawers to the island).
In the end, the kitchen is beautiful, functional, and flows with the rest of the living space. Leslie will never miss those cabinets!
Create more storage with built-in benches and hutches
Wilson knows that Leslie and her children could always use more storage.
âOne thing is, thereâs a lot of kids bouncinâ around in here,” Wilson tells the Scott brothers when they first tour the house.
Luckily, the brothers have a solution to help this family organize its stuff: stylish built-ins.
Drew and Jonathan add some built-in benches under the living room window, providing plenty of storage space under the seats. Then, they expand on the built-in dining room hutch, making it twice as big, for holding twice as much.
These two built-in storage solutions are perfect, because they donât take up space, as a bulky piece of furniture would, and they leave the whole room open as a kids’ play space. Itâs a great workaround for this familyâs storage issue.
Brighten beams to make a room seem taller
Jonathan and Drew like the wood beams in Leslie’s living room, but they worry that the dark color makes the room feel more closed in.
âFrom the moment we walked in, we noticed the dark beams and that high, recessed, rough-ridged ceiling. It was sucking the light out of the space,â Drew says.
But the color isn’t the only problem. The brothers notice that this room doesn’t have any ceiling lights, which makes this room even darker.
So Jonathan and Drew paint the beams white and add white shiplap-style ceiling panels.
âNot only do they add brightness,â Jonathan says of the panels, âbut theyâre also going to be dropped down to accommodate new recessed lighting.â
In the end, not only does the new color make the space feel brighter, but the added lights literally light up the room.
Large doors make a small house feel bigger
While Leslieâs living room is laid out well, the space is relatively small. Although the brothers canât add to the square footage of the house, Jonathan has the idea to expand the living space by improving the flow into the back patio.
âWe could do something really cool with these sliders,â Jonathan says of the existing doors. âWe could swap them out for, like, collapsible glass panels. They could flow in and out. It would be great.â
The brothers open up the walls and install large, collapsible window doors from two sides, making both the family room and dining space open onto the backyard.
To complete the effect, they update the patio by adding new flooring and new furniture. In the end, the living space feels twice as big!
Don’t go overboard with too much white
While the Scotts know that itâs important to brighten up a space, they also know that with the walls, ceiling, and kitchen all in white, the space could use some contrast. So they redo the white fireplace with a unique brown finish.
âThis is just made out of marble powder, lime, and sand,â Jonathan says, as he applies a clay mixture to the fireplace face.
Some techniques, he says, come from Italy, and from different regions of Europe, but this one, from Morocco, is called tadelakt.
The light-brown color looks perfect in the space. The finish adds dimension without darkening the area, and the modern fireplace shape is much better suited to children, because thereâs no mantel to climb on or base to trip over.
Best of all, this modern fireplace looks clean and elegant.
âI love that it looks like a five-star hotel,â Drew says of the new finish. âThatâs the kind of feature you want to have.â
When Wilson finally brings Leslie and her family back to the house, she’s amazed by how spacious and elegant her living room looks. Let this serve as a reminder that just a few small changes can make even small spaces feel huge.
The post The Property Brothers’ Best Small-Space Renovations for 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
Is your basement currently the deep, dark abyss where holiday decorations and outdated furniture get lost? It doesnât have to be! Just because it is the bottom level of the house doesnât mean you canât make it a top priority on your home improvement to-do list. If youâre looking for a little inspiration on what to do with it, we have a few ideas.
For the Sports Lover
Transform your cold, dark digs into a space all sports fan could only dream of. Essentials youâll need for the ultimate basement transformation may include big screen TVâs, a pool table, comfortable recliners, sports memorabilia and your own personal mini fridge. Your space will turn into a game day oasis for friends and family.
For the Athlete
Two words: personal gym. Save yourself time and money on those pesky gym memberships and build your very own dream fitness center. No longer will you have dart for the only open treadmill during primetime hours or worry if the person before you cleaned the machines. By purchasing your favorite pieces of equipment that will last, you can save yourself almost $2,000 each year on fees.
For the Entertainer
Do you find your family constantly hosting for holidays or celebrations? Wow them with an at-home bar, built by you. Stock the shelves with your favorite beverages, snag some awesome bar stools and let the fun begin! Itâs the perfect place to direct everyone for an after dinner cocktail and some conversation. Just remember the rule of thumb, if youâre opting to build your own bar the average bar height is 42 inches to ensure that adults of all sizes can sit comfortably.
For the Artist
Always dreamed of having your own space to freely create masterpieces? Now is the time! Turn up the heat of your once cold and isolated basement with the warm hues of paints, pencils, and clays. Pick up some easels, fill the walls with things that inspire you and voila! Just keep in mind that because youâll be in the basement with little light, choose a bulb with a CRI of 80 to 100 to reveal vibrant, natural hues.
For the Bookworm
You typically only see it on TV, but some homes do have beautiful built-in libraries. Build out shelving all around your basement, fill it with your favorite stories and cozy up on your favorite vintage chair to unwind from life with a good book. Are you making your own shelves? Cherry wood has a rich and warm red color that deepens over time, making it a perfect selection for shelving meant to be seen. Fellow book lovers might envy what youâve done with your basement, and may even want to come browse your selections!
Donât let your basement go unnoticed. Say goodbye to those stored away boxes and bags and hello to your new favorite place in the house. Have another idea? Share it in the comments below for other readers to get inspired by!
The post What to do with Your Basement first appeared on Century 21Â®.
Sometimes itâs hard to see the upside of harsh winter weather, especially when snow storms leave you stuck inside. However, you can take advantage of a snow day by using the opportunity to improve your home decor. Here are some simple DIY projects for when youâre snowed in. Ask your children to help out (safely) for family fun time that may add a bit of luxury to your living space.
Add some pizzazz to a lampshade by gluing an inlaid paper cutout on its inner surface. Use a blade to cut a design from paper (either freehand or from a template), making sure to place a rubber mat down first to protect the surface underneath. With a mixture of 50% glue and 50% water, decoupage the paper cutout inside of the lampshade. Once itâs dry, turn the lamp on and admire the glowing design!
Fabric Wall Art
If you have some bold print fabric, use it to create art that pops. All youâll need to buy are wooden frames of varying sizes and a hot glue gun. Cut the fabric wide enough so that there will be two inches leftover when stretched across a frame. Cover, glue, and voila! Create a gallery wall to display your new pieces.
If you have small planters in your indoor garden, consider hanging them for a fun look that will free up surface space. Simply drill two small holes close to the top edge of the planter. Make sure theyâre exactly opposite from one another. Knot a thin but sturdy rope or twine inside each of the holes so you can hang them from a hook. Tip: Install the hook near a window so your plant can still get the sunlight it needs.
Memory tables are a great way to personalize your home. Youâll need a deep photo display and a similar sized coffee table. Using a strong wood glue, adhere the back of the photo display to the table. You can now place objects in the display to create a sentimental scene. Try using objects that are cohesive, such as trinkets and photos from a memorable family trip. You may want to glue the objects in place so they are not disturbed when the table is moved.
If you keep one (or more) of these projects in mind for your next snow day, getting snowed in might not seem so bad!
The post Home Decor Projects for When You’re Snowed In first appeared on Century 21Â®.
If you have federally held student loans, youâre getting a break on making payments â again.
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the Education Department to extend its freeze on interest rates and payments for federally held student loans through Sept. 30, 2021.
Hereâs what you need to know.
What Is Student Loan Administrative Forbearance?
The pause on payments and interest accrual is an extension of the administrative forbearance that originated with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act â aka the CARES Act â passed in March 2020 to address economic issues due to COVID-19.
Directed by emergency legislation designed, the Department of Education announced that all federally held student loans would be placed in administrative forbearance through Sept. 30, 2020. Interest rates were automatically set to 0% and all payments were suspended.
Then-President Donald Trump later signed an executive order to extend the administrative forbearance period until December 31, 2020, and the Secretary of Education extended those measures until Jan. 31, 2021.
Biden directed the extension yesterday amid a flurry of executive orders he signed on his first day in office.
What Loans Does This Legislation Cover?
The interest waiver covers all loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education, which includes Direct Loans, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, Parent and Graduate Plus loans and consolidation loans.
If you happen to have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins loans held by the federal government, theyâre covered, too. But the vast majority of those loans are commercially held, which makes them ineligible for the benefit.
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What Does This Legislation Mean for My Student Loans?
There are four things to know about how administrative forbearance affects student loans through Sept. 30, 2021:
It suspends loan payments.
It stops collections on defaulted loans.
It sets the interest rates to 0%.
Each month of the suspension will count as a payment for the purpose of a loan forgiveness program.
Note that the suspension does not mean that the federal government is making your student loan payments for you â youâll just be free of making loan payments for eight months without accruing interest or incurring late fees during that period.
Biden did not, despite some hopes, forgive thousands of dollars in student loans in his initial executive orders. That request will need to go through Congress and faces opposition â which means if student loan balances are wiped out permanently, it wonât be for a while.
Here are five ways to know if you can benefit from the forbearance period.
Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
AÂ healthÂ insuranceÂ policyÂ is essential for anyone seeking to safeguard their future and avoid the catastrophic consequences of high medical bills. Whether you’re buying coverage for yourself or aÂ health planÂ for your family, it’s important to get complete coverage. But despite this fact, millions of Americans remain uninsured, often because they believe one of the followingÂ health insuranceÂ myths.
Myth 1: I’m Young and Healthy; I Don’t NeedÂ Health Insurance
You’re never too young to start shopping forÂ health insuranceÂ plansÂ because you don’t know what’s around the corner.Â Medical expensesÂ can be astronomical at any age and anyone can have an accident, fall ill or be diagnosed with a serious disease.Â
It’s not pleasant to think about and many people prefer to bury their heads in the sand and live as if they are invincible, but they’re not. No one is.
Health careÂ is very expensive in the United States, there’s no escaping that fact. This is one of the few developed nations in the world where being the victim of an accident or attack could lead to insurmountableÂ medical expensesÂ and essentially ruin your life. You can’t rely on luck and you can’t assume you’ll be safe just because you’re young, fit, and healthy.
In fact, buying at this young age has many benefits, including the fact that you’ll likely clear all exclusion periods by the time you actually need to start claiming.
Myth 2: The Benefits are Lost if I Don’t Renew by the Due Date
You should always try to pay yourÂ monthly premiumÂ on time, thus avoiding any issues and ensuring you are covered at all times. However, yourÂ healthÂ insuranceÂ coverageÂ does not end the minute you miss a payment.
Insurance companiesÂ have a grace period, during which time your policy will remain active. This period allows you to gather the funds needed and to pay your monthly premium, thus keeping your policy active.Â
Typically, this grace period lasts for between 7 and 15 days, but it differs from provider to provider. Check your policy for more details but try to avoid playing fast and loose with your payments as they could be the only thing protecting you.
Myth 3: It’s All About the Deductible
The deductible is the amount of money you pay before theÂ healthÂ insuranceÂ policyÂ takes over and to many consumers, it is the single most important part of anyÂ healthÂ insuranceÂ policy. However, while it is important to consider the deductible, you should not choose your policies based solely on which one has the lowest deductible.
Look for the sort of cover that they provide and whether this will suit your needs or not, and then focus on the deductible.Â
It’s also important to find the right balance between a deductible that is cheap enough for you to afford when the time comes, but is not so cheap that it sends the premiums through the roof. To do this, avoid focusing on how much your first monthly payment will cost and ask yourself what you would do if you had to pay for aÂ medical expenseÂ today.
Would you have an issue paying the deductible? Would it require you to borrow money from friends or family? If so, it’s too high and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Myth 4: I Have Insurance fromÂ My EmployerÂ so I Don’t Need any Additional Cover
If your employer offers any kind of groupÂ health insuranceÂ cover, take it, but don’t assume that it will cover you for everything you need. Read the small print, look for gaps, and seek to fill those gaps with your own cover.
With your own policy, you’ll also be protected if you lose your life. If anything happens in the time it takes you to find a new job, you could be left to foot the bill, making this an even scarier and more stressful time. But if you’re covered, you can take your time as you search for a suitable role.
Myth 5: It’s Not a Pre-Existing Condition if I Didn’t Know About it
If you have any pre-existingÂ medical conditions you will be subject to an exclusion period, one that may last for up to 48 months. During this time, yourÂ insurance companyÂ will notÂ pay outÂ for any issues related to this condition and contrary to popular belief, not knowing about the condition is not enough to avoid this exclusion period.
If, somehow, it is proven that you had aÂ medical conditionÂ that was simply not discovered at the time you applied, it will still be subject to an exclusion period. The good news, however, is that you can no longer be refused because of pre-existingÂ medical conditions, which means that everyone can benefit fromÂ health insurance.
Myth 6: I Don’t NeedÂ Health InsuranceÂ If I Have aÂ Life InsuranceÂ Plan
AÂ lifeÂ insuranceÂ policyÂ can cover you for critical illness, which could be used to coverÂ health careÂ costs. You can also purchase accident and dismemberment insurance to cover you in the event you lose a limb. However,Â life insuranceÂ is designed toÂ pay outÂ a death benefit when you die. It goes to yourÂ loved ones, not you, and is therefore not a viable replacement forÂ health insurance.
For complete cover, you should look into getting bothÂ life insuranceÂ andÂ health insurance. You can findÂ low-costÂ options for both.
Summary:Â Common MythsÂ Debunked
If you don’t have anyÂ healthÂ insuranceÂ coverage, it’s time to change that and start looking for coverage today. Take a look at our guide to choosing aÂ health planÂ to get started. We also have guides on everything fromÂ life insuranceÂ (termÂ life insurance, wholeÂ life insurance, and otherÂ lifeÂ insuranceÂ coverage)Â car insuranceÂ and pretty much all otherÂ insurance products.
By purchasing all of these together you could even save some money while getting essential coverage! Just remember to do your research, plan ahead, and never settle for less than you need as you may live to regret it in the future.
Health Insurance Myths Debunked is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.
Nothing says summertime like a BBQ, and getting friends and family together for some food and friends for the Fourth of July is the perfect way to celebrate. Iâm usually the host for these get-togethers, and even though I absolutely love having people over, feeding everyone can take a toll on your budget, especially with a big family like mine.
Now that Iâve been using Mint to keep track of expenses, here are some tips on how to have a cost-conscious Fourth of July spread:
1) Declare the BBQ a Potluck.
Thereâs no secret here: potlucks save money AND time. When you invite your guests to bring dishes to the party, that basically means theyâre not only helping out with the food budget, theyâre also taking the time to shop for the ingredients and deliver it to your house ready to eat! I would suggest setting some guidelines for your guests so that there is a variety of food in your spread and not just 5 versions of chips and salsaâ¦.and thatâs it. To divide up the dishes, you could try a few different methods:
Assign your guests by categories. If thereâs an easy way to divide up your guests, like by their last name, or their birthday month, then you could assign one set of guests appetizers, and another set of guests foods for the grill, for example. For this option, I would suggest asking your guests to confirm their choice with you and even post it on a message board if you are using a website to plan your party, so that you know and your other guests whatâs coming and to avoid too much of one type of food.
Ask guests to bring specific foods. If your best friend makes the most amazing potato salad, and you need potato salad, ask your best friend to bring potato salad. Thereâs no need to do all the work when you can tap into the strengths of your guests. For those who are known to shy away from cooking, ask them to bring something simple like a salad or lemonade.
2) Set a food budgetâ¦.and stick to it!
This tip comes directly from my previous post on Healthy Food on a Budget because itâs also important to serve your guests healthy food and stick to your budget. Just because itâs a party doesnât mean you should let your health and your money slip up! Itâs easy to set up budgets in Mint, like saving for a vacation, but you can also set up smaller budgets like for a summer BBQ celebration. Ideally, since youâre having everyone over for a potluck, this get-together wonât take a huge toll on your wallet, but itâs still important to set limits for what you can spend. I like to make it a fun challenge to see how much money I can save and get the most bang for my buck, while not cutting corners on the quality of food served for my guests.
3) Check out the weekly sales ads.
Donât throw away those ads because right before Fourth of July, the mail will be filled with sales on foods for entertaining. Gather those ads up to look through whatâs on sale for the week and map out your menu from those hot buys. If you have apps for your favorite stores, check those out too because Iâve seen in-app coupons that werenât in the print ads that have saved me some money. Once you cross-reference the sales and build your shopping list, also plan out where you will shop from. If you have to travel from 2 different stores to save $15 dollars, I think itâs worth it to take the time to shop smart. Sure, it may take an extra 15 minutes, but I can bet that youâll feel a lot better to have that extra money in your wallet.
4) Pick a dish that saves you money and time.
As the host of the party, youâll be pretty busy with all the details of the day so your time on the day of the party will be limited. From cleaning up the house to setting up the grill, thereâs plenty to do before guests show up. The last thing you want to do is prep a labor-intensive dish when there is so much more on that to-do list. To save money and time, I like to serve up a dessert dish that brings a wow-factor to the party, my Banana Boat Sâmores. These delicious treats light up the eyes of all my guests, and if they knew how cost-effective they are, theyâd light up even more!
To save money, I like to use fruit for dessert, especially in the summer season, because theyâre more affordable, easier to prepare, and most importantly, theyâre healthier! Bananas are only 19 cents each, so just make sure to have at least one banana per guest. I also know that marshmallows and Graham crackers are always on sale for $1 around this time of year, so already, this is a dish that costs less than 50 cents per serving.
To save time, I like this dish because you can have your guest prep their own Banana Boat. All you have to do is set up a station of the ingredients and let them make their creation as they please. When you get your guests involved in the food preparation, youâre saving some valuable time on your end, but also your guests are having fun! Theyâll leave your party with another recipe under their belt as well, so itâs a win-win for everyone.
5) Buy your food in bulk bins.
Donât pass up those bulk bins on your shopping trip, because buying from these can be 30-40% cheaper than packaged branded items. For the chocolate, I paid per ounce from the bin instead of buying packages. Since Iâm setting up a station for my guests at my own home, I donât need the packaging or extra chocolate so why should I pay extra for it? Half a pound only costs $2, whereas if I were to buy a bag or a bar it would cost me close to $5.
With these tips on how to have a cost-conscious Fourth of July spread, I hope you can spread out your budget and use some of that money you save on other fun activities this summer!
The post How To Create A Budget Friendly Spread For Fourth Of July appeared first on MintLife Blog.
Idaho has some of the best potatoes in the world, but it has more to offer than just that. Itâs also dubbed the Gem State, with over 70 precious and semi-precious stones found within its bedrock and streams. The real gems of Idaho are its national parks, friendly people, and a range of real estate deals for buyers looking to maximize value without breaking the bank.
Finding an amazing home in Idaho is easy if you know what to look for and have the top tools and professionals on your side.
What to Look for in an Idaho Home
In Idaho, you can have your pick of beautiful homes and properties with stunning natural backdrops. To narrow down your list, you may want to keep a few things in mind.
Proximity to Employment
The capital of Idaho, Boise, is a major draw for many homebuyers due to its impressive list of corporate and boutique employment opportunities. If youâve already landed a job at a powerhouse like Boiseâs Micron, Hewlett-Packard, Clearwater, IDACORP, or St. Luke’s you will want to look for a home in or around the Boise area. If you havenât scored a job yet, being close to the city can only help your search and prospects.
With the Homie app, you can narrow down your search using the city or town of your current or future job. Whether you are looking in Boiseâs Bench or North End, Garden City, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, Kuna or some other area, you can find what you are looking for. You can then collaborate with a Homie agent to decide which homes you may want to make an offer on in Boise.
The Lot the Home Sits On
Even though much of Idaho’s real estate sits on predictable, easy-to-manage land, in some cases, a property could have hidden issues. Keep an eye out for the following when evaluating where your home sits:
Setback regulations that may limit where and if you can put on an addition
Easements put in place that may limit what you can do
How fences, hedges, trees, and other things at the edges of the property sit in relation to the actual, registered boundaries of the lot
Check the Available Utilities
Particularly in the more rural areas of Idaho, you will want to double-check the utilities at your disposal. In the more urban sections of the state, you may have multiple options for handling sewage, as well as heating your home. However, other parts of the state have far fewer choices. It’s best to decide ahead of time how you will deal with:
A septic system instead of a town sewer
Limited heating fuel optionsâand the extra expense that may involve
Getting a back-up energy source in case there’s a blackout due to a storm and crews are delayed in fixing it
In most cases, any inconveniences can be overcome with a little planning. The more rural sections of Idaho more than make up for it with their natural beauty.
Idahoâs temps can dip below zero degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and push the mercury above 100 degrees in the summer months. To keep comfy, whether you want to be cozy or cool, it’s important to try to find a home thatâs energy-efficient. Focus on both the insulation and the mechanical system.
If thereâs no information available for the insulation used in the home, you can often gauge its efficiency based on the thickness of the walls. Two-by-six construction tends to be better at maintaining inside temps than two-by-four walls. Likewise, single-pane windows allow more heat loss or gain than a modern dual pane window filled with argon. A quick trip to the attic can reveal the kind of insulation between the roof and living spaces below.
The Importance of Using an Agent
Enlisting the assistance of a Homie agent can make the buying process easier and save you thousands of dollars, not to mention peace of mind. Here are some of the top advantages of using a Homie agent instead of trying to DIY your home purchase.
Getting the Best Deal
Making the right offer is a fine art and skill. Often, a homebuyer may have a number they think reflects the value of the home, but even a thoughtful figure may be skewed by a number of subjective factors. With an agent from Homie, youâll get a dedicated professional that knows the local area, how its prices have fluctuated over the years, and how well homes tend to hold value.
A local agent from Homie also knows how long properties tend to stay on the market in a given area, as well as the infrastructure and municipal projects in the works that may influence the valueâpresent or futureâor a home. With this store of data and insights, a Homie agent can help you nail the best offer and earn you a great deal.
Work With Experienced Professionals
When you work with Homie, you not only get to work with some of the top agents, but Homie also helps you find the best providers for all your needs through Homie Marketplace. The Marketplace is a list of partners that we know do amazing work in things like home inspections, warranties, and moving services.
Finding trusted professionals for each part of the home buying process is essential. A good home inspector will tell you what types of repairs your potential home needs. This important information to have so your agent can help you negotiate a fair price.
Youâll also want a good home warranty to protect against any unexpected issues that might come up after you move in. Instead of hunting all over the place to find each of the providers you need, our Homie team will help connect you with the right people.
Familiarity With Legal and Paperwork Requirements
Thereâs a lot more to buying a home than writing a check and grabbing the keys. The legal landscape can get tricky, particularly when it comes to the paperwork. Even well-meaning sellers can include clauses in the contract that could put you at a disadvantage.
Work With a Homie
If youâre digging for an Idaho real estate gem, a Homie professional can help you as you prospect for your prize. Whether youâre looking for the perfect starter home, an upgrade as your family grows, or a lovely investment property, your Homie agent will help you score a great deal and have a smooth process. Click here to start working with Homie to find your Boise home today!
For more tips on home buying, check out the articles below!
4 Ways to Outsmart the Competition When Buying a Home
5 Tips to Help You Afford Your First Home
Common Home Buying Fears and How To Overcome Them
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The post How to Find a Home in ID appeared first on Homie Blog.