How to Get Rid of Roaches in Your Apartment | ApartmentSearch

Man in white room looking at over 20 cockroaches on his floorWhen you moved in, everything seemed pristine. The tiles? Gleaming. The stovetop? Spotless. The carpet? Brand new! However, you quickly started finding roaches hidden in cracks, crevices, and cupboards after your move. You’re likely wondering, “Why do I have roaches in my clean apartment?” These pesky creatures are not only terrifying (they can fly!), they are pests that can cause health concerns. Now what? Learn how to get rid of roaches in an apartment if you already keep a clean house.

Why Do I Have Roaches in My Clean Apartment?

A sparkling clean apartment is the best deterrent for attracting cockroaches, but it’s not entirely foolproof, as you unfortunately know. Some common factors that might draw cockroaches to your apartment include:

Damp Areas

Roaches rely on moisture for survival and that search for water will bring them into even the cleanest of apartments. Leaky pipes or a drippy faucet, things you don’t typically associate with a dirty apartment, are just what those cockroaches are looking for. That’s why you’ll most often find roaches in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other areas where water is used. And don’t forget about things like pet water bowls or standing water in that sink where you’re soaking the dishes overnight.

Cracks and Crevices

Roaches prefer the feel of something solid against their bodies, so even a clean apartment isn’t immune from cockroaches finding their way into the spaces between tiles, cracks in the walls, molding pieces, and gaps found between electrical installation and piping systems. All of these serve as roach shelters.

Food

Leaving any food around and uncovered is inviting cockroaches to come and hang out. Sometimes you may clean your kitchen one day, but then soon forget to wipe down your counters to get rid of food crumbs. Or you forget to close a box of cereal before putting it back into your cabinet. Open tops, lids, and jars make for an easily accessible snack for those pesky bugs.

Best Ways To Get Rid of Roaches In Your Apartment

Cockroaches are quick, sneaky, and adaptable pests that are quite honestly a pain to get rid of. They are also harmful to have around, as they carry bacteria and other infectious agents, so as soon as you spot one of these unwelcome house guests, take action!

Limit Moisture

To reduce the chances of a roach infestation, get rid of standing water anywhere in the apartment. Whether that’s fixing a dripping faucet or avoiding soaking dishes overnight, make an effort to cut down on the sources of water that are available to the roaches.

Seal Nooks and Crannies

You might not usually scour your apartment looking for cracks and crevices, but now is the time to do so. Carefully check for those nooks and crannies and then use caulk to seal them, effectively blocking off the entry points that roaches may use.

Use Bait

Often, the safest and most effective baits work over time to kill off roaches. Place the bait in containers spaced throughout their most frequent hang out spots, and change it out once a month. The cockroaches will either eat it on the spot or carry the poison back to their friends and spread the plague. Various bait and gel options are often found at your local hardware store or supermarket.

Talk to Your Landlord

Finally, if you’ve truly done all you can do, talk to your landlord. Chances are your apartment unit isn’t the only one with a problem, and poorly maintained outdoor spaces may be contributing to the problem. Having a conversation with your landlord could help provide solutions, including bringing in a professional exterminator.

Move to a New Place

If you’ve done everything above and still find roaches in your apartment, you have another option: move! Find a new, clean space, complete with 24-hour maintenance for your next transition with ApartmentSearch.

Source: blog.apartmentsearch.com

Everything you need to know about transiting through European airports during the pandemic – The Points Guy


Transiting through European airports during the pandemic- The Points Guy


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Source: thepointsguy.com

6 of the Worst Things to Buy at Aldi

ALDI food market branch in St. Louis.
ZirePhotos / Shutterstock.com

Aldi is quietly becoming one of the most respected grocery chains in America.

In its latest ranking of grocery stores, Consumer Reports awarded Aldi 84 of 100 possible points for overall satisfaction. That puts it just behind some of the nation’s most beloved grocers. Trader Joe’s, for comparison, earned an 87 and Costco received an 86.

Every retailer has strengths and weaknesses. Don’t buy a laptop at Walmart if price matters, for example, and Trader Joe’s is not the best for low-priced meat and seafood.

The “no frills” Aldi — which currently serves the Eastern seaboard, Midwest, Arizona and California — earns a perfect CR score of 5 out of 5 for competitive prices. CR also points to the chain’s store cleanliness, for which Aldi earned a 4 out of 5.

Aldi falls down, however, in the following areas, based on Consumer Reports’ findings or our own.

1. Store-prepared fresh foods

Woman shopping for groceries at Aldi
defotoberg / Shutterstock.com

Aldi earns a rock-bottom low grade from Consumer Reports — only 1 of 5 possible points — for its store-prepared fresh foods.

That can include, for instance, freshly made salads, deli sandwiches and whole roast chickens prepared in stores. The chain says it has increased its fresh food offerings since 2018, but Consumer Reports, in its 2019 assessment, wasn’t impressed.

For better bets, check out “My 7 Favorite Things to Buy at Aldi.”

2. Avocado oil

Avocado oil
Lecic / Shutterstock.com

The reputation of the avocado as a healthy food might make you crave avocado oil, a relatively new grocery product. It’s full of minerals, vitamins and healthy fats.

But in a recent review of seven brands by ConsumerLab.com, Aldi’s Simply Nature 100% Pure Avocado Oil was the only one that didn’t earn ConsumerLab.com’s approval. The company, which independently tests the quality of health and nutrition products, said of Aldi’s brand:

“[I]ts fatty acid profile did not fully match that of avocado oil, suggesting adulteration with another oil.”

3. Sandwich bags

bagged lunch
Hannamariah / Shutterstock.com

We’ve done the math on Aldi’s sandwich bags so you don’t have to.

“Every time I have done the per-unit math, Walmart’s Great Value sandwich bags have been cheaper than Aldi’s Boulder sandwich bags,” says Money Talks News managing editor Karla Bowsher.

Walmart’s bags are cheaper even than the ones Costco sells, she reported in “7 Things I Never Buy at Costco.”

4. Name brands

Kellogg's name brand breakfast cereals
Steve Cukrov / Shutterstock.com

Store brands typically offer more for your money, and more than 90% of Aldi’s products are house (or “private-label”) brands.

“One reason [Aldi’s] prices are so low is that a majority of the groceries it carries are private-label,” affirms Business Insider.

However, shop beyond these private-label products and you might end up digging more deeply into your purse or wallet.

At Aldi, “not only are these [name brands] usually over-priced, you can’t use coupons on them to save more money,” says blogger MoneySavingMom.

5. Disposable shopping bags

Aldi shopping bag
monticello / Shutterstock.com

Unlike many stores, Aldi doesn’t give shoppers free bags at checkout. You bring your own or buy disposable or reusable shopping bags.

Aldi’s FAQ explains that “we not only save our customers money — by avoiding adding the cost of the bag to our prices — but also precious resources.”

Don’t get stuck paying for a disposable grocery bag, though. Plan ahead and bring your own for free. Or, if you don’t own reusable shopping bags, buy some reusable bags at Aldi rather than paying for disposable bags that aren’t made to last.

6. Locally produced products

Aldi produce department
Ilze_Lucero / Shutterstock.com

Shopping for locally grown and crafted goods? Try local food cooperatives, farm stands and farmers markets. A sore point for Aldi in Consumer Reports’ ranking was its score — just 1 of 5 possible points — for its selection of locally produced products.

Aldi shines, however — earning 4 of 5 possible points — for its prices on organic products.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

How is a credit score calculated? A survey of America’s credit knowledge

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

In the U.S., a credit score determines whether Americans can purchase a home, rent an apartment or even qualify for certain jobs. Despite the significance of credit scores, many consumers are unaware of how they are calculated and what factors can positively or negatively impact them.

According to a survey conducted by LendingTree, more than a third of respondents reported having no idea how their credit score was determined.

Given the significance that credit scores have, how much do American consumers know about their credit scores and the system responsible for them?

We surveyed 3,000 Americans to find out more about how much they know about the credit industry and accessing their information.

Key findings:

  • Nearly half of respondents said they had never checked a copy of their credit report.
  • A third of respondents disagreed with the statement “I know what information of mine the credit bureaus have access to.”

Half of Americans have never checked their credit reports

When asked to agree or disagree with the statement “I have checked a copy of my credit report,” 52 percent responded “no.”

Women were slightly more likely than men to have checked a copy of their credit report, with 54 percent of women reporting “yes” compared to 50 percent of men.

Credit reports are a record of a consumer’s financial history that inform how a credit score is calculated, with different scoring methods weighting various events, or items, differently (which is why a person’s FICO score will typically be slightly different from their VantageScore).

In many cases, a lender will not only look up an applicant’s credit score but will also request a copy of the applicant’s credit report, leading to someone being denied despite having an excellent score.

Additionally, just as there is more than one kind of credit score, each consumer has three separate credit reports maintained by the three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. A debt does not have to be reported by a lender or creditor to all three bureaus, which can lead to discrepancies between the three reports.

Normally, consumers can view one free credit report per bureau per year. However, since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, consumers have been able to request a free copy of their credit report once a week from each of the three credit bureaus. (This benefit will be ending soon.)

If only half of respondents had ever reviewed a copy of their credit report, how many were knowledgeable about what information the credit bureaus had access to?

What do the credit bureaus know? A third of Americans are unsure

About 33 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement “I know what information of mine the credit bureaus have access to.”

Consumer confusion around credit reporting is well known: according to the same LendingTree survey mentioned above, most consumers knew that paying bills on time and credit utilization factored into the determination of their score, but fewer were aware that the length of credit history or applying for credit could affect scores as well.

Lack of awareness around the credit bureaus featured more prominently in younger respondents, with 50 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 to 24 indicating that they “strongly disagreed” with the statement.

Impact of credit knowledge

Having knowledge about the credit industry and how it functions, what information a lender can access regarding your financial history and how this information is reported has a direct bearing on the financial health of consumers.

Based on findings in an annual survey conducted by the CFA and VantageScore Solutions, LLC, low-income households were less aware of the credit industry than high-income households, and were more likely to lack the knowledge needed to raise and monitor their credit scores.

Your credit standing is determined by more than a single score, and it is possible to proactively monitor and improve your credit by tracking your credit reports and ensuring their accuracy.

Being knowledgeable about what can negatively or positively affect your credit, monitoring your credit reports regularly and disputing errors can help you prevent mistakes that may have long-term effects on your credit. If you’re wondering where to start, we can help with that.

Methodology

This study was conducted for Lexington Law using Google Consumer Surveys and interpreted by Progrexion Marketing. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in February 2021.


Reviewed by Alexis Peacock, Supervising Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Alexis Peacock was born in Santa Cruz, California and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2013, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, graduating cum laude from Arizona State University. Ms. Peacock received her Juris Doctor from Arizona Summit Law School and graduated in 2016. Prior to joining Lexington Law Firm, Ms. Peacock worked in Criminal Defense as both a paralegal and practicing attorney. Ms. Peacock represented clients in criminal matters varying from minor traffic infractions to serious felony cases. Alexis is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She is located in the Phoenix office.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Which Bills to Pay Off First (or Cancel) When Money Runs Tight

Whether it’s from job loss due to a recession, a drop in income, or an unexpected major expense, there may come a time when you struggle to pay your bills. What can you do when your income and expenses don’t match up?

It’s essential you prioritize your bill payments and what you owe, paying the most important bills first.

Bills to Prioritize When You’re Low on Money

The most important bills are those that cover the necessities: shelter, food, water, and heat, for example.

The next most important are bills that cover things that make it possible for you to get where you need to go, such as your vehicle expenses.

Last on the list are bills that can ding your credit history, but not much else, if you fall behind on them.

Although you can make some adjustments to the order you pay bills based on your circumstances, it’s usually best to focus on paying your housing bills first, then paying what you can with the money you have remaining.

1. Mortgage or Rent

If you fall behind on mortgage payments, you risk having the lender foreclose on your home. If you fall behind on rent, your landlord can evict you.

Even though the foreclosure or eviction process can take months, it’s not something you want to risk happening. Keeping up with your housing payments is a must if you want to stay in your home.

When money is really tight and you’re not sure you can pull together enough to make a payment one month, the best thing to do is talk to your landlord or lender.

Many mortgage lenders have programs in place to help homeowners who are facing financial hardship. Your lender can review your options, such as forbearance or loan modification, with you.

During forbearance, you stop making payments on your loan, but interest continues to accrue. If a lender agrees to modify your loan, they adjust your interest rate or otherwise make changes to lower your monthly payment.

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also has programs available to homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments. You can contact HUD to connect with an approved counseling agency. The counselor can work with you to create a plan to help you avoid foreclosure.

If you’re a renter, talk to your landlord as soon as you know you’ll have difficulty paying rent. Explain the situation to them in detail, including whether you think you’ll be late with payment, won’t be able to pay all your monthly rent, or won’t be able to pay at all.

Many landlords are willing to work with you to come up with a solution. You can help the situation by suggesting solutions.

For example, if you’re going to pay late, tell the landlord when you plan to make the payment. If you can’t pay the full amount this month, tell the landlord how you’ll make up the difference. For example, you can add an extra $100 or so to subsequent payments until you pay off the balance.

If you’re renting and your landlord can’t or won’t be flexible about payments, you might have more wiggle room than a homeowner.

Depending on how much time you have left on the lease, you can simply wait it out, then look for a less expensive place to live. Another option is to try to find someone to take over your lease so you can move somewhere that costs less.

2. Utilities

After your mortgage or rent payment, the next most important bills are your utility bills: gas, water and sewage, and electricity. Although some people count TV and the Internet as utilities, those services aren’t essential for everyone.

Fortunately, many programs exist to help people who need emergency financial assistance paying bills. The first place to look is your local utility provider. Many utility companies have programs to help people pay their bills.

Another option is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), a federally funded program that provides financial assistance to help people pay energy bills. LIHEAP has specific income requirements and is grant-funded, meaning only a set amount of money is available each year.

If you think you qualify for LIHEAP, the sooner you apply for it, the better your chances of receiving aid.

3. Insurance Premiums

Having insurance is always a good idea, as it provides financial protection against the worst things life can throw your way, such as illness, fire, or accidents. Paying your insurance premiums even when money is tight is a smart move. Without insurance, medical bills can easily add up.

If you’re struggling to afford your premiums, you do have some options, particularly when it comes to health insurance.

If you purchased a plan from the Healthcare.gov marketplace, you qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve recently lost your job and associated coverage, if you’ve had a change in income, if you’ve gotten divorced, and for a few other reasons.

During the special enrollment period, you can apply for Medicaid or CHIP if your income is below the threshold or a credit on your insurance premiums based on your income. Doing so can lower the cost of your health insurance considerably.

4. Food & Household Necessities

Food, soap, and paper products are up there with shelter, heat, and hot water on the list of essentials.

Luckily, you have more wiggle room when it comes to adapting your food and household supply costs compared to your mortgage or rent payments and utility bills.

When money’s tight, there are many ways you can trim your food and supplies bill:

  • Limit Shopping Trips. Plan your meals for the week, make a list of the ingredients you need, and go to the store once. The more you go to the store, the more likely you are to buy things you don’t need.
  • Buy Store-Brand Items. Store-brand products usually taste the same as or similar to their brand-name counterparts, but they cost a lot less. If you typically purchase branded foods and supplies, try switching to the store brand. It’s likely the only place you’ll notice a difference is in your wallet.
  • Limit Packaged Products. Packaged foods, such as grated cheese, bagged salads, and prechopped vegetables are convenient, but that convenience comes at a cost. You can save a lot if you buy whole, unprocessed foods and prepare them at home.
  • Skip Bottled Water. If you live in the U.S., it’s highly likely your tap water is safe to drink. According to the CDC, the U.S.’s water supply is among the safest in the world. Bottled water is expensive and terrible for the environment and is often little more than repackaged municipal water.
  • Buy In-Season Produce. Pay attention to seasons when shopping for fresh produce. Fruits like strawberries and blueberries are usually in season and inexpensive during the summer but cost more in the winter. You can cut your grocery costs if you buy what’s in season.
  • Grow Your Own. Another way to cut your food bill is to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Herbs and green vegetables are usually the most cost-effective edible plants to grow, as you can get an entire plant for the price of a handful of herbs or greens at the grocery store. You don’t need a ton of outdoor space to start a garden. You can grow plants in containers on a small balcony or patio.
  • Use Your Freezer. Frozen vegetables and fruit often cost less than fresh, so it pays to purchase those when money is tight. You can also prep double batches of meals to freeze for later. That way, if you run out of money before the end of the month, you have a supply of ready-to-eat meals waiting for you.

Note too that depending on your income, you can qualify for financial assistance with groceries. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps, helps to cover the cost of groceries for people with income below certain thresholds.

Pro tip: Make sure you’re saving as much money as possible on your grocery trip. Apps like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta allow you to save money on purchases by simply scanning and uploading your receipts.

5. Car Loan & Other Expenses

Your car gets you to and from work and other important places, such as your kids’ school, the grocery store, and the doctor. If you have a monthly car payment, it’s crucial to find a way to pay it.

Just as you can call your mortgage company to work out a deal, you can call the lender behind your car loan to see if you can come to an agreement. Like mortgage companies, these lenders can also offer you loan modifications, refinancing, or forbearance.

Loan modification or refinance can lower the amount of your monthly payments, making it easier for you to afford the car. Forbearance means you don’t make payments for a set period.

Another option is to sell your current vehicle, use the proceeds to pay off the loan, then purchase a less expensive model. If you decide to sell, look for a replacement car that has a low cost of ownership to keep your expenses low. Some vehicles are more reliable than others, meaning you don’t have to worry about expensive repair or maintenance bills.

6. Unsecured Debts

Although you should make every effort to repay your debts, when money is tight, unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and personal loans, should move to the back burner. While these debts typically have the highest interest rates, they also have the lowest impact on your daily life.

You don’t go hungry if you miss a credit card payment, nor can your credit card company take your home or car if you pay late.

That said, it’s still best to pay what you can toward unsecured debts, such as the minimum due on a credit card. If even that is too much for you right now, contact the card company or lender. Sometimes, credit card companies are willing to work with you to create a debt repayment plan or let you temporarily pause payments.

7. Student Loans

While you should make every effort to pay your student loans when money’s tight, the loans often have the most flexibility when it comes to repayment, particularly federal loans.

If you have federal student loans and you’re struggling to keep up with payments, you have multiple options. You can request a deferment or forbearance from your loan servicer, or you can switch to an income-driven repayment plan, which adjusts the amount you pay each month based on your income.

The situation with private student loans is a bit different, as they don’t have the same protections as the federal student loan program.

If you’re having trouble affording private student loan payments, your best option is to contact the lender to see if it offers forbearance, repayment plans, or loan modification.


What to Cancel When Money Is Tight

While some monthly bills are essential, others are considerably less so. Budgeting often involves deciding what you need to spend money on and what you can live without.

When it’s a struggle to make ends meet, here’s what you can consider cutting:

Subscription Services

Netflix, print or digital newspapers, and meal kits are all things that can go. In many cases, you can find free alternatives to the subscriptions you were paying for. For example, some local libraries give you access to streaming movies and local or national newspapers for free.

Make sure you don’t miss any subscriptions that you might have forgotten about. Services like Truebill will find subscriptions and either cancel them or negotiate lower rates for you.

Cable and Internet Service

You may not want to disconnect your Internet completely, but see if you can switch to a slower, less expensive plan.

If you have data on your phone, some providers, like Xfinity Mobile, let you use your phone as a hotspot to get online. In this case, you wouldn’t need a separate home Internet plan.

Phone Service

While you do need your phone to stay connected, you most likely don’t need both a landline and a cellphone. You probably don’t need the most expensive cellphone plan, either.

Shop around with companies like Mint Mobile or Ting to see if you can get a better deal.

Gym Memberships and Wellness Services

Maintaining your well-being is important, especially when money is tight. But if you’re worried about having enough money to pay your most important bills, you shouldn’t have to worry about paying for a monthly gym membership or studio pass.

There are plenty of ways to work out for free from the comfort of your home. For example, you can find workouts available for free on YouTube.


Final Word

When money is tight, it’s vital you focus on paying for the things that can help you sustain your life and well-being, such as food and shelter, when times are tight.

While a missed payment can affect your credit history, in desperate situations, your health and safety are more important than your credit score.

Along with prioritizing your monthly bills, talk to your lenders and service providers. Many companies have programs in place to keep you from sinking deeper into debt and to help you avoid repossession of your home or vehicle. Keep the lines of communication open, and remember you’ll get through it.

Source: moneycrashers.com

24 Restaurant Chains That Offer Senior Discounts

Older women eating at a restaurant
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Are you cooking for fewer people these days? Once the kids grow up and move out, family meals fall by the wayside. For some reason, it’s just not as much fun to cook for one or two people, and you’d much rather eat out or order in.

Of course, restaurant dining comes at a cost. During 2019, American households spent an average of $3,526 on food away from home. For those on a fixed income, the expense of eating out is even harder to swallow.

To make it easier, we’ve rounded up several restaurant chains across the country that offer “senior” discounts. Many of these deals are available to diners 50 years old and up.

We recommend asking your server or calling ahead to confirm any promotions. Keep in mind, you may need to present an ID or sign up for a loyalty program to be eligible.

1. IHOP

An IHOP restaurant sign in Nashville, Tennessee
James R. Martin / Shutterstock.com

The pancake house has a dedicated 55+ menu, which offers select breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes at a lower price than the regular menu.

2. Denny’s

Denny's
LifetimeStock / Shutterstock.com

Check out the Denny’s 55+ menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner specials at reduced prices. (Enter your ZIP code to see the 55+ menu of your local restaurant.) In some cases, the 55+ entree saves you more than $2. Prices and selections may vary by location.

If you are an AARP member, you can save 15% on your entire check at Denny’s. (For more such deals, skip to the “AARP member discounts” section of this article.)

3. El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco
Idealphotographer / Shutterstock.com

At El Pollo Loco, diners 60 years of age and older are eligible for 10% off their order. Ask the cashier about the offer before you check out. Note: The maximum discount value is $1.

4. Cicis

Cicis Pizza
Brett Hondow / Shutterstock.com

Cicis does offer discounts for seniors, military personnel and large groups. However, the discounts vary by location because most Cicis restaurants are individually owned. Ask your nearest Cicis about their special savings offers.

5. Chili’s

Chili's
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

While there’s no company-wide policy in place, some Chili’s locations offer discounts to senior citizens, military members and uniformed officers. Contact your local Chili’s to find out if it participates.

6. McDonald’s

Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock.com

McDonald’s says certain franchise locations may offer a special discount for seniors. Contact your nearest McDonald’s store to find out more.

7. Applebee’s

Applebee's restaurant
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

An Applebee’s spokesperson tells Money Talks News that there is no national offer for seniors, but you can call your nearest Applebee’s for specific deals available at that location.

8. Golden Corral

Golden Corral
Helen89 / Shutterstock.com

Select Golden Corral locations offer senior specials, so ask your nearest restaurant if it participates. No matter where you live, though, additional savings and rewards are available when you sign up for the Good as Gold Club. Check off the box that indicates “Seniors (60+)” so you can start receiving news and promotions most relevant to you.

AARP member discounts

AARP
Piotr Swat / Shutterstock.com

As soon as you turn 50 years old, you’re eligible to become a full-fledged AARP member. While there is an annual fee, the membership unlocks countless discounts on everything from hotels to health care.

AARP has also partnered with over a dozen restaurants to offer exclusive members-only discounts. Below are the ones currently listed on the AARP website.

  1. Bonefish Grill: 10% off dine-in food and non-alcoholic beverages
  2. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  3. Carrabba’s Italian Grill: 10% off dine-in food and non-alcoholic beverages
  4. Chart House: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  5. Corner Bakery Cafe: 10% off your total check, excluding delivery orders
  6. Joe’s Crab Shack: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  7. Landry’s Seafood: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  8. Landry’s Inc. Restaurants (select brands): 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  9. McCormick & Schmick’s: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  10. Oceanaire Seafood Room: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  11. Outback Steakhouse: 10% off dine-in food and non-alcoholic beverages
  12. Rainforest Cafe: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages
  13. Saltgrass Steak House: 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages

You may need to have your AARP card or membership number handy to be eligible for these savings. Also note, discounts may not apply to delivery orders and some restaurants may be closed or operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

AMAC member discounts

Association of Mature American Citizens
Postmodern Studio / Shutterstock.com

Join the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) after your 50th birthday to access exclusive coupons and discounts on food, travel, insurance and more. Below are AMAC’s current restaurant partners, where you can score up to 50% off an entree.

  1. Friendly’s: Three coupons available, including 50% off an adult entree with the purchase of one other entree.
  2. Long John Silver’s: Members age 55 and up save 10% to 20% (discount varies by location).
  3. Papa John’s: Get 25% off regular menu items ordered online.

AMAC members also can get a $25 restaurant gift certificate from Restaurant.com for only $5.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?

As housing prices continue to rise homeowners are looking into how they can leverage their home’s equity to receive low-interest financing. A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a great way to gain access to a line of credit based on a percentage of your home’s value, less the amount you still own on your mortgage.

The downsides are that if get yourself into a situation where you cannot repay your HELOC, the lender may force you to sell your home in order to settle the debt.

How a HELOC Works

Home Equity Line of CreditHome Equity Line of Credit

Let’s say your home has an appraisal value of $400,000 and you have a remaining balance of $200,000 on your home’s mortgage. A lender typically allows access to up to 85% of your home’s total equity.

(Value X Lender Access) – Amount Owed = Line of Credit
$400,000 X 0.85 = $340,000
$340,000 – $200,000 = $140,000

Unlike home equity loans, your home equity line of credit will have a variable rate, meaning that your interest rate can go up and down over time. Your lender will determine your rate by taking the index rate and adding a markup, depending on the health of your credit profile.

When a HELOC Makes Sense

Your home equity line of credit is best used for wealth-building uses such as home upgrades and repairs, but may also be used for things like debt consolidation, or the cost of sending your kid off to college. While it may be tempting to use your HELOC for all sorts of things, such as a new car, a vacation, or other splurges, these don’t do anything to help improve your home’s value. To ensure that you will be able to pay back your loan, it’s important to focus on wealth-building attributes where you can.

Home Equity Line of Credit vs. Home Equity Loan

If you’re exploring various lending options, you’ve probably come across two different home lending terms, home equity line of credit and home equity loan.

While home equity loans give you all the flexibility and benefits of tapping into the value of your home when you need it, a home equity loan offers a lump-sum payment.

Depending on your situation, a lump-sum withdrawal may be better suited for your needs. Understanding the differences is the first step in making a loan decision that is best for you.

Home Equity Loan (HEL) – A home equity loan lets you borrow a fixed amount in one lump sum, secured by the equity of your home. The loan amount you will qualify for will depend on your Loan to Value ratio, credit history, verifiable income, and payment term. These types of loans have a fixed interest rate, which is often 100% deductible on your taxes.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) – A home equity line of credit is not so much a loan, but a revolving credit line permitting you to borrow money as you need it with your home as collateral. Applicants are typically approved based on a percentage of their home’s appraised value and then subtracting the balance owed on your existing mortgage. Things like credit history, debts, and income are also considered. Plans may or may not have regulations on minimum withdrawals and balances, as well as a variable interest rate.

Before tapping into your home’s equity, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type of loan for your situation. Because your home equity line of credit and loan involves your most important asset – your home – the decision should be considered carefully. Is a second mortgage better than a credit card or a secured loan? If you’re not 100% sure, talk to a finance specialist before putting your home at risk.

Source: creditabsolute.com