Archives January 2021

How to Separate Your Self Worth From Your Net Worth

Does your self-worth fluctuate based on the balance of your bank account? Do you feel more worthy when you’re dressed head to toe in name brand clothes? Do you feel uncomfortable or “less-than” when you’re around people who have more or make more money than you?

If you feel like your self-worth is contingent on your financial standing, know that you’re not alone. But also recognize that there are ways to overcome this.

With some time, self-reflection, and the willingness to make a change, you can separate your self-worth from your net worth. You can start to focus on being the person you want to be instead of buying all of the things.

What Is Self-Worth?

Self-worth is a measure of how worthy you feel. Worthiness is the feeling of being good enough.

High Self-Worth

People with high self-worth have a positive opinion of themselves. They believe they are good and deserving of love and respect, regardless of external factors like their salary or accomplishments . They allow themselves the opportunity to make mistakes and know that they aren’t defined by their failures.

If a person with high self-worth does something bad or out of character, they can admit they made an error. They can admit they did something bad without labelling themself as a bad person.

Low Self-Worth

Those with low self-worth believe they are lacking. They often attach their feelings of worthiness to external factors like money, appearance, or academic performance. They struggle to see themselves as inherently worthy and may not believe they are deserving of love and respect.

People with low self-worth are often very concerned about what other people think of them, making them more susceptible to criticism or feedback from others.

Those with low self-worth also ruminate on any mistakes or failures they make instead of using them as an opportunity to learn and grow.

What Is Net Worth?

Your net worth is a value determined by subtracting your liabilities (debts) from your financial assets. You have a high net worth if your assets far exceed your liabilities. You have a low net worth if you have more debt than assets.

Net worth is a simple figure to calculate with no room or consideration for how kind, generous, compassionate, or good you may be. It’s a number, not a judgement.

Pro tip: If you’re interested in keeping track of your net worth, sign up for a free account with Personal Capital. Once you connect your financial accounts, they will automatically calculate your net worth. They also have a very useful budgeting program. Check out our review of Personal Capital.

How Is Self-Worth Developed?

Self-worth starts to develop in childhood and is a product of your family’s values, your life experiences, and the culture and society you grow up in.

An individual who comes from a loving and encouraging family, who’s been taught self-love and self-compassion, is likely to have a different sense of self-worth than a child who suffered from mental and physical abuse and was constantly told that they were not enough.

A child who was incessantly criticized or shamed by a teacher due to their inability to perform at school is more likely to question their abilities and self-worth than a student who is high achieving and constantly praised.

Like any internal state of being, self-worth is a multidimensional construct that can’t be pinned down to one cause. It’s complex and influenced by a variety of factors.

Why Do We Attach Our Self-Worth to Our Net Worth?

The process through which self-worth is formed is different for everyone. Some attach their self-worth to external factors like physical appearance, productivity, or financial success. Others focus on internal measures such as self-love, acceptance, and virtue.

Researchers have found that people who are highly reliant on external sources of self-worth are greatly influenced by the opinion and approval of others and tend to be more materialistic.

These individuals accumulate money and possessions in order to obtain social validation. The fancier their possessions, the more social approval they receive and the more worthy they feel.

There are examples of this everywhere. Just look at Instagram. Everyone’s trying to keep up with the impossibly perfect, completely contrived Instagram persona, all in the pursuit of “likes” and social approval. They want to be noticed and loved by their peers and complete strangers.

However, new research published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests the opposite that actually occurs. People who attach their self-worth to external forces such as their finances have worse relationships and greater feelings of loneliness and social disconnection.

This is because those who are constantly chasing more financial success spend all of their time working and making money instead of fostering and maintaining their relationships with themselves and others. They strive for financial success with the goal of social connection, yet their social connections are what suffer the most.

How to Separate Your Self-Worth From Your Net Worth

So, if self-worth is often based on external factors like beauty and wealth, how does one go about separating one’s feelings of worthiness from the trappings of affluence and success?

Luckily, with some self-reflection and the use of the following strategies, it’s possible to create a version of self-worth that is based more on intrinsic values.

1. Assess Your Values

Who are you and what do you value?

Self-worth is largely based on how you evaluate your performance in the areas you deem as valuable. If making money is what you value, then you‘ll feel a great deal of pressure to succeed financially. The amount of money you have or don’t have becomes a measure of your value as a person.

If you decide you value self-love and self-compassion, then you’ll be motivated to treat yourself well. You will treat yourself kindly when you make a mistake or encounter a failure. You will show yourself grace and compassion when you receive negative feedback or criticism.

Actively taking inventory of what really matters in your life can help to refocus your metrics for self-evaluation and self-worth. This can be as simple as grabbing a piece of paper and writing down the type of person you wish to be — kind, moral, self-loving, self-accepting — instead of all of the things you want to have.

2. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

While comparison is a normal part of being human, too much of it can be detrimental to your mental well-being and feelings of self-worth, according to a study published in the journal Nursing.

But how do you stop comparing yourself when there’s a 24/7 barrage of social media content to compare yourself to?

Start by putting your phone down.

Take a break from social media. Go for a walk without your phone. Better yet, take a walk with a friend and work on strengthening your real-life social connections. It’s so simple, yet so effective.

When you’re scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and you start to feel down on yourself, remember: It’s not real. The pictures you see are filtered, Facetuned, and altered. These images tell a minuscule and often artificial piece of someone’s story.

When you start to get anxious or question your feelings of self-worth, that’s your cue to take a break and go do something that gives you energy, whether it’s walking, talking to a friend, journaling, or meditating.

Start to pay attention to the way you feel when you’re online or on social media and take a pause when it’s no longer useful, entertaining, or fun.

3. Change Your Environment

If you feel like you’re constantly struggling to keep up with the people around you and it’s making you self-conscious and miserable, then perhaps it’s time for a change.

You might change your job, change your friends, or change your physical environment.

Take a trip and see the world from a new perspective. Eat new food; meet new people with different ideas and new points of view. See how other people live and how other people define success and happiness.

This is not meant to be an exercise in comparison but instead one in broadening perspectives.

If circumstances don’t allow you to physically travel to a new environment, there are other ways to expand your horizons. Read books from faraway lands, find a virtual pen pal from another country, or just start hanging out in new places with new people.

4. Change Your Focus

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and hustle. A break in your normal routine can help you to shift your thinking and give you the mental space needed to make new decisions. Take a few days off work to break your normal routine. Give yourself time to think about what you want in your future and who you want to be.

Alternatively, shift your attention away from yourself to someone else.

If you value helping others and giving back to your community, then start volunteering or mentoring. These activities have been shown to have significant health benefits, including improved feelings of self-worth.

5. Change Your Narrative

If you’re continually telling yourself your worthiness is dependent on money or possessions, you will start to believe it.

The stories you tell yourself matter. These stories construct who you are and how you live your life.

Change your story and you change your life.

If you feel your self-worth is connected to your net worth, stop telling yourself, “I am worth more when I have more money.”

Start telling yourself a new story, like “I am a good person, regardless of the things I have or don’t have.”

Right now, think about the story you’re telling yourself. Do you want this narrative to continue or are you ready to start a new chapter? The choice is yours.

6. Surround Yourself With Good People

There’s an often-cited phrase by motivational speaker Jim Rohn that says, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

In other words, that the company you keep matters.

When was the last time you took inventory of the people you hang around with? Do these people bring you up? Are they positive or negative? Are they overly focused on money and material wealth or do they value relationships, experiences, and self-love?

How do you feel when you’re around these people? Do they energize you or leave you feeling exhausted, defeated, and less than?

If you don’t like the answers to these questions, it might be time to seek out new relationships — ones that are full of love, joy, and understanding.

The great news is there are over 7 billion people on the planet. You’re not stuck with the friend group you currently have or the people you’re near every day by default. So, get out there and meet some new people you’re genuinely happy to be around.

7. Become Financially Literate

Knowledge is power. The more you learn about money, the more in control you will feel over your financial situation. And when you’re in control of your money, it can no longer control you.

While the size of your bank account is no way to measure your self-worth, achieving some level of financial literacy can help you to find confidence in your financial situation. It can help you to get out of debt or start saving for the future that you want.

You can start small. Check out some of the informative — and free — financial literacy resources online. Or listen to a financial podcast while out on your morning run. You can even go to the library and borrow a book on personal finance to read each month.

With an investment of time and effort, you are capable of taking control of your finances so that thoughts about money lose their control over you.

8. Step Off of the Hedonic Treadmill

There’s a term used in social psychology to define the constant striving for more. It’s called the hedonic treadmill.

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the tendency for a person to return to their baseline state of happiness despite major positive or negative events occurring in their life. If you’ve heard of the term “regression to the mean” in terms of personal happiness, it’s basically the same idea.

Although you might experience periods of increased happiness due to a job promotion or a big pay raise, this boost in joy will only last for so long. Then, it’s back to normal, and you soon begin striving to reach the next rung on the ladder.

In terms of self-worth, this tendency demonstrates that it doesn’t matter how much financial success you obtain or how many possessions you can buy. The feeling of satisfaction and happiness from these things is fleeting. After a short period of time, you’ll be back to a feeling of wanting. It never ends — it’s like running on a treadmill.

If you want to step off the hedonic treadmill and focus on what brings you long-lasting happiness, there are steps you can take, like choosing long-term goals you want to achieve instead of focusing on “winning” in the short-term.

9. Practice Self-Compassion

Start to treat yourself the way you treat your best friend. Self-compassion is a combination of self-kindness, patience, and a lack of negative self-judgement. It’s the ability to give yourself a pass if you make a mistake.

Self-compassion is linked to greater feelings of happiness and optimism and is associated with lower levels of shame and self-consciousness or social comparison. It also acts as a buffer against the effects of criticism and negative feedback.

So, the next time you make a mistake, avoid the critical self-talk and practice kindness toward yourself. Tell yourself, “I’m only human. Everyone makes mistakes.” Think about what you would say to a friend you love who made the same mistake, and then say it to yourself.

10. Seek Help

You don’t have to go through this journey alone. There are professionals out there who can help you work through your feelings of self-worth and provide useful exercises and tools.

When people tie their self-worth to their net worth, it can bring on a number of problems, including high levels of stress and mental health issues. The stress is often caused by the constant hustle required to achieve financial success. Stress can also be due to a large amount of consumer debt that comes with buying all of the fancy things required to make it look as though you’ve achieved financial success, even if you haven’t.

A good therapist can help you to manage stress or depression you may be experiencing and can work with you to navigate your feelings of worthiness.

Final Word

The pursuit of a high net worth is not inherently bad. What can be dangerous is the motivation behind why you want to achieve it. If you’re seeking a large net worth because it’s how you define your self-worth, this can be a problem. But know that it’s a problem faced by many — you are not alone.

Society says that material success is important. Social media suggests it’s possible to look perfect — if you can afford it. It’s no wonder people feel the pressure to consume more and more as their financial means increase.

But, if you’re ready to look inward and define your self-worth based on intrinsic measures that you deem as valuable, it’s possible to make the change.

Remember: You’re the one who sets the standards for your self-worth. You have the power to define what is important to you and make a change.


Dear Penny: My Sister Moved in With Dad, Says She Can’t Be Evicted

Dear Penny,
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I told my sister we will need to find another place for her to live after April, and that I would co-sign if she sat down with me to go over her finances. She cried and said it would be impossible to find a place being unemployed, and that no one cares about her ending up homeless. 
This may seem like a money problem, but deep down it isn’t. Yes, life would be easier if you could buy your dad and your sister separate homes on opposite sides of town. But I suspect they’d still leave you emotionally drained. Emotional vampires always do.
Your signature probably isn’t the only thing standing between your sister and homelessness. Maybe she’s eligible for public housing, or she has friends who will let her couch surf. I’m not going to waste any energy exploring these options, though, because this is not your problem.
How should I proceed with my sister? Am I being too supportive, or not supportive enough? I feel guilty even having my own financial goals when my family is struggling. 
Their relationship has deteriorated. I don’t think they can continue living together. My aunt  co-signed for my father’s apartment and says my father can stay in her spare bedroom if he works with her to fix his finances. My aunt has been trying to help me, as she knows I am overwhelmed mediating their arguments and finances.
Your financial goals are completely unrelated to your family’s struggles. The sooner you can separate the two, the better off you’ll be. Please don’t feel guilty for using your money to make good decisions for yourself instead of enabling your family’s bad ones.

But here’s the trade-off: You don’t get to have an opinion even if you’re “very against” whatever living situation your sister comes up with. The second you weigh in, you’re throwing your sister a lasso. Don’t allow her to drag you back in.
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This is a problem between your sister, your dad and your aunt. I certainly feel for your aunt. I get that you’re both trying to help each other work through this mess. But you’re both ascribing magical thinking to your fix-it powers for your dad’s and sister’s financial messes. Nothing in your letter suggests that either one is interested in help.
Sister Struggles
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Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to [email protected].
I am a 30-year-old who has built a stable and happy life after growing up in a family that was often unstable emotionally and financially. I love them, but as I become more successful, my family needs more and more of my support. 
Ready to stop worrying about money?
The beauty here is that your living situation legitimately gives you a reason your sister and nephew can’t move in. I’d urge you to hang onto this arrangement as long as you can so you can develop firm boundaries. It’s OK to use dorm rules as an excuse while you get comfortable making it clear that you’re done bailing out your family.
She said she will refuse to leave the apartment if management doesn’t let her take over the lease. She believes that since she is a single mother with a child, they won’t be able to evict her. I’ve explained there could be negative consequences on her tenant record and for my aunt since she’s the co-signer,  but my sister says everything will be fine. 

Dear Sister,

When someone tells you they’re about to behave terribly, listen. I don’t care if your sister has been more responsible for three months. She obviously doesn’t plan to be responsible moving forward. She’s also made it clear that she’s up for a fight. Please don’t co-sign for her and let her take down your credit in the process.

Don’t Skip These 7 Home Projects Before Selling Your House – Redfin

January 19, 2021 January 21, 2021 by Mekaila Oaks

Updated on January 21st, 2021

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to leave your condo in New York City for a more spacious house in Dallas now that you can work from home. Or, maybe your family is growing and you’re looking for a house with a larger yard or in a different school district. Whatever your reason is, you’ve decided it’s time to sell your current home. Whether this is your first time or you have experience, selling your home can be a big task. So, unless you’re in a major time-crunch or on a tight budget, it’s best to put a little work into your home before listing it for sale so you can sell your home quickly, and possibly for more money. 

From installing new flooring to making eco-friendly upgrades, there’s a lot of home improvements you can – and should – do to make your home stand out when it hits the market. But with so many potential home upgrades, it may feel overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve listed out the top 7 home projects to consider if you’re selling your home this year.

high ceilings living room

high ceilings living room

1) Update your flooring

If the floors in your home are worn out or outdated, it can be a huge turnoff to potential buyers. Even if you’ve grown used to the stains on the carpet or you no longer notice the divet in the kitchen floor, you’ll want to have your flooring updated before listing your home for sale. 

There are many types of flooring and the right choice will depend on your home. However, you can never go wrong with hardwood. In fact, hardwood is the most popular and valuable type of flooring to potential homebuyers in the US. Laminate and ceramic are also great flooring options to consider. To be sure you’re choosing the right type and style for your home, it’s best to talk with a flooring professional in your area. 

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

2) Freshen up your paint 

Are your walls scuffed, scraped, or just an unappealing color? A fresh coat of paint is a simple yet effective home update, allowing you to maximize the look and feel of your space in next to no time. As people tour your home, online or virtually, they’ll notice the small details. You won’t want a poor paint job or an outdated, dark orange kitchen wall to be an influencing factor on their decision. Instead, opt for neutral paint colors to appeal to a wide range of buyers. 

Keep in mind that painting isn’t just for the inside, either. A fresh coat of exterior paint can do wonders for your home’s appearance and curb appeal.  If you’re crunched for time or this home project is too big of an undertaking, hire a professional painter so that your home is looking its best when it hits the housing market.

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

3) Give your kitchen a face-lift

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s often one of the top priorities for buyers. So a kitchen in need of a lot of work can be all it takes to turn a buyer off for good. With stylish, designer kitchens as one of the major home design trends this year, you’ll want to prioritize this home project to help your house stand out against the competition.

If a complete remodel doesn’t fit within your budget, don’t worry. Upgrading your kitchen doesn’t mean you need to go all out and buy brand new appliances – a few little cosmetic touches can go a long way. Things like new cabinet faces, drawer pulls or, if necessary, a new counter, can completely turn a kitchen around. Even adding a new backsplash or going bold with contrast cabinetry can make all the difference. If you’re not sure which upgrades are necessary, consider speaking with a contractor or real estate professional about current trends in your area. 

backyard oasis home projects

backyard oasis home projects

4) Enhance your landscaping: curb appeal is key

Many homebuyers want the complete package – inside and out. A beautiful home is only made better by a beautiful yard, so if your property is a little bland on the outside, the right finishing touches can spark buyer interest. That’s why landscaping is one of the most important home projects to complete before you sell your house.

Landscaping can be comprehensive – things like koi ponds and expansive patios – but can also be straightforward and simple. Planting shrubs along a sidewalk, adding a small flower garden, or even putting fresh mulch around trees can be affordable and easy ways to create eye-catching curb appeal. Whether you want to completely upgrade your outdoor space with an intricate landscape design, or your front yard just needs a well-manicured lawn with some fresh flowers, a landscaper can help you tackle this home project.

5) Replace your windows

Depending on the age and condition of your home, it might be time to replace your windows. Even if you’ve only lived in your home for 5 years, you should ask yourself how long the previous owners were living there and if they ever had them replaced? If your windows have minor damages, then they may just need a simple repair. But if the frames are worn, there’s leaking when it rains, it’s difficult to open or close, or there’s just visible damage – you’ll want to hire a professional to replace them.

contemporary home

contemporary home

6) Repair your garage door

Does your garage door squeak and squeal, or is it full of dings and scrapes? Then this is one of the home projects you’ll want to stop pushing off. If your garage door no longer looks or acts up to par, then a replacement is probably necessary – especially if it’s seen years of use with little to no maintenance. Potential homebuyers will notice these issues and may request that you repair them as part of the purchase agreement. That’s why it’s a good idea to get ahead of home projects like this before listing your home. And even if your garage door is functioning as it should, this can be a great cosmetic update to freshen up your home’s exterior.

open concept kitchen wood dining table

open concept kitchen wood dining table

7) “Green” home projects for an eco-friendly home

These days many buyers are looking for homes with eco-friendly features so taking the time to add some “green” upgrades to your home can be well worth it. And, luckily, there’s a handful of ways you can make your home more green. If your budget allows, then installing solar panels is the ultimate eco-friendly upgrade you could make. Solar panels can reduce the overall cost of electricity and energy bills, are a more environmentally-friendly energy solution, and can even increase the value of your home.  And if you live in a city like San Diego or Honolulu where it’s become a popular home feature, you’ll want to invest in this eco-friendly upgrade. 

If you’re unable to take on a larger home project like this, consider investing in other eco-friendly and energy-saving features like a smart thermostat, an ENERGY STAR certified washer and dryer, or installing a high-efficiency faucet aerator in your shower and on your taps.


DJ Paul Oakenfold spins Midcentury treehouse onto the market

On a leafy lot in Hollywood Hills, Grammy-winning DJ and record producer Paul Oakenfold is tuning in to the market with a $3.7-million offering — about $1 million more than he paid in 2015.

The house, a dazzling post-and-beam perched in Outpost Estates, was built 70 years ago as the personal residence of Robert Boyle, the Oscar-nominated production designer who collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on films such as “North by Northwest” and “The Birds.” Boyle designed the place himself.

Wood and glass adorn the Midcentury’s exterior, with huge windows and expansive terraces taking in views of the city below.


Over the years, the living spaces have been updated with whitewashed beams over dark hardwood floors. A freestanding fireplace anchors the scenic living room, and the dining room has a brick fireplace of its own.

Floating stairs descend to the lower level, where the sweeping views continue in the family room and office. Four bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms complete the 2,825-square-foot floor plan.

A native of England, Oakenfold has twice been named the No. 1 DJ in the world by DJ Magazine. Over the course of a prolific career that stretches to the 1980s, the 57-year-old has remixed songs for Madonna, Britney Spears, the Cure, U2 and Michael Jackson, winning three Grammys along the way.

Brett Lawyer of Hilton & Hyland holds the listing.


819: Probate Sales – Real Estate’s Most Profitable Niche with Mark Cianciulli

With industry competition increasing, it’s more important than ever for agents to find unique business sources. On today’s show, Mark Cianciulli of The CREM Group discusses his most profitable source of real estate business: probate sales. Listen and learn how to carve out a place for yourself in the probate niche. In addition to advice on getting started with probate sales, Mark offers tips on generating probate leads, building relationships with attorneys, and more.

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I’m Torn Between Two Career Paths (Hour 3)

Career, Business, Relationships, Debt

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7 Products With Price Spikes on Amazon Amid the Pandemic

Angry woman using a laptop
ViDI Studio /

The coronavirus crisis wasn’s a plague for Amazon’s business in 2020. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’ wealth grew 63%, the company’s stock price rose 73%, and people are jumping on the Prime train at a record pace.

Many people are staying home to prevent getting COVID-19 and using Amazon to deliver nearly everything under the sun. But as demand for deliveries has risen, so have the prices of some products, according to a recent report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Education Fund.

The nonprofit analyzed 15 product categories, looking at the prices of 50 essential products in each category. The products examined were fulfilled by Amazon, a third-party or both.

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund discovered that, of the 750 products it analyzed, prices of 136 at least doubled and 409 increased by more than 20% over the course of 2020.

Following is a look at the seven product categories for which the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found more than half of the product listings increased in price by more than 20%.

Pulse oximeters

pulse oximeter
Click and Photo /

Pulse oximeters measure the oxygen level in a person’s blood.

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 54% of listings for pulse oximeters on Amazon that it examined increased in price by more than 20% in 2020 — and 5% of those listings at least doubled in price.

Hand soaps

Woman washing her hands
Dragana Gordic /

In 2020, 59% of Amazon listings for this anti-COVID-19 essential increased in price by more than 20%, and 11% of those at least doubled in price, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis. The nonprofit also found one instance in which a three-pack of hand soap increased in price from $25.57 to $72.94.

Perhaps not surprisingly, soap is among the pandemic must-haves that Money Talks News cites in “20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling.”

Oral thermometers

Sick woman holding thermometer
Hananeko_Studio /

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund discovered that 59% of Amazon listings for these fever-detectors that the nonprofit examined increased in price by more than 20% in 2020, and nearly one-quarter at least doubled in price. One thermometer’s price rose from $254.78 to $401.76.

If you want to go different routes in measuring your family’s temperatures, The New York Times’ Wirecutter reviews in-ear and forehead thermometers.

Patio heaters

Patio heater
Pawel Pietraszewski /

These handy products greatly enhance outdoor gatherings, and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 61% of examined Amazon listings for these heaters increased in price by more than 20%, and 45% at least doubled in price in 2020.

If a patio heater isn’t your style, AARP has some ideas to stay warm outside during a time when meeting up indoors can be risky.

Cloth face masks

Woman in a mask shopping for groceries
Paulo Vilela /

In 2020, 66% of the Amazon listings for cloth face masks in the U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s analysis increased in price by at least 20%.

Increasingly more health experts are advising people to wear two masks, and Money Talks News breaks down the pros and cons of doubling up in “Does Wearing 2 Masks Protect You Better From COVID-19?”

Hand sanitizers

Parent and child use hand sanitizer and face masks at school
1641857584 /

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that 77% of the Amazon listings for hand sanitizers that it examined increased in price by more than 20% in 2020, with nearly a quarter of those doubling in price. One hand sanitizer’s price rose from $33.13 to $178.20.

If you want to save some money and DIY your sanitizer, Money Talks News has instructions for making your own.

Disinfectant wipes

Woman using a disinfecting wipe to clean a door handle
FotoHelin /

In 2020, 78% of the Amazon listings for disinfectant wipes increased in price by at least 20%, according to the U.S. PIRG Education Fund analysis.

Despite their popularity, wipes are not the only way to kill coronavirus germs. Money Talks News details some cheaper options in “5 Cleaning Products You Should Be Using in 2021.”

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


American Airlines adds 8 new and expanded leisure-focused routes

American Airlines adds 8 new and expanded routes – The Points Guy

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Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Woman relaxing in an organized home
Photo by Alliance Images /

As the owner of a growing online resale business, I’m constantly surrounded by antiques, vintage clothes, mid-century furniture and curiosities too numerous to count. For me, organizing and decluttering isn’t a seasonal event, it’s a daily to-do.

If you’re drowning in a sea of stuff, head to your local thrift shop. With a bit of creative inspiration, you’ll find dozens of tools to organize your space and preserve your sanity.

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand finds.

1. Baskets

Cheap, lightweight, strong and made of natural materials — what’s not to love about baskets? They’re one of the things I always buy at thrift stores because they come in all shapes and sizes and add texture to a well-decorated room.

Priced between $1 and $5 in most thrift stores, baskets are a budgeter’s best friend. Use them to organize pet gear, bulk food in the pantry and that mountain of remotes and game controllers in the family room.

Pro Tip: Be careful when storing clothes in natural fiber baskets. The “snag factor” makes other types of baskets a safer choice.

2. Large bowls

Every home has a drop zone — that one spot where keys, mail and sunglasses get, well … dropped. If yours looks more like a disaster zone, organize it on the cheap.

Pick up a large stoneware, metal or wood bowl at your local thrift store and add it to your drop zone. But choose wisely. Bowls should be durable enough to handle carelessly tossed cellphones, keys and loose change.

If one isn’t enough, designate a bowl for each member of the family.

3. Vintage trays

Everything looks better on a tray. In the bedroom, use trays to organize makeup, colognes and perfumes. In the bath, waterproof cocktail trays are perfect for organizing and storing shaving supplies.

When shopping secondhand, look for vintage Florentine trays. These gilded wooden pieces are a hot collectible right now and work with almost any decor. Lucky bargain hunters can still find them for $2 to $10 apiece.

4. Old wooden drawers

When dressers and hutches can’t be saved, some thrift stores resell just the drawers. Solid wood drawers with tongue and groove construction will last a lifetime and are versatile organizers.

Use small drawers to tidy up your closets. They’re perfect for storing scarves, socks and belts. Add casters to large drawers to create unique under-bed organizers for shoes, purses and bulky sweaters.

5. Canning jars

Old canning jars are a staple in my picking business. I’ve bought rare ones at thrift stores and salvaged hundreds of others from crumbling old fruit cellars across the Midwest.

Simple and utilitarian, large jars are perfect for organizing craft and sewing supplies. Use small jars to store bathroom essentials like cotton swabs. In the workshop, they’re ideal for organizing screws, washers and nails.

6. Antique steamer trunks

Though they’re getting a bit harder to find, old steamer trunks used to be common in secondhand stores and estate sales.

Use a flat-top trunk as a coffee table or nightstand and store blankets and extra pillows inside. If you don’t like the look of overflowing bookshelves, organize those extra volumes in a dome-top trunk.

If you’re handy with a few basic tools, repairing and restoring a trunk is a simple weekend project. Pick one up for $25 to $75 and give it a new lease on life.

7. Flowerpots

You don’t need to have a green thumb to love flowerpots. Use them to organize kitchen utensils, make-up brushes or small gardening tools.

Outdoors, large concrete planters can double as firewood containers or a discreet place to store rolled-up garden hoses.

8. Muffin tins

Organize everything tiny with vintage muffin tins. In your home office, tins are perfect for wrangling paper clips, binder clips, push pins, rubber bands and keys.

If your jewelry box is overflowing — lucky you, by the way — use muffin tins to store earrings, pendants, rings and brooches.

9. Magazine racks

Online magazines have rendered magazine racks nearly obsolete. Turn vintage wire racks into clever bathroom organizers. They can hold everything from extra toilet paper to bath towels and bath mats.

Is your kitchen short on cupboard space? Use magazine racks to organize large cutting boards, baking sheets, rolling pins and serving trays. Easy storage. Quick access. What could be better?

10. Metal gym lockers

Over the years, I’ve bought several old gym lockers at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. They’re the perfect solution for organizing coats and boots in a mudroom or sports equipment in the garage.

One word of caution: Tall lockers can easily become top-heavy. If you have small children in the house, anchor lockers to drywall studs to prevent tipping.

For more ideas, check out “13 Smart Tricks to Organize Every Room in Your Home.”

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


Mortgage forbearances rise for second week in a row

The number of mortgages in coronavirus-related forbearance swelled at the end of the month, rising in consecutive weeks for only the third time since the number peaked in May, according to Black Knight.

Forbearances increased by 20,000 from the week before, growing to a total of 2.764 million plans as of Jan. 26. Forborne borrowers represent 5.2% of all mortgages and a combined unpaid principal balance of $551 billion, up from $548 billion week-over-week.

Forbearance totals are ticking upwards at a time when a higher share of such loans are tied to truly distressed borrowers, compared with the beginning of the pandemic, when many borrowers took the COVID forbearance only as a precautionary measure.

“Early on, about 50% of people in forbearance were continuing to make their mortgage payments,” Andy Walden, Black Knight economist and director of market research, said in an interview. “Now that we’ve gotten through December, it’s down to about 12%. So the vast majority of these homeowners in forbearance are behind on payments.”

Among the loan types, only those backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fell week-over-week, dropping by 4,000 to a total of 925,000. Government-backed mortgages — FHA and VA — rose by 9,000 to 1.149 million overall. Portfolio and private-label securitized loans — which do not fall under CARES Act protections— increased again by 15,000 to a total of 690,000.

“The key date to look at is the end of March because that’s when the first wave of forbearance plans are set to hit their 12-month expirations,” said Walden, who estimated that 600,000 to 700,000 homeowners will reach that expiration. “That’s when we’re really going to understand how that post-forbearance waterfall is functioning, what share of those borrowers are ready to re-perform through a deferral or reinstatement through a modification repayment plan and what additional programs are needed to help.”

Mortgage servicers need to pay advances of $3.4 billion in principal and interest payments and $1.2 billion due in taxes and insurance per month, according to Black Knight’s analysis. Those totals split to estimates of $1 billion and $400 million for government-sponsored enterprise loans, $1 billion and $400 million for FHA and VA, and $1.2 billion and $400 million for private labels.

While the current forbearance program expires on March 31, further extensions are expected. The Biden administration’s latest proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan would stretch forbearance, as well as foreclosure and eviction bans, to Sept. 30. While the extensions are necessary to help borrowers in need, servicers will also need consideration in the process, according to Cam Melchiorre, president and director of regulatory compliance at IndiSoft.

“I don’t think we should overlook the financial impact of continued deferrals and forbearance agreements on the servicer. That could take a servicer down because of lack of capital overnight and I would hope legislators are aware of it,” Melchiorre said. “Yes, the consumer is at the front of the line for help but you don’t want to create systemic problems for the industry that’s trying to support everyone.”