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To benefit from insurance coverage, youâll need to pay a premium. A premium is a payment to your insurer that keeps your coverage in place. Insurance companies determine your premium by deciding what the risk is to insure you. Hereâs a breakdown of the basics to help you understand what a premium is, why you have to pay it, how it works and ways to reduce your costs.
What Is a Premium?
An insurance premium is effectively the cost of your insurance, whether for health, auto or life insurance. Most companies allow you to pay the annual premium via monthly installments. However, some companies may require you to pay your premium on an annual basis or a semi-annual basis. Some may even want the entire insurance premium up front. Companies often decide they want the insurance premium up front if you have previously had your insurance policy canceled for non-payment.
The price of a premium is usually decided by an actuary or underwriter who takes a base calculation. The base calculation determines what the risk is to insure you. After the base calculation, the company may discount it based on your health, driving record, location and other personal details. This is all based on the type of insurance youâre looking to secure, too.
Your premium may also be determined based on your insurance history. Every insurance company uses different criteria to determine premiums. Some companies use insurance scores based on personal factors like credit rating, car accident frequency, personal claims history and occupation. If your personal factors are attractive to certain companies, you may want to secure a plan with one of them. It could mean a lower cost premium.
You may also pay more money for higher amounts of coverage, whether youâre purchasing life insurance, car insurance, health insurance or any other kind of insurance.
The value and condition of what you are insuring can also change the amount of coverage you need. For example, if youâre a healthy 28-year-old with no kids, your life insurance premium may be very inexpensive because you might not need a large policy. However, the price could increase as you age and your health and family situations change because you may need more coverage.
How Can You Lower Your Rates?
The type of coverage you purchase affects your premium. If you get more comprehensive coverage with your insurance policy, it may raise your insurance premium. For example, if you insure your vehicle for all risks, you may have to pay more than if you insured it with a policy that doesnât include collision coverage.
Deductibles can reduce your insurance premiums, as well. An insurance deductible is the cost you pay before the insurance company pays anything. If your car is insured and you have a $1,000 deductible, you have to pay $1,000 before the insurance company will begin to cover any costs. If there are $3,000 in damages to your vehicle, you would have to pay $1,000 and the insurance company would pay the other $2,000. As a general rule, the higher your deductible, the lower your premiums.
In the case of health insurance, taking on a higher deductible, higher co-pays or longer waiting periods may lower your costs. However, if you can afford a plan with a lower deductible, you may want to take that. Lower deductible health plans offer customers more predictable prices for higher amounts of coverage.
Your homeowners insurance premium may be affected by the coverage limits you choose, your deductible amount, optional coverages you select, your homeâs age and condition, your claims history and your credit rating.
Car insurance premiums may be affected by your age, your credit score, your driving record, the age of your car, the type of coverage you chose, coverage limits you select, where you live and drive, and how often you drive.
Your life insurance premium may be affected by the amount of life insurance coverage you buy, the type of life insurance policy you select, the length of your policy, and your age, health, and life expectancy.
Some companies, specific policies or types of coverage have insurance limits. An insurance limit is the maximum amount of money the company will pay. Typically, the higher your insurance limit, the higher your premium. Itâs also the inverse of a deductible. You pay the part of the claim or claims thatâs more than the limit on your policy.
Insurance limits can be on a per occurrence basis or on an aggregate basis. For example, a per occurrence basis could be a $20,000 insurance limit on bodily injuries per person, per car accident. An aggregate insurance limit might be a $100,000 limit on construction costs in the event of a natural disaster.
Car insurance laws and policies typically list liabilities as a set of three numbers that stand for the coverage limits when youâre responsible for an accident. If your numbers were 22/66/15, your insurance would cover $22,000 for bodily injuries per person, $66,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident and $15,000 for property damage per accident. For personal injury protection, collision and comprehensive coverage, the numbers are listed as a single amount for each type of coverage. Your state may have specific minimum limits for certain coverages, so make sure youâre getting a fair rate.
Healthcare laws often change, and many lifetime and annual health insurance limits are illegal. However, some health insurance policies still list annual limits or limits on the number of times certain treatments will be covered, such as acupuncture, chiropractic services and orthotics. Companies may also place limits on prescription medication to keep costs down. There may be policies such as âstep therapy,â which requires you to try less expensive drugs first, or quantity limits, such as only covering 30 pills in 30 days.
Your homeowners insurance policy will often list separate limit amounts for different types of coverage. The limit amounts for liability coverage â in case youâre sued by someone for property damage or injuries that occur on your property â may be different than the limit amount for damage to your home and personal property. Make sure you review all of your homeowners insurance coverage limits, such as the amount it may cost to rebuild your home (dwelling coverage), liability coverage and personal property coverage.
Itâs important to shop around for insurance because different companies have different target clients. You may be the target client for one company, but not for another. That means your premium may be lower with one company than another. The price you pay for your insurance may include taxes or fees, as well. And these could differ from company to company. Before shopping around, call your insurance company and see if theyâre willing to lower your premium.
In addition, insurance companies may decide to pursue a new market segment. That can lower rates on a temporary basis, or on a more permanent basis if that works for the company. In either case, you can get a better deal on your insurance if you are part of the demographic that insurance company wants to attract.
The best insurance company for you may not be the best insurance company for your parents or your best friend. It all depends on your age, location and many other factors.
The Bottom Line
Your insurance company will assess the financial risk of insuring you. The greater they perceive that risk to be, the more your premium will cost. Itâs important to make sure you let your insurance company know all the ways in which you are a low-risk or lower risk client in order to get premium reductions. After shopping around, youâll be able to find the insurance policies that are best for your financial situation.
Tips for Reducing Insurance Costs
- Consider all of the insurance options available based on your individual circumstances. This can help you save money. A comprehensive budget calculator can help you understand which option is best.
- If you need extra help weighing your insurance options, you might want to consider working with an expert. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs can be easy. SmartAssetâs free tool will match you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If youâre ready to learn about local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/skynesher, Â©iStock.com/kate_sept2004, Â©iStock.com/AndreyPopov
The post A Beginnerâs Guide to Insurance Premiums appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
The New Year brings new opportunities to seek restitution for wrongs committed in previous months and even years. Take a look at this monthâs list of class-action settlements to see if any of these offers will let you add some cha-ching to your pocket as you ring in 2021.
UnityPoint Health: Data Breach
Anyone who was affected by UnityPoint Health data breaches in 2017 and 2018 may be eligible for up to $7,000 plus a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.
Also known as Iowa Health System, the lawsuit claims UnityPoint was hit by a data breach that began in November 2017. The multi-hospital delivery and health care system purportedly found the ongoing breach in February 2018, but failed to notify affected persons until April or even July of 2018.
The lawsuit alleges that more than 1 million names, addresses, phone numbers, billing information and health information were exposed, costing patients and consumers time and money to cancel credit cards and fight identity theft and fraud.
UnityPoint denied wrongdoing, but agreed to a $2.8 million settlement. UnityPoint Health said it contacted all affected consumers whose personal information was exposed during the 2017 and 2018 data breaches.
File your valid claim by March 2, 2021 to receive a year of free credit monitoring and up to $1,000 in âordinaryâ expenses, including a maximum of three hours of time valued at $15 per hour and documented out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to the data breaches, such as postage fees and internet charges. You also may claim up to $6,000 in âextraordinaryâ expenses related to identity theft or fraud caused by the data breaches, including false tax returns and interest on loans you had to take out because of canceling your credit card accounts.
Kalispell Regional Healthcare: Data Breach
You could be eligible for expense reimbursement, cash payments and free credit monitoring services as the result of a $4.2 million class-action settlement.
In October 2019, Kalispell Regional Healthcare notified patients that hackers were able to access employee email accounts and used those accounts to access the personal data of patients.
In response, a lawsuit alleged Kalispell didnât do enough to protect against hackers. The company did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to settle for $4.2 million.
Cyber thieves reportedly gained access to the following patient data:
- Â Â Names and addresses
- Â Â Medical record numbers
- Â Â Dates of birth
- Â Â Telephone numbers
- Â Â Email addresses
- Â Â Medical history and treatment information
- Â Â Dates of service
- Â Â Treating physicians
- Â Â Medical bill account numbers
- Â Â Health insurance information
- Â Â Social Security numbers
If you were notified by Kalispell Regional Healthcare that your personal information might have been compromised, you could be eligible for reimbursement of up to $15,000 in expenses related to the breach. You also may be eligible for up to five hours of time at the rate of $15 per hour.
In addition to reimbursement, you can choose between five years of Experian credit monitoring services valued at nearly $720 and an alternative cash payment of up to $100. Exact cash payment amounts will vary but will not exceed $100.
Claim forms are due by Feb. 25, 2021.
BMW: Failing Coolant Pump
If you owned or leased specific 2007 through 2019 models of BMW vehicles, you could claim up to $1,000 in reimbursements.
A class-action suit alleged the affected vehicles were equipped with electric coolant pumps that once they failed, caused engines to overheat, resulting in the need for expensive repairs. The lawsuit further alleged BMW knew of the problem but did not fix it or reimburse owners and lessees for resulting repairs.
Car owners and lessees may receive a maximum of $1,000 in out-of-pocket repair costs for parts and labor required to replace one failed electric engine coolant pump and a thermostat, if such replacement was needed within the first seven years or first 84,000 miles the vehicle was in service. In addition, BMWâs New Passenger Vehicle Limited Warranty may be extended to seven years or 84,000 miles.
BMW also will replace an electric coolant pump that fails for one year after the settlement becomes effective, no matter how old the vehicle is or how many miles it has on it.
We have the complete list of models covered and all the details you need to make a claim by the Feb. 18, 2021 deadline.
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Sports Research: Deceptive Supplement Labeling
If you bought Sports Research Corporationâs Premium MCT Oil products or Turmeric Curcumin C3 Complex products, you could be eligible for a portion of a settlement over allegations of deceptive labeling practices.
The premium-priced products that were labeled âpacked with beneficial fatsâ and capable of fostering ânaturalâ energy purportedly were falsely advertised. The MCT Oil merchandise contained 14 grams of saturated fat that did not allow it to be considered âhealthyâ as part of a diet. In addition, the ânaturalâ energy supposedly induced by the use of raw coconut materials allegedly underwent processing.
The MCT Oil products were also promoted as containing antibacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, while the Turmeric Curcumin C3 products were marketed as anti-inflammatory products that provided antioxidant benefits.
If you bought Sports Researchâs MCT Oil products or Turmeric Curcumin C3 products between Jan. 9, 2016 and Jan. 9, 2020, you could be eligible for either a $7 voucher to be used toward the purchase of any Sports Research product or $3 cash.
File your valid claim by Feb. 23, 2021 to receive your healthy dose of restitution.
Chime Digital Bank Service Disruption
Were you unable to access your Chime deposit account between Oct. 16-19, 2019 because of a service disruption? If so, you could be eligible for a portion of a $1.5 million class-action settlement.
The intermittent outage lasted for several days, according to the lawsuit, which resulted in late bill payments and disrupted purchases. The suit also says Chime failed to warn users of the outage and only communicated via Twitter.
Chime did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to the class action settlement.
Compensation is divided into two tiers. Tier one allows consumers who suffered a loss due to the service disruption to receive a cash payment up to $25 with no proof of such loss. Tier two provides payments up to $750 for those who can provide documentation.
We have all the details and how to file your claim by the Feb. 15, 2021 deadline.
BMW: Defective Timing Chain
Former owners and lessees of certain 2012 to 2015 models of BMW vehicles could be eligible for reimbursement for allegedly defective timing chain components.
A lawsuit that alleged certain BMWs equipped with N20 and N26 engines were prone to experiencing damage and needing costly repairs because of defective timing chains.
BMW owners and lessees may qualify for either a reimbursement program or a prospective repair program.
The reimbursement program provides between 40% and 100% reimbursement for vehicle repairs depending on the mileage at the time of service. No cap exists for repair reimbursement if the repairs were completed at a BMW center. However, repairs done at an independent service center are capped at $3,000 for timing chain modules and oil pump drive chain modules and at $7,500 for engines.
A separate program provides reimbursement for future repairs. Some of these claims will be covered under vehiclesâ existing warranties while others will be reimbursed for between 40% and 75% of the total repair costs. Vehicles must be taken to a BMW center.
Expenses are only eligible for reimbursement if the damage was caused by failure of the timing chain or oil pump drive chain modules. Vehicles that have over 100,000 miles or have been in service for over eight years are not eligible.
Check out the details, the list of covered vehicles, and the claim form that must be submitted by the estimated deadline of March 18, 2021.
Navy Federal Credit Union: Unfair NSF Fees
Navy Federal Credit Union has agreed to a $16 million settlement over allegations it charged unfair non-sufficient funds (NSF) fees to its customers.
Navy Federal customers who were charged two or three NSF fees on one transaction between Jan. 28, 2014 and Oct. 27, 2020 may be eligible for cash payments or account credits.
Multiple fees purportedly were incurred when a merchant presented a transaction for payment several times after an initial rejection. With each attempt, Navy Federal allegedly tried to process the payments again, which resulted in an additional NSF fee. This practice of charging the additional NSF fees violated Navy Federalâs own terms of its agreements, according to the suit.
Exact awards will depend upon the number of NSF fees charged and the number of customers who agree to participate in the settlement.
No claim form is required because cash payments or account credits automatically will be distributed, but you have until Feb. 24, 2021 to object to the settlement or to ask to be excluded from it.
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.
A 2015 study found that older adults lose more than $36 billion every year to financial scams. Unfortunately, con artists see the elderly population as an easy and vulnerable target.
The American Securities Administrators Associationâs President, Mike Rothman, explains that scammers take this approach because the current elderly population is one of the wealthiest weâve seen with such hefty retirement savings. Where the money goes, the con artists follow.
With so many scams targeting older adults, itâs essential to make yourself and your loved ones aware of the different types of cons. Here is a list of common financial scams that specifically target the elderly and how you can prevent them:
The Grandparent Scam
The grandparent scam is common because it appeals to older adultsâ emotions. Scammers get the phone number of a senior and they call pretending to be a grandchild. Making their lie seem more believable, the con artist will playfully ask the older adult to guess what grandchild is calling. Of course, the first reaction will most likely be for the senior to name a grandchild and then the scammer can easily play along, acting like they guessed right. Now the grandparent thinks they are talking to their grandchild.
The scam artist will then begin to confide in the grandparent, saying they are in a tough financial position and they need the grandparentâs help. Asking them to send money to a Western Union or MoneyGram, they plead for the grandparent not to tell anyone. If the grandparent complies and sends the money, the scammer will likely contact the senior again and ask for more money.
Avoid this scam:
- Never send money to anyone unless you have 100 percent proof that it is who you think it is. Scammers can find out quite a bit of information from social media and other methods, so donât think that just because they know a couple pieces of information about you and your family that it is legit.
- Verify that it is actually your grandchild on the phone by texting or calling the grandchildâs real phone number and verifying if it is him or her.
- Call the parent of the supposed grandchild and find out if the grandchild really is in trouble.
- Talk to your family members now and compile a list of questions only you and your family know the answers to. If a family emergency really does happen, you can ask the questions and know if it is your family member based on the answers.
âClaim Your Prize Now!â Sweepstakes Scam
The sweepstakes scam is when con artists contact the elderly either by phone or email and tell them they have won something, whether that be a sum of money or another type of prize. To claim the prize, scammers tell them they have to pay a fee. Once the senior agrees, scammers send a fake check in the mail. Before the check doesnât clear and seniors can realize it is a scam, they have already paid the âfee.â
Avoid this scam:
- Do not give out any financial information over the phone or email.
- Practice Internet safety by protecting your passwords, shopping on encrypted websites, and avoiding phony emails.
- Be skeptical of any message that says you have randomly won a prize and you must do something before you can claim it. Unless you specifically enter a contest, you most likely arenât going to randomly win a monetary prize.
Because of the Affordable Care Act that allows seniors over the age of 65 to qualify for Medicare, scam artists donât have to do much research about seniorsâ healthcare providers. This makes it simple for scammers to call, email, or even visit seniorsâ homes personally and claim to be a Medicare representative.
There are a variety of ways these con artists use this Medicare scam to target the elderly. One way is telling seniors they need a new Medicare card and to do so, they need to tell the âMedicare representativeâ what their Social Security number is. An additional way is they can tell seniors there is a fee they need to pay to continue their benefits.
Avoid this scam:
- Do not give out any information to someone you have not verified is from Medicare. Real Medicare employees should have your information on file so if you are skeptical, ask the person some questions to verify it is legitimate.
The âWoodchuckâ Scam
A common scam to target seniors who live alone is the âwoodchuckâ scam. Scam artists will claim to be contractors and will complete house projects if seniors agree to let them.
The scammers will gain seniorsâ trust and eventually come up with a variety of fake repairs that need to be done, such as a roof repair. This often results in seniors giving the fake contractors thousands of dollars.
Â Avoid this scam:
- Make sure the person doing your home repairs is a professional. Find out what company they work for and call and verify they are indeed a legitimate contractor.
Con artists are using senior homeownership to their benefit. The mortgage scam is when scammers offer a property assessment to seniors, telling them they can determine the value of their home. This scam has become increasing popular as housing confidence is hitting record highs and people are putting a large chunk of their income towards saving for new homes.
The scam artists make the process look legitimate by finding the homeâs information on the Internet and sending seniors an official letter detailing all of the found information. The scammers do this because it is an easy way to con seniors into paying a fee for the requested information.
Â Avoid this scam:
- Ensure the property assessment is legitimate by asking what company they work for and following up with the real company to verify.
Talk to Your Loved Ones
Older adults are often too embarrassed to tell authorities or a family member they have been scammed. Talk to the seniors in your life and let them know they can confide in you and let you know if they have been scammed. You can also have them read through this article and make themselves aware of the scams that could potentially target them in the future.
Check Your Credit Regularly
Check your credit regularly so you are aware of any suspicious activity with your accounts. You can check your credit for free on Credit.com and receive a free credit score updated every 14 days along with a credit report card, which is a summary of what is on your credit reports.
Get It Now
The post Financial Scams That Target the Elderly and How to Prevent Them appeared first on Credit.com.
One of the most exciting parts of becoming an adult is moving out of your old place and starting your own life. However, as is the case with most major life events, moving out comes with a lot of added responsibility. Part of this duty is knowing and understanding your budget when shopping for the perfect apartment, condo, duplex, or rental house. So how much should you really spend on rent?
The 30 Percent Threshold
The first step in deciding how much you should spend on rent is calculating how much rent you can afford. This is done by finding your fixed income-to-rent ratio. Simply put, this is the percentage of your income that is budgeted towards rent.
As a general rule of thumb, allocating 30 percent of your net income towards rent is a good place to start. Government studies consider people who spend more than 30 percent on living expenses to be âcost-burdened,â and those who spend 50 percent or more to be âseverely cost-burdened.â
When calculating your income-to-rent ratio, keep in mind that you should be using your total household income. If you live with a roommate or partner, be sure to factor in their income as well to ensure youâre finding a rent range thatâs appropriate for your income level.
If youâre still unsure as to how much rent you can afford, consider an affordability calculator. Remember to consult a financial advisor before entering into a lease if youâre unsure if youâll be able to make rent.
Consider the 50/30/20 Rule
After youâve set a fixed income-to-rent ratio, consider the 50/20/30 rule to round out your budget. This rule suggests that 50 percent of your income goes to essentials, 20 percent goes to savings, and the remaining 30 percent goes to non-essential, personal expenses. In this case, rent falls under âessentials.â Also included in this category are any expenses that are absolutely necessary, such as utilities, food, and transportation.
Letâs consider a hypothetical situation in which you make $4,000 per month. Under the 50/20/30 rule with a fixed income-to-rent ratio of 30 percent, you have $2,000 (50 percent) per month to spend on essential living expenses. $1,200 (30 percent) goes to rent, leaving you with $800 per month for other necessary expenses such as utilities and food.
Remember to Budget for Additional Expenses
Now that youâve budgeted for rent and essential utilities, itâs time to make a plan for how youâre going to furnish your apartment. One of the biggest shocks of moving out on your own is how expensive filling a home can be. From kitchen utensils to lightbulbs and everything in between, it can be pricey to make your space perfect.
For the most part, furniture falls under the 30 percent of personal, non-essential expenses. Consider planning ahead before a move and saving for home goods so that you donât go into major debt when it comes time to move out.
Be on the Lookout for Savings
If your budget is slightly out of reach for your dream apartment, try to nix unnecessary costs to see if you can make it work. Look for ways to cut down on utilities, insurance, groceries, and rent.
Utilities: Water, heat, and electricity are all necessities, but your TV service isnât. Cut the cord on TV and mobile services that may not serve you and your budget anymore. Consider swapping out your light bulbs for eco-friendly and energy-efficient light bulbs to cut down your electric bill.
Insurance: Instead of paying monthly renters insurance rates, save a fraction of the cost by paying your yearly cost in full. If you have a roommate, ask to share a policy together at a premium rate.
Groceries: Swap your nights out for a homemade meal. You can save up to $832 a year with this simple habit change. When grocery shopping, add up costs as you shop to ensure your budget stays on track.
Rent: One of the best ways to save on rent is to split the bill. Consider getting roommates to save 50 percent or more on your monthly rent.
A lease is not something to be entered into lightly. Biting off more rent than you can chew can lead to unpaid rent, which can damage your credit score and make it harder to find an apartment or buy a home in the future. By implementing these best practices, youâll hopefully find a balance between finding a place you love and still having room in your budget for a little bit of fun.
Sources: US Census Bureau
The post How Much Should You Spend on Rent? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
A four-bedroom townhouse with park views and tons of charm has recently hit the market, and we’re dying to tell you all about it. The listing, brought to market by Compass’ Michael J. Franco, is right next to Prospect Park, Brooklynâs second largest park, and has plenty of outdoor space (and a rooftop deck to boot).
The townhouse sits in one of Brooklynâs trendiest, most desirable neighborhoods — Park Slope — with its leafy streets lined with brick and brownstone townhouses, many of which were built near the turn of the 20th century and have been lovingly updated over the decades by young families migrating from Manhattan. Much like its neighboring properties, the 2,600-square-foot townhome at 15 Prospect Park was originally built more than a century ago in 1915 and retains its old-world charm — but has been carefully updated to meet modern standards of living.
With 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, a generously sized living room, and a finished basement, the Brooklyn townhouse also comes with a few rare features for a New York home: ample outdoor space and private parking (that includes a private garage and its own driveway).
The layout is split on three levels, with the first floor housing a large living room and open dining room — both with distinctive pre-war features like classic moldings and arches — and a renovated kitchen that opens up to a lovely terrace.
The second floor is home to 3 bedrooms and a sizeable landing which is perfect for either a library or a home office, while the third floor is dedicated to the primary bedroom suite and its massive walk-in closet, renovated bath with skylights and soaring ceilings, with a separate sitting area/den. The third level also provides access to the townhouse’s own rooftop deck, which adds more outdoor space and looks like a perfect place to entertain guests.
The property is listed for $4,400,000 with Compass associate real estate broker Michael J. Franco.
More beautiful New York City homes
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This $16M NYC Penthouse Has Unobstructed Views of Central Park and the Manhattan Skyline
The post Newly Renovated, 1915-Built Townhouse in Park Slope Asks $4.4 Million appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
A gentle swap for scouring powder
The best thing about scouring powder is its abrasive action. The worst is the harsh chemical smell. To get all the benefits without the caustic chemicals, use baking soda instead. In most instances, baking soda will work just as well as scouring powder.
Simply clean tiles
For an easy, natural tile cleaner, mix together ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon warm water. Scrub with a sponge or mop, then rinse. For tough stains, wait 10 to 15 before rinsing.
Love your grout again
Is there anything more satisfying than nice, clean grout? A simple paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water is all you need. Make a new batch each time you plan to attack the space between your tiles.
To get rid of scuff marks left on vinyl flooring by dark-soled shoes, rub some baking soda into the spot with a wet rag. The marks will disappear.
Show off crystal-clean crystal
To clean your cut crystal, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water, then dab it onto the crystal with a soft rag. Rinse with water, and buff with a dry, soft cloth.
Supercharge your detergent
To boost the power of your dishwasher detergent, sprinkle a little baking soda in the dishwasher every time you run it. It will also help fight foul odors before they start.
SEE ALSO: Who Knew's 12 Dishwasher Tips and Tricks
Know this skillet saver
The teriyaki chicken you made for dinner was delicious, but the sweet sauce left terrible black burns on the bottom of your frying pan. To clean it, first sprinkle the pan with ¼ to ½ cup baking soda, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil, and the burned pieces should start to release. When most of the pieces are removed, turn off the heat, dump the water, and wash as usual.
As the water boils, you may want to use a spatula to help the process along.
Get better-tasting coffee
The secret many of us miss: Make sure you clean your coffee maker regularly. Just add several tablespoons of baking soda to your pot, fill it with water, and run it as usual. Then repeat using only water.
Tackle tough appliances
If you haven’t had time to clean up and now there’s dried-on food stuck in the blades of your blender or food processor, bring baking soda to the rescue. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda along with 1 cup warm water to the bowl, put the lid on, and let it blend for 10 to 15 seconds. Wash as usual.
Perk up your plastic
Have plastic storage containers with lingering odors? Wash them with hot water plus 2 tablespoons baking soda.
I can’t even count how many times our boys have left something to fester in a water bottle or thermos! Simply fill the container with hot water and ½ cup baking soda, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse well and it should be as good as new.
The brightest white cabinets
White kitchen cabinets can be beautiful, but they can also show grease, dust, and dirt more than their darker counterparts. To keep them looking their best, add water to a small amount of baking soda until it’s a runny paste. Scrub the mixture on the cabinets, and then rinse with warm water.
Simple step to a shiny sink
For a spectacularly shiny finish on a stainless steel or aluminum sink, rub a liberal amount of baking soda in a circular motion all over its surface with a damp sponge.
RELATED: Domestic CEO's How to Clean Your Sink
Instead of throwing away baking soda when it’s finished its 30-day stint in your fridge, dump it down the garbage disposal with running water. It will keep your disposal fresh, too!
Freshen rugs and upholstery
Sprinkle rugs, couches, and upholstered chairs with baking soda and let it sit an hour before you vacuum. It will keep them cleaner and fresher over the long haul.
Sprinkle some baking soda into the bag of your vacuum cleaner to keep it smelling fresh.
Save money on delicate detergents
Use this homemade solution: Dissolve 1 cup baking soda in 1 cup warm water. Add the solution directly to your standard washing machine, or add it to the soap dispenser of a front loader. The baking soda will clean your clothes without harming their delicate fibers.
All-Natural Fabric Softener: Just add ¼ to ½ cup baking soda to the wash cycle.
Erase wall marks
What’s the easiest way to remove crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces? Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub clean, and rinse.
Vinyl siding super-cleaner
From bird poop to tree sap to standard weather damage, vinyl siding can get very dirty. And while brand-name cleaners will no doubt get the job done, they tend to be costly and loaded with toxic chemicals. Instead, combine baking soda with enough water to form a paste, then scrub into your siding with a damp rag until the stains lift. Rinse off with a hose and, if necessary, repeat on stubborn stains.
Lift oil stains
Cleaning oil spots off the driveway is difficult, and the cleaners can be quite expensive. Instead, sprinkle baking soda over the stains, then rub with a wet scrub brush soaked with hot water. The baking soda breaks apart oil particles, so with a little elbow grease, you can have your driveway looking new in no time.
Clean battery leaks
If battery acid leaks inside the compartments of your appliances, there’s no need to throw them away. Simply take a few spoonfuls of baking soda and add water until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. Spread it on your battery terminals, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wipe clean. The acid should come off easily.
Must-try for musty books
Place the books in a paper grocery bag with an open box of baking soda. Fold over the bag, staple it shut, and let it sit for a week or two. Your books should smell considerably better when you take them out.
Is your suitcase a bit musty? The night before packing, pour a cup of baking soda in it, close it, and shake. In the morning, vacuum up the baking soda and the smell should be gone.
Get gloves on more easily
Sprinkle a little baking soda into each of your latex gloves, and they’ll stick less when you’re putting them on and taking them off.
If you have kids, you’ve had to clean up vomit. Baking soda can make the job a little less gross if you sprinkle some on top as soon as possible. It will soak up some of the mess and make the smell easier to deal with when you have to go at it with the paper towels.
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