2.13.19 Risky home loans; broker kickbacks; Eyeglasses are super expensive

Risky home loans are back. Avoid them at all costs; Incentives lead brokers to steer you towards pricier investment options; Clark talks with David Lazarus of the LA Times about why eyeglasses are so expensive. 

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video

The post 2.13.19 Risky home loans; broker kickbacks; Eyeglasses are super expensive appeared first on Clark Howard.

clark.com

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Back To School Sale – Get up to 40% OFF stylish footwear at Payless.com

iPhone shipments crashed nearly 20% in China because they’re too expensive: IDC

Apple iPhone shipments sunk 19.9 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018, Apple's fiscal Q1, according to IDC.
Top News & Analysis

COMMUNITY NEWS UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Here’s Why More Expensive Cloth Diapers Could Be Worth It

Babies might be small and cute, but they can also be expensive.

One of the easiest ways to save money on baby gear (and be eco-friendly) is to invest in a cloth diaper stash rather than using disposables. While you pay more money upfront for cloth diapers, you’ll save money over the course of your baby’s journey from infant to potty-trained preschooler.

I’m currently on my second cloth-diapered kid. My husband, Ben, and I used them with our daughter, Rose, from the time she was a newborn until she was potty trained at age 3. Now, we use cloth diapers on our son, Liam (3 months), and plan to do so until he is potty trained as well.

When building our stash, I was pretty overwhelmed by the types of diapers available and the various brands at different price points. Now, I’m a cloth diaper pro. I know what works for me and what I’m willing to pay. I decided to talk to some of my mom friends who have used cloth diapers to see which brands they recommend.

Budget-Friendly Diapers

detail of a pocket cloth diaper
Pocket diapers consist of a diaper cover and inserts that you stuff inside. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re thinking of trying cloth diapers but don’t want to invest too much in case it’s not for you, consider buying a few cheaper pocket diapers to take for a trial run. Pocket diapers consist of a diaper cover and inserts that you stuff inside that cover. You’ll need to wash the cover and inserts after each use.

I bought a lot of KaWaii Baby diapers on eBay before Rose was born and used them with her until she was potty trained. I am using them with Liam as well and find them to be just as absorbent. I paid $ 110 for 24 diapers, which works out to $ 4.58 per diaper.

I could have stuck with Rose’s diaper stash for Liam, but I decided to invest in some new prints. I found a couple of brands on Amazon that offered a variety of cute prints for cheap.

Alva Baby offers affordable pocket diapers. You can buy a pack of six diapers with 12 microfiber inserts from Amazon for $ 39.99, or $ 6.67 per diaper. Alva Baby has a lot of different print choices, all of which are very cute and very affordable.

I also got a pack of six Mama Koala diapers with six microfiber inserts for $ 39.99, or $ 6.67 per diaper. The prints I got featured different types of food, from pizza and tacos to avocado toast with eggs (it was the latter that made me purchase them, to be honest).

Another good way to build a diaper stash on a budget is through local consignment sales. These sales allow local moms to sell their gently used baby and kid clothes and toys, and you can find great deals on diapers if you’re lucky. Local cloth diaper stores might also have consignment sales where you can find deals. My local store, Samozrejme, holds quarterly “re-stash” sales where you can score gently used cloth diapers for cheap.

My friend Alexis Goodwin found another way to go the cloth-diaper route on a budget with prefolds (a rectangular-shaped cloth diaper with an absorbent pad sewn in the middle). “I used covers and prefolds so I could reuse the covers multiple times versus a single use,” she told me. “I believe the prefolds I used were cotton. I added a homemade liner of fleece to help keep [my baby] dry by wicking away the moisture. This also made it easier, when we started solids, to get rid of poop.”

You can buy prefold diapers very cheaply, so diapering this way is a great budget option. And you’ll only need to wash the prefolds after each use rather than both the insert and the cover.

Mid-Priced Diapers

detail of Thirsties cloth diaper covers
Thirsties cloth diaper covers are a good mid-range option for cloth diapering. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you decide to go the prefold-diaper route, Goodwin recommends Thirsties covers as a good mid-range option. You can buy these new for around $ 12 each, which is more expensive than the budget brands mentioned. But since you can use the diaper covers multiple times and just replace the prefolds when they are soiled, you’ll need fewer covers than if you go with pocket diapers or all-in-one options (where the cover and insert are permanently attached).

Another mid-range diaper brand Goodwin recommends is Rumparooz. She used the newborn-size covers, but you can also get one-size diaper covers that fit from six to 35 pounds. Rumparooz newborn covers cost $ 10 each, and one-size covers cost $ 14.

Buying mid-priced diapers still works on a budget if you go the cover-and-prefold route. Depending on how many covers you buy, you could end up spending less than you would if you bought a budget brand pocket diaper stash.

Splurge-Worthy Diapers

detail of a Grovia diaper
GroVia diaper covers are pricey but they are versatile because they can be used with inserts that snap into the shell as well as with prefold diapers. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

As with anything, you can spend a lot of money on cloth diapers. But sometimes, spending more on a pricier brand might be worth it.

“I loved my GroVia shells,” said Goodwin. “My littlest was a skinny baby with skinny legs. These fit her perfectly from about two months until she potty trained. They had such cute prints, too! If money wasn’t an issue, I’d [recommend buying] GroVia covers and inexpensive prefolds.”

The nice thing about GroVia diaper covers is that you can buy inserts to snap in rather than using prefold diapers. The shells and inserts cost $ 16.95 each, or you can buy GroVia prefolds at $ 8.95 for a pack of three.

My friend Kathryn Dowell swears by AppleCheeks diapers. This Canadian company offers sized diapers as well as one-size diapers. Prices range from $ 20.75 to $ 24 per diaper cover. You can use them with cheap prefolds or stick with AppleCheeks brand inserts, depending on your budget.

“[AppleCheeks’] customer interaction and community… is a large part of why I choose them. But the company aligns with a lot of my beliefs in other ways. They are produced in Canada and hire local seamstresses,” Dowell explained.

Dowell first discovered AppleCheeks when a friend sold her a starter stash for half the retail price. She was so impressed with the company and the quality of the product that she quickly became a convert.

“The quality will last through several children,” she said. “[They are often] available on sale.” This can range from 15% off a regular diaper to 40% off a discontinued color.

Splurging on pricier diapers might be painful at first, but if you plan on cloth diapering through two or more kids, it could be worth the upfront cost.

Whether you stick to budget brands or splurge on more expensive ones, cloth diapering your kid can save you big in the long term (not to mention saving a bunch of disposable diapers from entering a landfill).

The great thing about cloth diapers is that you can resell them when you don’t need them anymore. So even if you spend big in the beginning, you can recoup some of that money once your kids are potty trained.

Catherine Hiles first started cloth diapering to do her part for the environment. Now, she can’t imagine using disposable diapers as a full-time option.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

The Penny Hoarder

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Sam's Club Membership Offer

Report rips expensive decisions in California wildfire fight

A new report criticizes decisions made to stop a 2016 fire in Big Sur area.
ABC News: Top Stories

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

BEST DEAL UPDATE BY AMERICAN CONSULTANTS RX:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Why Potlucks are the Perfect Alternative to Expensive Dinners With Friends

The death of the dinner party is one of the greatest tragedies of our generation. (Just kidding. Everything is terrible.)

The reality is it’s just too expensive (and stressful) to cook a full meal for 12 people. And you can pretty much forget about all of your friends being able to spring for an extra dinner out at the same time — which gets even pricier if they have kids and need to hire sitters.

But friendship and food are as integral to the human condition as saving enough money to, ya’ know, pay your bills and stuff. So what if I told you there was a way to have your cake (for free!) and eat it, too?

Well, in an effort to bring back the dinner party without all the stress and $ $ $ involved in a Betty Draper-style affair, I present for your consideration: the dinner potluck.

In Defense of the Potluck Dinner Party

If the word “potluck” conjures up visions of sweet old ladies sampling 15 variations of the same tuna casserole, it’s time to redefine the group dining experience.

Here, you’ll find tips for organizing the perfect potluck so you can stop stressing and spending — and just enjoy the meal.

1. Create a Guest List

This should be your first consideration. Are you inviting your book club? The parents from your kid’s play date group? People from your Thursday night cornhole league? A weird amalgamation of every friend group you’ve ever been a part of?

Whoever they are, the people you invite are going to set the tone for your evening, and it’s easier to make some decisions, like a theme and location, based on the guest list.

Also, don’t forget that brunch can be a potluck. Instead of going out on the weekend and dropping $ 50 on mimosas, invite your brunch-y friends over and ask them to bring a shareable breakfast-y dish!

2. Pick a Theme

A potluck without a theme is like a 3-year-old’s storytelling: plotless and mildly frustrating.

To avoid the weird plate combination of seven-layer taco dip, salmon mousse tartlets and ambrosia salad (why?!), pick a theme for the night that your guests can work within. Something broad like Italian or Thai will bring about one cohesive meal, but if you’re feeling a little adventurous, make the theme as specific as “tomatoes” or “street food.” This will force people to get pretty creative!

You could also make it a game, such as having everyone bring their own variation of mac and cheese, or assign each dish a number and anonymously vote on the best at the end of the night. Winner gets a prize! (Or gets to take all the cheesy leftovers home.)

3. Send Out a Sign-up Sheet

Use a site like Signup Genius or Perfect Potluck to make it simple to coordinate dishes. The host fills in details like location, dish suggestions, and any food allergies or dietary restrictions the group should be aware of, and the guests sign up for whatever they want to bring.

Make sure to include cups, plates, napkins and plasticware on the sign-up sheet! Unless you want to shell out for paper products or spend the next four days of your life washing dishes, let guests sign up to bring these items as well.

Note: If you’re a micromanager, the potluck party format may not be for you. The fun of potlucks is seeing the variety and creativity your guests bring to the table — literally. Make sure you have all the categories covered: appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts and drinks. Then, let your guests do the rest. Don’t worry about creating a specific menu.

4. Make Some Rules

Alright, so a few rules can’t hurt.

Ask your guests to bring their own serving spoons (and serving dishes if you’re trying to get a little fancy), along with a food storage container from home. That way, they can take advantage of any leftovers without you having to hunt down your entire Tupperware collection later on.

Request that no one brings anything they need to cook on-site. You should limit oven use to “warming.” There’s no bigger bummer than setting out a freshly cooked dish after everyone is already stuffed!

Also, remind your guests that a potluck dish doesn’t need to feed the whole party. A four-person serving goes pretty far when each guest is sampling a little bit of everything.

5. Focus on the Setup, Not the Food

Since the guests will cover the majority of the food, you can spend your time focusing on your home. Tidy up, set up extra tables and chairs, and prep the kitchen for the food — but don’t go wild deep cleaning.

The point of a potluck is a casual gathering of friends, not a formal, crazy-making dinner party!

Hook up a power strip so guests can plug in slow cookers if needed, create a pour-your-own drink station (low-maintenance party = low-maintenance drinks), set out trivets and extra spoons (people will forget, trust me), and provide a stack of notecards and pens for people to label their dishes with when they arrive.

6. Have a Good Time

And then chill out — because you’re not cooking eight different dishes — and wait for your guests to arrive! Make yourself readily available in the kitchen for last-minute setup and “hey, do you have an extra…” questions, but don’t spend your whole evening in there.

All you need to worry about is chatting with your guests and enjoying your budget-friendly, low-maintenance, stress-free dinner party.

Besides, it’s easy to relax when you know that cleanup consists of a trash bag and a quick kitchen wipe down — and, oh yeah, that final awkward attempt at getting the lingerer to pack up their dish and get out so you can get back to your latest Netflix binge.

Grace Schweizer is an email content writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s dreaming of a potluck dinner made up of only brownies.

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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

The Penny Hoarder

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

Sam's Club Membership Offer

Bidding is on for the most expensive home ever to hit the auction block

Real estate auctions, once used for foreclosures and distressed sellers, is now moving upmarket. The number of multimillion-dollar homes being sold at auction has nearly doubled in the past year.
Wealth

BEST DEAL UPDATE:

The Street

SPECIAL DEAL UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

Kerry Washington’s Designer Boot Collection Is Next Level and Very Expensive

ESC: Kerry WashingtonIf most boots are made for walking, Kerry Washington’s boots are made for strutting.
No one wear boots like the Scandal star. From street style to the red carpet, we’ve taken…

E! Online (US) – Fashion Police

Special Tip Update!

15% Off Customized Baby Gifts! Use Code: FLEX15