As home values continue to climb and the labor market improves, more Americans are feeling comfortable spending money to improve their homes. Consumer spending on residential remodeling increased 4 percent in the first quarter of 2016, representing the strongest quarter since the first quarter of 2014, according to MetroStudy.
Kitchens are the top home renovation project for homeowners, comprising nearly a third of the market. That makes sense, since kitchens have become multi-purpose rooms, where homeowners not only prepare food but also socialize, entertain and even work. Two-thirds of those surveyed by Houzz said that they spent three or more hours a day in their kitchen.
The average spend on a new kitchen is up 12 percent, with a major renovation averaging $26,400 to $50,700, depending on the size of the kitchen, according to Houzz.
The renovations may take a toll not only on your bank account but also on your mental health. Juggling contractors and having unfinished projects and workers in your home can make for stressful times. With proper planning, though, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Moving into a college dorm used to mean downsizing into a cramped shoebox with at least one roommate and barely enough space for your desk and bed.
In many colleges today, however, teenagers are moving from their parents’ houses into luxurious digs that resemble high-end hotels. Of course, students and their parents are paying for that luxury — room and board at a public four year colleges now costs about $10,000 a year, according to the College Board.
Indulgent dorm rooms are just the latest tool used by colleges competing for students. High-income students, who are more likely to pay full freight at school, are the most highly desired and they’re also more likely to live in the dorms, so colleges are investing. The average new residence hall last year cost $39.3 million, or around $85,000 per bed, according to a 2015 Living on Campus report by College Planning & Management.
Buying a television these days is a lot more than looking for the right size. There are pixel counts, screen curves and a thicket of acronyms to consider, and the options can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, Consumer Reports has done much of the digging for you and has come up with most important factors to consider when buying a television.
Health care has become so expensive in the United States that a growing number of Americans (and their employers) are finding it more cost efficient to fly across the globe for certain medical procedures. The savings are so great — and the quality high enough — that a handful of American insurance companies are now encouraging the practice and covering the travel and treatment costs.
“Medical tourism” was valued at about $439 billion last year in a new report by Visa and Oxford Economics, which projected that it could grow 25 percent a year over the next decade. This year, an estimated 1.4 million Americans will leave the country for a medical procedure, according to Patients Beyond Borders.
In addition to traveling in order to save money, some medical tourists plan trips because they want to have a treatment that’s not approved in the United States or because they’ll have a shorter wait by going abroad.
If you’re considering joining them, here’s what you need to know: