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How Much Should You Spend on Rent?

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 “cost-burdened,” and those who spend 50 percent or more to be “severely cost-burdened.”

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 you’re finding a rent range that’s appropriate for your income level.

If you’re 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 you’re unsure if you’ll be able to make rent.

Consider the 50/30/20 Rule

Consider the 50:30:20 Rule

After you’ve 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 “essentials.” Also included in this category are any expenses that are absolutely necessary, such as utilities, food, and transportation.

Let’s 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 you’ve budgeted for rent and essential utilities, it’s time to make a plan for how you’re 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 don’t 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 isn’t. 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, you’ll 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.


9 of the Bestselling Home Products of 2020 That You Need To Buy Right Now

best-selling home

Perhaps your Christmas haul was missing a few choice items this year. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself in the final throes of 2020 (that in and of itself is worth a celebration, right?). Either way, we think you deserve to buy yourself a little something special right now.

That’s why we took it upon ourselves to scour though the “bestseller” lists from all of our favorite online stores and bring you this roundup of the most popular home products of the year—plus the details on where to get them.

If you’re ready to put those holiday gift cards to good use, keep scrolling, because these bestsellers deserve to make an appearance in your home.

1. Mini waffle maker

2020 home products
Dash mini waffle machine


Waffle makers aren’t just the magic stuff of diners and food trucks. They’re also a hugely trending kitchen item, and one that ranked high on many wish lists this season.

“This little nugget has been a hit all year, due to its single serving-sized portions,” says Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design.

“This waffle maker allows you to customize the ingredients for each family member, for a fun and interactive twist. With many people continuing to work from home, there’s no better way to start your day than with a hot breakfast. I’ll be taking the waffle maker into 2021 with me.”

Shop this adorable Dash DMW100WP mini waffle machine ($25) on Amazon.

2. Smart speaker

2020 home products
Echo Dot smart speaker


Chances are, if you don’t own one of these smart speakers yet, it’s probably been in your mental shopping cart for a while. It was one of the bestselling home products of 2020, and now might be the perfect time to get one (or a few) for your home.

“As we continue to work from home in 2021, it might be time to give your home office the upgrade it deserves. This small yet mighty device is the perfect size for your nightstand or desk,” says Harrison-McAllister. “Set up reminders throughout the day or simply add some ambiance with music.”

Get a smarter setup for your home with this Echo Dot smart speaker ($40) from Amazon.

3. Home-office chair

2020 home products
Urban Shop swivel mesh office chair


While working from the couch seemed like a comfy idea at first, your back probably has told you differently by now. That’s why this comfy, low-key office chair was a bestseller this year.

“This year, we all began to understand how important your desk task chair is for overall health and well-being, including backaches and arm fatigue,” says Harrison-McAllister. “As many of us continue to work from home into the new year, splurging on a desk chair will be so important for comfort.”

Upgrade your home’s ergonomics with one of these Urban Shop swivel mesh office chairs ($40) from Walmart.

4. Milk frother

2020 home products
Zulay original milk frother


We all spent more time this year in the kitchen trying to learn how to make our restaurant favorites. But if it’s quality coffee you were missing, look no farther than one of these bestselling milk frothers.

“I’m obsessed with milk frothers—they’re one of those gadgets every kitchen needs,” says Deanne Goodman, a consumer shopping expert at Unicorn Tribe.

“They’re very affordable and make your drinks taste so much better! I use them for hot chocolate, and it’s a game changer. You can froth your morning smoothies, coffee, and more.”

Bring your barista skills to new levels with this Zulay original milk frother ($20) from Amazon.

5. Electric air fryer

2020 home products
GoWISE electric air fryer


As you make your list of kitchen must-haves, you won’t want to miss out on this year’s best-selling electric air fryer. These handy little machines might not sound like much, but trust us when we say they’re the answer to all of your crispy cravings.

“Let’s face it, we all love fried food, but not what it does to our waistline,” says Harrison-McAllister. “Plus, the cleaning that follows preparing fried foods is exhausting. This air fryer became a lifesaver for all of those reasons, allowing us to keep eating the foods we love, while shaving off some calories and cleanup.”

Equip your kitchen with unlimited savory treats with this GoWISE electric air fryer ($190) from Wayfair.

6. Robot vacuum

2020 home products
Lefant robot vacuum cleaner


We swear you might start liking your robot vacuum as much as any other member of the family (this writer has even named hers, and decorated it with googly eyes).

“We’re all so tired of cleaning, and most of us don’t have cleaning personnel to help out,” says the designer Alice Benjamin, of Alice Benjamin Interiors. “Once you have a robot vacuum, you’ll wonder why you didn’t have one before!”

Give yourself the gift of clean floors (no matter how much your dog sheds) with this bestselling Lefant robot vacuum cleaner ($160) from Amazon.

7. Linen cabinet

2020 home products
Jesse linen cabinet


Forget minimalism—when it comes to toilet paper, cleaning products, or even just your favorite soap, we’re all guilty of stocking up just a little too much during this never-ending pandemic. But of course we need somewhere to put all those staples.

“Finally, we realize the need to organize every nook and cranny of the house,” says Benjamin. “A linen cabinet like this one becomes a savior to those who need a little more space and calm.”

Whether it’s too many towels, bathroom products, or all of the above and more, this favorite Jesse linen cabinet ($430) from Wayfair is sure to help.

8. Storage basket set

2020 home products
Timeless fabric basket set


If all-around storage is what you need more of in your home, a set of these chic and popular storage baskets might be just the thing.

“Storage basket sets never go out of style,” says Harrison-McAllister. “They can house everything from toilet paper and towels to linens and toys. Not only are these a good investment, but they can also add sanity to your life and design aesthetic.”

Get your Timeless fabric three-piece basket set ($233) from Wayfair.

9. Patio heater

2020 home products
Hampton Bay stainless-steel patio heater

Home Depot

Winter promises to keep us stuffed indoors for another few months, unless of course you make like these smart shoppers, and get yourself a patio heater.

“Patio heaters are such a fun way to sit outside, whether it be during the morning with a cup of coffee, or in the evening with a glass of wine,” says Harrison-McAllister.

“These used to be such a splurge item for homes, but we realize now how beneficial they are to stay cozy outdoors,” she adds. “Being outdoors is something that will continue to be part of our lives in 2021 and will allow us to see a friend or family member in a safer environment. Plus, being with Mother Nature is always in style.”

Make your outdoor social distancing possible this winter with one of these Hampton Bay stainless-steel patio heaters ($149) from Home Depot.

The post 9 of the Bestselling Home Products of 2020 That You Need To Buy Right Now appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights |®.


So You Want to Buy a Fixer-Upper: Here’s What You Need to Know

Stephen and David St. Russell, self-taught renovation and fixer-upper experts, are sharing their advice for homebuyers who are looking to explore buying a home that needs some extra TLC.

The post So You Want to Buy a Fixer-Upper: Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on


8 Fire Safety Tips 8 Nights of Hanukkah

If you and your family celebrate Hanukkah, this week will involve lighting the menorah. But in all the holiday fun, it’s easy to forget that having an open flame in your home is always cause for greater safety measures. Here are some tips for a safer holiday.

  1. Place your menorah on a sturdy, non-flammable surface: Your menorah, especially when lit, should rest on a stable fixture in your home. You and your family’s guests may accidentally bump into a wobbly table and knock it over. Non-flammable surfaces like glass, metal, or marble work best.
  2. Keep the menorah and matches out of children’s reach: Make sure that your menorah is positioned in a place where your children can enjoy it, but is out of their reach so they don’t hurt themselves. Be sure to store all matches and lighters safely after each candle lighting; kids may find them if left out.
  3. Never leave a lit menorah unattended: All the excitement of the holidays can sometimes lead to carelessness. When burning, the menorah should always be under some sort of supervision.
  4. Place menorah out of reach of pets: Furry friends are eager to join in on the holiday festivities. They could be drawn to the new object in your home and want to investigate, so keep it at a height where they can’t get their paws on it.
  5. Use only non-flammable menorahs: This may seem like an obvious tip, but it’s worth reiterating. Any ornamental menorahs made by your kids in arts and crafts should be admired, but not used in your Hanukkah ceremony.
  6. Don’t walk around with lit candles: Choose the area of your home where your menorah will be lit, then keep it there. Don’t carry your menorah from room to room to avoid potentially dropping it.
  7. Decorate with care: The area surrounding your menorah often receives extra decorations. That is absolutely fine, as long the adornments are non-flammable and not likely to tip over and displace the menorah.
  8. Place your menorah in a secluded area of your home: You’re already going to put your menorah out of reach of children and pets, but it’s equally important to keep the menorah out of your home’s general flow of traffic to avoid accidentally knocking it over.


Following these helpful fire safety tips will ensure that you and your family have a pleasant and safe Hanukkah celebration.

The post 8 Fire Safety Tips 8 Nights of Hanukkah first appeared on Century 21®.