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November Journal

Put Joy Back into the Holidays

We might sing about "peace on earth" during the holiday season, but most of us are more likely to experience stress. Here are a few tips for maintaining your holiday spirit in the coming months1:

  1. Set boundaries. It's easy to max out your wallet and your schedule during the holiday season. Creating a financial budget helps you set limits on your spending. Likewise, budget your time by deciding which events you'll attend and how long you'll stay.
  2. Don't be afraid to say no. Setting boundaries means you may have to decline invites. Commit to the things you want to do, then politely say no to the rest.
  3. Take care of you. Anxiety rises when you're not taking care of yourself. Prioritize sleep and good nutrition. Exercise regularly and get outdoors if you can.
  4. Schedule downtime. You might be tempted to go-go-go -- until you have nothing left to give. Block out time to do things you love, like reading, watching Christmas movies, or just spending time with loved ones.

 

Win Over Buyers at Your Open House

Even in a red-hot real estate market, open houses are one of the best ways to attract would-be buyers. Take these steps before your next open house2:

  1. Depersonalize. Potential buyers don't want to see you in the home -- they want to see themselves. Remove personal items such as photos, collections, religious emblems, etc.
  2. Declutter. You want buyers to look at the home, not the stuff in it: clear cabinets, counters, and storage spaces for a clean, less lived-in look.
  3. Tackle the to-dos. Even minor maintenance issues can turn off buyers. Fix door handles, touch up paint, and complete other items on your list for maximum appeal.
  4. Focus on curb appeal. Make a great first impression by mowing the yard and refreshing flower beds. Add a large pot of annuals near the front door for a pop of color.

 

Consumers Waiting Six Months for Appliance Delivery

Supply-chain issues have plagued manufacturers and retailers across industries, from home builders to toy stores. Appliance sellers are no exception, and many buyers are waiting more than six months for new appliances to be delivered.

Although many report frustration with the wait, some are getting creative by using countertop cookers and microwaves for meals. Others say they're washing dishes in the bathtub and even storing food in coolers3.

 

The Future of Home Design

Could a digital decorator help make your house a home? Artificial intelligence (AI) already powers items we use in our daily lives, including smart doorbells and whole-house entertainment systems. Now, AI could be used to update your décor.

New software creates a digital image of your living space, assigning a number to each piece of furniture or item in your home. The information is used to determine your decorating style and make suggestions for new purchases. Companies like Wayfair, Target, and Ikea are exploring ways to adopt this technology into their processes4.

 

Go Back to Budget Basics

Rising prices have left many Americans feeling the pinch everywhere, from the grocery store to the gas pump. If your wallet is feeling overextended, it may be time to rethink your budget. Here are a few things to ask as you decide where to make cuts5:

  1. Have your priorities changed? Your spending priorities may have shifted during the pandemic, especially if you experienced unemployment or changed jobs. Examine your spending habits to make sure they still match your financial values.
  2. Do I need to allocate more to certain categories? Higher costs mean you're spending more on essentials like gasoline, food, and clothing. Allocating additional dollars to one category may mean you need to cut in other areas.
  3. Can I cover an emergency? Building an emergency fund should be a top priority, particularly if you had to dip into your savings during the pandemic. Choose a percentage of each paycheck to put into an emergency fund and declare it off-limits until a real emergency arises.

 

No More Expensive Trips to the Spa

If you're missing that spa experience, you might want to recreate it at home. Bathroom renovations reached new highs during the pandemic, with more than 75% of homeowners updating their bathrooms with premium features such as whirlpool baths, rainfall showerheads, and body sprayers.

The costs added up: The median price of bathroom renovations rose to $8,000 in 2021, with some projects starting at $30,0006.

 

 

 

1 ramseysolutions.com; 2 realtytimes.com; 3 wsj.com; 4 forbes.com; 5 cnbc.com; 6 realtormagazine.com

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