How to Teach Your Teen to Budget Like a Pro

It amazes us how quickly our girls are growing up. Next month when school starts up again, we’ll have a fourth-grader and a kindergartener.

Even though we have some time before they are ready to move out of the house, we want to spend time now prepare them for the big transition. As a parent, you probably feel the same way too. 

One crucial piece of a financial foundation kids and in particular, teens, need to master is learning to budget (and sticking with it),

While they’re home now, you have a fantastic opportunity to get them comfortable with handling their money.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips from fellow parents and experts in the personal finance space to make teaching this life skill a bit easier less stressful for you and your teen!

Teach Your Teen to Budget for Real Life

Teens or not, whenever most people hear the word budget, they also hear the word ‘no’. To them, budgets feel like a strict diet. Just as fad diets fail, an unrealistic or extreme budget will more than likely discourage your teen and they will quit.

The first step before you even talk about the numbers is to discuss exactly what a successful and sustainable budget should be. When done right, a budget is something that helps you move your money towards your goals. Explain to them that at its root, budget is simply a plan about what they’d like to do.

You want a budget that can cover:

  •     Essential bills
  •     Future goals
  •     Discretionary expenses

When your teen’s budget covers those goals, they’re not only putting their finances in a good spot, but they’re moving closer to their specific long term dreams.

Creating a Doable Budget (They’ll Actually Enjoy!)

Once your teen(s) understands how a budget works, it’s important for them to create a budget that they can use in the real world. You can honestly budget however you want, but an easy budget to get your teen started is the 50/20/30.

Quite simplify, the 50/20/30 budget puts money into those three main buckets:

  •     50%  goes towards essentials
  •     20% towards savings (or investing)
  •     30% for fun and discretionary expenses

I appreciate how easy and flexible this budget can be. You can adjust the percentages for your teen’s needs, but it gives them some ballpark idea of how to portion their finances when they are out on their own.

How do you start them out on this budget?

With teens, you may have expenses like clothing or their cellphone bill count as essentials, or you may want to give your child the experience of being responsible for a small, shared family bill while they are still at home.

For older teens, you could even charge them a nominal ‘rent’ to offset their portion of the bills. In some cases, parents give that money back to their child as a gift to help with moving expenses (like for their security deposit) or use as additional savings. 

However you decide, talk it over so your teen understands why you’re doing it this way.

Share Your Family Budget

Creating a budget isn’t complicated, but it can difficult if your teen has no idea what to expect. Knowledge can be empowering.

While we may take it for granted since have to deal with the numbers, but your teen may not be aware of how much it takes to keep the lights on and roof over their heads. If you haven’t already shared your own budget already, now is the time.

Not knowing also puts them at a disadvantage when they start searching for a place or are comparing prices on expenses. Being armed with the numbers makes your teenager a more informed consumer.

When Your Teen Breaks Their Budget

Will there be times where your teenager will mess up with their budget? Probably so. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As parents, we tend to want to protect our kids, but we also have to prepare them for the real world. As Ron Lieber, author of The Opposite of Spoiled, pointed out we should let our kids make financial mistakes. 

Wouldn’t it be better for your child to break the clothing budget while they’re still at home allowing you to help guide them through rather than having break their monthly budget while they are on their own and have bills to pay?

Mistakes will happen, they’re a part of life so giving your teen time to work those them and adjust their budget is a blessing for their future selves.

Essential Accounts for Your Teen  to Have

Since we’re talking about budgets, we should also mention some essential accounts you’d want your kid to have so they can practice managing their money.

Opening up student checking and savings accounts (usually free low on fees as well as not having minimum balance requirements) are good foundational accounts for your teen. They can deal with real-world situations pending charges, automatic transfers, and direct deposits.

As Family Balance Sheet founder Kristia Ludwick pointed out, teens should have the skill of balancing a checkbook even if they decide to go all-digital with their banking.

If they work, talk it over together and see if they can open up an IRA and start contributing. It doesn’t have to be much. The idea is to get them familiar and comfortable with the basics of investing.

Even if they put in $25 a paycheck, having them practice setting aside money in their budget for both long and short term goals is an invaluable lesson. You can also encourage them to contribute by offering a match for what they put in.

How Teens Can Easily Stay on Top of Their Money

With several accounts to keep tabs on, your teen is going to need an easy system to track their budget and goals.

With Mint, they can link up their accounts in one secure spot. They can also add their budget along with any savings goals they want to hit and make sure they stick with them.

Hopefully, these ideas and tips will make it easier to help your teen transition into a self-sufficient adult.

The post How to Teach Your Teen to Budget Like a Pro appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

How to Get a Virtual Internship

This is not a great time to be looking for career experience. Industries are suffering, opportunities are scarce and most people are working from home. But if you’re in need of an internship, there are still plenty of options to work virtually – if you know how to sniff them out.
Here’s what you need to know in order to find a virtual internship: where to look, who to talk to, and how to make sure your application stands out from the competition.

Tips for Getting a Virtual Internship

Before you start applying for internships, you need to have the appropriate documents. Here are the most important.

Draft a Resume

Students who don’t already have a resume can find free resume templates through Google Docs and Microsoft Word. These templates have clean designs and are easy to edit.

If you want something more unique, you can buy a template on Etsy. Choose a template that you can easily edit in Microsoft Word or Google Docs. If you’re applying for internships in a creative field like graphic design or advertising, pick a template that has more flair and shows your personality.

When writing your resume, focus on the skills you’ve learned and your accomplishments. If you were a waitress at Waffle House (like I was for a summer), mention how it taught you multitasking and organizational skills.

Create a LinkedIn profile and start connecting with people you know. Ask past employers for recommendations and to endorse you for specific skills like Photoshop or Excel.

Work on a Cover Letter

Some internships will require a cover letter. A cover letter should express the value you’ll bring to the company, like how your interests and skills fit with the organization and why you would be a good addition.

If you’re submitting a cover letter for an online application, make sure to use any keywords mentioned in the job description. Some companies use software that filters out cover letters missing these keywords.

Have a parent or adult mentor look over both your resume and cover letter. They can offer you advice on how to phrase specific ideas and remind you of jobs, awards, and other accomplishments you’ve forgotten about.

Where to Find a Virtual Internship

Once you’ve created a resume and basic cover letter, you can start applying. Here are the best places to find a virtual internship.

Talk to Your College

The first place to look is your college career center. Many large companies have direct relationships with universities and accept a certain number of interns from there every year.

Contact the university career center and ask them about internship opportunities. If you already have a declared major, your department may also have its own career counselor who can help. They may have more personal relationships with hiring managers and internship recruiters.

Sometimes colleges have their own internship and job boards, but it still helps to talk to a counselor directly. They may have more resources and can answer your specific questions.

Even though the pandemic has changed how colleges operate, some are still holding virtual career fairs. You’ll likely have to register in advance and choose a specific time slot, so look into these options as soon as possible.

Make sure to follow up regularly if you don’t hear back from the career counselor. They may be busy, and your emails can get lost in the shuffle. Don’t feel bad about reaching out multiple times- this is part of what you pay for as a student and you’re entitled to their help.

Contact People You Already Know

If you’ve had internships before, contact people from those companies and ask if they need help. It’s much easier to get an internship when you already know the people in charge – especially if you made a good impression during your tenure.

It doesn’t matter if the people you worked with have different jobs now. They may still work in a similar industry and need an intern. Make a list of where you’ve worked and all the people you remember. If you’re having trouble remembering names, go to the company’s LinkedIn page to jog your memory and find their contact information.

After you’ve contacted them, reach out to any professors you know who still have direct ties to the industry. They can forward your information or send you links to opportunities they’ve seen.

Don’t be afraid to contact people at companies where you turned down an internship position. Most people don’t take that personally and may still have positive memories of you – plus, getting a previous internship offer from a company indicates that you’re probably a good fit.

If you’re reaching out to professors you haven’t talked to in a while, remind them what class of theirs you took and include a copy of your resume. This will make it easier for them to forward the email to any prospects.

Take your time when crafting emails to industry contacts. If you write an email with typos and grammar mistakes, your email may be deleted immediately. This is especially true if you’re contacting someone you don’t know. They may receive dozens of emails from students like you and not have time to respond to them all.

Look at Job Sites

If you’ve reached out to your networking contacts with no luck, it’s time to look for a virtual internship on a job site. Job sites should be the last place you look for a virtual internship because it’s harder to stand out among a sea of candidates.

Here are some of the best sites and apps to use:

  • LinkedIn
  • Symplicity App
  • Handshake
  • Indeed
  • Intern from Home
  • Parker Dewey
  • WayUp
  • Internships.com

 

Remember not to discount an internship if there’s no mention that the job will be remote. Some listings may be outdated and not reflect the current situation.

When you apply, check the company’s website and LinkedIn profile to see if you have any personal connections. Having someone in common can help get your application into the right hands.

 

The post How to Get a Virtual Internship appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

How to Remove Permanent Marker From Any Surface

Permanent markers are essential in every craft room and household.

They are great for creating lasting memories through artwork, writing labels on metals and plastics to help keep your home organized and even covering up scuffs on shoes.

Although the name suggests otherwise, if you accidentally get permanent marker on a surface you didn’t intend, or one ends up in the hands of a very young, but very inspired creative, there are ways to remove it.

Permanent marker can be removed from a variety of surfaces using basic household cleaners and materials. So grab an old towel or washcloth that you don’t mind the strain potentially transferring onto, and follow the instructions below to learn how to remove permanent marker from any surface.

  • Remove from plastic
  • Remove from clothes
  • Remove from wood
  • Remove from skin
  • Remove from other surfaces

How to remove permanent marker from plastic

writing leftovers on plastic container with permanent marker

If you had used a permanent marker to label a plastic item and now want to alter that label, you can use a dry-erase marker to remove the writing. A dry-erase marker works well for getting permanent marker off of plastic because it contains rubbing alcohol.

Follow these steps:

  1. Color over the permanent marker with the dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away
  3. Repeat the process if needed

How to remove permanent marker from clothes

using hairspray to remove a stain from a shirt

If you got a permanent marker stain on one of your favorite clothing items, don’t fret. There are a number of different methods you can use to get it out of different clothing fabrics. Below are tips for removing permanent marker stains from cotton, leather and wool.

Cotton

Hairspray is an effective way to remove permanent marker from cotton. Be sure that the hairspray contains alcohol, as not all hairspray products do, and this component is critical for removing the stain.

Follow these three steps to clean your cotton item:

  1. Apply hairspray to the area until it feels wet
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Put clothing item in the washing machine without other items in case the stain bleeds
  4. Run on warm with detergent

Leather

You can remove permanent marker from leather, without damaging the fabric, using white vinegar.

Follow these three steps to clean your leather item:

  1. Dab vinegar onto the stain with a cloth
  2. Let it sit for a few minutes
  3. Use the same cloth to wipe off the stain using a circular motion

Wool

Hairspray is also an effective way to remove permanent marker from wool. Instead of tossing the item in the wash after setting the stain with hairspray, you can handwash it to prevent damage to the item.

Follow these steps to clean your wool item:

  1. Apply hairspray to the area until it feels wet
  2. Let it sit for 15 minutes
  3. Hand wash the item with cold water

How to remove permanent marker from wood

removing permanent marker from wood with toothbrush

Not only does toothpaste fight stains in your mouth, but it can also fight stains on your wood furniture or floors. The abrasive quality of toothpaste helps to gently remove the dye without dissolving it. It’s best to use a baking soda toothpaste, but if you don’t have one you can simply mix baking soda with the toothpaste you have. Skip the gel toothpaste, it won’t work.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Apply toothpaste to a cloth or you can even use an old toothbrush!
  2. Rub into the wood, going with the grain
  3. Repeat as needed

How to remove permanent marker from skin

using hand sanitizer to remove permanent marker from hand

It turns out that hand sanitizer not only can clean your hands of germs but also can be used to remove permanent marker from your skin:

    1. Squirt a dab of hand sanitizer into your hand or on a cloth
    2. Rub directly into the stain
    3. Wipe away with a cloth

How to remove permanent marker from other surfaces

putting rubbing alcohol on a cloth

If permanent marker ended up on one of your upholstered furniture pieces, a stainless steel appliance, wall, carpet or glass item, you can remove the stain using the techniques we breakdown below.

Upholstery

Use rubbing alcohol to remove permanent marker from upholstery. It’s best to blot the area with the rubbing alcohol instead of rubbing as it’s possible to actually massage the stain further into the fabric.

Follow these simple steps using rubbing alcohol:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth
  2. Blot the area
  3. Wash away the remaining rubbing alcohol using a clean damp cloth

Metal

Similar to plastic, dry-erase markers work well to remove permanent marker from metal. So if permanent marker ends up on one of your stainless steel appliances, follow the steps below. Keep in mind, you may have to repeat this process a couple of times to fully remove the stain.

  1. Color over the stain with a dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away

Wall

Toothpaste for the win, again! Toothpaste also works great for removing permanent marker from walls without causing damage. As previously mentioned, skip the gel toothpaste and ideally choose one that contains baking soda. Then follow these steps:

  1. Apply toothpaste directly to the wall stain
  2. Allow it to sit for 5–10 minutes
  3. Scrub the mark in a circular motion
  4. Wipe the remaining toothpaste away with a damp cloth

Carpet

To remove permanent marker from the carpet, just like with upholstery, you can use rubbing alcohol. Remember, blot the area with the rubbing alcohol instead of rubbing so you don’t rub the stain further into the carpet. Follow these steps below:

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth
  2. Blot the area
  3. Using a damp, clean cloth, wipe away the remaining rubbing alcohol

Glass

If permanent marker ends up on one of your glass items, such as a window or mirror, you can remove it with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol by doing the following:

  1. Apply remover of your choice to a cloth
  2. Rub the strain
  3. Use a clean cloth and a multipurpose or glass cleaner to wipe away

Dry-erase boards

In addition to working well to remove stains from walls and plastic, dry-erase markers can be used to remedy a situation where you may have mistakenly used permanent marker on a dry-erase board. In two steps, you can pretend as though nothing ever happened:

  1. Write over the stain with a dry-erase marker
  2. Wipe away with a clean cloth

Few things in life are truly permanent

You may have to repeat the steps laid out above a few times to be successful, but with a little effort and patience, you can remove most permanent marker stains. For additional cleaning hacks, be sure to check out our cleaning and maintenance tips.

The post How to Remove Permanent Marker From Any Surface appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

How To Clean Stainless Steel: 10 Affordable Methods For A Sleek Finish

Stainless steel is best known for its ability to resist rust and other corrosion, making it a prime choice for kitchens and bathrooms. However, it’s hardly ever free from fingerprints and other marks, so you can’t forget to clean it routinely. The good news is, there are plenty of easy and cheap ways to make your stainless steel look brand new again.

Stainless steel material

Before we dive in on ways to clean your stainless steel you must first understand the material. Just like wood and certain fabrics, stainless steel has a grain to it. These are faint striations you can see on its surface. As you wipe the material, make sure you go in the direction of the grain for optimal cleansing and shine.

Now that we’ve got that covered, check out these top 10 tips on how to clean stainless steel to gain back its sleek and flawless finish.

1. Dish soap and baby oil

The dish soap and baby oil duo is almost unbeatable when it comes to cleaning and polishing. The dish soap will clear the stainless steel of any oils, fingerprints and dust on your surface while the oil polishes and makes it shine. Simply moisten a cotton rag and put a little bit of dish soap on it and wipe along the grain of your stainless steel. Once you’re rid of any marks, dry the surface with a clean towel.

Next, dab a small amount (a couple of drops) of baby oil onto another rag. Wipe along the grain as you did in the cleansing process with the dish soap. This gives your stainless steel a properly polished finish as if it was brand new!

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sink, pots and pans

2. Windex and microfiber cloth

personal cleaning stainless steel oven

People often complain about fingerprints left on stainless steel. However, using a glass cleaner like Windex will do the trick! Spray the cleaner on a dry cloth (preferably microfiber) and evenly apply in circular motions. It’s not recommended to spray directly onto your appliance, as this could result in more drip marks and residue. Repeat the process until there are no more fingerprints and then rinse thoroughly and dry with a towel.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

3. White vinegar and olive oil

White vinegar and olive oil are also great for cleaning any grime while polishing your stainless steel appliances. Apply white vinegar to a microfiber cloth or spray it directly onto your surface and let it sit for a moment before wiping it away (with the grain). Repeat this process until there is no more grime left to remove. Finally, dab a clean towel in some olive oil and polish in the direction of the grain. If any olive oil remains, wipe away with a fresh cloth.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

Does vinegar damage stainless steel?

If left on for too long, vinegar can cause damage to your stainless steel. It’s important to not let any stainless steel material soak in a vinegar solution, but it’s harmless if you make sure to wipe it away in a timely manner.

4. Club soda

Girl cleaning stainless steel oven

Club soda surprisingly is a great cleaner as it cleanses away any fingerprints and food residue while simultaneously leaving a nice shine. Spray club soda directly onto your stainless steel surface and then wipe in the direction of the grain. Repeat as necessary.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sinks, pots, pans and jewelry

5. Warm water

Plain water seems so simple, but you’d be surprised how much cleaning some warm water and elbow grease can accomplish. It’s also the least risky option for cleaning stainless steel. Simply dampen a microfiber or special polishing cloth with some warm water and wipe your surface in the direction of the polish lines. Once you’ve ridden any unwanted smudges and residue, dry the material with a clean towel or cloth to prevent water spots.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances, countertops, sinks, pots and pans

6. WD-40

Have a leftover can of WD-40 from your squeaky door? Well lucky for you, WD-40 also cleans and protects surfaces including stainless steel. Spray some directly onto your appliance or into a clean rag and then wipe in the direction of the grain. For an added bonus, WD-40 provides a layer of protection to help prevent future smudges and pesky fingerprints. Keep in mind that this is a petroleum-based product, so it should be used with care around surfaces where you’ll be handling food. So make sure you clean thoroughly before proceeding as normal.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances

7. Lemon oil furniture polish

Someone using lemon oil furniture polish to clean stainless steel

If you have some furniture polish laying around, that’ll also do the trick for cleaning your stainless steel. Apply the polish to a clean cloth and rub it evenly on your appliance. Don’t apply the polish directly onto your stainless steel surface, as it may leave you with too much uneven excess. Once it’s evenly applied, wipe it clean with a fresh cloth in the direction of the grain.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances

8. Flour

Not only is flour great for baking delicious cakes, but also for buffing and polishing your stainless steel. Flour isn’t great for cleansing away grime or grease, but is a great final touch that will make your surfaces shine! Simply sprinkle flour onto your dry stainless steel surface until it’s fully covered. Then use a soft cloth to buff in circular motions until your surface starts to shine like it’s brand new!

Best for: Stainless steel countertops, sinks, pot and pans

9. Baking soda

someone using baking soda to clean stainless steel pan

Baking soda is a magic worker when it comes to cleaning. You can use it for just about anything and it’s extremely easy and cheap to come by. Make a paste with baking soda and water and let it sit on a problem area for a few minutes. Wipe away using a rag dampened with white vinegar followed by a cloth dampened with water. Dry using a microfiber cloth. This process is best for more stubborn stains and heavy-duty messes.

Best for: Stainless steel countertops, sinks, pots and pans

10. Store-bought stainless steel cleaner

Of course, there are cleaners that are specifically designed to clean and polish stainless steel, but they are rather expensive. If your appliance or surface has major staining, scratching or just needs a thorough polishing, this is an excellent option that may just be worth the extra penny. Make sure you read the directions on the cleaner and do a test on a small spot on your stainless steel before fully diving in.

Best for: Stainless steel appliances and countertops

What should you not use on stainless steel?

Now that you know what can be used on stainless steel, it’s important to cover the major “don’ts” when it comes to proper cleaning of the material.

Do not use:

  • Chlorine-based products
  • Oven cleaners
  • Steel wool or harsh scratchers or sponges
  • Harsh tap water that could leave water spots and stains (best to use distilled or filtered water)

What is the best cleaner for stainless steel?

If you are looking for the absolute best solution to your stainless steel cleaning routine, a store-bought cleaner may be your best option. However, DIY cleaners come in a close second and are much cheaper and convenient so give those a try before opting for a commercial cleaner.

The post How To Clean Stainless Steel: 10 Affordable Methods For A Sleek Finish appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Why UGMA/UTMA Accounts Are the Perfect Holiday Gift

If you have a special child in your life, you may be wondering what to put under the tree this year. One long-lasting and truly meaningful way to show the child in your life that you care is by taking a few minutes to set up a UGMA/UTMA account and give them a leg up in life.

The earlier you open a UGMA or UTMA account for a child, the longer your initial gift has to grow, thanks to the magic of compound interest. For example, investing just $5 a day from birth at an 8% return could make that child a millionaire by the age of 50. By setting up a UGMA/UTMA account, you’re really giving your beneficiary a present that grows all year round. Now, that’s a gift they’re sure to remember!

What is a UGMA/UTMA account?

UGMA is an abbreviation for the Uniform Gifts to Minors Act. And UTMA stands for Uniform Transfers to Minors Act. Both UGMA and UTMA accounts are custodial accounts created for the benefit of a minor (or beneficiary).

The money in a UGMA/UTMA account can be used for educational expenses (like college tuition), along with anything that benefits the child – including housing, transportation, technology, and more. On the other hand, 529 plans can only be used for qualified educational expenses, like summer camps, school uniforms, or private school tuition and fees.

 

It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot use UGMA/UTMA funds to provide the child with items that parents or guardians would be reasonably expected to provide, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Another important point is that when you set up a UGMA/UTMA account, the money is irrevocably transferred to the child, meaning it cannot be returned to the donor.

 

Tax advantages of a UGMA/UTMA account

The contributions you make to a UGMA/UTMA account are not tax-deductible in the year that you make the contribution, and they are subject to gift tax limits. The income that you receive each year from the UGMA/UTMA account does have special tax advantages when compared to income that you would get in a traditional investment account, making it a great tax-advantaged option for you to invest in the child you love.

 

Here’s how that works. In 2020, the first $1,100 of investment income earned in a UGMA/UTMA account may be claimed on the custodian’s’ tax return, tax free. The next $1,100 is then taxed at the child’s (usually much lower) tax rate. Any income in excess of those amounts must be claimed at the custodian’s regular tax rate.

A few things to be aware of with UGMA/UTMA accounts

While there’s no doubt that UGMA/UTMA accounts have several advantages and a place in your overall financial portfolio, there are a few things to consider before you open up a UGMA/UTMA account:

 

  • When the child reaches the age of majority (usually 18 or 21, depending on the specifics of the plan), the money is theirs, without restriction.
  • When the UGMA/UTMA funds are released, they are factored into the minor’s assets.
  • The value of these assets will factor into the minor’s financial aid calculations, and may play a big role in determining if they qualify for certain programs, such as SSDI and Medicaid.

Where you can open a UGMA/UTMA account

Many financial services companies and brokerages offer UGMA or UTMA accounts. One option is the Acorns Early program from Acorns. Acorns Early is a UGMA/UTMA account that is included with the Acorns Family plan, which costs $5 / month. Acorns Early takes 5 minutes to set up, and you can add multiple kids at no extra charge. The Acorns Family plan also includes  Acorns Invest, Later, and Spend so you can manage all of the family’s finances, from one easy app.

 

During a time where many of us are laying low this holiday season due to COVID-19, remember that presents don’t just need to be a material possession your loved one unwraps, and then often forgets about. Give the gift of lasting impact through a UGMA/UTMA account.

The post Why UGMA/UTMA Accounts Are the Perfect Holiday Gift appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

The Most Common Renter Complaints That Landlords Hear

The landlord-tenant relationship can be a difficult one to navigate, especially if it involves a lot of renter complaints.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to build a strong foundation with your landlord. Both parties have a lot at stake.

For you, it’s your home and your security deposit, and for your landlord, it’s their income and the property in which they have invested time and money. It’s not uncommon for tension to arise at some point, but how you handle difficult situations can make or break the relationship with your landlord moving forward.

The best initial step you can take to avoid a less-than-stellar landlord is to include an assessment of your potential landlord as part of the decision process when searching for a new place to live. Have they been easy to contact so far? Have they answered your questions and addressed your concerns? Do some background research and see if you can find any reviews from past tenants.

If you do find yourself experiencing one of these common renter complaints, there are steps you can take to try and resolve the situation.

poor communication

Common renter complaint #1: Poor communication

Many renters deal with a lack of communication from their landlords and feel that they’re unaware of certain rules or expectations as they relate to the property. Maybe you sign your lease agreement, move into your new home and never really hear from your landlord again. Or, maybe you’re having trouble with your landlord’s responsiveness to issues like maintenance requests, noisy neighbors or other important questions.

Early on in the relationship with your landlord, ask if they can walk through the lease agreement with you and point out any rules or expectations that are especially important to them (something a good landlord should do on their own.) As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to read through the lease agreement in its entirety and bring up any questions you may have.

Do your best to keep lines of communication open with your landlord — make timely contact about any issues or questions that arise and don’t be afraid to ask for help. If your landlord lives in the same building or is frequently on the property, be sure to be friendly and say hello when you cross paths. Establishing this relationship from the get-go will build trust.

maintenance issues

Common renter complaint #2: Maintenance issues

Maintenance issues and repairs are one of the main reasons you’ll have to get in touch with your landlord throughout your rental experience. Whether it’s something minor like a lighting fixture fix or something major like a water leak, your landlord should be responding and repairing your requests in a timely manner.

Establish your landlord’s preferred method of communication from the get-go. Can you text them a picture of the issue to make sure it’s catching their attention and not getting lost in an email inbox? Are they not as tech-savvy and prefer you give them a call directly? If you don’t already have a tenant portal, ask your landlord if they would consider setting one up so you can easily submit maintenance requests and your landlord can easily track everything in one place.

Be clear on what your responsibility is as a renter and what your landlord’s responsibility is. Make sure to check in on your local laws to figure out what the expectations are on important maintenance issues like water, heating or other habitability issues.

privacy

Common renter complaint #3: Lack of privacy

Sometimes, a landlord might be on the property without actually entering your home. He might comment on whether or not your front porch had been cleared of leaves or whether or not the recycling bin was too full, and it always felt like an invasion of privacy to have him pop up unannounced.

As a tenant, you absolutely have a legal right to the quiet enjoyment of your home and your landlord is required to provide you with at least 24 hours notice before entering your property (unless there’s an emergency situation). If your landlord is showing up for maintenance or inspections without notifying you first, bring it to their attention right away.

If your landlord performs regular inspections, ask if they would be willing to come on the same day every month or give you a schedule for the entirety of your lease agreement. If language around routine inspections isn’t included in your lease agreement, be sure to ask about it before you sign.

money

Common renter complaint #4: Security deposit refunds

It’s always upsetting to move out of a property and learn that your security deposit refund is much smaller than you were expecting — especially if you followed all move-out instructions and didn’t cause any major damage.

It’s important to understand that typically, landlords are not profiting off of your security deposit — they’re using the finances to repair an issue that occurred when you were the renter. Of course, there are situations where this isn’t the case and legal action is the only feasible option.

Before you move out, ask your landlord to provide you with a move-out checklist or clearly state their expectations. Refer to any checklists or inspection documents that you may have completed upon move in to make sure you’re leaving the property in the same condition you found it.

Ask your landlord if they would be willing to do a property walkthrough with you before you hand over the keys to address any issues that can be fixed or cleaned before you leave. Take pictures upon move out so you have evidence to show your landlord if need be.

If you are charged or your landlord withholds your security deposit, ask for an itemized list of the deductions so you can clearly see where your money is going.

Keep it friendly

Establishing a positive relationship with your landlord from the beginning and keeping lines of communication open will make it easier for both parties to deal with any issues that arise down the road.

The post The Most Common Renter Complaints That Landlords Hear appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Clean the Inside of a Metal Water Bottle

Metal water bottles have been all-the-rage for a couple of years now. Not only are they friendlier for the environment, but they’re also more cost-effective than purchasing disposable plastic water bottles.

Another great thing about metal water bottles is they’re more durable than plastic or glass bottles. Like all other bottles, however, it’s important to keep mold and unwanted bacteria out of your metal water bottle, so cleaning it regularly is highly recommended.

If you’re wondering how to clean the inside of a metal water bottle, fortunately, all you need is a few household items to start cleaning. If you’re looking for different ways to clean your metal water bottle, you’ve come to the right place! Whether it’s a just quick solution or a more thorough cleaning process, we’ve got you covered.

  • Simple cleaning
  • Cleaning your lid
  • Cleaning your straw
  • Deep cleaning

cleaning metal water bottle

The simple cleaning process

To start cleaning your metal water bottle, gather the following household cleaning items:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge or bottle brush

Cleaning your metal water bottle

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove the lid, then pour a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar into the bottle. From there, screw the lid back on and shake the bottle well to evenly coat the sides of the bottle.
  2. Remove the lid, keep the vinegar inside and fill the bottle with water until it’s about halfway full. Next, take your sponge or bottle brush and scrub the insides, then remove the brush. Screw the lid on once more and shake again.
  3. Pour the contents out and rinse thoroughly with hot water.
  4. Your metal water bottle will be as clean as new.

If the smell of vinegar isn’t for you or if you’re on the go, there’s another option for cleaning your metal water bottle — cleaning tablets. All you have to do is add some water to the bottle you wish to clean, drop in a tablet and shake it like it’s your job.

They’ll completely dissolve while shaking so there’s no need for a bottle brush or any other tools. Once it’s dissolved dump out the water and rinse the bottle once more.

One thing to keep in mind is that the tables are, of course, single-use.

water bottle lid cleaning

The simple lid cleaning process

Cleaning your metal water bottle is really as simple as that. But what about the lids? People often neglect cleaning the lids of their water bottles. The lids are important to clean because they collect a lot of dust and other bacteria throughout the day as you touch the top of the water bottle frequently. Luckily, the lids are just as easy to clean as the bottles.

To start cleaning your lid, gather the following items:

  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Q-tips

Cleaning your metal water bottle’s lid

  1. First, you need to fill a bowl with hot water and baking soda.
  2. Soak the lids and caps in the hot water and baking soda for approximately 2-3 hours.
  3. After 2-3 hours have passed, rinse out the lids with hot water and dish soap.
  4. Use Q-tips to clean any other hard to reach areas within the lid.
  5. Rinse fully with hot water and your lid should be good to go.

water bottle straw cleaning

The simple straw cleaning process

Similar to lids, bottle straws are often forgotten. To start the cleaning process grab the following items:

  • Hot water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Straw brush or pipe cleaners

Cleaning your metal water bottle’s straw

  1. First mix the hot water and dishwashing liquid in a bowl.
  2. Dip the brush or pipe cleaner into the solution and insert it into the straw. Keep in mind that the brush should be big enough to touch all sides of the brush.
  3. Rinse out the straw with water and you are ready to go.

bottle brush

Do a deep clean!

If you’re in a rush, doing a quick clean as mentioned above should do the trick. However, it’s suggested that you should do a deep clean at least once per month depending on how often you use your water bottle. If you use your water bottle daily, you might want to deep clean your bottle weekly.

Deep cleaning your metal water bottle

To deep clean your metal water bottle, it’ll require a bit more time and attention. Consider utilizing these two ideas below for deep cleaning your water bottle.

  1. Fill your metal water bottle with boiling water and let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse out the water bottle and wash intensely with dish soap. The boiling water will disinfect germs and get unwanted bacteria out.
  2. Consider getting a bottle brush. A bottle brush helps you clean hard to reach areas and scrubs the bottom and sides of your water bottle. Just fill your metal water bottle with boiling water and mix in some dish soap. Then, use your bottle brush to get a good scrub in. The bottle brush will get any mold that’s accrued over time out quickly.

By using either of these two cleaning methods, you’ll ensure your water bottle is free of bacteria and any built-up mold. To deep clean the lids, you can and should soak the lids in boiling water overnight, as well. It works like magic!

Clean your metal bottle regularly

As noted above, metal water bottles are easy to clean, yet people often neglect cleaning them. Now that you know how to clean the inside of a metal water bottle don’t be that person that lets their water bottle sit in the car without being cleaned for months on end.

Letting bacteria and mold creep in can affect your health in negative ways. Stay healthy by cleaning it out regularly and doing a deep clean at least once per month. Perhaps consider adding it to your spring cleaning schedule and then, you’ll never forget!

The post How to Clean the Inside of a Metal Water Bottle appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com