8 Ways to Get Rid of Allergies

Ah, spring: The time of year when flowers bloom, the air warms and … ahh-choo! … your allergies start to drive you crazy.

You might not be able to do much about the pollen and other common sneeze-inducers outside but inside your apartment? That’s another story.

Allergens — substances that provoke the immune system, even though they’re usually harmless — are often found in the home in the forms of dust and mold.

People with allergies are part of an exclusive (sniffly) club. They’re the only people who know how it feels to be constantly at war with allergens everywhere from dust to pollen to pet hair, all in an effort to continue breathing effortlessly. People who don’t have allergies? They just don’t get it.

Get rid of allergies by following these steps

When you’re prone to sniffles and sneezes during allergy season — or at any other time of year — it’s important to keep your apartment as free of allergens as possible. Read on, fellow allergy sufferers, for eight practical tips on how to get rid of allergies.

1. Get rid of dust mites

Dust mites are the ultimate allergens. To keep them out, dust your entire apartment. Use a damp rag or a Dustbuster on every surface, including your blinds and window treatments, and make sure to clean every inch of your floors thoroughly.

Then, take extra steps to keep dust mites at bay. Use dust covers on your pillows and mattresses, get rid of any unused baskets or bins in your closets that gather dust, and wash your sheets regularly.

2. Clean up

In general, the cleaner your apartment, the less likely you’ll have to deal with allergens. Set a cleaning schedule with your roommates to make sure the place is dusted, wiped down, swept and vacuumed at least once a week.

Throw out expired food and wipe out the inside and outside to avoid mold growth. Scrub your bathtub or shower as often as needed to prevent mold and mildew growth. Vacuum couch cushions and throw pillows often.

vacuumvacuum

3. Vacuum your carpet

Many renters love carpet — after all, it’s cushiony, comfortable and it keeps your feet a bit warmer during the winter. However, carpet easily traps allergens in its fibers. Invest in a high-quality vacuum, and clean your carpet from wall to wall regularly.

4. Do the laundry

Your laundry hamper traps everything from dust mites to pet dander. Likewise, your sheets and pillowcases pick up allergens more quickly than you may think. If you’re struggling with sniffles and sneezes, you may want to amp up your laundry schedule.

Wash sheets in hot water once a week. Encase your mattress in a dust mite-proof cover. On top of doing laundry more, you can also put your hamper in the closet to keep any dust or dander better contained.

Don’t forget your favorite childhood stuffed animal we all know you still have. Wash them in the machine, if possible. If not, put the toy in a plastic bag and stick it in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill dust mites hiding in the stuffing.

dogdog

5. Keep Fido or Felix groomed

Pet allergies are some of the most common, so if you own a cat or dog, your furry friend may be to blame for your sniffles. Cut down on Fido’s dander by keeping him groomed and clean. Use a brush or fur-grabbing tool to pick up loose fur, and take it immediately out of your apartment so it doesn’t find its way into your carpet or bedding.

Also, give Fido a bath every once in a while — the more on top of his grooming you are, the less likely his dander and fur will get all over your apartment.

6. Close your windows

When the weather starts to warm up for spring, it feels blissful to open your windows and let in the breeze. However, it’s not just a breeze you’re letting in — it’s pollen, too. Keep your windows closed if you notice yourself getting really stuffed up during the typical spring allergy season. Also, you can buy washable curtains and dust your blinds often.

air filterair filter

7. Replace your vent filters

Dust, dirt, lint and other debris often build up in vents. And you know what that means: Your heat or air conditioning then blows that debris into your apartment, filling the air with potential allergens.

If your landlord didn’t replace the vent filters before you moved in, see if he or she is willing to make that upgrade now. Most landlords will be happy to.

8. Declutter

Clutter is your worst enemy when it comes to ridding your apartment of allergens. That pile of clothes in your closet and the stack of old magazines in the basket in the living room gather tons of dust.

The moral? If you’re not using it, throw it out. Keep your apartment clear of any spots that can easily fill with dust. You’ll be free of allergens in no time — or at least freer.

Take action to get rid of allergies

Figuring out how to get rid of allergies can be hard. But you can increase your chances of eliminating your apartment of allergens by following these simple tips. Not only will they cut down on the number of tissues you’ll go through, but it will make your apartment a nice, clean oasis, as well.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Free Downloadable Chore Wheel: Divide and Conquer Your Apartment Cleaning

One of the most difficult situations roommates face is deciding who will take care of what chores. Obviously, each roommate is in charge of keeping his or her bedroom and bathroom clean, but what about common areas? Who does the dishes and who vacuums? Before you and your roommate resort to fisticuffs over who will take out the trash, consider an easier, more peaceful solution: A chore wheel. This simple DIY project will take you less than 10 minutes to create, and when it’s done, you’ll have an easy way to divide up household chores. You and your roommate(s) will trade off tasks so everyone does their part and no one is stuck with the chore they hate for very long.

Ready to pitch the pigsty? Download and assemble our free chore wheel to restore order to your apartment.

What you’ll need:

  • Chore wheel templates (download links are below)
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Hole punch
  • Paper fastener

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Making the Wheel

Step 1: Download one of the following chore wheel templates, depending on how many people live in your apartment.

  • Two people: If your household consists of you and just one roommate, download this template. Your wheel will contain either six or eight chores – your choice.
  • Three people: If your household is you and two roommates, download this template. Your wheel will contain six chores.
  • Four people: If your household is you and three roommates, download this template. Your wheel will contain eight chores.

Step 2: Print out the chore wheel template you downloaded. You don’t have to print in color, but doing so will make your chore wheel a lot prettier.

Step 3: Cut out each circle.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 4: Glue each circle to a piece of cardboard.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 5: Cut the cardboard to match the circle. Now you should have two circles with cardboard backing.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 6: On the bigger circle, write your name and the names of your roommate(s) in each section. On the smaller circle, assign each section to a different household chore. You might label it like this:

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

(Betty is my fictional roommate.)

The exact labels are up to you, and they depend on what sorts of cleaning your apartment needs. For example, if your apartment has stairs, you might put “vacuum stairs” in one section, but if not, you might use that section for “dust bookshelves” or something else.

Try to keep big chores on opposite sides of the chore wheel. For example, doing the dishes can be a big task, but taking out the trash only takes a few minutes. Try to make sure each roommate will take on a similar workload each week.

Step 7: When both circles are labeled, punch a hole in the center of each one. You can use a hole punch or bore a hole in each circle with the pointy end of a sharp knife. (Just remember to place a cutting board underneath, and be careful!)

Step 8: Push the paper fastener through the hole to join the two circles together.

Your chore wheel is complete!

Using the Chore Wheel

To use it, just twist the top wheel so certain sections line up with each roommate’s name. That person will be in charge of those chores for the amount of time you choose together. For example, this week I’ll be in charge of taking out the trash, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom, while Fictional Roommate Betty will clean the kitchen, dust and pick up the living room.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

You can switch it up every week, every other week, or as often as you like. Now our responsibilities are reversed.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

You could also move the top wheel one wedge at a time instead of flipping it 180 degrees. You and your roommate(s) can decide what works best for your household.

More advice on the Apartment Guide Blog:

How is your chore wheel working out in your apartment?

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Apartment Cleaning: Free Downloadable Chore Wheel

One of the most difficult situations roommates face is deciding who will take care of what chores. Obviously each roommate is in charge of keeping his or her bedroom and bathroom clean, but what about common areas? Who does the dishes and who vacuums?

Before you and your roommate resort to fisticuffs over who will take out the trash, consider an easier, more peaceful solution: A chore wheel. This simple DIY project will take you less than 10 minutes to create, and when it’s done, you’ll have an easy way to divide up household chores. You and your roommate(s) will trade off tasks so everyone does their part and no one is stuck with the chore they hate for very long.

Ready to ditch the pigsty? Download and assemble our free chore wheel to restore order to your apartment.

What you’ll need:

  • Chore wheel templates (download links are below)
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Hole punch
  • Paper fastener

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 1: Download one of the following chore wheel templates, depending on how many people live in your apartment.

  • Two people: If your household consists of you and just one roommate, download this template. Your wheel will contain either six or eight chores – your choice.
  • Three people: If your household is you and two roommates, download this template. Your wheel will contain six chores.
  • Four people: If your household is you and three roommates, download this template. Your wheel will contain eight chores.

Step 2: Print out the chore wheel template you downloaded. You don’t have to print in color, but doing so will make your chore wheel a lot prettier.

Step 3: Cut out each circle.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 4: Glue each circle to a piece of cardboard.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 5: Cut the cardboard to match the circle. Now you should have two circles with cardboard backing.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

Step 6: On the bigger circle, write your name and the names of your roommate(s) in each section. On the smaller circle, assign each section to a different household chore. You might label it like this:

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

The exact labels are up to you, and they depend on what sorts of cleaning your apartment needs. For example, if your apartment has stairs, you might put “vacuum stairs” in one section, but if not, you might use that section for “dust bookshelves” or something else.

Try to keep big chores on opposite sides of the chore wheel. For example, doing the dishes can be a big task, but taking out the trash only takes a few minutes. Try to make sure each roommate will take on a similar workload each week.

Step 7: When both circles are labeled, punch a hole in the center of each one. You can use a hole punch, or bore a hole in each circle with the pointy end of a sharp knife. (Just remember to place a cutting board underneath, and be careful!)

Step 8: Push the paper fastener through the hole to join the two circles together.

Your chore wheel is complete! To use it, just twist the top wheel so certain sections line up with each roommate’s name. That person will be in charge of those chores for the amount of time you choose together. For example, this week Courtney will be in charge of taking out the trash, vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom, while Betty will clean the kitchen, dust and pick up the living room.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

You can switch it up every week, every other week, or as often as you like. Now responsibilities are reversed.

free downloadable chore wheelfree downloadable chore wheel

You could also move the top wheel one wedge at a time instead of flipping it 180 degrees. You and your roommate(s) can decide what works best for your household.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

7 Tips for Acing a Video Interview

Whether you just graduated school or are just seeking a new job, work interviews have modernized. Video interviews —conducted online— are increasingly common. In some industries, IRL interviews are (for now) a thing of the past—as more companies take on remote hires and millions are working from home.

And, with the rapid rise in digital job interviews, what are some ways to ace the video interview?

Here are seven tips for giving an impactful and memorable video interview—from practicing potential answers out loud ahead of time to tweaking the lighting for your camera.

There are various ways to get a first job after college. Being prepared for video interviews is one way to make a positive first impression.

Dressing for the Video Interview

For remote jobs, it’s quite possible that applicants may do a video interview through their tablets or computers. And, while the job interview location may now be a digital platform (and your couch), certain interview expectations stay the same—namely presenting yourself with professionalism and dressing for the job. Even when (especially when) you’re interviewing from home.

It may be helpful to ask about the expected dress code for a remote position. Asking questions like this may show a hirer that you’re aware that businesses have diverse expectations for professionalism. Even if they say you can wear whatever you want, you’ve shown that you’re unafraid of asking questions to grasp what’s expected of that role.

There’s an old adage— dress for the job you want, not the role you have. In a video interview, this could mean opting to dress a touch more formally—even if HR said the employees usually go for business-casual. (And, yes, you should wear pants during video interviews.)

It’s hard to feel like you’re going to shine if you’re in coffee-stained PJs.

It’s also not a bad idea to confirm the logistics of the video interview (in addition to outfit- planning). Some video interview logistics questions could include:

•   Will you get a calendar invite or event link for the interview?
•   What time zone will the interviewer be calling in from?
•   Which video conferencing platform will be used?
•   Will you need to download software to be able join the interview?

Knowing the answers to logistics can help bring more confidence to the video interview.

1. Practicing to Make Perfect

Different companies or organizations may use different platforms to host the interview—from Zoom to Google Hangouts to other programs. Don’t worry: You don’t need to become a pro at all the expert features. Still, it’s a good idea to become comfortable at:

•   Dialing in to scheduled calls
•   Checking the audio and the camera
•   Understanding what the interviewer can see
•   Ensuring the WiFi signal is strong enough for the video interview

If an interviewer mentions a program you’ve never used, it’s advisable to download and try it out well before the actual call. Opening up an unfamiliar program just before the interview only to realize it’s not compatible with your technology might create a positive first impression. So, make sure you double-check that you have all logins or passwords for the call. It’s best not to keep interviewers waiting because you failed to check the video interview details.

Try to make a mental checklist of digital distractions you’ve run across, as well. Then, see what you can do to minimize (if not outright eliminate) those common distractions before the live video interview. For example, you could turn off notifications or sounds for texts and emails during the interview time slot.

2. Setting the Surroundings

Generally, it’s a good idea to do a test call on the planned video-interview platform. This could help you assess how you and your surroundings appear via video. You may even want an extra set of eyes and ears–asking a friend or family member to do a “mock” call to ensure the audio and visuals are clear.

When prepping for a video interview, put yourself in the position of whoever will be interviewing you. Some questions to chew on:

•   What can the interviewer see of your space?
•   Are you easily visible or is more light needed?
•   Are there any distractions in the camera frame?

Some digital platforms allow users to record sessions. So, interviewees may want to record themselves talking and then watch and listen. You could run through the main things you want to say in the real video interview. Talking aloud on camera can help some people to become more aware of their own nervous tics and body language.

3. Taking Notes Beforehand

With job interviews, researching the company beforehand could give you ideas of how to connect previous work experience with the brand’s values or role’s job. One of the benefits of a video interview is that you can make these research notes quite literal.

Write out key points on a big piece of paper near your computer. Or, jot down some ideas or accomplishments on a sticky note next to your camera. It’s likely that the employer conducting the video interview will have no idea you’re looking at those pre-prepared notes—just make sure you keep your notes short, so you can naturally weave in keywords.

Talking points are a good idea. You may want to skip long sentences that sound like you’re reading.

4. Minimizing Off-Screen Distractions

Above all else, keep your on-screen image distraction-free. It’s worth remembering that the only person the interviewer wants to interact with is you–not your adorable pets, lovely roommates, or kid sister. You ask the folks you share a living space with to keep quiet or stay in their rooms during your interview. Plan ahead so the conversation isn’t distractingly interrupted by unexpected visitors.

5. Wearing Headphones

It would be a shame to have the audio cut out mid interview. Nothing can derail a smooth interview back-and-forth than the inability to hear the other person. It’s likely neither the interviewer or the job applicant wants to say, “What?” or “Can you repeat that?” during the video call.

There’s no need to invest in fancy, studio-quality headphones, thankfully—if you’re comfortable with earbuds, those should work fine. They also have the added benefit of not being visually intrusive.

6. Going Outside for a Breather

It’s hard to feel energetic and friendly if you’re cooped inside all day. A good way to minimize nerves is to get fresh air. Don’t just open up a window—put on sunscreen, maintain social distancing, and go outside. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, a jolt of sunlight and breeze can reset the mind.

7. Remembering to Be Yourself

After preparing for the logistics of a video interview, it can be easy to forget one simple thing: Be yourself. While a strong WiFi signal and well-lit space won’t hurt your chances during a video interview, it’s helpful to recall that interviews are conversations between two or more people. Be prepared and share who you are.

Getting to Work

Acing a job interview—video interview or otherwise—is just one part of navigating life after college. Being ready for a video interview is just one new way to get noticed these days.

On top of looking for a full-time or better-paying job, some grads also want to find ways to reduce their outstanding debt balances—including long-term bills, like student loan repayments.

After exhausting federal options (like income-driven repayment or loan forgiveness programs), some borrowers decide to refinance their student loans with a private lender.
Refinancing student loans could reduce monthly bill payments or the amount paid in interest during the duration of the loan.

Learn more about refinancing your student loans with SoFi.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO REFINANCE FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS PLEASE BE AWARE OF RECENT LEGISLATIVE CHANGES THAT HAVE SUSPENDED ALL FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS AND WAIVED INTEREST CHARGES ON FEDERALLY HELD LOANS UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER DUE TO COVID-19. PLEASE CAREFULLY CONSIDER THESE CHANGES BEFORE REFINANCING FEDERALLY HELD LOANS WITH SOFI, SINCE IN DOING SO YOU WILL NO LONGER QUALIFY FOR THE FEDERAL LOAN PAYMENT SUSPENSION, INTEREST WAIVER, OR ANY OTHER CURRENT OR FUTURE BENEFITS APPLICABLE TO FEDERAL LOANS. CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.

SOSL20038

Source: sofi.com

How to Create a Roommate Cleaning Schedule

Is there anything worse than coming home from a long day at work and seeing the kitchen turned upside down for the third day in a row? Before you throw in the towel, bring up a roommate cleaning schedule in your next house meeting. Assigning specific tasks and building a roommate chore chart can help everyone take more responsibility for their messes.

Showing how you can work together vs. just sending passive-aggressive vibes can help you get along better and keep the apartment clean. It’s all about communication when it comes to roommate compatibility.

Follow these tips to build a roommate chore chart and keep your home clean.

Sync on cleaning habits

Whether you found your roommate through Facebook, a friend or an app, you only got a few minutes to get to know each other before you decided that they were a good fit. You must check compatibility during the interview.

Here are a few questions that can help determine if you have the same cleaning habits, for example.

  1. How often did you do the dishes in your old home?
  2. How did you and your roommate split the deep cleaning of the apartment?
  3. Did you have any altercations about cleaning tasks not being done? How did you resolve them?
  4. If the trash is full, do you walk away or take it out and add a new bag?
  5. How often do you think we should do a deep clean of the apartment?

You’ll see red flags as they talk about their old roommates (this is why references are essential!) and determine if your cleaning personalities sync up.

How to make a cleaning schedule

What exactly does the word “clean” mean to you and your roommate? Determine how often the roommate should do the tasks — daily, weekly, monthly — and how detailed they should go with their task. For example, should someone clean the grout in the shower or wipe all surfaces in the bathroom? Does mopping come into the equation or just sweeping? It’s essential to agree on what “clean” looks like for all roommates.

Assign zones to each person (kitchen, bathroom and living room) and what can be done together (outdoor space). This is a good time to make rules about personal items in shared spaces — don’t leave your laptop or dirty socks in the living room, for example. Your personal things should remain in your bedroom.

Once you’ve made a list of the tasks to complete, it’s time to create the roommate chore chart.

rooommates cleaningrooommates cleaning

Making a roommate chore chart

While there’s no allowance attached to this roommate chore chart like the good old days of childhood, the reward is a clean home and a good relationship with your roommate. We call that a win-win. Here’s how to get started.

Make the chore list together

Pick a Saturday morning, make breakfast together and spend a few hours walking around the apartment. Make a list per room of the cleaning tasks you would like to see done.

For example, in the kitchen, write down taking out the trash, loading the dishwasher, buying cleaning supplies, wiping down the counters and sweeping the floor as items for your chore list. Then do the same for each shared space.

You can keep the bedrooms out of the chore list as they are personal spaces. List everything per room and evenly split tasks between the roommates based on interests and usage. These chore tasks typically are fast and easy to complete on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

When are the tasks getting done?

Some tasks will happen every day like taking out the trash or doing the dishes and other tasks work well on a weekly basis. Next to each chore task, list how often the task is done. A few examples of timelines:

  • Daily: Empty out the garbage every morning, pick up clutter from shared spaces and load the dishwasher. Pick up as you go is a great way to stay on top of dirty counter spaces, clutter and dishes. Use a dish, put it in the dishwasher immediately after rinsing.
  • Weekly: Take the garbage to the curb, wipe all counters including kitchen and bathroom, sweep and vacuum the floors, clean the toilet and shower and make any lists for the grocery store. Rooms like the living room and bathrooms should be cleaned on a weekly basis to avoid any pile-up of dirt, food or clutter.
  • Monthly: Wash all kitchen towels and couch blankets, replenish any household items that are old and clean out the fridge. The kitchen should be deep cleaned on a monthly basis and it’s best for a team project.

Shell out the assignments

Split chore assignments evenly, so everyone is doing the same or similar amount of work and add their name next to the assignment with a deadline, if applicable. Designate specific tasks to the same person over time, like emptying the garbage daily, to avoid confusion. The roommate should complete this task at the end of each day.

Other tasks like loading the dishwasher need to be completed by the person who didn’t cook dinner or, if you don’t cook dinner together, by the person who made the mess. This way, some of the tasks rotate, especially those that are generally not wanted. Roommates assigned weekly completion tasks can pick a specific weekday, so they don’t all pile up on the weekends.

Before finalizing the assignments, make sure everyone agrees and airs out their grievances to ensure all compromises were met.

Print out the roommate chore chart

Here’s a quick template to use for your roommate chore chart — download the chore chart so you can print it, laminate it and stick it on the fridge for everyone to see your roommate cleaning schedule.

roommate chore chart to create a roommate cleaning scheduleroommate chore chart to create a roommate cleaning schedule

Check-in as time goes on

Once you’ve settled with the roommate cleaning schedule for a few weeks, review it again during your next roommate meeting. If it’s better for you to do the dishes at night and maybe your roommate can take the trash out in the morning, make sure to communicate that. You have a higher probability of sticking with it if it fits your schedule a little more.

Keep the (cleaning) harmony at home

Finding the perfect roommate is genuinely a feat. It’s so hard to get to know a perfect stranger over a short meet-up. But if you communicate your expectations initially, like what cleaning mistakes set you off, you’ll find a better fit for your home.

Refer back to this roommate chore chart when discussing your cleaning schedule and check in with each other as time passes for any needed changes.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

Can You Rent an Apartment if You’re Not a U.S. Citizen?

Many Americans are interested in living abroad and experiencing cultures different from their own, so it’s not surprising that many people from elsewhere want to come to America, as well. In fact, according to American Community Survey (ACS) data, more than 43 million immigrants resided in the U.S. in 2016. And many of them rent.

Renting as a non-citizen is absolutely plausible, but just like an American-born renter, you’ll be similarly scrutinized before signing a lease. Read on for a quick rundown of what you’ll likely need to provide and what to expect overall.

Proof of income

That charming accent you bring to the table won’t get you out of paying rent, and your landlord wants to know that you’ll pay on time each month. As such, part of your rental application will ask for information about your job or employment history.

In the United States, the general rule of thumb dictates you should spend about 30 percent of your income on rent. Do the math beforehand to see if you (and your roommate or roommates) can collectively afford the place in which you’re interested, because your landlord’s going to do it for you, as well.

Rent, of course, won’t be your only housing-related expense, so do research (you can even ask the landlord or property manager) to get an estimate of utilities such as water, gas and electricity. Some power companies even have online calculators you can use, plugging in things like square footage to determine what it will cost to heat or cool the place.

Deposits

Most apartment communities will require a security deposit when you sign a lease. If you have a pet, a pet deposit may be required, as well. These fees serve as financial insurance for the landlord should you fail to pay your rent, break your lease or damage the property in any way.

What’s more, when renting as a non-citizen, you may be asked for a larger deposit in the event the property management company is unable to thoroughly check your credit.

Proof of immigration status

While there are federal laws in place that expressly prohibit landlords or property management companies from discriminating against or excluding prospective tenants on the basis of gender, race, religion, disability, familial status or (and for our purposes here, especially) national origin, it is 100 percent legal to ask rental applicants to provide documentation regarding their immigration status.

Why?

Simply put, business is business. Your status is directly connected to whether your landlord can expect you to remain in the United States for the full term of your lease. If your documentation only permits you to stay in the country for another eight months, you won’t be able to fulfill the terms of a 12-month lease. That could be valid grounds for denying your application.

Refusing to rent to a non-citizen solely on the basis of his or her citizenship, however (assuming their citizenship would not prevent them from fulfilling the terms of the lease) is prohibited by law.

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This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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10 common money myths debunked – Lexington Law

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Personal finance can be a complicated topic. People don’t often openly discuss personal finance, so it’s hard to know if you’re holding onto some incorrect money beliefs. And yet, understanding financial matters is crucial. Personal finance knowledge empowers you to better manage your finances and understand your options. It also helps ensure other people can’t take advantage of your lack of information. 

Luckily, if you don’t have a money expert in your life to discuss these matters with, you can find answers online. This is a great place to start. Keep reading to learn about these 10 common money myths. 

1. Credit cards are too risky to use

This first myth is heavily debated in the personal finance community. You’ll find many people standing behind the statement that credit cards are too risky to use. In fact, famous American radio host and finance advisor Dave Ramsey tells his viewers they should cut credit cards out of their lives. But while Ramsey has helped thousands of people get out of debt and does excellent work, we disagree with him on this point.

Let’s set the record straight: Credit cards can be a good thing as long you’re careful with them and understand the factors that impact your score. When used responsibly, a credit card can improve your score, which will open the door to many other opportunities. A great credit score means you can get better interest rates and be approved for auto loans, mortgages, personal loans and much more. 

Additionally, many credit cards offer benefits such as cash back, gift cards or travel points. If you use your credit card responsibly and never pay interest, these are free benefits you can take advantage of. 

Of course, you can only reap these benefits if you pay your credit card in full and on time. Racking up debt, missing payments or making late payments will all lower your credit score.

Those who are anti-credit cards fail to touch on what happens when you don’t have a credit card. Unfortunately, if you don’t have one, you may not have a very detailed credit history. And if you have a thin credit history, you’ll have trouble getting approved for items most people need, such as a rental lease, a mortgage or an auto loan. 

That’s why it’s recommended you get a credit card early on and start building your credit history. This will also help you establish responsible spending habits at an early age, which means as you get more credit later in life, you’ll know how to handle it without being tempted to spend beyond your means. 

If you’re not sure you can be responsible with your credit card, start with a low credit card limit or a secured credit card. This allows you to start small without risking significant debt. 

2. Bankruptcy wipes the slate clean

Bankruptcy may seem like a clean, fresh start, but in reality, it’s only one option. You should never have bankruptcy as your first solution. In fact, you should do everything in your power to avoid filing for bankruptcy. 

Bankruptcy has hugely negative consequences on your credit history and immediate financial opportunities. Depending on what type of bankruptcy you file (Chapter 7 versus Chapter 13), it can stay on your credit report for seven to 10 years. This will make acquiring any type of financial services (loans, credit cards, rental leases, etc.) extremely difficult. 

Additionally, you don’t actually get to escape all your debt. Many people assume bankruptcy will wipe all their debts away with one bankruptcy filing, but this isn’t the case. Bankruptcy is meant to help people in a dire financial situation come to terms with their debts.

The situation is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Some people’s debt is restructured and they still need to continue with (reduced) payments. Some people will have their debts discharged, but certain debts can’t go away. 

The following debts typically can’t be discharged:

  • Child support and alimony
  • Some specific types of unpaid taxes, like tax liens (but if the delinquent taxes are several years old, they might qualify for discharge) 
  • Debts that caused malicious, willful injury to a person or a person’s property
  • Debts for personal injury or death caused by an individual operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Debts that are not mentioned in the bankruptcy filing

And while student loans can be discharged in a bankruptcy filing, it’s quite challenging to do so and requires that the borrower files an “adversary proceeding.” 

Also, note that a bankruptcy filing usually results in the liquidation of your nonexempt assets, so you can lose your home, cars and other valuables, making starting over very challenging. 

Clearly, a bankruptcy filing isn’t a no-strings-attached new start. You may end up damaging your credit history for years to come, losing your assets and still having to pay many of your debts. 

Make sure you explore your options before turning to a bankruptcy filing. There are solutions out there, such as debt consolidation and debt counseling. Being in significant debt doesn’t mean you can’t get out of it—which we’ll elaborate on later in this article. 

3. Investing is only for the wealthy

There is a popular misconception that only the wealthy can invest. This simply isn’t true. Anyone can invest—there are many ways to invest and many options to suit all budgets. 

Most importantly, everyone should invest. It’s essential to start thinking about your retirement as soon as possible. Without adequate retirement savings, you could be forced to work late into your life.

Take advantage of compound interest and start investing in your 401(k) account as early as possible. If your employer offers contribution matching, make sure you max it out, as this is free money. 

The market is one of the best long-term ways to grow your money. Sure, the stock market has many ups and downs throughout the years. But if you’re investing over the course of years or even decades, the stock market is a great way to see consistent returns. The average stock market return for the last century has been almost 10 percent per year. 

If you start contributing $50 per month with an expected annual return of 10 percent, you’ll have around $114,000 in 30 years. And that number will only go up if you increase your contributions.

4. It’s impossible to get out of debt

If you have a significant amount of debt, it can feel like it’s impossible to make any progress. Getting out of debt is possible, though it will take time and effort. It won’t happen overnight, but with consistent hard work, you can see that debt disappear. 

People feel they can’t get out of debt because they don’t know where to start. You should explore your options online and find a debt relief solution that works for you. 

Some of the debt solutions available include:

  • Reaching out to your creditor for help: Your creditor may forgive a portion of your debt or offer you a new debt payment plan with a more manageable payment schedule or interest rate.
  • Debt consolidation: You could find a creditor to consolidate all your debts into one loan. This loan is usually at a lower interest rate than all your other debts, and payments are more manageable since you only make one payment per month. 
  • Credit card balance transfer: If you have credit card debt, you can consider transferring your balance to a new card. Companies often promote a balance transfer with a zero percent interest rate for a few months. You can use this zero percent interest period to make a real dent in your principal. 
  • Debt counseling: Visit a debt counselor who will walk you through all your options. They’ll evaluate your situation and present you with a clear plan for getting out of debt. 

5. Buying a house is always better than renting

It’s pretty common for people to have a goal to eventually buy a home. This is a great milestone to look forward to, but it’s essential to only take the jump into homeownership when you’re financially ready. 

Renting is often a better choice for people when they’re younger as it allows for more flexibility in life. When you rent, you have options such as:

  • Easily moving to another region or city when you need lower rent
  • Moving in with roommates when you need to lower your rent
  • Accepting jobs or opportunities in other cities without being tied down by a house or a mortgage

Some experts even argue that your money will perform better in the stock market than an investment in property (although this can vary greatly depending on your local housing market). 

Homeownership also comes with many additional costs that people often forget about. These include property taxes, utility bills, home repairs and home upkeep. Instead, it may be better to rent while you’re young and start saving for a significant down payment that will reduce your mortgage costs in the future. 

6. Paying in cash is best

Paying in cash can be good at times, but it also means you don’t have all the protections that come with using a credit card. When you pay with a credit card, you leave an electronic trail of the record. So, if you pay for something up front, a vendor can’t claim they didn’t receive the payment. You also often receive additional benefits such as extended warranties, additional travel insurance and more. 

Secondly, paying for everything in cash doesn’t help your credit score. Your credit score will increase as you continue to pay for things via credit and pay them off in full and on time. This consistent record of responsible money management will help you secure lower interest rates and approvals on other financial products in the future.

Lastly, paying for items in cash doesn’t make your money “work for you.” Whenever possible, you want to get more for your money. Paying by credit card often gets you cash back or points toward something you would have paid money for anyway. 

You should consider opting for cash payments if you’re irresponsible with credit cards or you receive a discount on the item or service for paying in cash. Otherwise, it might not be best.

7. Budgeting isn’t necessary if you watch your finances

Budgeting can help anyone at any income level. Even if you check your finances, you may just be checking for signs of fraud, but you’re not taking in the full picture of where your money is going. For example, reviewing your budget and seeing your $5 coffee purchase three times a week may look perfectly normal. However, a budget will start to highlight that you’re spending $780 on to-go coffee annually, which may encourage you to change this habit. 

Budgeting can also help you prepare for the future. You can use a budget to save up for future goals, such as a down payment or a car. Or, you can also use your budget to save up for an emergency fund. 

Luckily, there are plenty of tools available today that make budgeting a lot easier. Financial apps like YNAB (You Need a Budget) and Mint sync up to all your bank accounts and work as an automated budgeting tool. You can put in your spending and saving targets and the app will do all the work for you. It will alert you when you’re overspending, track your progress toward goals and even make recommendations for improvements. 

Budgeting doesn’t have to be hard. Once you set it up, a budget can help you gain control of your money and your financial situation. 

8. You should cancel credit cards you aren’t using

It’s understandable why so many people believe that if they aren’t using a credit card, they should cancel it. Technically, that logic makes sense as an additional credit card may seem like an unnecessary temptation to get into more debt or another opportunity to lose a card and risk identity theft. 

In reality, you should hold onto those credit cards. Closing credit cards usually decreases your credit score because it affects your credit utilization ratio and credit age. Both factors are significant contributors to your credit score. 

First, let’s discuss the impact on your credit utilization ratio. Let’s say you have three credit cards: two with a $3,000 limit and one with a $10,000 limit. Typically, you spend $3,000 a month on all your credit card expenses, and you pay it off in full. That means that out of the $16,000 credit available to you, you utilize $3,000, which is around 18 percent. 

Your credit utilization ratio should be under 30 percent to avoid a negative impact on your score, so your 18 percent is not causing any problems. Now, let’s say you choose to close that $10,000 card. Now, you’re spending $3,000 out of the $6,000 available to you in a month. You’ve increased your credit utilization from 18 percent to 50 percent, which is considered bad and will lower your credit score. 

Additionally, credit age is another thing to consider. If you can keep your first credit card open (even if you don’t use it), it lengthens your credit age. This positively impacts your credit score because lenders have access to more years of data on you. 

Ensure you consider both of these factors before deciding to close a credit card. 

9. You can wait to save for retirement

When you’re young, retirement can feel like it’s so far away. Many people therefore put off saving for retirement, not realizing the impact it will have on their future. 

As we’ve mentioned before, compounding interest is your friend. And, the earlier you start saving, the more of an impact compound interest can have.

Let’s look at someone who starts saving $50 a month at age 20 versus age 30. Assuming an annual 10 percent return from the stock market, the 20-year-old will have about $319,000 when they turn 60. In comparison, the 30-year old will have about $114,000 by the time they’re 60. Even though the 30-year-old only missed out on $6,000 worth of contributions over the 10-year gap, their earnings end up being more than $200,000 less than those of someone who started 10 years earlier. 

Even if you can only afford to put aside $10 or $20 a month, it’s crucial to start as early as possible. 

10. Credit repair services are a scam

If you have terrible credit, you might not know how to fix it. That’s why there are credit repair services available to help. Some people think credit repair services are a scam because they technically provide services you could do yourself, but this is far from the case. 

First, a credit repair service company has the experience and knowledge you don’t have. For example, submitting a claim to dispute something on your credit report can be tricky. You only have one opportunity to get the claim reviewed (unless new information surfaces), so you want to make sure you have the best chance of it being approved. A credit repair company knows what the credit reporting agencies look for when considering a dispute. 

Secondly, a credit repair company will take the time to scan and review all your credit reports for errors. You probably don’t have the time to do this thoroughly, so you turn to credit repair services that will go through this process for you. 

That’s not to say credit repair scams don’t exist, because they do. It’s essential to educate yourself on what these scams look like so you can avoid them. Additionally, credit repair companies are held to federal regulations, so if you are scammed, you can report the company. Though there are illegitimate companies, there are also many legitimate companies—you just need to know what to look for. Reach out to Lexington Law to learn more about legal credit repair practices.

The main takeaway from digging into all of these myths is that you should always do your research and not let financial misinformation rule your life. As you educate yourself, you are empowered to control your finances and your future. 


Reviewed by Kenton Arbon, an Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Kenton Arbon is an Associate Attorney in the Arizona office. Mr. Arbon was born in Bakersfield, California, and grew up in the Northwest. He earned his B.A. in Business Administration, Human Resources Management, while working as an Oregon State Trooper. His interest in the law lead him to relocate to Arizona, attend law school, and graduate from Arizona State College of Law in 2017. Since graduating from law school, Mr. Arbon has worked in multiple compliance domains including anti-money laundering, Medicare Part D, contracts, and debt negotiation. Mr. Arbon is licensed to practice law in Arizona. He is located in the Phoenix office.

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Source: lexingtonlaw.com