Tampon Alternatives to Get You Through the Shortage

The reality of the tampon shortage is sinking in at checkout counters and in bathrooms across the country. Supply chain issues and inflation have teamed up to make an already complicated time of the month increasingly stressful.

You’ve probably noticed the roughly 10% price jump on your favorite tampons. Maybe your go-to brand is sold out all together and you’ve had to resort to a different variety. Or, perhaps you’ve driven from store to store in search of what you need. Even worse, if you’ve taken a peek at online tampon prices, you might have gasped along with the rest of us. Many products are unavailable online, too.

The price hike on tampons — when you can actually find them — is even more frustrating considering the so-called “pink tax.” The term refers to the markup on products marketed to women compared to similar items marketed to men. This includes hair care products, shaving cream, razors and deodorant, among other products used by men and women.

So, what can you do to see yourself through the tampon shortage? We’ve done the research on alternatives to tampons and came up with a robust list.

Some options, like the menstrual cup, have been around for a while and can save you up to $100 a year even in non-shortage times. Others, like period underwear, are relatively new and while an investment up front, they can be worth it for long-term savings.

5 Tampon Alternatives

We rounded up five alternatives to tampons and found the best cost-saving options, so check out this list for ideas to see you through the tampon shortage. You might actually opt to stay with the new product and continue to save money.

1. The Menstrual Cup

A menstrual cup is a reusable bell-shaped cup, typically made of rubber or silicone. While the cup seems to be catching on fast, some versions of this period hack have been available since the 1930s.

Easily ordered from Amazon or directly from companies like Saalt, Lena, Intimina, Super Jennie, and Moon Cup, these eco-friendly cups could completely change your period experience. When properly maintained, most cups last for 10 years.

Plus, with prices ranging between $20 and $40, they are a cost effective alternative to tampons. We did the math, so you don’t have to.

A 36-count box of Tampax brand tampons is currently selling on Amazon for $30. According to the FDA, tampons should be replaced every four to eight hours so that’s three to six tampons in a 24-hour period. Say a period lasts (on average) four days. That’s 12 to 24 tampons.

By month three, you will have saved between $10 and $20 with the menstrual cup. If you change tampons more often or have a longer period, your savings kick in earlier. Multiply those savings over 10 years and, well, you can clearly see why the cup is cost effective.

2. The Menstrual Disc

The menstrual disc is a saucer-shaped disc usually made from silicone. While smaller than its cup cousin, the disc is no less mighty. In fact it has an even higher capacity and a few other characteristics that can make it a more flexible choice for some women. And you guessed it, it’s also reusable.

Expect to pay between $35 and $40 each if purchased directly from companies like Lumma, Flex, Cora, and Hello Disc, but some discs sell for less on Amazon.

Since these little saucers are reusable, they are an excellent cost effective alternative to tampons. We noticed that compared to the cup, the recommendation for disc replacement is far shorter, some in as little as two to three years. Still, a cost saving alternative to tampons.

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3. Period Underwear

Period underwear looks like normal bikinis, boxers or boy shorts but feature a built-in pad. After some rinsing, they can be laundered with the rest of your clothes.

This alternative to tampons might appeal to pad wearers who want a reusable option but aren’t interested in inserting cups or discs.

Per pair, period undies are $12 to $38 from companies such as Knix, Thinx, TomboyX, and Period. We also found this highly rated Innersy 3-pack for $21.99 direct from the company or $25.99 from Amazon.

Since you’ll likely need multiple pairs for each period day, period underwear is on the pricey side but the investment may be worth it over time.

4. Cloth Pads

Cloth pads are reusable menstrual pads made from natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo and hemp. They often come in bold colors or lively prints, adding some lightheartedness to an otherwise not so enjoyable time for many women.

Prices range from $12 to $20 per pad, available from Aisle, Party Pants, Glad Rags, and Tree Hugger.

This alternative to tampons is great for people with sensitive skin since reusable pads are made without chemicals or synthetic fabrics.

5. Disposable Pads

Ah, the old standby where many of us started our period journeys. Disposable pads are typically made from synthetic or semi-synthetic fibers.

Available in a wide range of sizes with characteristics like ultra-thin, maxi, overnight, scented or unscented, wings or wingless and anti-bunch — disposable pad prices are as varied as the options.

Packs of 32- to 48-count can be found for between $7 and $10, making disposable pads the most cost effective alternative to tampons in the short term.

And with sustainable brands like Cora and Joni you can still feel good about disposing of your pads.

Which Tampon Alternative Is Right For You?

A few handy quizzes can help set you on the right path and some of the considerations will be how much money you want to spend, your individual preferences and what is most convenient for your lifestyle.

Put a Cup In It offers product comparisons and this useful quiz to help you identify the right cup for you. Period Nirvana has some easy to read charts comparing menstrual disc versus menstrual cup and offers a quiz to help you find the perfect cup or disc for you.

With any tampon alternative you use to get you through the shortage, read the directions and be sure to properly care for reusable products.

Even after the shortage is resolved, we might not go back to costly tampons because we love to save money on menstrual products. Period.

Save even more money on feminine hygiene products by making your own pads or getting help from services that offer free supplies. 
Cloth pads, disposable pads and a mensural cup are shown as tampon alternatives.
Getty Images

What You Need to Know About Tampon Alternatives

Here are three things you should know before buying tampon alternatives.

1. Tampon Alternatives are (Mostly) Cost Effective

Even without a shortage driving up the cost of tampons, most alternative menstrual products are cost effective right out of the gate, while others require an investment up front but pay off over time.

But especially right now, the most popular alternatives are sure to save you money.  This is not only because of the cost of tampons, but also due to the possibility you might have to drive to two or three stores to find them. With gas prices on the rise, you want to avoid that and do what you can to save money on gas.

2. Tampon Alternatives are Safe

Some alternatives function similarly to tampons (if you use tampons, you get what we mean) but are made from medical grade plastic, rubber or silicone. And some function like pads, but are washable and consequently, reusable.

While most of us have been using tampons for years, it might surprise you that alternatives can actually be safer because they are less likely to harbor bacteria. When used and maintained as directed, they are a safe and healthy choice.

3. Tampon Alternatives are Environmentally Friendly

It’s always nice to know that in addition to saving money, you’re helping reduce waste. Most alternative menstrual products are reusable which makes them not only a smart choice for your wallet, but also for the earth.

Although some reusable alternatives are made with plastic, they can last up to 10 years. So, instead of throwing away three to four menstrual products a day made with materials that can contain up to 90% plastic, which takes years to break down, you’re reusing one product (or a handful of products) with far less environmental impact.

Contributor Veronica Matthews writes on lifestyle topics from North Carolina.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

Priority Pass Lounges Can Now Be Accessed With Capital One Venture X Card

Capital One Venture X cardholders can now access Priority Pass lounges with their Capital One Venture X card, rather than needing the Priority Pass card. You can access many Priority Pass lounges with the Priority Pass virtual card, but not all lounges are accessible in this way.

It would be great if all cards with Priority Pass access gained this functionality as it’s one less thing to worry about. I assume card issuers would want to add this functionality if possible as it would drive cardholders to keep the card in their wallet, but it’s possible Priority Pass charge a premium for this option and that’s why we don’t see it.

Source: doctorofcredit.com

Best Budget Smartphones 2022

• Screen lacks the vivid colors we expect from Android devices
• Camera system could be improved
Price
Maybe you noticed that some cameras with higher megapixels (MP) ranked lower. Why? Megapixels generally don’t matter much. The camera’s sensor technology and quality of glass are more important.

Key Features

Motorola Moto G Power: The Best Battery

Phone Best Price
Apple iPhone SE Best Budget iPhone $429
Google Pixel 5a Best Budget Android $449
OnePlus Nord N20 5G Best Under $300 $282
Motorola Moto G Power The Best Battery $199
BLU G51S The Best Under $100 $99

5 Smartphones that Don’t Break the Bank

The Apple SE phone is on display.
Photo courtesy of Apple
9
Key Features

  • Access to Apple software and services
  • Excellent 12 MP f/1.8 rear camera
  • Among the best built of selected budget phones
Key Features

  • The best Android smartphone under $500
  • Camera delivers great photos and videos
  • Super fast battery charging
Key Features

  • Large, vivid display for movies and photos
  • 4500mAh battery that lasts longer
  • Fast 33W charging
Key Features

  • Battery lasts up to three days
  • Fast charging: a few minutes = 1 hour of use
  • Low price tag
Key Features

  • A decent smartphone under $100
  • A large 6.4” display for easy web surfing
  • Available in four colors
Our top affordable pick from Apple is the iPhone SE (9). This budget model smartphone still features a solid display, a superb camera and the fast A15 Bionic chip, just like higher end models.
What Are Low-End Devices?
Best Budget Smartphones
If battery life is one of your top priorities, you may want to consider the Moto G Power, which — if you couldn’t tell from the name — puts an emphasis on great battery life.
US networks
Display

T-Mobile
Once you know which smartphone you want, there may be even more ways to save, like picking a phone with less storage space or a refurbished phone.
Display
Which Android Phone Is the Best Value for Money?

How We Chose the Best Budget Phones

The updated Google Pixel 5a features a modern design with a large 6.43-inch display that doesn’t scream cheap. Best of all, Google is the core developer of the Android platform, so you’ll get an affordable phone that is optimized for a great experience and fast updates.

After reviewing Android phones, we found the best value is the Google Pixel 5a with 5G (9). The Pixel 5a offers a solid balance of features, including a great display and an excellent camera system. The Pixel 5a even offers fast charging abilities for topping up your battery at a moment’s notice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

• No 5G cellular support
Display
Price
6.4” LCD
9
Smartphones seem to be getting more and more expensive by the year. Even Apple’s middle-market iPhone 13 comes in at a starting price of 9.
Rear camera
Price
64 MP f/1.8, 2 MP f/2.4 macro
AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon

Price
Other features on the OnePlus Nord N20 5G include the large 4500mAh battery and 33W fast charging ability, which help keep you topped up if needed — great for travelers and concert goers. For those who prefer wired headphones, OnePlus kept a headphone jack on this phone, unlike many phones being released today. All starting at 2.

How Much Does It Cost to Furnish an Apartment?

Price out the essential furniture to determine your budget and start shopping.

Furnishing an entire apartment is challenging. That’s because buying furniture takes both time and money. You also need to understand your taste and how the new apartment needs to function. It’s hard to determine a furniture budget beforehand because the cost to furnish an apartment can vary widely.

So, how much does it cost to furnish an apartment? That depends.

How much space do you need to fill? Are you bringing furniture with you or do you need to buy everything after you move in? Do you prefer vintage and antiques or do you like things shiny and new? Is it an unfurnished apartment or is some furniture provided? How much time, money and energy can you devote to the project?

Determine your furniture budget

To determine the cost of furnishing your new apartment, first determine what furniture is essential to you and learn the average cost. Then, make a list of furniture you already have and a list of what you need.

Invest more in items you’ll use every day and classic styles that will stand the test of time. Buying used furniture or accepting secondhand items can keep furniture costs low.

Decide on your essential furniture

Everyone needs a place to eat and sleep. But the exact furniture we need varies from household to household. A sturdy desk and a comfortable chair are the top priorities for people who work from home, while a large dining set is a must for roommates and families who gather around the table every night.

“You do not need to adhere to the notion of needing a ‘complete set of furniture’ in any room of your home,” Tate Swanson, boutique and marketing manager of The Sitting Room in Excelsior, MN. “I suggest starting with the biggest piece, whether it be your bed or your dining room table, and then fill in from there.”

If you’re setting up a new apartment, purchase the essential furnishings first. These are just the basics, the bare minimum that you’ll need to spend the night in your own space. Budget $25 for a plastic shower curtain liner, soap and cleaning supplies to get through your first week.

We’ve listed the ballpark cost of each item. It assumes you’re purchasing the item new, but it doesn’t include tax, assembly or delivery costs. Prices might change over time or vary by region.

Mattress

Mattress

Mattress

A quality mattress and box spring support your back and neck, so you can sleep well and wake up refreshed. A typical price is $500 to $1,200. A twin bed costs less than a queen or king.

Always buy a new mattress. An old mattress won’t offer proper support and could be full of allergens like mold or dust mites. Even worse, it could have bedbugs that infest your whole apartment.

Bed frame

A bed frame evenly distributes your weight and supports the mattress. A basic metal frame starts at around $80. Decorative options (like platform beds, sleigh beds and trundle beds) may include storage, headboards and footboards. But they’ll also cost you more, too.

Sofa or loveseat

A sofa anchors the living room, so choose wisely. You want something comfortable that works with the budget and your style. Styles range from a compact love seat for two to a family-size sectional sofa.

Sofa prices ($300 to $2,600) reflect this variety. A slipcover can make an old sofa work in a new room for much less.

Dining furniture

Dining room furniture

Dining room furniture

You can find a dining table and chairs made of metal, stone, wood or glass. You can also find the table and dining chairs of the same material, or you can mix and match. Buy enough chairs for all household members and frequent guests.

If you have a counter, reserve $150 to $400 for bar seating. The average cost for a dining table and chairs is $400 to $1,200.

“Plan for a minimum of three feet of space from the edge of the table to the walls to allow space for chairs to move in and out,” suggests Swanson. “The table shape and size are determined by the size and shape of the room. A lot of dining rooms are rectangular, so a rectangle or oval table often works best.”

Secondary furniture

Furnishing an apartment doesn’t have to happen all at once. If your apartment budget is tight, you can buy the essentials and add them as you go. This gives you time to save money, invest in quality or find the perfect piece to reflect your style.

Bedroom furniture

Bedroom furniture includes dressers and nightstands. Small rooms might only need one or the other, while a larger room adequately accommodates both.

The amount of furniture you need depends on the number of bedrooms you have. So, the cost of furnishing a one-bedroom apartment will almost always be cheaper than a larger unit.

A typical dresser costs $150 to $350. You can find nightstands (around $100 each) that are a simple table or a larger unit with drawers for additional storage space.

Bookshelves

Bookshelves

Bookshelves

Bookshelves are often living room furniture. But they’re useful in bedrooms, dining rooms and offices, too. They can also line hallways or awkward nooks.

If you have books, plants, art or a collection to display, you’ll need a few shelves. They cost between $80 and $275, so budget accordingly.

Floor lamps

As you settle into your new apartment, you’ll notice that the overhead lights don’t illuminate every inch of the space. You might need to buy a floor lamp or two.

Place them in dark corners, on either side of the sofa or provide ambient light in the dining room or bedroom. Floor lamps cost an average of $50 to $175 each.

Table lamps

Table lamps are a type of task lighting, which means they illuminate a particular activity zone. So, put a table lamp on your desk or near your favorite armchair. They also work well on nightstands, bookshelves, dressers and anywhere else you need a small pool of light.

They’re functional, so you won’t know exactly how many you need until you’ve arranged your furniture.

Desk and office chair

Desk and office chair

Desk and office chair

Choose a desk based on the work surface and storage you need. Make sure it doesn’t overwhelm the space or block doors and windows.

The average desk costs between $140 and $300. A basic chair can cost between $75 and $150. An ergonomic chair will cost more, but it’s a good investment for people who spend hours at a desk.

Additional seating

Most living rooms need seating for four or five people. This usually includes a couch and an accent chair or two. But a bench or a pair of stuffed ottomans can work if the room is small, irregularly shaped or if you have a limited furnishing budget.

A single armchair sells for $175–$500 at full retail price. Ottomans are cheaper at $50–$200 each.

TV stand or entertainment center

You can’t drill holes in the wall if you want your security deposit back. So, an apartment living room needs a TV stand. The right stand puts the television at a comfortable viewing level. It can also hide cords, video game consoles, speakers and other entertainment systems. Some offer extra storage, too. Most cost $150–$400.

The decorative flourishes

Choosing wall art, plants and home décor is one of the most enjoyable (and least stressful) parts of furnishing an apartment. You don’t need to study interior design to understand your own personal style. Pick colors and pieces you love to make your new space feel like home.

Rugs

Rugs

Rugs

Rugs ($150 to $500) are both decorative and functional. They warm up cold floors, provide a safe surface for kids and pets and add a pop of color to a room.

Use a large area rug to anchor a dining room or living area. Smaller scatter rugs work well in front of the kitchen sink, in the entryway or inside the front door, while bathmats offer traction on slippery floors.

Decorative tables

Once you have seating in the living room, you need a place to put your coffee or display a lamp. Depending on your square footage, a coffee table or a few side tables will complete the room.

A new coffee table averages $130 to $350, while side tables cost $100 and up. You can find these tables in almost any material: wood, plastic, metal, even vintage crates and reclaimed lumber.

Mirrors

For some renters, the bathroom mirror is enough. But if you want a full-length mirror to check your outfit or a mini mirror to apply lipstick as you head out the door, set aside $80 to $400. (Large decorative mirrors double as art and make up the high end of this estimate.) Check your lease to see if you can mount them on the wall before you buy.

Window coverings

Even unfurnished apartments usually come with basic window coverings. Ask your landlord if you can install decorative curtains and curtain rods ($50 to $150).

Art

Wall art

Wall art

Art is an easy way to add personality to your apartment. The price ranges from a few dollars for student work, mass-produced prints and postcards to thousands of dollars for art purchased in a gallery. Budget $100 to $150 for art and frames.

Miscellaneous home décor

Set aside $50 to $100 for the little details that make a house a home. Put soft bath towels and a decorative shower curtain in the bathroom. Put fresh flowers in a pretty vase, burn candles and display plants along the windowsill. These individual touches make the space your own.

A fully furnished apartment

If furnishing an apartment feels overwhelming, you can rent a furnished apartment instead. A fully furnished apartment will contain a sofa, coffee table and living room seating. The kitchen and the bathroom will be functional. (You may have to provide cleaning supplies and towels.) The bedroom will contain a bed and basic storage, although the add-ons vary widely.

Buying new apartment furniture

You can buy new furniture at several price points. The average person sources furniture from a variety of new and used vendors to keep the cost of furnishing their apartment within their budget. To avoid bedbugs, allergens and water damage, buy upholstered chairs, sofas and mattresses new.

Furniture stores

furniture store

furniture store

Furniture stores let you see and test furniture before you buy it. Most stores offer delivery and assembly assistance. This furniture is high-quality and designed to last, so it’s more expensive.

Many stores offer financing and specials like 0% interest or deferred payments to counteract the higher prices. Just remember, if you have to begin paying immediately or have a high-interest rate, you’re not really saving money. Wait for holiday discounts, instead. Presidents Day and Labor Day are some of the most popular times for furniture sales.

Home furnishing stores

Specialty home shops like Pottery Barn, Anthropologie and West Elm offer an artfully edited selection of furniture and décor. From budget-friendly IKEA to high-end RH (formerly Restoration Hardware), there’s a home furnishings shop for most budgets.

The merchandise is seasonal, so buy before it’s gone. The store’s aesthetic will be consistent from season to season, so the items you buy over the years will work together.

Big box stores

Big box stores have traditionally offered decorative accents, textiles and art. But now, they’ve branched out into furniture, as well.

Target offers the items listed above, as well as lighting, TV stands and a selection of living room furniture and storage options. Walmart sells all that, too, plus dining room sets, office furniture, bedroom sets and mattresses.

Shop online

Shop online

Shop online

Shopping online can save you money. You can’t try things before you buy them, but having something shipped to your door is very convenient. Many home furnishings stores and big-box retailers also offer online shopping.

Amazon is a good place to browse many vendors. You can also add assembly assistance to your cart before checking out for a small fee. Wayfair offers a variety of styles and financing options. Burrow specializes in modular, expandable furniture.

Liquidation stores

For new furniture for less, head to a liquidation store. These companies purchase unsold inventory from other shops, then sell it to customers for less than retail value. The furniture selection and style vary from store to store, but most have mass-market appeal.

Pre-owned furniture

Buying used furniture has many benefits. The cost of furnishing an apartment goes down when you can buy at least some items secondhand. Buying more affordable furniture means you can splurge on other items.

Since you’re buying something that already exists, you reduce waste and shrink your carbon footprint. And when you purchase old furniture, you’re giving a time-tested gem new life. Furniture from many eras makes your home feel curated and distinctive.

Hand-me-downs

Friends, relatives, old roommates and colleagues are a great source of secondhand furniture. They might give you the furniture. Or, you can trade or offer cash.

Buy nothing groups

Buy nothing groups have popped up on social media over the last decade. Participants can trade, lend, gift or share items, but they can’t pay money for goods and services.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for items you need,” suggests Sarah Cottrell, a Minneapolis resident who has sourced children’s furniture and books this way. “I think it’s best to approach it with less of a scarcity mindset and only take things into your home that you truly want.”

Resale shops, consignment stores and thrift shops

Consignment furniture

Consignment furniture

Resale shops sell previously owned goods at a discount. The average prices are much lower than retail, so your dollar goes further. And your local thrift store is often a non-profit organization that gives back to the community, so your money helps others.

There are over 25,000 resale, consignment and thrift shops in the U.S., according to the Association of Resale Professionals. Some, like Habitat ReStore, focus on building materials, furniture and appliances. Others offer home décor and furnishings.

Craigslist, online classifieds and Facebook yard sale groups

After scouting the thrift shops, Craigslist and other online classifieds are a logical next step. They make it easy to search for used goods in your own city. Study photos carefully, don’t pay without seeing something first and only meet strangers in public places.

Yard sales and garage sales

Garage and yard sales are a great way to keep the cost of furnishing an apartment low. They’re a good source of furniture, home décor and accent pieces. Look for listings on Facebook or Craigslist. Or, search the Garage Sales Tracker for sales near you.

Flea markets, antique shops and estate sales

Find vintage items with character at antique shops and antique malls. Or, search for treasures at flea markets and estate sales.

Antique sellers and flea market vendors often specialize in certain styles and eras and can guide you to items you’ll like. Estate sales often include the contents of an entire house, condo or apartment. They’re a great source for well-made but cheap furniture that has already lasted for generations.

Keep calm and furnish on

Buying furniture can feel overwhelming at first. And, the cost to furnish an apartment can vary. But learning how to furnish an apartment is a life skill. And just like any skill, it gets easier with time and practice.

The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute financial advice. Furniture prices listed here do not constitute a pricing guarantee as they can vary by source.

Source: rent.com

Renting a Furnished Apartment: Pros and Cons to Think About

Whether you’re a first-time renter or you’re renting your next apartment in a new city, the process of finding an apartment is difficult. From scouting out the perfect location and finding an apartment that fits all your needs to buying furniture and decorations for your new apartment, the entire moving process is stressful.

Then, there’s the question of renting a furnished apartment or an unfurnished apartment in the first place. If you’re considering a fully furnished apartment as your next place, here’s everything you should know about furnished apartments.

Furnished apartment

What is a furnished apartment and what do fully furnished apartments include?

There are three different types of furnished apartments and you may wonder exactly how much furniture comes in a furnished apartment?

There are fully furnished, furnished or semi-furnished apartments. You can find furnished apartments in all apartment sizes — from a studio apartment to a two-bedroom apartment or even, sometimes, a house. Each type of finished apartment can come equipped in a variety of ways.

Fully furnished apartments are move-in ready and can include all your basic heavy furniture, such as a bed, couch, dining room table, bathroom appliances, coffee table and dressers. However, they also go above and beyond and might include amenities like interior design and décor, basic kitchen appliances and, sometimes, even a washer and dryer.

Furnished units usually include basic needs like a bed, end tables, chairs, a microwave and a couch. Some might include more or less but it really depends on the landlord or property owners.

Semi-furnished apartments have fewer items included than furnished apartments. They still come with the basic needs including a bed, couch and some kitchen appliances but you’ll get fewer amenities in something labeled “semi-furnished.”

Before you decide on which apartment to rent, ask the landlord for an apartment tour or even reach out and ask the tenants if they enjoy living there.

Pros of renting a fully furnished apartment

As with anything, there are pros and cons to renting furnished apartments. So, here’s a list of the pros and cons to consider to make it easier to rent your perfect apartment.

moving

Moving is easy

Moving from an old apartment to a new one is time-consuming. There’s so much to get done from boxing up all your belongings to then hiring a moving company or enlisting your friend’s help. You no longer have to worry about moving heavy furniture when you rent a furnished apartment.

Lower upfront costs

If you’re looking to save money upfront, then a furnished apartment might just be for you. With a furnished apartment, not only do you not have to worry about moving furniture, but you don’t have to spend extra money buying your own furniture just yet.

Furniture is expensive and takes a long time to accumulate, leaving you with a semi-furnished apartment for a while. A furnished rental eliminates the additional costs of furniture and saves you more money upfront.

Short-term rental

Renting an apartment is a big commitment you shouldn’t take lightly. If you’re unsure about how long you’ll be in one place, consider moving apartments to a place ready to go.

A business person, college student or someone who only wants to stay in a place for a few months are good candidates for short-term rentals. If this sounds like you, then pre-furnished apartments are great for short-term tenants.

stress

Reduce stress

Renting a new place is stressful, to say the least. Then, add in all the other tasks that go into moving, from filling an empty apartment with new furniture to learning your new neighborhood. A furnished apartment can help to reduce some of the big stresses that come with moving.

Cons of renting a fully furnished apartment

With every pro, there’s a con and a furnished apartment is no exception. Here are the cons of furnished apartments that you should consider before moving.

Higher rent fees

If you already own furniture or are fine to pay for new furniture, then renting a fully furnished apartment is a bad idea. Renting a furnished apartment typically comes with higher monthly rent and a higher security deposit. The higher rent prices are due to the fact that you’re not only paying for the space but also the furniture in the apartment.

If you’re renters who plan on planting roots in one place for more than a few months, then this could be one of the bigger cons of furnished apartments to consider. In the long run, renting unfurnished apartments might actually save you money. If you’re looking to buy your own furniture but on a budget, then second-hand furniture is a great option to fill your unfurnished apartment. And over time, you’ll save the extra money that you would have had to pay for rent. This is something that future tenants should take time to consider and budget out which option is best for them.

cheap furniture

Poor quality and lack of personality

Another con of furnished apartments is you don’t know the quality of the furniture. It could be old, damaged or even dirty from previous renters. You should talk to the landlord and ask about the quality and maintenance of the furniture before you rent.

You may not like the furniture in the house or it isn’t your taste or have the amenities you’re looking for, either. And while you can add little touches here and there, it’s important to live comfortably in your space and furniture does contribute to that.

Fear of damages

It’s one of the fears all renters have — damaging the apartment, or in this case, the furniture in the apartment. Damaging your own furniture is bad enough but damaging the furniture in your furnished apartment is even worse and can result in fees. If you spill or your pooch decides the couch is their new chewing toy one day, that could mean you’ll get charged or even lose your security deposit.

This can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells in your own apartment and is something you should really think about before you rent. It’s also a good idea to ask your landlord about their specific damage policies. This will help you also avoid rental scams.

To rent furnished or not to rent furnished

Renting a new apartment is a big moment in life for anyone. Whether you decide to rent a furnished or unfurnished apartment, you’ll finally have a space that’s all your own. A furnished rental is a great option for people who don’t own enough furniture, people who are short-term renters or people who aren’t committed to a new location. Talk to your landlord about the furnishings included if you go this route.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Financial Stocks – What They Are & Why Should You Invest in Them

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The financial sector is one of the darling sectors on Wall Street for good reasons. Financial stocks are known for steady, reliable growth that outpaces the rate of inflation. At the same time, the sector comes with some of the best dividends on the market.  

Perhaps that’s why two of the largest holdings in the legendary value investor Warren Buffett’s portfolio are in the financial sector. 

But what exactly are financial stocks, what are the pros and cons of investing in them, and how much of your investment dollars should you allocate to the sector? Read on to find out!


What Are Financial Stocks?

The financial sector is a broad category of companies that work in the financial services industry. The sector includes:


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  • Retail and Commercial Banks and Lenders. Banks and lenders offer deposit accounts like checking and savings accounts and loans like mortgages and auto loans. Two of the most popular companies in this subcategory include Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC). 
  • Asset Managers and Investment Banking Services. Brokerages, investment banks, and other companies that provide services surrounding the management of assets fall into this subcategory. Some of the most popular players in this corner of the financial sector include JPMorgan (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS). 
  • Credit Card Companies. Credit card companies, also known as card issuers, offer revolving loans that can be accessed at the point of purchase using a credit card. Some of the most popular players in this space include Citi (C) and American Express (AXP). 
  • Fintech Companies. Fintech companies blend finances with technology to provide services that make managing your finances easier. Some of the most popular fintech players include Block (SQ) — previously Square — and PayPal (PYPL). 
  • Insurance Companies. Insurance companies that provide health, life, auto, home, and other forms of insurance fall into the financials category. Metlife (MET) and Humana (HUM) are some of the most popular insurance stocks. 

Pros & Cons of Financial Stocks

As with any other sector, there are advantages and disadvantages to investing in the financial sector. Although the sector is known for stable growth and dividends, it’s not the best option if you’re looking for market-leading price appreciation. Some of the most important pros and cons to consider before investing in the space are detailed below.

Pros

The financial sector offers a relatively low-risk way to access stable growth and dividends, but that’s not the only perk of investing in the sector. Some of the biggest advantages of financial stocks include:

  1. Lower Risk. The financial sector comes with lower risk than some other sectors like technology and health care. This stability has improved significantly in recent years. According to Davis Funds, the largest U.S. banks are now holding record volumes of cash on their balance sheets thanks to lessons learned during the financial crisis of 2008. Stock prices tend to be more stable in the sector as well. 
  2. Dividend Income. Financial stocks are known for providing strong dividend payments. As of mid-2022, the sector produced a 3.11% average dividend yield, according to Dividend.com. 
  3. Strong Growth When Interest Rates Rise. Banks make more money when the Federal Reserve increases the Fed funds rate. As inflation rises, the Federal Reserve has hinted at steady increases throughout the foreseeable future, which suggests bank stocks are worth your attention. 
  4. Outpace Inflation. Historically, financial sector investment returns have significantly outpaced the rate of inflation, making them a great inflation hedge.  

Cons

Although there are plenty of reasons to consider diving into financial stocks, there are also a few big drawbacks that you should consider before taking the plunge. 

  1. Financials Aren’t Strong Growers. Financial stocks are known for steady growth, not necessarily strong growth. If you’re looking for growth stocks, you may find a few in the fintech space, but growth investors will be better served by stocks in the tech sector.  
  2. Lower Earning Potential When the Fed Funds Rate Is Low. Although the Federal Reserve has hinted at increasing its rate ahead, the rate is currently below 1%. This low rate means companies in the sector, particularly lenders, have limited revenue potential.  
  3. Lack of Excitement. The best investments are educated investments, meaning you need to research opportunities to be successful in the market. Unfortunately, the financial sector isn’t sexy like technology and biotechnology is for most people. The research process to evaluate financial companies may be daunting for some investors.

Should You Invest in Financial Stocks?

Financial stocks fit well into most investment portfolios. Even aggressive investors who seek to beat the market find them useful as a means of diversification. Nonetheless, there are some investors who won’t find diversification with these assets beneficial. 

You might be a great candidate to invest in financial stocks if:

  • You’re an Income Investor. The financial sector is known for providing some of the strongest dividends on the market today. So, income investors benefit from the outsize dividend yields that come with investments in some of the most established companies in the industry. 
  • You’re Risk-Averse. If you have a low to moderate appetite for risk, financial stocks may be a great home for your investment dollars. These stocks are known for relatively low volatility when compared to stocks in other sectors, and most banks have beefed up their cash and cash equivalent holdings since 2008, making them a force to be reckoned with on the financial stage. 
  • You’re an Aggressive Investor Who Needs Balance. If you’re an aggressive investor who wants to beat the market, chances are you’ll want to invest most of your assets in other sectors. However, you can use financial stocks as a way to diversify your holdings and reduce the overall risk in your portfolio. 
  • You’re a Beginner. If you’re a beginner investor, it’s best to stick with large, safe companies that you know and do business with before venturing into other investments. Financial institutions often fit this bill. In fact, one of the best first investments you can make is often an investment in the stock of the bank you use. That is, as long as you work with a major financial institution. 

How Much of Your Portfolio Should You Allocate to Financial Stocks?

The amount of allocation you should direct to the financial sector is heavily dependent on your goals and risk tolerance. Here’s how you should decide how much to invest in financial stocks: 

  • Your Goals. Your goals play an important role in determining the best style of investing. If your goals include producing slow, yet meaningful and stable gains while generating income from your investments, the financial sector is a great place to start. Consider allocating a large portion of your stock portfolio to stocks in the sector. However, if you want to produce market-leading gains and you’re not so concerned about income, minimal allocation to financials is best. 
  • Your Risk Tolerance. Financial stocks experience less volatility than stocks in other sectors and are known for maintaining a hefty sum of cash on their balance sheets. As a result, they’re relatively low-risk plays. If you have a low-to-moderate risk tolerance, a large allocation to financials fits the bill. However, if you have a moderate-to-high risk tolerance, you may want to keep allocation to the sector to a minimum. 
  • Your Need for Investment Income. Financial stocks are a great option for retirees because they’re known for high dividend yields. Financial stocks are a great option if you depend on the income your investments generate. So, if you’re a retiree, a heavy allocation to this sector is warranted. 

Don’t forget your safe-haven allocation. Fixed-income investments, gold, and other safe havens protect you from significant losses when stocks take a dive. So, always keep safe havens in mind when determining your portfolio’s asset allocation.  


Consider Financial ETFs

If you don’t know how to research and maintain a balanced portfolio of stocks or don’t have the time to do it, you have another option. You can invest in financial exchange-traded funds (ETFs).  

These funds collect investment dollars from a group of investors to purchase financial stocks and other securities. When the stocks rise in value, investors share in the price appreciation. Moreover, when the stocks held in the fund’s portfolio pay dividends, shareholders receive their share of dividends based on the number of ETF shares they own. 

The best part is that financial ETFs are managed by professionals yet very inexpensive to tap into. With a little research on the best performing funds in the financial sector, you can take a largely hands-off approach to financial sector exposure. 

The best financial ETF for you depends on your investment goals. Popular financial ETFs on the market today include the Financial Select SPDR Fund (XLF), the Vanguard Financials ETF (VFH), and the SPDR S&P Regional Banking ETF (KRE). 


Final Word

Financial stocks are a great addition to just about any investment portfolio. If you’re an income investor or a risk-averse investor, you’ll enjoy the relatively stable price appreciation and meaningful dividends in the financial sector. If you’re a more aggressive investor who’s interested in growth, financial stocks are a great way to bring balance to your portfolio through diversification. 

It’s no wonder that nearly every investing mogul from Warren Buffett to George Soros seems to have at least some allocation to the sector. 

Financial stocks tend to do best when economic conditions are positive and interest rates are on the rise. As of mid-2022, that seemed to be the case. Consumer prices are rising, and the Federal Reserve has hinted at coming interest rate hikes that will bode well for financial corporation profitability. This suggests financial stocks will head up moving forward.

However, not all stocks in the financial sector are created equal. Some grow while others fall. Some pay dividends while others don’t. Simply put, some are winners and some are losers. Always do your research and get a good understanding of what you’re investing in before risking your hard-earned money. 

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Joshua Rodriguez has worked in the finance and investing industry for more than a decade. In 2012, he decided he was ready to break free from the 9 to 5 rat race. By 2013, he became his own boss and hasn’t looked back since. Today, Joshua enjoys sharing his experience and expertise with up and comers to help enrich the financial lives of the masses rather than fuel the ongoing economic divide. When he’s not writing, helping up and comers in the freelance industry, and making his own investments and wise financial decisions, Joshua enjoys spending time with his wife, son, daughter, and eight large breed dogs. See what Joshua is up to by following his Twitter or contact him through his website, CNA Finance.

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