If you are looking for ways to make extra cash at home on a flexible schedule, then I recommend checking out Branded Surveys.
This honest review of Branded Surveys is going to explain what Branded Surveys is, how Branded Surveys works, and how you can make extra money on Branded Surveys each month.
Now, I do want to start by saying that Branded Surveys will not make you rich. No survey site will do that. But, you can easily earn a little extra money in your spare time from home.
The PayPal cash and Amazon gift cards that you can earn from survey sites can help you to have a little bit extra spending money, but still not have to sacrifice too much of your time. Plus, you can take surveys while you’re watching TV or doing some other task that does not need your full attention.
All you need is an internet connection and a device (phone, laptop, computer, or tablet).
In today’s Branded Surveys review, you are going to learn about one of the most popular survey companies – Branded Surveys.
Branded Surveys has already paid out over $37,793,794.07 to their members.
Plus, it’s free to sign up and only takes a few minutes to get started answering surveys.
This Branded Surveys review is going to answer common questions, such as:
Why does Branded Surveys pay you?
How do I earn points on Branded Surveys?
How much money can you make using Branded Surveys?
What kind of questions are asked in paid online surveys?
Can you make $1,000 each week from surveys?
My Branded Surveys review is going to answer all of those questions, as well as talk about paid online surveys a little more at the end, in case you have any other questions about them.
Get the inside scoop below on this online survey site with this in-depth Branded Surveys review. Learn about the platform’s features, earning potential, and user reviews to decide if it’s the right online survey site for you. Read now to make a smart decision and start earning extra cash and gift cards right away.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus.
Branded Surveys Review
What is Branded Surveys?
Branded Surveys is one of the most popular online survey platforms and they were started in 2012.
Branded Surveys pays you to take surveys, and they have over 3,000,000 users. You can sign up for free and get paid through cash or redeem your points with over 100 different gift card options.
On Branded Surveys, you can make around $0.50 to $5 for each survey you take (depends on the length of the survey).
Branded Surveys is available to people in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Also, you only have to be 16 years old to answer surveys on Branded Surveys, whereas most other online survey sites ask you to be 18 years old.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus.
Why does Branded Surveys pay you?
Branded Surveys and other market research companies pay you to answer online surveys because they are collecting research.
Companies hire market research businesses to learn what real customers, like you and me, actually think of their products and business. They can use the survey data that is collected to improve their product and business, or even create a whole new product that better suits the needs of their customers.
What kind of questions are asked in surveys?
Are you wondering what kind of questions you might be asked when you answer paid online survey sites?
Well, the type of questions that you receive can vary depending on the survey, but generally, they ask for your opinions on products or services, your preferences on certain topics, and sometimes even personal information such as do you have a dog or children.
For example, here are some survey questions that you may see:
How often do you go to a restaurant in a month?
How important is the price when considering a particular product or service?
What features do you look for when purchasing a _____?
How often do you use a ______?
What is your annual income?
How do you usually spend your spare time?
Have you recently purchased any new electronics or appliances? If so, what did you buy and why?
Do you usually research a particular product before buying?
How often do you shop for groceries each month?
How many hours per week do you spend watching TV shows or movies?
As you can see, they are easy. It is not rocket science!
These are just a few examples of the kind of questions that you may see when you answer a survey. Some surveys may be more focused on a specific product, whereas others may want to learn more about you.
Many times they simply want to just learn more about you, because this can help them figure out why you need a certain product or service.
How does Branded Surveys work?
The sign-up process is easy for Branded Surveys. Here are the steps:
Sign up for Branded Surveys here and receive a free 100 point sign up bonus. You can create a log in or log in with just your Facebook account.
Then, you will be asked to create your profile. This is so that they know what surveys to best match you with. Here, you will be asked your age, if you have children, what your education level is, and more.
Once you match with a survey, you will receive an invite from Branded Surveys that you can take. You will receive survey notifications in your email inbox or by logging into Branded Surveys and looking at your dashboard to see what surveys are available.
Complete the survey and earn points
After you have enough points, you can redeem your points for payout options such as cash or gift cards.
And that is all!
It is easy.
How to earn points on Branded Surveys
You can earn survey points in four main ways on Branded Surveys. The ways include:
By taking surveys. When you first create your account, you will earn points by simply building your profile. After that, you will earn points by answering real surveys.
Inviting friends can earn you 50 points once your referrals earn a silver badge. You will receive a referral link to share.
Answering the daily poll will earn you 5 points. These polls take less than a minute to answer and are asking you a very easy question.
Branded Surveys also has a leaderboard for whoever gets the most points on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. For daily leaderboard winners, you get 50 bonus points. For weekly leaderboard winners, you receive 200 points. For monthly leaderboard winners, you get 300 points.
Unlike other survey platforms, Branded Surveys sole focus is just surveys. They’ll even give you bonuses for answering the most surveys!
How much is 1,000 points on Branded Surveys?
Each point on Branded Surveys is worth $0.01.
1,000 points are equal to $10.
500 Branded Surveys points are equal to $5.
Once you have earned a minimum of 500 points, you can redeem your points for rewards. Or, you can save your points and get a bigger reward.
How fast can you make money on Branded Surveys? How much money can you make using Branded Surveys?
On Branded Surveys, you can make around $0.50 to $5 for each survey you take.
Each survey on Branded Surveys typically takes around 5 to 20 minutes to complete. Before you start a survey, Branded Surveys will tell you the estimated amount of time – so you can see before you begin if you think it is worthwhile. Remember, this is just an estimate and sometimes you may spend more time or less time answering a survey.
How many surveys can you do a day on Branded Surveys?
If you are invited to a survey and start it before it becomes full, then you can do as many surveys as you want on Branded Surveys.
The main Branded Surveys problems are that you may not qualify for a ton of surveys, or you may be disqualified from taking a survey. This can be annoying to some people (this is typically the most common area for Branded Surveys complaints), but survey companies do this for a reason. Survey companies often send shorter surveys to see if you will qualify for a full survey. This is to ensure that you are a good fit for the survey.
Can Branded Surveys be trusted? Is Branded Surveys a scam?
Yes, Branded Surveys can be trusted, and they are not a scam.
You can find other reviews of Branded Surveys at Branded Surveys Trustpilot. There are over 74,000 Branded Surveys reviews there with an average score of 4.2 out of 5 stars.
Also, in case you want to look for even older Branded Surveys reviews, Branded Survey used to be called Mintvine.
The Branded Surveys mobile app is available in the App Store as well as the Google Play Store. Or, survey takers can answer surveys right from their desktop computer or laptop.
This is the Branded Surveys dashboard when you first sign up.
Does Branded Surveys actually pay you?
Yes, Branded Surveys does actually pay you. Branded Surveys payout options including being able to receive payment via bank transfer, which is done via direct deposit within just 1 business day.
Or, you can choose to get paid via PayPal cash.
They also have gift cards to places such as Airbnb, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Delta Air Lines, Disney, Kroger, Lowe’s, REI, Sephora, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and so many other retailers.
There is also Branded Pay, which is another way to get cash directly to your bank account. You will receive your payment in around 48 hours.
Another option that they have is you can choose to donate your earnings to a charity.
What is the Branded Elite program?
Branded Elite is a special loyalty program offered by Branded Surveys. It is their way of rewarding members for consistently answering their online surveys with the opportunity to earn more points.
Throughout each month, as you take surveys on Branded Surveys, you can get to the Bronze, Silver, and Gold badge levels. You can pass through each level after completing at least 12 surveys each week and you will be awarded bonus points weekly (on top of what you are already earning for taking each survey).
Here is more information on each tier and the extra points you can earn:
For the Bronze level (you reach the Bronze badge once you complete 2+ surveys each month), you will receive a 5% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week.
For the Silver level (you become a Silver member once you complete 10+ surveys each month), you will receive a 10% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week, a 12% bonus once you complete at least 20 surveys each week, and a 14% bonus once you complete at least 30 surveys each week
For Gold members (you reach the Gold tier once you complete 25+ surveys each month), you will receive a 15% bonus once you complete at least 12 surveys each week, a 17% bonus once you complete at least 20 surveys each week, and a 19% bonus once you complete at least 30 surveys each week.
Is Branded Surveys free?
Yes, Branded Surveys is free.
Legit survey sites are always free. I don’t know of any legitimate survey sites that charge you money to sign up. And, they shouldn’t!
Branded Surveys is free – they don’t charge you to sign up, take surveys, or stay a member.
Can you make $1,000 a week from surveys?
If you are looking for a paid survey site to pay you $1,000 a week, you will not find that because it does not exist.
Legit survey sites do not make you any promises to make you rich. They exist to give you some spare spending money in a flexible way, and that is all.
You will most likely earn around $10 or less to answer surveys in your spare time.
How much can you realistically make with surveys?
You will most likely earn less than $100 a month by taking surveys. They don’t take up a lot of your time, and they are not a scam.
If a paid survey site says you can make $1,000 a week, I would be extremely cautious because I have not heard of this yet.
To make the most money by taking online surveys, you will want to sign up for as many survey sites as you can.
Do survey sites actually pay you to take surveys?
Yes, websites do pay you to take online surveys. The paid survey sites below may pay you in gift cards, PayPal cash, and even by check.
Over the years, I have received over 110 gift cards to places such as Amazon, checks in the mail, and PayPal cash for answering online surveys.
There are many other legit survey sites that will pay you as well. I recommend signing up for as many as you can because they all have different surveys that they invite you to, so this can increase the amount of money you can make taking surveys.
Below are some other popular survey sites that I recommend:
American Consumer Opinion
User Interviews – This one pays the most, with many paying over $100 an hour.
What other reviews on survey sites do you have?
If you are looking to learn more about each online survey website, I have in-depth reviews on several of them. You can find them below:
Branded Surveys Review – Is Branded Surveys Legit?
I hope you enjoyed this Branded Surveys review.
If you are looking to earn a little extra money but you do not want to commit to a lot of hours or another job, then answering surveys at home may be an option for you to look into.
Plus, Branded Surveys is available to people in the U.S., Canada, and the UK, for anyone 16 years old and older.
Branded Surveys is a legitimate survey platform that pays you to complete surveys, and that’s their only focus. They have plenty of surveys for you to answer. There are a lot of ways to redeem your points, such as many different gift card options and even straight cash.
So, if you are looking for a survey company to join, then Branded Surveys is a survey site definitely worth considering.
You can sign up for Branded Surveys and receive a free 100 point sign-up bonus here.
Do you take online surveys? What other questions do you want me to answer in my Branded Surveys review?
A credit union is a nonprofit institution that’s owned by its members. Compared to a traditional bank, a credit union tends to offer more personalized service.
You can turn to a credit union for a variety of financial products, like checking and savings accounts, credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. Some regional and federal credit unions also offer wealth management services and other extras.
A typical credit union only accepts members who live in a specific region or work for an eligible employer. For example, they may require that you’re a resident of Atlanta, Georgia or work as a teacher.
The good news is some credit unions require less and make it easy for just about anyone to join. If you’d like to join a credit union but don’t want to worry about the strict membership requirements at most institutions, you’ve come to the right place.
38 Best Credit Unions Anyone Can Join
There are hundreds of credit unions that anyone can join, but we’ve done the heavy lifting and found the best ones for you. The credit unions below, which are overseen by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) may be an option for you, regardless of what you do for a living or where you’re located.
Just keep in mind that you may have to make a donation, join an organization, live in a certain state, or meet some other eligibility requirement. We encourage you to explore this lengthy to list of credit unions anyone can join so you can hone in on the ideal credit union for your unique situation.
1. Alliant Credit Union
Alliant Credit Union made its debut in 1935 to serve the employees of United Airlines. It stands out for it high-interest savings and checking accounts with low minimum opening deposits as well as excellent customer service.
You’ll also receive access to more than 80,000 free ATMs across the U.S. and get reimbursed up to $20 in out-of-network ATM charges per month. Since it only has two brick-and-mortar locations, you should feel comfortable with online banking. If you’d like to join Alliant Credit Union, make a $5 donation to Foster Care to Success.
2. Connexus Credit Union
Connexus Credit Union was founded in 1935 and has a widespread presence in Wisconsin as well as more than 54,000 ATMs across the country. It couldn’t be easier to join the credit union as all you have to do is pay a one-time $5 fee to the Connexus Association, which supports financial education through college scholarships.
As a member, you can open one of its three checking options with high APYs and a traditional savings account or one that’s specifically designed for the holidays.
3. Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Pentagon Federal Credit Union, or PenFed, was founded in 1935 as a credit union for military and civilian government. Today, this Virginia-based credit union has opened it doors to anyone as long as they open a savings account and deposit a minimum of $5. It offers two savings accounts, including the Regular Savings and Premium Online Savings.
In addition, you can find checking accounts, CDs, and money market accounts. Other products include Coverdell Education Savings Certificates, IRAs, credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans, and student loans. Plus, you can enjoy modern perks like mobile check deposits, online bill pay, and instant transfers.
4. First Tech Federal Credit Union
First Tech Federal Credit Union is headquartered in California. The credit union offers many benefits, such as excellent customer service, many branches throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, online banking, and mobile banking.
It also has the Dividend Rewards Checking Account, which gives you 1.00% APY on balances below $1,000. You don’t have to live in California to join as long as you donate to a nonprofit called the Financial Fitness Association.
5. Consumers Credit Union
Consumers Credit Union was established in 1951 as a local credit union. Based in Illinois, it’s one of the largest credit unions in the state with over 100,000 members and more than $1.2 billion in assets.
You can join it, even if you don’t live in Illinois. All you have to do is donate the $5 membership free to an affiliated nonprofit. You can open almost all of its accounts online, except for the checking accounts and IRAs. The credit union also offers a high-yield checking account that offers high interest if you meet certain criteria.
6. Langley Federal Credit Union
Langley Federal Credit Union is based in Virginia and made its inception in 1936. At that time, members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, the predecessor to NASA, chartered the credit union.
Today, Langley offers membership to anyone who pays a fee to support an important cause in Virginia and deposits at least $5 into a savings account. You can choose from a checking account without a monthly fee, a variety of no-fee savings accounts with competitive interest compounds monthly, and Visa Cards with cash back rewards.
7. Lake Michigan Credit Union
Lake Michigan Credit Union made its debut in 1933 by a group of teachers. Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it has 51 branches in Michigan and southwest Florida. Since it’s part of the Allpoint ATM network, members can enjoy free access to more than 55,000 free ATM.
To join, donate $5 to the ALS Foundation and deposit $5 into a Member Savings account. Once you do, you can earn perks through the MORE rewards program and redeem them for complimentary checks and free out-of-network ATM transactions.
You may also open the free, no frills Max Checking account. Note that the Member Savings account, which you must open to become a member, requires a minimum daily balance of $300 or you’ll be charged a $5 monthly fee.
8. Lafayette Federal Credit Union
Lafayette Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935 as an alternative to traditional banks. It offers numerous perks, like no minimum balance requirement or monthly maintenance fees, online banking, mobile deposits, free direct deposit, and special discounts.
You can join it if you live, work, worship, or attend school in Washington D.C. If you live outside the D.C. area, you may still become a member as long as you invest in a lifetime Home Ownership Financial Literacy Council (HOFLC) membership for only $10. This nonprofit focuses on helping consumers navigate the path to homeownership.
9. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union has 26 branch locations across Minnesota. APFCU offers MyPlus Rewards that gives you points if you keep a certain amount of money in your bank account or use its debit or credit card.
To be eligible to join, all you have to do is donate $25 to the Affinity Plus Foundation and open a basic savings account. If you live and work in Minnesota or have a family member in the state, there are other ways to become a member.
10. Chevron Credit Union
Chevron Credit Union has been around since 1935 and has 19 branches that span six states, including California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and Virginia. It operates under two brands: Chevron Federal Credit Union and Spectrum Credit Union.
To become a member, join one of its nonprofit partner organizations, such as the Contra Costa County Historical Society. You’ll also need to deposit $25 into a primary savings account and maintain a $25 minimum balance.
Chevron also offers a second chance checking account called New Solutions for those who need help rebuilding their banking history.
11. Ascend Credit Union
Since its inception in 1951, Ascend Credit Union has offered a variety of products, like checking and savings accounts, a money market account, Christmas Club account, youth accounts, credit cards, and loans.
If you’re interested in these services, join The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Chapter and you’ll be eligible automatically. Note that there is a one-time fee of $25.
12. Hope Credit Union
Hope Credit Union is a black-owned credit union that was organized in 1995 by the Anderson United Methodist Church in Mississippi. You can join if you pay a $10 membership fee and show a foreign passport, permanent resident card, or Matricula Consular. Plus, you may use an ITIN number instead of a Social Security number.
Hope Credit Union provides a number of personal bank accounts, business banking accounts, and transformational deposits. With its transformational deposits, you can participate in socially responsible investing.
13. Boeing Employees Credit Union
Boeing Employees Credit Union, or BECU, was established in 1935 for Boeing employees and currently caters to more than 1 million members. But despite its name, you don’t have to work at Boeing to join.
Its products and services are available to you if you become a member or donor to the KEXP, which is a nonprofit art organization or the Sea Hawkers Central Council. The most noteworthy benefit of joining is the first-time homebuyer grant in which you can receive $7,500 toward your down payment and closing costs.
14. Hiway Credit Union
Hiway Credit Union made its debut in 1931 to serve employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation. It offers a free checking account with no monthly fee or minimum balance requirements, a free money market account with a $500 minimum deposit, credit cards, and loans.
You can qualify for a Hiway Federal Credit Union membership if you donate to the Minnesota Recreation and Park Foundation for $10 per year or the Association of the U.S. Army, which costs $40 for two years.
15. GreenState Credit Union
GreenState Credit Union was founded in 1938. It provides its members with personal accounts, business accounts, credit cards, loans insurance, wealth management services, and more.
GreenState was named one of the fastest growing credit unions in 2021. As long as you live or work in the state of Iowa, you can become a member and take advantage of its services without any issues.
16. Cascade Credit Union
Cascade Credit Union made its debut in 1952 to serve employees of the Cascade Division of the Great Northern Railway. Today, it’s open to many people and offers great perks like members-only sweepstakes, competitive rates, online banking tools, financial counseling, and group insurance benefits.
If you’d like to join, simply become a member of the Great Northern & Cascade Railway Association (GNCR) and pay an annual membership cost of $40. The credit union can help you fill out your application online or in-person at a local branch.
17. Wildfire Credit Union
Wildfire Credit Union began in 1937 as Saginaw Telephone Employees Credit Union, its original credit union name. Its first location was in the basement of the home of Hank Kosk, the credit union’s treasurer.
After some office upgrades, the credit union opened the doors to its current location on Bay Road in Saginaw and merged with Flint Telephone Employees Credit Union that same year. Today, Wildfire Credit Union offers several deposit accounts as well as personal banking and business banking services. You can join if you live, work, worship, or attend school in Michigan.
18. Nextmark Credit Union
Nextmark Credit Union made its debut in 1958. Its offerings include personal and business checking, home equity loans, personal loans, credit cards, gift cards, and more.
To join, you must live in a qualifying county in Virginia or make a donation to Herndon Elementary PTA, a Title I school.
19. Technology Credit Union
Technology Credit Union, or Tech CU, was established in 1960. It’s based in Silicon Valley and provides its members with no shortage of benefits. These include competitive rates, online banking, access to fee-free ATMs, free credit score monitoring, conference room space, and easy online appointment booking. To become a member, join Financial Fitness Association for only $8.
20. Veridian Credit Union
Veridian Credit Union was established in 1934. Most of its members are those who live or work in Iowa or certain counties of Nebraska. However, it’s open to anyone who is a registered user of Dwolla, a financial technology company. This means you can join as long as you sign up for a personal account at Dwolla.
You’ll also need to open a savings account and deposit at least $5. If you’re already a member of a credit union or bank but would like to switch to Veridian Credit Union, the switch kit may be helpful.
21. Harborstone Credit Union
Harborstone Credit Union’s roots date back to 1955, when it was known as McChord Federal Credit Union and served airmen on the McChord Air Force Base. In 1996, the credit union expanded its membership to anyone in the state of Washington and changed its name as a result.
As long as you live, work, or worship in Washington, you may join Harborstone Credit Union and enjoy a variety of financial products and digital tools.
22. NASA Federal Credit Union
NASA Federal Credit Union began in 1949 to serve NASA employees. Since then, it’s grown to more than 177,000 members. While the credit union is headquartered in Upper Marlboro, Massachusetts, there are 12 branches in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
Its product lineup includes a simple checking account with no minimum opening deposit, a savings account with a great rate, and several CDs. You can also monitor your credit score and make deposits with the mobile app. If you don’t work for NASA, you can still join. Simply sign up for a one-year membership at the National Space Society (NSS).
Hanscom Federal Credit Union opened in 1953. The credit union has over 20 branches in and around Boston as well as one in McLean, Virginia. It offers fee-free checking accounts, savings accounts with rewards, credit cards, and loans.
To join, you’ll need to support one of its partner organizations, such as the Burlington Players, a volunteer theater group. In addition, you’ll be required to deposit $25 into a free primary savings account.
24. Pen Air Federal Credit Union
Pen Air Federal Credit Union was founded in 1936 to support civil service employees of Naval Air Station Pensacola. It has 16 locations in northwest Florida and southeast Alabama. You may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to be an active duty or retired military member to join.
You’ll be able to take advantage of Pen Air Federal Credit Union if you become a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and deposit a minimum of $25 into a savings account. As a member, you can enjoy the Pen Air Platinum Mastercard, Share Savings account with the Round It program, and more.
25. State Department Federal Credit Union
State Department Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935. To join, you can become a member of the American Consumer Council for $8. This is a non-profit organization with a focus on consumer education and financial literacy.
The State Department Credit Union offers a long list of products and services, including basic, advantage, and privilege checking, a money market account, share certificate accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), credit cards, and loans.
26. United Nations Federal Credit Union
United Nations Credit Union made its debut in 1947. As long as you join the United Nations Association of the United States of America, you can become a member.
UNFCU has a vast product lineup that includes a checking account, membership savings account, credit cards, debit cards, and loans, like car loans and debt consolidation loans.
Other membership perks include loyalty rewards, credit card rewards, and the member referral program.
27. Premier Members Credit Union
Premier Members Credit Union was established in 1959 for members of the Boulder Valley School District. You’re eligible to join if you make a donation to Impact on Education, a charity in the Boulder Valley School District, and open an online savings account or youth savings account.
As a member, you can expect perks, such as high interest rates on checking accounts, no monthly service fee, no overdraft fees, and free overdraft protection. The credit union also offers an extensive network of branches and ATMs for your convenience.
28. SRI Federal Credit Union
SRI Federal Credit Union is headquartered in Menlo Park, California. It was founded in 1957 and offers membership to anyone who joins the Financial Fitness Association for $8 per year.
The credit union’s account offerings include a checking and savings account, money market account, IRA, health savings account, and youth, teen, and gradate accounts.
29. United States Senate Federal Credit Union
United States Senate Federal Credit Union has been around since 1935. Its mission is to “improve the financial wellness of members throughout all stages and circumstances of life.” Its products are similar to what most credit unions offer.
As a member, you can enjoy access to a number of checking and credit union savings accounts, mortgage loans, personal loans, auto loans, Visa debit cards, and business advisory services. To join, you’ll need to become a member of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society for $65.
30. Wings Financial Credit Union
Wings Financial Credit Union was founded in 1938 by seven employees from Northwest Airlines. To date, it serves more than 320,000 members with more than $7.5 billion in assets. You can join if you donate $5 to the Wings Financial Foundation, even if you don’t work in the aviation industry.
There are no fees on its basic banking accounts, including its checking and savings accounts, a money market account, and CDs. Its high yield savings and checking accounts offer competitive rates to help you grow your money.
31. Skyward Credit Union
Skyward Credit Union was chartered in 1941. It offers a share savings account with competitive rates, an aim higher checking account with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, affordable mortgage and home equity loans.
It also offers online banking, a variety of insurance products, and access to over 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs. Like most credit unions require membership, so does this one. To become a member, join the Kansas Aviation Museum.
32. San Diego County Credit Union
San Diego County Credit Union has been around since 1938 and has over 430,000 credit union members. It’s considered the largest locally owned financial intuition in San Diego.
As a member, you can enjoy a free checking account, secured and unsecured credit cards, a wide range of account options with no service fees, and access to over 30,000 ATMs without ATM fees. To join San Diego County Credit Union, become a member of the Financial Fitness Association.
33. Bellco Credit Union
Bellco Credit Union is a Denver-based credit union that opened its doors in 1936. You can join it even if you don’t live in Colorado as long as you donate at least $10 to the Bellco Foundation, pay a one-time $5 membership fee, and deposit at least $25 in a savings account.
Once you do, you’ll have access to several noteworthy products, like the Boost Interest Checking account, which offers a competitive interest rate, the Premier Money Market Account, and two, no-fee credit cards.
34. Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union was founded in 1941 and currently has over 30 branches across Long Island and New York City. It has a reputation for competitive rates on it money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).
The credit union also offers three checking accounts, a few savings accounts, retirement planning services, IRAs, insurance, and more. You don’t have to live in New York to join if you open a $5 savings account. As a member, you may meet with credit union staff virtually and bank on the go with a handy mobile app.
35. First South Financial Credit Union
First South Financial Credit Union opened its doors in 1957 to serve those on the Millington base. Since then, it has become of the safest financial institutions in the U.S., as stated by independent rating agencies. While the credit union has locations throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, its online banking services make it a suitable option if you live elsewhere.
Like other credit unions, it offers a full suite of checking, savings, CDs, and IRA accounts. To join, become a member of the Courage Thru Cancer Association, which supports St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
36. Dow Credit Union
Dow Credit Union was founded in 1937 in Midland, Michigan. It provides numerous products, including checking and savings accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), HSAs, deposit trust accounts, and loans.
Fortunately, you don’t have to work at Dow Chemical to take advantage of them. To join, make a $10 donation to the Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union Endowed Scholarship Fund.
37. Blue Federal Credit Union
Blue Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1951 as Warren Federal Credit Union. If you’re looking for a high-yield checking account, you’ll appreciate its Blue Extreme Checking Account with no minimum opening deposit or monthly service fees.
Other perks include a tiered membership rewards program and round-the-clock customer service. The easiest way to become a member is to donate $5 to the Blue Foundation and open a Membership Share Savings Account with $5.
38. Digital Federal Credit Union
Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU), based in Marlborough, Massachusetts, was established in 1979. Today, it is known for its comprehensive range of financial products that includes checking and savings accounts, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, and wealth management services.
Perhaps one of DCU’s standout features is its commitment to digital banking, offering robust online and mobile platforms that compete with larger, nationwide banks. This makes DCU a fitting choice for those who prefer online banking, no matter where they live.
Membership is open to those who are a part of participating organizations or live, work, worship, or attend school in eligible communities. If you don’t fit those criteria, you can still join by becoming a member of a participating nonprofit organization, such as Reach Out for Schools, which requires a nominal donation.
See also: Best Nationwide Credit Unions of 2023
Not all credit unions are created equal. Some have strict membership criteria, while others are more flexible. Before you join a credit union (or several credit unions) on this list, be sure to consider numerous factors.
You’ll want to look at eligibility requirements, branch location, monthly maintenance fees, accounts offered, interest rates, mobile banking, digital banking, reputation, and customer service. Best of luck as you explore the best credit unions and search for the perfect credit union.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can civilians join Navy Federal Credit Union?
Yes, civilians can join the Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), the largest credit union in the U.S. However, this is limited to immediate family members of service members in all branches of the armed forces. This broad eligibility criteria is one of the reasons why NFCU has grown to be the largest credit union in the country.
Can anyone join American Airlines Credit Union?
No, not anyone can join the American Airlines Credit Union. Membership is limited to those who work in the air transportation industry, including airlines, airports, and related businesses, as well as their family members. While this broadens the scope beyond just American Airlines employees, it still doesn’t include everyone.
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information.
Last year, an average of over one in five flights were delayed, and about 2% were canceled. While that means most flights went out on time, millions and millions of travelers still found themselves not flying when they hoped.
Another busy travel season is upon us. When flight delays and cancellations do happen, there may not be a ton of additional seats available to simply hop on the next flight in some situations.
Here are tips on how to decrease your chances of getting stuck and increase your chances of arriving at your destination as quickly as possible, even if you get the unwelcome news that you are facing a flight delay — or worse.
How to find out if your flight might be delayed
In the current era of full flights and easily available information, don’t wait for the airline to tell you there is a problem.
You can keep an eye on general flight trends across the country on FlightAware, which gives you a good overview of how a day in the sky looks.
This page focuses on delays. Manually check the status of your flight on your airline’s website in the 24 hours leading up to travel. Also, check where the plane is coming from, if possible.
Also, opt in to flight notifications with your airline and download the carrier’s app on your phone. Here are details on that process with American Airlines and United Airlines. You’ll likely have more up-to-date flight departure information from your airline’s mobile app than what’s reflected on the airport departure and arrival boards.
You can also get flight status updates sent directly from FlightAware.
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When to arrive at the airport if your flight is delayed
This can be a tricky one. If your flight is still listed as “on time” when you check the app, leave for the airport according to the original schedule.
Even if your flight shows as delayed in the app, it can be subject to change. It’s best to be at the airport ready to go at the originally scheduled time in most cases. We’ve certainly heard stories where the flight is suddenly ready to go sooner than expected, leaving some passengers behind. Sometimes you’ll receive confirmation well in advance that the flight will be significantly delayed. However, it’s safer to be at the airport, just in case.
Bad weather will sometimes cause a temporary ground stop at the airport. As soon as the weather gets better, the stop is lifted, and airlines try to get their flights off the ground ASAP.
Related: 3 things to do if your flight is delayed
What to do if there is bad weather
Monitor weather patterns starting a few days before your flight to see if any major systems are anticipated. It’s then vital to check the forecast on the night before and the day of travel to see how any issues could affect your departure and arrival airports.
Again, be sure to opt in for updates on your flight’s status. If you know bad weather is coming later in the day, ask for an earlier flight if you can. Alternatively, if you leave the night before, that’s a good idea, too.
More and more airlines are allowing travelers to change plans with no fare difference prior to severe weather problems, like impending blizzards, ice storms or even heavy thunderstorms. Some will even proactively change your flight for you.
If you know bad weather is on the horizon, either go to your airline’s website and look for an advisory notice or call the airline to talk about options. If an airline gets ahead of weather issues, you may be able to reschedule your flight by a few days in either direction with no fees. Additionally, you can try asking for a nonstop flight if the weather is putting your connecting flight in jeopardy.
However, if the airline hasn’t issued its own advisory, you could have to pay out of pocket for any fare differences if you really need to get where you are going.
Related: How the weather affects your flight — the atmosphere and winds
What to do if your flight is delayed or canceled
If a flight delay happens and you want an alternative to waiting it out, check the airline’s app or in-airport kiosk for rebooking options. You don’t have to stand in line to talk to a real person in many cases, as you can self-service the rebooking with most major airlines. In fact, it may be faster to do it online or at a kiosk in the airport — and speed matters. You may be able to rebook at a new flight time or even to a new “nearby” origin or destination city.
There are times when automated rebooking systems are not your best option, though. Sometimes, the only automated option is for a red-eye flight or a future flight heading to your destination more than two days later. That’s especially true with flights as full as they are right now.
If you can’t find what you need online, find an airline employee who knows how to work the ticketing desk. Look at their uniforms and name tags to ensure you get a ticket agent and not a baggage handler or similarly outsourced contractor.
If the U.S. call center has a long hold time (which happens during widespread issues), you can try dialing an international number for faster service. You might also find success reaching out to an airline on Twitter, via chat or other social media channels when customer service lines are busy.
For example, when the first leg of an American Airlines flight from New York City to Arkansas just before Christmas was delayed, TPG editor Madison Blancaflor missed her connection.
She reached out to American Airlines on Twitter to help ensure she was rebooked on the earliest possible flight. She still had to endure a long layover in Charlotte, but it was better (and less stressful) than rushing to the customer service desk to try and rebook upon arrival in Charlotte.
If there are no reasonable booking options left with your carrier, ask if there are options on another airline. If the delay is weather-related, and you are on a basic-economy ticket or are flying on a low-cost carrier, there might not be other airline options at your fingertips. Still, it’s worth asking and — if possible — presenting available options you have researched yourself.
Related: Top tips to get through to airline customer service faster
Retreat to a lounge
If you have airline club access at a United Club, Delta Sky Club or similar, you can head there for help from experienced agents with potentially shorter lines. Use it as a spot to gather your thoughts, charge your phone and make level-headed decisions. The agents there might be able to help you change or track your flight.
In third-party lounges, such as an American Express Centurion Lounge, you won’t be able to get that type of airline-specific assistance, but you’re still probably in a better spot to wait out the storm than in a crowded terminal.
Related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access
Rebook your flight
Sometimes, if you really need to get home, you may need to do the work and layout for the expenditure for a new flight yourself.
During a delay while traveling from Orlando to Houston when my original carrier couldn’t get me home for more than 24 hours after my initial flight was canceled, I found a nonstop Southwest Airlines flight with one last seat available for $463.
Even though rebooking yourself will not typically be covered by any insurance or carrier, I went for the Southwest option and got my original United ticket refunded, which at least offset some of the pain of a new ticket. In my case, it was worth controlling my own destiny and not being stuck.
Your credit card’s built-in trip delay or trip cancellation coverage can help with many unexpected expenses in the face of delays and cancellations, but a brand-new flight home isn’t likely to be one of them. Still, in some cases, it may be the only way home for a while, so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons.
Related: When to buy travel insurance vs. when to rely on credit card protections
Check airport hotels
While thinking through what to do in case of a flight delay or cancellation, consider your options at airport hotels, which can fill up if there are major delays and cancellations. Sometimes, it is best to pull the plug on getting home that day, get some good rest and try again in the morning.
Airport hotels are generally pretty affordable on points, although cash rates can skyrocket when demand surges. Accommodations are typically covered by trip delay protection, offered by cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Platinum Card® from American Express.*
* Eligibility and benefit level vary by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
Show up early for standby flights
If you know in advance that your flight is canceled or delayed, heading to the airport early could score you a same-day standby flight that gets you to your destination early.
For example, a TPG staffer was able to use this strategy to avoid getting stuck overnight when a hiccup with his flight from Austin to New York City would have caused him to miss a connection in Dallas. Since he had A-List status with Southwest, he showed up at the airport a bit earlier and did a free same-day standby onto an earlier flight that connected to a different city. His A-List status bumped him to the top of the standby list and onto the flight.
Getting on the standby list isn’t a foolproof method, especially if the earlier flight is almost full. This is a case where having elite status can help since you’ll have priority over non-elite travelers. Additionally, some airlines charge a fee for non-elite travelers to get on the standby list for an earlier flight.
Related: Best credit cards for airline elite status
How to get a refund or flight compensation
If you decide not to fly your originally scheduled flight in light of major delays and cancellations, get your money or points back. Do not settle for an airline voucher that may be hard to use and eventually expire.
You may have a cancel-and-refund option available to you online or in the airline’s app. If not, you can ask an airline employee for assistance in person or over the phone. Just be sure to cancel your original flight before its eventual departure so you can get the money or miles (hopefully) returned.
Know your rights and take stock of your credit card protections. You’ll have to read some fine print, but you may be entitled to accommodations, credits or expense reimbursement by the airline or from your credit card (usually depending on the length of your delay and the reason for delay or cancellation).
Many travel credit cards offer trip delay insurance that can save you money when you’re stuck somewhere. While it won’t help you avoid cancellations or delays, it could help you cover expenses while you wait for your flight.
Related: You are entitled to a refund for your canceled flight — even if the airline says you aren’t
Cards that provide travel protection
There are many rewards credit cards that help confer valuable travel protections when you do have a delayed or canceled flight (if you used them to book your flight). Below are just a few examples of cards that provide some built-in coverage:
Chase Sapphire Reserve: Provides a $300 annual travel credit, up to $20,000 in trip cancellation coverage, up to $75,000 in car rental coverage, trip delay benefits of up to $500 per person that kick in starting at a six-hour delay and more.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: The Chase Sapphire Preferred includes trip cancellation and interruption insurance, trip delay reimbursement, emergency assistance services and more.
American Express Platinum: In addition to the extensive lounge benefits and up to $200 in annual airline fee credits, the Platinum card also provides trip cancellation and interruption insurance for up to $20,000 of a covered trip and incident.
Make a decision
Last but not least, we don’t recommend being too indecisive in the face of delays and cancellations. If you are, expect your options to dwindle. Once you finally decide to wait it out or try and switch flights, you will be at the mercy of whatever options the airline has to offer … which may not be great.
As you wait, flight options are likely to disappear as hundreds (or thousands) of other passengers beat you to rebooking. Weigh your realistic options and make a quick decision if you want to keep some control of your schedule.
If you’re OK getting stuck somewhere for a bit or taking a creative route home, waiting for the airline to direct you is a feasible option. Just don’t stress about your decision once you make it.
Your credit card’s built-in travel protections may cover unexpected expenses not covered by the airline (such as a hotel for an overnight weather delay, though not a new flight) if you get stuck during your journey.
In my Orlando example, my original flight was stuck in Denver with a five-hour weather delay, so the odds of that flight getting me where I needed to be that day didn’t seem great. When I didn’t clear standby on the other United flight to Houston from Orlando that night, I made a decision and stuck with it.
I left the terminal and headed to my new Southwest flight in another terminal (Clear and PreCheck helped with that quick transition). Yes, that choice cost me a new flight home, but I had to make that call right then or roll the dice on my United flight making it out that day.
I wasn’t in a gambling mood when it came to getting home, and I understood the out-of-pocket implications.
Most of the time, your flight will get you where you need to be close to when you want to be there. Still, flight delays and cancellations happen.
If your flight is delayed by an hour or two, there’s not usually much to do other than be patient. However, when facing a long delay or cancellation, it’s good to have a plan to reduce the odds of getting stuck.
Given the common theme of full passenger loads on flights these days, acting quickly, researching options and making a speedy decision will put you ahead of the pack.
Related: Best credit cards that offer trip delay reimbursement
Additional reporting by Melissa Klurman, Kristy Tolley, Victoria Walker, Madison Blancaflor, Benji Stawski and Benét J. Wilson.
Secret phone plans? No contracts? Unadvertised payment plans with no interest? These are all available. But you’ll never know until you ask.
I recently decided to switch carriers to T-Mobile, so I jumped on their website to start doing the math of the different plans that they offered.
Just when I felt I couldn’t possibly calculate the details of one more plan, I came across a section on the website that featured plans without contracts. This section was buried; in fact, I had to be logged on a friend’s account who was already a customer to be able to see the plans at all.
I was confused by what I found. The plans without the contracts had a lower monthly cost than the plans with contracts. I figured there would be a premium fee to not be locked in to a two-year contract, but I was seeing just the opposite.
I went into a T-Mobile store and asked about the plans. They didn’t show me any plans without a long contract. So I asked about a no-contract plan but the sales person was dismissive, saying “but you’re going to have to pay full pay price for the phone.”
I insisted that I wanted to see the plan anyway, and he went to the back of the store to dig up the brochure for me.
The exact same plan without a contract was $110 a month instead of $140 a month, for a savings of $360 a year. I looked for the catch, but the only catch was the no-contract plan didn’t offer the usual discount on a new phone.
The phone I wanted to buy retailed at $500, but cost just $200 with a contract. (That’s a savings of $300, in case your math muscles aren’t working.) I quickly did the math: I could save $360 per year without a contract, but would have to pay $300 more for the phone. That still left me with $60 in my pocket for not having a contract, meaning no insane fees if I wanted to leave the contract or switch carriers. Plus, everything after the first year was pure “profit”.
I soon learned from the sales associate that apparently no one had ever bought a phone outright and taken them up on the no-contract plan. It’s not advertised and therefore usually not asked about. They just assume that no one will want to pay more now in order to save later.
The sales associate couldn’t believe that I was “baller” enough (his exact words) to pay $500 for a phone — even though I was actually saving money within a year. He even asked me what I did for a living to be able to afford such an extravagance!
It gets better. When he went to ring up the phone, he asked me if I wanted a payment plan. I asked for the details and he told me that they offer no-interest payment plans so that people don’t have to shell out the full cost outright. Meaning that if you didn’t have the $500 for the phone, you could still save money by going with a no-contract plan!
Again, this isn’t advertised. You just have to ask.
It made me wonder what other companies aren’t telling me about ways that I can save because they assume that no one wants to pay more up front.
Call your cell phone company, cable company, or insurance company today and ask if they have any other options. They might have something without a contract, a AAA discount, or other ways to save. Many companies have plans they don’t publish publicly. Check out these past Get Rich Slowly articles for more ways to save:
But few can compare to the Falcon Nest home in Prescott, Arizona.
And while the property may also be known as The Palsolaral House, we’re going to keep referring to it as the Falcon Nest — a title fit for a villain’s lair, a rather appropriate potential role for this quirky house.
The 10-story home, designed by Phoenix architect Sukumar Pal, is a unique residence that once held the title of “world’s tallest home”, which it lost in favor of the South Mumbai home of business magnate Mukesh Ambani — a true high-rise, counting 27 stories.
And if you want a home that’s truly unique (and don’t mind relocating to the Copper State), know that the Falcon Nest home is headed for auction on May 25. That means you can snag the architectural wonder for considerably less that the $1.5 million price tag, with the bid starting at $750,000.
10 Stories of Unique Living Space
The 6,200-square-feet of living space are neither common, nor forgettable.
Featuring expansive glass ceilings and striking views that stretch for miles, the Falcon Nest’s interiors are equally unique as its exteriors, making it a true architectural rarity.
With three bedrooms and four baths, the Palsolaral House also comes with an impressive 2,000-square-foot solarium, also equipped with two bedrooms, two baths, and a kitchen.
A hydraulic elevator provides access from the garage level to the sixth floor. With minimal energy consumption, a small footprint, and utilizing natural elements to heat and cool the home free from cost, the home exemplifies passive solar technologies and alternative power sources.
If you’re considering joining the auction that takes place on May 25, 2017 on Concierge Auctions’ mobile bidding app, here’s a photo tour of the unique property:
2021 VA Home Loan Limit: $0 down payment up to $5,000,000* (subject to lender limits) /2 open VA loans at one time $548,250 (Call 877-432-5626 for details).
How to Apply for a VA Home Loan?
This is a quick look at how to apply for a VA home loan in Lawrence County. For a more detailed overview of the VA home loan process, check out our complete guide on how to apply for a VA mortgage loan. Here, we’ll go over the general steps to getting a VA home loan and point out some things to pay attention to in Lawrence County. If you have any questions, you can call us at VA HLC and we’ll help you get started.
Get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE)
Give us a call at (877) 432-5626 and we’ll get your COE for you.
Are you applying for a refinance loan? Check out our complete guide to VA Refinancing.
Get pre-approved, to get pre-approved for a loan, you’ll need:
Previous two years of W2s
Most recent 30 days paystubs or LES (active duty)
Most recent 60 days bank statements
Landlord and HR/Payroll Department contact info
Find a home
We can help you check whether the home is in one of the Lawrence County flood zones
Get the necessary inspections
Termite inspection: required
Well or septic inspections needed, if applicable
Get the home appraised
We can help you find a VA-Certified appraiser in Lawrence County and schedule the process
Construction loan note: Construction permit/appraisal info
Lock in your interest rates
Pro tip: Wait until the appraisal lock in your loan rates. If it turns out you need to make repairs, it can push your closing back. Then you can get stuck paying rate extension fees.
Close the deal and get packing!
You’re ready to go.
What is the Median Home Price?
As of February 28, 2021, the median home value for Lawrence County is $69,091. In addition, the median household income for residents of the county is $39,993.
How much are the VA Appraisal Fees?
Individual Condo: $500.
Manufactured Homes: $550.
2-4 Unit Multi-Family: $550.
Appraisal Turnaround Times: 10 days.
Do I need Flood Insurance?
The VA requires properties are required to have flood insurance if they are in a Special Flood Hazard Area.
There are some minimal flood hazard areas in Lawrence County, particularly by Lake Charles, Black River, and its attached streams such as Flat Creek.
How do I learn about Property Taxes?
Becky Holder is the Lawrence County tax assessor. Her office can be reached at 315 West Main St. Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, 72476. Additionally, Becky’s office can also be reached by calling 870-886-1135.
As a homeowner, Amendment 79 and Act 142 provide that tax relief to make them eligible to receive up to $350.00 tax credit on the property that is their principal residence. Also, homeowners who are 65 years of age or older or 100% disabled may receive a freeze on their assessed value, so their taxes do not increase over the years. Mobile homeowners are also eligible.
What is the Population?
The county’s population of 16,406 is 95% White, 2% Hispanic, and 1% Black.
Most county residents are between 18 and 65 years old, with 22% under 18 years old and 19% older than 65.
In total, the county has about 6,463 households, with an average of 2.4 people per household.
What are the major cities?
The county has at least 5 large cities and communities, including Walnut Ridge, which serves as the county seat. Some other cities and towns making up this county are Imboden, Hoxie, Black Rock, and Ravenden.
About Lawrence County
Lawrence County, Arkansas farmers produce mostly corn, rice, sorghum, and soybeans. Additionally, other industries contribute to the county’s economy, such as manufacturing, poultry, and cattle.
Regarding education, more than 3,000 students benefit from the academic programs provided in its 10 public schools. Besides, higher education can be achieved at the historic Williams Baptist University, which is now famous for its liberal arts program.
The wide variety of rivers and lakes found in Lawrence County offer excellent outdoor opportunities for entertainment such as kayaking, rafting, and canoeing. Furthermore, in Lake Charles State Park, locals and visitors enjoy fishing, camping, and hiking.
Furthermore, the county offers many historical landmarks to visit, so tourists can benefit from its rich history and culture. Also, one of the most famous and visited annual festivals is the Lawrence County Fair, featuring rodeos, shows, exhibitions, and much more.
Lawrence County has a veteran population of 1,082.
County Veteran Assistance Information
Lawrence Veteran’s Services Office – 315 West Main Street STE 1, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas 72476.
VA Home Loan Information
For more information about VA Home Loans and how to apply, click here.
If you meet the VA’s eligibility requirements, you will be able to enjoy some of the best government-guaranteed home loans available.
VA loans can finance the construction of a property. However, the property must be owned and prepared for construction as the VA cannot ensure vacant land loans.
VA Approved Condos
There are no VA-approved condos available in Lawrence County Arkansas. For more information about the VA condo approval process give us a call at (888)573-4496.
In today’s modern world, the house goals of yesteryear are a distant memory.
Long gone are the days of window shutters, oversized crystal chandeliers, multiple small rooms, intricate designs, wrought-iron railings, small windows, and large porches with overhanging beams.
Modern mansions favor simple and clean designs with open spaces.
While traditional mansions offer intricate and elegant details, today’s luxury homes feature straight lines, geometric shapes, a flat or low-sloped roof, and clean exteriors with little to no texture.
Luxurious homes of the past featured building materials such as brick, wood, plaster, stucco, and stone. Meanwhile, contemporary mansions favor newer, more technologically-advanced building materials including reinforced steel and concrete.
And windows, lots and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows.
Sophisticated smart homes are all the rage, as are connected outdoor spaces, white rooms and simple color palettes, open floor plans, glass walls allowing for ample natural light, green features, security settings, and the utmost privacy.
While traditional mansions typically featured a number of small, single-purpose rooms, modern floor plans include seamless open-ended spaces.
After all, one cannot be confined to small spaces while living that luxurious lifestyle!
A closer look at 18 of our favorite modern mansions
When it comes to stunning estates, we’ve got you covered.
From wraparound pools featuring panoramic views to glass walls for days, to dream chef kitchens, to seamless indoor-outdoor living spaces, we’re taking a look at 18 modern mansions that have knocked our socks off.
And we think you’ll (really, really) like them too.
A Marc Whipple-designed modern mansion with a wraparound pool
Designed by acclaimed architect Marc Whipple, this massive 11,200-square-foot home in Beverly Hills is quite a stunner.
Offering six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and two half baths, the multi-million dollar manse features disappearing walls of glass, so that its residents can enjoy the stunning views from each and every room.
Speaking of views, they’re completely unobstructed, with downtown Los Angeles, Catalina Island, and the coastline on full display. Those lovely landscapes can be seen from the home’s stunning wraparound pool.
Other luxurious amenities include a movie theater, a secret Zen garden, gym, guest house, glass wine cellar, gated driveway, and an outdoor kitchen.
This Beverly Hills manse had its moment of fame a few years back, when it was rented by Rockstar hitmaker Post Malone. It was later listed for sale with a whopping $26 million asking price.
A breathtaking Hollywood mega mansion with museum-quality energy crystals throughout
Built in 2021, this mega mansion is located in the heart of Hollywood.
Boasting panoramic views of downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and the canyon, the home offers six beds, nine baths, and nearly 10,365 square feet of living space.
The sophisticated smart home features museum-quality crystals sourced from around the world and placed with extraordinary care throughout to energetically enhance the residence.
Offering double-height ceilings and incredible indoor/ outdoor living spaces, the California compound also includes a custom home theater, fitness center, wine cellar, second living room and all the finest custom finishes.
Setting a new gold standard for Southern California living, the picturesque backyard — which is front row to the city and canyons — features a beautiful sparkling pool/spa, a built-in BBQ area, and a grassy green lawn.
See more of this unique Hollywood mega-mansion here.
A striking $150M modern mansion in Bel-Air with 360-degree views
This beautiful home in Bel-Air has all the bells and whistles you’d expect in a modern mansion (and then some).
Designed by award-winning architecture and design firm, Saota, the private compound is perched on a promontory high above the city — opening up to unobstructed, 360-degree views of Los Angeles.
Set on a 1.15-acre lot, the swanky crib offers nine bedrooms and fourteen baths spread across 20,841 square feet.
Some of the luxury amenities include an infinity pool with a secluded cabana and pool-side sunken fire pit, three separate staff quarters, and a one-bedroom guest house with a separate, private pool.
This magnificent manse was owned by George Ruan, co-founder of online coupon-clipping company Honey (now part of Paypal).
The Razor House in San Diego, the real-life Iron Man house
The one-of-a-kind architectural masterpiece known as The Razor House was designed in 2007 by San Diego-based architect Wallace E. Cunningham.
The striking concrete and glass mansion — dubbed ‘the Iron Man house’ due to its resemblance to Tony Stark’s mansion in the famous Marvel movie — is perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Offering endless concrete terraces, the stunning estate has mesmerizing views of surrounding hills and the ocean below.
Featuring several outdoor lounge areas, the luxurious three-story home comes with six bedrooms and six baths, with nearly every room opening up to jaw-dropping views.
In 2019, Grammy Award-winning singer Alicia Keys and husband Swizz Beatz bought The Razor House in a $20.8 million deal.
Villa Vella, one of Europe’s finest contemporary homes
Spanish dream house, anyone?
Dubbed Villa Vela, this sprawling 23,476-square-foot property is located in the sun-bathed province of Andalusia, Spain.
Sitting behind its own gates, at the end of a sweeping driveway, Villa Vela offers a total of six bedrooms and six baths.
The posh property has been designed to be free-flowing and, as such, has an open plan, including floor-to-ceiling retracting windows that open directly onto a terrace that stretches from one end of the house to the other.
Not to mention, each of the suites has its own outdoor space, and they also all connect directly to the vast upper terrace, its lawn, garden, and dining area, and benefit from breathtaking views.
A futuristic, yacht-shaped mansion perched high atop the Los Angeles hills
This 17,000-square-foot modern residential oasis in the upscale LA neighborhood of Brentwood is redefining luxury living.
Southern California-based architectural firm de Loren & Associates purposefully designed the building by superior wellness standards, without sacrificing on design but rather adding to it.
Inspired by the clean lines and interior spatial layouts of yachts paired with the motion of the sea, the curving exterior facades are reminiscent of ocean waves, wind, and clouds that make not only for an exhilarating lifestyle but also appealing to the eye.
The modern mansion boasts seven bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and three powder rooms across three levels.
Featuring a massive list of upscale amenities, the beautiful Brentwood home offers a 610-bottle wine cellar, commercial speed glass elevator, movie theater, state-of-the-art gym, a 300 sq. ft. green wall, and a lower-level entertainment area with a full bar, pool table and more.
And there’s plenty of room for Stormi and Wolf to explore! Turns out, this luxurious residence is owned by none other than rapper Travis Scott.
A newly-built Encino mansion with bright, airy, and warm interiors
We can’t get enough of this amenity-rich mansion with modern interiors and a killer guest house.
The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom Encino home offers 9,081 square feet of living space enclosed within a private, gated estate with surrounding landscape.
The stunning estate is a beautiful example of modern California living, with picture-perfect interiors, exquisite finishes, jetliner views, and plenty of attractive amenities.
Featuring warm wood tones, the large windows and Fleetwood doors open up to unobstructed views and plenty of natural light.
The carefully thought-out finishes give the home a modern vibe that extends into the bedrooms as well. The second level of this luxury Encino home has four bedrooms, including the master suite, which walks out to a 1,200-square-foot balcony with a fire table.
Naturally, this wonderful modern manse caught the eye of a famous buyer; it’s now owned by Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita.
A modern 4-story house facing one of the most beautiful coastal shorelines in all of California
We love this modern mansion set in the most desirable area of Manhattan Beach, The Strand, an oceanfront neighborhood lined with modern-looking mansions that typically sell in the $5 million to $15 million range.
Spanning 6,978 square feet of modern living space, the home offers six bedrooms and eight baths.
Designed by renowned L.A. studio KAA Design, this four-story home was envisioned around life, in all its texture, at the beach.
Rather than cluster sleeping areas on a single floor, they’re strategically spaced across the four levels, with the third floor being home to a primary suite with a private office that’s luxuriously sequestered in the style of a penthouse.
The private elevator takes residents and guests down to the beach room, which is level with the Strand itself, and lounge on the patio, front row to a peaceful scene of sea, sand, and sky.
Read more about this beautiful modern mansion here.
A $70M contemporary marvel that reimagines luxury living for the 21st century
Located in the coveted Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, this modern mansion is what happens when a star-studded team consisting of award-winning architect Noah Walker, AD 100 interior designer, Jamie Bush, and renowned landscape designer, Christine London LTD comes together.
Spanning 19,000 square feet, this beautiful abode is set on a sprawling four-acre lot and offers six bedrooms and 12 bathrooms alongside many recreation rooms.
The plush property has 270-degree views of the city, ocean, and canyon, and a long list of amenities that include a theater room — with acoustical wall paneling and a commercial cinema-quality projection system — a gym with a steam room, a 75-foot indoor lap pool, outdoor architectural pool and dual offices.
We first covered this luxurious contemporary home when it first came to market last year with an ambitious asking price of $70 million.
Just a few months later, it was purchased by music mogul Scooter Braun (better known as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande’s manager, and Taylor Swift‘s manager-turned-foe) for $65 million.
The Ora House in San Diego, where contemporary architecture meets serene living
In the hilly, seaside neighborhood of La Jolla in San Diego, a modern cliffside mansion has all the dream house vibes.
Built by Blue Heron’s BH Elite custom home division, the Ora House, as the property has been named, is a true architectural marvel.
The stellar design team incorporated the same innovative biophilic design and advanced Savant technology used in Blue Heron’s flagship home, VM001 in Las Vegas, to “enhance the flow of life while creating an overall sense of peace and natural wellbeing.”
The cliffside estate is set in La Jolla’s exclusive Bird Rock Waterfront enclave and totals 8,878 square feet of living space.
The architectural marvel has five bedrooms and eight baths across its four levels, with each level embracing the outdoors with spaces tailored for both entertaining and private moments.
A striking celebrity compound with a modern heptagon-shaped house
Check out this contemporary compound in La Crescenta, Calif.
Designed by AD100 architect Michael Maltzan, this dramatic, heptagon-shaped house has spaceship vibes, is surrounded by seven exterior walls (some made out of glass), and is anchored by an open-air courtyard that sits right at the center.
Nearly all the rooms of the house come with sliding floor-to-ceiling windows that open up to either the serene courtyard or beautiful mountain and city skyline views.
Some of the stand-out features of the modern mansion include a primary suite with an entire wall of glass that opens up to a generously sized balcony and a particularly unique bathroom with a blue curved penny-tiled wall surrounding the shower.
This unique home was owned by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Michael Peter Balzary, known professionally as Flea.
A $25 million Napa Valley glass house with killer views
Surrounded by over 40 acres of lush grounds set amidst California’s world-class wine country, this striking architectural home goes by the name of Karinya.
The highly suitable moniker originates from the Australian aboriginal culture and is simply translated as “peaceful home.”
Built in 2017, the stunning estate is nestled in the small community of Deer Park right next to St. Helena in Napa County.
Spanning 8,837 square feet, the impressive residence was built with natural materials, a deep connection to the valley’s views, and a design that boasts both beauty and luxury.
Not a detail is spared at Karinya, with many luxurious features such as endless walls of glass, a 2,000-bottle wine room, and an acoustically-designed media/ theater room.
Fitting a modern dream house, it also comes with a detailed smart home system with mobile phone control access that controls the music, air conditioning, security and programmable LED recessed lighting in 11 separate zones and a fire sprinkler system.
See more of this lovely Napa Valley home here.
A modern mansion that was once featured in the Oscar-winning “La La Land” movie
Set in the popular Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, this modern mansion offers an impressive cutting-edge design.
The six-bedroom home wows with its soaring ceilings and walls of glass that bring the outdoors in.
Complete with an infinity pool and spa (with a cascading waterfall) and a nifty pool/guest house with a sundeck for outdoor entertainment, the home is peppered with outdoor spots to relax and enjoy the lovely Cali weather.
In case you’re getting a strong sense of deja vu, this beautiful home was featured in the popular film, La La Land.
As the story goes, Mia (played by Emma Stone) and her friends attend a lavish party hoping to meet influential people in the business and finally get their lucky break.
You guessed it, this memorable movie scene was filmed at this gorgeous Los Angeles estate.
A celebrity chef’s former home with a massive kitchen anchored by a 24-foot stone island
Located in the coveted Via Bluffs enclave of Pacific Palisades, this modern mansion spans 6,500 square feet of luxurious living.
Offering massive sliding windows that open up to beautiful views of Potrero Canyon and beyond, the sumptuous five-bedroom, five-bathroom home is filled with natural light streaming in from the surrounding floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors, while the skylights pour even more light onto the main and top floors.
The Pacific Palisades property also flaunts features like a dual-faced fireplace, a nearly 24-foot kitchen island, and a distinct living room that’s pouring out onto the outside deck overlooking the pool.
A large open-layout living area is anchored by an impressive dream kitchen.
This beautiful home was once owned by celebrity chef, Everyday Italian, and Giada At Home star Giada de Laurentiis.
A beautiful modern mansion tucked in the Hollywood Hills
Built in 2019, this Marc Whipple-designed home is a true Hollywood gem.
Located on the glamorous Sunset Strip, in the Hollywood Hills West neighborhood of Los Angeles, this home oozes that clean-lined modernist approach, while still offering warmth and comfort.
The posh property incorporates five bedrooms, six bathrooms, as well as two half-bathrooms, all with breathtaking views spreading from the Hollywood sign right to the Pacific Ocean.
The main entrance offers an open-concept kitchen and three terraces that total 5,000 additional square feet of outdoor living space.
And, the middle level features a second living room and a luxurious ‘floating glass box’ master suite.
All the bedrooms offer easy access to the infinity pool, which provides stunning views of the surroundings and a perfect setting to enjoy summer nights and sunsets in complete privacy.
A Malibu gem that’s often rented to high-profile celebrities
This Malibu celeb magnet is the epitome of indoor-outdoor Cali living, featuring large glass walls that seamlessly blend the interior with the grounds.
Perched above the Pacific Ocean, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,100-square-foot Malibu mansion is every bit the modern gem.
It’s the perfect property for entertaining, as it includes an infinity pool with fabulous ocean views, a spa, and a fire pit.
The entertainment continues inside, as the house includes not one, but three indoor fireplaces, as well as a media room, making sure you stay entertained throughout the entire year.
Amenities include everything you could possibly need, from in-unit laundry and air conditioning to five parking spaces, an outdoor patio, and a cabana.
The house not only rents out to celebrities such as Matthew Perry, Cardi B, and Taraji P. Henson, but it’s also owned by one.
Betty Moon, a celebrated Los Angeles musician, songwriter and producer, currently owns the plush property which she recently renovated before listing it for rent.
An impeccably designed modern mansion that embraces indoor-outdoor living
Located in the upscale neighborhood Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, this three-story home was designed and built by renowned developer/designer duo David and Eliana Rokach.
This multi-million dollar mansion offers a sprawling 13,543 square feet of modern living space and packs nine bedrooms and twelve bathrooms.
Boasting unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Canyon, the stunning estate offers an open-concept living/dining room finished in a chic, contemporary style.
The living room features custom-made electronic sliding steel doors that open to a beautiful outdoor area, which features a barbecue area, a grassy backyard, and an infinity-edge swimming pool opening up to views for miles.
A modern hillside lair with canyon views
Situated in Los Angeles’ coveted Brentwood neighborhood, this hillside lair with expansive living spaces, eco-friendly details, and ultra-high-end finishes gives us serious dream house goals.
The main entrance features a Japanese-imported Yakisugi front door and bonsai adorned atrium that leads to the open-concept living space.
Here, a chic palette of luxurious stone and reflective glass is accented by unique designer details, and floor-to-ceiling windows provide natural light throughout the day.
Offering sweeping views of the canyon, the four-bedroom home comes equipped with the latest technology for entertainment, comfort, and sustainability.
This includes a full automation system, Lutron Solar System lighting, home theater and surround sound from Bang & Olufsen, a home gym, and much more.
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Bonds began the day on the back foot as UK inflation crushed forecasts. Treasuries sold in sympathy, but found their footing before the start of the US session. From slightly lower opening yields, the rest of the day was spent selling, apart from a brief bounce surrounding the 5yr auction and Fed Minutes release. Yields were less than 3bps higher at the 3pm close and haven’t gone much higher after hours. No one likes higher rates, but today is best viewed through the lens of in-range volatility. MBS can’t quite make that claim as 5.0 coupons are a bit lower than they were yesterday, but 10yr yields traded under yesterday’s ceilings. Nothing was decided in the bigger picture. The Fed is data dependent. Inflation is still too high. Corporate earnings suggest a resilient economy. And we’re waiting until early June for more relevant econ data.
S&P Manufacturing PMI
48.5 vs 49.0 f’cast, 50.2 prev
55.1 vs 51.5 f’cast, 53.6 prev
MBS down an eighth of a point, underperforming. 10yr also losing ground, near AM highs, but still down 0.6bps at 3.692.
Steady weakness throughout AM hours and another pop of selling following debt ceiling progress headlines. 10yr up 2.8bps at 3.726. MBS down 9 ticks (.28).
No major reaction to FOMC Minutes. 10yr up 2.3bps at 3.721. MBS down a quarter point.
Modest gains until about 2:40pm, but losing ground since then. 10yr up 3bps at 3.728. MBS down 3/8ths with almost an eighth of that due to illiquidity.
Download our mobile app to get alerts for MBS Commentary and streaming MBS and Treasury prices.
Iowa is a growing, thriving state with plenty of things to offer residents. With so many choices available, it can be tough to decide on the best bank. Once you’ve made sure your bank of choice is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, there are other factors to look at, including whether you’ll find branches in your area and what fees you’ll be charged. This list can help you decide.
11 Best Banks in Iowa
Before you open a new bank account, take a look around at the best banks in your area. Here are a few to consider.
1. Hills Bank
Hills Bank has branches in the Cedar Rapids, Marion, Iowa City, and Mount Vernon areas, but you can access funds nationwide through thousands of SHAZAM and MoneyPass ATMs. There are three tiers of checking accounts, but Free Checking has no maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements.
No monthly fees
$27 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Free at Hills, SHAZAM, and MoneyPass locations
No fee for out-of-network transactions
Up to 0.40% on savings accounts
Up to 4.43% on fixed-rate CDs
In-person banking services available at branches throughout Iowa
Competitive rates on CDs
2. Bank Iowa
Bank Iowa is an Iowa-only bank with branches in five areas, including Iowa City, but there are no branch-based banking services in Cedar Rapids. You’ll find five checking account options, including two with no monthly maintenance fee or minimum balance.
No monthly maintenance fees
$35 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$10 minimum opening deposit
Free access at Bank Iowa ATMs and SHAZAM locations nationwide
$2 for out-of-network withdrawals
Up to 0.19% on savings
Up to 1.28% on money markets
Up to 2.56% on CDs
Checking accounts come with complimentary identity theft services
Competitive rates on personal and home loans
If an online bank can meet all your banking needs, GO2Bank might be the best bank. You can easily manage your funds through the mobile banking app, and you’ll also have access to a nationwide network of ATMs and retailers for deposits and withdrawals. As long as your paycheck is automatically deposited, you’ll pay no monthly maintenance fees, but otherwise, it’s only $5 per statement cycle.
No monthly fee with direct deposit
$15 overdraft fee for every transaction not paid within 24 hours
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Free access at AllPoint locations nationwide
$3 for out-of-network withdrawals
Up to 4.50% annual percentage yield on savings account
Deposit cash at more than 90,000 retailers nationwide
Earn up to 7% cash back on gift card purchases
4. Regions Bank
If you limit your travel to the southern and Midwestern U.S., Regions Bank might be a contender for your business. This regional bank covers Iowa, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
As long as you have at least one $500 check deposited directly each month, you can get free checking. But banking services like loans and a financial advisor upon request make this bank really stand out.
$8 monthly (waived with qualifying activity)
$50 minimum opening deposit
$1,500 minimum balance or $500 direct deposit to qualify for free checking
$36 overdraft fee
More than 2,000 ATMs
$2.50 per withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs
Up to 0.01% APY on savings
Up to 4.75% on CDs
Wide range of banking products
Wealth management services available
5. Northwest Bank
Based in Spencer, Iowa, Northwest Bank is a family-owned bank with locations in both Iowa and Nebraska. Northwest is considered one of the best banks in Iowa for its quality customer service and great rates on checking. Currently, Northwest Bank is offering a $100 bonus on each new checking account as long as you sign up for new products like e-statements, Zelle, and BillPay.
No monthly fee
$28 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$10 minimum opening balance
Free at MoneyPass ATMs nationwide
$2 per withdrawal at out-of-network ATMs
0.01% APY on qualifying checking accounts
.001% APY on savings
Up to 2.25% APY on money markets
0.03% on CDs
$100 cash bonus to qualifying new accounts
1.50% cash back on debit card purchases ($8 limit)
Another online and mobile banking option is Chime, which offers all the amenities of bigger banks without the cost. Online banking options include a checking account with autosave features to help you meet your financial goals. Chime’s savings accounts offer 2% APY, which is competitive with what other banks in Iowa are offering.
No monthly fee
No charges for overdrafts
No minimum balance
No minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs
$2.50 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
2% APY on savings accounts
Pay accessible up to two days early
Automatically round up each debit card purchase to build your savings account
7. CIT Bank
Another online banking option is CIT Bank, which has no local branches. CIT’s bank accounts come without monthly charges, including no overdraft fees, but there is a downside. CIT Bank’s ATM network is nonexistent. You’ll be reimbursed up to $30 a month in out-of-network costs, though.
No monthly fee
No charges for overdrafts
$25,000 minimum balance or $100 monthly deposit
$100 minimum opening deposit
Up to $30 in ATM costs refunded per month
Up to 0.46% APY on savings
Up to 1.55% APY on money market
5% APY on CDs
Great rates on CDs
Savings Builder account motivates you to save at least $100 monthly
8. Fidelity Bank & Trust
Fidelity Bank & Trust is a community bank with a hometown feel. It has more than 30 branches in Northeast Iowa, Northwest Illinois, and Southwest Wisconsin. The bank offers robust online and mobile banking options, as well as money management help through its investment services team.
No monthly fee
$30 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$50 minimum opening balance
Free at Fidelity Bank locations across Northeast Iowa
Free at SHAZAM ATMs nationwide
0.05% APY on qualifying checking accounts
0.05% APY on savings
Up to 0.50% APY on money markets
Up to 4.77% on CDs
myPIC debit card lets you add your photo to your card
Specialized Christmas and children’s savings account options available
9. Bank of America
Even though it’s a large national bank, Bank of America brings some of the benefits you get from a small bank. Customers can enjoy fee-free account types as long as they sign up for Preferred Rewards. But one of the biggest benefits is the nationwide network of branches and ATMs.
$12 monthly fee (waived with qualifications)
$10 overdraft fee
$1,200 minimum balance or qualifying deposits to waive fee
$100 minimum opening balance
Free at Bank of America ATMs nationwide
$2.50 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
0.04% APY on savings (with preferred rewards)
Up to 4.20% on CDs
In-person service at branches and with virtual assistant at ATMs
Preferred Rewards programs offer discounts on accounts and loans
10. Bankers Trust
Based in Des Moines, Bankers Trust has banks in Iowa and Arizona. There are multiple accounts to meet your banking needs, including some checking accounts with tiered interest rates. New customers may be eligible for a $250 bonus by choosing a participating checking account.
No monthly fee with at least 12 debit card transactions
$10-$30 overdraft fee
No minimum balance
$25 minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at Allpoint and MoneyPass ATMs
$2 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
Up to 0.60% on checking
Up to 1.45% on savings
Up to 4.55% on CDs
$250 bonus for new BreakFree or Direct Checking account
Education center provides training and information
11. MidwestOne Bank
If customer service is a priority, MidwestOne Bank is one of the best banks in Iowa. This regional bank has 45 branches across Iowa, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, and Florida. You’ll also find great rates on auto and personal loans with MidwestOne.
No monthly fee
$35 for overdrafts
No minimum daily balance
$100 minimum opening deposit
Fee-free at MoneyPass ATMs
$1 fee for each out-of-network ATM transaction
Up to 0.75% APY on savings
Up to 1.00% APY on money market
Up to 2.47% APY on CDs
Bank Your Change automatically rounds up debit purchases to put toward savings
Competitive rates on personal loans
The best banks in Iowa offer great customer service and easy access to your funds. To ensure you make the right choice, consider not only these factors, but also the range of financial products, convenience, and technological innovation each bank provides. As you compare different banks, keep in mind your specific financial needs, preferences, and goals, such as low fees, high interest rates, or specialized services.
Once you’ve found the best bank, it’s essential to regularly review your account and stay informed about new offers and changes in rates and amenities. By doing so, you can maximize your financial benefits and adjust your banking relationship as your needs evolve. Ultimately, the best bank for you will consistently deliver on all fronts, helping you achieve financial stability and success in Iowa.
All right, let’s get this out of the way, right up front.
Dining alone in a restaurant is neither a shameful thing nor an experience to avoid.
Maybe you’ve had an experience like Jason Segel in “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” Sometimes a server does make a fuss, but, really, most are happy you’re there — if you are happy to be there, yourself.
There’s an art to the solo dine. In the right frame of mind and with reasonable expectations, a solo diner can have a delicious experience.
It helps if you like to eat, of course.
These tidbits should help the reluctant learn from my own mistakes. Know thyself, dear diner, and feel free to enjoy a great meal, regardless of situational solitude!
Solo Dining 101 Ok, so the moment finds you hungry, sans social engagement. What to do?
Let’s start with a basic tenet: you’ve got to dispel any insecurity you might have about your right to eat alone.
American culture is a little crazy about food. As a result of what we’ve been taught, some of us feel self-conscious about enjoying eating, especially in public. But the fact is, we’ve all done it.
Confidence is key, here. If you find yourself wondering whether others in a restaurant are looking at you or judging your presence, remember they’re really more interested in the cannelloni.
Location, location, loca… Where you choose to sit in a restaurant has perhaps the greatest impact on whether you’ll enjoy your solo dining experience.
It’s up to you to share your seating preference: want to be situated in eaves-dropping distance of an interesting-looking group of folks? Prefer to pass the time in a more secluded area? Unless the joint is really jumping, any friendly establishment should be happy to accommodate your pleasant request.
Read the restaurant Ah, this is important. I like to know a little bit about a place before I go there, just so there are no unpleasant surprises.
When you know the details – like how much the food costs, or that there will likely be patrons dressed to the nines – you can adjust your expectations. I’m not saying you should feel compelled to conform, but know the general guidelines. The point of the solo dine is for you to enjoy yourself.
Your meal on mobile (or, the smartphone connection) Here’s a call: to eat while connected, or no?
A meal alone certainly gives you a chance to catch up on emails, fave websites, and memes you’ve yet to have the time to embrace. Or you might want to cherish a few moments to yourself, entirely disconnected from the grind.
When I’m feeling digitally social in these situations, I like to philosophize by text with a friend who likely won’t respond right away. (Do you have those, too?) I might describe the scene, the people, the food. It’s sort of like talking to myself in the presence of another, online. I’ll hear what my friend has to say later, but, for now, I just want to put my impressions out there — and I want to enjoy the food.
What if you want to be social? Just because you arrive alone to a hip eatery doesn’t necessarily mean you wish to stay that way. Again, it’s up to you to signal your intentions.
Your body language tells the tale about whether you want to engage with other diners. A seat taken at the bar is a reasonable give-away, too.
The Staff and the Solo Diner Servers are generally friendly to those dining alone; ones who are frustrated about the desire for a larger table (and tip) really only spite themselves, if they take these feelings out on the solo diner. I choose to be super-nice to servers, but I tip based on the bill and the quality of service received — generally no more merely because I happen to be eating alone.
Enjoying a food scene with friends is one of the great pleasures in life, but there’s no rule that says it’s the only way to experience a restaurant. Go ahead, muster up your courage: “table for one, please.”