Save Big Bucks By Being A One-Car Household

Have you ever considered being a one-car family? If you are single, have you ever thought about living without a car of your own?

Certainly, there was a time when neither of those scenarios would have been considered feasible, reasonable or popular. Owning a car was our birthright and what so many of us worked toward after getting a driver’s license as a teenager. A car is often the first big-ticket item we own — or go into debt for.

But owning a car is expensive, and getting more so. There is the price of gas, the cost of insurance and constant concern about maintenance. When you own a car you pay licensing fees plus parking costs either at your workplace or for parking when you go out to eat or attend a sporting event.

During the early stages of the pandemic when so many people stayed home, the roads were empty. No one went anywhere, so no one had to drive anywhere. News stories abounded about the improved environmental conditions of the world at the time.

But, now we are crawling back to a normal life. Does a normal life necessarily mean you need to have a second car at your disposal at all times?

4 Factors to Consider to Become a One-Car Household

Here are some considerations that make it possible to be a one-car family, and reasons why you might want to consider it. Use this list to assess your family’s situation.

1. Number of Drivers

This may be the No. 1 consideration. A home with two adult drivers is likely the best scenario for going to one car. It will be easier to sync schedules. More than two, and you will need increased  patience and cooperation.

For example, if you live in a household with two adults and two driving teenagers, one car would be a nightmare unless you live in a city with excellent public transportation. That being said, working together and keeping track of schedules could allow you to go from three to two cars.

2. Driving to Work and School

If everyone in the household has a job or school that requires them to leave the house, and the locations are far enough away that walking or public transportation is not an option, then perhaps you need to be a two-car family.

But if one or more family members are working from home or studying solely online, the number of cars needed can become a topic of discussion. You might be able to become a one-car family.

3. Location of Key Services

Other than going to work, where do you absolutely need to go on a regular basis? The grocery store, naturally. Is there anywhere else that you must go to on a daily or weekly basis? Are any of those places within walking distance? Think about the possibility of the person working from home driving you to an appointment on a lunch break.

Check to see how much a round-trip Uber or Lyft ride would be from the places you regularly visit. Perhaps that will be a better deal than the prorated price of gas, insurance and maintenance. Keep in mind, though, that rideshare rates, like everything else, have gone up in recent months.

4. Occasions When Two Cars Are in Use

On a regular basis, how much time is spent when both members of your household are using a car? Or, looked at from the opposite direction, how much time is spent in a normal week with at least one car in the driveway, not being used?

The Price of Owning a Car

It’s more expensive today than ever to own a car, for a variety of reasons. The pandemic has pushed the average price of a new car to about $40,000. The price of used cars has gone up by 40%. And that’s just the start of the expenses.

The price of owning a car could be one reason that you are thinking about getting rid of one. Or the temptation of making some money on the used car market could also help make a decision.

The following chart includes 2021 information from about how much it cost a year to own a car. The average across the country is $5,265 for payments, fees, gas and maintenance. These are the costs in the top five and bottom five states.

Annual Cost of Car Ownership at a Glance

State Cost
Michigan $9,304.28
Florida $6,765.22
Texas $6,670.51
Delaware $6,404.80
Minnesota $6,317.65
Massachusetts $4,480.48
Kansas $4,531.79
Alabama $4,610.43
Tennessee $4,639.37
Vermont $4,642.13

Car Payment

Are you paying off a car loan on one or both of your vehicles? Each one is likely costing you a monthly payment somewhere around $500 if the cars are new, and one of the car loans may be costing you more than the other. Selling one of those cars is a quick way to save money.

Gas Prices

The price of gasoline is at an all-time high in the spring of 2022. In early April, the U.S. government decided to release millions of gallons of gas from the federal oil stockpile to relieve gas prices, but that is not a behavior that is long-lasting. Ask yourself:

  • What is your gasoline budget per week?
  • How often do you fill up?
  • Would you save money if you only had to worry about filling up one car per week?


Depending on your age and driving history, automobile insurance is one of the more expensive necessities in your budget. Americans pay an average of $1,655 annually for full automobile coverage, averaging a monthly payment of $138. While the average price per car drops when you insure multiple cars, it is still more expensive to insure two cars than it is to insure one.


Regular maintenance means oil changes and tire replacement, mostly. Wiper blades and brakes are also regular expenses. AAA says the average annual cost of regular maintenance on a vehicle is $792, depending on how much you drive.  That does not take into consideration any major repairs needed on older cars that have outlived their warranty.


For many states, license plate renewals are an easy way to raise revenue, and raising the rate for renewal is an easy way to increase revenue. Oregon has the highest car registration fees, between $268 and up to $637 for new cars. Florida follows with a new registration fee of $225. Registration fees are just a fraction of this in Arizona.

Renewal rates range depending on the state you live in, but states are also charging higher license plate charges for electric or hybrid cars than for gasoline-powered ones. Many communities in America also charge a fee for an annual vehicle sticker to residents, a charge that can reach $100 in some communities.


If you own or rent a single-family home, you don’t pay to park your car. But if you live in a situation where you are paying for the use of a garage, that is another cost consideration. Then, when you leave home in your own car, you may be going somewhere that requires you to pay for parking.

Toll Fees

These days you are almost forced to have an automatic payment device attached to your windshield if you live in a state that has toll roads and bridges. There is usually a one-time fee for purchase of the device and then you have to make automatic payments to refill that account balance. How often you have to pay to use the roads increases your costs of driving.

Two women laugh in the backseat of a vehicle.
Getty Images

The Price of Ride Shares and Car Rentals

The cost of ride shares with Uber or Lyft are dependent upon where you live and how far you want to travel. When determining whether you can live without that extra vehicle, you need to figure out how often you would be calling for a car to pick you up, and how far you anticipate traveling.

That being said, you would need to take a lot of rides to equal the annual cost of owning that extra car.

Depending on where you live, you can also consider renting a car for longer trips. According to Kayak, the average cost of a rental car per day jumped to $81 as of December 2021. What is your daily average expense for the extra vehicle you have? How often are you likely to need to rent a car?

The Price of Delivery Services

An entirely new topic in the issue of automobile ownership is the availability, cost and flexibility offered by delivery services, especially groceries.

How many times do you use that second car to pick up something that you could have delivered? Yes, delivery costs money but if it’s nominal it might play into your ability to go down to one car.

The Availability of Public Transportation

Whether it is a bus or a train, public transportation is likely to go to or near to where you need to go on a regular basis.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that most public transportation commuters travel by bus, followed by subway or elevated rail, train or commuter rail, then streetcar (where available).

For some people, especially those in suburban locations traveling to other suburban locations, the only true public transportation available is a bus, which is inconvenient because of spread-out bus stop locations and schedules.

The Value and Price of Convenience

The Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde told us that “a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”  We have looked at the price of owning a car vs. depending on ride shares and public transportation. Now, let’s talk about the perceived value of those options.

Do you like having a car sitting in your driveway or in your designated parking spot, ready to take you wherever you need to go whenever you need to go? Now think about how much you pay for that convenience. Is it worth it?

Cars have an environmental impact and while it’s true that one less car on the road will not have a great impact, it might have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Perhaps you want to eliminate one car as your contribution to the environment.

There certainly is a psychological price to pay if you give up that second vehicle. There is a perceived lack of freedom. But, if you are environmentally concerned, there is also a psychological price of being a two-car family when only one vehicle would suffice.

The Possibility of Sharing a Car

There is another consideration. Hopefully, you paid attention in grade school when you were taught about sharing.

In order to make a vehicle downsize work, you need to create a schedule of regular driving trips. The needs of both drivers should be considered. Is the car going to belong to one person and be borrowed by the other? A definite discussion of the ownership and use of that one vehicle needs to occur before you become a one-car family.

You might have to log in doctor and hair appointments, plus work obligations, into a shared calendar on your smartphones through Google calendar or another app. Or maybe you’ll use an old-school paper calendar hung on the fridge with a magnet. Either way, having one car will force you to get organized.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Going to One Car

We’ve collected the answers to some of the most common questions about down-sizing your family’s number of cars.

Is It Possible to be a One-Car Family?

It is, depending on the size of your family. But it requires scheduling, sharing, the willingness to use public transportation or ride-sharing services, and the willingness to walk when possible. If you cannot employ any of those tactics, it is going to be difficult. The more urban your living situation, the easier it is going to be to be a one-car household because of the availability of public transportation.

Is It Expensive to Own Two Cars?

It certainly is more expensive than owning one. You must insure both cars (although most insurers offer multiple-car discounts), you must maintain them both, and you must license them both. If you are paying off car loans on both cars, that is obviously a double expense. However, If you only use one car at a time, expenses like gas, parking and road toll costs do not double. 

How Much Insurance Can You Save If You Only Have One Car?

While most insurers offer multiple-car discounts so that the average cost per car is lower, you are still going to pay more to insure two cars than you pay to insure one. It will not be double and, as always, the rates depend on year and make of car, its usage and your location. Cars used in large metro areas are often higher to insure than cars driven in small towns.

Does Having Two Car Loans affect Your Credit Score?

It may cause your score to drop temporarily because applying for a second loan will trigger a hard credit check. Having two car loans impacts your debt-to-income ratio, which is a factor in determining your credit score.

Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.


7 Financial Aid Secrets You Should Know

As a student (or parent) it can be easy to focus solely on the college application process, and completely forget about financial aid. You spend so much time studying for the SATs (or ACTs) and tweaking your college essay so it perfectly represents you, that after you’ve been accepted and the reality of tuition payments set in, you might feel momentary panic.

It’s no secret that college tuition is expensive. Students and parents save for years to pay for higher education, but sometimes that’s just not enough. According to a Sallie Mae® study, “How America Pays for College 2021 ,” parent income and savings covered 45% of college costs while student income and savings covered 8% of the costs.

Many of us rely on financial aid to bridge the payment gap. Financial aid may come from multiple sources, including scholarships, grants, work-study, federal student loans, and private student loans.

Scholarships and grants are extremely useful forms of financial aid, since students are not typically required to pay back the money they receive. An online survey of students and parents found 72% of college families in 2021 relied on scholarships and grants to cover a portion of college expenses, according to Sallie Mae’s study.

Scholarships, grants, and savings often aren’t enough to cover the cost of attending college. Sallie Mae says 47% of college families borrowed money to help pay for college in 2021. Some families used home equity loans and credit cards, but federal student loans represented the most frequently used source of borrowed money followed by private student loans.

To top it all off, the financial aid application process can be confusing. Between federal aid and other scholarships, it can be difficult to keep everything straight.

Most often, the first step in applying for financial aid is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). You can begin filling out the FAFSA on October 1 for the following academic year. The federal FAFSA deadline for the 2022–23 academic year is June 30, 2023, while colleges and states may have their own FAFSA deadlines.

Some schools use an additional form to determine scholarship aid — the College Scholarship Service Profile .

Taking the effort to apply for financial aid early can have a positive impact on your tuition bill. Below we highlight seven financial aid secrets you should know.

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1. Decision Day vs Summer Melt

May 1 is usually decision day, the deadline when prospective college students must decide which college they plan to attend in the fall. But even after this deadline, students can change their minds. This phenomenon is known to industry professionals as “summer melt,” and sometimes it’s triggered by FAFSA verification setbacks.

Students who receive insufficient need-based financial aid, for example, might be compelled to reconsider their college enrollment decisions. Summer melt can give you an opportunity to select a more affordable school for you if you’ve encountered a FAFSA verification roadblock.

Summer melt is a common problem that causes schools to lose students during the summer. Because of this, schools may have a bit of secret wiggle room in their acceptance policy to admit new students over the summer for the fall semester.

2. Writing a Letter

You might be able to take advantage of summer melt with this secret: write a letter. After you get your financial aid offer, you could write a letter to your school’s financial aid office to open the lines of communication.

Let them know how excited you are to attend school in the fall. That’s where you could include a thoughtfully worded inquiry for any additional aid that you might qualify for as a result of summer melt.

When students decide to switch schools or not attend at the last minute, it means that they also won’t be using their financial aid award — which could now be available to other students.

3. Calling the Financial Aid Office

Another way to potentially take advantage of summer melt is to call your school’s financial aid office. Instead of calling immediately after you receive your financial aid award, think about calling in June or July. This allows financial aid offices time to account for students who have declined their financial aid packages.

An appropriately timed call to the financial aid office at your school could mean additional financial aid is allocated to your package — no guarantees, of course, but it never hurts to ask.

4. Submitting Paperwork and Applications On Time

Every school’s financial aid office has to follow a budget. Some financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so it helps to submit forms, like the FAFSA, and other applications, on time or even ahead of schedule.

You may be out of luck if you apply for assistance after your university’s financial aid office has met their budget for the year. Some states have early winter deadlines for awarding scholarships and grants. Tennessee residents, for example, must complete their FAFSA by February 1 to be considered for a state-funded Tennessee Student Assistance Award grant.

You can check the deadlines for financial aid in your state through the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website .

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payment and rate that fits your budget.

5. Being Prepared

Have the basics ready to go before you sit down to fill out the FAFSA. If you have all of the information you need before you begin filling out the FAFSA, you’ll likely have an easier time filling out the information.

Usually, each parent and the student will need to create a username and password, which is called the Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). You’ll also need:

•   Social Security numbers (for you and your parents)

•   Bank statements and records of untaxed income (possibly)

•   You and your parents’ tax returns (aid awards are based on income from two years ago)

•   Any W2 forms

•   Net worth calculations of your investments (for students and parents)

6. Being Wary of Services that Charge You for Help

If you need assistance filling out the FAFSA, avoid any services that charge you. The first F of FAFSA stands for “Free,” so there is no need to pay for a service to fill the form out for you.

If you need assistance filling out the FAFSA, there are plentiful online resources through the U.S. Department of Education .

7. Filing the FAFSA Every Year

For every year you are a student and want to receive federal aid, you’ll have to file the FAFSA. Get in the habit of filing it every fall, so you’re closer to the top of the financial aid pile.

The Takeaway

Scholarships and grants can be super-helpful additions to a federal financial aid package. The money can reduce your tuition bill and doesn’t usually need to be repaid. Work-study can also be beneficial in helping college students make ends meet.

If you need additional help financing your college experience, SoFi offers private student loans with an entirely digital application process and no fees whatsoever. Potential borrowers can choose between a variable or fixed interest rate and have the option to add a cosigner to the loan.

Learn more about SoFi’s flexible repayment plans and application process for private student loans.

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The Cheapest Neighborhoods in Philadelphia for Renters in 2022

Home of the cheesesteak, the City of Brotherly Love is also known for its art scene. And these affordable neighborhoods.

Philadelphia gives you the best of two worlds. You get the perks of living in a thriving metropolis (it’s now the sixth-largest city in the U.S.), as well as the comfort and pleasure of living in a city that has a small-town vibe. Most cities on the East Coast have this going for them because they embrace the area’s history. Here, you’ll see stone-paved streets, historic buildings and lovely, mature foliage that can take you back to yesteryear.

You’ll also discern a very Paris-like vibe in Philly, as well, which makes sense since this is Paris’ sister city. And because of Benjamin Franklin (the first ambassador to France), there are numerous homages paid to French living in this city – from architectural designs to French cuisine.

If you like the idea of living in a Paris-like community in the states, a move to Philly might be in the cards for you! When you’re ready to make the move, we can help you find lovely apartments for rent in Philadelphia, as well as some of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

What is the average rent in Philadelphia?

The average rent in Philadelphia is $2,541. Interestingly, that rate is 12.48 percent lower than the previous year. Will it continue to drop or stay the same? Who’s to say! There are some lovely neighborhoods and apartments in the city, and it’s always nice when they’re affordable for most people.

If the average seems a bit high for your price range, don’t assume you can’t afford a move to Philly. Remember that this is just an average. Plenty of apartments in the city are considerably higher or lower than the median rental price. With some careful scouring of the city — plus help from our list of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia — you can find a fantastic community to call home.

The 10 most affordable neighborhoods in Philadelphia

You’ve decided to make the move to Philly, but you’re not sure where to live yet. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of finding the best apartment, but that’s only part of the equation. We first have to find the best neighborhood. Below is our list of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. We’re sure there’s something there that can fit most renters’ budgets.

10. Garden Court

Garden Court

Garden Court

Source: Lofts
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,073
  • Rent change since 2021: 0 percent change

The Garden Court area is a residential community developed in the 1920s. It’s one of the first neighborhoods to accommodate the automobile, which is evident in the layout of its streets. To this day, the 1920s vibe is unmistakable in the style and architecture of the area.

Though many of the apartments for rent in Garden Court have a modern look on the interior, most have beautiful, historic brick features on the exterior. Some apartment owners decided to keep the early 19th-century design on the interior of their complexes, choosing only to update appliances, flooring, paint and some fixtures. Otherwise, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another era when you visit one of the apartments in Garden Court.

If you love historic architecture, you’ll be happy to know that this is one of the cheapest places to live in Philadelphia.

9. West Central Germantown

West Central Germantown

West Central Germantown

Source: Hill
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,041
  • Rent change since 2021: +9.37 percent

Made up mostly of young professionals and retirees, West Central Germantown is one of the most affordable places in Philadelphia. It’s a great neighborhood for singles and couples just starting out. It’s close to employment opportunities, as well as dining, entertainment and other nightlife activities.

Residents believe this neighborhood is a hidden gem simply because other communities offer a shorter commute for young professionals. However, the drive is not that much longer and the benefits definitely outweigh the con of a longer commute, which include:

  • Beautiful architecture
  • Mature trees and plenty of green spaces
  • Being one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philly

Residents who love greenery will like the area’s proximity to Blue Bell Hill Park and Wissahickon Valley Park, which has nearly 60 miles of trails.

8. Upper North Philadelphia

Upper North Philadelphia

Upper North Philadelphia

Source: Mills Apartments
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,038
  • Rent change since 2021: 0 percent

You can find Temple University and the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University in Upper North Philadelphia, which is one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Students of these schools are happy that they get to live in a neighborhood that’s close to their campuses while at the same time not having to worry about rental fees breaking the bank.

In addition to being a college neighborhood, Upper North Philly has some beautiful green spaces, including Fernhill Park and Hunting Park. Students and other residents of the area can go to those parks to read, study, play frisbee and soccer, get some exercise or just enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.

7. Allegheny West

allegheny west, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

allegheny west, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Source: N 23rd St
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,038
  • Rent change since 2021: 0 percent

The suburb of Allegheny West is approximately 15 minutes north of Downtown Philadelphia and has a mixed urban-suburban vibe. Many families live in the area and schools here earn high ratings from parents, many well above average.

On the west side of the area, Allegheny West borders the Schuylkill River and the Schuylkill River Trail. Eventually, the multi-use path (built over abandoned railroad lines) will extend for 120 miles through four counties. As you travel the trail, you’ll get to experience the rich history of the region as the paved or gravel path takes you through urban and industrial landscapes, as well as suburban, rural and agricultural areas.

6. Chestnut Hill

Chestnut Hills

Chestnut Hills

Source: Apartments
  • Average 2-BR rent: $2,035
  • Rent change since 2021: -1.63 percent

Just 10 minutes from Downtown Philly is the historic neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, first established in the 1600s as part of Francis Daniel Pastorius’s German Township. In addition to beautiful, historic architecture, the district is known for its high-quality private schools and thriving business district.

Several celebrities live in the area, including actor David Morse, professional golfer Joe Daley and actress Melissa Fitzgerald. Interestingly, despite the affluent residents, Chestnut Hill is still considered one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Chestnut Hill is also known as Philly’s Garden District. Within this area, you’ll find the:

  • Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Japanese Hill and Water Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Garden RailwayJapanese Overlook Garden
  • Sculpture Garden

5. Overbrook

Overbrook, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Overbrook, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Source:[email protected]
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,917
  • Rent change since 2021: +11.55 percent

A little over five miles from City Center is the community of Overbrook. Being so close to Downtown gives Overbrook a bit of an urban vibe. However, plenty of areas within this neighborhood feel decidedly suburban.

Residents describe the community as modern and middle-class. You’ll find strip malls for easy, convenient shopping and services like doctor and dentists offices, banks, hair salons and more.

Schools in the area, including Overbrook Educational Center and Overbrook School for the Blind, get high ratings from parents in the neighborhood.

Nearby Morris Park — founded in 2004 — is nearly 150 acres of beautiful green space to spend time with friends, family and neighbors.

4. Wynnefield



Source: Gainor Rd.
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,916
  • Rent change since 2021: -3.97 percent

If you’re looking for a quiet, suburban-like neighborhood, you’ll want to look for apartments for rent in Wynnefield. Some people move here because it’s one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Once here, they’re pleasantly surprised by the peace and quiet, community growth and spacious homes (many of which include a garage).

Though it has a discernible suburban vibe, residents love that they’re not too far from urban amenities. Just head to City Avenue for a day of shopping and to get some delectable food items. Wynnefield is also close to St. Joseph University. It’s an easy commute for students, and since it’s one of the most affordable neighborhoods in Philly, it can also help them save some cash.

3. Roxborough

Roxborough, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Roxborough, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Source: View at Manayunk
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,845
  • Rent change since 2021: +0.98 percent

Roxborough is ideal for renters looking for one of the cheapest places to live in Philadelphia that’s also family-friendly. The neighborhood is only 11 miles northwest of Downtown Philly, near some of the best urban amenities the city has to offer. However, there are several safe green spaces where you can take your kids to play.

It’s also an easy commute from Roxborough to Downtown via the SEPTA regional line. Roxborough is also somewhat walkable with nice sidewalks and easy access to locally-owned businesses and eateries.

The neighborhood also boasts historic row homes surrounded by beautiful, lush foliage.

2. East Falls

East Falls

East Falls

Source: Park
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,503
  • Rent change since 2021: +4.92 percent

Students of Thomas Jefferson University East Falls and Drexel University College of Medicine looking for apartments in the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia need to visit East Falls. It’s highly rated amongst students and young professionals, in part because of its proximity to Philadelphia’s City Center.

East Falls has plenty of green spaces and coffee shops for studying, hanging out with friends or just enjoying some alone time.

Residents say the neighborhood is safe, and they enjoy taking walks in the area, partly because they feel safe and because the scenery is lovely.

1. Parkwood

Parkwood, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Parkwood, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia

Source: Brook Apartments
  • Average 2-BR rent: $1,296
  • Rent change since 2021: 0 percent

If you’re looking for a diverse, close-knit community, check out the apartments for rent in Parkwood, one of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia.

Developers planned a residential neighborhood here in Parkwood back in the 1950s. Therefore, you’ll find that the predominant housing style is 1950s-era brick row homes. Thankfully, they’ve been well maintained over the years and add to the community’s charm. You’ll also find lovely condos, townhouses and apartment complexes in Parkwood, too.

The local Parkwood Shopping Center has 26 stores to run errands, do some shopping and grab something to eat.

The most expensive neighborhood in Philadelphia

So, you’ve looked through our list of the most affordable neighborhoods in Philadelphia and think that you might actually be able to afford a community that costs a bit more. You might want to check out the community of Washington Square West. It’s the most expensive neighborhood but still within some people’s budgets!

Washington Square West was one of the first public squares in the country. It’s near the city’s center, making it convenient for work and shopping, and is one of the most beautiful, chic communities in the area.

You’ll find some amazing apartments near the community’s trendy shopping boutiques, hipster coffee houses and the most amazing eateries. Plus, the community is absolutely buzzing with activity at night. And while singles and young professionals love hanging out (and living!) in this neighborhood, there are lots of families that call it home, too.

If you like modern shopping, entertainment and dining options mixed with a good dose of historic charms, like cobblestone streets and historic buildings, definitely check out Washington Square West.

Find an affordable neighborhood for your next apartment

Looking for the right community and apartment to fit your needs isn’t a daunting task. After reviewing our list of the cheapest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, you can then search our listings for a great apartment in that area. If you want to cut down on the time and effort even more, be sure to use our search filters. You can narrow your search to find apartments for rent in Philadelphia that will not only fit your budget but will also have the amenities you need and be in the neighborhood of your dreams!

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from’s multifamily rental property inventory as of January 2022. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets. The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.


Teen spending habits in 2022

teenage girl online shopping on floor of living room while holding credit cardteenage girl online shopping on floor of living room while holding credit card

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

There are around 27.7 million teenagers living in the United States who spend an estimated $63 billion annually.

American teens are voracious consumers of digital media, and they do much of their shopping with online retailers. Meanwhile, marketing to teenagers means being aware of the influencers and causes they care most about. Survey data finds that teens today have varied interests, from social causes like environmentalism to musical icons like Taylor Swift, from online streaming services like Netflix to fast food behemoths like Chick-fil-A.

For anyone looking to better understand teenage consumers, it’s important to take a look at what teenagers buy, where they get their money and what their financial goals and worries are.

What do teenagers buy?

Though food has consistently dominated teenage spending habits for nearly a decade, clothing now reigns supreme as the biggest purchasing priority for teens. The popularity of athletic brands like Nike, Adidas and Lululemon highlights the trend toward casual clothing, perhaps spurred on by the remote school environment throughout the pandemic.

Food spending remains important for teenagers, however, and Chick-fil-A overtook Starbucks as the top restaurant for this age group. Starbucks’ drop could be attributed to its increasingly slower lines thanks to the introduction of mobile orders and the subsequent service slowdown.

The entertainment, media and video game industries have increased in popularity in the past year. The ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to many more teenagers spending a majority of their time at home. Therefore, their spending is more directed toward these industries rather than concerts and travel. Likewise, online shopping has generated more attraction than shopping in person.

Top brands for teenagers:

  • Clothing: Nike
  • Handbags: Michael Kors
  • Restaurant: Chick-fil-A
  • Shopping website: Amazon
  • Beauty: Ulta
  • Cosmetics: Maybelline
  • Social media: Snapchat
  • Streaming video: Netflix

Teens know what they like and spend their money accordingly. You can get a closer look at teenage buying preferences below.

  • 30 percent of teenagers prefer to shop at specialty stores, while only 10 percent prefer shopping at major chains. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Male teenagers devote 14 percent of their spending to video games, while female teenagers only spend 2 percent on video games. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • After the onset of the pandemic, teenagers spent 50 percent less on concerts and sporting events in 2021 than they did in 2017. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Regardless of income, teenagers spend 22 percent of their money on clothing in fall 2021. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Teenagers spend only 1 percent of their funds on movies, but they spend more than $200 annually on video games. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • 52 percent of teens prefer Amazon as their top shopping website. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Nearly half of all teens either already eat plant-based meats or are willing to try, and Impossible Burgers are the preferred brand. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Over half of teens prefer healthy snacks, and nearly one-third of teenagers say they are eating more organic foods in 2021 compared to 2020. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Only 33 percent of teens prefer full-service restaurants—down significantly from 57 percent in 2009. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • In addition to Amazon, teens do much of their online shopping with Nike, Urban Outfitters, SHEIN, Lululemon and PacSun. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • 82 percent of female teenagers say that online influencers help them discover brands and trends. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Maybelline, e.l.f. and Tarte led the way for teenage beauty spending, but overall spending totaled just $75, a year-over-year decrease of 11 percent. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • Upper-income teens report that Under Armour, Adidas, Justice and Hollister are the most common brands they used to wear but no longer do. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • As of fall 2021, more than one-third of teenagers own a smartwatch, and 15 percent of teens plan to buy an Apple Watch. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • More than three-quarters of teenagers own an iPhone, and the same number of teens expect their next phone will also be an iPhone. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)
  • 9 percent of teens have purchased cryptocurrency, and 78 percent of teen crypto buyers are male. (Source: Taking Stock With Teens)

Where do teenagers get their money?

Teenagers earn money through a mix of gifts, allowance and jobs. Although their spending power isn’t as high in comparison to other groups’, teens still hold a significant amount of spending power. Read on to see how employment trends have shaped teen spending.

  • Fewer than one-third of teenagers held a paying job in the summer of 2021, which is the lowest employment percentage since the Great Recession. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • Nearly 2 million 16- to 19-year-olds lost their jobs at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • Overall, around 5.4 million teenagers were employed in the summer of 2021. (Source: Pew Research Center)
  • The most common industries for teenagers to work in are food services (35 percent) and retail (25 percent). (Source: Pew Research Center) 
  • 32 percent of teenagers receive allowances for doing chores. (Source: Junior Achievement
  • On average, teens have their first job at age 14. (Source: TD Ameritrade)
  • Teenage workers aged 16 to 19 have a median weekly income of $566. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Students who are enrolled full time in college are less likely to enter the workforce than those who are studying part-time. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • The average allowance for children under age 18 is around $30 per week or $1,500 per year. (Source: AICPA)

Financial goals and concerns of teenagers

Even at a young age, teenagers are keen on financial goals and have high expectations for the future. Many believe that they’ll reach milestones like buying a home and paying off their student loans in their 30s. However, some financial concerns still linger for teens who grew up in the Great Recession and have seen their formative years defined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 43 percent of teens believe they’ll pay off student loans by the time they turn 30. (Source: Junior Achievement)
  • 35 percent of teens think they’ll have $100,000 in savings by age 30. (Source: Junior Achievement)
  • 3 out of 5 teens believe they’ll own a home by age 30. (Source: Junior Achievement)
  • 8 out of 10 teenagers describe themselves as responsible with their money. (Source: FONA International)
  • 45 percent of teens are concerned about not being able to afford living on their own. (Source: Junior Achievement)
  • 47 percent of teens are concerned about paying for college. (Source: Junior Achievement)
  • 40 percent of teens are concerned about finding a fulfilling, well-paying job. (Source: Junior Achievement)

Teenage members of Generation Z are setting themselves up as a financially strong generation. Continued credit education is crucial for these teens as they get older and start building their credit. The decisions teens make at this age are important to watch as they mature into adulthood and make bigger financial decisions—in the meantime, it’s important that these teens practice good financial hygiene like regularly reading their credit reports and reviewing their bank statements for discrepancies.

Reviewed by Miriam Allred, Associate Attorney at Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Miriam Allred was born and raised in Southern California. After high school she joined the US Navy. She then went on to get an Economics degree from Chapman University where she got to enjoy an internship at the United States Supreme Court. Miriam then went to Brigham Young University where she received her Juris Doctor. Prior to joining Lexington Law, Miriam worked as a civil rights attorney dealing with discrimination and sexual harassment. In this role she helped write and create policies and investigate sexual harassment and discrimination complaints. Miriam also has experience in family law. Miriam is licensed to practice in Utah.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.


The Best College Towns in Maine

Live out your romantic New England college dreams in these quintessential Maine college towns.

With tree-filled campuses and red brick buildings, New England colleges are the golden standard for college experiences. Found in charming small towns close to New England lakes, forests, beaches and mountains, their location is a key part of their appeal. Plus, everyone knows that one of the best parts about college is the time spent outside the classroom.

When not in class, students want to go out and do fun stuff within walking distance of campus. College towns need to have a good mix of social activities. That includes performance venues, restaurants, bars, cafés, shopping and sports. Outdoor access is also very important, with proximity to national parks or recreation areas. And, of course, they need affordable digs, since most college students are on tight budgets. The location, attractions and layout of a college town play a big part in deciding where to go to college.

Maine is the ideal place for your college years. You can go hiking and kayaking in Acadia National Park. Portland (yes, the other Portland) has great foodie and craft brewing scenes in its own right. You can live in friendly, bustling small towns that have plenty to do but still allow you to focus on your studies. Even if you’re not a student, college towns are a great place to live. They’re affordable, have lively cultural scenes and tons of great food and beer. No matter what kind of college experience you want, Maine has a town for it.

The best Maine college towns to live and study in

From cozy cities to rural towns, these are the best places to live and go to college in Maine.

Augusta, Maine

Augusta, Maine

Home to the public University of Maine at Augusta, Maine’s capital city is a happy medium between big city and small town. With roughly 19,000 residents, almost everything is within a 15-minute drive of the city center. The university, part of the greater University of Maine, which has campuses across the state, is a five-minute drive from downtown.

With a student body of less than 6,000, it’s Maine’s third-biggest public university. Students can pursue bachelor’s degrees in fields like liberal arts and nursing. Situated along the Kennebec River waterfront, downtown Water Street is Augusta’s social hub. Parks, bars, restaurants, theaters and shopping are all within walking distance. The surrounding forests are also great escapes to enjoy fall foliage and hiking. Students and renters can expect to pay an average of $709 a month for an apartment.

Bangor, Maine

Bangor, Maine

From visiting Stephen King’s house to live shows at the Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor has quite the cultural scene. Historically a hub for the lumber industry, nowadays, education is one of its top fields. Bangor has two private universities, Beal College and Husson University, which have strong business, science and communication programs. Eastern Maine Community College brings affordable education to residents. It also offers more than 30 programs in the liberal arts and technical fields.

Twenty to 44-year-olds account for almost 40 percent of the population. So, Bangor is great for the young crowd. Hanging out in city parks, dining at local restaurants and visiting museums are among the top things to do here. One-bedroom apartments cost an average of $795, and Bangor even has its own small international airport.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine

Who wouldn’t want to live and study along the scenic Maine coastline? The gateway to Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor attracts residents who want to live surrounded by nature. Hiking, boating and kayaking allow you to get up close to mountains, lakes, rivers and bays. With a picturesque downtown full of restaurants and shops, there’s plenty to do in town, as well. You can even eat all the lobster rolls you want.

Bar Harbor caters to students seeking careers related to the outdoors. The private College of the Atlantic is an experimental institution. It only offers degrees related to human ecology, which is the study of mankind’s interaction with the environment. So, the small student body of some 350 students spends plenty of time studying and working outside.

Biddeford, Maine

Biddeford, Maine

Not only is Biddeford Maine’s youngest city, but it’s a great city for young people to live in. Along with being the home of the University of New England, the median age around town is 29. With an average rent of $958, it’s also affordable.

Biddeford has recently revitalized its downtown area as a hip social hub. There’s diverse cuisine, independent stores, breweries and entertainment. The historic City Theater hosts music, dance and theater shows throughout the year. Biddeford’s location along the Maine coastline provides access to beaches, forests and rivers.

Brunswick, Maine

Brunswick, Maine

Brunswick has the honor of being the hometown of Maine’s first college. Founded in 1794, Bowdoin College is a private, liberal arts university. Its strong art- and culture-focused curriculum has turned Brunswick into a center for the arts and creativity. The Bowdoin College Museum of Art has over 20,000 works in its collection. Preserved as a national landmark, you can visit the home of author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Southern Maine Community College is the other higher education option in town.

Brunswick also has theaters, historic museums, breweries, fun restaurants, boutiques and antique shops. Farmers’ markets, parks and nature preserves also give residents ample opportunities to get outside. Residents can expect to dole out an average of $804 for rent.

Castine, Maine

Castine, Maine

For those who want to live life close to or on the water, Castine is the salty seaside town of your dreams. Located in eastern Maine, this small coastal town is a close-knit community of around 1,000 residents. From classic New England homes to the boat-filled harbor, it’s full of maritime charm.

In their free time, locals go boating, kayaking, hiking and golfing. As most locals own their homes, the median rent of $991 is higher than the statewide average. You can shop for seasonal produce at the farmer’s market, and the restaurants serve up delicious seafood fresh from the water.

Young adults enjoy a demographic majority here. This is thanks to student attendance at the Maine Maritime Academy. Aspiring salty dogs looking for a career in the Merchant Marines or maritime industry pursue four-year engineer and officer programs here.

Lewiston, Maine

Lewiston, Maine

With four different colleges, Lewiston is the peak of Maine college towns. The best-known is Bates College, a private liberal arts college. Along with Bowdoin, it’s one of Maine’s Little Ivies. The town is also home to the private Maine College of Health Professions, the public University of Southern Maine and Central Maine Community College.

With so many campuses, Lewiston bustles with youthful energy and a vibrant social scene. As Maine’s second-biggest city, there’s plenty to do. With theaters, museums, lush parks, dining and shopping, cultural and outdoorsy diversions abound. Thanks to the Bates Bobcats, residents can cheer on their local football, basketball and soccer teams, among other sports. Festivals take place throughout the year, including a film festival and a Brewfest. Lewiston also has a very affordable cost of living. The average rent here is $716.

Orono, Maine

Orono, Maine

Orono is the complete Maine college town package. It has great sports, parks, museums, breweries and fun activities like bowling. One-bedroom apartments here cost an average of $988, so it’s accessible to students and budget-conscious renters. Residents have access to everything from farmers’ markets and shopping malls to fishing and nature strolls at the Orono Bog Boardwalk.

Young adults between 20 and 44 make up 43 percent of the population, so it’s very much a young-person town. This is thanks to the University of Maine, which has an enrollment of nearly 12,000 students. The flagship campus for the state-wide public university, it’s also Maine’s only Division I university. As such, collegiate athletics is a big part of life here.

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

Along with Lewiston, Portland is one of the top college towns in Maine. As the state’s most populous city, it’s ideal for students seeking more of a big-city experience. Portland has its own stellar food and craft brewing scene similar to West Coast Portland. Arts and culture, shopping, sports and outdoor recreation like fishing also thrive here. The downtown and hip districts are easy to navigate on foot, granting Portland a WalkScore of 80. At an average of $1,595 per month for a one-bedroom, it’s the most expensive Maine college town on this list.

Students here have four colleges to choose from. They can study art at the private Maine College of Art or law at the University of Maine School of Law. Portland also has satellite campuses for the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine.

Waterville, Maine

Waterville, Maine

Home to two private colleges, Waterville is a prosperous, youthful community on the shores of the Kennebec River. From watching arthouse films at the Railroad Square Cinema to spending time outdoors at the Quarry Road Trails, locals have tons of activities.

With around 16,000 residents, the town is rightfully proud of its higher education institutions. Foremost is Colby College, a private and highly selective liberal arts college that’s considered one of the Little Ivies. Thomas College is a well-regarded private university specializing in business, technology and education. The cost of rent here sits at $1,150 per month.

Find good work-life balance living in these Maine college towns

College towns in Maine offer the best of both worlds when it comes to work, study and play. From beaches to forests, you can’t beat the outdoor access here, as well. The low rents and affordable cost of living are just icing on the cake.


The 20 Biggest Wealth Destroyers of the Past 30 Years

When folks think of the worst stocks of the past 30 years, Lehman Brothers, Enron or Arthur Andersen are but three among legions of notorious names that might immediately come to mind.

Yet somehow, those corporate catastrophes don’t come near cracking the top 20 stocks that destroyed the most shareholder wealth in recent history. 

That’s partly due to the depressing fact that there’s simply too much competition.

The respective popping of the tech and real estate bubbles in the U.S. and Japan; an appalling catalog of corporate malfeasance, malpractice and fraud; and the Great Financial Crisis make for a crowded field when it comes to the wholesale destruction of shareholder wealth since 1990.

But before we get to these all-time drags on shareholder performance, let’s start by defining our terms for wealth creation and destruction.

What Is “Wealth Destruction”?

Hendrik Bessembinder, a finance professor at Arizona State University’s W.P Carey School of Business, takes a different tack when it comes to studying the best and worst performing equities. 

The idea isn’t to figure out stocks’ straight-up returns, be they positive or negative, over some defined time period. Rather, as Dr. Bessembinder writes in his research:

“We measure for each stock the dollar amount by which the wealth of shareholders in aggregate was enhanced by their decision to take on the risk of stock investing rather than investing in low risk U.S. Treasury bills.”

Put another way, Bessembinder measures long-term shareholder outcomes both in terms of compound returns and relative improvement to shareholders’ wealth.

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To oversimplify a bit: Imagine an investor back in 1990. Rather than buy shares in, say, Apple (AAPL), what if he or she instead sunk their capital into risk-free one-month U.S. Treasury bills? 

Think of Apple’s “return” in this case as essentially the change in market capitalization adjusted for things such as dividends, share repurchases or new equity issuance, when compared against the compound return of risk-free one-month U.S. Treasury bills over the same time period.

The T-bills are a kind of stand-in for opportunity cost. And the difference over time between the two investment choices, when positive, is wealth creation. It’s the enhancement.

In Apple’s case, the enhancement happens to be tops among the 30 best stocks of the past 30 years. Apple created $2.67 trillion in shareholder wealth, or 23.5% annualized, from 1990 to 2020, according to Bessembinder’s research.

But what happens when the enhancement is negative? That’s when you get wealth destruction. 

“Wealth destruction is not simply a decline in market cap, though in many instances this will be the largest contributor,” Bessembinder says. “My calculations all take the one-month Treasury bill rate as the opportunity cost.”

A firm that generated a zero return would be destroying wealth, at least in those months where T-bill rates are positive, Bessembinder adds. His calculations also implicitly account for any share repurchases or new equity issuances.

“If a firm’s market capitalization falls, but the reason is a share repurchase, then no wealth is destroyed,” Bessembinder says.

The 20 Biggest Wealth Destroyers of the Past 30 Years

Have a look at the top 20 stocks of the past 30 years in terms of how much shareholder wealth they destroyed:

A chart of the largest wealth destroyersA chart of the largest wealth destroyers

Note that 12 of the wealth destroyers in the table above are Japanese firms – and 10 of those names are banks. Japan’s banking crisis, which ran from 1991 to 2005 following a collapse in stock, real estate and other asset prices, is to blame.

The U.S. has the dubious distinction of making four contributions to the list. Wachovia, which fell apart amid the GFC, is today part of Wells Fargo (WFC). WorldCom, among the most infamous accounting scandals of its day, emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 under the name MCI. Parts of that business survive today within Verizon’s (VZ) Verizon Business division. 

However, the greatest wealth destroyer of the past three decades by far is PetroChina (PTR). The Chinese oil-and-gas company is the listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation. From June 2000 through December 2020, its Shanghai- and Hong Kong-listed shares destroyed more than a half-trillion U.S. dollars in shareholder wealth, Bessembinder found.

The Takeaway for Investors

Perhaps the most salient aspect of Bessembinder’s research is that the vast majority of stocks are duds. Indeed, all of the $76 trillion in net global stock market wealth created over the past 30 years was generated solely by the top-performing 2.4% of stocks.

Investors were highly unlikely to buy and hold a concentrated portfolio of the market’s vanishingly small handful of outsized wealth creators. At the same time, the market’s biggest wealth destroyers were out there helping to crush investors’ long-term plans and goals.

If the lists of greatest wealth creators and wealth destroyers tell us anything, it’s the supreme importance of having a diversified portfolio.


Unleash Your Creativity with Todd Henry

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking that creativity is something mystical, reserved exclusively for artists and inventors, then Modern Mentor’s conversation with Todd Henry, host of the Accidental Creative podcast, will change your mind and get you into your creative zone today!


Rachel Cooke
January 24, 2022

Accidental Creative podcast, and author of four books including his most recent, The Motivation Code, Todd Henry is a sought-after speaker, consultant, and advisor to organizations seeking to enhance their collective creative capability.

In this interview, I had the opportunity to talk to Todd about why creativity is such an essential piece of what everyone does every day and some tangible strategies we can all be using to tap into our most creative selves.

Listen to the full conversation on Apple, Spotify, your favorite podcast platform, or just click play on the audio player above.

So, what is creativity?

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“Creativity is—at the heart of it—is problem-solving,” began Todd. “If you’re designing something [a logo, a building, a system], then you’re solving a problem…[and] that’s certainly a creative act. Or maybe you have to manage a team of people and you have to develop systems and solve problems every day. That is also a creative act… sometimes we tend to conflate creativity and art. We think that, because I am not artistic, I’m not creative and that’s not true… Creativity is problem-solving at the heart of it. So if you have to go to work, you have to solve problems under pressure every day, congratulations, you are a creative professional.”

How can we manufacture creative moments?

Todd effectively “teaches” creativity for a living. He works with leaders and organizations to help them learn and unleash actual practices that ladder up to creative inspiration.

“What I’ve spent most of my career teaching people…is if you want to be brilliant at a moment’s notice, which of course we all want to do, you have to begin far upstream from the moment you need a brilliant idea. You have to build practices into your life to prepare you for those moments when you need that ‘Aha moment.’

Creativity, as Steve Jobs once put it, is simply connecting things. And that’s largely true. You see one thing, you see another thing, you see a connection between them click, [and] suddenly you have a [new] solution because nobody thought to connect those two things. In order to do that, you have to play with ideas. You have to play with concepts. You have to have dots in your head to connect, which means you have to be preparing for those moments by filling your mind with valuable stimuli.”

What are some specific habits or practices we can use?

Todd outlined some of his favorite creative habits and practices that are available to everyone—because everyone is a creative.

1. Dedicate time to absorb stimuli:

Put time on your calendar reserved for reading, studying ideas, watching inspiring things, listening to a broad range of music. These are all things that stimulate different parts of our brain which can trigger new ideas.

2. Practice defining problems:

“If creativity is problem-solving,” explained Todd, “that means we have to define the problems effectively or else we’re not going to be able to make progress on them. So do you understand the outcome you’re actually trying to solve, or are you trying to do a project? Our minds aren’t wired to do projects. Our minds are wired to solve problems. So when you’re stuck… step back and ask yourself, ‘am I still solving the same problem?’”

3. Manage your energy:

When we’re not managing our energy, Todd says, “we’re not managing our ability to bring emotional labor to our work. So we get to the end of the day… completely fried because we’ve had no ebb, no flow, no, uh, space, no buffer. It’s just been meeting after meeting, after meeting… and we’ve got nothing left to give. So we have to be really good at pruning… at saying no. Carving out space for ourselves to allow brilliant ideas to emerge because innovation happens in the white space… in the gaps between all of our frantic activity.

All of these tips and insights left me feeling as if creativity had been demystified and democratized. It’s not something that happens only in big lightbulb moments of explosion, and it isn’t reserved for the visionaries. It’s for all of us—and it comes from practice, habits, commitment, and discipline,

There is much more wisdom to be discovered in the book. Listen to our interview for more great insights. Check out the Accidental Creative podcast. And then pick up your copy of The Motivation Code.