Recently, several people I know made the switch from traditional brick-and-mortar banks to internet-only banks. Because online banks lack many (or any) physical branches, they have little overhead and can offer better interest rates and charge fewer fees. I do much of my banking on the web already, so what would be the difference? Here, some pros and cons.
Pros of Internet Banks
• Higher interest rates (or even interest rates at all!) on savings A quick search of bankrate.com shows that a number of internet-based savings accounts pay around 1% interest - not a ton, but better than the piddling 0.08% (sadly, not a typo) my current large brick-and-mortar pays me. And the best rate I found for any bank with branches in New York City is 0.40%.
Related: Save $100 (Or More) A Month
• Checking accounts with interest Internet banks with these types of accounts pay between 0.25% and 0.95%. Local NYC banks: 0.01% to 0.10% - and all require a hefty minimum balance to avoid account maintenance
Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping
Recently, several people I know made the switch from traditional brick-and-mortar banks to internet-only banks. Because online banks lack many (or any) physical branches, they have little overhead and can offer better interest rates and charge fewer fees. I do much of my banking on the web already, so what would be the difference? Here, some pros and cons.Read More »from The Pros and Cons of Online-Only Banks
First, pare it down.
Start by going through all of your clothing, shoes, and accessories and deciding what to keep, donate, toss, repair, and store elsewhere. (Did you know that donating 1 suit, 1 sweater, and 3 pairs of jeans = 1 hour of on-the-job training for someone in your community? Locate your nearest Goodwill® donation center and calculate your own donations' impact at donate.goodwill.org.)
Next, assess what you have.
Regardless of the level of closet renovation you choose, you'll need to know the following:
- Count your pairs of shoes, noting any tall boots that may not fit on a normal shelf.
- Count your handbags.
- Measure the linear feet of short-hanging rod space for clothing you need to store.
- Measure the linear feet of long-hanging rod space for clothing you need to store.
- Measure or estimate the linear feet of shelving you require for folded sweaters or jeans.
- Determine your ideal number of drawers for underwear, socks, pajamas, and t-shirts.
- Good Housekeeping | Parenting – Mon, Jul 25, 2011 9:11 PM EDT
"Kids today don't get impressed easily, and when their birthday rolls around it can be hard finding a party theme that they won't turn their noses up at," says Dawn Sandomeno, who, along with her partner Elizabeth Mascali, runs PartyBluprints. We asked Dawn to do a little recon for us, and she polled a group of tween/teen moms and teachers to see which birthday party ideas were on trend. The findings? TV is the ticket.Read More »from Two Totally Cool Birthday Party Ideas for Tweens & Teens
Here are two themes that take their inspiration from television. Take it away, Dawn...
1. Compete and Celebrate Take your cue from the popular NBC show Minute to Win It. This party theme provides one or two hours of serious fun that can hold up under the scrutiny of tween and teen guests. Minute to Win It works for a home party because the games are challenging but setting them up is not. Most of the items you need are in your pantry or garage. For a material list and directions on how to play over 100 official games from MTWI click here. You can find invites here and
Summer has plenty of pleasures to enjoy - but those sweltering, steam bath-like dog days? Not so much. Here, stress-free ways to keep your home cool - without sending your electric bill soaring:Read More »from 4 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool
1. Smart Ways to Save on the AC
• Set the thermostat at 70° to 75°F when you're home, 80°F when you're not; don't turn it off completely before leaving the house (it can cost more to cool the house back down once it overheats).
• Position electric devices like lamps, TVs, or computers at least a few feet away from your AC thermostat. Reason: The AC can sense heat from these appliances, which can cause it to run longer than necessary.
Related: Top 10 Energy-Saving Tips
• Place room units on the north side of the house when possible. An AC unit operating in the shade uses up to 10% less electricity than one in the sun. Long-term fix: Plant trees to shade your windows and save as much as 25% of the energy a typical home uses.
• Know when to upgrade. In terms of energy use, you may want to
One of the most common questions I hear as a Professional Organizer is: "Where do I start with organizing my home office?" The best approach is to think in terms of SYSTEMS, so here are the Basic Six systems to set up:
1. Daily Personal Information: Whether you choose a traditional paper planner or a smartphone, having one place to capture each of these elements and make them portable will make it easier to find what you need and to prioritize.
- Calendar - Google Calendar is an easy option because it can synchronize with other calendars like Outlook and can be accessed on any smartphone or computer. You can also manage other calendars simultaneously and overlay them, meaning you could set it up to see your spouse's schedule too.
- Tasks - One of my favorite apps for keeping up with my to-do list is called Remember the Milk. You can synchronize it with Outlook, and it exists on the web and on your smartphone too. Other popular task apps are Awesome Note and ToodleDo.
- Contacts -
For school-age children, a sturdy, well-designed, comfortable backpack is indispensable. We tested 48 - simulating the wear and tear they might get, loading them with gear to check capacity, and then having kids judge them for comfort and convenience. These made the grade:Read More »from Best Kids' Backpacks
The ballistic polyester of The North Face Hot Shot ($89) survived being dropped and abraded, and proved water-resistant. Smartly designed compartments (such as bungee cord--secured water-bottle pockets) keep gear organized. In five colors. Ages 13-18.
Related: Top Picks for Tablet PCs
If your teen's stuff won't fit inside the L.L.Bean Turbo Transit ($70), it's time for some serious decluttering. Two huge sections, plus front stretch cord and pockets, plus bottom space for sneakers give everything a place. In seven colors. Ages 13-18.
The budget-friendly High Sierra Loop ($35) doesn't scrimp on amenities; it has three large sections and several specialized features
Outfit your little ones, tweens, and teens with the latest and greatest must-have supplies for fall, all vetted by the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI):Read More »from Back-to-School Gear
Versatile Lunch Sack
Elementary school tikes and older children alike with love the Classmate Small Haul Deluxe Lunch Sack from Lands' End ($14.50). This rectangular soft-sided lunch box has a reflective strip, a pouch to stash a water bottle, and comes in chili pepper red, soft lupine blue, classic navy blue, dark sapphire, vintage olive green, and rich red.
With the glory of autumn also comes unpredictable fall weather. Keep your little one's feet warm and dry with L.L. Bean's stylish Puddle Stompers ($29). With its non-skid sole, natural rubber exterior, pull-on handles, and knit jersey fabric lining, this boot is built with comfort and durability in mind. Plus it comes in plenty of fun colors and patterns from royal blue to wild rose and ivy dot to lobster print.
Outfit your kids with our
No doubt you've made a purchase or sold an item on eBay, the uber-popular auction site that has more than 94 million users around the world. But it's not the only online marketplace for buying and selling goods (or even services). Here, five that have particularly unique concepts:Read More »from 5 Cool Auction Websites
SHOP FOR CHARITY: ShopGoodwill.com and BiddingForGood.com
ShopGoodwill.com features jewelry, antiques and collectables, clothing, and more - in short, the higher-end items donated to the organization - and the sales benefit its education and job-placement services for the disabled and underprivileged. Since products are sold by Goodwill itself, you can be certain that the listings are accurate and (barring delivery problems) that you'll receive your purchases.
Another benefit-based site, BiddingForGood.com offers products (electronics, designer duds) as well as "experiences": vacation packages, tickets to sporting events and theater, and dinners at fancy restaurants. The auctions raise money for nonprofits
With over 400 million copies in print worldwide, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series has worked its magic over an entire generation of readers. The cultural phenomenon draws to a close with the release of the last film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, at midnight this Friday, but the influence of Rowling's world can hardly be considered as over. After all, getting kids hooked on reading - millions of them - is no small feat.
As a sales associate at Barrett Book Store in Darien, CT, 70-year-old Dottie Brush knows firsthand the series' unique ability to inspire young readers. "[It used to be] that kids would come in and ask for the shortest book there was to get through it for school. But with Harry Potter, the thicker they got, the better they liked them."
The daunting length did not seem to deter young Potter fans, who tore through the pages with an appetite for Rowling's magical world. In a study by market research firm Yankelvich, 51% of kids aged 5 to 17Read More »from Why We'll Miss Harry Potter
In the August issue of Good Housekeeping, we look at little girls in beauty pageants on the occasion of what would have been JonBenet Ramsay's 21st birthday. We were especially interested in talking to Peggy Orenstein to give us the big picture on princesses, pageant queens, and how we're raising (and failing) our girls today.Read More »from Children's Pageants a Generation After JonBenet
Eden Wood, 6, in her room among her trophiesIt is difficult to ignore the link between the flirtatious behavior exhibited by pint-size contestants in heavy makeup (it's not uncommon for toddlers to be encouraged to wink or blow kisses at the judges) and the naive sexuality that is becoming increasingly blatant among elementary school girls. Peggy Orenstein, who wrote about child beauty pageants in her latest book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture, believes that pageant girls are being taught to see themselves as objects of others' pleasure. "I'm not saying that when they wiggle their hips and wink at judges at the age of 4 or 5, they have any idea