From cushions to walls: Interior d̩cor hacks for your bedroom РThe Indian Express

The bedroom is where we create our personal sanctity. It is the only area that is the most private to us and also a haven for comfort. Here are some top tips for you to create a bedroom of your dreams, says Sushhmita Siingh, principal designer, Sushmita Singh Design.

Cushion play

Printed styles or bright colours are a great way to add life to your bedroom. They also help one relax and feel comfortable.

Cosy lighting

Add quirky or dressy lighting to your wall and bedside. Neutral shades and colourful accents can do wonders. Accessorise it with elegant carpets, bedside books, and floral furnishings. Let your walls reflect the perfect energy for peace and calm.

Creative walls

Paintings, personal photographs, and murals look most attractive on walls. They add character to your room and create an attractive space. Paint the walls with unique colours, textures and add creative expressions to it such as posters and family albums. You can use the wall space as creatively as you desire.

Bedspread and furnishings

Modern design room in light colors decorated with Christmas tree and decorative elements Add a positive vibe to your room with these tips. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Sometimes, simply changing your bed furnishings can do the trick. Get a set of cushion covers and bedspreads that enliven the room. Pick things that are most calming and soothing to you. Sometimes bringing in your spirit animal or your favourite cities around the world into your bedroom via designs on your furnishings can also be enjoyable.

Mirror on the wall

No bedroom can be complete without a mirror on the wall. When you have a mirror in a decorative style or ornate frame, your whole room will get a lift. Many thrift shops and antique stores have vintage mirrors as well that bring a charm to your room. Mirrors are a fabulous way to also make your bedroom look bigger.

Dressy windows

If you have a small window, give the false impression of something much larger by setting your curtains outside the edge of the window to frame it. Taking curtains all the way across a whole wall will give your bedroom softness and create an illusion of space. If long curtains don’t suit the room, then go for a relaxed roman blind to give your window some casual elegant dressings. You can also dress your windows with fairy lights and delicate green plants. You can also create a study or reading nook at your bedroom windows. It could be a space where you hang out with friends or spend some reflective alone time with yourself.

Pantone Colors 2021

Ultimate grey and Illuminating yellow are the colours for 2021 – you can use them in combination or deck your entire bedroom on these hues. You can also refer to other Pantone themes to suit your style best. Colour combinations and themes with attractive colour palettes can help in setting up the entire look for your bedroom.

Glamorous side table

Home decor, soft fabrics, Interior Designing, Interior Designing tips Place a side table beside your bed. (Source:

A side table of your choice will add a lot of convenience to your bedside as well as make your bedroom more functional. You can repaint your side table or re-model it to suit your decor. Vintage, as well as modern designs, can also be considered.

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Credit card mistakes to avoid – The Points Guy

Credit card mistakes to avoid – The Points Guy

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


Credit Card News and Headlines – The Points Guy

Travel, Credit Card & Aviation News | The Points Guy

Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on the website are from credit card companies from which receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers. Please view our advertising policy page for more information.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


[Update] Citi Removing Most Benefits From All Cards (Trip Cancellation & Delay, Ticket & Return Protection, Car, etc.)

(Update 1/29/21: Citi is now removing from the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard a number of benefits beginning March 21, 2021, including: Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection, MasterCoverage, MasterAssist, Travel Accident Insurance & Medical Protection, and VAT Reclaim Service. Card still has primary car rental insurance. Hat tip to Dansdeals)

Original Post: 

Citi is informing customers via a popup in their login that their cards are having numerous benefits stripped away beginning September 22, 2019. The following benefits are being discontinued on all Citi cards, including the Prestige card:

  • Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance
  • Trip Delay Protection
  • Baggage Delay Protection
  • Lost Baggage Protection
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Citi® Price Rewind
  • 90 Day Return Protection
  • Missed Event Ticket Protection
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service
  • Travel & Emergency Assistance

One other important change on some cards:

  • Double Cash and Dividend cards will have Extended Warranty and Purchase Protection benefits removed in September. (Purchases made until that day will get the benefit for the entire benefit length, even past September.)
  • All other cards will retain Warranty and Purchase Protection benefits.

[Some have reported that the Costco cards retain all their benefits. It’s true that the Costco card retains Warranty and Purchase Protection. It’s not true that there was no change in benefits as things like Trip Cancellation and Price Rewind have been removed. I guess the Costco cards still have Return Protection and Car Rental Insurance, but not positive.]

Login here and see the particulars on each card you have. Here’s the what shows on the Prestige card, for example:

Effective September 22, 2019, Worldwide Car Rental Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection, Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Delay Protection, Baggage Delay Protection, Lost Baggage Protection, Medical Evacuation, Citi® Price Rewind, 90 Day Return Protection, and Missed Event Ticket Protection will be discontinued and will no longer be provided for purchases made on or after that date. Coverage for purchases made before that date will continue to be available, and you may continue to file for benefits in accordance with the current benefit terms. Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service and Travel & Emergency Assistance will be discontinued and will not be available on or after September 22, 2019.

You will continue to have Extended Warranty and Damage & Theft Purchase Protection on this account…As a cardmember, you will also continue to receive a range of other card benefits including FICO®Credit Score, Citi® Identity Theft Solutions, and Citi Entertainment.

We reported earlier today on the Price Rewind benefit being removed, but it’s apparently part of a broader benefit strip-down. It’s pretty crazy that they are even removing standard benefits which most other credit cards have, like car rental insurance and return protection. It’s not just the elite benefits being stripped down.

Benefits still remaining:

Hat tip to reader DT and xfisgsm


8 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas for Families

Staying home doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure.

Disneyland, the beach, camping … just a few of the many places your kids would nominate as a vacation destination this summer. But staying home?


So how do you sell a staycation to your little ones? And not spend a ton of money? Fill it with fun and adventure.

Check out these eight kid- and budget-friendly ideas that will make your summer staycation just as lively and memorable as any trip.

Camp out in your backyard

Pitch a tent, grab the camp chairs and roll out those sleeping bags. It’s time to go camping — in your backyard!

Study the local flora and fauna, practice wilderness skills, roast marshmallows over a fire pit, tell scary stories and spot constellations in the night sky.

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Get your chef on

Let your little chefs put their skills to the test with a “Top Chef” competition. Introduce a mystery ingredient, work in teams and see what you can come up with.

If competition isn’t your style, simply head to the farmer’s market or grocery store and pick out a unique ingredient and see what your family can come up with to put in a dish.

Have a sweet tooth? Throw a bake-off and create your favorite cookies, cupcakes or cake. Share the snacks with friends and neighbors too.

Family carnival

Create your very own fair, with classic carnival food like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake and cotton candy.

Set up DIY games like ring toss, cake walk, corn hole, balloon darts, a fishing hole and more.

Finish off the night with an outdoor movie by stringing up a sheet and using a projector.

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Learn something new

Take an online course to learn a new skill or craft, or figure out how to play an outdoor game like bocce ball or croquet. Practice a different language with books from the library, or hit the zoo to learn about a new animal.

Build a fort

Wrangle all the cardboard boxes, blankets, chairs and pillows you can find and build the ultimate playhouse or fort.

Construct tunnels with boxes (bonus if you can snag a large refrigerator box), create rooms with blankets and chairs, and arm your fortress by building a pillow moat. Play castle or just snuggle up in your cozy den and watch a movie — don’t forget the popcorn.

Keep the fun going into the night: Add twinkle lights and have a sleepover in your new castle.

Cool down with water play

Hot summer day? Cool down by making your own backyard into a mini water park.

Break out the sprinkler and burn off some energy by splashing around. Fill the kiddie pool and hop in with your little ones, or wage a water balloon or squirt-gun fight for an afternoon that’s guaranteed to cool you off and make you feel like a kid again.

Live in an apartment or don’t have the water gear? Head to your local splash pad or community pool. To save money, look for free or discount promotions at the pool or water park.

Find your inner artist

Arts and crafts are a great way to get those creative juices flowing, make fun memories and create cool pieces to treasure for years to come.

Tie-dye some plain T-shirts, create your own modeling clay using flour and salt, make beaded bracelets, or try your hand at loom weaving.

Keep things even simpler by drawing with some sidewalk chalk, building a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks, or simply getting messy with some finger paint.

Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt

Set up a string of clues for your kids to follow that lead them all around the house, yard and even the neighborhood. Make up your own clues or check online for clever rhymes or location ideas.

End the hunt with a fun prize, which can be anything from a chest full of faux gold coins, a long-desired toy or trinket, or a plate of fresh cookies or cupcakes. Add a dash of extra fun by dressing up as pirates or explorers.

Whether you have a lot of free time or a little, a chunk of change to spend or a limited budget, there are plenty of fun staycation ideas to make your summer special.


Originally published May 2016.


Fintech Sagent Adds Fannie Mae, Digital Risk Alumni to Board

Mortgage and consumer loan fintech Sagent has added former Fannie Mae executive Marianne Sullivan and Digital Risk co-founder Jeffrey Taylor to its board of directors, the Pennsylvania-based company has announced.

At Fannie Mae, Sullivan oversaw industry efforts that led to the age of digital mortgage origination, according to the press release.

Mphasis Digital Risk, the firm co-founded by Taylor, is the biggest residential mortgage managed services firm nationwide.

Read the full press release from Sagent.


Why I’m Grown-Up and Employed, but Still Need Mom to Co-Sign on My Home

When I got my first apartment after college, I needed my mom to co-sign my lease.

The landlord required proof that I made three times the rent, but since I wasn’t making nearly enough, I called Mom to sign on that second dotted line.

Then, in my mid-20s, when I bought my first condo, I needed a co-signer again. Once again, my mom was there for me.

Now I’m almost 30, married, and expecting our first child. Both my husband and I are gainfully employed and have good credit histories, so you’d think we wouldn’t need any parent co-signing for us to rent a home! But alas, we’d recently moved to New York City, where rents were so high, snagging a half-way decent apartment would require Mom to co-sign once again.

What’s going on? Would I need my mother to co-sign forever?

Of course, I feel lucky to have a parent who’s so supportive. But I can’t help but think that there’s something wrong with me, where I was choosing to live, or perhaps the housing system in general.

So, I started looking into why co-signing is so often required, even in cases where it seems unnecessary. Here’s what I learned, and some words of wisdom from experts that could help you get through the inconvenient (and embarrassing) cycle.

Why co-signers are required

What bothered me most about needing a co-signer was that I felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously as a tenant. I had a good job and a college degree, why couldn’t I be trusted to pay my rent?

As it turns out, many people face this problem.

While landlords may have differing requirements, the industry standard is that your take-home income must be three times what you pay in rent. So if you make $3,000 a month, your monthly rent should not exceed $1,000.

But is this realistic with today’s runaway rent prices?

For instance, in 2013, as a fresh college graduate, I paid $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom, third-floor walk-up in Los Angeles. So based on the three-times rule, I should have been earning $4,800 a month, or $57,600 a year.

A salary that size was an unattainable dream for me right out of college. Even though I had a great sales job and a minimum-wage side hustle, I was making only about twice the annual rent, or $40,000.

And I was one of the lucky ones. The minimum wage in California is $12 an hour, but in 2013 it was $8. To afford a monthly rent of $1,600 in 2013, a minimum-wage worker would have needed to put in 150 hours a week.

Is the three-times rent rule realistic?

Because I needed a co-signer, I couldn’t help but wonder about the three-times rent rule, and the reason for it. Did this mean I’d overextended myself?

As it turns out, I had no reason for worry. With a monthly rent of $1,600, I had another $1,600 left for other expenses, and it was more than enough.

So I started wondering: If twice my income worked just fine for my bills, why do landlords want proof that renters make three times their rent?

“The exact origins of the three-times rule is unknown,” says Michael Dinich of Your Money Geek. Nonetheless, this rule has remained the industry standard—for renters and home buyers alike.

“Mortgage lenders have often used the guideline that housing costs should be no more than 30% of income,” Dinich says. “The three-times rule is likely a handy approximation based on those old guidelines.”

This guideline may even contribute to younger generations’ low rates of homeownership.

“The income of many people, particularly younger adults, has not kept up with home prices in many areas,” says Andrew Latham, managing editor of SuperMoney. “This is why millennials have lower homeownership rates than previous generations.”

Plus, experts say that most landlords (even the nice ones) don’t necessarily care if people aren’t making as much money as they used to. They care more about finding a renter who will be able to pay their rent on time. And if that means sticking to the tried-and-true method of renting to those who can prove they have plenty of income to spare, or can at least get a co-signer, they’ll do it.

How I pay my rent without a co-signer today

While it’s tough for young renters and home buyers almost everywhere to cover their housing costs, it’s even worse in New York City.

Sure, my mom agreed to co-sign the lease, as always. Yet with a baby on the way, my husband and I decided that, rather than taking my mom up on her kind offer, I’d try to find an apartment with a rent that fell comfortably within the three-times rule.

We started crossing things off our wish list. We moved our search from Manhattan to Brooklyn. We stopped looking at homes near subway stations and cute cafes and started touring apartments that were a bit farther out. In the end, we found a studio we liked, and the low rent didn’t require a co-signer.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.