Biden Support Surged in Milwaukee County, Trump Continued to Dominate Rural Wisconsin

Biden Support Surged in Milwaukee County, Trump Continued to Dominate Rural Wisconsin

With less than 100 days until Election Day, multiple polls show that President Donald Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in key swing states, including Wisconsin. Another way to figure out if a candidate is performing, in addition to polling data, is by looking at his/her fundraising effort.

Each quarter we at RentHop review the fundraising data released by the FEC with the hope of providing insights to voters. Our study for Q4 2019 for key cities such as Des Moines and Las Vegas shows that a city’s contributions might align with the outcome of the caucuses and primaries, and we believe that it would also shed light on the general election.

Our key findings this quarter in Wisconsin include:
  • Trump leads in Wisconsin by unique donor count – the President has garnered support from 5,947 unique donors, whereas former Vice President Joe Biden has received donations from 2,393 unique donors as of June 30, 2020.
  • Of all 680 zip codes included in this study, 36.0% of them, or 245, are blue zip codes, including 53711 (Dane County), 53211 (Milwaukee County), 54601 (La Crosse County). [Unique Donor Map]
  • Meanwhile, 45.1%, or 307, are red zip codes, which consist of 54066 (Washington County), 53217 (Milwaukee County), and 53072 (Waukesha County). 18.8% of the zip codes, or 128, are purple, which means that neither parties have more than 55% of unique donors.
  • In Milwaukee County, Biden saw a big surge in the number of unique donors since February 2020. The number went from 99 to 473 by the end of June.
  • In Dane County, Biden surpassed Trump by end of March 2020, and has attracted 448 unique donors as of June 30, 2020, 106% more than what Trump has.

Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?

The interactive map below highlights Wisconsin and its zip codes. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is leading in each zip code. You can click on the zip code polygons or select from the drop-down menu to learn more. For a more detailed analysis of how candidates are doing in the same zip code, view the corresponding interactive line graph above the map.


Blue zip codes are zip codes where the aggregated number of unique donors of all Democratic candidates (including past candidates) is higher than the number of unique donors received by Republican candidates (including Trump, Sanford, Walsh, and Weld), and red zip codes are areas where the Republican candidates attracted more unique donors than all Democratic candidates combined.

Looking at the map and the chart above, we can tell that President Donald Trump has been the fundraising front runner in Wisconsin. As of June 30, 2020, Trump has accumulated 5,947 unique donors. On the Democratic side, while support was split among candidates, more donors have turned to Mr. Biden’s campaign as he seized primary victories in other states and positioned himself as the presumptive party nominee. As of Q2, 2020, the Biden campaign amassed 2,393 unique donors in Wisconsin.

In Milwaukee, the largest county in the state by population, Vice President Joe Biden saw a big surge in the number of unique donors since February 2020. The number went from 99 to 473 by the end of June. In Dane County, Biden surpassed Trump by end of March 2020, and has attracted 448 unique donors as of June 30, 2020, 106% more than what Trump has. Meanwhile, Trump comfortably leads the fundraising game in counties such as Waukesha, Brown, and Racine.

Top 5 Zip Codes in Milwaukee County by Donor Count
  • Zip Code 53211: Biden’s 81 unique donors vs. Trump’s 25 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53217: Biden’s 89 unique donors vs. Trump’s 72 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53202: Biden’s 58 unique donors vs. Trump’s 27 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53207: Biden’s 12 unique donors vs. Trump’s 22 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53092: Biden’s 31 unique donors vs. Trump’s 69 unique donors
Top 5 Zip Codes in Dane County by Donor Count
  • Zip Code 53711: Biden’s 117 unique donors vs. Trump’s 37 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53705: Biden’s 136 unique donors vs. Trump’s 14 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53703: Biden’s 55 unique donors vs. Trump’s 8 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53704: Biden’s 54 unique donors vs. Trump’s 29 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53562: Biden’s 61 unique donors vs. Trump’s 46 unique donors
Top 5 Zip Codes in Waukesha County by Donor Count
  • Zip Code 53045: Biden’s 14 unique donors vs. Trump’s 68 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53072: Biden’s 15 unique donors vs. Trump’s 70 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53188: Biden’s 17 unique donors vs. Trump’s 49 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53186: Biden’s 16 unique donors vs. Trump’s 41 unique donors
  • Zip Code 53189: Biden’s 8 unique donors vs. Trump’s 40 unique donors
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Biden

Below are the top 10 zip codes where Biden received the most support.

  • Zip Code 53705 (Dane County): 136 unique donors, 90.7 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53711 (Dane County): 117 unique donors, 76 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53217 (Milwaukee County): 89 unique donors, 55.3 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53211 (Milwaukee County): 81 unique donors, 76.4 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53562 (Dane County): 61 unique donors, 57 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53202 (Milwaukee County): 58 unique donors, 68.2 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53703 (Dane County): 55 unique donors, 87.3 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53704 (Dane County): 54 unique donors, 65.1 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53717 (Dane County): 45 unique donors, 73.8 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53726 (Dane County): 35 unique donors, 100 % donor share
Unique Donor Leaderboard – Trump

Below are the top 10 zip codes where Trump received the most support.

  • Zip Code 53066 (Washington County): 79 unique donors, 80.6 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53217 (Milwaukee County): 89 unique donors, 55.3 % donor share
  • Zip Code 54016 (St. Croix County): 70 unique donors, 75.3 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53072 (Waukesha County): 70 unique donors, 82.4 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53092 (Milwaukee County): 69 unique donors, 69 % donor share
  • Zip Code 54313 (Oconto County): 68 unique donors, 80 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53045 (Waukesha County): 68 unique donors, 82.9 % donor share
  • Zip Code 53029 (Washington County): 63 unique donors, 80.8 % donor share
  • Zip Code 54115 (Outagamie County): 62 unique donors, 81.6 % donor share
  • Zip Code 54956 (Outagamie County): 60 unique donors, 76.9 % donor share


The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC covering all individual contributions dated between Jan 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. For President Donald Trump, the following committees are included: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (C00580100), Trump Make America Great Again Committee (C00618371), and Trump Victory (C00618389). For former Vice President Joe Biden, the following committees are included: Biden for President (C00703975), Biden Victory Fund (C00744946), and Biden Action Fund (C00746651). The state, county, and zip code shapefiles were retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau. In terms of unique donors, we deduped by names, zip codes, and candidates. We adopted 5-digit zip codes for this report as not all candidates collect 9-digit zip codes. People who have changed their names or moved in between donations could artificially inflate these numbers. Unique donor shares are calculated using the aggregated number of unique donors contributed to Trump’s campaign and the aggregated number of unique donors contributed to Biden’s campaign. Past Democratic/Republican candidates are excluded from the calculation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Our Election Studies

1. Why would Trump be leading in a Blue Zip Code?

This is related to the primaries. As we all know, there were as many as 31 Democratic candidates competing for the nomination, and so the support was divided among them. Meanwhile, while the Republican Party had 3 candidates running, all the support gravitated towards Trump, and therefore he alone could receive support from more unique donors than any single Democratic candidate. Now that Joe Biden is the presumptive nominee, we should start seeing some changes.

2. Why should we care about unique donors?

While the dollar amount raised is important for candidates, we believe that it is more crucial to understand how many unique donors each candidate has attracted, as each unique donor potentially means one vote, and by measuring donor counts, it gives us a better idea of how many people support each candidate.

3. How is the party majority calculated?

The party majority is calculated using the aggregated unique donor count of a party and the aggregated unique donor count from Jan 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. For instance, if Democratic candidates attracted a total of 200 unique donors, and the total number of unique donors within a city is 500, the Democratic share would be 40%. In terms of the color shades, purple areas are whether neither the Democratic candidates combined nor Trump has more than 55% of the donors. Light blue and light red represent zip codes where the party has 55% to 70% of the donors, and blue or red represents a majority of 70% and more.

Published at Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:45:23 +0000

Before and After: A Dingy Bathroom Gets a Redo Worthy of Its 1800s London Home

Before and After: A Dingy Bathroom Gets a Redo Worthy of Its 1800s London Home

When it comes to a home reno, you’ve got options: You can make minor tweaks, you can remodel one or two rooms, or you can redo the whole freakin’ thing.

Sophie Kreyer-Peake ( and her fiancé, Joe, went for that last option, deciding to go all in on a 19th-century Victorian house in London last year. “There was no hot water, and the house had not been touched in almost 50 years,” says Sophie. In fact, the upstairs bathroom with the “avocado-colored” tub had no running water at all.

The couple decided to tackle that bathroom first because they planned to live in the house throughout the entire reno and therefore needed a functioning bathroom. For the project, they worked with a builder (actually, two—Sophie says the first one plumbed the toilet incorrectly and then walked out on the project, and they had to quickly find a replacement. Yikes!). It took about six weeks and £7,000 to turn the bathroom from unusable to an “OMG, when can we come over?” oasis.

The work involved some major restructuring. The couple decided to knock through a wall to combine a small bathroom with this one and make one big bathroom. They also removed a second staircase that they discovered had been boxed up under the floorboards in this bathroom from years ago. (Sophie guesses the house must have been divided into two flats.)

They also replaced that avocado-colored bathtub with a bronze-fauceted, standalone tub that gives off major spa vibes. And thanks to the added space, they were able to swap the dorm-style shower for one with floor-to-ceiling, forest green subway tiles and a Crittall-style shower screen.

The whole room now feels rich and luxurious, but the couple made some smart choices to save along the way. Because they wanted a lot of toiletry storage but couldn’t find a big enough vanity unit in their budget, “we resorted to restoring an old pine chest of drawers and sitting the sinks on top,” Sophie explains. The dark unit with the bronze detailing feels chic and totally bespoke. Sophie also wanted a black metal window, but that didn’t fit into her price point either, “so we bought a plastic white window and spray-painted it matte black, which has worked really well!” she says.

Sophie and Joe handled the painting themselves, choosing limewash paint for a plastered look and earthy, calming effect. That was the goal with lighting and accessories, too: “All of our lights are on dimmer, which I think is really important for a bathroom—sometimes you need it bright for applying makeup, etc., and if you’re having a bath, you may want it more moody,” Sophie says. She also opted for full-length linen curtains “to really ground the room and create a bit of luxe.”

Sophie has two big pieces of advice for anyone else doing a major reno: “Plan everything meticulously, especially if you are not using an architect,” she says. “Also, living through a renovation might be horribly stressful, but it means you can keep a close eye on progress!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Published at Mon, 10 Aug 2020 22:00:07 +0000

These Cities Have the Best Skylines in the U.S.

These Cities Have the Best Skylines in the U.S.

What’s your favorite?

Since the world’s first skyscraper went up in Chicago in 1885, architects have continued to race each other to touch the sky. And arguments about the best skylines in the U.S. have been ongoing since that moment in time.

Cities across the U.S. have quickly-changing skylines, some with recognizable landmarks — see Empire State Building in New York City or Mount Rainier in Seattle — and others with beautiful coastal lines. Skylines make a city instantly recognizable.

Let’s go through 15 of the best skylines in the U.S. below and pick your favorite.

Which city has the best skyline in the U.S.?

Below you’ll see a good mix of urban landscapes and natural landmarks that make each skyline unique and one of the best in the country.

15. Denver, CO

denver colorado

Denver‘s skyline can be enjoyed from several spots around the city, including Washington Park. Denver is exactly one mile high, with more than 200 visible peaks sneaking around the skyline for their moment in the limelight. The tallest building in this skyline is the 56-story Republic Plaza.

14. St. Louis, MO

st louis

You can’t think about the St. Louis skyline without the Gateway Arch, the tallest manmade monument in the country. The 630-feet-tall stainless steel monument is genuinely iconic and marks the moment the Louisiana Purchase was signed. Next to it, the Mississippi River flows by and joins the Missouri River north of the city.

13. Atlanta, GA

atlanta ga

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Atlanta is the view of the skyline at the Jackson Street Bridge. It’s both used in “The Walking Dead,” and it’s a prime spot to capture a beautiful Instagram shot for your feed. While the skyscrapers themselves aren’t quite famous, the view is still worth the snapshot.

12. San Francisco, CA

san francisco ca

As the fog rolls in, past the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco‘s skyline looks ethereal. The Bay Area skyline is a good mix of skyscrapers like the Salesforce Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid and smaller buildings, due to the earthquake risk in California.

11. Nashville, TN

nashville tn

Well, Bob Dylan in 1969 named a whole album after the stunning Nashville skyline, and we can’t disagree. The southern city’s first skyscraper was only 12 stories tall back in 1905 — that number has now grown to 144 high-rises. The most identifiable of them all? The AT&T Building, nicknamed the Batman building, for its resemblance to the superhero’s mask.

10. Minneapolis, MN


Minnesota winters are infamous for being brutal, but Minneapolis has it figured it out. They stay mega cozy without going outdoors, thanks to the skyway system’s enclosed bridges that connect buildings throughout the city. It’s the most extensive pedestrian skywalk system in the world, connecting 17 of the tallest buildings in Minneapolis.

9. San Antonio, TX

san antonio tx

The star of the San Antonio skyline is the Tower of the Americas, the 10th tallest skyscraper in the entire state. Right in downtown San Antonio, the 750-foot-tall observation tower offers some of the city’s best views. Initially built for the 1968 World’s Fair, the tower has a spot to grab a bite to eat at the top.

8. Charlotte, NC

charlotte nc

Here’s a fun fact: The majority of Charlotte‘s current skyline was built in the 21st century starting in 2002 with the Hearst Tower. The city is a financial center in the Southeast with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other institutions having a presence at each of the skyline’s buildings.

7. Portland, OR

portland oregon

Downtown Portland‘s skyline is composed of 30 high-rises, with the Wells Fargo Center taking the top spot for tallest building. Most of the city center is nestled in between the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Nearby, the historic Pittock Mansion offers incredible panoramic views of Portland and Mount Hood in the background.

6. Chicago, IL


Right by Lake Michigan, Chicago has built one of the most classic skylines, with height variation, no crowding or funky-looking buildings. It makes sense since the first skyscraper in the world was built in the Windy City. Get to know it during one of the city’s popular architecture-themed boat tours. But you’ll get the best full view of the skyline at the Adler Planetarium.

5. Miami, FL


Welcome to Miami! The Florida city has the country’s third tallest skyline with more than 300 skyscrapers. The Panorama Tower, located in downtown Miami, stands tall at 85 stories, making it the tallest in the state. Nine out of the top 10 of the tallest buildings in Florida can be found in Miami.

4. Los Angeles, CA

los angeles

Did you know that until 2014 Los Angeles buildings were required to have a flat top to allow for a helicopter landing? That’s why the skyline looks almost homogenous aside from a few new additions. On a clear day without smog, the Los Angeles skyline can be seen from several vantage points, but Griffith Observatory and Echo Park Lake are the best ones.

3. Honolulu, HI


Honolulu‘s small, packed skyline isn’t just about buildings. A skyline shot from above shows the vibrant blue Pacific Ocean paired with lush Diamond Head. It just exudes paradise from every perspective. The First Hawaiian Center has remained the tallest building on the island since the mid-90s at 429 feet.

2. Seattle, WA


The Space Needle and Mount Rainier, part of Seattle‘s iconic skyline, take our No. 2 spot for best skyline in the U.S. The best place to see it all from above? Sunset Hill Park provides the best view of the skyline during a sunny day. The Columbia Center takes the prize for the tallest building in the city at 76 stories.

1. New York, NY

new york

The New York City skyline takes the prize as the best skyline in the country. From above, the Big Apple shines with its landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Tower and the One World Trade Center. It has inspired architectural dreams, and it has become the background for many stories and movies.

And while it had a tragic change at the beginning of the century, it remains one of the best city skylines in the United States.

The best city skylines around the country

City skylines are constantly changing with construction cranes slowly transitioning to newly-built skyscrapers. It keeps the city exciting. These are just a small slice of the most beautiful city skylines around the U.S.

Whether buildings have a mountain as their background or they’re by the water, there are so many good ones to choose from across all 50 states. can help you find a home there.

Published at Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:00:53 +0000

Pros‌ ‌and‌ ‌Cons:‌ ‌Renting‌ ‌a‌ ‌Storage‌ ‌Unit‌ ‌

Pros‌ ‌and‌ ‌Cons:‌ ‌Renting‌ ‌a‌ ‌Storage‌ ‌Unit‌ ‌

In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day. 

If you move from a spacious apartment into a smaller one, you might have trouble fitting all your belongings. If you run out of space in your apartment, renting a storage unit can solve your problem. A storage unit provides extra space for your belongings, away from your apartment, that only you can access. Renting a storage unit might not be right for everyone, though – find the pros and cons below.

renting storage unit

Pros of renting a storage unit

Safe storage

For some apartment dwellers lacking ample in-unit space, landlords might offer extra storage in the basement, garage, or attic. Many items should never be stored in these spaces, and renting a storage unit provides a much safer alternative. Additionally, storage units tend to be far less prone to flooding and roof leakage than are, respectively, basements and attics.

Great for short-term storage

If you’re going away for a few months and need a place to keep your belongings between apartment leases, a storage unit can be the perfect solution. Storage units cost far less money to rent than do full-on apartments, so during transition times in your life or other extended periods away, they can save you tons of money on keeping your belongings safe and secure. Plus, if you have a space to stash your belongings while you’re gone, you won’t have to spend much money (and put in much labor) to get new furniture when you return.

Prioritize what you need

Even if you do have enough space in your apartment for all your belongings, who says you need all of your items right there, readily available to you all the time? Stash non-essentials in a storage unit so that, as you rack up more belongings, you can easily fit them in your apartment without having to play a giant game of Jenga with everything you currently own. Plus, being more organized is never a bad thing.

Cons of renting a storage unit


Though cheaper than apartments, storage units aren’t necessarily inexpensive. Smaller rentals may run just double digits, but larger units can cost hundreds of dollars per month. And that’s before you factor in the cost of moving your large furniture pieces into your storage unit – you may need to rent a moving truck – and any insurance you purchase for your storage unit. Some experts recommend always buying insurance for storage units despite their safety.

Irregular access

If you need something from your storage unit in a pinch, retrieving it won’t be as simple as walking a few steps to your closet and pulling it out. Instead, you’ll have to travel to your storage unit and, if you’re getting a large piece of furniture, arrange for transportation. Additionally, not all storage units give tenants 24/7 access, meaning that at certain times of day, you won’t even be able to get what you need.

Riskier storage

Any storage that isn’t directly inside your apartment can be riskier in terms of security. In addition to the remote location of your storage, you also have far less control over what goes on inside your storage unit. Namely, most storage units lack temperature control (though it can be included with higher-end, much more expensive units), and pests can sometimes proliferate in storage units. Extreme temperatures can be unsuitable for storing electronics, wooden items, and instruments, just as pest infestations can destroy couches, clothes, and more.

If you rent a storage unit, how do you make it work for you? If you’ve had a bad storage unit experience, why? Tell us everything in the comments!

Published at Thu, 30 Jul 2020 13:30:36 +0000

The Best Parks in Charlotte to Enjoy an Afternoon

The Best Parks in Charlotte to Enjoy an Afternoon

There’s no better place to enjoy an afternoon of North Carolina blue skies than one of Charlotte’s, beautiful city parks. Whether you’re looking to work up a sweat, take the kids out or just want to soak up some sun, there are plenty of options to explore throughout the city’s distinct neighborhoods.

One thing to know about Charlotte is that it’s located within North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, which is home to more than 200 parks and facilities. Whether you’ve lived here for years or you’re preparing to move to the area, you’re sure to find a favorite of your own. Here’s a list of the best that the city has to offer.

Freedom Park

freedom park charlotte

  • Where: 1908 East Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28203

Nestled between Charlotte’s historic Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods, Freedom Park has long been a local favorite. Its sprawling 98 acres are centered around a scenic lake and provide a picturesque setting for almost any outdoor activity.

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A long and winding paved path, baseball fields, batting cages, soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, two playgrounds and even a bandstand provide something for everyone. If laying out a blanket and relaxing is more your style, there’s plenty of green space to spread out and shady trees to relax under.

Romare Bearden Park

Romere Barden Park, Charlotte, NC

  • Where: 300 S Church St, Charlotte, NC 28202

One of the city’s newest parks is located in the heart of Charlotte’s bustling Uptown District. Romare Bearden Park is named after a famed local artist and was opened in 2013. Although it is only 5.4 acres, it has become a popular gathering spot for people seeking a place to relax and enjoy the fresh air while uptown.

The park features two gardens, a courtyard with tables and chairs, an open green space, a play area and several statues and water features. The spectacular views of the city skyline also make it one of the most Instagrammable places in town.

First Ward Park

first ward park charlotte

  • Where: 301 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

First Ward Park is another great, relatively new option for a breath of fresh air in uptown Charlotte. Located in the First Ward, the park is within close proximity to popular attractions such as the 7th Street Market, as well as the light rail. It’s a convenient spot to meet someone before or after doing some shopping or attending an event, and it’s easily accessible.

The park offers new workout equipment, which is basically the adult version of a playground. Live music draws crowds in the summertime, and it’s a really nice spot to set up a blanket and enjoy an evening in the city.

McAlpine Creek Park

McAlpine Creek Park charlotte nc

Source: Facebook/TyroneSessom
  • Where: 8711 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, NC 28212

McAlpine Creek Park‘s championship cross country course makes it an ideal location to train for your next 5K. However, it also offers a one-and-a-half-mile scenic nature trail for those seeking a more leisurely pace, a two-mile bike trail if you prefer to ride and a dog park so you can bring your canine companion along.

The serene lake and shady trees provide a great backdrop for any activity and a little added motivation to push farther to see what lies ahead.

Reedy Creek Park

Reedy Creek Park, Charlotte, NC

Source: Facebook/Reedy-Creek-Nature-Preserve
  • Where: 2900 Rocky River Rd. Charlotte, NC 28215

Removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, Reedy Creek Park‘s sprawling 146 acres make it a great place to get away without having to go too far. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. Highlights include a fishing pier, a community garden, 18-hole disc golf course, dog park and the Reedy Creek Nature Center, which offers fun interactive exhibits for kids.

The adjacent Reedy Creek Nature Preserve also boasts an impressive 10 miles of hiking trails, which are among some of the most popular in the city limits.

McDowell Nature Preserve

McDowell Nature Preserve charlotte nc

Source: Facebook/somethingtodoin
  • Where: 15222 York Rd, Charlotte, NC 28278

Though it’s only a half an hour drive from the city center, a trip to McDowell Nature Preserve will make you feel like you’re a million miles away. Sitting on a massive expanse of 1,132 acres, Mecklenburg County’s oldest nature preserve’s focal point is the beautiful banks of Lake Wylie.

The preserve is popular for its public boat ramps, guided kayaking tours and multiple fishing docks. Another onsite educational nature center is a fun stop for the little ones, and there are plenty of trails to enjoy stretching your legs. It’s also a great spot to camp with 56 sites within the preserve for tent camping and full RV hookups.

Enjoy the best parks in Charlotte

If you’re looking to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, Charlotte’s best parks provide plenty of options. Whether you’re looking for a place to exercise, organize a pick-up game, relax or bring the family, chances are you won’t have to go far to find it in the Queen City.



Published at Wed, 22 Jul 2020 12:00:39 +0000

How To Plan (And Stick To) A Food Budget

How To Plan (And Stick To) A Food Budget

Life without food wouldn’t just be literally impossible – it would be really boring. Three good meals a day aren’t just vital to your health, but a good meal can also be a highlight of your day. Not everyone, though, can easily afford the groceries involved in making an extravagant dish – or buying one from a nearby delivery or takeout spot – for every meal. That’s why it’s so important to plan a food budget: You can’t forgo food, so you need to know your limits for preparing it or ordering it. Here’s how to plan a food budget and stick to it.

plan food budget

Set an income-based limit

Experts recommend capping your food budget at about 10 percent of your disposable income. This budget includes not just grocery purchases but dining out: According to one study, the average American spends six percent of their budget on groceries and another five percent on dining out. Although the total of these two percentages is 11 percent, many experts recommend using 10 percent for food budget calculations since this number is far easier to work with, not to mention a tad bit more conservative.

That said, calculating your 10 percent monthly food budget isn’t as simple as just taking your monthly income and moving the decimal point one digit to the left. Instead, to plan your food budget, you’ll need to first subtract your other monthly expenses – rent, utilities, health insurance, student loans, and any other bills you know you need to pay – from your monthly income. The difference between your monthly income and expenses is your disposable income, from which you can then calculate your food budget.

Plan your food budget based on previous spending

After you calculate 10 percent of your disposable income, you can compare it to your previous food spending. If you realize that, in previous months, you’ve spent only eight percent of your disposable income on food, then you can easily stick to the recommended 10 percent. However, if you find that you’ve previously spent 12 percent of your disposable income on food, you have two options. 

The first option is to commit to your new lower 10 percent budget, which you should divide into six percent for groceries and four percent for dining out. Alternatively, if your finances haven’t been strained by your previous levels of spending, you can keep going at your 12 percent food budget. The main point to keep in mind is that, though 10 percent is a widely recommended suggestion, you can be flexible with it. 

Plan your food budget by week

Although you’ll plan your food budget based on your monthly income, you may find it easier to determine what food you’ll need for meal prep (or how many meals per week you expect to dine out for) on a weekly basis. Consider setting up weekly allotments for specific groceries and meals, and be sure to indicate the quantity and price of each item you expect to buy. A spreadsheet may be helpful for ensuring that your weekly purchasing plan keeps you within your budget.

Be smart at the supermarket

An easy way to overspend beyond your grocery budget is to go to the supermarket without a plan. Experts recommend showing up at the supermarket with a grocery list that you’ll strictly adhere to instead of just impulsively grabbing items you think you need. Additionally, a grocery list that prioritizes healthy foods, individual ingredients used to cook whole meals, and a variety of tastes and styles may feel more satisfying, in turn preventing you from overspending on items not on your list. 

You should also be sure to take advantage of sales and coupons, though be careful not to overstock. You may also save money by knowing when to buy store-brand versus name-brand. While at the supermarket, don’t be afraid to spend ample time comparing prices – especially two items’ unit prices instead of their total prices – to get the best deal possible. You have all the time in the world to find the best deals – it’s your wallet where you might be limited.

Published at Mon, 13 Jul 2020 13:13:09 +0000

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

Three Small Apartment Clothing Storage Hacks

If you’ve lived in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, you know how tough it can be to make space for all your clothes. Small apartments can be limited on closet space, not to mention floor space for additional items such as coat racks, shoe racks, and dressers. With these three small apartment clothing storage hacks, though, chances are you’ll find yourself fitting all your clothes in your small apartment with ease.

small apartment clothing storage

1. Under-bed storage

In small apartments, you only have so much floor space available. That’s why thinking vertically helps when it comes to small apartment clothing storage. Take a look around your apartment at the objects occupying the most floor space – is there any way you can fit other objects under them?

When it comes to your bed, chances are the answer will be yes. The space between your bed frame and your floor can provide more than enough room for storage bins (especially if you elevate your bed frame using bed risers). These under-bed storage bins make great homes for clothes, especially clothes you’re not wearing at the moment – a bin full of neatly folded and organized winter sweaters, for example, fits nicely under your bed and can stay there until the next time winter rolls around.

2. Top shelf storage

Many apartment closets come with a top shelf that provides plenty of storage space. That said, anyone who’s attempted to stack clothes on these top shelves knows that doing so can get messy and unorganized sooner than later. Perhaps more annoyingly, piles of clothes stacked too high on these shelves can easily come tumbling down, ruining all the careful organization work you’ve put in and making it difficult to use all the shelf space available.

Just as with under-bed storage, you can use storage bins to keep your top shelf organized and neat. If the same large, plastic tubs that can fit under your bed also fit your top shelf, you can easily use the same bins, but other options such as foot-by-foot storage cubes with lids may be better suited for turning your top shelf into a well-organized, easily stackable small apartment clothing storage space for socks, underwear, and other modestly sized garments. With proper top-shelf storage items, you can effectively add an extra shelf or two to your closet.

3. Benches, trunks, and ottomans

The best apartment storage hacks simultaneously expand the space you have available for stashing away items while adding decorative flair to your apartment. Benches, trunks, and especially ottomans can easily pull off this pair of needs while helping you maximize your small apartment clothing storage.

A bench at the foot of your bed that both looks nice and is tall enough to gently disguise storage boxes under it can help to streamline your small apartment clothing storage. A trunk that at first appears to be just a pretty decoration can likewise include ample space for coats, linens, and more. A large storage ottoman may be best of all for small apartment clothing storage, as not only do ottomans look especially natural at the foot of a bed and provide additional seating, but they also tend to mask their double use as storage far better than benches and trunks do.

How do you make space for your small apartment clothing storage? Sound off in the comments!

Published at Mon, 06 Jul 2020 13:06:40 +0000

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

RentHop 2020 Subway Rent Map: Rents Are Dropping at Major MTA Stops

New York’s MTA subway system is an integral part of most New Yorkers’ lives. With as many as 5.5 million riders each weekday, it truly is the backbone of the city. It should be no surprise that it is one of the first things that people consider when looking to rent an apartment. Proximity to the right trains means shorter commutes and more time spent doing what you love. RentHop’s data scientists love maps and rental data, and so we’ve mapped out rental prices by subway stop to assist in your apartment hunting endeavors.

Our key findings this year include:
  • Rents remained the same around 28 MTA stops, increased at 257 stops, and fell at 159, or 36%, stops. This number is 10% higher than in 2019.
  • As landlords were pushed to offer more concessions in response to the lackluster market performance caused by the pandemic, more stops in Manhattan this year experienced price cuts, including 28 St ($3,635, -11.3%), 34 St – Herald Sq($3,600, -7.6%) , 86 St ($2,978, -6.7%) , and Times Square ($3,299, -5.1%).
  • Even with a significant YoY decrease, Union Square continued to be the most expensive stop in the NYC metro area. Median 1BR rent at this stop currently sits at $4,750, 6.8% lower than the same period in 2019.
  • New developments continue to be a key driver of rental rates. In Brooklyn, median 1BR went up at several stops, including 36 St ($3,050, +9.1%) , Hewes St ($3,050, +9.1%), and Marcy Av ($3,150, +5.0%).

The Interactive Map Below Shows All Rents, Stops, and YoY Price Fluctuations


Find our map useful? Check out the static map at the bottom for a quick snapshot of the data and for easy sharing.

Major subway hubs like Union Square, Fulton Street, and Atlantic Ave/Barclay’s Center give nearby residents flexibility and convenience when traveling or commuting to different places. They also make it easy to convene and get home from anywhere after a long day of work. It’s no wonder these subway stops ranked among the most expensive stops on the RentHop subway rent map.

Median 1BR Rents at Major NYC Subway Hubs
  • Union Square 14 St (4/5/6/L/N/Q/R/W) – $4,750, YoY -6.8%
  • Times Square 42 St (1/2/3/7/N/Q/R/S/W) – $3,173, -2.4%
  • Grand Central (4/5/6/7/S) – $3,500, -2.8%
  • West 4 St (A/B/C/D/E/F/M) – $3,556, +7.9%
  • Herald Square 34 St (B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W) – $3,600, -7.6%
  • Fulton St (2/3) – $3,824, +2.9%
  • Fulton St (4/5) – $3,800, +2.8%
  • Fulton St (A/C/J/Z) – $3,805, +3.0%
  • Jay St – Metro Tech (A/C/F/N/R/W) – $3,523, +0.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (2/3/4/5/B/Q) – $3,364, -2.4%
  • Atlantic Ave – Barclay’s Center (D/N/R) – $3,452, +0.1%
  • Broadway Junction (A/C/J/L/Z) – $2,000, +6.7%
  • Jackson Heights – Roosevelt Av / 74 St – Broadway (7/E/F/M/R) – $1,950, +2.6%

36% of MTA Stops Experienced Rent Drops, 10% More than Previous Year

2020 has been a rough year for New York. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate in the city skyrocketed 18.3% as of May, according to City Comptroller Scott Stringer. This inevitably had a severe impact on real estate, pushing down rental rates across the city. As people relocate to other metro areas and suburbs, landlords across the boroughs are having trouble filling up the vacant apartments, especially those who own and operate luxury rental buildings.

Compared to only 115 stops in 2019, this year, 159 stops, or 36%, saw price reductions, some of which are in the wealthier neighborhoods in the city. Median 1BR rent dipped 11.3% at 28 St (6 Train), as luxury rental buildings offered more concessions to attract new tenants, including Prism at 50 East 28 Street (YoY -5.2%) and Instrata Gramercy at 290 3rd Ave (YoY -9.3%), which doubled the concessions from one month’s free to two months. Similarly, buildings around 34 St – Herald Square also increased incentives, including EOS at 100 West 31 Street and Epic at 125 West 31 Street, which in turn drove down the rents by 7.6%. Stops in the Upper East Side also experienced notable price fluctuations, with median 1BR rent decreased 8.4% around 96 St (Q) and 6.7% at 86 St (4/5/6).

Gentrification remains a key driver of NYC rental rates. Median 1BR rent jumped 10.1% at 36 St stop (D/N/R Trains), from $1,998 to $2,200. This fluctuation is likely due to the Hyland, a new development launched early this year located at 194 21 St in Brooklyn that features bike storage, gym, parking, and a modern roof deck. Meanwhile, median 1BR rent rose 9.1% at Hewes St (J/M) and 5.0% at Marcy Ave (J/M/Z) respectively, mostly driven by the DIME, a 23-story, 177-unit high-end rental building located at 275 South 5 Street, Brooklyn.

These stops saw some of the largest rent drops on one-bedroom apartments
  • 28 St – 6 Train – $3,635, YoY -11.3%
  • 62 St – D/N – $1,550, YoY -8.8%
  • 96 St – Q – $2,839, YoY -8.4%
  • Fort Hamilton Parkway – D – $1,800, YoY -7.7%
  • 34 St – Herald Sq – B/D/F/M/N/Q/R/W – $3,600, YoY -7.6%
These subway stops saw some of the most drastic rent jumps
  • 36 St – D/N/R Trains – $2,200, YoY +10.1%
  • Hewes St – J/M – $3,050, YoY +9.1%
  • West 4 St – A/B/C/D/E/F/M – $3,556, YoY +7.9%
  • 161 St – Yankee Stadium – 4/B/D – $1,995, YoY +7.8%
  • Beverly Rd – Q – $2,041, YoY +7.4%


To calculate the median net effective rents for the map above, we used RentHop’s rental data for one-bedroom apartments from March 16 through June 15, 2019 & 2020, MTA Lines and Stops data, and GIS data for subway stops compiled by CUNY – Baruch College. To get accurate prices near the subway stops, we looked at least 50 non-duplicated rental listings within half a mile of a subway stop and then calculated the median rents. If there were less than 50 non-duplicated listings, we expanded the distance to 1 mile of a subway stop.

Condensed Map for Easy Sharing – Click on the image for the full map!

Click on the Map For High-Resolution Map

Published at Tue, 23 Jun 2020 16:30:25 +0000

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

RentHop NYC Market Report: Rents Are Going Down in New York City and Manhattan Is Losing Renters

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered life in New York City. The MTA system grapples with billions of dollars of deficits with historically low ridership, and many people, who once called New York City home, are now breaking their leases and leaving the epicenter due to concerns over a potential second wave, burden of high living costs amplified by unemployment, and changes in company remote working policies.

After a few painful weeks with severe declines in leasing activities and high vacancy, the NYC rental market seems to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While still slow compared to previous years, the rental market has shown some signs of recovery in the past month, including more inventory hitting the market. In this report, we will analyze the current state of the rental market and offer some insights for people who are looking to move in the coming weeks.

For the First Time in Years, Rents Are Dropping

Calculated using thousands of listings advertised in the past 30 days (May 12 to June 11), the median 1BR rent in New York City currently sits at $2,645.3, down 1.3% from $2,681 during the same period in 2019. This downward pressure is largely caused by reduced demand and an increasing amount of rental concessions offered by landlords grappling with tenant retention and high vacancies. The anemic demand and competition for tenants are forcing some landlords to double their incentives, going from 1 month free to 2 months free on certain units and lease terms.

We are also seeing a growing number of no-fee apartments on the market, whether advertised by rental agents or directly by landlords. Prior to the pandemic, around 58% of the listings on RentHop were no-fee. This number has since increased to 64%.

For those who are staying in the city with expiring leases, now might be a good time to start your apartment search. We expect that the rental trends will continue as New York City struggles with unprecedented job losses, an outflow of residents, and the economic turmoil due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Inventory Flows Back In, Approaching the Pre-Pandemic Level

While April has historically been the beginning of busy real estate sales and rental seasons, the market has been flat this year. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown and pause of real estate showings, the number of active listings on RentHop dropped dramatically within a week after the start of the stay-at-home order. By mid-April, the number of active listings on RentHop had lowered 20% to just around 20,000 on average each week.

Since then, inventory has been growing steadily. The number of active listings first peaked the week of May 4 to May 10 since COVID-19 and has generally been trending upward. This implies that inventory is now flowing back, and renters now have more options to choose from.

Renter Inquiries Recovered to the Pre-Pandemic Level

Unsurprisingly, the coronavirus outbreak exerted downward pressure on the rental market in the city of New York. Daily inquiry count started dropping exponentially in early March, and by March 20, the day when the PAUSE order was announced, the daily renter inquiry count had fallen over 60% below the pre-pandemic daily average.

But things quickly started to turnaround by early April. This upward trend continued through May, with May 12 being 26% higher than the daily average prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. And while the recent BLM protests have had an impact on market activities, generally speaking, the number of renter inquiries is reaching the pre-pandemic level. We expect this upward trend to continue in the coming months, driven by pent-up demand as people who have held off moving are now restarting their apartment search process.

Leads, however, seem to be shifting from Manhattan to Brooklyn. As shown in the chart below, the top 5 most inquired neighborhoods last year were all Manhattan neighborhoods, such as Hell’s Kitchen, FiDi, and the East Village. The rankings changed drastically this year. Four out of the top five neighborhoods are located in Brooklyn, and the fifth one is Astoria, Queens. This shift might be evidence that the city may be seeing an outflow of residents from Manhattan to more affordable and less populated neighborhoods in outer boroughs.

Published at Tue, 16 Jun 2020 14:00:37 +0000




Is there a bright side to the global Covid-19 pandemic? Should we even think about looking for a bright side? The answer is absolutely “yes”. The downside of this situation can feel overwhelming and desperately sad. There is no shortage of bad news, but there are many reasons and benefits to remaining hopeful now and moving forward.

All over the world people found ways to connect during social distancing. From the Italians who sang arias from their balconies to neighborhoods in the US who met on their streets for dance offs.  We learned to use new technology such as Zoom or Facetime for virtual happy hours and dinners. From a safe 6 feet apart, you can go for walks with friends and family.  Have balcony fun and get to know your neighbors that live in your apartment building. My daughter has befriended a senior lady on the second floor of her apartment building. This daily interaction reduces isolation especially for her and creates smiles.

Do you feel the silence?  During snowstorms when plane traffic is halted, silence feels like a warm blanket. Now the birds are in their element with less cars and planes in the air. With more time in our lives to explore new interests, bird watching as a hobby is on the increase. They are much easier to hear and spot when we do not need to filter through all the man-made noise. We can rediscover nature.

We can see clearly now and breath better in many cities all over the world. The media shows us photography of blue skies in Los Angeles. NASA says that the atmosphere is significantly cleaner. With the reduction of non-essential travel, the drop in pollution has been significant worldwide.  Cleaner air promotes better health for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory related illnesses. This year with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are seeing many places with the best air quality in decades.

Did you catch up on all the projects that you thought that you never had time to do before?  I have cleaned and organized everything from my attic to the linen closets and the food pantry. I thought that I had plenty of canned goods only to find that a can of green beans expired in 2018. My hurricane provisions from 2019 had expired too. Knowing exactly where I stood with non-perishables will help me be ready for hurricane season 2020. Catching up on my “to do list” had given me a feeling of accomplishment and control during a time when we have no control over a global pandemic. It was a more positive way to spend my time than binge watching news and obsessing about the pandemic. Trust me I spent too much time going from streaming news to local news providers. (Source: Bright Side)

To find the bright side of the any bad situation, it is best to try to have a positive attitude. It will not be an easy thing to do. Even if it is only for a few minutes a day, looking for the bright side can help you not to go down into a rabbit hole of despair. There are so many health benefits with a positive outlook. Can you chat with a senior shut in? Could you donate to a non-profit or support local shops and restaurants? Can we find ways to sustain clean air and continue to commit to a healthier global environment? That remains to be seen. I know that some good will result from Covid-19 pandemic. But it will be up to each of us as we find the new norm to be positive. I’m betting on us to win!

Published at Thu, 07 May 2020 12:21:47 +0000