shutdownFor the most part, Texas is doing OK during U.S. government shut down, but it still is hitting the state’s most vulnerable citizens the hardest, according to a recent report on the states most and least affected by the 2019 shut down.

The report, compiled by analysts at WalletHub, compared all 50 states plus the District of Columbia across five metrics, including each state’s share of federal jobs to the share of families receiving food stamps.

“When the government shuts down, certain federal employees work without pay or receive a furlough,” the report explained. “This includes over 41,000 law enforcement officers, 52,000 IRS workers and 96 percent of NASA employees. ‘Non-essential’ government services also remain inactive and certain benefits are liable to run out of funding.” (more…)

Klyde Warren

Thanks to Texas’ mild fall and winter and relatively low cost of living, there’s plenty of room outside for first date spots with access to food trucks, which is good news for singles on a budget.

Texas is for singles? It may be cold comfort if you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone this year, but when it comes to being single, there are worse places to live than Texas. Forty-four worse places, in fact!

A recent report by WalletHub ranked Texas the No. 6 ‘dating-friendly’ state to live. Lends a whole new twist to the Lone Star State, right?

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Best real estate markets 2016

Nearly a decade after the housing crisis that sent the U.S. economy into freefall, housing is most certainly back—just look at our DFW market. Citing U.S. Census Bureau data, the New York Times recently reported that sales of new single-family homes nationwide were higher this past July than in nearly 10 years.

Nationwide, a company that tracks the health of U.S. real estate, reported at the end of quarter two that “the overall U.S. housing market is sustainable,” adding that “few regional housing markets are vulnerable to a housing downturn.”

In a new study, financial services site WalletHub compared 300 U.S. cities across 16 key metrics to help prospective home buyers find the most attractive real-estate markets. Their data set ranges from “median home-price appreciation” to “housing affordability” to “job growth.”

North Texas cities scored big: Frisco, McKinney, Richardson, Allen, and Plano made their top-ten list of best real estate markets nationwide in 2016. Denton, Carrollton, Fort Worth, Irving, Grand Prairie, and Dallas scored in the top 50.

So what made DFW cities score so high?

“North Texas cities have healthy and sustainable real estate markets,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “Very few homes have negative equity, home appreciation in the past seven years has continued to increase, and foreclosure rates are extremely low. In addition to having a healthy real estate market, these cities are affordable with low maintenance costs and cost of living. Not to mention, the economic environment in North Texas is thriving, boasting some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (under 3 percent across the board).”

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Every summer in Texas, there’s a collective groan as people start getting their electricity bills. It can be downright painful to shell out hundreds of dollars to cool our homes and fuel appliances, devices, and energy-eating apparatuses.

A Houston-based technology company called Energy Ogre is taking aim at high electricity prices using an innovative approach. They take advantage of the deregulated Texas market to actively monitor thousands of offers and match them to a consumer’s actual electricity usage, resulting in maximum savings.

This process happens continually. Energy Ogre updates both electricity offers and customer usage daily to make a match that means big bucks off bills.

Just what kind of money are we talking about? The average Energy Ogre member saves over 40 percent on their electricity bill, says Energy Ogre CEO Jesson Bradshaw. All for about the cost of a monthly Netflix membership.

“The Texas electricity market was deregulated in January 2002, which gave consumers tons of options for choosing a provider, but not a lot of people got a primer of what the rules were and how to take best advantage of them,” Bradshaw said. “We started Energy Ogre because folks weren’t getting the benefits of deregulation.”

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