What the experts say
Don’t waste money on premium gas
Stop putting premium gasoline in an engine that only requires regular, said Norman Mayersohn in The New York Times. Only 18 percent of new cars sold in the U.S. need premium-grade gas, and “there is no advantage in performance, fuel economy, or emissions control for the other 82 percent to use high octane.” Yet AAA estimates that “drivers waste more than $2 billion a year buying more octane than their vehicles require.” If your car requires premium—and you can check at Edmunds.com—that’s what you should stick with, although “a tankful of lower-octane gas in a pinch” is fine. But most engines can be kept under control with an octane rating lower than 91, and they gain no added benefit from premium.
Your work emails are now work texts
Text messaging is becoming more commonplace in the workplace—with unintended consequences, said Te-Ping Chen in The Wall Street Journal. “Once seen as too personal for work,” text messaging is now “being embraced by companies for its speed and convenience.” Proponents say it is often easier than email and produces faster responses, as almost 50 percent of workers say they respond to a text within five minutes. But such convenience also comes with colleagues who like to overshare, texts pinging at all hours, and the occasional embarrassment. A worker outside Cleveland “texted her boss saying she loved him,” thinking she’d written her husband. The desire for instant gratification can also be draining. One human resources executive said she now gets as many as 50 messages a day from colleagues “about everything from expense reports to payroll.”
Not a great housing deal
Be careful about buying a home in the exurbs, said Jacob Passy in Marketwatch.com. “Roughly a decade ago, the exurbs were ground zero for the housing crisis, but today, they’re hotter than ever.” These “less densely populated, often newly constructed communities on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas” are growing fast, and many see them as a way to beat sky-high housing prices. But one reason the exurbs seem affordable is that they were hard-hit by the housing crisis. Prices in the exurbs fell more than 30 percent from their 2007 peak, and are still recovering. You’ll see the same pattern in another housing bust. “It’s the exurbs that will take the hit first and recover later,”says one housing researcher.