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Ten Tips to Save Money with Your Pet

By S. D. Galindo, M.Ed
Updated: 2009-06-11 1:36 PM 2720 Views    Category: - General Pet Care
 
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Got Pets?  Tired of Paying Rent?

My clever black cat, Taslin, advised me that he was tired of living in a college neighborhood with noisy roommates and no privacy.  He jumped up on the bathroom sink, looked me in the eyes (in the mirror), and said:  “Me now!”  Then, when I didn’t do anything right away, he started hanging out down on the ‘big lawn street’ where the ‘real’ houses were.

But I had done something:  math.  And I realized two things:  One, I had paid my landlord more than $80,000 in the last 13 years – and that was just my share of rent, even with roommates.  Two, I could never afford a home in my California neighborhood on my own.  It seemed like I was always too short on the down payment and not making enough money to quality for the difference.  It was also hard to find a house under $200,000 within an hour’s commute from work.  On the other hand, dealing with roommates was getting real old and with the rent going up again I would never be able to get my cats a decent home and a SAFE yard if I didn’t figure out something soon.

About 18 months later, I got my cats their own home and fenced yard – on a quiet cul-de-sac, too.  I created a strategic plan and was ruthless about it.  I needed to get my credit in order, come up with a down payment, and go where?  Sure, it’s a recession, but that means prices aren’t rising and interest rates are reasonable – and this may last a while.  In addition, there are more and more pet people helping other people with pets.  You can find pet friendly realtors (PetRealtyNetwork.com), so get out of that cramped, high traffic apartment and get some financial security, too.  My plan begins with 20 things you can do in the next 30 days to get ready to buy, and that’s just part one! 
 
Starting from the scratching post, here are ten tips to get more money fast:
 
1.  Yes, you gave up lattes, but don’t cut the cat and dog treats!  Instead of buying treats for $2-$3 an ounce, just buy a different (inexpensive) dry or wet food or make chicken.  My cats are happy with any ‘treat’ that is different than their regular diet, even though they get a variety already.
 
2.  You’re on a budget!  Can you carpool?  Have friends over for happy hour at home?  Eliminate manicures just for ONE year?  It’s California – go for a jog and forget the gym membership!
 
3.  By not going on vacation, you’ll save a lot of money.  Next year, use that extra vacation time to go house hunting!  Make the most of national holidays in expensive ways – like being out in nature – have a BBQ in the mountains or at the beach! Take baths, plant a garden to relax.
 
4.  Make a list of household expenses.  Get rid of bonus channels on your TV, web access on your cell phone, long distance on your home phone, and other extras.  Or, call up and shop for better deals.  Give up your magazines.  Who needs People when you have The Pet Press?
 
5.  Shop around for better auto insurance rates.  Do it today. Save the difference.
 
6.  Get little side jobs from time to time, like pet sitting for vacationing friends.
 
7.  Clean out your closets!  Make a pile of what you can sell or donate to charity.  Donations are tax deductible – up to $500.  You can sell stuff on Craig’s List, E-Bay, and Amazon.  Threadbare towels can be used for packing materials or sold as ‘bag-o-rags’ at a garage sale.  Go through one room, closet, cupboard, or drawer each week until you feel like you’re cleaned out!
 
8.  Get out a calendar and plan your first garage sale.  There will be more!
 
9.  If any extra month comes your way – birthdays, tax refunds, product rebates, garage sales, side jobs – use it to pay off high interest credit cards.  Then put any windfalls into a savings account for a down payment.  If anyone writes you a check for anything – save it.
 
10.  Open a savings account tomorrow and get started.

 

 

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