Can You Afford a Family Pet?

canstockphoto10619493Pets have become a part of many families these days. They are considered to be our close friends, play mates and confidants. But they also come along with a high price. If your family is thinking strongly about owning a pet, you will first need to consider if you can afford the extra cost.

 

They are cute, cuddly, curious and have the characteristics of little people. No, we’re not talking about children. These are the personalities of pets.  There’s an old saying “A dog is a man’s best friend.” They are known to save lives in dangerous situations and are treated like a family member to the end. They are forgiving and will take on your traits over time. With all of these good things, why don’t more people have them?

 

Well owning a pet will get very expensive over time. Their cuteness doesn’t hide the fact that you will have ongoing expenses in order to get them in your home and to keep caring for them throughout their lives. For this reason it is worth the time to make a well-informed decision. It is unfortunate that many pets end up in animal shelters  or homeless on the streets because their owners could no longer care for them.

Here are some things you need to consider before buying a family pet.

Do Your Research– Ask yourself if you would like a small or large pet. Do you want a dog, cat or have a reptile such as an iguana? When it comes to caring for a pet , all animals have special needs. There are different considerations to take even within a species. Small dogs are a good match if you live in an apartment while large dogs need to run free and get a lot of exercise in the backyard. Some landlords don’t allow you to have pets. Animals also encounter illnesses that can affect your wallet.

 

What are their short-term needs?  Most pet owners are aware that they will have to spend money on their pet from the beginning, but they don’t have a clue of the exact cost. Let’s take a cat for example. They will need to have a litter box, a scratching post (so they won’t damage your furniture), toys, bedding and an initial visit with the veterinarian. If you don’t care to have kittens, then you will need to have your pet spayed or neutered. You may be out of a few hundred dollars even if you bargain shop.

What are their long-term needs? These will be the recurring costs of owning a pet. This includes food, vaccinations, grooming, pet insurance (this is optional), treats and litter. Think about the fact that you acquired your pet as a baby and they will grow eventually. Their food will get more expensive and so will their needs to have regular checkups. You will need to keep your pet healthy in order for them to have a long life with your family.

You may even compare pets if your family is interested in having more than one. Your family may decide to wait until another time to have a pet depending on your financial situation. Meanwhile your research has given you a goal to shoot for in the hopes of getting that new puppy or kitten in the near future.

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6 Easy Ways to Save Money on Cleaning Products

canstockphoto16136435Cleaning is an important task if we want our homes to look presentable. You may have noticed all of those television commercials advertising the latest and greatest cleaning products. “If you want to remove those tough stains fast, you should try this product.” “ If you want to stop the grease from sticking on your kitchen surfaces, use this spray because it’s the best.” These ads are everywhere.

Before you go out and spend your hard- earned money on something that may or may not be worthy of your time and energy, here are some suggestions for you.

 

Buy in bulk. Most stores usually offer a discount when you purchase more than one product. If you have a favorite type of cleaning product that you have been using for years that still work works for you, then you know that it is always needed. Stocking up will save you money in the long run.

Do a little research. Just what exactly is in these cleaning products? It is as much important for you to save money as it is for the environment. Cleaners with bleach are usually more expensive. You can just use the bleach itself. Most of the ingredients are added as fragrance or to help bind together the other compounds.

Make your own household cleaners. This is not as difficult as it sounds. You will not be required to be a scientist that’s cooking up something dangerous in the lab. If you have a bottle of bleach around the house just mix it with water. It will make an excellent disinfectant for cleaning your sink, bathtub and shower curtains. You can also add a little to dishwater to remove tough stains on pots and pans.

What about lemon juice? It is citric acid and can be used to get rid of grease. Simply squeeze some juice concentrate on the grease stains or mix it with warm water in a spray bottle and apply. Let it sit and you can use a dampened sponge in order to better remove the grease.

White Vinegar. It has many uses, which includes getting rid of foul odors out of rugs and furniture where you have spills. It can also be added with warm water to clean your linoleum flooring. Mix it with water in a spray bottle and apply it to clean the windows. You may also use ammonia combined with water. Dry it with a piece of newspaper.

Clean Regularly. As Ben Franklin quoted “ An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Keeping  a set schedule for daily or weekly chores will prevent the build- up of dust, grease, soap scum, hard water stains and the like. Milder cleaning products, like the ones that are homemade  can be quite effective for regular cleaning without having to put in all of the extra hard work.

If you are looking to save money on cleaning products, you can easily create your own. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty you can always purchase your favorite brand by the bulk. You can keep your house squeaky clean while staying on a budget. Let’s start cleaning!

For more budgeting tips please sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course or share these tips with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

canstockphoto10924485There is no end in sight to the tricks that people will use to separate you from your money. They will use any trick in the book to get you to sign, reveal or give away your financial secrets for them to gain access. There are steps you can take to protect yourself from financial fraud.

What is financial fraud? It is the act of taking something from someone by using deceitful tactics. Unless you are able to prove that you’ve been defrauded, you are simply out of your money.  This is a hard lesson that people have to learn for trusting an individual or a company that tell you that they will make you fast money.

Here are some tips that you can use to keep you financially safe.

There’s an old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” Anyone who promises that you will make a double return on your investment for very little or no work is to be suspected of not being truthful. It could be that they are telling the truth. Think of the people who have invested in Google, which is the number one search engine in the world. Another example is  Microsoft, which is the leading software company that makes billions of dollars in revenue. The people who became wealthy have done their due diligence before they invested any of their money.

If someone approach you about a business or an investment opportunity, and there are red flags waving, then you should keep your money in your wallet.

Get in on the ground floor. Whenever it’s mentioned that you are the “seed investor” this simply means that your money is supporting their project. You should always ask if they believe enough in their project to invest their own money. If the answer is no or they are giving you a vague answer, then you shouldn’t let go of your money either.

Ask for a portfolio and a business plan. If a company is looking for investors, they will need to show something in writing such as a business plan and the financial projections. This is required by the banks. If it is good enough for the banks which has a lot more money by the way, then they can also share the same information with you.

Beware of the investments that doesn’t exist. This includes the condo builders that pre sell property when there isn’t even a model available for the prospective buyers can see. How much does it cost for you to invest? In this case do your due diligence by speaking with a mentor and get an opinion on the best ways to invest your money. Make a decision once you have done your homework.

Learn all about the latest schemes. Local and national newspapers often cover stories on the latest scams. There are stock market, multi- level marketing, and offshore banking scams and the like. If you are approached by someone that’s  trying to convince you to part with your money with a similar offer, you are warned to stay away from them.

Whether you are investing ten dollars or a million dollars, always ask for proof that your money will be spent for what is promised. Ask questions, demand proof and find a reputable mentor about the source of the claims to protect yourself from financial fraud. Never sign or give away any of your personal information until you can think about it while conducting your own investigation.

 

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part Mini Course or if you like what you’ve read share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

 

 

 

Budgeting Tips: What is Your Net Worth?

dreamstime_s_7685239Whether you are curious about your finances or have a specific reason for calculating your net worth, there are many factors that you will have to take into consideration. Becoming knowledgeable about your net worth will allow you to prepare for events such as retirement or setting up your will. Calculating your personal net worth doesn’t have to be difficult.

To determine your net worth, you will need to make a list of all of your assets. Your biggest assets include any homes or rental property that you may own.  You must include any homes and properties that are under mortgage since they will count toward your equity. Your vehicles will also count as assets and should be listed after your home or land.

Liquid assets are your property that you can easily convert into cash. Liquid assets include cash, checking and savings accounts, retirement account, certificate of deposits CDs, and any other investment account. These assets must be calculated after your equity.

Your personal belongings and antiques should also be included on the list. Typically, the items that carry more than $500 in value should be listed as an asset.

After you calculate your assets, you will need to calculate your liabilities. Liabilities include all of the debts that’s owed. Examples of debts  include credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, and student loans. These liabilities should be deducted from the amount of your total assets. The remaining balance will be your net worth.

If you would like to take charge of your finances you should treat it like a business. One way you can do this is by using a personal balance sheet. It  can be downloaded for free online or you can use Microsoft Excel software.

There are separate columns for the assets, liabilities, and the total is usually calculated at the bottom of the page. You will need to list all of your assets and liabilities in the appropriate columns. Then you will subtract from the assets. This will estimate the total amount of your net worth.

Don’t get discouraged if you find that your  net worth is a negative number. As years go by, you will see that negative number become positive once you pay off all of your liabilities. If you don’t see any improvement  after comparing it for several years, you may need to speak to a financial planner and determine the best method to increase your bottom line.

Keep in mind that overinflating your assets will look good on paper, but it will not give an accurate amount of your finances.

Calculating your net worth should be done on a regular basis, at least once a year. It is important to do your calculations for several reasons, which mainly is preparing for retirement. If you are not seeing any changes in your bottom line over the course of a few years, take a look at the bigger picture and search for a way to eliminate debts.

For more budgeting tips, sign up for the 10 Part MiniCourse or you may share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

dreamstime_m_32586124Going overboard with your finances is not a hard thing to do. It is  estimated that the average American family owed $4,878 in credit card debt during the first quarter of 2013 according to Transunion.com. Fortunately for you, there is a way of getting around this which is by planning a budget. A budget can be implemented at any time, so gather your bills, find a quiet spot in your home and let’s get started.

The first thing you need to do is to figure out what you have coming in and what you have to pay. Once you have sorted through your bills, you should organize them into groups of what has to be paid such as the mortgage, rent, utilities, loans and credit cards. If you cannot afford to pay the electric or gas bill, you should make contact with the companies. Most of these businesses offer a monthly budget plan in which you would only have to pay around half of the bill, and they will bill you the remaining balance over the next few months. In regard to credit cards, you can make the minimum payment to get you through the first month.Then move on to your weekly expenses such as groceries and gas.

If you really would like to stretch your family budget, then you will have to do without the extras for a while. Start bringing your own lunch to work, make your own coffee at home and make home-cooked meals instead of eating out. Recovering will not take long since there is a lot of money you will be able to save just by doing the few things that’s mentioned above.

When it comes to shopping at the supermarket, make out a list that will include planned out meals for the week. You will be amazed at how much money it will save you when you stick to the list and plan your meals. Start clipping those coupons to further your savings and save some extra money. Consider making a few casseroles every week as you can easily have leftovers that will easily make two meals for  your family.

Lower the temperature on the furnace before going to bed or when you’re away from home. If you have been thinking about replacing the old light bulbs with the new energy efficient bulbs, now is the time to do so. Making this change will be a real money saver. Turn off the appliances when they are not being used or unplug them and you will really see your utility bills decrease.

Many families go overboard when it comes to their budgets, not realizing that there are simple methods to save on their everyday expenses. By utilizing some of the above advice, you will be shocked at how much money you will accumulate . Be smart and put away that extra money in case you need it for a rainy day.

For more money savings tips, sign up for 10 Part Mini Course or if you like what you’ve read share this with your Facebook and Twitter friends.

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