I will be the first to admit that I am not a mindful spender. I like to attribute part of the problem to the dollar bins at Target. If you can go into target and walk past those dollar bins and not put a single item in your shopping cart, you have more self-control in your pinky finger than I could probably ever possess. GOOD. FOR. YOU.
They say the first step in getting help is admitting the problem right? Well here it goes…I know I have a problem mindlessly spending money. The majority of the time when I am mindlessly spending money I find it is on items I could most likely live without.
Amazon, I am talking to you.
Eating & Shopping. Those are the two activities I catch myself doing mindlessly when I am bored. Can anyone relate?
We are only 18 days into 2019. Of course, everyone has been declaring resolutions right and left, which will most likely be abandoned (if they haven't already) by the end of the month.
I mean let's be real, January is a really a trial month anyways.
I feel like the word "resolution" makes it harder to achieve whatever change or action you have decided to do. It is almost like there is a heavier responsibility and burden that comes with declaring a resolution.
Instead, I have created a goal (pretty much the same thing as a resolution, but in my head it sounds more attainable) for myself to become a more mindful and practical spender, both of my time and money (but mostly money).
After much soul searching and internet browsing I have found some helpful tips. And, believe it or not, a few of these I already do, #winning.
Think Before Spending
A few questions to run through before making that new top, cup of coffee, or random Amazon purchase.
I don’t know about you, but it is much easier for me to swipe my debit card than it is to hand over cash. I will hold on to cash until I absolutely have to spend it. Even more so, I hate breaking large bills. I do not know what it is, but it almost feels as if a piece of my heart breaks when I break large bills. Maybe it is the physical act of having to watch myself hand over the cash that makes it so hard to part with, whereas when I swipe my card I don’t actively see the money go unless I open up my mobile banking app. Not only is it beneficial to have cash handy in case of an emergency and you can’t access an ATM, it has definitely kept me from making some unnecessary purchases.
Have a friend or a family member hold you accountable. Whether it is for your shopping habits, working out, eating better, find an accountability partner. Let’s all be honest here, it is so much easier to point out the faults in others before we point them out in ourselves. Find someone who is able to not only point out your bad habits, but who also identifies and celebrates your successes with you.
Name-brand sometimes isn’t always the best brand. I am a firm believer that there are certain things to splurge on and get the name brand. But, there a lot more items that serve the exact same purpose as the name brand items and are cheaper. Look for sales, coupons, or specials on items. It is perfectly acceptable to be picky and shop around for the best deals. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Check out bargain stores too. Some of those overpriced items tend to make their way to places like Bargain Hunt or Dirt Cheap where you can get them for a hefty discount. Trust me, I just bought two pairs of shoes for $5 each, originally costing $45 each. **cue happy dance
An Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude goes a long way. The truth of the matter is, this day in age it is so incredibly easy to mindlessly spend our time and money. We have the world at our fingertips, but that is no excuse to not be grateful. I am guilty of filling the void of boredom with random online shopping sprees or getting completely sucked into a Netflix binge. When you catch yourself in the midst of those things, take some time go outside and get some fresh air. Better yet, go for a walk, a run, a hike, a bike ride; anything that gets you up and moving. Or…if you’re going to be on your phone send someone you love a text and let them know why you’re thankful they are in your life. I promise it will make their day and yours a little brighter.
Recently, I have had several opportunities to adopt a puppy. And while I am always eager to play with puppies, watch cute puppy videos and even see pictures of puppies, I was very hesitant when actually having to decide if I wanted to commit to becoming a dog mom.
Whether you are considering adopting a dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, or fish, caring for a pet is a life time commitment. While there are many benefits of adding a pet to the family, there are many things to consider when deciding to make the commitment.
Pets can be so exciting and frustrating all at the same time. And while an animal will provide joy and fulfillment, companionship, and even help boost your social life and health, they require a lot of time, and tangible items such as food, shelter, medical care, and other supplies.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Americans spend a substantial amount of money on the care and feeding of their animals. In 2015, households spent an average of $528 on pets.” It is only practical to weigh out the monetary costs that accompany pet ownership, before making the leap into becoming a crazy pet parent.
When considering adding a fury, or maybe not so fury, family member, ultimately it is best to see if your budget will allow for you to give the animal the time, love, and home it deserves.
Here are a few things to include when budgeting for your new pet.
There are so many options for pet adoptions. There are shelters and rescues that have different animals available for adoption. Most of these pets are a little older and are up to date on their shots and medical care. Also, because we live in a world that revolves around social media, there are always people looking to find homes for puppies, or even rehome their pets for all types of circumstances. Depending on which situation you go with, in my experience, the adoption costs can vary and it is important to factor it in when budgeting. The benefit is it is a one-time cost, not a monthly expense.
Let’s not be naïve, puppies chew. EVERYTHING. Kittens claw and climb. Hamsters are escape artists and nocturnal. Before bringing your new friend home, you might want to make sure your home has been pet-proofed. Not only does this mean putting up anything you don’t want becoming an impromptu chew toy or scratching post, but also locking away hazardous chemicals that your pets may accidentally ingest. This may mean investing in containers that can be sealed to protect the animals.
Just like humans, our pets need food to be healthy and energetic. Go ahead and add pet food to your grocery shopping list as an added expense. If you have a cat or kitten you will need to budget for kitty litter. Hamsters need proper shavings in their habitats to keep them healthy as well.
Some pets are extremely low maintenance when it comes to supplies, and others are extremely high maintenance. Puppies especially. The early years are probably the hardest when training your new pup where they are allowed and not allowed if they are kept inside. Here are just a few supplies you would need to account for in your budget.
Every pet needs general health care in order to live a long, happy and healthy life style. Yearly vaccinations help with flea and parasite control. Depending on if you will breed your pet, there are also spaying and neutering costs. There are also the unforeseen veterinary emergencies that you will need to be prepared for as well.
Training isn’t essential to every pet but should also be factored in. Especially for dogs, there is obedience, protection, and potty training should you wish to inquire someone else’s help. Training can become pretty expensive depending on the extent of training you are wanting for your pet. There is also a free option of training your pet yourself. There are plenty of tips, tricks, blogs, and video tutorials readily available on the internet!
Owning a pet brings so much joy to a family. It helps foster a sense of responsibility for younger children; it reduces stress, provides companionship, and helps create lasting memories. Being financially responsible enough to budget out all of the costs associated with becoming a pet parent helps determine if you are emotionally ready for all the time animals need to thrive. Budgeting out pet costs help ensure that you are ready to provide a long, happy, healthy life for your new family members.
As for me, I have decided becoming a dog mom is exactly the journey I want to take for 2019!
The free budgeting tool provided by the ēCO Educational Center HERE helped me budget out the costs for whenever I do find the perfect pet for me. You should check it out too!