Keeping Your Pets Safe In The Cold

I have two dogs, Frank and Sally. My husband and I rescued them two winters ago. This time of year is always a reminder for me to take care of them much better than their previous owner. Pets are your family and should be treated as such. I did my research this year and found some really helpful tips on how to keep your pets safe in the winter weather.

It’s important to continue taking your dogs out for daily exercise, but be sure to follow this advice to protect their health. Cold, dry air along with sleet and snow can cause your pup to have itchy skin and chapped paws. Those are the least of the discomforts your pet can experience in the winter time. If they walk on roads that have been salted and then lick their paws, they can ingest very dangerous chemicals.

When coming into the heat of your home, your pets skin can dry out causing flakey, itchy skin. Keep a towel by the door to pat them dry and remove any snow that gets caught between their foot pads. It’s also good to keep your home humidified as well.

If you have a pet that gets groomed regularly, be sure to tell the groomer not to cut their hair too short. A longer coat in the winter will provide more warmth. If your pet has short hair, consider purchasing a sweater or coat that comes up around the neck and extends from the base of the tail to their belly.

When you’re taking your pets outside, bring along a towel to dry off irritated paws. When you get back home, be sure to wash (not just towel) off any ice, snow, and salt from the roads. In the same vein, you’ll want to limit the amount of baths you give your pets to avoid drying out their skin. Talk to you vet about a moisturizing shampoo they recommend.

If your pet allows it, put booties on their paws to protect their pads from the wintry conditions. Another option is to massage petroleum jelly into their paws before they go outside.

In cold weather, pets will burn extra energy to stay warm. Feed them a little more than normal to up their calorie intake and make sure they always have plenty of water.

And finally, remember, if the cold is too much for you, it’s more than likely too much for your pet. Keep your pets inside and provide them a warm bed to sleep in.

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New Years Resolution: Plan A Budget & Stick To It

How many years have you made your New Year’s resolution and been able to keep it? They say a habit takes 21 consecutive days to form. If you’re looking to save yourself some money this year and stop the pattern of overspending, it’s time to take your budgeting goals seriously.

Having a budget will not only give you a broad oversight of what your finances look like, but it will help you realize you could be throwing money away on unnecessary things. There are many ways to create a budget; some people choose to carry a notebook where they log all of their purchases by hand, but in today’s age, it’s much easier to use your smartphone to hold yourself accountable to your budget. There are many apps out there that can help. Next month I’ll do a deeper dive into which apps I think work the best. For now, let’s learn some simple steps that Everydollar has laid out on how you can help yourself stick to your budget.

Give yourself an allowance each month that is realistic. If you typically spend $300 at restaurants each month, there’s no way you’ll be able to stop that cold turkey. Cut it back a bit and allow yourself maybe $200 this month.

Break up your budget into weekly increments. If you allow yourself so much money for entertainment purposes, split that among each week of the month, so you don’t blow it all in the very beginning.

Become a planner. The key to having a successful budget is planning things out and anticipating harsh realities, like unexpected car maintenance. An easy way to feel like you’re ahead when it comes to this is by consulting your social calendar. What birthdays or weddings do you have coming up? Set aside some money for these so you won’t feel strapped when it comes time to buy presents. (This is especially important in December!) Don’t forget to set aside some money each month for things that come up such as having to replace a broken appliance or fix a flat tire.

Learn how to wait for things you want but don’t need. If you’re out shopping and running low on your budget, snap a picture of the item you want and wait to buy it next month. At that time, you might find that you changed your mind and no longer want it. If you decide you still want it, chances are, it’s probably on sale now!

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Where to Travel in November

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November is a wonderful month for travel. The heat of summer is long over, but the cold of winter has yet to set in. Days are crisp and cool, perfect for getting outdoors. Autumn is in full swing, and there is much natural beauty to see. Or, if you live in a place that is already chilly, you may be looking for somewhere a little warmer. Read on for some great places to travel in November.

Vermont in November is the epitome of autumn weather. The leaves are beautiful shades of red and orange, and the weather is cold and sunny. There is much to do while on vacation in Vermont. You can take a hike and explore the beautiful foliage. Many of its quaint small towns have fall festivals for the entire family to enjoy. You may even want to visit a local farm to see how things are grown.

New York City
There is something about fall in the city. New York City has so much to do, from Broadway Shows to Central Park to historical sites like Ellis Island. There is something for everyone. As an added plus, visiting in November will let you take in some of the beautiful holiday displays while beating the Christmas crowds.

Scotland is known for its natural beauty. Add the turning of the leaves, and Scotland in Autumn is breathtaking. There are many hikes you can take through the highlands to see some stunning views of the trees and lochs from the hilltops. End your days with a pint and a meal at the local pub.

Caribbean Cruise
If it’s already miserably cold in your area, you might want to consider a Caribbean cruise to remind you of the warm days of summer. You can relax on the beach with a tropical drink in hand, while everyone back at home is dealing with the cold. November is a great time for a cruise. The weather is perfect and it is near the end of hurricane season, so you should not have to worry about storms. Prices might also be a little lower and you shouldn’t have to deal with too many crowds.

If you want to get in some time on the slopes, Colorado can be a great trip for November. You can take in some gorgeous mountain views during the day and spend your evening by a cozy fire. November is also a good time to beat the winter crowds that will be coming in the next couple of months.

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How To Begin Saving Money

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Life is unpredictable. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the security of an emergency fund, or maybe finally have enough to take that dream vacation this summer? Here are some tips on how to begin saving money today.

Before you begin, set up an account for your savings. This will stop you the temptation of spending the money you’re trying to save. If you have direct deposit, set an amount to be transferred into this account each time you get paid. Most banks also offer the option of automatic transfer of money between your accounts a few times a month.

When you first start to build your savings fund, start small. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself right out the gate so save what you can without causing yourself anxiety for the rest of the month. It can be just $2 or $3 a day. You’ll be amazed at how fast that will grow over time.

Make your coffee at home instead of going to the coffee shop. Let’s say a cup of coffee costs about $3, and you go at least 5 times a week, that’s $15 you’re spending. Over the course of a year, that can save you up to $780. And that’s only if you’re spending $3 on coffee; many places sell their specialty drinks for $2 or $3 more than that and who can resist the delicious pastries. Your daily spending at a coffee shop is expected to be more than $3 a day. For every cup of coffee you would have bought but decided to make at home instead, add that to your savings and you’ll quickly see your money grow.

Likewise, you can save money by packing your lunch for work instead of buying. Let’s do that math again. If you spend $10 on your lunch every weekday, that’s $50 a week that could be going into your savings account; $2,600 annually.

Another clever way to save money is by canceling your cable. With sites like Netflix and Hulu, you can cut the cord and still keep up with your favorite TV shows. The average cable bill in the US is $103.10, whereas if you sign up for Netflix and Hulu, both about $10/month subscriptions, you’d only be paying 20% of what you’re used to spending with cable.

Following these simple steps alone can help you save over $5,000 a year. It’ll take some discipline at first, but if you’re committed, you’ll find saving money is an easy habit of picking up on.

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