Pet Grooming on a Budget

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Pet Grooming
Nothing is too good for your pet, but the cost of grooming your pup can be expensive. In fact, some spend nearly $500 a year on it. Here's how you can keep your furry friend clean without breaking the bank.

First, brushing your pet regularly will reduce the need for frequent bathing. Overbathing can dry out the skin and strip away natural oils from the hair. It's costly, too.

Washing your dog at the groomers can cost over $100 for larger dogs, so reducing your visits can save you in more ways than one. Meanwhile, breeds with long hair and oily skin -- like Cocker Spaniels, Shih Tzus, Yorkies and Maltese dogs -- can be washed once or twice every two weeks. Collies and other hunting breeds can go a month or so between baths.

Other factors, like hair texture and whether your pet stays primarily indoors or outdoors, will also affect the frequency of washing. To be sure, always check with your vet to find out what's best for your pup.

Now that you're saving on bathing costs, you can splurge on pet shampoo. If you're using the right kind, you won't have to worry about bathing too often. Make sure your shampoo is labeled "for dogs," though. The pH of canine skin is neutral and most human shampoos tend to be more acidic. In the long run, this can end up damaging your pet's skin and coat, so don't skimp on the expense.

Ready to wash your pet? Keep these tips in mind so you can keep your canine clean without the high costs.


Pet Grooming on a Budget -- Savings Experiment

This is my personal favorite! Think of yourself as a regular monthly bill you have to pay. All you have to do is arrange to have a set amount of money directly deposited from your paycheck into a savings account each month.

I recommend using a separate savings account because if you have access to your funds in your checking account, you're more likely to spend them. Again, it might hurt a bit at first to take home a little less every month, but trust me, after a while you won't even notice it's gone. Here's a moment when the "set it and forget it" strategy works wonders.

It feels great to be rewarded for your hard work. And it feels even better to spend that hard-earned bonus on something you’ll enjoy, like a trip to France or an iPad. At the same time, the pleasure of a vacation or new gadget is short-lived compared to financial security.

So make a pact with yourself to put every bonus you get from here on out to good use. If you direct 90 percent of your bonuses straight into your savings account as a rule, you’ll still have 10 percent to treat yourself with (plus the comfort of knowing that you're building a well-earned safety net). I live by this rule.

OK, OK, this seems like an obvious one -- and easier said than done. Actually, most people spend money on more unnecessary items than they think. So take time to look at where your money is going in detail and begin to cut back. Saving $10 here and there could help you put a lot away in the long run.
Many banks offer seasonal accounts meant to save for holidays like Christmas. These accounts give you reduced access to your accounts, charging a hefty penalty each time you withdraw more than permitted. Since emergencies don't occur often, a seasonal account could make sure you're touching it only when needed (just make sure you're not tempted to blow it all on Christmas gifts).
I love this one. Chalk it up to my massive craving for organization, but I'm all about getting rid of things I no longer use. Rather than throwing these unused goods away, start selling them, and put that money into your emergency fund. All you need to do is post them to a site like eBay or Craigslist or Amazon and you can get rid of items from the comfort of your home. You can also take your clothes to a consignment shop to have them sold for you.
Instead of saving your pennies, put aside any $5 bills that come your way. Never spend a $5 bill again, and you'll be surprised by how quickly this silly trick will help you come up with a few hundred dollars to add to an emergency fund.
You could pick up odd jobs via websites like TaskRabbit.com, DoMyStuff.com, Elance.com, FreelanceSwitch.com or Sitters.com.
If you get a cash-back reward for any spending on your credit card, just make it a rule that those dollars will be dedicated to your freedom fund. It may only add up to $100 extra each year, depending on your spending, but every little bit counts.
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