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6 Unexpected Ways Your Dog Can Help You Save Money

6 Unexpected Ways Your Dog Can Help You Save Money

There are so many reasons to love your dog: the wet nose, the wagging tail, the constant, unconditional love even when you’re at your very worst. But in case having a pet who’s unbelievably thrilled by your very presence isn’t enough for you (take that, cats!), here are six more reasons to love your dog—the totally unexpected ways that owning a dog actually helps you save money.

1. Your dog keeps your doctor’s bills down.

You might not realize it, but your pooch’s needs encourage you to have all kinds of healthy habits, from keeping a regular sleep schedule to getting outdoors every day. All those walks add up! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (NIH) have both conducted studies that found that pet owners had lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as lower blood pressure, than non-pet owners.

Fido can help you raise healthier kids, too: research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has shown that children raised around dogs (and other furry critters) develop stronger immune systems and are actually less likely to have allergies than their pet-less pals. Turns out that owning a pup is a pretty good form of preventative medicine—and staying healthy helps you save on healthcare costs down the line.

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2. Your dog can be your therapist.

Dogs aren’t just good for your physical health—they also boost your emotional wellbeing. Petting and playing with your dog can be an anxiety reliever. Even just a quick snuggle session or game of fetch will do the trick; researchers have found that 15 to 30 minutes of pleasurable pet activity is enough to elevate your brain’s levels of serotonin and dopamine, a.k.a. your feel-good neurotransmitters.

This also may be why so many studies have found that dogs help reduce your stress levels. In one study from SUNY Buffalo, seeing their dogs made participants react more calmly in stressful situations than seeing their husbands and wives did. Plus, you don’t just get to see your dog for fifty minutes a week—per minute, Rover is pretty much the least expensive shrink you can find.

3. Your dog is your security system.

Sorry, ADT—you’ve got a D-O-G on the case. You don’t have to own a Rottweiler or German Shepherd to feel safer with your dog; even a Yorkie or Malti-poo will do. Whether you’re in your home or out with your pet, thieves and other ne’er-do-wells avoid dogs. And again, they don’t want to deal with any dog—according to one criminologist, small dogs can actually be more of a deterrent than their Beethoven-size brothers, since they have a reputation for being nervous and noisy. Your neighbors should thank you, too: even living next to a dog owner decreases your risk of burglary. Save on home monitoring services, and just put up a “beware of dog” sign.

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    4. Your dog might be a deduction.

    Working dogs might not pay taxes, but they can actually help you save when April 15th rolls around. Seeing-eye dogs and other service dogs (including Emotional Support Animals) are a deductible medical expense. In order to claim the deduction, your pup must be registered with an agency as an official service animal. If you establish that the dog is used primarily for medical care, per IRS Publication 502 your pooch’s food, training, medication, and vet bills can all count as medical deductions. Other working dogs—including guard dogs and farm dogs—can actually be deducted as business expenses, but the IRS draws a clear distinction here between workers and pets. So yes, even though your Malti-poo can keep you safe (see #3), you can’t call her a guard dog and claim her as a business expense.

    5. Other people’s dogs might be a deduction, too.

    If you’re really committed to our canine companions and you volunteer at a shelter or with a dog-related nonprofit, you can deduct any non-reimbursed expenses you paid out-of-pocket. For example, if you foster dogs in your home and your dog-related expenses aren’t being paid by a shelter or rescue organization, you can deduct the stuff you paid for like puppy chow and vet bills.

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    If you volunteer at a shelter, you can’t deduct the value of your time—and come on, isn’t helping dogs find good home payment enough? But you can deduct other volunteering-related expenses, like if you used your car to help bring supplies to an adoption event. If you weren’t reimbursed by the shelter or rescue group for parking, gas, or other expenses, there’s another deduction.

    6. Your dog is a fantastic wingman.

    Now yes, studies have found that people can get as strong of an emotional boost from having a dog as a companion as they can from having another person around, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Your pooch can help you meet people in places that aren’t bars—no cover charges, no pricey cocktails, no cab fare necessary.

    From the dog park (free!) to sitting outside a coffee shop ($4, max), your dog is a perfect conversation-starter. Sure, you might be afraid to approach that cute guy or girl—but chances are pretty good your dog would love to meet them. And guess what? You’ve already broken the ice, because here’s something to talk about—your dog. If they’ve got a dog too, even better. Oh hey, who’s your groomer? Want to hit up this great hiking trail? Before you know it, you’ve got a date—maybe you can use some of your extra cash to go somewhere nice.

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    Featured photo credit: Yorkshire Portrait via picjumbo.com

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    Published on November 8, 2018

    How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

    How to Answer the Tough Question: What are Your Salary Requirements?

    After a few months of hard work and dozens of phone calls later, you finally land a job opportunity.

    But then, you’re asked about your salary requirements and your mind goes blank. So, you offer a lower salary believing this will increase your odds at getting hired.

    Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach.

    Your salary requirements can make or break your odds at getting hired. But only if you’re not prepared.

    Ask for a salary too high with no room for negotiation and your potential employer will not be able to afford you. Aim too low and employers will perceive as you offering low value. The trick is to aim as high as possible while keeping both parties feel happy.

    Of course, you can’t command a high price without bringing value.

    The good news is that learning how to be a high-value employee is possible. You have to work on the right tasks to grow in the right areas. Here are a few tactics to negotiate your salary requirements with confidence.

    1. Hack time to accomplish more than most

    Do you want to get paid well for your hard work? Of course you do. I hate to break it to you, but so do most people.

    With so much competition, this won’t be an easy task to achieve. That’s why you need to become a pro at time management.

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    Do you know how much free time you have? Not the free time during your lunch break or after you’ve finished working at your day job. Rather, the free time when you’re looking at your phone or watching your favorite TV show.

    Data from 2017 shows that Americans spend roughly 3 hours watching TV. This is time poorly spent if you’re not happy with your current lifestyle. Instead, focus on working on your goals whenever you have free time.

    For example, if your commute to/from work is 1 hour, listen to an educational Podcast. If your lunch break is 30 minutes, read for 10 to 15 minutes. And if you have a busy life with only 30–60 minutes to spare after work, use this time to work on your personal goals.

    Create a morning routine that will set you up for success every day. Start waking up 1 to 2 hours earlier to have more time to work on your most important tasks. Use tools like ATracker to break down which activities you’re spending the most time in.

    It won’t be easy to analyze your entire day, so set boundaries. For example, if you have 4 hours of free time each day, spend at least 2 of these hours working on important tasks.

    2. Set your own boundaries

    Having a successful career isn’t always about the money. According to Gallup, about 70% of employees aren’t satisfied with their current jobs.[1]

    Earning more money isn’t a bad thing, but choosing a higher salary over the traits that are the most important to you is. For example, if you enjoy spending time with your family, reject job offers requiring a lot of travel.

    Here are some important traits to consider:

    • Work and life balance – The last thing you’d want is a job that forces you to work 60+ hours each week. Unless this is the type of environment you’d want. Understand how your potential employer emphasizes work/life balance.
    • Self-development opportunities – Having the option to grow within your company is important. Once you learn how to do your tasks well, you’ll start becoming less engaged. Choose a company that encourages employee growth.
    • Company culture – The stereotypical cubicle job where one feels miserable doesn’t have to be your fate. Not all companies are equal in culture. Take, for example, Google, who invests heavily in keeping their employees happy.[2]

    These are some of the most important traits to look for in a company, but there are others. Make it your mission to rank which traits are important to you. This way you’ll stop applying to the wrong companies and stay focused on what matters to you more.

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    3. Continuously invest in yourself

    Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Cliche I know, but true nonetheless.

    You’ll grow as a person and gain confidence with the value you’ll be able to bring to others. Investing in yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. For example, you can read books to expand your knowledge in different fields.

    Don’t get stuck into the habit of reading without a purpose. Instead, choose books that will help you expand in a field you’re looking to grow. At the same time, don’t limit yourself to reading books in one subject–create a healthy balance.

    Podcasts are also a great medium to learn new subjects from experts in different fields. The best part is they’re free and you can consume them on your commute to/from work.

    Paid education makes sense if you have little to no debt. If you decide to go back to school, be sure to apply for scholarships and grants to have the least amount of debt. Regardless of which route you take to make it a habit to grow every day.

    It won’t be easy, but this will work to your advantage. Most people won’t spend most of their free time investing in themselves. This will allow you to grow faster than most, and stand out from your competition.

    4. Document the value you bring

    Resumes are a common way companies filter employees through the hiring process. Here’s the big secret: It’s not the only way you can showcase your skills.

    To request for a higher salary than most, you have to do what most are unwilling to do. Since you’re already investing in yourself, make it a habit to showcase your skills online.

    A great way to do this is to create your own website. Pick your first and last name as your domain name. If this domain is already taken, get creative and choose one that makes sense.

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    Here are some ideas:

    • joesmith.com
    • joeasmith.com
    • joesmithprojects.com

    Nowadays, building a website is easy. Once you have your website setup, begin producing content. For example, if you a developer you can post the applications you’re building.

    During your interviews, you’ll have an online reference to showcase your accomplishments. You can use your accomplishments to justify your salary requirements. Since most people don’t do this, you’ll have a higher chance of employers accepting your offer

    5. Hide your salary requirements

    Avoid giving you salary requirements early in the interview process.

    But if you get asked early, deflect this question in a non-defensive manner. Explain to the employer that you’d like to understand your role better first. They’ll most likely agree with you; but if they don’t, give them a range.

    The truth is great employers are more concerned about your skills and the value you bring to the company. They understand that a great employee is an investment, able to earn them more than their salary.

    Remember that a job interview isn’t only for the employer, it’s also for you. If the employer is more interested in your salary requirements, this may not be a good sign. Use this question to gauge if the company you’re interviewing is worth working for.

    6. Do just enough research

    Research average salary compensation in your industry, then wing it.

    Use tools like Glassdoor to research the average salary compensation for your industry. Then leverage LinkedIn’s company data that’s provided with its Pro membership. You can view a company’s employee growth and the total number of job openings.

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    Use this information to make informed decisions when deciding on your salary requirements. But don’t limit yourself to the average salary range. Companies will usually pay you more for the value you have.

    Big companies will often pay more than smaller ones.[3] Whatever your desired salary amount is, always ask for a higher amount. Employers will often reject your initial offer. In fact, offer a salary range that’ll give you and your employer enough room to negotiate.

    7. Get compensated by your value

    Asking for the salary you deserve is an art. On one end, you have to constantly invest in yourself to offer massive value. But this isn’t enough. You also have to become a great negotiator.

    Imagine requesting a high salary and because you bring a lot of value, employers are willing to pay you this. Wouldn’t this be amazing?

    Most settle for average because they’re not confident with what they have to offer. Most don’t invest in themselves because they’re not dedicated enough. But not you.

    You know you deserve to get paid well, and you’re willing to put in the work. Yet, you won’t sacrifice your most important values over a higher salary.

    The bottom line

    You’ve got what it takes to succeed in your career. Invest in yourself, learn how to negotiate, and do research. The next time you’re asked about your salary requirements, you won’t fumble.

    You’ll showcase your skills with confidence and get the salary you deserve. What’s holding you back now?

    Featured photo credit: LinkedIn Sales Navigator via unsplash.com

    Reference

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