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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 July 4, 2018

    Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

    Top 10 Recommendations on Money Management Apps

    Don’t want to overspend your budget, swipe your credit card too many times, and feel like a financial mess? Instead of beating yourself up for the bad financial decisions you’ve ever made, create a new plan!

    The solution is simple, save more and spend less. But, we all know it’s easier said than done.

    One problem is finding quality apps that save you time and money, and aren’t just hype.

    Luckily, there’re many great money management apps available at your fingertips. Here are 10 reliable money management apps that can help you save money, and crush debt.

    1. Personal Capital

      When was the last time you’ve tracked your net worth? Probably months ago or maybe never. Personal Capital allows you to easily track your net worth and plan for retirement.

      Here are some of its main features:

      • Sync many investment accounts, and expenses (mortgage, credit cards, etc.) in one place
      • Discover hidden fees and how much they’re affecting your retirement plan
      • Wealth management for investors requiring a long-term strategy

      With Personal you’re free to track your expenses and net worth.

      Available for: iOS and Android

      2. Mint

        If your smartphone could only install a few apps, Mint would be one of them. Why? Because Mint tracks all your balances and bills in one place.

        Here are some of its main features:

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        • Effortlessly track all your bills and balances in one dashboard
        • Categorized expenses to understand where you spend your money
        • Uncover hidden fees, and determine your investment style with sophisticated retirement tools.

        Feel at ease with managing your money by a reputable company that isn’t going anywhere.

        Available for: iOS and Android

        3. YNAB

          Everyone needs a budget, there’s no way around it. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is an easy to use app that will change the way you think about money. Their motto is to “give every dollar a job”, and you’ll quickly discover why.

          Here are some of its main features:

          • Easily sync all bank accounts in one place
          • Visually see your debt paying progress with eye-catching charts and notifications
          • Customized categories setting saving goals

          The best part about YNAB is the community that comes along with it. You can hop on the YNAB forum to receive support, listen to the YNAB Podcast or stay tuned for their weekly videos.

          Available for: iOS and Android

          4. Wealthfront

            Albert Einstein once said “compound interest is the eight wonder in the world”, and for a very good reason. The problem is, most people are scared or unwilling to learn the basics of investing. This is why Wealthfront is the perfect solution for the hands-off investors.

            Here are some of its main features:

            • Variety of investment account options including IRA, Roth IRA, and more
            • Your portfolio composed of 7 different asset classes
            • Automatically rebalanced portfolio
            • Daily tax loss harvesting

            Wealthfront is perfect for people requiring investment guidance, or prefer a hands-off solution.

            Available for: iOS and Android

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            5. Clarity Money

              If you’re staying on top of your budget but want to take your finances to the next level, Clarity Money can help you. Clarity Money helps you stay under budget and build a personalized savings plan.

              Here are some of its main features:

              • Easily cancel subscriptions with one click
              • Synchronize bank accounts fast
              • Transfer money effortlessly between different accounts

              Clarity Money isn’t an app that does it all. But, it does make transferring money and canceling subscriptions fast and efficient.

              Available for: iOS and Android

              6. Acorns

                What if there was a way to quickly gain confidence in investing your money, without too much risk? There is, and Acorns is your solution. With Acorns’s technology, you’re able to make investments as small as $5.

                Here are some of its main features:

                • Automatic contribution option
                • Customized portfolio tailored to your needs
                • Low management fees ranging from $1-$2 per month

                Stop wasting dollars on expensive coffee. Instead, invest them towards a brighter financial future.

                Available for: iOS and Android

                7. Albert

                  Do you budget by only subtracting your expenses from your income? If so, how would you discover any overpayments or extra money you could save? This is where Albert shines, and it does it all free.

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                  Here are some of its main features:

                  • Receive notifications for overpayments, hidden fees, and low balances
                  • An Automatic budget that’s built around your spending and income
                  • Easily track debt and set new financial goals

                  While Albert does offer a paid option, most of its core features are FREE. So, what better option to save?

                  Available for: iOS

                  8. Prism

                    Have you recently forgot to pay a bill because life got in the way? Prism automatically tracks your bills and syncs your bank accounts in one place.

                    Here are some of its main features:

                    • View all your account balances in one glance
                    • Bill due dates are automatically pulled and tracked
                    • Receive early reminders for upcoming bills

                    If your budget is on “fleek” but can’t seem to stay on top of your bills, Prism is your go-to app.

                    Available for: iOS, Android, Windows, Amazon

                    9. Mvelopes

                      Remember hearing about people using envelopes to budget their money? Well, Mvelopes is the new envelope system for this generation. Easily create monthly budgets and track your saving goals.

                      Here are some of its main features:

                      • Connect unlimited bank accounts
                      • Real-time budgeting with auto transaction syncing
                      • Low monthly $4 fee or $40 annual

                      Mvelopes can help you crush debt, save more, and help you stop overspending. With its low monthly fee, it’s worth a try.

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                      Available for: iOS and Android

                      10. Wallaby

                        Most people don’t have time to track their credit card’s changing rewards and interest rates. Because of this, you need help reaping the most of your credit card’s rewards. Wallaby is the app that will help you do just that.

                        Here are some of its main features:

                        • Automatic recommendations for the best credit card to use for each transaction
                        • A friendly user interface, displaying credit cards with their corresponding images
                        • Free to use

                        If you’re using the same credit card to make your purchases, you may be leaving money on the table. Give Wallaby a try if you’re ready to maximize your credit card’s rewards.

                        Available for: iOS and Android

                        Take control of your finances and experience financial freedom

                        Picture yourself staying on budget and saving more money than you’d ever imagined.

                        It took hard work and dedication but you’d finally learned how to manage your money. You have to start taking control of your spending and saving habits.

                        You now have a list of reliable apps that can help you build better money habits, what are you waiting for?

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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