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If you’re like most people, gaining control over your finances can be daunting at best especially in the light of the Covid-19 economy. If you’re like most millenials and gen zers, saving for future large purchases like a home with a yard for their pet is becoming the norm.  Once you welcome a dog into your household, it needs to be taken care of as an important member of the family. Taking care of a dog comes with paying for shots, food, toys, and possibly veterinarian appointments and medication. With expenses mounting up each month, putting money aside for savings or even staying on top of your bills is seemingly impossible. Though getting things under control may seem difficult, it’s easier than you think. You just need to know where to start. Here are a few things you can do immediately to regain control of your finances and set yourself up for a healthy future for you and your dog.

Get To Know Your Credit Score

When you have a good credit score, you’ll find it easy to get loans, qualify for rental properties and even get certain jobs. However, when your score is low, it can be tough to get lenders, apartment complexes and employers to give you the time of day. Check your credit score and see where you stand.

If it’s high (over 720), keep doing what you’re doing to keep your score up. However, if it’s low, start looking for ways to boost it. Pay down your existing debts and avoid taking out new loans whenever possible. Make sure you’re paying your bills on time each month and pay attention to your credit report each month. If you notice any questionable or fraudulent activity on your report, let the credit bureau know so you can start correcting those errors.

Build a Solid Budget and Stick With It

The best thing you can do for your personal finances is to set a firm budget. Look at what you spend each month on average and be sure to include monthly and quarterly expenses as needed for pet supplies and vet visits, grooming costs and “other pet essentials” such as subscription dog toy/treat services or paying to bring your dog on an airplane when visiting family. Write down and total up the expenses that you absolutely have to cover every month. This can be rent or mortgage payments, utility costs, insurance premiums, doggy daycare memberships and anything else you need to live your life comfortably. Then, total up how much money you’re bringing in each month from your job and any side-hustles you have. Ideally, you should spend less each month than you’re earning.

Once you have those numbers in mind, start thinking about your financial goals. If you want to start saving $100 each week, look for expenses you can cut out or decrease to make that happen. Whatever you decide, make sure to stick to your budget each month. The more you do, the easier it will be to achieve financial freedom.

As you go, you’ll want to keep track of what you’re spending each month. This way, you’ll know whether you’re sticking to your budget or going over on certain activities. The closer you monitor things, the easier it will be for you to make corrections each month.

Save for Pet Emergencies

Most people find it hard to pay for unexpected injuries or medical difficulties with your dog when emergencies pop up. Sometimes a friend or well intended family member lets the dog accidently eat something your pet is allergic to or decides to give it a haircut and ends up accidently cutting the dog.  This often leaves people searching for loans or forces them to use their credit cards to make ends meet. Instead, start saving for those emergency expenses now and you can also mitigate costs by having a tele-vet service help you determine if your dog needs emergency care or not.  Even so, be sure to set aside $5 each week and put it in a savings account where you can’t access it unless you need it. Over time, you’ll build your emergency fund up so those unexpected expenses won’t derail your budget or force you to take on additional debt.

Find Ways to Lower Your Costs

Believe it or not, most people overpay on their home and auto insurance policies every month. Most insurance providers are willing to lower those monthly premium payments, but they won’t do it automatically. You have to be willing to ask for discounts.

Start calling your insurance providers and discuss your options- ask them if they offer pet insurance as more and more opting to do so. Shop around and get the best insurance quotes online. See if your current provider will offer a discount if you bundle your coverage or ask them to match a lower quote you find through a different company. If they’re not willing to give you a discount or you don’t qualify for them, you can always lower your out-of-pocket costs by increasing your deductible. This will keep your monthly premium payments lower as long as you have the policy. Lowering your insurance will help you save money in order to support and take care of your dog. Another way to save money on interest on your mortgage is a savvy way to pay down your home faster.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to take control of your personal finances each month and be able to give your dog a happy and long life.

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