animals http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/4824/all en-US 8 Ways to Get Fit While Hanging Out With Animals http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/paddleboarding_woman_with_dog.jpg" alt="Paddleboarding Woman With Dog" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Working out isn't always fun. You know you have to do it, but the sweating and the sore muscles aren't always appealing. Luckily, there are ways to get your sweat on and actually enjoy yourself, especially if that workout allows you to hang with your favorite four-legged pet. If your love of fitness rivals your love of animals, check out these ways to integrate your two passions for a healthier and happier lifestyle.</p> <h2>1. Goat yoga</h2> <p>Goats are frickin' adorable, that we knew already. But they've probably never been more adorable than when they're acting as therapy animals in the hot new exercise trend sweeping the nation that combines goats and yoga. Lainey Morse, who created the <a href="http://www.goatyoga.net/" target="_blank">Goat Yoga concept</a> on her farm in western Oregon, has people clamoring to get into her classes, which are starting to expand across the country.</p> <p>These classes progress as you might expect &mdash; humans move through yoga positions while the goats do whatever the heck they want, like jump on your back while you're in child's pose. Morse says the classes are helping people with anxiety and depression, but there are other mental and physical health benefits associated with this type of animal-assisted therapy, such as: reducing loneliness, lowering blood pressure, and diminishing overall pain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Horseback riding</h2> <p>If your fitness goals include abs of steel, hop on a horse. Riding equines requires a decent amount of core strength to stay balanced, and continued riding can improve posture in day-to-day activities. You'll develop better coordination, enhance muscle tone and flexibility (your inner thighs and pelvis get the biggest workout on a horse), and you'll also enjoy the meditative effects that come with focusing on the ride and staying on the horse. Giddy-up!</p> <h2>3. Tending to horses</h2> <p>If <em>riding </em>horses isn't your thing, then <em>tending </em>to horses can satisfy your urge to interact with the animals while staying fit. London-based Pilates educator Julie Driver &mdash; who uses the exercise system to enhance riders' skills &mdash; says that there are plenty of other ways to tone up in the company of mares and stallions.</p> <p>Alongside the benefits of riding itself, Driver suggests these other activities to break a sweat.</p> <h3>Mucking out soiled bedding in the stables</h3> <p>You'll feel the burn in your biceps and forearms after wielding that pitchfork for a period of time.</p> <h3>Carrying straw bales</h3> <p>The average straw bale weighs between 35 and 55 pounds, so replacing the soiled straw that you removed while mucking out the stall will have you burning calories and using your upper body as you move the bales around.</p> <h3>Grooming your horse</h3> <p>Drive suggests using long sweeping strokes to really clean your horse and move your shoulders.</p> <h3>Filling and carrying water buckets</h3> <p>Bend your knees and pick up those buckets. Preferably one in each hand to make sure you're balanced.</p> <p>&quot;All these chores involve an increase in heart rate and aerobic activity with the added benefit of being in the fresh air and outside of a gym environment,&quot; adds Driver. They can all be done as an alternative to the gym, and you could even time yourself!&quot;</p> <h2>4. Dog walking</h2> <p>If you want to keep things moving but not overexert yourself, dog walking may be the gig for you. It's easier than ever to pick up this side hustle that allows you to trot somebody else's pup around the neighborhood while getting paid for it. I offer my services on Rover.com (probably the most popular peer-to-peer pet service out there), which is primarily a dog-sitting service, but there is a walking component to it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-400-a-week-as-a-pet-sitter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Make $400+ a Week as a Pet Sitter</a>)</p> <h2>5. Dog agility training</h2> <p>Plenty of dog moms and dads send their pups away to be professionally trained, but now there are programs available, like Thank Dog! Bootcamp, that offers integrated human and canine personal fitness so you and your pooch can get physically and mentally fit together. This particular program is only available in Tennessee and Ohio at the moment, but you may be able to find something similar in your area with a quick online search. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</a>)</p> <h2>6. Cat hiking</h2> <p>Mallory Crusta is the owner of Wildernesscat Natural Pet Care, a site dedicated to &quot;providing natural health solutions for adventurous cats.&quot; She's also a supporter of &quot;adventure cats,&quot; a social media-fueled phenomenon that has cats stepping outside of the home and exploring the great outdoors. While kayaking, sailing, camping, and even skiing with cats are all activities growing in popularity, hiking is one with real potential for improving your fitness.</p> <p>&quot;Of course, it's crucial that your cat is comfortable with a leash and harness long before you start exploring the local state park,&quot; Crusta adds. &quot;Take a few test walks, first through your house, then in the backyard, to gradually acclimate your cat to the experience. It's also critical that your hiking cat is trained to come when called. Treats are often the key to training: use them to teach your cat to follow you.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Weightlifting for livestock</h2> <p>I have friends who raise chickens on their property and they can attest to the strength-training they receive by hauling around feed bags and maintaining the coops. &quot;The Critter Lady&quot; Kelly Meister-Yetter also told me about her three flightless domestic ducks living in her backyard, and just about every facet of their care involves weightlifting.</p> <p>&quot;Their bags of feed weigh 50 lbs, and the bales of straw I use in their pen weigh over 20 lbs &mdash; all of which must be moved from the back of my car to the shed in the backyard,&quot; she says.</p> <h2>8. Birding</h2> <p>Novice and veteran ornithologists (and just regular Joes who like watching birds) will reap the benefits of birding through improved cardiovascular health. Bird watchers sometimes walk many miles in search of their flighty subjects. You'll gain increased upper arm strength by holding binoculars and cameras for an extended period, and quick reflexes.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-quick-workouts-you-can-do-during-commercial-breaks">9 Quick Workouts You Can Do During Commercial Breaks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-the-119-best-fitness-hacks-for-busy-people">Flashback Friday: The 119 Best Fitness Hacks for Busy People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-years-resolutions-your-pet-wants-you-to-make">4 New Year&#039;s Resolutions Your Pet Wants You to Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Lifestyle animals dog walking doga exercise exercise with animals horses pets working out yoga Fri, 23 Jun 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Mikey Rox 1971130 at http://www.wisebread.com Turn Your Backyard Into a Wildlife Refuge for Under $40 http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-167920766.jpg" alt="Learning how to turn a backyard into a wildlife refuge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of my favorite things about where I live is that there is all kinds of wildlife I can see right outside my window. I don't need to go anywhere to experience nature. If you want to boost the wildlife population in your yard, here are some inexpensive ideas that provide a safe habitat for local creatures.</p> <h2>Bee house</h2> <p>Build a <a href="http://diydelray.com/2012/03/12/build-a-mason-bee-house-and-they-will-come/" target="_blank">mason bee house</a> to attract these pollinating bees to live and work in your yard. You can also buy a stylish <a href="http://amzn.to/2pflMEm" target="_blank">pre-made mason bee house</a> for about $20.</p> <h2>Bird house</h2> <p>Install a birdhouse to give birds a place to live in your yard even if you don&rsquo;t have a lot of natural nesting sites. You can design and build your own birdhouse from a variety of scavenged materials including coffee cans and cowboy boots or order a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pfcRTd" target="_blank">wooden birdhouse kit</a> for around $12.</p> <h2>Bird feeder</h2> <p>Birds will come from all around if you put out a bird feeder and keep it stocked with fresh birdseed. You can choose a simple <a href="http://amzn.to/2opFtKc" target="_blank">tube-style feeder</a> for as cheap as $5&ndash;$10, or get a rectangular feeder for a few dollars more. Sprinkle a bit of feed on the ground to help birds find it.</p> <h2>Hummingbird feeder</h2> <p>You can attract hummingbirds to your yard by putting out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYtBMj" target="_blank">nectar feeder</a>, which will cost around $10. Hummingbirds are attracted to red, so choose a feeder that is red or one that has a clear glass that can be filled with <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYwqwZ" target="_blank">red nectar</a>. Change the nectar every few days to keep it fresh. You can buy this nectar in bulk (about 64 oz) for about $10. I mix my own nectar in small batches using a powdered formula. You can also keep unused portions of nectar fresh in your refrigerator until you need to add it to your feeder.</p> <h2>Oriole feeder</h2> <p>Orioles are distinctive orange and black birds that like to eat sweet things. Attract them with a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYITB4" target="_blank">nectar or jelly feeder</a> for about $10 featuring the color orange.</p> <h2>Birdbath</h2> <p>Put out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oZmLId" target="_blank">birdbath</a>, and birds will come to your yard to take a bath and get a drink. A birdbath can run anywhere from $10&ndash;$40, depending on the size you get. Keep <a href="http://homeguides.sfgate.com/birdbaths-mosquitoes-46164.html" target="_blank">mosquitoes from using your birdbath</a> as a habitat by changing the water at least once a week, or use a bacterial insecticide that is not harmful to birds, fish, or other wildlife.</p> <h2>Suet feeder</h2> <p>Woodpeckers and other insect-eating birds will visit a <a href="http://amzn.to/2oZnVmT" target="_blank">suet feeder</a> (for only $10!) to get some quick energy. You can use a small metal cage or a netted bag to hold suet so that birds can access it. Place a suet cake or suet ball in your feeder and watch the fun.</p> <h2>Bat house</h2> <p>I enjoy watching bats fly around at dusk eating mosquitoes and other insects. Attract bats to your yard by putting up <a href="http://amzn.to/2pZBsfL" target="_blank">bat houses</a>. You can build your own bat house from plans or buy a preassembled bat house for about $30.</p> <h2>Squirrel feeder</h2> <p>Some people consider squirrels to be pests that raid their bird feeders, while others think squirrels are entertaining and enjoy having them around. If squirrels amuse you, put out a <a href="http://amzn.to/2pZGp83" target="_blank">squirrel feeder</a> (for about $25) to serve up ears of corn and bring squirrels in close for easy viewing.</p> <h2>Butterfly plants</h2> <p>There are a number of plants that can attract butterflies to your yard. A <a href="http://amzn.to/2pYn5oW" target="_blank">butterfly bush</a> includes low-cost seeds (a pack of 500 seeds runs around $5) and has abundant fragrant blooms that draw butterflies in from all around to feed on nectar. Milkweed attracts Monarch butterflies, since they are a favorite plant for Monarch caterpillars to eat.</p> <h2>Native prairie plants</h2> <p>Native prairie plants require less water than other landscape plants and attract birds and insects. These plants are a great natural feature that you can enjoy right in your own yard. You can grow prairie plants from seeds, or you can buy <a href="http://www.prairienursery.com/store/native-plants" target="_blank">small prairie plants</a> for $5&ndash;$10 that are ready to transplant to your yard. There are several varieties of prairie plants to choose from including ferns, grasses, and flowers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>Unmowed area for shelter</h2> <p>You can leave an area of your yard unmown to provide shelter for wildlife. For a small area, you can use a hoe to take out any undesired weeds, resulting in an area of tall grasses that provides shelter and a natural source of nesting materials for the ecosystem in your yard, and that won't cost a thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-your-backyard-into-a-wildlife-refuge-for-under-40">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals">8 Ways to Get Fit While Hanging Out With Animals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-have-free-outdoor-fun">50+ Ways to Have Free Outdoor Fun</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-big-of-a-house-do-you-really-need">How Big of a House Do You Really Need?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Lifestyle animals backyard projects bird feeder birds diy projects wildlife wildlife refuge Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1934995 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Charities You Can Trust With Your Holiday Donations http://www.wisebread.com/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_cuddling_dog_485251750.jpg" alt="Girl finding charities she can trust with holiday donations" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>'Tis the season for giving, and giving to charity is the perfect way to help those in need while also helping yourself to a tax break. But how do you know which charities are the best? There are thousands of great charities out there doing amazing things with donated money, but there are also shady charities that are just out to get your money.</p> <p>Here we have collected some of the highest rated charities according to Consumer Reports and Charity Navigator. Whether you are an animal lover or want to help countries in need, there is a charity supporting that cause. Don't see a charity for you on the list? Check out Consumer Reports' full list of the <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/charitable-donations/best-and-worst-charities-for-your-donations/">highest and lowest rated charities</a> in each category. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards That Give Back to Charity</a>)</p> <h2>For Animal Lovers</h2> <p>Our furry friends need our help!</p> <h2>1. World Wildlife Fund</h2> <p>The <a href="http://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/Species-Adoptions.aspx">World Wildlife Fund</a> (WWF) allows animal lovers to donate money to help species of wild animals. A $55 donation allows you to help wildlife while also earning you a small animal plush of your choice, photo, adoption of certification, species card, and gift bag. This charity is a fun one if you are looking to give a donation in lieu of a gift, since the WWF donation comes with a little gift.</p> <h3>2. Petsmart Charities</h3> <p><a href="https://www.petsmartcharities.org/">Petsmart Charities</a> is very upfront with how they use donations to make an impact in pets' lives. The site says they save 400,000 pets each year. In 2015, more than $29 million went to animal welfare groups and 214,000 spay/neuter surgeries were performed. They also used 90 cents of every dollar donated to help pets directly. Individuals can donate money or volunteer with Petsmart Charities.</p> <h2>For Environment Protectors</h2> <p>Because the Earth needs us to protect it.</p> <h3>3. Amazon Conservation Association</h3> <p>The <a href="http://www.amazonconservation.org/index.html">Amazon Conservation Association</a> received a perfect score through Charity Navigator, a website devoted to helping individuals find legitimate charities and avoid inefficient charities. The charity has been around for over 15 years and conserves the Amazon. The site says a $50 donation can plant about 50 trees in a highland Andean community.</p> <h2>For Helping People in Need</h2> <p>Not everyone has a roof over their head or enough food to eat.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Direct Relief</h3> <p><a href="https://www.directrelief.org/">Direct Relief</a> is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that seeks to help and improve the lives of those affected by poverty and emergency situations. It has been one of the top charities to help with Hurricane Matthew and Syrian refugees. It has been voted as a top charity by Forbes, Fast Company, and BBB. Direct Relief also has an option to donate in tribute to someone else, which is practical for holiday gift giving.</p> <h3>5. Compassion International</h3> <p>One of my favorite organizations to donate to is <a href="http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?gclid=Cj0KEQiAm-CyBRDx65nBhcmVtbIBEiQA7zm8lRk2gj1H17ly97aBsssWbO5UF3DRbLoyRtZ4RqApvx8aAnvM8P8HAQ">Compassion International</a> because you are able to sponsor a child. Not only do you get to choose the child you sponsor and send money to, but you also can send letters, pictures, and small gifts to them. In return, you will be given a picture of the child, as well as updates, and sometimes thank you letters. Many donors have even had the opportunity to go and meet their sponsored child. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-give-to-charity-that-fit-a-holiday-budget?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Give to Charity That Fit a Holiday Budget</a>)</p> <h2>For Health Advancement</h2> <p>A cure is out there. We just need to give scientists the chance to find it.</p> <h3>6. Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.michaeljfox.org/">Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research</a> goal is to eliminate Parkinson's disease. Over $87 million went straight to research programs in 2015. Overall the foundation has funded more than $650 million to find a cure.</p> <h2>For Veteran Support</h2> <p>After protecting our freedom, our veterans should have everything they need.</p> <h3>7. Homes for Our Troops</h3> <p><a href="https://www.hfotusa.org/">Homes For Our Troops</a> (HFOT) is a privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that builds mortgage-free homes for severely injured veterans. Since 2004, HFOT has spent 90 cents for every dollar donated on veterans. The organization has already built 226 homes and has another 80 projects underway nationwide.</p> <h3>8. Operation Homefront</h3> <p><a href="http://www.operationhomefront.net/">Operation Homefront</a> matches specific veterans needs with donors. Donors can donate money or in-kind gifts, such as services or items. Operation Homefront accepts donated in-kind services to include, but not limited to, legal support, automotive repair, heating and air conditioning services, roofing, and accounting services. Donated goods may be items such as gift cards, household items, children's books, furniture, computers, or any other non-monetary items that are new or like new.</p> <h2>How to Avoid a Charity Scam</h2> <p>There are several more amazing charities out there, so don't think that this list is the end all, be all. However, it is important that you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away?ref=internal">how to spot a charity scam</a>. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:</p> <ul> <li>Charities should be upfront with what they are using the funds for.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Charities should have a federal tax ID number so you can write off your donations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It's a huge red flag if they are pushing you for donations or ask you to wire the money.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-give-to-charity-that-fit-a-holiday-budget">15 Ways to Give to Charity That Fit a Holiday Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank">10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-16-favorite-ways-to-get-rid-of-clutter">My 16 Favorite Ways to Get Rid of Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living animals charity donating environment Giving Back Holidays nonprofits veterans Fri, 09 Dec 2016 11:00:15 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1849996 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Pet Costs You Don't See Coming http://www.wisebread.com/5-pet-costs-you-dont-see-coming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-pet-costs-you-dont-see-coming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_and_dog_000048163856.jpg" alt="Pet owner facing pet costs he didn&#039;t see coming" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few months ago, I brought home a ridiculously energetic black lab mix from the local humane society. While the other dogs quietly waited by the desk to have their adoption papers stamped, my new doggie friend strained at the end of his leash, barking and howling and jumping as my partner dragged him to the car.</p> <p>&quot;<em>That's</em> the dog you picked?&quot; an older man asked me with incredulity, as his dog sat stock still, panting at his side. What I'm getting at is that my dog &mdash; I call him Peanut &mdash; is quite a handful. But the joke's on you if you pick out a pet and think being its owner will be a piece of cake. If you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-care-for-your-pet-affordably">love your pet</a>, you will rush him to the vet in the middle of the afternoon when he gets a swollen paw. You will make him special food when he has a tummy ache. You will spend countless hours walking and entertaining him. And, when he steals a cinnamon bun off the counter and then &mdash; out of fear of being caught &mdash; loses all control of his bowels and leaves a smelly mess in the basement, you will clean it up without being too mad. And, finally, when he needs something, you will pay for it with lots and lots of your hard-earned money.</p> <p>Of course, when you bring a pet home, you probably assume that you'll have to buy it a few basic things. Food. Some toys. Treats. A bed. According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent more than $55 billion on their pets in 2013. But for many pet owners, that's just the beginning. Here are a few unexpected expenses to budget for.</p> <h2>1. Stuff You Said You'd Never Buy</h2> <p>I always assumed I'd be one of those pet owners with a stiff upper lip. I wouldn't be spoiling <em>my</em> dog. Oh no. Not me. But suddenly, when you love your pet, you'll probably find yourself rationalizing all kinds of (highly overpriced) pet paraphernalia. If you're able to steer clear of the temptation while you're picking up your standard pet food, more power to you. The line at my local pet shop (and my own experience) suggests that most people cave.</p> <h2>2. Less Dirty/Damaged Versions of Things You Already Have</h2> <p>Whether you have a cat or a goldfish, pets have a way of making a terrible mess of your house. So far, Peanut has destroyed: one running shoe, a picnic chair, a garden hose, a sprinkler, a dog bed, and a Persian rug. And, while replacing those things posed a significant expense, I actually think I've gotten off quite lucky. I mean, have you ever seen&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dogshaming.com/">dog shaming</a>? Or&nbsp;<a href="http://shameyourpet.com/category/cats/">cat shaming</a>? When you get a pet, expect to replace a few things. It's a given.</p> <h2>3. Vet Bills &mdash; Big Ones</h2> <p>Perhaps before you had a pet, you thought you had limits. You thought if your pet required medical care to the tune of thousands of dollars, you'd decline. After all, it's just a pet, right? And then you met Mr. Fluffypants, the pet extraordinaire who kept you company when you were sick. Or made you laugh. Or helped you through tough times. Chances are when it's <em>your</em> pet, you'll be willing to shell out just about anything to save its life. If that means emergency care, medication, or surgery, that can get very, very expensive. According to the American Pet Products Association, surgical vet visits cost dog owners $621 and cat owners $382 on average in 2013. If you have an accident-prone pet or are really worried about unexpected pet expenses, consider getting pet insurance.</p> <h2>4. Vacation Costs</h2> <p>While a winter vacation in Hawaii might be really relaxing for you, most pets don't travel especially well. Airline travel is expensive for pets and can be very traumatizing and stressful. Plus, many hotels prefer that you leave your fluffy family members at home. When you get a pet, consider who will take care of it when you're away &mdash; and how much that'll cost you.</p> <h2>5. Your Time and Energy</h2> <p>If you have never owned a pet, you <em>will </em>drastically underestimate the amount of time caring for it will take out of your day. No matter what kind of pet you have, it'll need some combination of exercise, training, entertainment, care, and clean-up. If you have a dog, you will (or should) invest plenty of time in working on obedience. (Otherwise, you'll spend lots more time chasing after your dog and posting photos of half-eaten couches on dog-shaming sites.) And, just when you think you have things under control, your adorable fluffy will remind you just who exactly is in charge.</p> <p>You can reduce some of the potential expenses you might incur by ensuring that your pet is vaccinated, gets all the required preventative care, and is well cared for on a daily basis. But no matter how healthy your pet appears to be, you should always be prepared for the unexpected. Animals are full of surprises. Fortunately, many of them are the kind that make your day, rather than empty your bank account.</p> <p><em>How much more has your furry friend cost you than you ever expected?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pet-costs-you-dont-see-coming">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-pets-for-frugal-animal-lovers">The 8 Best Pets for Frugal Animal Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pet-stain-removers">The 5 Best Pet Stain Removers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-least-expensive-dog-breeds-to-own">The 6 Least Expensive Dog Breeds to Own</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living animals expenses pets vet bills Mon, 11 May 2015 11:00:24 +0000 Tara Struyk 1414193 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Tax Deductions You Might Miss http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_dog_000023943461.jpg" alt="Woman takes surprising tax break for being pet owner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's getting serious: We're just days away from the tax filing deadline. If you haven't filed your taxes yet, your procrastination may pay off in spades. Here are some surprising deductions that you may be able to take this tax year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-bigger-refund-with-these-often-overlooked-tax-deductions?ref=seealso">Often Overlooked Tax Deductions</a>)</p> <h2>1. Professional Enhancement</h2> <p>Are any of your expenses related to your work? For example, if you're a music teacher, consider everything you do that enhances the knowledge that you communicate to your students. Do you attend concerts or musicals? Are you taking lessons to brush up your own music skills? These types of costs, while largely recreational and enjoyable, may also be tax deductions if you can show how they translate to your career.</p> <h2>2. Caring for Community Service Animals</h2> <p>While you could set bait and traps to keep pests such as snakes, rats, and other dangerous critters at bay, you could also use more natural methods such as caring for outdoor cats who take care of these pests for you. Believe it or not, the food that you feed these animals is a tax-deductible expense because these animals help make your property (and the community) safer by eliminating harmful pests.</p> <h2>3. Fostering Adoptable Animals</h2> <p>If you're an animal lover who fosters critters prior to adoption, your good deed will be rewarded in more ways than one. Many major animal charities and local shelters have foster programs. With proper documentation from the charity, you may be able to write off all of the expenses incurred when fostering animals, including food and any veterinary bills.</p> <h2>4. Company Giveaways</h2> <p>If you're a business owner, you know that promotional giveaways can often boost sales. The costs of these freebies and promotional items can often be deducted as business expenses because they helped promote, and hopefully grow, your business.</p> <h2>5. Volunteering</h2> <p>It can be tough to carve out the time and budget to volunteer &mdash; for example, if you have kids, you have to arrange for a sitter. The good news is that even though you're paying a sitter (and not making a direct donation to the nonprofit), the cost of the sitter is a tax deduction because it enabled you to volunteer your time and effort to the charity.</p> <h2>6. Volunteer Vacation</h2> <p>Volunteer vacations are a great way to immerse yourself in a culture and have a unique travel experience. Many organizations provide these types of trips. They coordinate housing, in-country cultural activities, and even pay for emergency insurance. Many of the expenses, including the donation you usually make to the nonprofit, can be deducted from your taxes because incurring these expenses enabled you to do the volunteer work.</p> <h2>7. Home Improvements for Medical Reasons</h2> <p>If your doctor advises you to get more exercise or make changes to your home for specific medical reasons, those costs may be tax deductible. That means adding in a gym, fitness equipment, or even a swimming pool if it's used for prescribed medical purposes, may qualify as a tax deduction.</p> <p>As always, please check with your tax preparer to see if you qualify for certain tax deductions. Make sure that you keep precise records of all these expenses and any supporting documentation. Remember, taxes must be filed by April 15th!</p> <p><em>Do any of these deductions apply to your tax situation?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-lessons-from-tax-day-to-remember-for-next-year">7 Lessons From Tax Day to Remember for Next Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes animals community service deductions expenses home improvements volunteering Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:00:03 +0000 Christa Avampato 1367916 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Homemade Pet Products That Are Cheaper and Better Than Store Bought http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/20140304_125546.jpg" alt="dog" title="dog" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We love our pets. So much so that in 2013, Americans spent a whopping <a href="http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.asp">$55 billion</a> on their furry friends. Almost $14 billion of that went to pet supplies and over the counter (OTC) medicines. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-use-your-credit-card-to-pay-for-these-10-things?ref=seealso">10 DIY Dog Toys You Can Make For Pennies</a>)</p> <p>But here's the thing: While recently browsing my local pet supply stores, I found that quite a few of the products contained ingredients that are less than healthy for my dog and the price tag was often pretty steep. I decided to do some price and quality comparisons and found I could make the following products healthier and cheaper than comparable products I could buy at retailers:</p> <h2>1. Toys</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-toy-453747615-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>There are dozens of DIY toy ideas online. My pup loves to solve puzzles, especially when treats are involved. These puzzle toys usually involve hiding a treat inside a compartment that my dog has to figure out how to open. <a href="http://www.shop.nina-ottosson.com/all-products/dogtornado-plastic-level-2.html">Nina Ottosson</a> has a great line of puzzle toys for dogs and I have a few of them that cost me about $40 each. But I could have made this <a href="http://www.babble.com/pets/10-brain-games-to-challenge-and-entertain-your-pet/">similar toy</a> for my pup using a muffin tin and tennis balls for $5, and he also would have had the tennis balls to bounce around the house!</p> <h2>2. Bedding</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-suitcase-506978391-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Have you seen the price of dog beds lately? I recently went to my local Target to get my little guy a new cozy nap space, and small dog beds (of rather boring design and fairly low quality) cost about $25. Instead, I picked up a small vintage suitcase at my local thrift store that is in great shape and lined it with a plush towel and squishy pillow for less than $10. Try these inspiring <a href="http://www.zippypaws.com/blog/?p=321">designs for suitcase pet bedding</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wet Wipes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-wipes-178831582-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In between his baths, I like to wipe down my pup with wet wipes, particularly after a long walk in the park or a stroll around the streets of New York. Most commercial wipes have chemicals in them that I'd rather not put on my pup's skin (particularly if he's likely to lick his paws!), so I looked into organic wipes that typically cost about $10. Instead, I followed Southern Wag's DIY recipe and made a better quality, healthier wipes for less than $3.</p> <h2>4. Shampoo</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-bath-178807773-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>My dog has dry skin and it causes him to become very itchy and uncomfortable. My vet recommended a prescription shampoo that cost (brace yourself!) $21 for an 8 ounce bottle. However, I didn't want my little guy to be uncomfortable, so I bought it for him. Unfortunately it didn't do much good and it also had a medicine-like scent. I started poking around online and found this <a href="http://soapdelinews.com/2014/05/diy-natural-homemade-dog-shampoo-recipe-neem-oil.html">recipe for dog shampoo</a> by Rebecca Dillon. Total cost for the same 8 ounces was $12, it worked like a charm, and it smelled so much better!</p> <h2>5. Treats</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-treats-164932166-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Quite a few commercially-sold pet treat products are made in China and after <a href="http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm295445.htm">the contamination issues</a> earlier this year, I started to investigate other options I could make at home. I found a recipe for these <a href="http://www.spoonforkbacon.com/2011/09/bacon-bark-sticks/">bacon bark sticks</a> that are a snap to make and cost only $3 for two dozen tasty treats.</p> <h2>6. Surface Cleaner</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-cleaner-464898385-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Just like humans, pets get sick from time to time. I wanted a cleaner to clean up after my pet that is non-toxic and safe on home surfaces. I could buy <a href="http://www.drugstore.com/method-all-purpose-surface-cleaner-pink-grapefruit/qxp83527?catid=184283">a cleaner by Method</a> for $4 per bottle. I found this <a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Homemade-Pet-Stain-Cleaner-30885507">recipe for a petsafe surface cleaner</a> online that costs less than $1 to make from items I already have in my home and it did the trick!</p> <h2>7. Tummy Remedy</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/dog-sleeping-484404711-small.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Dogs have very acidic digestive systems. It's a holdover from their wolf ancestors who needed to break down the food they caught in the wild. The build-up of acid overnight caused my pup's tummy to often be upset first thing in the morning. My vet wanted to put him on an antacid medicine that would cost $10 month. While I would have been happy to spend that, I wanted to check out natural remedies that might help. After a little investigation, I discovered that a teaspoon of mashed sweet potato once a day calmed his stomach and eliminated the problem for a grand total of $1.50 per month at my local grocery store. I buy the sweet potatoes, boil them, and mash them myself.</p> <p>While I love to make DIY items as much as possible, there are some pet Items that I do buy commercially, and you should too. For example, flea and tick medicine are essential to your pet's health and to your home's health as well. Once you have a flea or tick issue in your home, it is very difficult to remedy. While I've tried all-natural flea and tick medicines for my dog, they've never worked that well, so I stick with commercial brands. I also have a professional groomer do his nail clipping and teeth brushing to ensure that they're done properly.</p> <p>Because you can't put a price on pup beauty.</p> <p><em>(Please note that you should never give human medicine to your pet; always consult your veterinarian before giving any medication to your pet.)</em></p> <p><em>Please share your favorite DIY pet products in the comments below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-homemade-pet-products-that-are-cheaper-and-better-than-store-bought">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals">8 Ways to Get Fit While Hanging Out With Animals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-lower-your-vet-bills">8 Ways to Lower Your Vet Bills</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-fit-with-your-dog">7 Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pet-peeves-part-1-couture-critters-are-expensive">Pet Peeves Part 1: Couture Critters Are Expensive!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pet-peeves-part-3-vet-visits">Pet Peeves Part 3: Vet Visits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Lifestyle animals cats DIY dogs Homemade pet food pet supplies pets Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Christa Avampato 1190936 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Reduce Vet Bills http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-vet-bills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-vet-bills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pet-481457145.jpg" alt="cat" title="cat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some amazing articles on reducing vet bills, living without a car, and haggling for a better price on everything.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/13/13mar25e.cfm?slider">10 Ways to Reduce Vet Bills</a> &mdash; To reduce vet bills, shop smart for pet supplies and choose your vet wisely. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/live-without-car/">How to live without a car</a> &mdash; Learning about delivery options and utilizing car-sharing can help you live without a car. [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneyunder30.com/how-to-haggle-for-a-better-price">How to Haggle for a Better Price on Almost Everything</a> &mdash; When it comes to haggling, remember that you are doing nothing wrong when you ask for a better price on something. [Money Under 30]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/5-great-reasons-to-get-out-of-debt/">5 Great Reasons to Get Out of Debt</a> &mdash; No longer having to pay interest is just one great reason to get out of debt. [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Free-Things-Do-San-Francisco-34438960">15 Free Things to Do in San Francisco</a> &mdash; Visiting Pier 39 is just one free thing you can do in San Francisco. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/how-to-curb-your-shopping-addiction-this-year/">How to Curb Your Shopping Addition This Year</a> &mdash; To curb your shopping addiction this year, identify your spending triggers. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/3-steps-spouse-on-board-goals/">3 Steps to Getting Your Spouse on Board with Your Goals</a> &mdash; Communicating with your spouse about your goals can help get him or her on board with your goals. [Retire By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneywisdom.com/studying-online-can-save-money/">How Studying Online Can Save You Money</a> &mdash; Studying at home will eliminate the cost of expensive gasoline! [Free Money Wisdom]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/freelancers-avoid-huge-tax-bill/">3 Ways Self-Employed Freelancers Can Avoid a Huge Tax Bill</a> &mdash; Freelancers can avoid a huge tax bill by making quarterly tax payments. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-protect-your-family-from-poisons">How to Protect Your Family From Poisons</a> &mdash; Never refer to medicine as candy; this can confuse kids and turn medicine into a dangerous poison. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-reduce-vet-bills">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-alternatives-to-pet-boarding">5 Affordable Alternatives to Pet Boarding</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-you-can-learn-from-your-pets">6 Money Lessons You Can Learn From Your Pets</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-pet-costs-you-dont-see-coming">5 Pet Costs You Don&#039;t See Coming</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living animals best money tips bills cat dog pets reduce vet Tue, 01 Apr 2014 09:00:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1133952 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Rid of a Skunk Without Losing Your Dignity http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-a-skunk-without-losing-your-dignity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-rid-of-a-skunk-without-losing-your-dignity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/skunk.jpg" alt="Skunk in the snow" title="Skunk in the snow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I never thought I'd have to Google the words &quot;how to get rid of a skunk&quot; until I bought a home in Burlington, Vermont, where the skunks seem to outnumber the humans. All summer, I have been researching and testing inventive ways to rid my property of this infamously stinky critter. Normally, I'm the live-and-let-helpless-animals-live type; however, when the stench became offensive enough to wake both my roommate and me in the middle of the night, it was time for Pepe le Pew to relocate.</p> <p>Before I launch in to my summer-long trials with eliminating my resident skunk, I would like to add one caveat &mdash; I had moments of desperation that clouded my ability to think logically, and after some sober reflection, I would not recommend employing some of the less dignified pest-control hacks, however entertaining they may be to the general audience. Having said that, there are safe, effective, and humane ways to get rid of a skunk. I tried them all, and eventually the skunk decided to move on.</p> <p>Here's a recap of my experience with evicting Pepe from the hole underneath my shed, neatly categorized into ways you can prevent skunks from occupying your property, and, if need be, how to remove them without harm to you or the animal. Keep in mind that it may take a combination of tricks, but you can learn from my mistakes and my ultimate success in the ordeal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-beer-to-get-rid-of-pests">Use Beer to Get Rid of Pests</a>)</p> <h3>Eliminate Food Sources</h3> <p>At first, it wasn't the undeniable musky odor wafting in through the open windows that clued me into the fact that I had a skunk problem; it was my yard. I started noticing small holes in the front yard, which I thought were dug by moles or some other burrowing creature.</p> <p>&quot;You got yourself a skunk problem,&quot; my neighbor called out to me one day as I was bringing in the mail.</p> <p>&quot;Excuse me?&quot; I asked.</p> <p>&quot;See those holes? Those are made by skunks digging for grubs.&quot;</p> <p>My neighbor then suggested that I kill the grubs with a pesticide that I could easily find at a local gardening supply store. The thought of killing hundreds of beetle larvae was a bit unnerving to me. What if I set off a chain of events that would disrupt the natural order of things, doing irrevocable harm to the animal kingdom?</p> <p>Plus it takes a long time for the stuff to work. I figured as long as the skunk wasn't harming anyone or anything, aside from ruining my lawn with dozens of pockmarks, then let him have his fill with grubs. But at some point in July, we started detecting the skunk's presence with olfactory cues. Night after night, the skunk was spraying somewhere near the shed in the back, and there were more grubbing holes in the backyard. Pepe had officially moved in.</p> <p>I began my online research, and quickly found myself lost in a network of sites and links about skunk removal and skunk education. Grubs were listed as one of the skunk's favorite dishes on almost every site, but I also learned that they are attracted to the following menu items:</p> <ul> <li>Fallen fruits, particularly berries</li> <li>Garbage</li> <li>Compost</li> <li>Pet food</li> <li>Birdseed</li> </ul> <p>Upon discovering this, it wasn't surprising why Pepe had chosen to take up residence on my property. On one side of the shed I have a row of raspberry bushes and an apple tree, surrounded by a small area littered with fallen fruit. On the other side, there's a compost bin and a garbage can, and finally, two bird feeders a short distance across from the shed.</p> <p>I wasn't about to uproot my raspberry bushes or stop composting, and I am a passionate bird watcher. However, there were a few options that could minimize the attraction to these food sources, such as making sure the compost bin and garbage can have secure lids, and storing birdseed in chew-proof bins, which also prevents mice and other varmints from getting to it. But this was less than half the battle, since there were other attractive features about my backyard.</p> <h3>Eliminate Access to Dens</h3> <p>When the skunk began spraying every night, I was afraid that he had made a nest somewhere inside the shed, since it is full of holes that I have neglected to repair. Then I read from several different <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/skunks/tips/solving_problems_skunks.html#Skunk_encounters">reputable online sources</a> that skunks are more likely to burrow underneath buildings than live inside of them. With a little investigating, I found the skunk sweet spot &mdash; a bare patch of yard tucked into the back corner of the shed where the wood is rotting at the base, right next to the raspberry bushes.</p> <p>Sure enough, something had dug a hole underneath the soft wood and, from what I could tell, had dug it out recently. The dirt was loose, and I hadn't noticed it before the smell became offensive enough to take action.</p> <p>My roommate had also begun researching ways to get rid of skunks, since his window is less than ten feet from the shed. He read a suggestion to put flour near the entrance to the hole and watch for tracks the next morning (skunks are nocturnal), or stuff leaves or other brush into the entrance of the hole, and later check to see if it had been moved to gain access. I went with the brush approach. The next morning, the leaves and sticks I stuffed into the hole had been dug out.</p> <p>At this point, I had the option of filling in the hole or blocking off the entrance. The problem is that this work has to be done at night, when the skunk is out, so that there's no risk of trapping the animal inside. I like to consider all possible scenarios when involved in such a delicate operation. What if he came back while I was on my knees filling in the hole? I did not want to risk getting sprayed.</p> <p>In addition, it takes a lot of work to ensure that the animal can't dig underneath whatever material is used to fill the hole. Many sites suggested digging down at least three feet and surrounding the opening with chicken wire. That would be hours of work while risking the skunk returning to his den (for more information on securing access sites, see the final section, My Recommendations).</p> <p>Lastly, there was the possibility that the skunk wasn't a &quot;he.&quot; Female skunks will spray more often if they have kits in the nest. I didn't want to trap her babies inside while she was out getting food for them. Given all the possible scenarios and solutions that put me at risk for a skunk encounter, I decided that it was time to talk to a professional.</p> <h3>Live Traps</h3> <p>While there are plenty of <a href="http://icwdm.org/wildlife/skunk/skunkrelease.asp">skunk trap</a> options out there, I thought it would be safer and easier to contact a local pest control company. But most companies charge a minimum of $150 per skunk. I suppose I'd charge even more given the possible dangers involved in skunk removal. Not only is there the risk of getting sprayed, skunks can also carry rabies. According to the <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/skunks/tips/solving_problems_skunks.html#Skunk_encounters">humane society</a>, there are definite signs that indicate a rabid skunk. The following list is taken from their website:</p> <blockquote><ul> <li>Limb paralysis</li> <li>Circling</li> <li>Boldness or unprovoked aggression</li> <li>Disorientation, staggering</li> <li>Uncharacteristic tameness</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>I had only seen the skunk once, and although I didn't see any of those signs, I still couldn't live with the skunk's awful smell; however, I could not afford the pest removal quote on my shoestring budget.</p> <p>I asked the pest control representative if there was a possibility that another skunk would move in after the current resident was evicted. He said there's always that possibility, unless I took painstaking measures to ensure that there was no access to the shed or the house. So I asked if he had any other suggestions, and of course, he said I could try commercial repellants or live with the skunk. Living with that vile stench was not an option for me, so I continued my online research and looked up suggestions for repellants.</p> <h3>Skunk Repellants</h3> <p>Several sources suggested using some simple, and inexpensive tricks to deter a skunk from nesting on a residential property. Keeping in mind that the Internet is full of unreliable sites filled with false information, I figured that I would at least try ones that had been suggested the most. Here's a list I gathered from the dozens of sites and blogs I found in my research:</p> <ul> <li>Bright lights</li> <li>Loud noises (such as blaring rock music)</li> <li>Pepper spray</li> <li>Coyote urine</li> <li>Automated sprinklers</li> <li>Hanging a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nine-frugal-suggestions-for-a-humble-bar-of-soap">bar of soap</a> near the den's entrance</li> </ul> <p>The explanation behind the bar of soap fits one of the best examples of irony I have ever heard &mdash; skunks hate strong odors! I couldn't believe it, if only for the absurdity and cruel irony of it. But I was desperate. I also had a bunch of Yankee Candle votives someone had given to me as a gift.</p> <p>Personally, I cannot stand the smell of fabricated Vanilla or anything that has a name like &quot;Christmas Memories,&quot; but I felt bad about tossing them since they were a gift. This was a perfect opportunity to use them for a good cause. I burned about six candles at once each night and turned on the lights in the shed hoping to &quot;smoke him out.&quot;</p> <p>After a few nights of this, it became apparent that Pepe actually liked the combination of Sugared Plums and Bahama Breeze. I would've just set up my stereo in the shed and blasted some Ramones or White Stripes; however, I have neighbors with kids and a town noise ordinance to consider. Using a sprinkler would waste water, since I don't have a sprinkler system with motion sensors. I considered using coyote urine, but it is expensive and not that easy to find.</p> <p>Then, one morning at 2 a.m., when the smell woke me for the third time that week, I had one of my moments of desperation and tried something I would not suggest. I include it to demonstrate its ineffectiveness and, what I later learned, lack of humanity toward the skunk (see My Recommendations, below).</p> <p>In my research, I read that the ammonia in the coyote urine deters the skunk, not the fact that the coyote is one of the skunk's natural predators. In my hazy middle-of-the-night thinking, I deduced that it didn't matter what kind of urine is used. Ammonia is ammonia, whether it's from a coyote, dog, or human.</p> <p>I found an empty Diet Coke can and very carefully filled it with my own &quot;contribution,&quot; then went outside to say <em>au revoir</em> to Pepe as I poured the contents around the entrance to the hole. Given the fact that I wasn't even considering the chance that I might wake up the creature and have a nasty encounter with it, I was clearly in no condition to make this choice without further research.</p> <p>It wasn't until the next day, after recounting this tale to a few friends &mdash; all of whom questioned my sanity &mdash; that I received an email from a neighbor responding to a query I had made several days before about skunk removal. He suggested another, less orthodox, albeit less dignified, approach that I had yet to come across in my research...</p> <h3>Ex-Lax</h3> <p>My neighbor wrote: &quot;I hear tell that skunks love ex-lax, but it makes them befoul their nest, and then, believe it or smoke it, they can't stand the smell. So they leave.&quot; I want to emphasize that while this method seemed to work ultimately, it is not a very humane way of getting rid of skunks (again, see My Recommendations). Before I tried it, I called another pest control company to ask about this method. The person I spoke with said, &quot;I've haven't heard of that one, but hey, it can't hurt to try it.&quot;</p> <p>I also had to consider the fact that the excrement left behind would probably smell worse than the skunk's spray. Then again, the smell would also go away eventually, and the skunk would keep spraying if it continued to live rent-free under my shed.</p> <p>Then, there were the neighborhood cats to consider, and other animals who might also ingest the laxative. As I was weighing out the consequences versus the possible advantage of finally getting rid of the skunk and deterring future unwanted guests, I detected that familiar odor coming through an open window, as if it were a sign from God giving me my answer (or at least that's how I justified it). I was off to the drugstore.</p> <p>I didn't fully think through my purchase, however, because I bought the pills instead of the flavored chews. After placing a few pills strategically near the compost bin and at the hole's entrance, I recognized how ridiculous it was for me to think that a skunk would be attracted to some white pills that, from what I could tell, had no luring qualities other than the fact that they had been placed at his doorstep like a complimentary bedtime mint.</p> <p>In any case, the deed had been done, so I kept tabs on the bait. A few days went by, and they were still there, right where I left them. A few had started to break down, most likely from the moisture and the sun exposure, but all were mostly in tact, untouched by any critters that might have passed by.</p> <p>Just when I was about to give in and call the pest control to ask about payment plans, I noticed that one of the pills near the den was missing, and there was a milky substance in its place. Someone had taken the bait, and so that night I placed more brush in the entrance. A week later, the brush had still not been moved, and the smell had subsided.</p> <p>Just to be sure, I decided to wait a few more weeks before celebrating with a victory dance. I have not seen nor smelled a skunk in over a month. Eventually, I covered the hole with dirt and a few large landscaping bricks, and I haven't detected any signs of an attempt to dig underneath them. Although <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-frugal-ways-to-celebrate-fall">summer is ending</a>, I am not completely in the clear. Skunks have a more urgent need for shelter during the winter months.</p> <p>So I continue to stand guard and pray that Pepe will remember his encounter with the crazy lady on Adams Court, and find another winter home.</p> <h3>My Recommendations</h3> <p>While the Ex-Lax seemed to work ultimately, I wouldn't recommend it if you are concerned about the animal's well-being. I also did not find the information at the Human Society about the inhumane use of coyote urine (or any urine) and pepper spray until after I had already tried the urine and laxatives. The site does not mention the use of laxatives as a deterrent, but I think it is safe to assume that the Humane Society would frown on it. Ex-Lax won't kill the animal (from what I know), but it isn't a very considerate way to remove it from your property. Also, if the skunk happens to be a rabid one, the laxative could complicate matters.</p> <p>My recommendation would be to first contact the local Wildlife Control to find out if they might remove the animal for free or if they have other suggestions. If you have the means, hire a reputable Pest Control Agency to remove it. I wouldn't recommend removing it yourself, and not just because of the risk of the animal spraying you; a rabid animal is not something you want to mess with.</p> <p>Additionally, if you live in a place with a high skunk population, there will be more skunks to take its place unless you take measures to secure any access to ideal den sites. If you see any suspicious holes that appear to be large enough for a skunk to live in, I would fill it in once the animal has been removed. For more information on preventative measures, visit the <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/digging_animals_fence.html">Human Society's page</a> on creating protection for your home and outbuildings.</p> <p>Finally, if you or one of your pets ever has the misfortune of getting sprayed by a skunk, here's a formula that worked for a friend who recently had a very unfortunate encounter with a skunk. She was sprayed right in the eye*, which is akin to getting sprayed with pepper spray. She quickly got online to search for ways to alleviate the pain and the odor. She swears by this formula:</p> <ul> <li>1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide</li> <li>1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)</li> <li>1 teaspoon liquid soap or dish detergent</li> </ul> <p>Mix these together and bathe (&quot;shampoo&quot; in or rub down) the spray victim thoroughly. Be sure to use this mixture immediately after it is created, as it is unstable. Rinse with tap water afterward, and repeat if necessary.</p> <p>*For spray in the eyes, flush with water as soon as possible.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-rid-of-a-skunk-without-losing-your-dignity&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20Get%20Rid%20of%20a%20Skunk%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Dignity.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20Rid%20of%20a%20Skunk%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Dignity" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20Rid%20of%20a%20Skunk%20Without%20Losing%20Your%20Dignity.jpg" alt="How to Get Rid of a Skunk Without Losing Your Dignity" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-a-skunk-without-losing-your-dignity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-effective-grease-and-oil-stain-removal-tips">14 Effective Grease and Oil Stain Removal Tips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/use-beer-to-get-rid-of-pests">Use Beer to Get Rid of Pests</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-bug-sprays-for-home-pest-control">The 5 Best Bug Sprays for Home Pest Control</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-places-to-stash-cash-in-your-home">The Best and Worst Places to Stash Cash in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Home animals pest control yard Thu, 29 Sep 2011 09:48:24 +0000 Ashley Watson 714237 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Pet Health Insurance Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/870290797_bb457469e2_z.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We have a big dog. She's huge, actually &mdash; over 100lbs but with all the energy of a puppy. And for that reason, we figured we'd need at least some basic health insurance for her. Everyone is talking about the staggering costs of health care these days, but they don't talk about pet health care. And it's not cheap. Not even close.</p> <p>So, my wife and I chose the &quot;top&quot; pet health insurance provider (VPI) and went with a basic package. We didn't want anything that covered the check-ups or wellness exams, we could cover those just fine. What we wanted was coverage in case the worst happened. We didn't want to be stuck choosing between a $7000 vet bill and a $50 shot to put her to sleep. We wanted peace of mind that, should she get sick or be badly injured, we'd have coverage.</p> <p>The basic package we chose costs us just over $14 per month and covers the big stuff: the accidents, illnesses, and other costly procedures. Well, that's how it's described on the site, anyway. The more expensive package also covers exams, shots, and other general health and wellness costs. It's around double the cost of the basic package.</p> <p>We've had this insurance for over 18 months now, with no use for it up until a few weeks ago. Then, our dog was bitten by another dog, quite badly, and we had to rush her to a 24-hour animal hospital. She required some urgent care, overnight stay, and many other services. The final bill came to $545.43.</p> <p><img width="500" height="334" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/HXBbW.png" /></p> <p>I told my wife to pay it, obviously, and then I'd submit the claim to VPI and get a big chunk of it back.</p> <p>Why did I assume we'd get a big chunk? Nothing is guaranteed, right? Well, take a look at the screenshots below, from the VPI site.</p> <p><img src="http://imgur.com/Vvtdi.png" alt="" style="width: 352px; height: 209px;" /></p> <p>Here, the owner of Rufus paid $504 for treatment and received $404 back. That's everything except the $100 deductible. Or, just over 80 percent of the bill was refunded.</p> <p>Maybe that one was a rare case. So, here's another.</p> <p><img src="http://imgur.com/nX4Wu.png" alt="" style="width: 350px; height: 193px;" /></p> <p>Coco's bill came to $1,994. Total reimbursement was $1,894. Again, only the $100 deductible wasn't covered. That means 95 percent of the bill was refunded. Wow, even better.</p> <p>I looked at another &quot;typical&quot; case study.</p> <p><img src="http://imgur.com/zEzhZ.png" alt="" style="width: 350px; height: 218px;" /></p> <p>Kona's fees were $715. After the whopping $250 deductible, Kona's owners got $465 in return. That meant 65 percent of the bill was reimbursed. Not too shabby despite that huge deductible.</p> <p>So, armed with all of that knowledge, I figured we'd probably get at least 50 percent refunded to us. And $272 or less for treatment made the insurance worth it, even though we'd paid out more than that in monthly premiums.</p> <p>I submitted the bill with the claim form and waited. I recently found out that we are receiving $135 of that $545.43.</p> <p><img width="500" height="211" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/PHUEG.png" alt="" /></p> <p>That's less than 25 percent! Far, far less than the examples shown on the website. As you can see, the main injury (the bite wound) was covered for just over 10 percent. Wow.</p> <p>I downloaded the complex <a href="http://www.petinsurance.com/~/media/pdfs/benefit-schedules/Standard_Ben_Sched_07.ashx">bill reimbursement forms </a>(PDF) and they read like quantum physics. There are several categories of reimbursement for each line item, and even then you only get a percentage of what they say you're covered for. Wait, what? So, if you're covered for $100, you get $90. Well why not just cover you for $90? Seems odd.</p> <p>As I tried to make any kind of sense of this, I realized something: I wasn't supposed to make sense of it. This is made as complex as possible so average Joe's like you and I don't know what we're expected to receive or how to fight it.</p> <p>In this case we were lucky. 76 percent of $545 is something we can afford right now. But what if it was 76 percent of $7000? That would have been a lot more difficult to come up with. And the very reason we got pet health insurance in the first place was to avoid that dilemma.</p> <p>We were considering canceling VPI, but we figure 24 percent is better than nothing. However, we are looking into other policies that give us something we can expect, like a regular health insurance policy for people. For instance, many people have a $150 deductible for the ER, plus they pay 20 percent of the final bill. That's simple. You know what is coming. But with pet health insurance, you're rolling the dice. You may get 94 percent back (although I doubt that very much) or you may get as little as 10 percent back. And unless you're an insurance wizard, you most likely won't know until you get the check.</p> <p>So Wise Bread readers, what has been your experience of pet health insurance? Did it save you a bundle? Is my case rare? Or do you even think pet health insurance is worth it? Let us know.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-pet-health-insurance-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-fit-while-hanging-out-with-animals">8 Ways to Get Fit While Hanging Out With Animals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wise-bread-reloaded-watch-these-adorable-puppy-and-kitten-videos-and-learn-how-to-care-for-your-own">Wise Bread Reloaded: Watch These Adorable Puppy and Kitten Videos and Learn How to Care for Your Own, Frugally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-asthmatic-just-got-more-expensive">Being asthmatic just got more expensive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ive-lived-both-sides-of-the-healthcare-system-this-is-what-ive-learned">I’ve Lived Both Sides of the Healthcare System. This Is What I&#039;ve Learned.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Insurance animals cat dog Health pets Tue, 10 Aug 2010 12:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 199246 at http://www.wisebread.com