Is your House a Good Home for a Dog?

It has been said that owning a dog is like having a two year old that stays two for his entire life. There is some truth in this statement. Dogs–like children–have many needs, and each dog has a unique personality. But, as any dog owner will tell you, there is no greater joy than coming home to your tail-wagging, slobbering best friend.

There are several factors you should consider before getting a dog. You’ll want to think about how much time you have to spend with the dog, your family’s ability to contribute to caring for him or her, and how suitable your home and yard are.

Your dog’s new home

If you’ve always wanted a large, playful dog, you should think about the size of your home and yard. Big dogs and dogs with high energy need a lot of room to run around in.

If you live on a busy road would you consider putting up a fence to keep your dog safe from traffic? If not you might have to tether your dog to a run in the backyard, which is significantly less fun and exercise for the both of you.

Inside the home poses another challenge. If you are considering a puppy, know that there is much training involved to keep your dog safe and your house in one piece. One of the many benefits of adopting an older dog is that they tend to already be housebroken, avoiding a lot of clean-ups and chewed furniture.

Raising a dog is a team effort

If you are thinking about getting a puppy or a high energy dog (in other words, a “permanent puppy”) it’s important to recognize that your whole family will have to be on the same page when it comes to training.

Your dog takes cues from your family’s behavior. So if one person in your family allows the dog to jump up on them when another doesn’t it will give the dog mixed signals. This is also true for rewarding good behavior. Your dog should obey each member of your family because they trust them, not fear them or feel dominant over them. Play-time and treats are a great way to build that trust with every member of your household.

Please consider adopting

We all have the image in our heads of our children playing with a new puppy. But the same joy and bonding can come from adopting an older dog. When you adopt, you can teach your kids the value of rescuing and caring for animals that have been neglected. What’s more, adopting is also a way to show support for shelters rather than puppy mills who often breed puppies in poor conditions.

Guidelines for dogs and your home

  • If you have a small home and yard, get a small dog or an older, low-energy dog
  • Likewise, take the dog on lots of walk to make up for missed exercise in the yard
  • If you have a wooded yard be extra vigilant about ticks and fleas
  • Training never ends for you or your dog. Make sure you are constantly working with your dog

Proven Ways to Save Money on Household Expenses

The process of sitting down and creating a household budget can be an enlightening experience. Not only is it one of the few ways to figure out where the heck your money is disappearing to, every month, but it’s a method for identifying expenditures that are wasteful or redundant. Once you’ve created a chart or spreadsheet that itemizes your income, savings, and expenses, you’re in a stronger position to control your household cash flow. Using accounting software, budgeting apps, and/or the services of a qualified financial advisor can also help you gain control over your family’s spending habits.

If your goal is to reduce expenses and stretch your household budget farther, her are a few strategies and tips worth considering:

  1. Buying in bulk: Some people swear by the savings they rack up by joining and doing their shopping at wholesale buying clubs. Others say it isn’t worth the long lines at the checkout counter, crowded parking lots, and the fact that not everything is cheaper than at regular retail stores. Like any kind of shopping, though, it pays to compare prices and research the best deals. However, it’s not unusual to save from 25% to 50% on a variety of commonly used household items, groceries, and other consumer goods.
  2. Coupons” is not a four-letter word — although some people act like it is. Clipping, printing, saving, and organizing discount coupons can be a bit of a nuisance, but when you add up the monthly savings, it’s worth the inconvenience. Stores that offer double coupons and/or accept competitors’ coupons can also help you chalk up extra savings. Taking advantage of advertised specials is yet another way to reduce your monthly expenses.
  3. Compare notes with friends and family. You can often pick up worthwhile money-saving ideas by simply asking people whose opinions you respect. Nearly everyone has discovered stores, products, websites, businesses, and strategies that have helped them save money. Sometimes the topic is also discussed on social media sites. Most people you know would be glad to pass along their money saving tips, insights, and techniques.

Saving Money on Home Energy

There are dozens of ways you can save money on your electric bill, such as unplugging appliances and turning off lights when you’re not using them. It’s also worth noting that LED and compact florescent light bulbs use significantly less electricity than old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs. Other tips for curbing energy consumption include washing your clothes in cold water whenever possible and setting your thermostat to reduce energy demands when you’re sleeping or at work. Once you start looking into ways to lower your utility bills, you’d be surprised at the number of simple, yet effective things you can do.

A few longer term strategies for saving on energy include converting your home to solar power, replacing drafty old windows with new, more efficient ones, and switching to Energy Star certified appliances, such as clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Although there’s an initial cost that needs to be recouped before the true savings kick in, upgrading can deliver long-term benefits to both your wallet and the environment.

4 Reasons Not to Let Your Grass Grow Long

At one time or another, everyone has postponed cutting their grass — even if it’s already overdue for a thorough mowing. Sometimes you have other plans: You’re going away for the weekend, it’s too hot, or maybe some friends just invited you over for a cold drink.

There’s no question that priorities often shift and more desirable choices present themselves. However, there are a handful of unexpected problems that could develop if you postpone lawn mowing for more than several additional days. Here are a few potential pitfalls to consider the next time you’re thinking about waiting another week or so before tackling that jungle in your yard!

Ground-nesting yellow jackets: There are a number of reasons that certain species of bees may decide that the soil in your backyard is a highly desirable place to build a nest, but uncut grass and a lack of human activity may make it even more inviting for them to set up shop. Although some ground-nesting bees are not always aggressive, yellow jackets are an exception. Mowing your lawn on a regular basis will not necessarily prevent bees from nesting in the ground, but short grass, regular human activity, and the noise of lawnmower may be somewhat of a deterrent. Keeping your grass well trimmed and your lawn maintained also makes it easier to spot bee activity in its early stages and take the appropriate action. In some cases, “appropriate action” is calling a professional exterminator and avoiding the infested area completely — especially if you or anyone in your family is allergic to bee stings. Although your backyard should be a fun and carefree environment, it’s a good idea to be observant and cautious when it comes to things like bee infestations.

Other unwelcome visitors: If your yard is relatively quiet and undisturbed by lawn mowing and other activity for a few weeks, you may also discover large animal holes and burrows appearing. Not only does this damage your yard and create a tripping hazard, but there are a variety of undesirable animals — including skunks — that could be making their home on your property!

Wear and tear on your lawnmower: Unless your lawnmower is new, exceptionally well maintained, and designed for rugged conditions, it probably does not do that well in long, thick grass. Forcing an older mower to work harder through heavy grass could cause it to overheat, shut down, or otherwise malfunction.

Obvious drawbacks: Allowing your grass to grow beyond a couple inches can visibly detract from the appearance of your property. Even if you’re not considering putting your house on the market in the near future, maintaining “curb appeal” will benefit neighbor relations and pride of home ownership.

If vacations, physical limitations, or a busy social agenda keep you from mowing your lawn on a bi-weekly (or sometimes more frequent) basis, the solution may lie in using the services of an economical professional landscaping, mowing, or yard maintenance service. While it can be satisfying to have “hands on” involvement in keeping your property in tip top shape, sometimes there are other things you’d rather be doing!

Tips To Help You Get A Mortgage Easily

Purchasing a home is a sign of new financial responsibility for many people. The leap into homeownership is a big and important step. Finding a home and securing a mortgage isn’t easy. Getting ready to take on a mortgage can require a lot of research and education on your part. Before you get too confused, you’ll need to learn the basics of a mortgage and what you should know before you apply. 

Be Prepared

This is probably the best advice for any first time homebuyer. Find some good lenders in your area. You can sit down with a lender and talk about your goals. The bank will be able to explain all of the costs and fees associated with buying a home ahead of time. This way, you’ll know exactly what to expect when you head into a purchase contract without any surprises. 

What’s Involved In A Loan? 


Each mortgage is a different situation. This is why meeting with a lender ahead of time is a good idea. Your real estate agent can suggest a mortgage lender if you don’t have one in mind. No one will be happier for you than your real estate agent if you have a smooth real estate transaction. You’ll be able to walk through the mortgage process step by step with a loan officer and understand the specifics of your own scenario.

What You’ll Need For A Mortgage

There’s a few things that you’ll need to have ready before you can even begin searching for a home. 

Cash For A Down Payment

You’ll need to save up a bit of cash before you know that you’re ready to buy a home. It’s recommended that you have at least 20 percent of the purchase price of a home to put down towards your loan initially.   

A Good Working Knowledge Of Personal Finances


You should have an understanding of your own finances in order to buy a home. Not only will this help you save, but it will help you to ensure that you’re not going to overextend yourself financially after you secure the mortgage. To get your finances in order, honestly record all of your monthly expenses and spending habits, so you know exactly what you can afford.   

The Price Range Of Homes You’re Interested In 

If you have an idea of what kind of home you’d like, it will make your entire house shopping experience a lot easier. You’ll be able to see exactly what you can afford and how much you need to save. When your wish list equates to half-million dollar homes, and you find that you can only afford around $300,000, you don’t need to go into shock! It’s good to have an idea of how much house you can afford and what it will get you. When you do a little homework, you’ll discover that buying a home isn’t such a hard process when you’re prepared!