Preparing your home for new pets may mean you have to complete some pet-friendly home improvements. Not only do you want a pet-friendly house devoid of poisonous plants and potential choking hazards, but you also want construction materials resistant to the destructive nature of frenzied felines and pernicious pups. Consider remodeling ideas for pets that will give them a safe place to play, while keeping your home habitable for humans as well.

Pet-friendly flooring to reduce stains and scratches

One of the most important pet-friendly home improvements is flooring, which can mean the difference between minor clean-ups and major home repairs. The following types of pet-friendly flooring each have benefits and drawbacks, so consider which works best with your furry friends and home design.

  • Linoleum: As the quality of linoleum flooring improves, it’s becoming more popular among pet owners since it’s easy to clean and replace if necessary. Simple to install and available in multiple designs, it’s also more affordable than wood or tile.
  • Hardwood floors: Easier to clean and maintain than carpet, a light to medium finish wood floor will also reduce the appearance of scratches. But be wary of hardwood floors with sneaky pups. If you don’t catch the puddle in time it could stain the floor and you may need to sand or refinish the entire floor.
  • Stain-resistant carpeting: Choose carpets designed to prevent pet stains from seeping through to the floor. It’s also a good idea to choose carpeting that will blend with any fur your pets shed. A low pile, inexpensive carpet with synthetic fibers and without continuous loops may be a good option.

Odor-reducing remodeling ideas for pets

No matter how much you love your pets, you would probably prefer to do without pet odors. Take advantage of these tips for removing pet odor and pet-friendly home improvements that can prevent odor in the first place.

  • Steam clean upholstered furniture and carpets regularly
  • Use a vinegar and water mixture to remove odor from hardwood and linoleum floors
  • Choose paint that eliminates or reduces odors
  • Keep litter boxes in a separate room with a cat door so they can go in and out easily. Also, choose a kitty litter formulated to reduce odors.

Create a pet-friendly space just for them with home equity financing

Whether you want to give your pets their own room, or install fencing with room to run, a home equity loan or home equity line of credit can help you finance the project. In fact, you can secure flexible home equity financing to use on just about any pet-friendly home improvement.

 

Sponsored content was created and provided by Citizens Financial Group.

Yes you can. Budget that is.

by Kristina on December 17, 2014 · 1 comment

Think you can't budget? Think again. You're probably spending way more money than you need to be. Here's how to cut back.

Good morning Dinks.  I know you think you can’t, but yes you can.  I know you’re thinking you live on only what you need, but no you don’t.  You’re probably thinking you couldn’t possibly make more cuts in your daily, weekly and monthly budget, but yes you can.

We’ve all been there.  It’s the part of our day where we regret spending money but convince ourselves that we needed to spend it – the spending was unavoidable.  I have that inner conversation with myself at least twice a day.  No I don’t need to buy a breakfast bagel every morning, but I like to.  After all I have to eat breakfast, right?  No I don’t need to stop and window shop at a shoe store because that just leads to going in and trying on shoes which eventually leads to buying shoes.  But at the end of the day I need to wear shoes everyday and paying half price now is better than paying full price later, right?  You get the point.

I can rationalize any purchase to make myself feel better about spending the money that shouldn’t be spent.  I should just walk directly from home to work in the morning and straight back home at the end of the day, yes that’s what a good personal finance blogger should do.

We all  probably spend money in places we shouldn’t.  Well that can stop today.  From now on every time you want to spend money but know you shouldn’t think of me.   Think of me and all the unnecessary excuses I tell myself.  Then think to yourself how ridiculous those excuses sound, put your wallet back in your pocket and just walk away.  That’s what I’m trying to do.

3 ways I’m trying to live on a budget:

Cut your spending. Yes you can.  I used to be one of those people who would take out $40 at the ATM in the morning and have nothing left by 5 pm.  Then I’d ask myself where did all my money go?  Well that was the old me.  Now I never carry cash and although sometimes it’s inconvenient I can always keep track of my spending via my debit or credit card.  I’m also very lazy so sometimes the effort it takes to use my credit or debit card is just not worth the cost of my items.

Live on less.  Yes you can.  I always said I couldn’t live on less…until I had to make cuts.  After the market crash my income from financial planning also crashed (that’s putting it nicely).  I always told myself that I wasn’t living extravagantly, until I had to look at my expenses in black and white and learn to live on less.  I had less income so it’s only natural that I had to live on less too.  I started spending less on groceries, I cut out all entertainment and I stopped eating out all together – and you know what? I survived.  We can always live on less no matter how little we think we’re living on.

Pay off your debt.  Yes you can.  I know some people think paying off debt is wasted money because you aren’t spending it on  yourself.  I used to be one of those people.  But one day I decided I didn’t want to make credit card payments anymore and the only way to stop doing that was to pay off my debt.  Trust me it may seem worthless at the time but not having to make debt payment is definitely a great way to save money.  All those funds I was using to pay off my credit cards are now used for travelling – I put them to much better use.

My debt free living

by Kristina on December 15, 2014 · 2 comments

There are so many ways that debt free living can change your life. You'll transform physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here's how living without debt has changed me.

Good morning Dinks.  A couple of weeks ago I confessed that now after three years of being debt free I’m in debt again.  Even though I get credit card bills at the end of the month I don’t consider myself in debt.  Why?  Because I’m not running around town buying everything and anything with my credit cards.  I got into debt for a very specific reason a.k.a. furniture for our new apartment and in six little months Nick and I will once again be debt free.

I don’t ever want to be in debt again.  Why?  Because it’s a freaking nightmare.  The type of stress that comes with financial distress is emotion like no other.  I learned a lot from my debt and in some ways it did make me a better person, but I always tell people I’ve been in debt and I’m not going back.

Being debt free is a huge stress relief and I like how I feel living without the burden of debt.  I’ve changed my entire lifestyle – mentally, physically and emotionally – to make sure that I never get back into debt.

This is how my habits have changed to make sure I stay debt free:

Mentally.  I’ve learned that having available credit doesn’t mean you have money.  Having credit cards doesn’t mean you have to use them. I’m not sure why but I used to think having credit made me an adult, but now looking back on it I hear how ridiculous that sounds.

After shedding my blood, sweat and tears by working three jobs to pay off my debt I am now over the need to have three credit cards and a gold card with fees.  I have one credit card and that’s all I need.

Physically.  Truth be told the way I stopped swiping my credit cards was to forget about them. I don’t even carry my credit card in my wallet anymore because if it’s there I will be tempted to use it.

I grab my credit card if I know I’ll need it that day and if I want to buy something but don’t have the card in my wallet the item can wait.  I can usually talk myself out of any purchase whereas in my old financial life I could talk myself into buying anything.  Now without my credit card in my wallet the temptation to swipe it is gone.

Emotionally.  Being over my head in debt and having my entire life come crashing down when I hit rock bottom was definitely a very sad time in my life.  Having debt is an emotional roller coaster, if you’ve ever been in debt you know what I’m talking about.  Getting out of debt was also very emotional, I had happy times when I was making payments and sad times when the balances weren’t going down as quickly as I wanted them to.

Selling my car and downsizing my apartment to save money was definitely a personal hit to my ego.  I have never felt so defeated in my entire life – but it was temporary.  Getting out of debt was the ultimate high and I’ve been happy ever since.

 How has debt free living changed your life?

Weekly roundup: Debt, Budgets and Failures

December 12, 2014

Good morning Dinks.  It’s Friday and we’re another week closer to Christmas.  Are you getting excited yet? I am.  I love the holidays, everything about the holidays from the smell of Christmas trees and eating cookies to spending days in my pyjamas and binge watching Netflix. I know some families celebrate the holidays with a […]

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6 things you need for your next vacation

December 11, 2014

The weather is getting cold and the holidays are quickly approaching.  You may be getting ready to leave the cold weather behind and head to warmer climates for a week or two.   As you know I love to travel, I mean I really really love to get away.  I know some people like to go […]

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Venus and Mars and The Holidays

December 10, 2014

Good morning Dinks.  It’s that time of the year again; the time when everyone is making shopping lists, searching stores to find the perfect gift and waiting in line at the grocery store with all the fixings to make the perfect meal.  Well at least that’s what I hear people do during the holidays.   As […]

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3 Things Your Credit Score Needs

December 8, 2014

Good morning Dinks.  Do you ever wonder what your credit score is?  What it does or why you should care about it?  Truth be told I never cared.  Yes it’s true I was a financial planner and I never cared about my credit score.  In my 20s I already had several credit cards so I […]

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Weekly roundup: Shopping, Small Biz and Debt

December 5, 2014

Good morning Dinks and happy Friday.  The holidays are in full swing around our home.  I already started Christmas shopping and this weekend we’re getting our Christmas tree.  I absolutely love the smell of a fresh Christmas tree and within 24 hours our entire apartment is going to smell just like evergreens. When do you […]

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A company takeover is everything but business as usual

December 4, 2014

Good morning Dinks.  A couple of months ago I announced my company is being sold to a competitor.  The sale started in September and it’s expected to close any day now, this is the definition of bad timing.  Who wants to go into the holidays worrying if they’re going to have a job in January? […]

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