Monday, 13 February 2017

How to keep your pets cool this Summer

Image result for dog eating an ice blockSummer 2017 has been an absolute scorcher with the mercury hitting above 45 degrees across the Macarthur most days. At this time of year it is important to remember our furry and feathered friends!

What you should know about heat stress/heat stroke?

Heat stress and heat stroke can be life threatening to your furry friends and it can strike quickly in the right conditions. Personally, a friend of mine recently lost one of her beloved pooches to heat stroke when he got lost on their property and could not find his way back to shelter and fresh water. This is a sad reality so please be mindful that because dogs only perspire from around their nose and paws they are susceptible to overheating.

It is also important to understand that just because your pet has fur doesn’t mean they don’t burn. Providing adequate shade and shelter for your pet is vital. Ensure to also apply sunscreen regularly to dogs with white fur as they are vulnerable to melanoma cancer through excessive sunlight on their skin.

Other ways to reduce your pet’s risk of heat stroke is by making sure they have access to:

  • Good ventilation so they don’t overheat (i.e. cool floors and an overhead fan),
  • Plenty of fresh, cool water to drink so they stay hydrated. Make sure to put out more than one bowl in case they get knocked over,
  • Avoid physical activities like games and walks around 12.00pm as this is the hottest part of the day- take a stroll in the early morning or late afternoon instead, and
  • Never...I mean NEVER leave your pet in a confined space like a kennel or car on a hot day.

Pool Safety Matters

Pool safety is not a joke when it comes to your pets safety in your backyard. Be wary of any potential dangers and ensure that your pool fence meets Australian standards as dogs can drown if they fall into a swimming pool and can’t find their way out.

It’s not just our beloved canines we have to think about, but also our feline friends.
Cats feel the heat too so please keep your cat indoors during the day when you know it is going to be hot and draw the blinds and shut all the windows to keep out the heat.

Lastly...don’t forget about your pet’s health

With Summer at it’s peak more and more insects are out and about. This means you should ensure your pet’s flea and fly treatments are up to date.

Ticks are a life-threatening danger to both cats and dogs and their favourite season is summer so make sure to treat your pets for ticks and check your animals daily for any signs of them.

The deadly parvovirus ‘parvo’ is more common in summer, so make sure your dog (particularly if you own a Staffy) up to date with their vaccinations.

Investment in your pet’s health now can save a lot of heartbreak down the track!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

11 Tips that will help you SAVE in your 20s from a 20-something year old

Saving in your 20s while surrounded by ongoing social events, work commitments and the pressures of try to adult and hopefully move out from under mum and dad’s roof is a challenge - but this doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With good planning and dedicated saving habits your future will look a lot brighter!

So here are some tips from a 20- something year old who is currently saving for the deposit for my first home and a Euro trip…(one day!)

1 Stop relying on the bank of ‘Mum & Dad’

NEWSFLASH - your Mum and Dad are not your personal loan advisers.
Constantly loaning money from your parents will stop you from learning how to save on your own and it can create some quite awkward family situations...especially when your parents bring it up 2 years later at a family dinner about that one time you didn’t have enough money to pay your car rego.

Get out of the habit of asking or expecting your parents to fit the bill - TODAY!
This is the first step to your financial independence.

2 Budget - Plan for short-term and long-term goals

Saving for a long-term goal can be boring - set savings milestones with short-term goals or mix it up with both a short-term goal e.g. weekend away and a long-term goal e.g. overseas holiday.

3 Save your change - every dollar counts!

Set up an empty coffee jar and write your savings goal on the front in sharpie. Not only will this focus you towards saving your change, you can watch your savings grow dollar by dollar!

4 Make regular, set contributions to your savings account - and don’t touch it

Open a bank account that rewards you with added interest for not touching it.  I personal have opened up two Goal Saver accounts with Commbank for my 2017 saving goals and have not looked back. By setting a weekly amount from my pay to contribute to the account (10% of my wage) I am able to plan my budget until next payday and still make bank with a  deposit into my savings account and doesn’t it feel good!

5 If you don’t NEED it - don’t BUY it

Avoid unnecessary trips to the shops and avoid Kmart at all cost! If you don’t need it - don’t buy it. Prioritise what you need right now in your life and remove any unused subscriptions, memberships or direct deposit payments that are quietly siphoning your savings account.

6 Become friends with the idea of accepting hand-me-downs

Hand-me-downs are friends not foe! You may be surprised about what your friends and family have that they want to get rid of. It comes in handy when facing the prospect of moving out of home and researching the cost of furniture and appliances. Ask you family and friends first. There are even Facebook pages dedicated to local buy and sell groups and garage sales in the local area.

7 Do your research- find better value alternatives

Don’t settle for the first option. Do your research and get the best deal possible.
For example, it may seem out of place however if you negotiate with someone on the price of say a new TV they are more likely to give you the best price they can do to make a profit and keep your sale. My advice: play hard to get.

Also swap out unnecessary costs for cheaper alternatives such as swapping cafe lattes to instant coffee. With a standard cup of coffee now costing $3-$4 dollars, that’s a saving of $15.00- $20.00 per week!

8 Create an emergency fund

Budget in a buffer amount into your weekly spending. By including this buffer you will prevent your accounts from being overdraw (eekk!) and it will provide you with an emergency fund that can build over time.

9 Use a shopping list...and NEVER shop when you are hungry

Science has found that you are likely to spend  % more grocery shopping if you are hungry while at the local store. So make sure to have a meal before parading the aisles for tasty treats!

Shop smart by create a list at home before going to the store - I find it easier to use a mini whiteboard on my fridge and simply take a photo of it at the end of the week. Filter out the things that can wait until the next shopping trip and focus on buying ingredients that are long-life and fit into your meal plan for the week e.g. a large piece of pumpkin can be used for a soup throughout the week and roasted for Sunday’s roast.

10 Build your credit history

Black marks on your credit history can prevent you from getting a mortgage on your dream home after saving for the deposit on your first investment or home.

Get your credit history in check - pay any outstanding debts and don’t sign up to payments you cannot meet e.g. personal loans, mobile phone plans etc. Now focus on building your credit history. Sign up for payment schemes in your name i.e. loans, finance etc.