Archive | March, 2013

Affordable Pets

9 Mar

ImageLove pets, but think you can’t afford one? Become a foster pet parent! Since the economic downturn began, many wonderful pets have been surrendered or abandon due to their owners falling on hard times. Even though shelters have slashed their adoption fees, there is still the matter of having the economic resources to care for a pet, namely food & vet bills; this is where fostering has a clear advantage.

There are plenty of reasons to foster rather than adopt besides economic:

  • Time constraints. You may travel a lot for your job & it would not be fair or economically feasible to constantly kennel your pet. Depending on the foster program, you may care for the animal for only a few days or a few months depending on your agreed terms of availability. You get the love of a wonderful pet and the peace of mind knowing that instead of feeling abandon at a kennel, they are well loved in their new forever home. This is also true of the elderly who would like the love and companionship of a pet without having to worry who would care for their pet when they become incapacitated or die.
  • Trail run. You may not be sure how a pet will fit into your lifestyle so this gives you a chance to make a short-term commitment. Perhaps you are curious about a particular breed, but you are not sure of the temperament or the amount of work & expense they require, there are plenty of opportunities for breed specific fosters.
  • Service animals. Some fosters are specifically to prepare a service animal to assist a disabled person. Your role would be to provide a loving environment and participate in the training. You can also play a key role in fostering other working animals, those involved in law enforcement, rescue & recovery activities, or therapy in medical or educational settings.

Why are animals in foster homes rather than shelters?

This depends on the foster program. Most shelters are just too full and many animals simply don’t thrive when incarcerated. An animal’s best chance of adoption depends on them being emotionally stable and physically healthy; which is best achieved via a stable, caring, home setting. Some animals, like service dogs, require socialization in home environments and training, while other animals like horses, other livestock or exotic pets simply can not be cared for in shelters. There are also emergency fosters for people in crisis situations like a house fire or catastrophic illness, who just need someone to care for their pets on a very short term basis until they can get back on their feet.

What’s provided?

Foster programs differ on what resources they provide, so be sure to ask upfront before you commit to a program. Since foster programs are almost always non-profit 501(c)(3) , much depends on the program’s mission & available funding. If you choose to pay any of the expenses yourself, be sure to keep the receipts for your tax deductions. Some of the most common resources provided are:

  • Food & bowls
  • Toileting supplies (litter, housebreaking pads, etc)
  • Grooming supplies or services
  • Veterinarian visits, medications & medical supplies
  • Bedding, cages & tanks
  • Toys
  • Training & related equipment
  • Carriers & leashes
  • Transportation reimbursement

Who can foster?

Nearly all legitimate foster programs require an application & screening process for potential foster homes. If you rent & are not allowed to have a pet or cannot afford your apartment’s pet fee, you may be able to have this waived as part of the American With Disability Act Assistance Animal provision. Many common ailments qualify, everything from depression to diabetes, and you can always have the animal certified for around $65 if it becomes an issue.

How do you find a pet foster program near you?

You can contact your local animal shelter or animal welfare organization or use The ASPCA’s search engine. Be sure to research a number or programs and ask plenty of questions regarding the responsibilities, expectations & resources each provide in order pick the one that is the best fit for you and your lifestyle.

Know thine self.

Be honest about what you want and what you are willing to do. My strength is working with sick, injured, elderly or behavioral problem pets; my home is very quiet, I’m very patient, I know how to do a lot of medical procedures & there isn’t much that grosses me out. On the other hand, I know I would not be a good match for a large animal since I do not have the space, or an animal that require a lot of exercise since  I do not have the energy.

Another issue is the surrender factor; some people feel they would not be able to give a pet to a new home once they have become attached. I’m going to be really blunt here…grow up, it isn’t about you! Teachers love, nurture & support their students, but they don’t try to keep them; they take pleasure in preparing them to move on and thrive in their new surroundings. Same is true of nurses. No one truly “owns” an animal; they are simply entrusted to our care for an indeterminate amount of time. Keep this mindset and you will do just fine. You’ll still be sad to see them go, but you’ll be happy knowing you were the one who make their new lease on life possible.

More than 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters in the US every year, less than 2% of cats and only 15% of dogs are returned to their owners, and tragically 60% of dogs and 70% percent of cats are euthanized. There are a lot of people in this world looking for love and companionship; why not share your life with a little soul that is always glad to see you and desperately needs you? You’ll be glad you did!

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What Are The Best Things To Buy In March?

1 Mar

ImageSince my post last month on What Are The Best Things To Buy In February got so much traffic, I thought I would try it again for March. Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, simply visit  Real Penny Wise and click LIKE to receive the best tips daily. Be sure to SHARE with your friends too. Just a quick review before I list this months best buys…

Most bargains follow a predictable pattern:

  • End of the model year (varies depending on product)
  • End of the retail season (ends sooner than calendar season)
  • Holiday sale (usually new, but sometimes older models)
  • Directly after a holiday
  • Off season
  • In season (fresh produce)

The downside includes:

  • Lack of inventory/choices
  • Open box/damage/refurbished
  • Older model/style
  • Unable to use/test until season changes, long past refund date

Brick and mortar stores clear out first since retail space is at a premium, but many online stores will offer competitive pricing even though their inventory will linger longer. The longer you wait, the lower the price, but you could miss out on finding what you need. Remember that a retailer’s season ends much sooner than a calendar season; that’s why you’ll find great deals on winter apparel in January & February, but you will hard pressed to find a winter coat in March when there’s still a foot of snow on the ground. Don’t forget to check out my post 15 Super Tips For Shopping Success to learn how to save even more on online purchases.

So here’s where you can save the most in March:

  • motorcycle
  • boat
  • furnace
  • frozen food (National Frozen Food Month)
  • snowblower
  • video games
  • electronics (older model clearance, new models released in April)
  • TV (older model clearance, new models released in April)
  • small gardening tools & supplies
  • perfume  (post Valentine)
  • Holiday theme decorations (day after)

When it comes to food, the best deals are to buy in season since there is a greater supply. Obviously holiday themed food bargains are best directly following the holiday, but do not overlook the perishables; starting January 2nd stores practically give away huge pork roasts that never made it to the New Year’s Day dinner table. One disclaimer on the produce; because there is some controversy regarding what is truly “in season” as the USA has very diverse growing patterns and hothouses are often used, I have placed and asterisk next to the items that are generally agreed upon.

Here are the best food deals in March:

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli*
  • Brussels sprout
  • Collard Greens
  • Endive
  • Guavas
  • Kumquat
  • Lettuce*
  • Mandarins
  • Mangoes*
  • Mint
  • Onion
  • Parsnips
  • Pineapples*
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Tangerines
  • Holiday theme candy, snacks & food (day after)

Often times you can get first rate products for a bargain prices, it just takes a little planning & patience; but don’t wait too long or you may miss out altogether. Want more posts like this? Let me know!

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