Tiffany Pesonen's Blog
Pets are part of the family. They look to us for food, protection, and a daily routine. In return, we get the joys of having a tiny, furry best friend (or in my case a huge, slobbering goofball of a dog). When you want to go away on vacation, however, pets become an added layer of planning that makes the process much more stressful and complicated. The good news is you have options. Depending on your pet, your destination, and your financial situation, some options may be better than others for you. In this article, we'll go over pet planning for when you go away on vacation so you can rest assured knowing your pet will be safe so that you can do what vacations are meant for: relax.
Where are you going?Depending on your destination and the type of pet you have, it might be possible to bring your animal friend along. Pet friendly hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and rental homes are all ways that allow you to keep you and your pet together during vacation. If you don't have the money to spend on expensive hotels, you could try out campgrounds or staying with a friend or relative in the area. There are also websites designed for couch-surfing that sometimes allow pets.
What's your pet's personality?We hold pets to a pretty high social standard. If someone scooped you up and took you to a strange place away from your family for a week you might be a little nervous, right? Your pet is no different. Depending on your pet's comfort level, boarding could be an option. However, it's a good idea to test this out for just a night before going away on a long vacation. Similarly, you could try having your pet stay at a friend or relative's house for a sleepover to gauge their reaction. Training and conditioning could be all it takes to help your pet feel comfortable away from you or your home while you're on vacation.
Calling in a sitterA less expensive option to boarding your pet is to have a pet sitter stay at your home while you're away. Odds are you might have a teenager or college aged relative who wouldn't mind having your home to themselves for a week to get away from their parents and siblings. If you aren't lucky enough to have a relative who's up to the job, you can almost definitely find someone on pet sitter websites or on Craigslist. People who work from home, or college students are often happy to stay at your place and watch your pets for a small fee. They get free TV and WiFi for a week, and you get the assurance that your pet and home is being taken care of; everyone wins. If you're worried about leaving your pet with a stranger, don't worry--we understand. Fortunately, most sites come with references and testimonials and you can always meet your pet sitter in person before handing them the keys to your home.
Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.
- Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
- What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
- Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
- Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.
When you're a homeowner, it's tempting to save money any way you can. Oftentimes people take repairs into their own hands when they don't have the knowledge or experience to complete the job safely. What begins as a way to save money can quickly turn into a disaster--as you spend lengthy periods of time on a project and find yourself going over your initial budget. It isn't always easy to know which projects you can attempt yourself and which ones are better left to the pros. And, of course, it will depend on your comfort and skill level when it comes to various household repairs. So, if you're a plumber, disregard our plumbing advice and dive in to your DIY plumbing projects since you have the know-how. But if you're an average homeowner looking to make some renovations and repairs, read on to find out which ones you should attempt and which ones are better left to the pros.
1. Electrical workSo you've got a few faulty outlets in the new home you bought. It doesn't seem worth calling in an electrician just for those few minor issues. However, due to the dangers and complications that can arise from electric work, it's a good idea to hold off and call in the experts. Aside from shocking yourself (which can be deadly), you could also create fire hazards or damage circuitry, resulting in much higher repair costs than you initially had. Another benefit of calling in an electrician, other than having the project done correctly, is that they will be able to diagnose your home circuitry to let you know what other problems might arise in the foreseeable future. So, when it comes to power issues, always call in the pros.
2. Hazardous materialsMany people will tell you not to worry about asbestos or lead paint unless you have children. However, these are both dangerous materials than can create several chronic health problems in adults as well. If you're concerned for the safety of yourself and your family, call in contractors who will remove the lead or asbestos. What can go wrong if you try to do it yourself? Lead chips and dust will fly through the air when attempting to remove lead paint. Breathing in these fumes is dangerous initially and down the road when the dust settles into the corners of your home. Asbestos, especially in blown-in insulation can be particularly dangerous. Aside from ensuring your safety, a contractor will also be able to assess the situation and determine whether your hazardous materials need to be removed or can just be "repaired" or covered up. Simple repair jobs on asbestos or lead-containing objects can save you some serious time and money.
3. Roofing and sidingThere's a reason even building contractors bring in third party companies to install roofs and siding. These are both labor-intensive and time-intensive jobs that require specialized skills and tools that only dedicated companies can accomplish correctly. Roofing and siding are both dangerous jobs that carry the risk of falling off of roofs and ladders, as well as injuring your back lifting heavy shingles. The pros have the tools and experience to avoid these injuries. When you hire the professionals to do your roofing or siding, you can rest assured that the job is done correctly and will last much longer than if you made it a DIY project as well.
For some people, cleaning the house is a relaxing way to pass the time. It's a mindful activity and living in a clean space can help improve your mood and focus. However, for many of us it can be hard to find time to clean after a long day of work, cooking dinner, caring for kids and pets, and so on. Many people try to keep up with the mess by cleaning one room at a time. However, it actually takes much longer to clean if you do it on a room-by-room basis. The most efficient way to clean is by chore. You wouldn't dust or vacuum just one room; you'd do the whole house because it saves you the pain of taking out the vacuum cleaner every time one room needs to be vacuumed. In this article, we'll go over how you can avoid having one long, excruciating cleaning day by spending 5-10 minutes per day cleaning your house.