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Friday, July 20, 2018

How My Dogs Enjoy the Summer

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I haven't done a big photo dump in a while so I figured I'd do one today and show you how my dogs enjoy the summer. Since they each have different personalities they actually have different ways of enjoying it.

 Pixie and Rocky are sun babies.  They will lay inside in a sunshine spot coming in the window if it's available.  They ALWAYS wants to be out on the porch and will stay there until I physically drag them inside. They both love feeling nice and warm.
 Unfortunately though there have been plenty of Summer thunderstorms and when that happens they all clump together and tremble until it passes.
 Stella loves laying out in the shade on the porch furniture.  She absolutely loves being as comfortable as possible. Look at her adorable leg stretched out behind her in that photo above!
 She's also great to bring along to parties. She guards my wine!
 Grace will basically go anywhere I go and lay with me as much as possible. So even if I'm sitting out in the sun, she tries to join me. I try to keep my dogs cool when they're outside though so if they aren't in the shade of the porch, I only keep them out in the sun for a few minutes.  I also ALWAYS have clean fresh water available both on the patio and in the porch.
 Pixie sleeping in the porch!
 Grace and Stella staying cool in the shade. Stella's sticking her tongue out!

I always make sure to keep treats handy for them to reward good behavior and make sure they get some protein so they have energy to play and endure the Summer temperatures.  Lately I'm loving Wellness Core Grain Free Beef Treats from Chewy. They are freeze dried natural dog treats and are packed with protein! There's no grain or corn, wheat, and soy and of course no artificial flavors and preservatives.  The dogs love these and it holds them over in between meals.

How do your dogs enjoy the Summer?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Great Tool In Your Financial Arsenal: Credit Cards (For The Uninitiated)

credit cards

While are there so many finance tips you can access online, a lot of it can seem pretty complex, especially if you've dug yourself into some sort of debt that you don't know how to get out of. But, with something like credit cards, there can be so many different aspects that prove to be very confusing. Sometimes, we view something like a credit card as free money, which is far from the case! But, for those people who are wary of credit cards, they can prove to be incredibly useful, when used under the right circumstances. So, what are the circumstances, and how can you best take advantage of them to benefit your life?

What A Credit Card Can Do For You In Your Day-To-Day Life

Firstly, a credit card is one of the most suitable methods to pay for items. When you are purchasing a very expensive item, it can be done with ease. The big issue with paying for items like this is that you can easily get trigger happy, especially when it comes to making small payments, more of this later, but in your day-to-day life, it's a very quick and efficient way to give out payment, just as long as you pay off the outstanding balance swiftly. And for those people who are scared of getting a credit card, it can benefit you in the fact that you need to acquire a certain amount of credit in order to be considered for the bigger purchases in life. Your credit score is something that has to be above board, and you might think that because you've never had a credit card before,
your credit score is absolutely fine, this is not the case. Unfortunately, as is the old adage, you have to spend money to make money; you have to use credit in order to accrue credit. Your credit score is vital for the vast majority of things now, from your phone contract, to the bigger purchases in life like a mortgage. It seems that now, credit checks are being run for every single aspect of your life, and if you are someone who is just about to step onto the ladder of adulthood, and have started on a career, or you are looking to buy a house or make purchases like a car, your credit score is the most valuable currency. One of the great things about having a credit card at your disposal is that you can get certain freebies, such as miles or reward points, as well as cashback. So, when you are looking for the right credit cards, this may prove to be one of the selling points. When you look at the best Chase credit cards, you can see that there are various rewards depending on the type of card. In essence, when you use your credit card to buy something, you can get a small percentage of the amount back, usually around 2%. Other variables on getting your cashback can depend on how much you spend, but also where you spend it. Something like fuel is a great way to get some cash back, because it's something you need on a regular basis. But always be sure to read the small print, and check if there are any fees for the cards, and if it's something you can realistically afford.

The Perils Of Credit Card Spending

Once you have made the decision to get a credit card, and you've found the right one for you, you will get a specific spending limit. It's at this point where you need to ensure that you don't exceed this. The first thing to bear in mind is that credit cards aren't free money! It can feel like this because you've got a very simple way to pay for your items, especially with processes like contactless payments, you'll be surprised to see how quickly little payments here and there add up. It's far better for you to enter into an agreement with a credit card company with a plan of action in place on how you are going to pay off the money. Because if you don't have a way to pay off the card's outstanding balance every month, you tend to have to pay interest on it. As a result, the interest will add a considerable amount to your debt. So, if you miss a payment for whatever reason, the interest will quickly start to add up, and if you continue to operate with this trigger happy attitude to paying things with your credit cards, which is all too easy to do, you could find yourself spiraling into debt pretty quickly. Not to mention the fact that there will be
additional fees now and again depending on the card, and the more you use your credit card, the more it will damage your credit score. When entering into any sort of credit card agreement, it's best for you to think long term, and make sure you have the means to pay it off. Of course, for a lot of us, part of the reason we get a credit card is that it can provide a little buffer, especially if we need to make big purchases. And we can think that we don't have to pay that outstanding balance off right away, but if you use the card more, the balance that's outstanding will increase. This is why it's best to have a good idea of the mathematics behind it, especially when you are charged interest. For example, if you had a $1,000 balance, the interest was 18%, but you don't use the card anymore, the monthly repayments would be $30, meaning that it would take 3 years and 10 months to clear the outstanding debt. The temptation could always be to pay the minimum balance off, but it's far better for you to pay as much as you can when possible. If you find yourself in a considerable amount of debt, there are methods like the debt snowball method that could benefit, but by increasing the monthly repayment to $100, it would take you 11 months in which to pay off that outstanding $1000 balance, a major difference.

What Can I Do To Escape Debt?

One of the most common approaches you can do, especially if you've been trapped by credit card debt and high interest rates is to do a balance transfer. It depends on the amount of money you want to transfer, but in essence, it is where you are avoiding paying interest on your current credit card, by moving the outstanding balance to another card. This is where the application process can get a bit difficult, because you need to get approved for another credit card, so if you have a poor credit score, it can seriously limit the amount of money you are able to have on your new card, or, be completely denied for one. This is why, before applying for your first credit card, you treat it more like a debit card, where the money you spend on it is repaid as soon as possible. It's now easier than ever to keep track of your spending, especially with regards to online services. And even the bigger credit card suppliers, like
Barclaycard online, gives you a detailed breakdown of what you spend, as well as provides little pieces of advice. But with all of these, it's always important to undertake your own research, and know how you will be able to pay off any debt. Again, this is one of the perils of having a credit card, that we treat it as free money. But with this free money, it's very much like a loan from a bank. If you think about it like this, it will get you into the better mindset, but, with credit cards, there are so many ways you can use a credit card to rebuild your credit score, as well as get you approved for certain things in life. That's not to say that if you get a credit card, that you spend nothing on it. In order to build your credit score, you have to use it. This is why it's best, if you are looking long-term, with regards to something like buying a house, that you use the credit card to make small purchases that you can repay quickly. That way you are keeping yourself financially float, but you're also building up your credit score.

Because the credit card is one of those things that can strike the fear of god into the uninitiated, as long as you have an understanding of what you can do with it, and understand the perils of credit card debt, as well as the interest fees and so forth, you can use it as an arsenal in your financial weaponry. It's a fact of life, if you want to make a large purchase, you will need a credit card at some point, but also, you need to think about the fact you are protected by the credit card company should there be issues with a big purchase. This is something that we don't always know about; because we do it from the perspective that it's just about getting ourselves into debt. When it comes to buying a vacation, if the company is to go under, the credit card company will usually
insure you based on a certain amount. Ultimately, a credit card is an essential tool, as long as you know how to use it right.
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Garden Updates for July

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Well, the Summer heat has done my garden well it seems.  The lettuce just skyrocketed and I almost had too much which always makes me feel guilty.  I have been eating Caesar salads with my Romaine lettuce like it's my job lately.

My tomato plant shot up and has lots of little matos on it!

My pepper plants have some gorgeous fruits growing and seem very strong and healthy.

My butternut squash also came up and once the summer humidity is here (which it kind of already is) they will spread out even more and I can't wait for the squash to actually start growing come fall!

And then last but certainly not least my zucchini plants are kickin butt! I have gotten several healthy and generously sized zukes from them so far. I'm so proud.

My summer harvest is almost over though so soon it'll be time to start planting for Fall.

How is your garden looking so far?

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