Thursday, May 7, 2020

FWOTW: Dog grooming at home

Abby is getting pretty shaggy
This week we gave our dog Abby a full grooming at home.  This included cutting her hair, cleaning her ears, trimming her nails, brushing her teeth and finishing up with a nice bath.  Regular grooming is important for dogs to make sure their hair doesn’t get matted, ears and eyes don’t get infected, teeth don’t rot and nails don’t get too long.  This wasn’t the first time we groomed Abby at home.  In fact, we’ve been doing our own dog grooming for almost 6 years now!
Taking your dog to a pet groomer can be a very expensive ($35+ per session!) recurring expense.  It can also be extremely stressful for your furry loved one.  When we first got our dog, she was always scared to go to the groomer.  After 3 visits to the groomer, we decided to groom her ourselves.  Abby trusts her parents more than anyone in the whole world, and we should be the ones grooming her.  Today I want to share our dog grooming routine and favorite products.

Cutting hairCurrently we cut Abby’s hair with dog grooming scissors that have a blunted end.  We give her a nice relaxing haircut outside.  We don’t always cut all of her hair in one sitting; we may split it up over several days.  I’ve found the best time to cut her facial hair is when she’s resting on the couch.  Don’t forget to trim the hair between the paws! 
Brushing teethJust as we brush our own teeth daily, it’s extremely important to brush your dog’s teeth.  Poor mouth hygiene has been associated with tooth decay, gum disease, painful infections, heart disease, kidney disease and other serious health conditions not to mention bad breath.  We brush our dog’s teeth with a 3 sided dog toothbrush and enzymatic poultry flavor dog toothpaste.  We used to give our dog Greenies, designed to clean a dog’s teeth and gums as they chew.  However, our vet did not recommend Greenies due to risk of dental fracture, choking, upset stomach and intestinal obstruction.    
Trimming nailsWe use a guillotine style nail clipper, which works very quickly at clipping the nails.  I lay Abby on her back, gently hold each paw and then clip away.  It’s very important to start slow and cut just a tiny amount to avoid hitting the kwik.  In the event that bleeding occurs, it’s important to keep styptic powder nearby – we use Kwik Stop.  I have previously tried the dremel/rotary/grinder type devices for nails, but found that it took too long and my dog did not like the noises these devices made.  Regularly trimming dog nails prevents the quick (blood supply of the nail) from growing too long.
Washing furWe wash our dog in the bathtub with Pet Head brand of dog shampoo because it’s easy to use and smells great.  Since our dog suffers from allergies, we use Pet Head Life’s An Itch Soothing Shampoo.  The shampoo helps prevent our dog from getting too itchy.  Make sure you wash around the eyes and ears gently.  It’s easy to bathe our dog because she is small.  We use a towel to dry her afterwards.    
Have you thought about grooming your own dog?I’m no expert at grooming different dog breeds, but there are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube to watch and learn from.  Some dog breeds require specialty care – you can’t just take a pair of scissors to every dog’s fur.  If you own a dog and are staying at home, now is the perfect time to try your hand at dog grooming.  Even if you give your dog a bad haircut, the hair will grow back on its own.  We find that grooming our dog is stress free, relaxing and fun.  Saving $35 a month is also nice! 

Friday, May 1, 2020

Side hustles April 2020

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  While I don’t often post articles, I am committed to documenting all of my side hustle income.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles. 

Welcome to May! Did you have a good April?  We have been adjusting well to our new stay at home routines.  My wife has been working from home for almost 2 months now.  Our kids are home and we are trying our best at home schooling.  We are trying to teach our kids with every opportunity that we have.  We are working on handwriting and reading comprehension with our son.  We are working on the alphabet with our daughter.   
Everyday the kids run around the house using their imagination as they play games with each other.  We try to get the kids outdoors at least 30 minutes to an hour each day for walks.  On our walks we look for different kinds of creatures like bees, slugs, snails, birds and lizards.  The kids are gaining a respect for nature and they know not to touch the creatures they encounter on our walks.  

We love reading books to our kids, and they are up to 6-10 books everyday!  One fun activity we have been doing is freezing some miniature sea creature toys in blocks of ice and having the kids rescue the creatures from the ice.    
Another fun activity we have been doing is have the kids create their own crafts with construction paper, glue, popsicle sticks and stickers.
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of April.
Cash Back
We did not earn any cash back in April.

Rental Income
We did not receive any rental income profits this month due to our tenants being unemployed suddenly due to the covid19 outbreak and shutdown of non-essential businesses.  Our tenants have been great all these years and it is a difficult time for them right now.  We will be setting up a repayment plan with our tenants to catch up on missed rents.  We are not charging any late fees at this point.  Thankfully we have a big emergency fund for our rental property and the monthly mortgage on the property is low.

Side Job IncomeSince the local university is closed due to the coronavirus shut down, I have not had any opportunities to teach in April.

Survey Income
On 4.6, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.
On 4.9, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a medical survey.
On 4.14, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.
On 4.14, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a medical survey.
On 4.20, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.
On 4.21, I received a $55 check from My Impact Network for completing a medical survey.
On 4.23, I received a $50 direct deposit into my bank from GLG for completing a medical survey.
On 4.24, I received a $35 check from M3 Global Research for completing a medical survey.
On 4.27, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from the Vision Council for completing a survey.
On 4.27, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a medical survey.
On 4.27, I received a $10 Amazon gift card from MNOW for completing a medical survey.

Blog Income
On 4.29, I received a direct deposit of $11.85 from blog income as a member of Amazon Associates.

Miscellaneous Income
On 4.3, I received a check for $63 from our kids’ dental practice.  There was an insurance issue where a claim was not billed properly and we were charged the difference.  After I made a few calls to the insurance company, I was able to get the dental claim paid out properly, resulting in a refund. 
On 4.6, I received a $0.48 Amazon gift card from the Job Spotter app, by Indeed.  With this app, you basically take pictures of businesses that are hiring and upload photos.  A month ago, I had dinner with friends at a restaurant and when I saw the “now hiring” sign, I took a few pictures and earned 48 cents!
On 4.8, I received a check for $62.25 from the Takata Airbag settlement class action lawsuit.
On 4.8, my wife received a check for $62.25 from the Takata Airbag settlement class action lawsuit.
On 4.15, I redeemed 480 points for a $3 Amazon gift card from
On 4.23, I received a $204.30 refund to my credit card from Geico.  Since my wife has been working from home for the last 6 weeks and I’ve been going to the office only 2 days a week, we have not been driving very much at all during this lockdown.  I called Geico to ask nicely for a discount and the customer service rep was nice enough to offer one to me!  I wrote about it here.
On 4.30, we received a direct deposit of $3,223.90 from the IRS as our stimulus check.  I list this as a side hustle because our income qualifies for the stimulus check only after taking into account tax deductions on our gross income.  These deductions include two maxed out 401Ks ($19,500 each), a maxed out Dependent Care FSA ($5,000), a maxed out HSA ($7,000) and a Medical FSA deduction of $1,000. 

Monthly Totals:
I earned $200 for completing online surveys
We earned $11.85 from blog income
We earned $3,619.18 of miscellaneous income

All of this totals $3,831.03 from our side hustles for the month of April!  This lockdown has given us time to reflect on what is really important in life.  This has been an interesting month for us and we are really enjoying the time that we have at home.  My office is looking to reopen full time starting May 11th, and I may never get this chance to spend so much time with my kids again anytime soon.  Keep saving.  Keep investing.  And be safe.
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