5 Dire Mistakes People Make Moving Their Pets to a New Place

Moving involves so many tasks: planning, packing, hiring movers, enlisting emotional and physical help, and lots more. Moving with pets can add even more to your to-do list.

When we moved a couple of years ago, I never really considered how our two Lab mixes, Coco and Cookie, would handle it. That was a big mistake. I looked up a few tips online and tried my best to put them into practice. But, for the first few days in the new house, my dogs were stressed and anxious, got into fights with each other and barked all the time—all unusual behavior.

After a couple of weeks, they started to adjust, and their anxiety subsided. But it got me wondering what I could have done to make this move less traumatic for them.

My two dogs
My two dogs

Erica Sweeney

To help keep your animals calm and safe when moving to a new place, we’ve highlighted some top mistakes pet owners make in the process. Here are some moves that experts say pet owners should avoid if they want a smooth transition.

1. Keeping pets around on moving day

Moving day will probably be chaotic, so boarding pets, or having them stay elsewhere for the day or overnight, is a good idea, says Nicole Ellis, a pet expert and certified professional dog trainer with the online pet sitter and dog walker network Rover.

Cats can be confined to a specific room in the old or new place to keep them away from the activity, says Mikel Delgado, a cat behavior expert at Rover. She suggests placing a sign on the closed door that reads, “Cat Inside: Please Do Not Open Door,” to prevent escapes.

We boarded our dogs for a few days during our move, which gave us time to start unpacking and get their things set up before bringing them home. Knowing they were safe and out of the way made the move less stressful.


Watch: For Floors’ Sake! Smart Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy


2. Washing pets’ things before the move

Familiar smells ease pets’ anxiety, Ellis and Delgado say. It may seem like a good idea to wash your pets’ belongings or buy them new things before a move for a fresh start, but don’t.

Beds, blankets, toys, litter boxes, and food and water bowls bring the scent of the old home into the new one, and this substantially reduces pets’ stress and helps them adjust, they say.

Delgado also suggests not packing pets’ items until the last minute, so they’ll feel at home while you’re preparing to move.

3. Not keeping an eye on them in their new environment

Once you’ve moved, Ellis recommends watching your pets closely as they explore their new place—and checking (inside and outside) for possible escape routes. For instance, even if your new house has a fence, “Dogs can jump higher than we are often aware, so keeping them company outside is always safest,” she says.

She also suggests walking them around the neighborhood one step at a time to ease them into new sights and sounds, which can be overwhelming.

Another tip: Introduce yourself and your pet to neighbors. Give your number to neighbors and explain that your pets are still adjusting to a new place, so if they’re barking too much, neighbors can politely tell you.

4. Changing their setup too much

For cats, “Home turf is everything,” Delgado says. Cats are territorial and feel safest in familiar spaces; moving can cause unusual behavior, such as hiding, fearfulness, and being more vocal. Setting up a “safe room” with your cats’ necessary and favorite things for the first few hours, days, or even weeks helps them adjust.

Once cats get comfortable and are acting like their normal selves, they can be free to explore the rest of the house, Delgado says.

Ellis recommends arranging beds, crates, and toys as close to the old setup as possible. Giving dogs a sense of familiarity with where their stuff is located makes them feel more at home.

This is a tip I found online that seemed to work for us. We placed our dogs’ beds next to the couch in the living room of the new home, similar to where they had been in the old home, and put their water bowl in a similar spot in the kitchen. I also didn’t wash their favorite blankets and bedcovers before we moved, even though it was tempting.

5. Changing your pets’ routine

Routines are important for both dogs and cats, so sticking to regular feeding schedules, walk times, play activities, and other familiar tasks creates stability.

“They really rely on their favorite blankets, beds, and scratching posts to feel safe, and routine is very important to cats,” Delgado says.

Our dogs love their routine. They wake up at 6 a.m. every morning, ready to go outside to use the bathroom and then have breakfast. We kept up this schedule in the new house.

The bottom line is that settling pets into a new place will take time. How much depends on the individual animal, the pet experts say. Ellis urges pet parents to have medical records, microchip numbers, and current photos on hand, in case a pet gets lost.

Pets may show signs of stress and anxiety for several days, but there should be signs of improvement, Delgado says. If not, or if pets aren’t eating, call the vet.

Source: realtor.com

How to Endorse a Check to Someone Else in 4 Steps

If you owe someone, you most likely want to pay them as soon as you can. With digital banking adding your paychecks right to your bank account, you may not always have cash on you. You may also have some checks lying around that you’ve put off depositing.

To save time, you could endorse a check to someone else to pay them. This means that you sign over a check to them that was originally given to you, and they deposit it instead. We go over the four main steps for how to endorse a check to someone else below.

How to Endorse a Check to Someone Else in 4 Steps

Step 1: Create a Plan With Your Recipient

Endorsing a check to someone else isn’t always an option, but you may be able to use this method for rent or other monthly expenses. First, talk to your recipient to ensure they’re comfortable with this payment option.

Recipients may worry about banks denying this payment, even though this may not be common. To avoid endorsing a check to someone that may not accept it, make sure you communicate beforehand. If they’re on board, exchange your full name and contact information for the next few steps.

Step 2: Double-Check With Your Bank

It’s common for banks to have different rules and requirements when it comes to endorsing a check to someone else. Given the risk of stolen checks or checks paid to the wrong person, some banks may not offer these services. To make this process smooth, call or visit your bank first.

Keep in mind you may need to contact the bank you initially received the check from. In most cases, you can find the bank’s contact information on the front of the check. When you reach out, don’t forget to ask about any extra identification your recipient may need to bring with them to cash it out.

Correctly Sign the Check Over to the Recipient

Step 3: Correctly Sign the Check Over to the Recipient

Now, how do you sign over a check to someone else? Start by flipping the check over to find the endorsement line. This is normally located on the right or left along the height of the check reading “endorse check here.”

Once you’ve found it, sign your name on the top line, then write out “Pay to the order of [recipient name]” underneath. This shows the teller that you authorize this check to be paid to a third party. Be sure to write out your recipient’s name as it appears on their I.D. — the teller will double-check their identification before cashing it out.

Step 4: Hand Over Your Check

It’s time to hand over the payment to your recipient! When you’re meeting up with your recipient, exchange contacts if you haven’t already. If any mishaps were to happen, like the bank not accepting the payment, they’ll be able to contact you.

If you get worried, touch base with your recipient to ensure the check went through. If you or anyone else in the exchange feels uneasy, opt for a more secure alternative. For instance, certified checks are authorized by banks for a more secure payment method and may be a better payment alternative, especially for large purchases.

Two Alternatives to Signing a Check For Someone Else

Two Alternatives to Signing a Check For Someone Else

Paying bills with checks you already have may save you time, but not always for the recipient. When an endorsed check isn’t a comfortable option, there are a few different routes to go down instead.

1. Cash Out at the Issued Bank

You could simply go to the bank and cash out your check. Most banking apps nowadays allow digital check deposits and online transfers. You can run to your local ATM to cash out the money, or transfer money online. To do this, use your bank’s mobile app or other apps like Venmo or Cashapp.

Keep in mind, most ATMs or banks that aren’t associated with your bank may charge service fees. While this usually costs only a few dollars, that could buy you your morning coffee.

2. Open a Bank Account

If you don’t already have a bank account, it may be time to open one! Frequently cashing in checks at banks you don’t have an account with can rack up a hefty bill. If you were to cash in your bi-weekly paychecks with a $5 service fee, that would cost you $120 a year in fees. That’s $120 you could be putting towards your savings for future investments.

Having a bank account may also help make payments easier and streamlined. Automating payments may help you avoid late fees and track your monthly spending. Using apps like Mint, you can keep track of your money going in and out via your trusty smartphone.

When checks are filled out to you, you may feel like you’re the only one that’s able to do anything with it. For times you don’t feel like cashing in your check, you can endorse it to someone you may need to pay. While this is doable, you may want to take the extra steps to make this as smooth as can be. To do this, use our steps above and check on your budget before making any financial decisions using our app.

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Holiday Spending Statistics for 2021

Rather than shopping in department stores and visiting Santa at the mall, this year’s holiday season is going to look a little different. You’ll likely be spending more time with your closest loved ones and exchanging gifts you ordered online. With the events of 2020, many have experienced unexpected changes in employment, income, and even health so the holiday budget is top of mind. To figure out what gifting budgets may look like this year, we ran our own holiday survey and collected 26 holiday spending statistics.

In 2019, roughly 729 billion dollars was spent during the holidays. This topped the charts, making it the biggest holiday season. This number may come as no surprise when you account for everyone on your shopping list. From your coworkers to family, holiday budgets can stretch thin to accommodate for everyone.

Wondering what others are spending on holiday gifts? Keep reading for our holiday spending statistics roundup, or jump to our infographic for our budget-friendly gifting etiquette for the workplace.

Average Christmas Spending

Average Christmas Spending

  • The average American planned to spend $942 on holiday gifts in 2019. (Gallup)
  • Last year, Americans spent $227.26 on non-holiday gift purchases such as decorations. (Alliant Credit Union)
  • Americans decide their holiday gift spending based on how close they are to the gift recipient (58 percent) and whether or not they’re family (28 percent). (Mint 2020 Holiday Survey)
  • Over 50 percent of holiday spending goes towards clothing and accessories. (Avant)
  • In 2019, holiday retail sales soared past $700 billion, making it the biggest holiday shopping season. (Statista)

Holiday Spending Statistics and Trends

  • Americans were holiday shopping early in 2019, with 43 percent starting in November. (Black Friday)
  • On average, 64 percent of holiday shoppers waited for a sale before making a purchase in 2019. (American Research Group)
  • In 2019, 59 percent of wish lists included gift cards. (National Retail Federation)
  • More than half of Americans would rather have cash over a gift. (Mint)
  • In 2019, 67 percent of shoppers were spending the most on holiday gifts for their children. (Black Friday)
  • Pet lovers are also big shoppers. In 2019, 77 percent of pet owners planned for their pets to be part of their holiday festivities. (The Dog People)

Holiday Spending 2019 vs. 2020

Holiday Spending 2019 vs. 2020

  • Fifty-one percent of Americans plan to spend the same on holiday gifts in 2020 as they did in 2019. (Mint 2020 Holiday Survey)
  • Roughly 40 percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend less this year, and 8 percent plan to spend more. (Mint 2020 Holiday Survey)
  • Over half of consumers are opting out of retail shopping due to health risks. (Accenture)
  • Seventy-four percent of people agree that events will only include a small get-together. (Morning Consult)
  • In addition, 47 percent of adults agree that holiday events will be canceled. (Morning Consult)

Holiday Retail Sales

  • In 2019, 38 percent of shoppers planned to browse in-store displays for inspiration. (Black Friday)
  • In 2019, holiday ecommerce sales increased by 13 percent with roughly $142 billion dollars spent. (Adobe)
  • Cyber Monday, a special day for holiday ecommerce discounts, totaled $7.4 billion spent in 2019. (Adobe)
  • Sixty-one percent of holiday shoppers in 2019 used a smartphone to complete an online order. (Thinking With Google)
  • On Black Friday in 2019, more than two-thirds of holiday shoppers made impulse purchases. (Bluecore)

Holiday Budget Statistics

  • Ten percent of Americans budget for gifts based on how much the gift receiver spends on them. (Mint: Holiday Survey 2020)
  • Eighteen percent of Americans are trying to pay down debt this holiday season. (Morning Consult)
  • Twenty-one percent of customers say they will be giving out fewer gifts this holiday. (Morning Consult)
  • Thirty-three percent of adults are trying to spend less and save more due to COVID-19. (Morning Consult)
  • People’s 2019 holiday budgets fluctuated based on where they lived. Urban shoppers planned to spend roughly $200 more than rural shoppers last year. (NPD)

Whether you’re planning to spend more or less this holiday season, check in on your budget as you go. Using our app, you can set a specific budget and get notifications when you go over. You can also check in on your financial goals each week using our weekly summary updates.

Planning to shop for your coworkers this season? Check out our visual guide on office gift-giving etiquette below.

Download Gift-Giving Etiquette Guide

Sources: GlobeSmart

Methodology: This study was conducted for Mint using Google Surveys. The sample consisted of no fewer than 1,500 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. Responses were collected October 23 – 27, 2020.

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Money Etiquette: How to Politely Ask for a Honeymoon Fund

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Have you been to a wedding that used Honeyfund or similar registry in place of traditional gifts? These new-age registries are becoming more and more popular and a variety of reasons has lead to the sudden increase. Couples are more likely to live together before marriage and are moving to smaller apartments in big cities.

Either way, a honeymoon fund – commonly referred to as a honeyfund – is a great option for those who want to take a grand vacation after their wedding but need a little help. But, what is the polite way to ask for this kind of gift?

How to Spread the Word

The best place to spread the word is your wedding website. Most templates come preloaded with a page specifically for registries, making it easy to add the link to your honeymoon fund there. You can also add a small story, or give some context, to why you are choosing a honeymoon fund over traditional registries. When my husband and I were engaged we did just this. We explained we were about to move to NYC, a city notorious for tiny apartments and were only moving with the bare minimum. We told our guests that coming to our destination wedding was a gift itself! But, if they still wanted to gift us something we had a honeymoon fund set up.

You can also choose to add a small registry card to your main wedding invitation. This is very popular as well and an easy way to reference your honeymoon fund and your wedding website.

Setting up Your Honeyfund Account

Setting up an account with Honeyfund, the most popular of the honeymoon fund websites, is extremely easy. Once you register, you create a profile adding your wedding details and honeymoon dreams. You can then design custom gifts for your guests to choose from. Money for airline tickets, hotel upgrades, spa visits, excursions. All of these are created by you, so the sky’s the limit! Do be aware if a guest gifts you $100 towards airline tickets you don’t have to use the money on airline tickets. The gifts are in name only.

Fees on Honeymoon Funds

There are actually very few fees that are associated with most online honeymoon funds. If guests gift you via gift cards bought through the web services or offline they pay zero fees. Any credit or debit gift is charged a small fee between 1-3%.

Other Registries Besides Honeyfund

While Honeyfund was the first and most well known of the new-age registries, there are a couple other choices that all offer different advantages. Check out Zola, Blueprint Registry, or Travelers Joy for other options.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day if you still feel weird, remember that all wedding registries used to be considered tacky and these new registries are becoming much more common. Just don’t forget to send out thank you cards!

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How to Write a Check (Step by Step Guide to Filling Out a Check)

Writing a check. It’s one of those things you always wanted to know how to do right but were probably too afraid to ask. Well, fear no longer: in this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of check-writing, from how to fill out the lines you need, to knowing when it’s best to use a check — and when it’s not. We’ve also included a printable practice check at the bottom of the article so you can give it a shot before filling out a real one.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from how to write a check to the best situations to use one. Read through if you want to know everything you need to about writing a check, or click on a link below to jump straight to the section you’re most interested in.

Before we get into the details of learning how to fill out a check, let’s start with the basics.

What Is a Check?

A check is basically a statement in writing that you agree to pay some amount of money to whomever you’re making the check out to. It lets the bank know that they can withdraw those funds from your financial accounts and direct deposit it into the payee’s account (that’s the person who you’re paying). If you’re unsure about how much to keep in checking for checks you may be writing, check out our post on that for a brief explanation.

When to use a check

Checks are useful in a variety of situations. You can use a check to:

  • Pay your monthly rent
  • Make a large purchase without a card
  • Send money as a gift
  • Pay for groceries
  • Pay for hired work like a housekeeper or gardener

Basically, they’re good for situations where you’re paying large sums of money that wouldn’t be convenient to pay for in cash, and where you’d rather not use a credit or debit card.

Where can I get a checkbook?

You can usually get a checkbook straight from your bank for free or a small fee, and they’re also available from retailers like Costco and Walmart. Custom checks are also available online from sites like Checks.com, but be careful where you order from, as some sites may not be secure — or could even be a scam.

Before you get started making payments with checks, however, you’ll need to know how to fill one out.

How Do You Fill Out a Check?

Knowing how to write a check is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. First, take a look at this graphic that shows the way that all the necessary fields of a check should be filled out.

filling in a check

Next, we’ll walk through each step to make sure you know what goes into filling out each line. We get it — it’s a little nerve racking signing over money to someone on a little piece of paper. Knowing how to fill it out correctly will give you more confidence the next time you have to send a check.

  1. Start with the payee, the person who you’re sending money to. There’s usually text that reads “pay to the order of” beside a line that you’ll fill in. On that line, simply write the first and last name of the person who you’re paying, or the name of the company you’re paying if it’s not an individual person. Be sure that you spell everything correctly, as misspelling a name could result in the check not going through.
  2. Fill in the amount in words that you are paying your payee. This part is a little weird, since you usually write numbers out in numerals, but it’s an important security step. The dollar amount should be written in words, and any cents can be written as a fraction out of 100. For example, if you were paying your landlord $925.50 for rent and utilities, you’d write out “Nine hundred twenty five dollars and 50/100.”
  3. Fill in the amount in numbers in the box on the top right of the check. This is a bit easier. In the case of the example above, you’d just write out $925.50. Often, the dollar sign is already written on the check, so you just have to make sure that the numerals are written out correctly. Important note: be sure that you double-check that the amount you wrote in words matches the amount you wrote in numerals.
  4. The optional memo line is located on the bottom left of the check. Though leaving this blank won’t invalidate the check, it’s usually smart to include a brief description so that your payee knows what the money is for. For example, in the rent check example, including “September rent” on the memo line is a good way for you and your landlord to keep track of your rent payments.
  5. The date is on the top right of the check. Fill in the date of the day you fill out the check — this ensures that you and your recipient can keep track of when the payment occurred.
  6. Sign your check on the line on the bottom right. This line shows that you have officially agreed to pay the listed amount. Be sure that the name you sign matches the one on file with your bank or the check may not be valid. It’s also a good idea to have a consistent signature, that way there’s little doubt you’ve authorized the check.

That’s it! That’s all it takes to know how to fill out a check. If you need a little practice filling out a check before you’re ready to send one, try out our printable practice check.

Note: In addition to the parts that you’ll fill in, a check includes the routing number and account number for the bank account that it’s withdrawing from. You don’t need to worry about those when you learn how to write a check, but when you receive your checkbook, be sure to double check that the number match your bank. You want to know which bank account your check will be drawing from when it’s cashed.

What Do I Do After Writing a Check?

Once you’ve written the check, make sure to note in a check register the amount that you’ve paid. Check registers are often included in the backs of checkbooks, but you can also keep a separate one if that is more convenient for you.

Whether you use a paper register or a digital one, it’s important to record how much you’ve paid because, until your payee cashes the check and it’s processed at your bank, your account will still list those funds as available. Recording the amount that you’ve paid gives you a more accurate picture of the amount that is in your checking account, and will be necessary when it’s time to balance your checkbook.

Note: Making sure to track cash and checks is always an important way to stay on your budget. While you will likely be able to see your credit card purchases online as soon as they happen, checks and cash don’t leave as easy a trail. Maintaining a written log and using an app like Mint are helpful ways to keep an eye on the full picture of your spending as you wait for checks to clear.

Check Writing Security Tips

Because checks are physical pieces of paper, they aren’t password protected and aren’t as easy to track as electronic payments (more on that in the next section). So, there are some security risks that you should keep in mind if you plan on using your checkbook.

Check writing security basics

That said, checks are generally a secure way of paying for things if they’re filled out carefully and properly. Check out these tips before filling out your check to ensure that you aren’t scammed or defrauded.

  • Never leave a check blank. There’s a reason signing your check was the last step listed above. If you sign a check and hand it over without a dollar amount specified, your payee can simply enter whatever quantity they wish and withdraw that from your bank account. The same goes for the payee line. If you had a signed check made out for $500 without a payee, and it slipped out of your bag, anyone could pick it up, enter their name, and pay themselves. Be sure that you always wait until you know the dollar amount and payee before you sign your check.
  • Use a pen. For the same reasons you wouldn’t want to hand anyone a blank check, it’s a good idea to use pen when filling it out. A check written in pencil could be easily tampered with, so be sure your writing is clear and permanent to avoid check fraud.
  • Try out the line method. Following the same reasoning, you wouldn’t want someone to turn your check for $500 into a check for $5500. You can prevent this by drawing a line from the edge of the space where you’ve written the amount to the start of your first letter. Follow this up by filling the entire numerical quantity box with the numerals for your amount.
  • Keep a record. Whether you opt for a checkbook that makes carbon copies of every check you write, or simply record all your transactions in a check register, keeping a handy list of all your paid checks is a good way to make sure you notice if something goes wrong. It’s also just helpful when you’re trying to sort out how much money you’ve spent and what you’ve spent it on.

Checks are generally a secure way to pay for things, but they might not be your best option for every situation.

Alternatives to writing a check

Alternatives to Writing a Check

Writing a check might be a useful way to make a payment in some situations, but in today’s world of tech, card payments and online banking, there’s often an easier and more secure alternative to pay or transfer funds.

Check alternatives

Here are some situations where you might use a check along with some alternatives that could be a better option.

  • Paying rent. There are plenty of landlords who keep things old school and only accept checks. However, many contemporary apartment complexes or apartments owned by property management companies will invest in an online payment portal for their residents. If you have the option to set up a payment portal, this is a much safer way of paying rent — plus, it eliminates the cost and hassle of mailing a check.
  • Making a large purchase. Credit cards are scary, but they often are a much better way of making large purchases. This is because many credit cards offer perks like cash back or airline miles, and consistently paying off your balance can seriously boost your credit. Plus, credit cards have stronger fraud protection than checks.
  • Buying groceries. Credit cards are also a great option here. Many grocery stores, or retailers that also sell groceries, offer credit cards themselves. These can be used to gain points or discounts, lowering your grocery bill monthly.

Wrapping up

Knowing how to write a check can be a handy and secure way to pay for something if you do it correctly. The guidelines in this post should help you start writing checks safely and carefully, and if you need a little extra practice, try out our printable practice check below. It’s a good way to feel confident before you put your pen (never pencil!) on the next check you write.

Blank check

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Money Etiquette Pets

What Is a Certified Check?

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The last thing you want to worry about when making a big purchase is being scammed. Whether you’re buying or selling something, you don’t want your money or investments to go to waste. Making any financial decision can be unsettling for your budget when faced with a chance of fraud. That’s where certified checks can help add security. But first, what is a certified check?

A certified check is authorized by a bank to guarantee buyers have the funds before writing the check. This ensures that the person receiving payment isn’t left hanging, and the buyer double-checks they have enough funds to make the purchase. 

Why Use a Certified Check?

A certified check is one of the most secure payment options available. When you’re selling or buying expensive items, you want to ensure you get what you were expecting. Certified checks generally require a bank or credit union to set aside money in the buyer’s account until the check has gone through. This way, the bank verifies the buyer has enough cash to make the purchase and the seller gets paid. If you’re selling a big ticket item, you can request payment with a certified check.

If you’re buying an expensive item, certified checks will offer your seller additional security. It will prove to the seller that you’re serious about your choice and that your finances are in place for this investment. 

Certified Check vs. Cashier’s Check

Chart compares the differences and similarities of a certified check and a cashier's check.

A cashier’s check is also used for large purchases and authorized by a bank or credit union. The main difference between cashier’s checks and certified checks is where the money’s stored until it’s cashed out. Before signing a cashier’s check, banks will move the funds into a separate account for security purposes. Then, a bank representative will sign the check over to the receiver. 

Even though both check types are generally safe, cashier’s checks tend to be more secure. As banks take the buyer’s funds when they authorize the check, your funds are waiting at the bank instead of in your buyer’s account until cashed out. 

How to Get a Certified Check

Illustration details the steps to getting a check certified.

For buyers looking to get certified checks, most banks or credit unions offer these services. While you’re able to get them at financial institutions that offer these services, fees may apply at banks you don’t have an account with. If you’re in need of a certified check, read our tips below:

The Pros and Cons of Certified Checks

Certified checks lower the risk of carrying around large sums of money or bounced checks. There are a few pros and cons to weigh before choosing your payment option as a buyer or seller. 



4 Tips to Prevent Check Fraud

Illustrations depict the 4 ways to prevent check fraud.

Forty-seven percent of industry money losses were from fraudulent checks in 2018. Taking the extra steps to double-check your buyer’s payment could prevent your budget from taking a hit. Follow the steps below to ensure you and your earnings are on the right track:

1. Research Your Buyer

People may use fake names, addresses, phone numbers, and more to get away with a scam. Without knowing the identity of the person you’re selling to, it may be hard to get your money if things go wrong. Research your buyer or safely meet with them in person to get a better feel for their identity. 

2. Call or Visit Your Buyer’s Bank of Choice

For more security, reach out to the financial institution where the check is issued. Contact your buyer to see where they’ll be authorizing their check. Look up the branch’s phone number and call to verify the check went through. Avoid calling any phone numbers the buyer gives you in case they provide you with the wrong number. 

3. Immediately Double-Check With Your Bank

Right after you get paid, go straight to the bank or call to ensure there weren’t any complications processing the check. Ask your bank or credit union if the funds made it to your account safe and sound. 

4. Save All Documentation

Receipts, emails, and other information can build a case in the event you don’t receive your payment. Keep all documentation or files until you’ve been paid in full. As long as you have all the details, you’ll have a better chance of building a case. 

Key Takeaways

Having an uneasy feeling about selling or buying a large ticket item is normal. You don’t want your hard-earned money or investments going to waste over a bounced check or scam. Certified checks can be a safer payment option and it’s worth the extra research for your budget’s sake. 

Sources: Investopedia | DFI

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Pets Saving Energy

My Pets and Their Costs

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My Pets and Their Costs

My Pets and Their CostsEveryone knows that I am an insane animal person, right? OK well you now know. I often do the most ridiculous things for my pets, and most people don’t understand.

The other day before my dogs were to get their yearly vaccinations, I sang the “SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS” song to them. Yes, I actually did that.

Today’s post will most be about the background on my pets and their costs and soon I will have another posts detailing how you can take the right steps to finding the perfect pet for you.


Both of our dogs are technically “rescued.” Our bigger dog (pictured below) was from a rescue agency.

She was found by the agency at around 6 weeks old tied to the ground with a chain.

Her chain was so short that she could not move at all. People are REALLY horrible out there!

Now, she is about 90 pounds of love. They think she’s a Brittany/Pitt/Boxer mix. Seriously the nicest dog ever (but has a mean bark and protects me!).

She is the favorite of everyone. Great personality, always perfect, even though she does jump, she just wants some kisses.

Our other dog is a French Bulldog. He wasn’t technically rescued from an agency, but we bought him from a neighbor. They bought him and it turned out that their other dog didn’t get along with him at all (fighting a lot, and their other dog was an Olde English Bulldog, so they are HUGE), so they had to get rid of their newly acquired pup as soon as possible. He is around 15 pounds now (he is a runt).

He is super cute and loyal, but he does have a bad temper. I’m guessing it’s because he’s about half the size he’s supposed to be but is scarily strong (all muscle, our vet laughs because he is built), so he doesn’t get along with any dogs his own size and can’t find any friends since he’s so small 🙁

We used to have a third dog. We rescued her with knowing that she needed around $200 a month in medications. She was an Olde English Bulldog and only around 4-5 years old. She has the same coloring and sort of the same look as our dog pictured below, so we just couldn’t say no. She ended up passing away 2 months later. I’m still very sad about this. But we gave her a really good 2 months.

Animal costs can definitely add up quickly, but I think they are well worth it. My dogs are wonderful and without them I would truly be very sad.


Food for our small dog is not very much when compared to our bigger dog, but he still eats a lot for his size (about 2.5 cups a day). Our bigger dog eats around 5 cups a day. We try to buy decent dog food for them. We often switch between Beneful and Iams. You’re probably wondering why I say that we switch dog food brands since technically you are only supposed to give dogs one type of food forever. Our dogs WILL not eat the same food for a long period of time. I have talked with the vet about this and he said it’s fine.

Yes, I know these brands are not the best but I haven’t really researched further even though I should. What types of dog food do you buy?

I’ve never really kept track, but we probably spend around $450 a year on dog food.

To save on food, toys and treats, make sure you get a customer loyalty card if you can. I usually am able to save a lot of money with this. Shop around as well. I found that pet stores generally have much higher priced food (not sure why), whereas Target and Walmart seemed to have the best prices.

Toys and Treats

I am horrible when it comes to buying toys and treats for my dogs. I find a lot of joy in going to PetSmart and Petco because I love buying them stuff. The boy usually gets mad because they have so many toys now.

I probably spend around $40 a month on toys, treats and bones for them.

I don’t really recommend extremely cheap bones, mainly because lately there have been a lot of stories about how bone and raw hides are breaking in dog’s stomaches and are causing them to die. That terrifies me. However, with toys, I usually just buy cheap items from Target or the dollar store, as my dogs will destroy nearly all of their toys in one night.

So I found that it was not worth it to buy the $15 toys anymore. Oh yeah, and they also hate Kongs and will not play with them, so that does not work either.


There are a lot of medical costs when it comes to having pets. When we first got our dogs, there were even more medical costs. I’m not for sure how much we spent at the time, but we did get all of their shots, plus get them spayed and neutered.

To save on spaying and neutering, see if there are any local organizations that will offer this for cheap. This is what we did. The Humane Society does spays and neuters for around $30. I would definitely look into this, as our vet wanted over $200, and I’ve heard in other states that some charge $800.

I’m not sure if they do this all over, but the Petcos around here do really low cost vaccinations. I was able to bring up both dogs to get all of their shots and one to get micro-chipped, and it cost $150 (would’ve been only $90 for both, but our city charges a $12 surcharge “tax” for each dog that goes to the vet, and the microchip was $35). Usually it would be around $800 for their yearly shots and for the little one to get micro-chipped. So $150 instead of $800 is MUCH better.

For other dogs it might not be as expensive, so you’re probably wondering why it’s usually $800. Well my little dog is a French Bulldog runt, and he needs lots of shots because his immune system is horrible. And then my bigger dog (pictured below) finds joy in eating animals in the backyard, so we always make sure she gets every shot imaginable so that she doesn’t get sick.

Preventative care is key here. Make sure to always get yours pets checked for heart worm and that they receive all necessary shots. Not only would it be sad if they became very sick, but once they’re sick, you are spending much more money than what you would’ve spent if they would have just received their shots.

My girl the other day while waiting for her shots

Even though we did save a ton of money, I don’t know if I would do it again. I actually enjoy bringing them to their actual vet so that they can get one-on-one time with him (I love our vet). At Petco, they pretty much just line all the dogs up and give them shots quickly. It’s definitely efficient, but my bigger dog hated that it wasn’t the normal vet. Has anyone else ever gone to Petco for their cheaper vaccinations?

Our smaller dog will need many medical treatments soon. Our vet has recommended an endless list of things that he needs since he is a French Bulldog and also a runt. Laser nose surgery (his nose is super small and he’s always our of breath) is one of the things that we will be getting next. She said he doesn’t need it now but will need it when he’s older.


We don’t take them to the groomer as often as we probably should. In fact, we’ve only taken them a couple of times. They’re both short haired dogs, so we just bathe them in our shower or in the backyard usually.

However, I recently just found out that Petsmart will do a full-service groom for our smaller dog for only $10, so we might start doing that. They said our bigger dog would start at $40, so I’m not sure. If only they knew that our smaller dog would be much more hard to give a bath to haha.

Grooming your pet at home will of course save much more money than having it done somewhere else. However, if your dog (like mine) absolutely refuses to have their nails clipped (but loves getting it done by their vet), then it might be better just to bring them somewhere so that you don’t end up hurting them.

How much do you spend on your pets? 

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Source: makingsenseofcents.com

Money Etiquette Pets

How to Have the Money Talk When You’re Dating (+ Printable Games!)

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If you’re dating someone you see a future with, talking about money is an important step in your relationship. While most couples try to avoid the topic of money altogether, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship, having the money talk early (and often) can help ensure you and your partner are on the same page — or at least heading in the same direction.

After all, you wouldn’t want to get engaged without knowing whether your partner has a budget in place or an outstanding debt that could become your own.

The money conversation gets a bad reputation for being awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Addressing money early on is one great way to keep you and your partner feeling comfortable in your relationship trajectory. Use the printables below to turn your money talk into a chance to get to know your partner better through fun games and conversation starters.

Turn Money Talk into a Date Night

While having the money talk is essential, you don’t want to spring it on your partner out of nowhere. You also don’t want to wait until a fight around money arises. Instead, consider scheduling a date night for you and your partner to talk about money. Let them know that you’ll be discussing finances, and ask them to come with any questions or concerns of their own.

You’ll want to schedule the date somewhere where you and your partner can have an open and honest conversation. Staying in is a great option, but if you do decide to venture out, pick somewhere quiet and intimate.

You can kick off your money date with this game of Never Have I Ever, which is a lighthearted and honest way to talk about past financial situations you and your partner may have been involved in.

Never Have I Ever Mockup

Download Never Have I Ever

Ease Into the Conversation

When talking about money, remember to tread lightly — especially at first. Most people have firm beliefs about finances, and you and your partner will probably have different views during certain money talk discussions. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to come up with a plan or solution for every potential financial problem right away.

You’ll want to consider where you are in your relationship before you tackle certain sticky situations. After all, you may not want to dive right into prenuptial agreements or retirement savings when you’ve only been seeing each other for a few months.

These conversation starters will let you ease into the conversation without heightened tensions. We’ve categorized these by relationship stage so you and your partner can easily decide what you feel comfortable discussing, and when.

Let's Talk Money, Honey! Mockup

Download Lets Talk Money, Honey!

Learn More About Your Partner’s Wants

People have different desires and expectations for what their life will look like in the future. While some people are determined to reach the peak of professional success, others prioritize family time and fun.

Understanding your partner’s preferences allows you to evaluate and manage expectations in your relationship early on. Would you be upset if your partner turned down a promotion in order to spend time at home? Conversely, would you be okay if your family took fewer vacations in order to afford a more expensive mortgage?

You can learn more about your partner’s preferences with this game of Would You Rather. Print out the sheet below for a fun and revealing activity about your partner’s wants.

Would You Rather Mockup

Download Would You Rather

Set Future Goals Together

Understanding your partner’s future plans is just as essential as learning about their financial past. This vision board craft will let you and your partner articulate your dreams and the steps needed to achieve them. While not every life goal is directly tied to growing your assets, almost every dream requires some sacrifice and money spent.

You and your partner should each fill out a vision board with two to three goals you hope to achieve over the next five years. Feel free to use colored pencils or markers to get more creative! Once you’ve both completed your sheets, share them with each other. Remember to ask your partner specific questions about their goals so they know you’re actively listening.

Couples Vision Board Mockup

Couples Vision Board Download Button

Acknowledge and Appreciate Your Differences

As you have the money talk with your partner, you’ll probably notice some differences in your attitudes towards finances. You’ll also likely have different priorities when it comes to spending and saving.

For example, you may not see the value in buying expensive workout equipment for the garage, and your partner may not agree with you spending a few hundred dollars on clothes every month.

These differences don’t mean there’s trouble in paradise: everyone has a different relationship with money and you don’t have to match up to your partner on everything. In fact, even big disagreements can be worked through with communication and compromise.

You may be a spender and your partner may be a saver, and that’s okay. Rather than tearing your partner down for their financial opinions, celebrate your differences with these appreciation cards. Write down things like “I love how you invest time, money, and energy into your health and body” to let your partner know you respect their goals and passions.

Download All Button

Make a Monthly Budget Tracker

If you and your partner are gearing up to take things to the next level, whether that be moving in together, getting engaged, or another relationship milestone, consider setting aside time during your money talk to prepare a monthly budget.

Our free budget tool lets you create a budget and then track your spending each month to see if you’re meeting your financial goals. You can also stay on top of shared bills and receive personalized tips and advice.

Remember that a budget isn’t written in permanent ink: you and your partner can learn and grow together and make adjustments when needed. Even if you aren’t combining finances yet, you can use this monthly budget as a mockup plan for the future.

While sometimes it may seem easier to avoid the money talk altogether, the best way to prevent future arguments over finances is to discuss money early and often. Remember that keeping conversations casual and positive as you learn about your partner’s relationship with money is key.

As your relationship progresses, so will your conversations around finances and how to work together to achieve your individual and shared goals. Check out our list of money talk dos and don’ts, and remember to celebrate financial victories big and small with your partner as you go.

Sources: Investopedia

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