What I’ve Learned from My Dog About My Finances Ahead of Having My First Child (By Guest Blogger, Jacob Evans of Dollar Diligence)

I do not have a child, which you probably inferred from the title of this article.

Do I want one? Yes.

Am I ready for one? I think so.

Whether I really am or not, I can tell you this, my dog has helped me prepare mentally
and financially for my first child when me and my wife are ready for one.

Mentally by helping me learn patience and what it’s like to have a 24/7 responsibility. I
had to stay patient when my dog was a puppy and wasn’t potty-trained (it was very
hard) and I always had to consider how my dog would be fed and walked every day.

Financially by teaching me to consider the future and start preparing for it. For
example, I knew my dog had a predisposition for hip problems and certain diseases. I
knew if I had to pay for these alone that I would have to pay for a big bill so I went
ahead and bought pet insurance.

I have actually already started planning for my first child by starting to save for his or her
education. I know first-hand how bad student loan debt can be, and if graduates today
have over $27,000, then I can’t even imagine how high it will be when my child
graduates. I hope to help my child avoid student loans altogether if possible.

Below, I will talk to you about how my pup has helped me plan for the finances that lie
ahead of having a child because you know, you can never be TOO prepared ahead of
time.

Devoting Attention to the Dog

One of the many things that I learned and that will help me once I do have a child is that
I must devote time to my dog. If I do not, my dog will not thrive and he will eventually
start to destroy my home in an effort to get my attention. It is important that I make sure
I take time to walk my dog and even play with him out in the backyard because if I do
not, he will be hyper and rambunctious the entire night.

While a young child may not be as rambunctious as a dog without play or a child may
not chew up your furniture, you do need to devote time to your child and work on
training them. Your child will only thrive if he or she has one on one time with his or her
parent. You will need to learn to set time aside and so will I. I cannot be consumed in
my work or in myself all day and neglect to provide my baby with the attention that he or
she needs.

Having a dog has opened my eyes to how much I do focus on myself and how much
change will need to occur when I do decide to have a child with my wife. Of course, I will
move mountains to make time for my child, but having a dog has helped me realize just
how short the days can be.

Providing for the Dog in More Ways Than One

When it comes to a dog, you cannot just purchase or adopt one and then be done with
it. They do not take care of themselves and a child will not be ready to take care of
himself or herself for a while either.

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility. For example, you will need to provide
food and water for the dog. I cannot just avoid feeding and hydrating my pup because I
am pressed for time. I NEED to make sure that he has enough food and water to
sustain him while I am away from the house. In addition, when he runs out of food, I
need to be able to go out and purchase him more.

Another thing to think about is insurance. Though it’s hard to tell if it’s worth it or not, I
have purchased insurance for my pet because I do not even want to think about what
could happen if my pup was hit by a car and we could not afford the care needed. I
have made sure to purchase a policy that protects my dog in events like that, so that he
can visit the vet when needed and I do not have to worry about emptying everyone’s
piggy bank to make it happen.

Lastly, entertainment is another expense on the list. While I will need to provide much
more entertainment to a child over the course of their life, a dog is not much different. In
fact, whenever I want to take my dog out to the dog park to play fetch, we have to drive
10 minutes one way, which also means I need to use gas to do so. These entertainment
trips may seem small and inexpensive, but over time they start to add up.

A Pet Prepares You for a Child

If you have not realized it by now, a pet can truly prepare you for a child. Just like a dog
needs food, water, insurance, shelter, and entertainment, so does a child. As you take
care of your pet, try to think of ways these actions would apply similarly in a situation
with a child. I know my dog has allowed me to open my mind and see how much work,
time, and devotion it takes to raise a child.

Jacob runs a personal finance blog called Dollar Diligence where he tracks his journey
to financial freedom. For more advice and articles, you can find him on Twitter.

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Dear Jack: We Saw the Movie Pup Star (of Air Bud Entertainment) before Its Official Release on Digital HD on FandangoNOW

5 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack: We Saw the Movie Pup Star (of Air Bud Entertainment) before Its Official Release on DVD

Dear Jack,

The marketing team behind the upcoming movie Pup Star reached out to us, inviting you and me to see the movie this past Saturday morning, before its official release tomorrow on August 30th.

As much as you and I go to see movies together, we obviously jumped at the chance to drive to Opry Mills to see Pup Star during its limited theatrical release.

We had such a great time seeing the movie together! Pup Star is a family friendly road movie which features the adventures of a talking Yorkie who must reunite with her human family while also making it to the finals of a TV competition; like American Idol or The Voice, for dogs.

Your favorite character was Dog Marley. At church yesterday, you and your classmates were instructed to make something out of clay that you had never made before. What did you make?

Dog Marley.

This movie is part of the “Air Bud Universe”, which you are quite familiar with; having seen movie of these movies on Netflix before, like Air Bud: Spikes Back, Spooky Buddies, and Russell Madness.

Pup Star takes place in Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, Newark, and…

Nashville!

It was so cool seeing our city featured in the movie; having just passed the “Batman building” 30 minutes prior on the drive to the theatre.

After the movie ended, we were given some Pup Star-related souvenirs including a bag of doggie treats- the kind featured in the movie.

That evening, while Mommy was working on dinner, you and I took your baby sister Holly on a walk around our neighborhood, offering the doggie treats to neighbors walking their dogs.

I have a feeling we’ll be watching Pup Star again at some point. Hopefully, we’ll be invited back to see more Air Bud Entertainment movies as well.

Love,

Daddy

Are Jeans Really as Comfortable as We Think?

Jeans vs. regular pants… you make the call.

Paraphrased conversation from this weekend:

Me: Those are cool.  Did you get some new plaid pants?

My sister: No, I just think you’ve never seen them before.

Me: Oh.

Pause.

Me: Actually, usually when I see you, you’re wearing pants, not jeans.

My sister: Yeah, it’s because jeans aren’t comfortable.  They fit tighter and they’re thicker than regular pants.

Me: Good point.  Maybe I should just start wearing dress pants all the time too.

Scene ends.

In my mind, I like wearing jeans because they’re so much more comfortable than dress pants or any color of khakis or corduroys.  But I can’t shake my sister’s words.  She’s right.  Jeans aren’t really as comfortable as I’ve been giving them credit for.

Though I had always assumed that pants are uncomfortable, it’s actually what I wear with the pants that I actually have a problem with.  Typically when men wear dress pants, they also wear a button down collared shirt (tucked in to the pants) and dress shoes; accordingly, women wear a dressier “top” and nicer (painfully uncomfortable) shoes.  But when we wear jeans, we tend to wear a more comfortable shirt (maybe a t-shirt or something along the lines of a long-sleeved polo or sweater) and go untucked.  And obviously, we wear more comfortable shoes.

Everything we wear with the jeans is less restricting than if we were wearing nice pants.  But honestly, the jeans typically fit tighter and are thicker than dress pants.  Plus, I believe there is more pressure to “look good in jeans” than there is to look good in dress pants.  More eyes are critical of jeans than they are for pants.

So what is the solution?  The obvious answer in my head is to start wearing pants when I would normally wear jeans.  That means I would wear sneakers or Chuck Taylor’s with any color of khaki or corduroy pants.  And a Smurf t-shirt.  Already though, that’s starting to sound slouchy.  How ironic that replacing jeans with dress pants could actually lower the standard, but it sort of does.

Even still, if only a personal project, I will be making a conscious effort to replace regular pants with jeans.  For guys, baggy jeans are a thing of the past (they died out around the time that dark jeans became the standard), which means these days we aren’t able to hang loose like we use to, thanks to the new norm being tighter fitting jeans for guys.  And for girls, I get the impression that not only are jeans not comfortable to begin with, but they’re more trouble to look good in, despite what happen for all four girls in Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

Challenge: Let’s replace jeans with normal pants with jeans.  I think we can find a way to make it work without looking like a slob.

Surprising twist ending…

Everything you just read was written exactly a month ago.  It was saved in my “drafts folder” because I questioned whether or not enough people would agree that jeans aren’t as comfortable as we say we are.  But today in church, my friend Tommy Axford told my wife and I that because he went to private school, he never really wore jeans until his sophomore year in high school, and after having worn khakis his whole life, he declared that jeans are not comfortable.  So much so, that he proudly proclaimed he even wears khakis when he’s just chilling out in his living room at his house.  It was because of this conversation with him that I decided this post must be made public so that others could have a chance to agree that regular pants are better than jeans.

Being that this was written last month, since then I have had the opportunity to take my own “try wearing khakis instead of jeans” challenge.  The result- I’ve continued to wear jeans in casual situations.  Not because they’re more comfortable, but because I somehow feel they’re more appropriate for me as a guy.  I have this fear of looking like a banker- and in my mind, male bankers never relax enough to wear anything besides nice pants.  But I do hope to get over this one day.  If it were truly up to me, I would wear pajama pants all the time, but I couldn’t feel comfortable socially.  You just can’t win.

I’m Only a Dog Person Around Smart Dogs Like Labs, Border Collies, and Shelties

Most dogs hate me.  For the most part.

In college, the next door neighbor had a Weimaraner that had that “I want to kill/eat you” look in his eyes every time he saw me on his daily walk. Finally, one crisp March morning his owner’s girlfriend was walking him and he saw his chance. Charging towards me with all his might, he broke free of the leash and took a bite out of crime (my butt).

I am blessed to be married to a woman that makes sure we live a healthy lifestyle with low fat, organic foods and daily exercise (the last time she went to McDonald’s was in 1999 and it was just to get an ice cream cone from the drive-thru.) A few weeks ago we were on our daily after-dinner walk around the neighborhood when a man walking a Yorkshire Terrier was coming toward us. The first thought when you see a Yorkie is about how “cute” and harmless it is.

Not this one. Bit me hard. Enough for me to yell, “Owww!” The owner didn’t say or do anything other than shrug his shoulders as if to say, “What did you expect? You are despised by the dog world.”

I have been often told that it may be my “fear of dogs” that make them aggressive towards me. If only that were the case. Instead, I am indifferent towards most dogs. At least towards the ones that aren’t cool.

Notably, there have been a few select breeds that particularly have taken a liking to me (and that I like back). Labs, poodles, border collies, and my personal favorite, shelties. Through a little research I learned that these dogs are among the top 7 most intelligent breeds in the world. Coincidence?

Let me close by cursing my enemies: How’s it feel to be a measly #21, Mr. Weimaraner? And Dalmatians, you seein’ spots down there at #39? Oh, and Chow Chows, I’m sorry to hear you’re at #76. Yorkie, is it true? You didn’t even make the top 80 list? Maybe next year, eh?

Check it here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Intelligence_of_Dogs_(book)#Brightest_Dogs