During the colder season, it’s important to take a few precautions when bringing your dog out for a walk. Read on to find out how to make your snowy strolls enjoyable and safe for your pup.
Each dog deals with the cold differently. Depending on your dog’s breed, age and health condition, your trusted companion could be extra-sensitive to cold temperatures. Never push your dog beyond its limits when it comes to weather sensitivity.
Before venturing outdoors, protect your dog’s paws from the salt used on city streets and sidewalks. Invest in tiny boots specially designed for dogs. If your pup refuses to keep them on, avoid walking in areas with too much salt on the ground. Furthermore, consider dressing your furry friend in a warm coat to help preserve its body heat. Some pet-sized snowsuits will even cover your dog’s paws.
In periods of extreme cold weather, prefer frequent short walks to ensure that your four-legged friend gets enough exercise.
Finally, if you notice that your dog’s fur is wet after a stroll outdoors, make sure to dry it thoroughly with a towel or blow dryer. Focus on the paws, belly and ears, and take the opportunity to inspect the pads under Fido’s feet for any signs of injury.
Beware of snow!
Try to stop your dog from eating snow as much as possible. Even if it looks clean, it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Eating snow can cause gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.
Can a financial adviser help you manage your budget?
If you find yourself constantly struggling to pay off debt, save for the future or stay on budget, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a financial adviser.
Here are some situations where you should consider meeting with a financial adviser:
• You’re looking for help managing your debt and coming up with strategies for paying it off
• You’re getting your finances in order to plan for a major lifestyle change (buying your first home, having your first child, preparing for your retirement, etc.)
• You’d like help setting a budget that will help you save for specific goals (making a down-payment on a house, buying a new car, a trip to Europe, etc.)
• You want to learn about the right investment opportunities for a person in your financial situation.
Although it may seem impractical to pay someone to help you with your finances when you’re having money trouble, working with a professional can help get you on the right track towards meeting your long-term financial goals.
Avoiding mortgage refinancing scam
Scammers are targeting homeowners, trying to trick them out of cash and home equity, according to U.S. News.
‘Loan flipping’ scams seem to offer relief for those struggling with monthly mortgages. What actually happens is the scammer offers a fantastic deal on lower interest rates or mortgage payments.
The homeowner goes through the lengthy loan application process only to find the terms and fees are much higher than advertised.
Scammers get away with this because victims are either too fearful or exhausted by the process to end the deal.
Some schemes strip equity from homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure. ‘Mortgage rescuers’ focus on homeowners who have a lot of equity in the property, but now can’t make mortgage payments. They tell delinquent payers that they will pay off the mortgage if they sign over the deed and make rental payments. Unfortunately, the rental fees are likely to be just as high. The scammer waits until the person falls behind, evicts them, keeps the equity and sells the home or skips town.
Here are things to look for:
* Leaseback schemes. The scammer is going to own your home and you will rent from him. Always crooked.
* Bad credit doesn’t matter. Credit always matters. If someone tells you otherwise, be suspicious.
* Upfront fees. These criminals review public records of people in default on their mortgages. For a big fee, they offer to help homeowners refinance, usually through a government program, but they actually do nothing. In the end, the house is foreclosed, the homeowner loses everything, and the helper pockets the fees.
Snow Day essentials
Kids usually jump for joy when a snow day is announced, but for parents, the news tends to be somewhat less exciting. Here are a few things to have on hand should you end up staying home with your children during a snowstorm.
• The right outdoor clothes: snow days are best spent outdoors, but your kids need to have all the right clothes so they won’t get too cold or too wet. Check that everyone in your household has winter jackets, snow pants and insulated, waterproof boots. Make sure to keep extra gloves, scarves and hats on hand; these items of clothing often end up disappearing while kids are off sledding and making snow forts.
• Warm beverages: classic snow-day drinks like hot chocolate, peppermint tea or spiced apple cider will warm everyone up after a day out in the cold. On days when the weather’s too bad to go outside, hot beverages will help create a cozy atmosphere at home.
• Arts and crafts supplies: art projects can be a great way to keep kids occupied on days when it’s too cold or snowy to play outdoors. Keep supplies like crayons, markers, paints and paper around so you can pull them out before anyone starts to complain about being bored.
• Board games: board games are a classic way to spend snow days as a family. Getting children involved in a heated game of Monopoly, Risk or Chutes and Ladders will make the time pass quickly for all of you.
With these ideas in mind, you’ll be able to keep your kids entertained for hours on end, even during the snowiest of snow days.
Did you know?
The largest recorded snowfall in American history occurred in Sliver Lake, Colorado, on April 14, 1921. How much snow did the area near Boulder get? A whopping 75.8 inches — within just 24 hours!
Side hustles and the gig economy
In today’s gig economy, it’s becoming more common to have a “side hustle” — a flexible second job that’s done in addition to a full-time position to generate extra income.
The emergence of gig-based companies like Airbnb, Uber and Etsy has made it easier than ever for people to have a side hustle. Some popular side gigs include renting out apartments, driving for rideshare companies and selling handmade products online. Additionally, freelance writing, editing and designing for the web are prevalent types of side hustles.
While side hustles are often associated with making a hobby into a source of income, most people turn to them because they need the extra cash. Many people working side hustles are millennials struggling to find well-paying jobs and pay off student loans. However, studies also show that older Americans are starting to use side hustles to boost their retirement savings.
If you’re thinking about taking on a side hustle, be sure to choose something you enjoy doing. This way your motivation to work during your free time will be high. In most cases, however, you shouldn’t depend on what you earn from your side hustle. The availability of freelance work tends to fluctuate, making it a source of income that’s unreliable.
Use your checking account wisely? Your credit score could now go up
This year, people who wisely manage their checking accounts could see an increase in their credit scores.
The new UltraFICO credit score will let some consumers offer their banking activity as proof that they are credit worthy.
A credit score has never been based on income. A person who makes $20,000 per year — and pays loans faithfully — could have a higher credit score than a person making $200,000, who doesn’t pay loans on time. The credit score tries to predict if a person will pay back a loan and pay it back on time.
Some people, especially younger people, may not have much of a history of loan payments. Those people pay for things mainly in cash, and through their checking accounts and debit cards, which aren’t counted toward a credit score. If they do apply for a loan, their lack of credit history could put them in the subprime category, scores below 670. They might be denied credit.
With the UltraFICO scoring system, a lender can offer to recalculate a consumer’s score based on banking activity. People who have had a checking account for some time, maintain a balance of about $400, and don’t overdraw are likely to see their score rise, possibly high enough to get a loan and therefore build credit history.
One caution: those who do overdraw their accounts could see their scores go down in an UltraFICO calculation.
Since the subprime mortgage crisis, banks have been focused on only the most creditworthy borrowers. In 2018, a record 58.2 percent of U.S. consumers held a score between 700 and 850, the
FICO maximum. These high-score consumers aren’t taking out as many loans these days and lenders have been eager to find responsible borrowers.
Fair Isaac Corporation, the creator of the widely used FICO score, estimates 7 million people with thin credit histories could benefit from an UltraFICO recalculation. Another 26 million people could see an increase, and 4 million could see their score increase 20 points.
Mature Living: Four tips to stay safe this winter
It’s important to stay safe during the winter, especially if your mobility is reduced. Follow these tips to avoid injury and be ready for the snowstorms ahead.
1. Regularly remove snow
Keep your stairs and walkways clear. It’s best to hire a professional to remove your snow, but if you’re in good health and you prefer to do the shovelling yourself, be sure to stay safe by following these suggestions:
• Dress appropriately and in layers
• Clear small amounts of snow often; don’t wait until a lot has accumulated
• If possible, push the snow rather than lift it
• Use abrasives like salt and sand to avoid falling
• Don’t overexert yourself and be sure to take frequents breaks
2. Clear ice and snow from your roof
If you notice a lot of snow on top of your house, or large icicles hanging from your gutters, let the professionals handle it. A snow removal company will be able to safely remove the snow from your roof, and a roofing company can tell you if those icicles are a sign that your roof is damaged.
3. Get your car ready
Take your car to a mechanic for a checkup and install winter tires. Make sure your windshield washer fluid is designated for cold temperatures, and always have an ice scraper, jumper cables and an emergency kit in your trunk.
4. Inspect your appliances
Make sure your furnace is working well, and check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are likewise in good condition.
In addition to all the above, if a snowstorm is on the horizon, don’t take any chances — stay home and wait for better weather to return.