You gain certain equanimity from owning a dog. A natural centeredness. A connection to the rest of your “pack,” but can you apply the same sense of balance you get from your loyal friend to the rest of your life?
You most certainly can—even your financial life!
Take away a little wisdom from these simple rules of frugality that I learned from my dog.
- You don’t have to eat your whole dinner at once. Free feeding is what dog owners’ call putting down a bowl of food for pets to eat (as much or as little as they like) all day long. The strategy works for some dogs, but others eat themselves sick. If you had unlimited access to your own financial feeding bowl, would you gorge until nothing is left? Think like a free-feeding dog: Don’t gobble down your entire tax refund or savings all at once. Why stuff yourself now if it means you’ll feel ravenous later? Instead, eat just enough to keep hunger out of the equation.
- Emotions are contagious. It’s hard to stay down in the dumps when there’s a furry friend relentlessly licking you in the face. Dogs are incredibly empathetic creatures, but even the perkiest little buddy will wind down eventually if your moods remain dark and dreary. Emotions can be catching, so take it out of your financial picture altogether by letting your budget drive the train. When the amount of your money that’s coming in and going out is right in front of you in black and white, it’s easier to keep a leash on impulse spending.
- Hide a good bone for later. Speaking of impulse purchases, make like a dog and bury those ideas in a hole for later. Jot down your burning desires on a wish list, and then put them aside; a week could work, but a month is just right. Once you revisit your list, you may find yourself mystified by why you were so hot to spend your hard-earned money on that particular thing. It’s like your own layaway department, but it could end up saving you a lot more!
- A haphazard schedule leads to accidents in the house. Like succumbing to just one more episode on your media service before getting up to let the dog out, letting the bills pile up on your desk could come back to bite you in the end. Even the best-trained dog is prone to accidents in the house if you don’t help him take care of business every so often. “Walk” your bills regularly. The accident you prevent may be your own!