Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 7, 2013

MELINDA HESTER: Planning ahead can save money

Melinda Hester
The Independent

ASHLAND — What is the woman’s role in the families finances? What is the man’s role? The answer is providing money for the family, paying bills on time and meeting the needs of your family.

One handy tip: mark the bill due dates on your calender. Allow five days of mailing time. This keeps you from paying late fees, which wastes money. Late fees also hurt your credit rating.

Protect your family’s future. Write a living revocable trust to ensure your wishes are carried out. When you pass away, your family will not have to go through the court system. Everything you decided in your trust immediately goes into effect. An attorney must do this.

Benefits of pet

ownership

Can you buy love? I know I did nine years ago. I adopted a little cross-eyed sweetheart from PetLand in Russell. She has been a welcome member of our family.

MeSue has not been overly expensive, because we make sure to do our best to keep her healthy, which keeps vet bills down. If you keep toenails clipped, teeth cleaned (never use human toothpaste on an animal) provide quality food, clean water and shelter and see to their needs as you do your own, pets will be much healthier and be cheaper to maintain.

Some believe animals are too expensive. How do we keep the cost down? The one preventive that pays off the most is to spay or neuter your animal. Vaccinations prevent illnesses.

Research pet food. If the animal has skin problems, it might need a sensitive-skin formula. Use coupons for name-brand cat and dog food.

Pet insurance is usually wasted money because it’s very hard to get the benefits promised. Instead, every month put back the money insurance would have cost into an emergency fund.

Keep pets away from roads and other dangers. Guard them as you would your children. Learn how to groom your pet.

I love animals, but I believe they must be affordable to adopt. Vet bills differ, so shop around. Find someone who comes recommended.

Use PetFinder to rescue a pet rather than pay 10 times the amount from a breeder. Look online for groups that specialize in breeds you are interested in. Research all groups. If the agency wants a fee, you may want to deal with someone else.

DOG TREATS

1 3⁄4 cups whole-wheat flour.

1 1⁄4 cup oatmeal.

1 1⁄2 tablespoon vegetable oil.

1 cup warm water.

Either 1⁄3 cup grated cheese or 1⁄4 cup peanut butter.

Mix all ingredients. Make a roll and chill for 1 hour. Slice roll into 1⁄4 inch slices. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes until well done.

CAT TREATS

1 1⁄2 cup oats.

1⁄4 cup vegetable oil.

1⁄2 cup white flour.

1⁄2 cup tuna oil, chicken broth or beef bouillion.

Mix all ingredients. Make 1⁄2 inch biscuits. Bake on greased cooking sheet for 25 minutes.

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When making your grocery list, you may want to try using the store layout as a guide. Decide which coupons and how many you are going to buy of an item in the first aisle. Go aisle by aisle. If you are downloading E Coupons, write down the exact names and sizes and how many you want of each item.

CVS

CVS wants you to shop online, so it is offering many deals at CVS.com to entice you. This week CVS is offering a free SmartPhone online. You can even scan a bar code on the ad paper. You can select up to five to share with family or friends.

Instant couponing is a new thing. This week there’s another instant coupon from the Coupon Center.

Xtra Detergent: $1.99; $1 instant coupon, pay 99 cents; limit one.

Folgers: two for $7; coupon $1; use two; two for $5.

Brookside Dark Chocolates: 67 cents; 67 cents Extra Bucks; free; limit one $2 coupon; equals $2 moneymaker.

Sensodyne Repair or ProEnamel: $4.99 minus $1 EB minus $1 coupon equals $2.99; limit two.

Crest Pro Health: spend $10, het $5 EB; limit two; use $1.50 coupon on each bottle.

Spend $10 on Band Aid products and get $3 EB and a free first aid case; 50 cents on Band Aid and $2 on Neosporin.