Pet owners know that their companion animals provide priceless comfort and companionship. But did you know you can put a price tag on their value? Your beloved four-legged buddy can be your piggy bank’s best friend. Here’s five ways pets literally enrich our lives:
- They provide home security. A large, barking dog keeps your home safe without the expense of a home security system. Take it from the experts: former burglars. When a media outlet surveyed 86 burglars on their former criminal habits, most said a big, loud dog would keep them away from a potential target. “Dogs are a deal breaker for me,” said one inmate. And the bigger the breed, the better the dog is at thwarting burglaries, experts advise. Remember: The dog doesn’t have to be specially trained or aggressive to do the trick. A curious, alert dog with a deep bark serves the purpose.
- They offer automatic workouts. Dogs need regular walks — and so do you. Substituting a brisk walk at local park with your four-legged workout buddy instead of a visit to a gym can save you a small fortune in membership fees. The average gym membership in the United States costs $58 a month. That’s nearly $700 in your pocket just for the membership, not to mention potential reduced vet bills for your fit pet. And on days you might want to pass on working out, your dog will likely serve as a motivator, dashing to the door, leash in mouth, making sure you both have a healthy chance at good exercise.
- They keep you physically healthy. Healthcare expenses total 8.2 percent of the average household budget, and that number is rising. But pet owners buck this economic trend. Studies have shown that pet owners report decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and tryglyceride levels, all keys to staying heart-healthy. The healthier you are, the less likely you will need expensive medical care or pricey prescriptions. That’s good news for your physical and fiscal health.
- They keep you mentally healthy as well. Having a solid support system strengthens emotional health and reduces loneliness, staving off depression. Findings suggest that the social support a pet provides can make a person feel more relaxed and decrease stress. This can reduce the possible need for medication for depression and anxiety, as well as reduce or eliminate the costs associated with less healthy ways of escaping life’s stressors. Walking a dog almost guarantees interaction with people and can also strengthen the bond between neighbors, creating a valuable sense of community. You can pass on the budget-busting Sunday brunch in exchange for a walk in the park. No time or space for a dog or cat? Even a fish can help. Watching Nemo swim in his fish tank can have a calming effect that translates to a positive impact on your health.
- Pets require stability, which can translate to financial security. We all need to be needed and pets rely on us to supply their basic needs. That can mean a trip home for lunch to check on pets or substituting restaurant dining with home-cooked meals. Having to leave at a set time from social events can also cut on food and beverage costs. Structure limits the chance for impulse spending and provides a sense of order and meaning.
These tips give you even more reasons to cuddle your pet a little closer and maybe sneak in an extra treat today. They have truly earned it!
Looking for more ways to enrich your life? Download Hanscom Federal Credit Union's free Money Management Planner. This 12-page guide explains how to create a budget, stick to a spending plan, and manage the your daily finances.
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