Adulting 101: How to Save Money on Pet Care

Wondering how to save money on pet care? Owning a pet takes on a whole new meaning when you’re out of mom and dad’s house! Just like having a child, bringing a new pet into your home is a potential 18-year commitment, so it’s important to be aware of the different challenges and costs that come with pet care. Here are a few tips on how to save money on pet care so that you and your fur babies don’t run into financial trouble down the road:

1) Adopt

More and more places are cracking down on corrupt puppy and kitty mills that force animals to breed, and then the mills sell the litters for outrageous prices. Although the urge to own a purebred pup might be strong, with a little due diligence you can often find them at shelters for a fraction of the cost. Animals in shelters are often abandoned, abused, and many are euthanized if they can’t be placed in a home. You can make a difference by giving them a new life full of love and security. Often the funds you do spend will go towards keeping these facilities in operation. Check out the app AllPaws, which helps pair hopeful pet parents with their perfect match based on activity level, housing type, and other variables.

2) Buy pet food in bulk

Whether you prefer to put your pet on a specific diet or a simple, no-frills routine, you can often buy your pet food in bulk on sites like Amazon or Membership warehouses like Costco and Sam’s Club and big chains like Target also sell bulk pet food to help you cut costs. Avoid paying extra for pet foods that promise “premium” nutrition without specifying their value. According to Consumer Reports, any pet foods, including store brands, labeled “complete and balanced,” “total nutrition” or “100 percent nutritious” will meet nutritional standards.

3) Make homemade pet toys

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of moving with a cat in tow, you’ve probably witnessed them go crazy climbing in and out of empty boxes. We always want our pets to have the best of the best when it comes to entertainment, but they’re much easier to please than we are. A simple string, laser pointer, or empty box can do wonders for keeping a kitty busy, and a few tennis balls can last a lifetime with an energetic pup. Here are a few fun ideas to get you started.

4) Save on pet meds

A healthy pet should have fairly low veterinary costs, and you can cut those further by ordering meds from 1-800-PETMEDS or PetCareRX, which offer regular deals and discounts, unlike your local vet’s office. Do a little research on the prescription and see if you can find a generic version at Rite Aid or Walmart for a fraction of the cost.

5) DIY grooming

You’ll notice your pet’s coat change with the seasons depending on where its breed originates from and if they’re long or short-haired. Invest in a pet shampoo and perhaps a cheap plastic kiddie pool (or a bathtub depending on the size of your animal) and groom them regularly at home instead. By brushing their teeth, clipping nails, and washing them every week or two, you will cut your grooming visits down to a few times a year.

Just like with a child, there are ways to budget and make your money go further with pet care. And unlike an infant, you won’t have to worry about the costs of daycare, health insurance or college down the line. As more people recognize the financial advantages of raising a furry friend, there’s a chance that the millennial generation might end up having more pets than children!

7 Ways to Live Affordably in an Unaffordable City

With financial experts suggesting that San Francisco residents need to earn six-figure incomes to live affordably in the city, it’s become clear that America’s growing cities are becoming less affordable, particularly for the millennials who seem to favor them.

For those who want the big city experience without the financial strain, here are a few ways to make it possible to live affordably in an unaffordable city:

  1. Get roommates

One of the easiest ways to cut your cost of living is to share your rent. A SmartAsset analysis found that in some cities, a renter who shares a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate saves more than $800 a month compared to someone who lives in a one-bedroom alone. You’re not just cutting back on the cost of rent though, you’ll also be able to split utility costs, which between internet, energy and water, can eat up more than 20 percent of your after-tax income according to the ACCCE.

Find someone you’re comfortable living with and cash in on these savings. In cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, you might need more roommates to make the rent reasonable.

  1. Secure a long lease

If you find an apartment or a home that you love at a reasonable cost, do whatever you can to lock that price in for as long as possible. Apartment managers like long-term tenants and might find the idea of an 18-month or even 24-month lease attractive. It will also ensure that your rent doesn’t go up for the duration of your lease.

  1. Move when the rental market is less competitive

The rental market slows during the holidays, especially in places that experience cold weather that is not conducive to moving, like New York City. According to a study from RentHop, rents in New York City are lowest in December and January and peak during the summer. The difference is roughly 4.5 percent for a one-bedroom apartment, or about $140 a month. If you can’t avoid moving during the summer months, avoid areas near colleges and universities that are popular for students.

  1. Cut miscellaneous costs

It’s not just the rents that make city living so expensive. Cost of living also trickles down to transportation, groceries, fitness and other discretionary spending. One way to cut back on these costs is to take advantage of public transportation, walking and biking whenever possible. If those options aren’t feasible, try the carpool options available through Uber or Lyft and avoiding ordering a car during prime time hours. Also, host dinners instead of going out to eat and plan your meals ahead of time to avoid impulsive food buys.

  1. Purge your closet

Take the time to purge your closet at least once a season. It will help you stay organized and reduce clutter in your home, and you can also make some easy cash on the side. Sell whatever you’re willing to part with to a local consignment store or list your clothes on apps like Poshmark. Consignment stores tend to favor trendy clothes that are in season, so be strategic about what you sell.

  1. Take advantage of free events

Rent in major metro areas might be expensive, but going out doesn’t have to be. Live affordably and fully by finding free or cheap events on websites like DoStuff Media, Meetup and Eventbrite. Most cities have free outdoor movies and concerts during the summer and most museums offer free entry a few days a month. With a little bit of research and planning ahead, you can maintain your vibrant social life without hitting your wallet too hard.

  1. Settle in the suburbs

Another way to live affordably in a big city is to settle in a nearby suburb. You’ll still be close enough to enjoy most of the benefits of the city, but for a fraction of the cost. Studies show that millennials tend to prioritize work-life balance, which can be difficult to achieve when you’re busy hustling in the big city. Living in the suburbs can free up time and money that could be spent on outings with friends, travel or even an eventual down payment on a home.

5 Simple Tips for Healthy Eating on a Budget

Believe it or not, healthy eating on a budget is possible! Check out these tips for whipping your beach body into shape for summer vacation and beyond!

  1. Plan your meals

One tip for healthy eating on a budget is to plan meals in advance, which will help you curb food spending and stick to your diet. Set aside a few hours once or twice a week to pre-cook and package your meals.  You’ll be a lot less tempted to buy food on the go or accept a last minute dinner invitation when you’ve got ready-made meals in your refrigerator. Check out this 31-day healthy meal plan to help get you started. Don’t forget to bring some nonperishable, in-between meal snacks to keep you on track while you’re out and about.

  1. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water (most experts recommend you drink about half of your body weight in ounces of water per day) is not only the key to great skin, boosted energy and countless other benefits, but it can also prevent you from mistaking your thirst for hunger and eating unnecessarily. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water in between meal times and try cutting back on high-fat and high-sugar foods so that you can better distinguish your thirst. Try spacing your meal times every 3-4 hours and if you get hungry within that time, drink a glass of water and wait 15 minutes to see if the hunger passes.

  1. Share meals at restaurants

Many of us assume that we’ll have to sacrifice eating out when we become more conscious of our eating habits, but really we just have to make an extra effort to moderate our eating. Restaurants are notorious for creating too-large portions, and it can be tempting to eat all of the food in front of you, even after you’re full. One way to avoid overeating at restaurants is to make sure you don’t arrive at dinner too hungry. We often overestimate our hunger and order too much food and then feel bad about wasting it. So we stuff ourselves instead. Eat a handful of nuts or munch on some fruit before your dinner date so you can approach the menu with a clear head. Control your portions by offering to share appetizers or an entrée. You can also ask the waitstaff for a to-go box with your food and box some of it right away so you’re not tempted to eat everything.

  1. Cut back on sugary drinks and alcohol

Despite studies that claim a glass of red wine is equivalent to an hour in the gym, you’ll see more results when you cut alcohol and soda out of your diet altogether, especially if you’re a regular drinker. The benefits don’t stop there though. You’ll also be more alert, have more energy and sleep better. You’ll also save money by avoiding long bar tabs. Try ordering a sparkling water with lime in between drinks so that you won’t be so tempted to over-imbibe.

  1. Use technology to hold you accountable

Maybe you lead a busy lifestyle, and it’s difficult to count calories on the go or keep track of what you ate and when. Thankfully, plenty of technology has been invented to help you stay accountable to your fitness goals. There are wearable devices like FitBit, which counts your daily steps and reminds you to be active throughout the day. There are also apps like MyFitnessPal which help monitor your calorie intake and exercise regime. If you’re feeling overwhelmed about changing your lifestyle on your own, check out these options to help you get started.

Now that you have some tips for healthy eating on a budget, don’t forget the counterpart to a healthy diet—exercise!

8 Money Tips from Millionaires You May Never Have Considered

A few of these money tips simply may be reminders, while others may be things you’ve never considered. Millionaires make being rich look easy, but in reality many of them have long-established habits in place that help them retain and increase their wealth.

Some of the richest people in the world started from nothing, so don’t be discouraged if you’re in a financial bind. Try these simple money tips to help change your relationship with your bank account.

  1. Pay yourself first.

Many of us are in the habit of paying our bills first when we receive our paychecks, but that often leaves us with little to put towards savings. If you pay yourself first by setting aside money for your savings, you’ll be less stressed in the long run and better prepared for emergencies. Try saving at least 10% of your monthly income to start.

  1. Keep a balanced budget.

Do you know where your money is going? Are you living within your means? Millionaires don’t get where they are by spending frivolously. Take a closer look at your monthly earnings and set some spending limits. This will help you curb unnecessary spending and save money for a more lavish lifestyle later on.

  1. Earn passive income to increase your earnings.

Multiple streams of income are a great way to increase your earnings, and passive income is one way to achieve that. You can create passive income in numerous ways. Try becoming a referral source by asking local businesses you frequent if they have a referral fee. Many will reward you with a small incentive for passing business along.

If you have credit cards, take advantage of cash back rewards. Use your credit card on essential purchases to earn airline mileage or fuel rewards. And don’t forget about SocialBoost (coming soon!) which provides the opportunity for Meed users to earn money from the bank every month just for getting friends and family to become Meed users too.

  1. Invest in yourself.

One trait that many millionaires share is that they never stop learning. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates lack college degrees, but they make up for it through self-education. Make sure you’re current on trends if you’re in a specialized field and become more well-rounded by seeking information outside your expertise. This could include setting aside an hour to read each day or finding a mentor you can learn from.

  1. Be prepared for emergencies.

Not only will an emergency fund reduce stress, it will also help you avoid falling into debt due to an unexpected crisis. Make sure you have life, car and health insurance, and create another savings account for emergencies outside of that. Strive towards having at least 12 months of income set aside.

  1. Automate your spending.

You can’t miss money you never see, so try to automate your spending where possible. This will prevent you from missing bill payments and incurring late fees, but also can be used for long-term savings if you have a 401K or retirement plan at work. With the Meed app, each time you earn SocialBoost income, half of it will go directly into your Meed secured savings account.

  1. Be decisive.

Napoleon Hill interviewed hundreds of millionaires for his book Think and Grow Rich, and one trait he claims they all have is the ability to make quick, yet smart decisions. Impulsive, irresponsible decisions often happen because of “decision fatigue,” when we spend too much time fretting over simple decisions, so our brains have less energy to spend on more important ones later on.

You can reduce decision fatigue by simplifying your wardrobe or meal planning in advance. This will free up space to give financial decisions the consideration they deserve.

  1. Be grateful for what you have.

Self-made millionaire Tony Robbins makes gratitude a part of his morning routine. This may seem difficult if you’re struggling, but it’s important to appreciate what you have in order to bring more abundance into your life. Try incorporating it into your morning routine to get your day started off right.

Even if we don’t all reach millionaire status in our lives, these money tips can help us afford the luxuries of the wealthy more often. And more importantly, these money tips can help us build a foundation for long-term financial security for ourselves and the generations after us.

To learn more about how Meed can help you achieve financial freedom, sign up with us at!

Learn How to Earn with the Hip-Hop Stock Doc

Where did you learn how to earn? Probably nowhere. Most of us grew up without financial education.  Our schools didn’t require it.  And maybe our parents never learned either. Or they always handled the family finances for us. Then before they knew it, we were out on our own before they could teach us. So unless we’re part of a motivated minority who taught ourselves, most of us still have no idea how to manage money or build wealth.

But have no fear. With the internet and social media today, learning how to live it up for the long-term without going broke is easier than ever. Recently I chatted with Eric Patrick, a.k.a. the Hip-Hop Stock Doc, to find out how he went from pharmacist to money expert without any formal financial education. Not only is he self-taught, but he now teaches finance to others in ways that even the biggest arithmophobiacs can comprehend.

Learning How to Earn Outside the Classroom

Learn how to earn with Eric Patrick of The Black Market ExchangeAlthough Eric’s parents were bankers and he always excelled at math, his family never talked about finance much at home. It was just a few years ago when his career path changed course from medicine to money mentorship. He credits his wife for teaching him about budgeting and saving and for sparking his interest in finance.

As he learned from his wife, he recognized the need for an offensive strategy to complement her defensive strategy. He realized you can only decrease your expenses so much, but increasing your cash flow can be infinite. So, he delved into investing. However, once Eric started studying investing, he realized it was all the same old format. And it wasn’t relatable or digestible enough for the majority of people.

To change this scenario, Eric began sharing what he learned by connecting it to a universal language he and  his target audience liked and understood – hip-hop music. When people heard songs about poppin’ bottles in  the club, Eric wanted them to think about who made those bottles and how to earn an additional income  stream by investing in them.

Still, while Eric’s innovative and engaging teaching methodology in an otherwise dense and intimidating topic proves successful with his audience, I wondered what he thought about requiring formal financial education in schools, especially for those of us less motivated to educate ourselves later on. As kids, the pressure of a report card, and a parent’s wrath, is often all the motivation we need!

What About Financial Education in Schools?

Considering two-thirds of adults are financially illiterate around the globe, formal financial education requirements seem necessary to help people build fundamental personal finance skills from a young age. If Phys Ed is a requirement, why isn’t Fin Ed?

Eric says more financial components are making their way into schools, but much more progress is needed to teach people even basic financial life skills like budgeting, credit-building and doing taxes. Fortunately, educators have a wealth of lesson plan inspiration right at their fingertips with the creative and engaging tactics already used by successful financial bloggers like Eric.

Providing basic knowledge of personal finance in schools can have monumental impact, particularly for underserved communities where children do not have the luxury of being born into financial security. Future entrepreneurs stand to benefit as well since business success depends on solid money management skills.  But for those of us whose school days are over, we can always learn how to earn from people like Eric!

Other Tips

But what if you don’t like hip-hop? Or you just want more tips? Well, Eric’s financial wisdom spans a wide range. Here are a few additional pieces of wisdom he shared.

When talking about how much his wife helped increase his financial knowledge, Eric emphasized the value of having financial accountability partners. Whether it’s your significant other, your sibling, your friend or whoever, creating and sharing financial goals with someone you trust can provide major benefits even if you’ve never had formal financial education.

Also, compete with yourself to build wealth. Make it a game. Start with simple goals and then gradually up the ante.  For example, start with a goal of saving $10 in week one.  Then increase the amount for week two. Turn your goal-setting into a leisurely hobby and a habit.

In addition, today banks and other financial services providers are introducing apps and other technology all the time that are making saving and money management easier and more automated than ever.

The most important directive from Eric though is just to start somewhere. So on behalf of Eric, get motivated and go get that money!

Learn more about Eric and The Black Market Exchange: