Liz Pulliam at MSN Money is one of my favorite online writers. She does a lot of work for people that are badly in debt, and also has some practical help. The best piece of advice she gave for me was the idea that people are obsessed by the idea that we need an emergency fund equal to six months salary (or expenses, depending on who you ask). So many people find that unattainable that they don’t even try to save it. A better idea is to try to have $500 saved. A crazy number of urgent, unplanned expenses come in at around that number – transmission leak, radiator stuff, vet bills. And if you have that $500, you are not sticking it on a credit card that you can’t pay and digging yourself a hole. So. True.
This weekend, she has a piece on the cost of pets. The idea is to be aware of the total expenses before adopting a pet. She included a great table, which I can’t seem to publish in Blogger. But the totals show the lifetime cost of a dog is between $8,000 and $9,000. And the cost of a cat, that tends to live longer, is around $10,000.