Now that you’ve gone through the daily life financials guide, you’ll probably find you fit into one of three categories. Someone who is/has:
- Money Remaining – If you have money remaining after reviewing your daily financial commitments, give yourself a jackpot treat!!!! It sounds like you can handle the agility financial commitments and you’re in the clear to spend money (wisely) in the agility world. The good news is, if you read on we might be able to help you find ways to keep more of the money you work so hard for.
- Breaking Even – If you don’t have money remaining, but aren’t in the negative after paying the daily financials, you still deserve a treat!! It’s likely we can share some ideas that will help you either reallocate funds to pay for agility or better yet, get resourceful and participate by spending little to no money.
- In the Negative – If you find yourself in the predicament of not being able to pay the daily financials…in other words, you can’t pay and/or struggle to pay the mortgage, the insurance, the utilities and are short on grocery money for example – consider this as your flashing-red-neon-sign telling you that you should NOT be PAYING to participate in agility. Period.
Take note that I did not say you shouldn’t participate, I said you should not be PAYING – a big difference and something we’ll cover in detail later, so keep reading.
First, Understand Your Assets:
To participate in agility you either 1) pay to attend classes or trial your dog 2) donate a considerable amount of time and/or resources at classes or the trial or 3) a combination of both. Let’s talk about money first.
Money, Money, Money:
Contrary to popular belief, money does NOT make the world go ’round…but sometimes we sure do spend it like it does!
If you’re looking to find money to participate in agility, take a look at what you’re spending outside of agility (i.e. in your daily life). I recently took a look at my credit card and check statements and was amazed to find the following miscellaneous expenses:
- Subscriptions for magazines I rarely read and could certainly do without ($75 annual savings)
- A monthly Consumer Reports subscription. It seems I checked out 1 item awhile ago and apparently got myself signed up for much more than I needed ($5.99 per month or $72 annual savings). Those ‘try it for free…’ adds always have a catch so be sure to cancel before you get caught.
- Comcast Cable, once I started paying attention I noticed that each of the last 3 months of my bills were different even though my services had not changed. After calling to investigate and not getting a satisfactory answer, I filed a claim with the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General in my State. It seems they had been over charging me for months on various services (monthly savings $22, annual savings of $264 plus I received full-refunds of $102 and an additional $150 credit for my trouble).
- My cell phone bill – Every once in awhile some small unknown charge will pop-up on my bill. Well, by the time taxes are added to that small charge I’m out $10-15. Bottom line, take a moment to check ALL of your bills in detail. Just a small glance could mean an extra entry at an agility trial for one of your dogs.
- Why not take a moment now and go through your latest statements. Are there small charges that when added up are preventing you from running a dog at a local event? Are there things you can do without? If so, get rid of those expenses NOW and possibly use that money for agility.
Money Savings, Think Outside The Box:
Now that you’ve looked at what you are spending, why not think about ways you can save money on things you already use. For example:
- Call your cable company and ask for the introductory rate they give to new customers! We’ve done that several times over the last 2 years and have managed to save ourselves at least $30 a month ($360 annually) each time.
- Do you really need that home phone? My husband and I have gone to just having cell phones which has saved us $35 per month ($420 annually).
- Become a Secret Shopper – okay, this one you have to be careful on, but reputable companies do exist. In exchange for my time and feedback, I have been reimbursed for my dog vehicle’s oil changes ($45 each x 3 cars done 4 times a year is an annual savings of $540), dogs’ annual vet check-ups and annual shots ($100 per dog x 5 dogs is an annual savings of $500) and restaurant dinners ($25 per visit x 8 per year is an annual savings of $200).
- Speaking of food…skip eating out. You’ve heard it before, but if you bring your lunch/dinner/snacks and avoid paying for convenience (which can easily double your food bill), you’ll save a lot of money (think agility class or another agility trial)!
- Samples are your friend! Not only can they save you money, but they are PERFECT for the traveling agility-enthusiast. Again, pick and chose wisely but signing up to receive samples from a reputable source can add up to savings. Some of the things I’ve received are travel sized toothpastes/deodorant/feminine products (sorry guys), gum, protein bars, Zantac (allergy medicine), laundry detergent, razors for shaving, itunes songs, coffee and much more. You will have to do some hunting (some days there’s nothing, other days are full of freebies) and blogs are terrific because someone else did a lot of the research for you. Here are a few reputable places I have found. Sample Blog, CouponMom.com, Proctor and Gamble Store (buy direct from them, use instant online coupons, $5 flat shipping), Living Rich With Coupons, MummyDeals.com
I found that by turning savings into a game, I was able to easily find what I now consider formerly ‘wasted money’ which I am now able to turn into dog agility training and/or entry funds.
Now it’s your turn to find creative ways to reduce spending on non-essentials as well as find ways to save money on the things you need. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, please share!
When you’re ready, move on to Budgeting for Agility, Part 3 and find out how you can use your time and resources to participate in agility.