Felines for Hire, Inquire Within

I just read this AP article that says Americans spent over $53 billion on their pets last year. That’s a lot of Alpo and Meow Mix. What’s stunning is that this amount isn’t radically higher than what Americans spent in 2011 for their furry companions.


That’s up 5 percent from 2011, when spending first broke the $50 billion barrier, says the American Pet Products Association, a trade group based in Greenwich, Conn. And APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere predicts another 4 percent gain this year.

At about $34.3 billion, food and vet care represented about two-thirds of total spending, with money spent on supplies and over-the-counter medications rising by more than 7 percent.

Since I use Mint.com to track my spending, I decided to see how much I contributed to that $53 billion.

Less than 20% of my total pet spending in 2012 was on vet bills. The rest was food and cat litter.
Sounds like two cats I know need to find gainful employment.

Enjoy yourselves now, but tomorrow, you’re gonna be getting jobs.

Declaring My Independence, The 2011 Edition

Read the history of my personal declarations of independence here. This year, as in past years, I’ve taken the original text from the Declaration of Independence and modified or paraphrased it to suit my purposes.

There are moments, in the course of human events, when it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the real and imagined bonds tying them down. In an attempt to recognize and allow for the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We set up governments to secure these rights, and we allow our governments to wield certain powers. But no government can force its citizens to alter or abolish their individual attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. Inasmuch as we have the right to pursue happiness, we also have the right to pursue unhappiness. Experience has shown that humans are more disposed to suffer than to change their core attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. But when a long period of self-sabotage results in nothing but misery, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such attitudes and beliefs, and to create new ones that promote our happiness and well-being.

Such has been the case for me, Corinne, and such is now the necessity which requires me to alter my attitude. To prove this, I submit these facts to the World Wide Web.

  • I have spent too much time in the last five years chasing after checks, payments, and promises of money.
  • I have grown anxious and frustrated over money or the lack thereof.
  • I have avoided activities and events I would otherwise enjoy due to my financial anxiety.

Therefore, I, Corinne, solemnly publish and declare, that I am and of right will stop chasing checks; that I am absolved from all allegiance to the almighty dollar, and that all connection between my state of mind and my bank account balance ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent woman, I have full power to live a prosperous existence without needing to chase checks, and to do all other acts and things which anyone can do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and the world my renewed commitment to be my most abundant, prosperous self.

Signed,

Corinne

What are you declaring your independence from this year?

Friday’s Hot Tip: 5 Ways to Help Your Unemployed Buddies

I decided to follow up on Sunday’s post about dealing with the unemployed with some good tips on helping out friends and family members who find themselves without work. These tips are based on what I’ve experienced being unemployed/underemployed, and what I wanted from my friends and loved ones during that time.

1. Start with asking, “How can I support you?”

These five little words should become a mantra for you, as this phrase works beautifully in many situations when someone is experiencing difficulty in their life. In an unemployment scenario, it gives the other person the power to decide what they want or need as they process the loss of their job. Pro tip: don’t ask this question just once, either. Whenever they need to vent about their job search, interviews that went nowhere, or their struggles to stay afloat, it’s your opportunity to ask what, if anything, they need from you.

2. Don’t assume you know their master plan post-layoff.

As I briefly mentioned in Sunday’s post, unemployment can give someone the opportunity to pursue life-long dreams. It opens the door to write, start a business, make a career change, travel, or volunteer. And believe it or not, they might not want a full-time job again. Everyone’s situation is different – give them space to figure out what’s next, and if you remember Tip #1, then they might just let you in on what they are dreaming up.

3. Keep your comments about money to yourself.

Trust me when I say someone who is unemployed (or even underemployed) does not want to hear you complain about the state of your bank account. Nor do they want to hear your comments about what they are doing or not doing with their money. Like politics, sex, and religion, discussions about money can kill a conversation, and in some instances it can kill a relationship. Do yourself and your friend a favor and hold your tongue.

4. Don’t radically alter your communication style or forget about them altogether.

Just because someone loses their job doesn’t mean they are a social pariah and you need to leave them alone. By the same token, if you were having phone conversations with them every couple of weeks, don’t suddenly start calling every other day. Be sensitive to their situation and let them guide the conversation when it comes to work or career topics, but feel free to talk about current movies, TV shows, books, music, local news or happenings. Or you could even talk about your pet’s antics or the latest celebrity scandal. The key is to keep things normal.

5. Let them mourn the loss of their job.

Momcat always told me, “When a relationship ends, it’s a death and it needs to be mourned.” She was talking about romantic relationships, but this also holds true for the relationships we have with our jobs, which are just as complex and layered as any love relationship. Give them space and time to grieve, and allow them to dictate when they are ready to move on in their career.

Have your own tips to add to this list? Leave them in the comments section.