Ok, so here at EPP HQ; the current cost of living crisis hasn’t escaped our notice. Afterall I'm a German Shepherd, it’s literally my job to notice things.
Mum and I have been pondering the situation and as business owners, we obviously want to provide a service but we also care about what's happening around us and to our customers. So, we’ve put a little something together that we hope will be useful.
Enzo’s Financial Wellbeing Guide
There’s a bunch of scientific papers that provide the evidence to back me up on this one, but it is kinda just a well known fact that us doggos are great companions for you hoomans because we can work wonders for your mental health and wellbeing. However, that being said, we also know that having a pet isn’t cheap. I mean let’s be honest, I’ve cost my mum a small fortune (and maybe a few grey hairs too).
Financial wellbeing improves your levels of happiness and gives you a sense of security, so it goes without saying that worrying about how to pay for your fur babies can definitely add extra stress to your day.
No pet should have to go hungry, but neither should anyone have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pets. Hard times can happen to anyone. Honestly, if it wasn’t for dad, me and mum would be in big trouble - thanks dad. And with pets in the family, there are more bowls to fill when money is tight.
Mum and I have searched the internet, talked to friends and even listened to strangers in the park whilst out for our walks. So many of you are feeling the pinch right now and although we aren’t in a position to be giving away free food, we can pass on some information and tips that will hopefully help.
Take a look through some of these suggestions, they could help you become a little more “savings-savvy” or point you in the right direction to where you could get some help.
It may seem like a silly suggestion but honestly sometimes just being able to see on paper where your money is going can be super helpful when trying to figure out where you could make potential cutbacks or swaps.
Start by making a record of what is coming into your household and what’s going out. Without realising, even those small purchases add up over time.
Also, when checking your monthly statements, keep a look out for those cheeky subscriptions or recurring payments that may have already come to an end, but you’ve forgotten to cancel the Direct Debit or Standing Order. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been duped into signing up for a trial that we’ve forgotten to cancel - my dad is notorious for it.
If you are a bit of a nerdy type like my mum, you can even import your bank statements into a spreadsheet which I’m told makes life a lot easier. If you don’t know how to do that then the Money Saving Expert's free budget spreadsheet will help you get started.
There’s also Smart Asset, which has a list of top ten money management tips.
Track with an app
With the way the world is so techy these days, I bet there’s many apps out there that you could use. There's a few suggested here on Money saving apps that could also save you some time tracking your finances.
Talk to your bank
I’ve heard that some hoomans can get a bit freaked out when it comes to talking to their Bank Manager about money worries but honestly, they’re hoomans too right, and probably way less scary and more approachable than they appear to be in your head. Like much less scary than The Vet I’d say. It’s more beneficial for them and you if you seek their help and advice before things get too bad.
Banks often recommend annual review chats but if you don’t attend them, there’s nothing stopping you booking in for one at any time. You'll get to know what your bank has to offer, how to get the best return on your savings and hear about what to do if you need their support.
No, I’m not suggesting you start hanging out with David Dickinson, but I am suggesting you keep an eye out for retailer deals and offers. Black Friday, Christmas, end of season sales… there’s lots coming up and there’s always a bargain to be had if you can spare the time to sniff them out.
Our favourite sources for up-to-date news are Money Saving Expert (MSE) and Great Deals Made Easy. Both offer monthly updates on what's available, plus you can subscribe to MSE's monthly tips.
Libraries of Things
Why buy when you can borrow? Libraries of Things hold a small collection of useful tools and items for loan to library members. Library of Things (borrowing hubs across London - loan for a daily fee)
Community fridges offer surplus food from supermarkets and other outlets. The food is all perfectly edible, in date and you can pick up whatever you like in exchange for a small donation. Find a community fridge near you.
Food Waste Apps
I’m not quite sure how this is even possible with the amount of people and animals that are going hungry, but food waste is a big issue. It is estimated that between a third and a half of all food produced ends up being wasted. WHAT?!
Waste can occur at all 4 stages of the food supply chain – producers, processors, retailers, and consumers.
The good news is that there are now several apps and websites that are helping to tackle the issue by allowing retailers and consumers to sell or buy perfectly good food at a fraction of the cost that you would normally need to pay.
Food Banks (for Hoomans & Pets)
Food banks provide emergency food and household supplies for people experiencing financial hardship. They rely heavily on donations from members of the public, supermarkets, and local businesses.
Of the 2,000-plus food banks in the UK, around 1,200 are run by anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust, with support from around 40,000 volunteers.
Generally food bank vouchers are given following a referral by Citizens Advice, a social worker or a GP.
Pet owners/guardians help and support is also available. If you or someone you know is struggling to cope with the cost of food or healthcare for your furry family members, help is out there.
If you’re struggling to afford food for your dog, cat, or other small pet, teams from The Blue Cross or the RSPCA will be able to welcome you to one of their pet food banks. They understand that coming to a food bank can be difficult. They won’t judge you, ask you for a voucher or proof of need. They can help you with pet food, vet services and other items including bedding and litter.
Rather impressively, The Blue Cross pet food banks currently support not just us doggos, but also cats and other small pets, such as chinchillas, degus, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits and rats.
Find a food bank -
The Money Charity
Government Cost of Living Support
How to reduce water bills
How to reduce energy bills
Citizens Advice: Help with the cost of living
Which: Cost of Living Help
I know things can be hard sometimes but please reach out for help if you need it.
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Paws Out 🐾