Pet Insurance have literally saved us thousands of dollars last year. In this video, I'm sharing our real live expenses to show you how having insurance have benefitted and saved us a lot of money.
Should I get dog insurance? I always advised my friends or clients who have pets to get insurance. I created a video below talking about it.
The Pet Insurance we use is Pet's Best. We've been using them the past 2 years and have been very happy with them. Here is the link https://www.petsbest.com/PH6571093
I absolutely encourage and support everyone to get dog insurance. The policy we have for both dogs cost $250 and $182 yearly for the older 5 year old and the younger 1 year old pup. Our policy is a thousand deductible and 90/10 coinsurance. What this means is we pay the first thousand for "qualified" expenses. This would be anything the insurance do not exclude like pre-existing conditions and whatever your contract exclude. After the first thousand, we only pay 10% of the cost. So for example, if our dog have a $10K surgery that's considered a qualified expense. We pay 10% co-pay, which would be $1K then $9K will be counted towards the deductible. Since our deductible is $1K, they'll pay the rest above that, which would be $8K. So our total out of pocket expense for this $10K surgery is only $2K and 80% is being paid for by the insurance.
Take care of your babies. Get pet insurance. You won't regret it.
Before my bf and I left for our vacation to Japan and planning our trip, the friends I asked about how much to budget for a one week stay were not able to give me any specific answers. They just gave a general cost of $1000 per person so I thought I’ll write a blog about our actual expenses for a week stay in Japan. We weren’t the most frugal nor a spendthrift but hopefully this blog can help with your budgeting when you go to Japan for the first time.
All the breakdown below are for two people. I am only listing the expenses we have spent as a couple, not including the discretionary items we have bought individually. That would be up to you how much more you are willing to spend for fun stuff.
So to start, we flew during the off season from April 10 to 19th; when the cherry blossoms are dying and all we caught were the petals falling down (at least in the cities we have visited). Therefore, the flights were cheaper. Round trip flight with JAL (Japan Airlines) from SFO to Japan then to Taiwan and fly back to SFO was $1844. Once we arrived at the airport in Tokyo, we immediately rented a wifi router for one week, it's called NinjaWifi ($65.54). I highly recommend getting one since we would not have been able to go around Japan without Google maps and Google translator. We arrived Tokyo on the 11th and stayed there for 3 nights ($261.50) then stayed at a Ryokan in Kyoto since we wanted to experience what's it like to sleep Japanese style. We stayed there for 5 nights ($786.35). We only charged 4 times for lunch / dinner on our credit card that totaled $127. The rest were all in cash. We withdrew about 80000 yen (about $750), 10k yen each withdrawal - the currency exchange we got through ATM at that time was around 106.61 to 107.18. I recommend opening a debit card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee like Schwab. There is no need to bring USD since you will get a really bad exchange rate. It was a bad idea for us to bring USD, we walked around Japan trying to find the best rate but all we found were between 100 to 106.2 (this last one was very hard to find). Just bring enough cash for when you get back to the US. Trust me 7/11 ATMs are everywhere so you will not have a problem getting cash. ATMs or credit cards that do not charge any foreign transaction fee is your best bet for getting the best currency exchange. We also spent for two tickets to take the one way Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto ($254.54). We flew out from Osaka airport to Taiwan so our ticket for an express train from Kyoto to the airport was $29.86. I will not go through the details as to what we spent our cash on but they were mostly for food and some fun items and souvenirs.
If you add all of the above, we spent about $4100. Probably isn't the most frugal but we were comfortable and enjoyed our stay without consistently worrying about money. You might get away with spending less if you can get better deals with flights, hotels and not spending a lot but I think budgeting at least $2000 each person for a one week stay that includes everything from flight, hotel, food and transportation should be about enough. Also, we are not frequent travelers so we are still learning as we go. If you have any suggestions, please free to make a comment below or email me at Christine@TehFinancialCoaching.com. I'd love to hear from my readers!
As far as Japan; below are some of my observations:
I hope you enjoy this blog and got something out of it. 😊
Below are some pictures. First 2 is the ryokan we stayed at in Kyoto. Pic 3 is the Japanese cheesecake in Dotonbori, Osaka (it was the BEST cheesecake I have ever tasted! It's not like the American hard cheesecake but this one almost melts in your mouth, almost like a blend between very moist cake and cheese). The rest of the pictures are some cool sights and food that I have enjoyed throughout Japan.
Before getting too excited about getting a new addition to the family. In addition to the emotional and time investment, be prepared for the financial responsibility as well. I thought it would be good to write a blog detailing all the expenses you will incur the first 2 months since we've only had our dog for 2 months at this point. In addition to the financial breakdown, I'm listing out some tips for first time dog owners that I've learned from my first experience adopting a dog in this country. It's definitely not the same as owning a dog in Asia!
There will always be new things to learn from being pet parents but the above are the most important in my opinion or at least should get you started on the right foot. So to date, I have spent $1800 in 2 months for my dog and they went mostly to what I've listed above.
I'm very happy to say despite the expenses and time, she's a great joy to be around. She's always so excited to see us when we get home, she's very playful and loyal to us and provides a lot of laughter due to the little cute stuff she does.... Below are some photos of her. She is turning 3 years old in August and currently weigh 36 lbs. She is of a Jindo (South Korean breed) and we also named her Jindo. Who names their dogs the breed, probably no one so we are unique 😄
Update for 2019: We just got a second dog in May. I will write a separate blog on that as well. Stay tuned 🙂
what can I say, she's content 😇
waiting calmly while we eat our lunch at a restaurant
Below are my top three tools I have used for more than a decade since I started budgeting. I have used them for different purposes to stay on top of my finances.
First and foremost, my favorite tool is Excel. I guess you can call me old fashioned but I like to be able to see the numbers in front of my eyes and to actually keep track of them manually versus everything automated. Manually typing in all my expenses has helped keep me accountable with my day to day expenses. I also use this to keep track of all my finance goals as well as my annual ROI on all my different accounts or investments. This has remained my number 1 favorite tool since I like to see actual break downs of my numbers.
For keeping track of my net worth, yes, you do want to know what your net worth is at any point in time. Net worth would be all your assets (savings, checking, investments, real estate, car or anything you own) minus your liabilities (debt, loans or anything that still needs to be paid off). I use the website www.PersonalCapital.com. It is a free tool just like mint.com but they're more geared towards investments versus on budgeting like mint. I personally like Personal Capital because it gives information investors can find useful like how much allocation I have in certain investment type, what was the highest gainer for the day for ALL your accounts. A warning before you transfer all your money there is that they might call you and offer to open an account and manage your money for you since they are also an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor). Just be assertive and say you are not interested unless you really want someone else to manage your money. I personally don't think you need an investment manager to manage anything for you. Investments is all about asset allocation and managing risk so just make sure you have your investments allocated or in other words, don't have all your eggs in one basket.
The third tool I use is www.CreditKarma.com. This is another free tool that allows you to check your credit score. It pulls from two credit bureaus TransUnion and Equifax. This is just a good way to get an idea on where you are at credit wise but it does tend to give a higher score than what financial institutions actually get. I like this tool since it gives a breakdown on why your score is the way it is and it also give a free credit report.
That's it for now. Holidays are coming and it's a tempting time to spend money. Try not to forget your long term financial goals and have a budget for how much you are willing to spend for the holidays while still maintaining your financial health. Happy Holidays!!
Christine Teh Finance Coach, Teh Financial Coaching