The Spender and Saver Families – and the itchy Westie

We recently read an article about how many coffees one would have to forgo to save for a deposit on a house. The answer was… quite a lot!

We think expressing home ownership in terms of coffees is a bit silly and misses the point. The issue is really pretty simple. Having enough money to afford a house is all about saving. A fraction of every dollar that passes through your pocket or purse needs to be saved – it’s as simple as that. It’s that fraction which, with the power of compounding, will grow into a significant sum, and it’s surprising how quickly.

How big that fraction should be will depend on lots of things: like how quickly you want to accumulate savings, how much you need or want to save, your income, and how much you are prepared to not spend today. Once you have figured out what percentage of your income you want to save, then all you need to do is set up an automatic payment from your wages/salary or from your bank account into a savings account. It’s the simplest plan in the world.

Here’s a tale of two families, the Spenders and the Savers. The Spender household has an annual income significantly more than $100,000. After 20 years of work they have a large mortgage, very little equity in their home, and not much in the way of savings. The Saver household has only about half the income of the Spenders, but they have just paid off their mortgage and can now look forward to another 20 years of accelerated savings.

Quite simply, the Savers have out-saved the Spenders, despite having only half the income. The funny thing is the Savers still enjoy a cup of coffee every day and an annual holiday with the kids. It’s just that they know a dollar saved is a dollar they will not have to find in the future.

Last week PAL from Christchurch had this question for readers. “Does anyone own a Westie dog [a West Highland Terrier] with a very bad itch and found something that either cures it or relieves the scratching? We have been advised to put our dog on steroids for the rest of his life which we really don’t want to do. Westies are prone to a bad itch – so we have been told. Thank You.”

Readers have come back with a number of suggestions for PAL. Here are some of them.

Andie from Christchurch writes, “My dog is a spoodle and suffers from itchy skin. First I changed her diet to wheat free food, as wheat allergies are a common reason for itching. There are quite a few brands out there. I use Canidae. It’s an online purchase and although it seems expensive I worked out the cost to be the same as supermarket food as they need less of it. Now I also use Flaxseed oil in her food and this has helped a lot.”

Margaret from Havelock North has this tip. “We had a Westie who also suffered from skin irritation. We found flaxseed oil really did help. We used to sprinkle it onto her food and also dabbed it straight on to reddened itchy areas.”

LG from Warkworth writes, “Regarding the Westie’s skin problems – they as a breed are notorious for skin troubles. That said, my Lhasa Apso had terrible itching a few years ago; he was almost bald and his skin was bright red. I took him to the Animal Health Centre in Orewa and they gave him some homoeopathy remedies and changed his diet to a natural one and he stopped itching and grew the most amazing coat back.”

Faith from Central Hawkes Bay says, “For dogs who are very itchy, some dog food brands are made for this and the itching stops. Other than that an animal homoeopath can work wonders. Often it can be the colouring in biscuits or gluten/wheat content that causes the itching.”

Love Dogs from Kapiti Coast writes, “My dog always got a rash when we took her for a walk down to the river where there is a certain weed that a lot of dogs react to. The vet put her on little pink pills that made her into a zombie dog. I heard many people say Dr Pottle’s Aloe & Tea Tree cream was good. It worked to a degree but our new vet suggested Neosoothe, which actually cleared the rash in a few days and was soothing instantly. Also, some dogs are just allergic to certain foods such as beef.”

Many thanks for helping out the little Westie.