• Jasmine Paul

Lonely and broke? Buy a plant; not a dog.

Considered a “pandemic puppy”, people are buying dogs because of loneliness throughout this pandemic. Being broke and having a dog don’t mix. COVID-19 proved impactful leaving 14 million Americans out of a job. In recent months, people were unable to pay rent, focus on teleworking, or even see their families. With the uncertainty of the future, it’s important to make cost-effective decisions now more than ever and cultivate your mental health.

Before you get up in arms about your beloved Sophie, I'm a proud dog owner. But I also love plants. This article is for those who are interested in dogs but maybe need to consider a plant instead.

Dogs are great companions. I rescued my German Shepherd mix 6 years ago. He's lived all over the US and absolutely loves his grandma's house (he's spoiled). He also comes with a heap of responsibilities. When I first rescued him, I knew nothing about dogs. But I knew I wanted some form of protection and companionship. He does just that. It's welcoming to come home after a long day of work and hang out with your buddy. Dogs are a person's best friend, they're like the bougie best friend. I spend about $3500 and up a year on my dog. From food to grooming to vet check-ups, toys, dental cleaning, and the occasional doggie mishap, his bills can be expensive.

He's worth it, but for those just starting out and maybe low on funds, I recommend a plant.

Plants provide a sense of responsibility, care, and nurture, but they're also good for you! I remember walking into my grandmother's home as a child and seeing plants everywhere.

Augusta Ward, a medical secretary at Cornbrook Medical Practice in the UK, offers, "Having something to care for brings so many benefits to people – especially for those who may not have a garden or be able to have pets." Plants to me are the answer. Here are four reasons why you should invest in a plant today!

1. Clean Air! Plants provide oxygen and fresh air! In the age of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of breath, And when we’re feeling down and alone, it can certainly help to breathe in fresh air.

2. Endless beauty! No one plant is the same. They have infinite beauty from the green leaves to the stringy roots, to a new bud. And just monitoring the growth of your plant can keep you engaged in a small project that you can call your own.

3. Many plants, not multiple mouths to feed - I spend $100/month on a bag of dog food for my pup. I buy plants that I only need to water 2x a month and don’t require much attention. So “yay” to fewer mouths to feed.

4. Community-building. The planting community is dope and inclusive. I walked into Fancy Free Nursery and had a conversation with the store worker about how my plant was caught up in an entanglement, but she was doing better with me. (I got the plant from someone who was going to throw it away - she was doing terribly, but now she's coming back to life) Yay to no entanglements! But seriously, knowing that there are others who are just as interested in plants serves as a means of connection-- an unlikely benefit.

I encourage you to find a low-maintenance plant or buy that bougie plant. Name him/her, save those coins to beef up your emergency savings, and breathe clean entanglement free air. You deserve it!

Follow Boys with Plants (Beware - Graphic at times), Hilton Carter, and Wet.My.Plants.Tampa for planting tips!

Jasmine Paul is the founder of CreateFinstew, a fin-tech startup transforming finances creatively. After purchasing her first house at 23 and paying back $37,500 in student loans by the age of 24 and buying a rental property shortly thereafter, she realized her niche for creative financial wellness. Since 2014, she has served 38 clients and coached through the elimination of over $188,000 student loan/credit card debt.

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