Here’s how she obsessively tracks every penny — by hand.

Editor’s note: This is the first in a new series looking at the people behind some of our favorite personal finance blogs. We’re calling it Financial Profiling. Let us know what you think.

I was impressed when I heard 27-year-old Desirae Odjick put $1,800 in an emergency fund last year.  Most people don’t have one at all.

But I was surprised to hear it wasn’t for her emergencies. It was for her baby, Jacob.

He’s a 75-pound black lab mix she rescued.

“Adopting my dog from the pound is probably among my top three favorite things I’ve ever spent money on, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” says Odjick, founder of Half-Banked. “But he definitely wasn’t cheap! Between the adoption fee, food and set-up supplies, everyone who warned me that dogs were expensive were so, so right.”

Dog Expenses

Odjick takes financial preparation very seriously. That’s why she knows she spent $3,382.23 pampering her dog Jacob last year. The money covered his routine vet visits, doggy insurance, food, treats, and supplies. That’s a big category including dog beds, bones, and something she called a Kong — which I had to Google. It’s a hard rubber chew toy.

She covers his expenses by budgeting $150 each month and contributing monthly to his doggy emergency fund. I also own a dog, a brindle boxer, and never thought about funding for emergencies. It’s actually really smart, considering big rambunctious dogs like Jacob occasionally hurt themselves.

She obsessively tracks all her expenses and calls her tracking method a “home-brewed Excel spreadsheet.” “I like tracking my expenses manually. I’m very meticulous about how and what I spend money on. So I track every penny I spend,” says Odjick.

Jacob isn’t the only one with an emergency fund. Odjick, who lives with her partner and works in marketing during the day, has her own. She also invests, has a retirement account, and is saving up for a house down payment. All in her 20s.

And besides meticulously tracking every penny, she tries to save half her paycheck — thus the blog name Half-Banked.

“The blog started because I had a totally impulsive (half-baked) idea to try to save half my income and write about it on the blog,” says Odjick. “It turns out, true to this being a totally impulsive decision, that it was easier said than done. I’ve only hit that goal five months out of the past 18!”

But in a good lesson for all of us, she doesn’t see that as a sign of failure.

“I’m of the opinion that if you’re consistently hitting a goal, you didn’t aim high enough, so it works for me as a target to aim for – which I still do!”

Looks like Jacob’s toy supply won’t run out any time soon.

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Brian Bienkowski

Brian Bienkowski


Bienkowski is a contributing writer and is the face of's 'By the Numbers' videos.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

budgeting, Financial Profiling, pets, save money

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Article last modified on November 5, 2018 Published by, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Half-Banked’s Desirae Odjick Budgets For Dog Toys - AMP.