I May Be Easy, but I’m Not Cheap: How to Save Money on Pet Costs
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Pets can be expensive; we all know that. There are differing opinions about whether or not pets are acceptable to keep for someone on a tight budget, and that’s a decision only the pet owners themselves can make. Animals can be expensive, but they are often like family. They become very attached to their humans, and vice versa, so it’s not always easy to simply send them off to another home. I myself know homes where the pets get just as much clout as the children.
So how’s a person to cut pet costs on a tight budget? There are several ways to minimize pet costs and save money for those on a tight budget or those simply looking to keep more money in their pockets:
Do it Yourself
There are several pet care tasks that don’t necessarily require a vet or a groomer’s assistance. With just a few minutes of training, pet owners can trim their cats’ and dogs’ nails, groom their dogs, or provide basic meds like de-wormers. In the equine world, there’s even a list of vaccinations that large pet veterinary clinics will allow pet owners to administer themselves. Yes, it’s a little stomach-turning to stick a huge needle into a 1200-lb animal, but you get used to it.
Grooming is another way in which a pet owner can save huge amounts of money. For roughly $50, you can buy a decent pet grooming kit, and with a little practice, become your dog’s groomer and save a few hundred dollars a year. If you have pets, scrutinize your pet costs and see if any of them are DIY possibilities.
Save Money on Pet Costs By Cutting the Fluff
Another way to save money on pet costs is to eliminate veterinarian, grooming or entertainment costs that are unnecessary. For instance, our indoor cat hasn’t been vaccinated against rabies/distemper in years. Call me a bad pet owner, but I just don’t see the point when she doesn’t leave the house. If you have some insight as to why she might be at risk for rabies/distemper, please share, as I’d be happy to reconsider for the health of our cat, Sunshine.
Also, Fluffy does not need a new toy once a week, or even once a month. While you’re shopping for pet food, make sure to stay out of the toy section as well so as to avoid temptation.
Another option? Homemade pet toys. Take a rope out of the garage, cut a small section and knot it at both ends. Or head over to the local tennis court and search the surrounding grass for tennis balls for Fido.
Not all vets charge the same, and not all stores charge the same for food, etc. When we needed de-wormer medication for our cats, we found prices on the Internet that ranged from $2.99 up to $80!
After reading many reviews and visiting our local farm store, we settled on a $4.49 bottle that came highly recommended by both customers and a long-term store employee, and the bottle will last us for a good two years. I’m SO glad we didn’t just head out and buy the $80 stuff because of the great reviews.
Shopping around is also important if you’re looking to save money on veterinarian bills. Check out the different vets in your city, and even in nearby cities, and ask for a price list.
Our vet in the suburbs charged almost double what our new, small town vet charges. We also made the choice of picking a large animal vet that is fresh out of school and had just started her own business. She’s a great gal who keeps reasonable rates (about 35% lower than the “popular” large animal vet in the area) because of her love of animals and her appreciation for pet owners.
Owning pets does cost money, but just like with other expenses, there are ways to minimize costs. Decide today to become a more frugal pet owner.
How Do You Save Money on Pet Costs?
Photo courtesy of: Pamela Stocks
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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