Having a pet is not too unlike having a small child for an extended number of years. This includes the similar costs of having a child. Vet bills can be atrocious, and food, toys, etc. can add up to a hefty bill themselves. So how can we save money on pets?
Save Money on Pet Food
Save Money on Pet Food by Buying Online
It’s always a good idea to buy food in bulk or on a subscription. There are usually better deals when you buy pet food this way. You first need to ensure you’re buying the right food for your animal by consulting with a vet. Making sure you pet doesn’t become obese or sick through the wrong product is important.
I have four cats myself, which can get overwhelming when it comes to food. In order to cut down on stressful shopping and make sure I always have what I need, I use Chewy.com. Chewy has great sales that helps you save money on pets. They also send the food straight to your doorstep on a regular basis. Shipping is free if you spend at least $50, so if you have any other reoccurring purchases then you can order food and that and save yourself the shopping trip for free. This choice might not be the cheapest for some depending on what you need. If this is the case, then you can save money on your pets by shopping with other vendors online while items are on sale. How cheap this is will depend on what shipping prices are like.
Save Money by Choosing a Smarter, Cheaper Brand
My second suggestion is to consider buying cheaper pet food. Make sure you do this well-informed. Check the ingredients list on the cheaper food options and compare with better quality. If you can find a cheaper product that contains similar ingredients, then you’ll save money on your pet without removing important nutrition. I recommend checking out this article here to learn more about what to look for when attempting to find a cheaper food choice. It focuses on dogs, but many of the suggestions can also apply to cats.
Saving on Vet Bills
Save Money with Pet Insurance
If your pet is typically healthy, then buying insurance might seem like an unnecessary expense. However, if you do buy pet insurance and your pet gets really sick, it will be a life-saver. It’s sort of a toss of the coin if you don’t get insurance. It would be best to evaluate the health of your pet and maybe ask your vet’s opinion. My suggestion is to bite the bullet and pay $20-$30 a month. That way you can potentially save thousands if your pet gets seriously injured or sick.
I did a little digging, and it seems like some of the best insurances are the ASPCA, Pets Best, and FIGO. The best way to find out what works for you is to visit each of these websites and get a quote. Once you list the benefits and the cost, compare the plans side by side and make your decision. Personally, I don’t use any of these companies. Since three of my cats are very healthy, I don’t have insurance for them because it would cost way too much. For one of my cats, though, I use Trupanion. It costs $32 a month for me, and since he has been a rather sick cat, it has saved me approximately $6,000.
Keep on Top of Things
Preventative care is the best way to keep healthy and save money—even for your pets. Make sure your pet is getting enough exercise, is taking any vitamins or supplements necessary if suggested by a vet, and is eating food with the correct ingredients. Also making sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations is a must. If you do maintain your pet, then there shouldn’t be any reason for them to get wildly sick that would result in a major vet bill. Of course, life does happen. Your pet could get sick anyway, but your less likely to encounter this problem if you take all the necessary precautions.
Save Money on Pets at the Humane Society
Sometimes the local humane society has programs for people with low incomes. It’s a good idea to check out what sort of resources they offer, if any. If you qualify for whatever programs that they have, you could save a lot of money on supplies for your pet. You can also get your pet spayed or neutered at the humane society for a low cost if not for free.
Recycle Old Stuff
It’s not necessary to always have new things for your pet to wear or play with. Making homemade toys is the cheapest way to keep your pet entertained. Cats are the easiest to entertain with simple items. I like using milk or juice caps for them to puck around the house, which I’m pretty sure everyone knows works well. I also use old socks stuffed with catnip. All I do is take an old sock, put a handful of catnip in it, fold it over on itself and sew it shut.
Literally all of my cats love this and play with it to death. Of course there’s the holy empty box, which you can spice up by decoration and making one into a kitty fort. And the last budget-like thing I’ve made is my homemade cat tree. This takes a little extra skill, so I had my friend do it for me. I used this guy’s plan here but there are a lot of DIY cat tree plans on the internet with varying levels of difficulty you can try. Regardless, it’s a lot cheaper than buying one.
As far as dogs go, I do not have any personal experience with dog crafts. There are a lot of blogs out there though that specialize in this, and you can make a lot of things from old clothes and stuff around the house. After looking around on the internet, I sort of really like this one, but there are tons and tons of other websites where you can find ideas. You honestly could save a ton of money on toys in this way, especially if your pet tears through them quickly.
Keep in Mind the Breed
Some breeds, particularly with dogs, come with extra health risks. If you evaluate your budget prior to purchasing your pet and realize you are unable to provide the extra care necessary for those kinds of breeds, then your best bet is to avoid them. In fact, adopting an animal rather than purchasing one from a breeder can be far cheaper. Say if you adopt from your humane society: the humane society’s adoption fees are usually ranged from $0-375 depending on your area and what kind of pet you are adopting. This adoption fee includes a wellness exam as well as spay and neutering.
When I adopted my cats from the humane society, the adoption fee was free and included all the benefits. This was because they had an influx of too many cats and needed them to get adopted, and because they had received a grant that allowed them to do so. The best way to save on your pet is to get informed and to stay informed, as then you will be able to choose from options you are aware of and make the best choice you can.
Save Money on Pets by…BUDGETING
Guess what? Budgeting helps everything, including your pet’s expenses. This includes creating a monthly and yearly expectation for spending on your pet. You should create an emergency fund for your pet, and budget in other spaces of your life so you can afford the necessary stuff without going bankrupt. This blog here has a great list of budgeting apps you can use for this purpose. This will allow you to easily account for your spending, and even get alerts when you go over.
As for your emergency funds, why not try to make some money on the side to contribute? I previously wrote an article on Saving and Making Extra Money that can help you get started. And yes, I suggest you open a whole other account for your pet where you can save money. If you thought owning a pet was a cake-walk, then maybe look into buying a goldfish because owning a cat, dog, or other larger creature is definitely an investment.