Day 27: Save Money on Pets

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This post is part of the 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses series. Visit this page for even more ways to slash costs and eliminate unnecessary spending! 

Cut pet-related costs as much as possible while still providing top-notch love and care -- these 6 ideas will give you a great start!

If I had my way, Joseph and I would be living on our own homestead with a few chickens, goats, mini cows, ducks, Twix the bunny {of course}, and at least a couple dogs. Obviously, this has yet to happen because, one, the cost, and two, a husband who knows he will probably be doing most of the cleanup. But maybe I can still turn him around??

I guess I’m just as big of an animal lover as the next person — okay, probably more — but I do have to agree with one thing……pets can get expensive! Between food and vet bills, grooming and pet sitting costs, our furry friends deserve their own part of the budget for sure. We fostered an extra rabbit alongside Twix for a couple months, and were shocked at how much more we had to pay out for supplies!

But a life void of pets is certainly not one I desire to experience, which means the other alternative is to cut costs as much as possible. Here are 6 easy ways to save money on pets, so you can enjoy your playmate and stop worrying about how much you’re paying to take care of him!

How to Save Money on Pets:

1. Be Prepared for the Costs  – As with any pet, there are both initial costs and maintenance costs, so prepare your budget for both before you go shopping. Grooming, food, and regular checkups are probably the most important, but don’t forget to factor in pet sitting services for when you’re away. Estimate the monthly cost as best you can, then set aside that amount in preparation for all pet-related expenses. You can always adjust if needed, but the key is to just start!

2. Adopt a Mixed Breed – Purebred fans might hate me for this, but I honestly believe mixed breeds are not only healthier in the long run {aka not as many vet bills}, they also cost less to buy upfront. Without getting into too much detail, the gene pool of purebreds has broken down so much over the years {because it’s so “pure”}, that each breed is known for specific health problems, and often do not live as long. Check Craigslist or your local Humane Society for low-priced fees on mutts, and welcome a mixed breed into your loving home!

3. Get Acquainted with Google – If you’ve lived with your pet long enough, you know their habits and routines like the back of your hand. This means you also know when something just isn’t right. We have personally saved on hundreds of dollars worth of vet bills because we were able to Google the issue and try a home medical remedy before the problem became too serious. Keep track of your pet to make sure everything is working properly, and if you suspect a problem, don’t be afraid to approach the internet first. Of course, I am not a medical professional, so you need to decide for yourself whether or not it’s serious enough to warrant a veterinarian visit.

4. Shop Around for Food – If you’ve ever bought pet food at a chain retail pet store, you know the cost is much much higher than Walmart or other discount store. Try shopping around for various prices on pet food, and don’t be afraid to look online. We get all our Timothy Hay for Twix through Amazon’s Subscribe and Save, and even though it’s just a few cents cheaper than Walmart, it’s still super convenient to have her food shipped straight to our door, every month!

5. Make Your Own Treats – I love when you can make store-bought items at home for less, and both dog and cat treat recipes are practically everywhere. These 5 simple recipes are a great place to start, and you can make them with cookie cutters you already have at home, or a cute Dog Bone shape for a fancier touch!

6.  Know When Enough is Enough – I hate to even mention this one, but I feel it is a valid point to talk about when saving on pet care. Even though pets are a part of our families, there comes a time when it might not be the smartest thing to invest in all sorts of surgeries, medications, x-rays, and MRI’s to prolong the life of animals. If you have the money, great! But if the budget is tight, you have some really hard decisions to make. I don’t wish these decisions on any of us, but it’s good to think through these things now, before we get too tied to our emotions.

Today’s Challenge:

If you have a pet {or are thinking about getting one}, do you have the money set aside in your budget to cover their monthly expenses? If not, take some time today and estimate a reasonable budget, and stick to it. Then pick out a simple dog or cat treat recipe and make a batch this week!

{Go to Day 28: Make Entertainment Affordable}

If monthly payments are taking control of your budget, you don't want to miss this 31 Days Series to Radically Reduce Your Expenses.

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  1. You can’t save all that much money on pets, anymore than you can on children. Do you “save money” by not giving your children vaccinations? I hope not! Do you “save money” by not getting a mammogram each year for yourself????

    If you want pets, you need to figure out a realistic budget, and not go crazy on things like toys or pricey foods. (Dogs, for example, can live on appropriate table scraps and don’t really NEED kibble or fancy dog treats.) But to deny medical care is cruel. If you cannot afford to take care of a pet should it get sick, then PLEASE DO NOT GET ONE. Go visit a petting zoo — petsit friend’s pets — volunteer at your local animal shelter. But don’t buy a dog or cat (of any breed) and then refuse to get medication or x-rays for it. That’s cruel.

  2. There is another bonus to adopting a pet from the local Animal Shelter or Humane Society; Most of them are already spayed or neutered and have had their shots! πŸ˜€

  3. I don’t think people always consider how much a pet will cost when they get one. They go more on emotion and how cute the animal is. It’s a good thing that you’re talking about the costs. They can be very expensive. Trust me, I know. πŸ™‚

  4. Rescue dogs and cats are often free, and can come with subsidized healthcare and food! Check with local rescue and foster organizations not just to save money but save an animal’s life.

  5. If you have a pet that needs meds, consider getting compounded medication. Compounding pharmacists make the pills there. I saved about $100 a month doing this for a dog with Addison’s disease, instead of getting the brand pill. Another option would have been monthly shots but they were the most expensive.
    As for dog toys, check thrift shops and yard sales. Kids’ stuffed animals without glass or plastic eyes or other plastic parts are fine to use for dog toys and the dogs will tear up a thrift shop toy just as fast as a btrand new pet shop stuffed animal.

    1. Good to know! I also love your idea for yard sale and thrift store toys for dogs. They certainly don’t care where you buy them from!

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