Raising a pet can be just as expensive as raising a child (especially if you think of your pet as your child as most pet lovers do). The good news is that you can still save on pet care essentials just as much as you save couponing and finding deals for anything else (such as groceries, clothing, etc.). There are more and more pet deal websites popping up every single day that can help you to find the savings.
Here are 6 ways to save on pet care essentials (dog food, cat food, bird food, bedding, toys, etc):
- Save on food. This is probably your #1 expense and that's simply because we ALL have to eat whether we are human or animals and eating is essential to the life and well-being of your pet. Ways to save on pet food are checking coupon blogs, pet food blogs, discount pet food websites, and finally looking for sales in your local newspaper. I listed the online options first because discount pet food stores will often offer a volume discount that a local store cannot offer. Another way to save on pet food is to prepare your own for your pet. Research what your pet likes to eat and then search how to make the food (and make it to where it lasts and is cost efficient). Here is a good website that shows how to make your own dog food. There are also newsletters like Doggy Loot that will send you emails of all of the top deals on food/toys/etc. found on the web for that day.
- Save on toys. Again, pet blogs are GREAT at listing almost on a daily basis what toys are on sale from different retailers and online stores. You can literally find pet toys for a few cents this way. A good pet blog that lists toys at a great price is My Pet Savings. Again, another way to save on toys is to research what your pet likes to play with and then make your own toys. I have a puppy who LOVES to play with socks. So I play "who can grab the sock" with her all the time with my socks that don't have matches to them. Read here for 10 DIY Dog Toys that you can make for pennies!
- Know when it's time to go to the Vet. Taking your pet to the vet can cost JUST as much as it does for a human to go to the doctor. There are a few things that you can do to cut down on trips to the vet. First, call your local vet and tell the vet your pet's symptoms over the phone to see if a vet trip is really needed. You can also use this handy tool that's FREE online (remember to bookmark this) called the Pet Symptom Checker.
- Join a Pet Rewards Program. At any pet care store that you shop at such as PetCo or PetSmart they have a savings card that you can get for FREE that keeps track of your purchases. Once you accumulate enough points, you can use them for money off of your pet care purchases which definitely comes in handy. Online pet retailers have these programs as well, and once you sign up not only will you be a part of their pet savings program, they will send you offers through email that are often lower than store advertised rates. The Pet Food Direct rewards program (FREE to sign up) will let you redeem your points for discounts as well as use them to donate to needy pets and more!
- Network with other Pet Lovers: A really good way to find out how to give your pet the best life possible without breaking the bank is to network with other pet lovers who may have the same type of pet that you do. A really interesting network is YouPet.com. At YouPet you can create a profile (similar to a Facebook profile) for you and your pet. Its a really great way to make friends, watch videos on pet care/people enjoying their pets, and discuss pet care/life with pets with other pet owners.
- Make Sure that Your Pet is Healthy. I know that I've stated this in every step, but always make sure that you are doing all that you can to ensure that your pet is healthy by researching what your pet needs to be his/her healthiest. When pets become sick, unkempt and neglected everything starts to go wrong and you could end up spending a lot of money that you didn't anticipate to.
Give your pet the love and attention that he/she needs while finding ways to cut spending and you and your pet will have a long, happy, frugal relationship with one another!