Is Fido a budget pet or a money shredder? New pet owners tend to go overboard when shopping for their furry friends. They end up spending hundreds of dollars on unnecessary items. It is important to plan your pet expenses so that you don’t splurge on non-essentials which will leave you too broke to cover the important stuff.
Budgeting for your pet will also allow you to buy a new toy or treats from time to time without feeling the pinch.
Budget Pet 101: 5 Simple Ways for New Pet Owners To Save Money
Many first-time pet owners feel like they need to give their pets the best of everything in order for them to be happy. This could not be further from the truth. Ask any long-time pet owner and they will tell you that their pets often ignore fancy new toys and instead play with an old slipper or soft toy!
Here are a few simple tips to help you save money without sacrificing your pet’s health and happiness.
Choose an Affordable But “Budget Pet Vet”
Your pet is going to require regular visits to the vet. Therefore, you will need to find one that is capable as well as affordable. New pet owners often make the mistake of going to the most expensive clinic they can afford. Too often, this does not translate into better pet care.
Talk to other pet owners in your area and make a list of the ones that come highly recommended. After this, call each clinic and get an estimate for a common pet service. This will give you a clear idea of the vet’s pricing policy.
Compare costs and if necessary, try out a few places until you are happy with your choice. This will take some time and effort but it can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the next decade.
The ideal vet should be thorough during check-ups, experienced and affordable.
Buy Medication Online
Don’t pick up the medications and treatments you need for your pet right at the clinic! It may be convenient but it’s also more expensive.
Sites like 1-800-petmeds.com or petcarerx.com offer site-wide discounts of 20 – 25% on prescription and non-prescription medications. Many sites also offer their patrons a chance to participate in simple competitions to win free meds as well as discount codes, promotional codes and points programs.
This is particularly useful in cases where your pet requires regular medication for simple pet problems such as allergies, fungal infections or fleas/ticks. In case your pet is seriously ill, you will not be able to buy their medications online (as it will take a couple of days for delivery) but you can always order the refill from an online store.
Budget Pet Insurance? Buy Accident-Only Insurance Policies!
Most new pet owners sign up for insurance for their pets when they are young and their monthly premiums are very low. However, they do not take into account how much the premiums will rise as their pet gets older. At this point, most owners are forced to cancel their policy.
In many cases, the amount spent on pet insurance premiums is far higher than what an owner would have spent on vet bills. For instance, in 2017, the average annual pet insurance was 516 dollars but the average annual vet bill was just 92 dollars.
An accident-only policy with ASPCA would cost you about 30 dollars a month and the price doesn’t increase with age. Instead of buying pet insurance, you can shop around for the lowest prices on the vet services you might need.
Researching your options ahead of time can result in savings of hundreds of dollars for vet care costs. If you are still keen on getting a policy for your pet, consider companies such as Healthy Paws and Trupanion as the premiums will not rise as your pet ages.
Buy Food in Bulk
Kibble or dry food has become the #1 pet food choice and has replaced the usual pet diet of table scraps along with mince and oats/rice.
Table scraps, especially fatty scraps from meat is a common cause of pancreatitis in pets. It’s a condition that is similar to pancreatitis in humans. Dry food is a simple way to ensure that your pet gets all the nutrition they require to stay strong and healthy.
However, small size packets of kibble can be quite expensive so it makes sense to buy pet food in bulk. Most brands have a shelf life of 1+ years. Buy your pet food in bulk and store it in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to prevent pests and mold.
Frequent Garage Sales, Flea Markets, and Thrift Stores
The only one who sees the difference between a fancy new toy and a second-hand one is you! Instead of shelling out big bucks for a new toy, invest half the amount by buying used items for your pet. You’ll probably come away with a better haul!
In addition to garage sales and thrift stores, you can also check out online stores for second-hand pet items. Items like mini dog beds for puppies can only be used for a few months. You are more likely to find these items in perfect condition but for a fraction of the original amount.
You can also repurpose items from your home as cheap alternatives for your pet. For instance, instead of buying a special pet towel for your pooch, you can simply use one of your own fraying bath towels. Your dog won’t know the difference!
Pets are the Best: But They Don’t Need to Cost an Arm and a Leg!
It’s easy to fall in love with a cute puppy or kitten. However, keep in mind that pet ownership comes with responsibilities. Make sure you commit to a budget pet.
On average, US pet owners spend 500 dollars on their pets each year. Luckily, you can reduce this amount through careful planning.
Create a budget for your pet taking into account food, medication, supplies, grooming, training, and kennel costs. This will allow you to allocate adequate funds to pet care. Adopting a pet requires time, effort, and financial investment but the rewards are priceless!
Anita Fernandes is a journalist and a writer by profession. She has been writing extensively on health and wellness related topics for a little over a decade now. Besides her professional interests, she loves a game of basketball or a good hike in her free time to fuel her spirits. “Health is wealth” is one motto of life which she lives by as well as advocates to every reader, who comes across her blogs.
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