I have 4 pets living in my house: one rat (Oreo), two cats (Ivy and Bella), and one dog (Charlie). A lot of people think that’s crazy, but it works for us. We love having them. Pets are such a joy to have in our lives, but we don’t want them to become a financial burden to us. That’s why my husband and I have learned how to be frugal while still providing the best care possible for our pets. Actually, for the most part our pets aren’t a huge expense. Okay, so we do have to provide food, litter, etc. . . But we’ve shopped around and found out how to get good supplies for less.
Sam’s Club is a great place to buy our pets’ food. We can buy in bulk and the food is almost always cheaper there than at Wal-Mart. We buy Purina Puppy Chow for our dog. At Sam’s Club we pay $23.42 for 37.5lbs of puppy food, whereas at Wal-Mart it’s $12.88 for 16.5lbs. That’s an almost $0.18 savings per pound. For our cats we buy Purina Indoor Cat Chow. At Sam’s Club we pay $12.98 for 18.5llbs for cat food and at Wal-Mart it’s $12.78 for 16lbs. That’s a $0.9 savings per pound! So, if you’re not sure about getting a Sam’s membership you might want to reconsider. I know with pet supplies alone we’ll end up making our money back (not to mention all the human food we get cheaper there).
- Sam’s Club sells the cheapest cat litter that we could find. So I know you don’t want to buy bad cat litter, but Sam’s litter is not only cheap–it also works well! Again, it’s the buying in bulk principle. And remember you want clumping litter because if it’s not clumping it’s gross.
- Shop around! If you’re not sure who sells the cheapest, then spend some time shopping around. Compare prices store-to-store. You’ll end up saving more money in the long run. “But I don’t have extra time to shop around and comparing prices!” I’m sure you don’t just shop at one store, so each time you go into another store just run over the the pet’s section to check out the prices. Keep all the prices stored away in a notebook or on your phone. Over a few weeks/months you’ll have gathered all the data you need, and you’ll know who has the best prices and start saving money.
- Our kitten (Ivy) just turned a year old. Immediately my husband and I switched them over to adult food. Adult food is a lot cheaper then kitten and puppy food. At Sam’s Club we pay $23.42 for 37.5lbs of puppy food, whereas their dog food is $23.98 for 50lbs. That’s a $0.23 savings per pound of food! Just remember, don’t switch your pets over before a year, because up until a year they need all of the extra nutrients they can get in the puppy/kitten food. We’ll be switching our dog over in June when she turns a year old.
- Consider buying your rat or rodents food online from Amazon. You can buy your food in bulk and get great prices. Plus if you buy enough food you’ll get free shipping. We bought a huge 20lb bag about a year ago and are still using it to feed our rat.
- Try buying bones at non-specialty stores and stock up on bones when you find sales. We’ve bought bones from Tractor Supply and Walgreens. In fact the best bone I’ve ever bought was from Walgreens. It was a shoulder bone that lasted for months, and it was super cheap. I think I paid only $4 dollars for it.
Feed your pet the recommended amount of food a day. I feed all of my pets twice a day. I follow the recommend amounts of food (per pet weight and age) written on the back of the food bag. I half the recommended food and give that to them in the morning, and then I give them the other half at night. I give them about a half hour to finish their meal. By leaving out the food all day and refilling the bowl every time it’s empty you’re losing money and creating fat pets.
- Buy all your pet’s needs in bulk! You’ll save a bundle. You can always get storage containers.
- Don’t buy pet food containers! It’s a huge waste of money. Instead go back to the regular storage container area. I bought wrapping paper containers to hold our pets’ food. The containers were only $8 apiece. If I had bought the pet food containers in the pet section I would have spent $23 for a smaller container.
- Buy your pet’s medication online. A lot of vets make it difficult to get your pet prescriptions, but keep hassling them! You will save a lot of money by going through an online store like 1-800-Petmeds, etc. . . Just make sure you do a quick comparison between 1-800-Petmeds and the other online medication stores. 1-800-Petmeds isn’t always the cheapest.
- Don’t skimp on pet medicine. I know a lot of people who buy cheap flea medicine, and they pay for it in the long run. Their pets are continually getting fleas. Also, buying off-brands like PetArmor is a bad idea. Petarmor doesn’t really work. My husband worked for a vet clinic for awhile, and he can attest to the fact that PetArmor is a bad buy. What’s the point of spending money on medicine that doesn’t work? You can still use some of the cheaper brands, but not the super cheap ones. The point is to keep the pet healthy and happy.
- You can’t afford not to give your dog heartworm medicine. If your dog catches heartworms you will be paying upwards of a thousand dollars to treat your dog. Like I said earlier, look into buying your medicine online; you’ll save because the vet clinics mark their prices up.
- Enjoy being a pet owner. Pets can actually help you live a longer and healthier life! Dogs make great walking and running buddies, and cats make great companions. Owning a pet will greatly enrich your life. And they are so much fun!