7 Ways To Save Money On Your Pets

We have two cats in our home.  In fact, I’ve had cats, and sometimes dogs, as pets my entire life.  I’m not alone.

Approximately “70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat” (ASPCA).

While pets can enrich your life, they can also cost a small fortune if you’re not careful.  However, there are steps you can take to have a pet without ruining the budget.

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If you want a pet but don’t have  a lot of extra money, consider smaller pets like fish, hamsters, or a bird.

Keep The Pet At A Healthy Weight

Each year when I bring one of my cats in for his annual check-up, he has gained a pound.  This has happened over the last three years, so he’s now quite obese.  This year, the vet told me to only feed the cat ½ cup of food once a day.  Otherwise, he warned me, the cat was likely to get diabetes and would require daily insulin shots.  That’s not something I want, both for the expense and the oh, so fun aspect of chasing a cat around with a needle.  Just like humans, cats that maintain a healthy weight are more likely to live longer with fewer medical issues.

Buy Pet Supplies At Big Box Stores

You can get almost everything cheaper at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club.  We buy 40 pound bags of cat litter at a ridiculously low price at Costco.  We buy our cat food in bulk on Amazon.

By shopping this way instead of just picking up what we need at the pet store or the grocery store, we save a significant amount of money.

Create Your Own Pet Insurance

Pet insurance can be expensive, and just like other insurances, it rarely covers the entire price of a procedure.  Add in exclusions, and you may find that you’re breaking even between what pet insurance will cover and what you’re paying in premiums and deductibles.

A better way is to create your own pet insurance by setting aside a certain amount for pet care every month from the moment you bring your pet home.  Set aside $50 a month, and in four years, you’ll have $2,400 saved for any expensive procedure your cat or dog may need.  Continue to do this throughout your pets life, and by the time they reach 10 years old, when many medical issues crop up, you’ll have $6,000 saved.

Decide How Much Care You Can Afford

Another important step you can take is to decide how much you’ll spend on your pet.  With today’s medical advances in pet care, treating your pet for any number of conditions is possible, if you have the money and are willing to spend it.

Groom Your Pet Yourself

As much as possible, groom your pet yourself.  We routinely brush our cats, cut out matted fur, and clip their nails.  By doing these tasks ourselves, we easily save over $100 a year, if not more.

Owning a pet is a privilege and a delight.  However, if you take the right steps, it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Do you own a pet?  What do you do to reduce your pet care costs?

Source: biblemoneymatters.com

Budgeting for a New Pet

Budgeting for a New Pet

Whether you’re considering adopting a cat, dog, rabbit, hamster, or guinea pig, you must be committed to caring for your new pet for its lifetime. Adding a pet as a new family member is exciting, sometimes frustrating, and extremely rewarding. But you have to make sure you understand up front what kind of commitment you’re making. Pets thrive on love, but they also require tangibles like food, shelter and bedding. And you have to be prepared to give your new pet the veterinary care necessary for a long, healthy, happy life.

In 2011, there were approximately 218 million pets in the US, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pet ownership crosses almost all demographic boundaries, and pet owners spend substantial amounts of money caring for their companion animals. On average, US households spend over $500 per year on their pets. Budgeting for your new family member helps ensure the best possible experience for both you and your pet. Here’s what budgeting for your new pet should include.

Home Preparation

Puppies chew, kittens climb, and dogs have a tendency to get into food storage and trash cans. Before you bring your new best friend home, lock up any hazards like antifreeze or pest control products. Consider rearranging to keep “attractive nuisances” out of your pet’s territory. You may need to invest in storage products to items away from your pet that could become impromptu chew toys.

Choosing a Veterinarian

Many pet adoption agencies require you to list your veterinarian on the adoption application, so be prepared. Word-of-mouth referrals are great for finding a good vet, and you should visit, or at least telephone your new vet’s office to let them know you’ll be adopting an animal. Learn what your vet’s hours are and how after hours emergencies are handled.

Pet Supplies

Dogs generally require the most in the way of supplies. Here are the typical supplies you’ll need to consider when budgeting for your new pet:

•Food
•Food and water dishes
•Collar and leash
•ID tags (or implanted ID microchip)
•Dog bed
•Baby gates if you’re keeping your dog within certain parts of the house
•Crate
•Treats and toys

If you’re adopting a cat, you’ll need a litter box and litter, and ideally you should have a climbable “kitty condo” to keep him entertained and allow him to climb and use his claws. Small pets will require a safe, properly-sized cage, bedding, and specialized food.

Adoption Costs

Adoption costs vary widely, but pet adoption is rarely free. Some shelters will refund part or all of the cost of spaying or neutering your dog or cat, and some animals receive their initial vaccinations before they’re put up for adoption.

Day-to-Day Expenses

Budgeting for pet food will need to become a habit, and you’ll have to include cat litter for your cat, or bedding for your smaller pets when budgeting. If you use budgeting software like mint.com, you can easily add line items for regular pet expenses that will make budgeting for your new family member easier.

Training

Dog training may seem like an unnecessary expense, particularly if you’re adopting a small dog, but budgeting for training is smart for any dog you adopt, even if he comes to you already trained. Basic classes cost around $100, and help you establish your household “chain of command.” Training classes are well worth the investment, particularly if you live in an apartment complex or other environment where your dog will regularly encounter other people and pets.

Veterinary Care

Budgeting for an initial veterinary evaluation is essential for your new pet. Your vet can alert you to any potential health problems, ensure your pet is properly vaccinated, help you with flea and parasite control, and arrange spaying or neutering – procedures that help pets have healthier, and often longer lives. Vaccinations will need to be updated yearly, and your budgeting should include money set aside for unforeseen veterinary expenses.

Adopting a pet can be one of the happiest and most rewarding of family events. Budgeting for your pet ensures that he will receive all the care he needs and deserves for a happy, healthy life. You may be surprised at how much of a financial investment adopting a pet is, but when you budget properly and make a solid commitment to provide a safe, healthy, happy home for a pet, the rewards are priceless.

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Source: mint.intuit.com