Since the start of economic downturn, many people have had to cut back on various items in order to save money. Curiously, one area that many people have not been cost effective on is their pet. According to Consumer Reports, only 16% of Americans reduced the amount that they spent on their animals, while the price of their care and food rose nearly 4%. That’s a significant amount of money! We all love our animals so it can be hard to justify doing anything but the best for them. However, there are ways that you can lower spending on your companions and save a significant amount of cash while still providing them with great care.
The biggest daily expense for your pet is their food bill. It is also the easiest area to cut costs. Instead of buying a higher priced “premium” food get the lower-priced generic option. Many of the bigger chain stores offer great store brand products that your critters will love and are significantly cheaper. You can also shop online and find great values on many different brands. If your pet needs special food, shop around. You can find special foods online or at some stores for much cheaper than you can find them at your veterinarian’s office.
Speaking of your vet, this is another area you can be frugal with your critter. Vets can be very expensive, especially when your cat or dog needs a significant surgery. To save money, try comparison-shopping when your pet needs a primary care check up. By choosing the lowest price then, you will be able to save significantly when your pet has a medical emergency. Some vets offer free neutering/spaying and vaccinations for animals on certain days of the year. Keep your eye out for these days and take advantage of them.
Shopping around can also save you significantly on your pet’s medicine. Just because a vet writes a prescription for you doesn’t mean you have to get it filled with them. Veterinarian offices tend to mark up prices between 100-150% on their pet meds, even on essentials such as heartworm medication for dogs. Search online for lower prices. If your animal is prescribed a medicine that humans take, see if you can get a lower price at your local pharmacy or drug store.
The best way to lower your companions vet bill is to take preventative measures for their health. Make sure you are brushing your pet’s teeth to prevent mouth and bacterial diseases that can result. If you have a dog or cat, they only need to be washed every few months. Doing so will save you money on expensive washes and prevent their skin from drying out. Start a pet jar to set aside money for any bills that may come up. This will keep them from being a major burden on your budget.
We all love our animals and we want whatever is best for them. However, personal finances may get in the way of that. If you take a few extra steps and shop around for the best values on supplies you can keep your critters, and your wallet, fat and happy. Have a suggestion for your favorite discount pet supplies or other money saving suggestions? Leave them in the comments below.