As any pet owner knows, the price of having a pet does not come cheap. Between food, toys, supplies and routine medical costs, you could easily spend thousands each year trying to keep them happy and healthy.
It is important for pet owners to have money set aside each month for these expenses, just as you would for yourself, so that you have what you need to give your pet a great life. Here are some ways I have found to save money without skimping on quality care for your furry family members.
Stay on top of health care
Getting your pet regular face time with a veterinarian is the foremost way to save money in the long run. Though yearly visits can be expensive, they cost a heck of a lot less than a trip to the emergency room for an issue that could have been prevented. Make sure your pets are up to date on their vaccinations and talk to your vet about personalized methods to keep them in optimal health.
It may seem counter-intuitive but spending more on good-quality pet food is an easy way to keep your pet out of the emergency room and away from your emergency fund. Ask about your pet’s dietary needs and do a little research. You do not need to purchase artisan, $100-per-pound food.
Just look for a well-respected brand with vet-recommended ingredients. When you find one that works for you, buy it in bulk from Costco, Sam’s Club or Amazon to save a little in the long run.
I would also echo a recommendation our vet has given us: Do not overfeed your pets. Not only will you go through food more quickly, but you will also risk making them overweight or increasing the likelihood of diabetes. Both will cost you a ton of money and could cause your pet’s unnecessary pain.
Take advantage of loyalty programs
Becoming a loyalty member at your favorite pet store, or online pet retailer, is perhaps the best option out there for saving money. Most stores will offer a few regular sales each month, which can help you reduce spending, or will reward you with points or free items based on how much you spend in their store.
They can also track what you buy and will send out an alert if something you have purchased gets recalled. This is important when trying to stay ahead of your pet’s health issues.
I would also recommend subscribing to newsletters from your favorite pet store or manufacturers to receive monthly updates on sales and coupons. Due to some health issues, our dog has to eat a specific food – which means we spend quite a bit extra for prescription food each month.
A few times a quarter our store will issue coupons for our food. You do not have to be buying a prescription to get that perk; you can sign up with the maker of just about anything to receive these kinds of updates.
Pet owners know how rewarding it feels to care for an animal like part of the family. Just remember to make room in your budget to cushion the cost.
Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.