Pets can be a costly companion, but we still love them!
Here is my guide to saving money where it counts.
- Coupons, coupons, coupons! Yep, grab that coupon insert out of the recycling bin — you’re gonna need it. Pet food companies are always sending out coupons in inserts for their newest food or biggest seller. And most of the time the coupon applies to any variety/size. Also look for coupon blinkies, tear pads, and coupons on the pet food packages. They tend to have a longer expiration date, and usually don’t have a limit on how many you can use.
- Send a Thank You Email or Feedback! One of the things I like to do is send an email to a pet food company I know my pets love for positive feedback. Occasionally the company rep will send high value coupons and samples via mail as a thank you. Also sign up for newsletters, pet companies send occasional emails with coupons to their subscribers.
- Instant Savings at the store with the Big Red Ball! I know the store is tempting to veer off course, but you must resist! They have within their app something called Cartwheel. It offers weekly instant savings, anywhere from 5% to 75% off that week’s items. Which sometimes include pet food, toys, treats, and other pet supplies.
- For example. Last week they had an instant savings of 20% off of certain dog food. Along with the instant savings, there was a printable coupon for $3 off that $7.99 box of dog food, meaning my total out-of-pocket was $3.39.
- The Dollar Store. No need to shell out big bucks at a pet store. The dollar store has almost every supply you need — bowls, collars, leashes, toys, brushes, even cute clothing. Check out their baby isle for pet socks, no need to spend $10+ at a big pet store. Also the dollar store sometimes has name brand food, so try to keep a lookout for coupons to match.
- Don’t Touch That Subscription Box! Pet subscription boxes are nice in theory, but most of the time they send small samples which are not worth the money. And there’s zero guarantee your pet will actually like what they send. Plus, for the same price you can get way more from your local grocery store.
- Buy in Bulk! Always try to buy in bulk when possible. Dog food on sale? Great! Buy enough to last you at least two months. And don’t forget the coupons! I know it may be a hassle now, but it will save you several trips to the store just for food.
- Pet Store Clearance! Yes, they have clearance. The only time you should buy anything from a big pet store is when it’s on clearance and/or you’ve got a great coupon to go with that bag of kibble. I’ve found “high-end” pet food at a fraction of the retail price at a certain pet store for a “smart pet“, where they take half off on top of their clearance price. And you can use coupons on clearance!
- Avoid Buying Food at the Veterinarian! It may be convenient at the time, but the mark up on that can of pate is bonkers. Instead ask what food they recommend to buy for your fur baby. And always ask what’s a good calorie/protein count to look for. Also, try to avoid buying your pet’s medicine at the vet. There are several online retailers that tend to have lower prices than your pets veterinarian.
- For example. My senior cat, Neko, needs to take joint medication with his food. His vet charges $25 for 60 count bottle, which is enough for one month. The same medicine can be found online for $16.60 for 80 count bottle. That’s $8.40 less, and you get 20 more pills.
- Always Check for Rebates! Every now and then pet companies will give out rebates for purchasing from a certain chain or buying a certain item. I use this rebate app whenever possible. Bonus? You can use coupons with the rebate when they’re available!
- Don’t Get Pet Insurance! For some instances pet insurance may sound like a good idea, but don’t do it. Just like that credit card from college, it’s a bad product. Most pet insurances don’t cover dental or hereditary ailments. And the ones that do tend to only pay back a small portion of the bill. If your fur baby is older, expect your monthly bill to be high. Most insurances have a waiting period. Yup, you read that right…a waiting period. And here’s where things get complicated — after footing the entire pet bill, you’ll file a claim to see if your pet’s injuries qualify for a reimbursement. If your pet does qualify, you then pay your pet’s insurance deductible. And after all that you’ll only be reimbursed up-to 90% of the bill. Instead create a pet emergency fund. There’s no deductible, no waiting period, and no exemptions.
- If putting aside a large chunk of money isn’t an option for you. You can use your pet insurance quote as a guide for how much to put away a every week, or bi-weekly. Ideal emergency fund amount is at least $1000.
These changes are simple and easy to transition to. And at the end of the year that money is in your pocket, or in your pet’s emergency fund. I hope this helps you and your fur babies!