Save Money on Expenses for Pets

Have a budget for pets
cat and dog

Pets are already considered as part of the family and for people who are living alone or away from their families, pets are even considered as companions. For years now, pets, especially cats and dogs, have been living in thousands of households all over the world and are being valued. When it comes to expenses for pets, this also takes a chunk off the family’s budget for the month. But as always, there are numerous ways to cut on costs and save money while dealing with the expenses for pets.

From food to crates and travel bags, to regular grooming and maintenance, to the treats, toys, and medical needs, expenses for pets when accumulated can amount to something really high. When traveling with a pet, one might find it surprising that the airfare ticket of a pet dog is almost equal the price of the airfare ticket of a human. Pets are valued and are given importance almost in the same way as people and these adorable animals deserve such treatment. However, pet owners must also not let their wallets suffer because of their expenses for pets.

For people who have pets at home or those who are thinking of getting one or more, here are some ways to save money on expenses for pets.

consider pet adoption

Consider pet adoption

1. If a person is thinking of getting a pet and is not very particular about breeds and would also like to help rescued animals, pet adoption is always encouraged. However, people who intend to adopt pets from a shelter must keep in mind that most of these pets have a history of neglect or abuse, so it is important that they spend more time with their pet. Adopting a pet would also help the rescue centers since most of the time, they could only help a number of animals. Also, adopting a pet will help a person save money in large amounts, especially regarding expenses for pets since they no longer have to purchase the pet, pay fees and charges for its papers, and spend more for spaying or neutering.

Find a good breeder

find a good breeder

2. For those who want a particular breed, the best way to save money and get the best kind of pet possible is by choosing the best breeder in the area. Good breeders ensure that the animals are healthy hence owners save money from medical bills and usually, pets already come with papers when purchased from a good breeder. Once a potential pet owner finds a good breeder, he or she must research about it on the Internet and by asking around. Check the dogs and their parents, and the environment where their parents are being raised. Also, references from other breeders or veterinarians could be helpful. It is important to get a good breeder so that there would be minimal problems regarding the pet and, of course, minimal problems mean minimal expenses for pets and the chance to save money.

Spaying cats
spaying cats

3. Neutering or spaying a pet could cost a lot since it is a medical surgery designed to remove the whole or a large part of an animal’s reproductive organ to avoid further reproduction. This is often done in rescue centers right away. For pet owners who are contented on having their pet and would not want more kittens or puppies, the best way to go is having their pets neutered and spayed. For cheaper charges on the procedures, pet owners can check the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). One case is that a pet owner went for a local vet and inquired about the fee of neutering a small breed puppy and that vet said $800, the owner asked around and learned that the ASPCA in San Francisco charges $225 and in a further place, Oakland, CA, neutering and spaying of small breed puppies could be done for  $100. Another option to save money from expenses for pets is one local Humane Society clinics.

Dog peeing outside

dog peeing outside

4. Another common problem for pet owners is when their pets treat the whole house or certain parts of it as their toilet. This is not just bad behavior for the pet but this is also very unhygienic for the house. Pet owners must housebreak their pets, especially the dogs and make sure that they go outside of the house to take a dump or to urinate. Dogs could also do this while they are being walked outside. On the other hand, cats usually have a sandbox and most cats have no problem getting used to it. Although pet owners must still be responsible and constantly check the cat’s sandbox and not just leave it out for days. When pets are trained to do their business, this will help the owner save money and also minimize the expenses for pets since they no longer have to buy those expensive pee pads and cleaning solvents.

Sacks of dog food

buy dog food in bulk

5. Pet owners might not realize it but pet food alone costs so much! However, it is important for the well being of every beloved pet so the trick here to save money regarding expenses for pets, especially pet food, is to buy them in bulk and choose the discounted ones. This is also ideal for owners who have medium to large breeds of dogs since these breeds eat a whole lot more compared to small breeds. Pet food that could be bought in sacks and by the bulk is ideal, particularly for dog food since cats don’t eat much anyway.

In pet shops and hardware stores, pet food is often sold at discounted prices. In the Internet, there are also shops that sell pet food in low prices and there are also online coupon websites that have discount coupons for pet food. If a pet owner has much time in his or her hands and would like to personally prepare the food of his or her pet and also save money on pet expenses, there are also recipes on the Internet for homemade dog and cat food to save money.

Second-hand crate

6. Pet owners are usually friends with other pet owners and if a person is just starting out with having a pet, it won’t hurt to ask other pet owners if they have unused pet equipment at the basement or garage. Offer to buy it for a reasonable amount (definitely cheaper than brand new ones sold on pet shops and stores) and if the other pet owner decides to just give it away, then that would be great for a person who wants to save money from expenses for pets.

The most common unused pet equipment are small crates, baskets, or dog houses that were bought when the pet of the other person was still a kitty or puppy. Other things that are usually left behind are toys like balls and other toys dogs chew on. Sometimes pets tend to lose interest in a toy and just ignore it. When getting a hand-me-down dog toy from another pet owner, make sure the dog toy is washed thoroughly and the saliva of the other dog is removed totally from the toy.

When there is some extra money or the dog has been really good, get him or her his own toy as a treat and choose the durable one so it will last for a long time. Owners can also buy second-hand pet equipment from online shops or thrift stores to save money.

Research about pet
research pet breeds

7. Research, research, research! Knowing a lot about the kind of pet a person has or would like to have is important. Will this particular breed be comfortable with the size of one’s home and lifestyle? What breeds go along fairly well with other breeds/animals and what are those that prefer to be just the only pet? Are there kids in the house? What are the child-friendly breeds? Pet owners must know these and a whole lot more. Through researching, pet owners can also know the attitude of their pets, the particular care that it needs, and the  ways they can be trained. This research can be done through the Internet that is overflowing with information, through books, through conversations with other pet owners, and by asking veterinarians. In order to save money from expenses for pets, one can borrow books about pets from other pet owners and just surf the internet wherein information is free.

vaccinate your pets

8. Regarding vaccinations, ask for the local vets or vaccination clinics around the area. Don’t just immediately take the first offer. There might be cheaper vaccination services in other clinics. And any responsible pet owner must know that vaccination is important, not just for the pet but also for the general safety of the people around the pet. Pets who seem not in the mood or are sick must not be given vaccinations since this might lead to unpleasant circumstances, wait it out for a few days or let the pet rest for a little while.

Here are additional tips for pet owners so they can save money on expenses for pets. Remember that what is important is that proper love, care, and attention is given to the pets and at the same time.

Groom the pet at home. Pay attention to the routine of the pets and check the time that they do it. Opt for older veterinarians. Keep the water bowl always full. Forget about dog parks that require membership fees, head to the local park or share backyards with other dog owners. It is also a good idea to invest in affordable pet insurance, so your pet stays healthy. One of the best pet insurances that offer great services for a very affordable price would be Bivvy insurance.

With all these tips to save money on pet expenses hopefully you found something useful in the article that you can implement to save a few dollars.

share some money with fido

Why savings goals matter?

savings goals, savings account, bankWhy do we set goals?  We set goals so that we can have something to work towards.  It helps us to have an end in sight.  All too often in life we work and work and we do not have an end goal in mind.  It might be retirement; it might be a new jet ski, or a new set of golf clubs.  Whatever it is having a goal gives us something to work for.  When there is a “reward” at the end the process to get there can feel worthwhile.  Obviously these that I mentioned are financial related hence being a finance related site, but you may have a goal to lose 10 or 15 pounds.

I remember a few years back having one of the best savings accounts with a local bank that was then sold to a major world wide bank.  The savings account transferred over to one of their premiere savings accounts.  Wheewwww having close to 8k in the bank I was making more than $200 in interest every year.  It was phenomenal.  While I did not have any real goals for this money seeing the interest accumulate every year was great.

I have found that one of the toughest challenges about having major savings goals is maintaining focus.  Typically the bigger the financial savings goal the longer it takes to achieve and the more likelihood to lose focus.  I use a spreadsheet to track my savings goals.  I know some banks and financial software packages have savings calculators and separate tracking accounts to help you achieve your goals.

Banks are a great resource to help you save, if you can open an account that is interest bearing you will earn money on the money that you are trying to save for your goal.  It is a win win for you, what’s better than to be paid to save?  Be sure to shop around for the best rates if you are looking to open a savings account.

Savings goals matter because in this tough economy you need to be prepared for the unexpected, and when purchasing a big ticket item many of us do not have sufficient cash flow to buy and not be affected by the steep price.  So an initial savings goal should be to set aside an emergency fund.  Do it you will be happy you did!

Whatever they may be it is important to set a goal and try to stick with it.  If you have never set goals set small ones that are easily achieved to give yourself the confidence and momentum to take on large goals.  At the end you will be happy when you can see your hard work paid off.

Photo by: 401 (k) 2012

Shhh…. What do you think of that B*****?

budget, budgets are sexy, budgeting in the fun stuff,,, mba, this that and the mba

Now that I have your attention, you are probably scratching your head wondering why that would be on a personal finance website.  Shame on you for thinking that!! What would your mother say?  The word is in the news all over the world now.  That magical word is BUDGET.  The congressional budget, state budget, city budget, your personal budget, budget for that trip, some websites use that as part of their web address…this budget that budget… What in the world does the word budget even mean? 

According to my good friends over at Merriam Webster here are the origins of budget:

Middle English bowgette, from Middle French bougette, diminutive of bouge leather bag, from Latin bulga, of Celtic origin; akin to Middle Irish bolg bag; akin to Old English belg bag. First known use: 15th Century.

Now that I read that I can understand what the word budget means, well can’t you?  Think about it, budgeting in essence is using the available resources that you currently have, you can’t spend more than you make.  Well you can, but it is frowned upon. A bag holding your instrument of trade could be seen as your bank or wallet holding your cash!

Lately, the wallet and bank of mine have been near empty up until February of this year when my wife started working.  She was working probably harder before; she was at home taking care of our two little kiddies.  (Cheeks if you are reading this and have made it this far in the article, I love you, sorry for the shameless plug for my wife)

Here is the modern day definition from Merriam Webster:

a : a statement of the financial position of an administration for a definite period of time based on estimates of expenditures during the period and proposals for financing them

b : a plan for the coordination of resources and expenditures

c : the amount of money that is available for, required for, or assigned to a particular purpose

Taking a few moments out of your hectic routine on a monthly or bimonthly basis can help you find hidden cash flow problems (money you are spending that you may not know that you are spending) and free up some cash to throw at your retirement or any other goals you have.  Budgeting also helps you to set goals and gives you a target to work to.  Working day in and day out can become monotonous as the weeks and months fly by we wonder what we have accomplished looking back.  Well you are in luck, we can use the budget as a tool to show what we have accomplished. 

Setting a family budget doesn’t have to be elaborate or be on a fancy spreadsheet.  Write it on a napkin if you wish, but make sure that you stick to it.  Speaking of that my wife and I need to sit down and straighten out our finances now that we have 3 different cash flows!  

PHOTO BY: darek.zon