Owning pets is fun and rewarding, but it is important to be aware of how much maintaining a pet will cost you each month and how much you can realistically afford to spend. The cost of owning a pet varies as greatly as the types of pets that are available. However, whether you have a dog, cat, exotic bird, or goldfish, the last thing you want to do is to have to give away a pet you have come to enjoy and love because you didn't think about your pet budget. Not to worry; here are some simple tips to ensure your pet's health and well-being -- without breaking the bank.
One way to cut back on your spending, especially in the beginning, is to buy used items. Like shopping for our children or grandchildren, we can tend to go overboard thinking our pet will be so happy to see a shiny new item and that they will love us even more. Pets, however, don't know the difference between used and new. A new ball is no better than a used ball found near a tennis court. A new bed with memory foam and massaging fingers is impressive to us, but the old bed spread you are discarding is more than fine for your dog or cat; plus, it smells like you, which is a real treat for your pet to snuggle up against.
Shop around Before you Buy: Online Stores and Forums
Perhaps going the used and recycled route is not for you, but you still want to be careful with new purchases. There are many ways for you to save money and still enjoy a brand new item. Online stores are one great way to help you compare styles, pricing, and quality before you buy. Many websites have a "top deals" option, which allows you to profit from a company's overstock. While pet medication and flea & tick products are often necessary, they can get costly. Look at customer reviews to make sure you are spending wisely and getting the most for your money. Buying better quality first, even if it costs a little more, is smart shopping.
Another avenue worth exploring is an online pet forum. Get involved with forums that focus on your type of pet and post questions about what you are looking to buy. Reading through the answers, questions, and suggestions will help give you insider tips on best deals to fit your budget without sacrificing your pet's health.
Be sure to check your local newspapers and free thrifty shopper newsletters that you see around grocery store entrances and newsstands. Local pet stores often advertise sales in newspapers just before the weekend as well, so be sure to check there as well.
As you likely know, vet bills and vaccinations can really add up for pets that require them. Be sure to check with the various vets in your area, and don't settle for the first price you hear. Also, keep your eye out for free or nearly free vaccination days that many of the large nationwide pet stores offer at certain times of the year.
Think about Pet Food
Food may also be an item you can consider spending less on. Before you do so, though, understand that buying cheap food may seem wise short term; long term, however, you might end up paying the price for this. Cheap food that doesn't give your pet proper nutrition can spell extra visits to the veterinarian by depriving your pet of basic nutrients for a balanced died. High quality, more nutritious food makes for a healthier pet, which can minimize expensive vet bills later. Look for labels that say the food is "complete and balanced." If you really need to cut costs, think about how much you're feeding your pet. Overfeeding is both costly and unhealthy for your pet. Ask your vet or follow portion suggestions found on food packaging.
Budgeting for your pet does not need to be complicated, tedious, or time consuming. Like any money management plan, it's all up to you to stay on top of things in order to maintain a balance between your pet's needs and your spending. Start saving in areas discussed here and at the same time focus on "spending" what you can afford, like more time and love for your pet.
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