Pets are great at providing love and happiness in a home, but it’s also important to understand that they require a financial commitment. The financial commitment associated with owning pets is ongoing. You’ll pay costs over the lifetime of your pet, regardless of the situation. The bottom line is, owning a pet isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save money as a pet owner.
According to the American Kennel Club, the average annual cost of dog ownership ranges widely—from $14,480 to $93,520. That price tag includes food, treats, dog toys, beds, leashes, and routine veterinary care, among other things. Cats, meanwhile, cost about $634 annually, or about $53 per month, according to the ASPCA. Much like with dogs, this estimate considers the cost associated with cat food, medical expenses, treats, toys, and more.
Consider these 10 money-saving ideas below that also work to keep pets healthy.
Purchase Pet Insurance
Enrolling your pet in an insurance plan will help offset the costs of preventative care along with accidents, illnesses, and other conditions. The average cost of pet insurance can run you between $30 to $50 per month for a plan with solid coverage. The premium costs depend on factors like the pet’s age, species, and breed, among other things. Selecting a policy wisely can often help save quite a bit of money throughout a pet’s life.
RELATED: Is Pet Insurance Worth It?
Buy Generic-Brand Pet Food
You could save a ton of money by skipping the name brands to generic or store-brand pet food. If your pet likes a particular food, do an online search for a store-brand equivalent or ask your vet’s office. It could cut your pet food costs by almost half.
When shopping for slightly less expensive food, be sure to take the time to read the ingredient list. Ideally, meat is the first ingredient, it’s a good idea to avoid meat by-products and corn.
Buy in Bulk
This can be helpful if you have more than one pet, but buying your pet’s food, treats, or litter in bulk or at a club store can save you cash, as well as time since you’ll shop less frequently. If you can safely store a 35-pound bag of kibble that costs only slightly more than the 20-pound bag, you’ll come out ahead.
Join a Loyalty Program
When you’re part of a loyalty program, you’re always first to know about promotions, coupons, and other discounts. A few of my favorites are the Chewy Autoship discount program and PETCO Pals Rewards.
Keep Up With Vaccinations and Preventative Care
Many may look at preventative care as an unnecessary expense, but it can save you money over the course of a pet’s lifetime. Treatments for things like heartworm or fleas and ticks are key to staying on top of through preventative veterinary visits to avoid expensive, unexpected vet bills associated with parasites.
Don’t Buy Pet Clothes
Pet clothing is cute, but also expensive, but have you ever considered making your pet’s clothes yourself? You can customize your creations perfectly to your animal companion’s preferences. You repurpose a tee shirt into an adorable outfit for a dog or cat. Even if you’re not talented at sewing, it’s a fun activity to try
Cut Back on Hiring Pet Sitters/Walkers
Whether it’s changing your schedule around, waking up earlier, or trading off pet duties with family and friends, there are definitely ways to cut back on spending in this area. Plan ahead and your wallet will thank you.
Rely Less on Pet Daycare
You might think that a pet daycare center is an ideal place for your pet to interact with other animals, but you can save an astronomical amount by socializing your pet yourself. If you have a puppy, try to get the dog park more often and cut down on the days spent at doggy daycare.
Create Your Own Pet Beds and Furniture
In the same way that you can get crafty to pet-proof your home, you can also make cozy spaces for your pet with some easy DIY projects. One popular example is flipping over an end table or chair and repurposing it into a pet bed. It’s incredible when you do the math to see how much you can save on overpriced pet-specific pieces.
Keep Your Pet Fit and Healthy
The healthier your pet is, the happier they’ll be and the more you’ll save in the long run. Taking preventative measures to allow for fewer vet visits is always the right move. Even if your pet is a bit older, be sure to make an effort to ensure they’re getting enough movement in their day. Try creative ways to help them get some exercise, like setting up a fun obstacle course in your living room or backyard.
What are some of the ways you save money as a pet owner?