Unsplash / Karin Hiselius
Are you one of those who always seem to spend more on your cat or dog than you do on yourself? Even if you’re nowhere near the $126.19 per month Opploans figured Americans spend on pets, Fido and Fluffy can drain your financial reserves. You know, it wouldn’t mean you loved your pet any less if you tried to slash expenses. In fact, some of these cost-cutting measures are enjoyable for both you and your pet. And they’re not that tough! You can literally cut your pet care budget in half using these DIY tips:
Keep your pup lean (but not mean)
Not only does it cost more to feed a chubby furry friend, but obese pets are also more likely to require expensive medical treatment. Overweight dogs have more trouble with arthritis, for example, and treatment can cost upwards of $300. (Looking at you, dachshunds.) And cats who are obese are more prone to UTIs that can cost their owners hundreds. What’s nice is that the DIY fix here is easy. It costs literally nothing to spend more time walking your dog or playing with your cat. And while denying them table scraps will cost plenty of mental anguish, it doesn’t require any financial outlay. So do it! Your human medical bills might benefit from the shared exercise, too.
Shop for a place that doesn’t charge pet rent
If you have a pet and are planning a move, start doing your homework way ahead of time. Make sure to pay attention to pet regulations anywhere you might choose to rent and opt for one with a low-rate pet deposit. “The average pet deposit is $300 to $500, and pet rent is usually $25 to $50 a month,” Kevin Ortner, CEO of Renters Warehouse told Debt.com. “In rare instances, I have seen pet deposits in excess of $1,000.”
Buddy up to reduce kennel costs
Especially if you have a big dog or a breed that’s not welcome in some hotels, you can spend the big bucks when you travel. Leaving home without your pet can run $15-$40 per day for boarding or a pet sitter while getting a hotel to take your pet might run $12 and up per night. The best solution here is one that also helps you get more enjoyment from pet ownership. Join a dog group! This can be as simple as hanging out regularly at an off-leash dog park or checking out Meetups for dog lovers in your area. As soon as you’re comfortable with a new dog-owning friend, see if they would be interested in exchanging pet accommodations or pet sitting. You can get familiar with the idea by hosting puppy play dates at each other’s houses. Just be sure to agree on some limits, like “I can keep your dog no more than three weekends a year.”
Sniff out lower-cost veterinary care
Live in a metro area? You may want to develop a relationship with a veterinarian in a less-populated outlying area where fees are lower. If you’re lucky enough to live near a veterinary school, take a few minutes on a slow day and find out if they run low-cost clinics for lower-income pet owners. Some farm stores in rural areas also offer flea dips, rabies shots and the like a few days a year. These clinics are almost always cheaper than a typical veterinarian’s office, as much as half off. And if you end up facing an expensive, major medical emergency with your pet, see if you might barter some kind of service to cut the bill in half. A few possibilities include cleaning kennels, designing the clinic brochure, painting their house, or updating their website. It all depends on your skills and their needs.
And pet owners, one more thing: Don’t even think about using the money you save to buy another pet!