Saving money with your family pet

July 17, 2015 | Mission Fed

Once you have a pet, it’s hard to imagine life without it. They’re cute and cuddly (and yes, that includes our lizard friends), and some pets are even called “man’s best friend.”

Yet, this friendship comes with a cost. With regular care calculated over approximately a dozen years (the average life expectancy for many common pets), the average total bill is around $6,500 to $7,000. If Fido lives into the late teens, that figure could approach $10,000.

If you start looking at your pet as an investment—not just a furry friend—you can develop smart, money-saving strategies to offset the price tag. It may sound a little cold and calculating, but Whiskers won’t mind. Let’s look at a few ways to offset your pet’s financial footprint:

Grab those scissors and Sunday ads

It seems like half of the coupons in your local paper deal with pet food. With buy one, get one specials and seemingly endless manufacturer discounts, feeding your pet doesn’t have to be insanely expensive. Special one-time deals are a great opportunity to stock up and save. My friend told me about an experience she had with “extreme pet couponing” first-hand. Last year, she waited behind a gentleman at Target with 84 coupons for Fancy Feast cat food. 84 coupons. If you’re willing to snip and save, it can really pay off. Whether you want to cut 84 coupons, however, is entirely up to you.

Consider kennel alternatives

Kennels and traditional pet-sitting can get fairly expensive, and you’d be surprised by how many people simply love animals and don’t require payment for some animal companionship.

Sign up for loyalty programs

With a pet, you’re more than likely to make regular trips to the pet store. While you’re there, you should take advantage of the store’s “members only” plan. For example, Pet Smart offers “Pet Perks,” where members are given exclusive discounts and coupons for frequently used items like toys, cleaning products and food.

Remember to brush

Tooth decay has a high correlation with other degenerative diseases, so keeping those pearly whites nice and clean goes a long way in preventing costly treatment down the road. A weekly or monthly teeth cleaning should suffice. If you’re not sure how to get started, ask your vet about DIY teeth cleaning methods. And speaking of your vet…

Visit a veterinarian once every calendar year

Regular checkups are essential to robust pet health—and a healthy pet costs less to own. Annual appointments will also aid in your pet’s preventative maintenance.

Find the right fit

Seems obvious, but a 200-pound sheepdog isn’t for everyone. Aside from the accumulating cost, handling a large pet can simply become too burdensome, both physically and mentally. Sometimes, smaller is better. It’s all about looking at the space you’re living in, and thinking about what type of pet would thrive in that environment. If you’re out of your house a lot, try a hamster, gerbil or rabbit. If you can afford to shift your social schedule around, perhaps a dog will be a welcome addition to the family.

As you can see, owning a pet will impact your pocketbook. Mission Fed can help manage your finances better, and this will aid your financial outlook—from the time your pet is a pup to those golden years as a treasured family friend.

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. This article contains a link for a website that Mission Fed does not control. Mission Fed is not responsible and does not assume liability for the operations, content, links, privacy or security policies of third party websites.

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