Saving Money on Pet Ownership

Pets can be expensive. I've read articles detailing just how much they can cost over the course of a year or a lifetime, and the costs can be significant. It's all about balance, though. You can cut back on other areas of spending to make pet ownership affordable. Also, I think that any pet owner will tell you that you can't put a price tag on the amount of joy and companionship a pet can bring into your life.

The first step to saving money on pet ownership is to adopt. There are so many unwanted pets out there that need a home and are available for free that I don't think it makes sense to pay for one. Unfortunately, some top-dollar pets are produced by unscrupulous, unethical people who treat animals in a way that would horrify any animal lover. By paying for a pet, some consumers actually unwittingly contribute to animal abuse. When you adopt a pet from a shelter, you do exactly the opposite.

If you want more than one pet, getting two of the same kind (i.e. two cats) will help save you money because both pets can share the same food, supplies, and toys. You'll also give your pets a playmate and constant source of companionship.

Just like with any other regular purchase in your life (like toiletries), look for coupons and sales on items like pet food and stock up when you can get the items at a good price rather than waiting until you really need them and will likely get stuck paying the highest price. If you regularly visit the same pet store, sign up for their newsletter to receive special coupons.

I don’t buy my cats toys anymore since they are more interested in playing with the trash than the toy. Crinkly paper, bags, and empty boxes provide lots of fun for the cats. They also like Q-Tip sticks (I remove the cotton first) and milk jug rings.

Another tip: Shots are expensive for cats and most vets will tell you that they need them every year, but there is a strong theory that they only need them every few years (at least, if they are indoor-only cats). Don't take my word for it though because I'm not a vet--do your own research before making any major decisions about your pet's health.


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