by Jeffrey Strain (SavingAdvice.com)
Making The Proper Choice
As SavingAdvice.com members know, the time when the greatest potential for savings presents itself often comes from good planning before you actually make the purchase. This is most definitely true when you are trying to decide on a pet. Approximately 60% of Americans have some type of animal they care for and consider a pet. While dogs and cats are the animals that first come to mind as pets for most people, the variety of pets that can be kept is enormous.
The costs of keeping a pet can run from minimal to tens of thousands of dollars over the pet’s lifetime. These costs will largely be determined by the type and size of the pet you choose. Smaller pets such as mice, hamsters and gerbils demand less attention than many larger animals and also cost a lot less to keep. Food, medical expenses, toys/accessories, training as well as the cost in time associated with the pet (including having to find care for it if you have to leave town) are all areas that should be considered. Taking the time to research and choose a pet that will fit your budget and lifestyle is vitally important. Whether your interest is for a typical cat and dog or it strays to something more bizarre like bugs, taking the time to evaluate both its and your needs will pay off financially in the long run.
Once you have determined the perfect pet for you and your family, getting the needed equipment, housing and other accessories is essential. Again, a little planning ahead of time to get the proper items needed will cut your costs down dramatically. Search garage sales, classifieds, discount stores and the Internet auction sites to get the material you need at the best price. Anything that you forget will have to me purchased on short notice usually meaning a higher price
The next cost that will arise pertains to where you actually get your pet. While pet stores and breeders are often the most convenient place to purchase a pet, a trip to your local animal shelter will almost certainly cost you much less with the added benefit of saving an animal’s life. In addition, you will automatically be eligible for $130 worth of coupon discounts for your pet by bringing in your certificate of adoption into any petco store.
Searching the Internet for websites and discussion groups that focus on the type of pet you have chosen will save you hundreds of dollars if not more. The advice from others on common problems and the best way to deal with them will certainly save you time and money. You will also hear about many more saving deals than you would on your own since this information is regularly passed around in those areas. Once you find a site that you enjoy, it’s well worth signing up for any newsletter or ezine that will bring this information directly to your mailbox.
Creative Ways To Save
The cost of food can run into thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your pet, especially with larger animals. Pet food from your vet will almost always be the most expensive. If your vet recommends a certain pet food brand, make note of it and try to find it someplace else. Taking the time to research the best prices on pet food is also well worth the effort. Different brand names with basically the same ingredients can vary greatly, so simply comparison shopping can save you a significant amount of money. Purchasing food in bulk at warehouse and discount pet stores can save you even more. Use coupons and search the Internet for special discounts and promotions on a regular basis.
You may even want to consider making your own pet food. There are a number of books that have recipes you can find at your local library, or you can go online into many pet specific sites and discussion groups to learn how to do this. Another way to decrease the costs associated with feeding your pet is to give your pet the proper amount. Overfeeding pets is common which not only costs extra in terms of money for food, but also in health and vet costs.
Vet bills run several hundred dollars a year for most pet owners. Just as with your family’s health, the best way to keep down medical costs with your pet is to prevent them in the first place. Getting the proper treatments, shots and vaccinations when recommended will more than likely save you hundreds of dollars in medical expenses. When problems do appear, take care of them right away to help prevent costlier treatment in the long run.
You don’t need to pay high vet prices for many standard shots and vaccinations. Pet stores and animal welfare agencies will often provide them at a huge discount. Contact your local agencies to find out where and when they are available. It’s also worthwhile to become familiar with common ailments for the type of pet you have and remedies for them. The Internet has a large amount of information, as well as your local library and online discussion groups.
While a vet is not necessary for basic shots and treatments, researching vets in your area for when you do need one will save you a lot of money. Vet prices can vary quite a bit, so taking the time to call and compare prices makes sense. Choosing the vet with the lowest prices, however, shouldn’t be the only determining factor. You want a vet that you can trust with your pet’s life if an emergency situation does come about. By far the best way to find a trustworthy vet at a reasonable price is to ask your friends and neighbors.
Grooming for your pet can get quite costly, especially if you have someone else do it on a regular basis. In most cases, however, there is no reason for that. Head to your local library and get a do it yourself book, rent a video or find sites on the Internet to teach you how. Although there are certain types of pets that need special grooming care, most pets you can groom yourself and save the expense of paying a professional.
In the end, no matter what the price you end up paying, it will almost certainly be paid back many time over in love from the pet. With a little planning and research, however, you can make that multiple many times greater…and that is the SavingAdvice.com way of doing things.
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