Frugal Fridays: Saving Money with Pets, Fluffy and Fido Go Frugal

Being frugal isn’t always easy when you have pets. I should know! I have eight indoor cats and a dog. In addition, I also feed two of the outside neighborhood cats. If I wasn’t careful, I could easily spend a small fortune on pet food, treats, and litter.

When I decided to start using coupons and save money, that decision wasn’t just for the human inhabitants of my house. Pets were included as well. This presented some problems because I didn’t want to lower the quality of their food or deprive them of their special treats. Although I haven’t had to resort to buying cheaper/less quality food, there were other ways in which I was able to cut back on my pet expenses.

Chairman Meow and Zoey

1. Cat treats: With eight cats who expect (okay, demand!) their treats every morning, buying treats got very expensive. Although I was sometimes able to get treats very cheaply or free with coupons, it didn’t happen as often as I needed them. Plus, those small packages don’t go very far, and at more than $1 each it was’t a frugal thing to do. As an experiment, I bought a large bag (with coupons, of course) of a Purina Cat Chow to see if my furry friends would find this acceptable as “treats”. To my surprise and delight, they liked it even better than the Pounce! Although I would never feed my cats Purina Cat Chow as their steady diet, I find it is fabulous as treats. It’s sort of like kitty junk food. And at about $1 per pound, iy’s extremely frugal.

2. Cat litter: My friend, Becky, who owns Hidden Treasures Adoption Center for Cats, recommends the use of a litter like World’s Best Cat Litter. This is a natural and biodegradable cat litter made from corn that can be actually flushed down the toilet or composted. In addition, it is much healthier for your cat than the clay type litter because it is less dusty; and it clumps, so scooping is easy. However, she freely admits World’s Best Cat Litter is outrageously expensive. Thankfully, Becky has a great substitute for this type of litter. Believe it or not, game bird feed in the crumbles form is exactly the same as World’s Best Cat Litter. You can find huge 50 lb bags of this at Tractor Supply or feed store for about $13. Because this product is much lighter than your average clay scooping litter, the bag is HUGE and lasts for much longer. I have six litter boxes for my eight cats, and one of these bags lasts a little more than a month.

3. Dog Treats: My dog isn’t as fussy as the cats when it comes to treats. In fact, she’ll eat almost anything. I have found she especially likes raw carrots, though. I got this trick from my vet when she told me one of my dogs was getting a little porky around the middle. Buying a huge bag of carrots is much more cost effective than buying dog treats, even with coupons. Plus, carrots are much healthier. I still buy regular dog treats on occasion, but I’ve found the bulk package of raw carrots is just fine.

4. Pet Medications: This is one of the most expensive parts of pet ownership. Heart worm and flea medications alone can be incredibly expensive. The only way to make these things somewhat affordable is going through online pet medication companies like Pet RX or 1-800 Pet Meds. In addition, I always try to buy in bulk so I get free shipping.

5. Adopting a New Pet: If you are looking to add a new member to your household, I strongly urge you to go through the Humane Society or an adoption center like Hidden Treasures . First, there are so many dogs and cats in need of new homes that there really isn’t a good reason to buy a pet from a breeder. Second, adopting through a place like Hidden Treasures is actually very frugal.

Believe it or not, getting a “free” kitten isn’t really free. You have to take it to the vet for shots and to be spayed/neutered. When all is said and done, you’ll spend at least $300 and a bunch of time running back and forth to vet appointments. Conversely, a donation of $120 is expected when you adopt a kitten through Hidden Treasures and the kitten you get is fully vetted. Plus, you aren’t the one who had to run back and forth to the vet! Cats are less expensive to adopt, but again, they are fully vetted and healthy. Furthermore, if anything should go wrong in the future, Hidden Treasures will ALWAYS help with the problem or take the cat/kitten back without question.

I hope my little tidbits of information help you save money with your furry beasts. Remember, you can also find free samples for your pets on my blog along with free samples for adults, kids and teachers. If you have a money saving trick, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to email me at ginaskokopelli@yahoo.com.

 Gina is the creator of Gina’s Kokopelli, a blog dedicated to all things coupon, free and cheap. You can get more frugal tips, freebies, coupons, and great deals by visiting her blog at http://ginaskokopelli.com. Gina also teaches couponing classes and would love to be invited to your organization or business to teach a class. For more information or to inquire about a couponing class, please email her at ginaskokopelli@yahoo.com. She’s also happy to answer any couponing question you may have!

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1 Comment on "Frugal Fridays: Saving Money with Pets, Fluffy and Fido Go Frugal"

  1. brendon masters | February 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm |

    thanks for the info….about game birds and their food for cat litter…would used parakeet and finch food that has fallen to the ground work as well… or would the cats smell all the poop and be turned away in disgust?

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