Fur, feathers or scales -our pets hold a special place in our hearts. Many people consider their pets to be part of their family and treat them with the same level of care and affection. It's no surprise that Americans spent $72.56 billion on their pets in 2018, according to the National Pet Owners Survey.
Like anything, when it comes to budgeting for your pets, it's best to plan ahead! Here are some smart ways to spend less on pet-related expenses:
Create a pet budget:
First things first: in order to save money on pet expenses, you need to know how much it costs to take care of your pet. For example, routine veterinary care is a significant annual cost, with pet owners spending an average of $235 per year on recurring vet visits for a dog and $160 for a cat, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Along with annual vet expenses, you'll also need to budget monthly for expenses like food, treats, toys, accessories, obedience classes and grooming. Be sure you're including these pet-related expenses in your monthly budget so you're not caught by surprise.
Make health a priority:
It pays to invest in preventative health care for your pet. For example, even if your pet seems healthy, missing an annual vet check-up can cause preventable problems to go unnoticed. This may lead to serious (and potentially costly) health concerns in the long run. Vaccinations and preventative measures like flea or heartworm medications are also important; skipping these to save money can put your pet at risk for diseases and other health conditions. Another way to prevent problems down the road is to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Be sure they're eating the correct food and getting plenty of exercise!
Consider pet insurance:
Similar to health insurance for humans, pet insurance can help curb medical costs if your pet becomes sick or injured. Pet insurance is available from most of the top insurance providers for common pets like dogs and cats, as well as some exotic pets. Depending on the plan you choose, pet insurance may cover your pet's annual wellness check-ups as well as procedures, testing and emergency vet visits for illness or injury. Overall, pet insurance can give you peace of mind and help you lessen the costs if anything should happen to your pet.
Try DIY grooming:
Some breeds of dogs and cats require professional grooming to look and feel their best. These monthly grooming sessions can cost anywhere from $50 to upwards of $200, depending on the size of your furry friend and the services they need. One way to save on grooming costs is by doing some basic upkeep at home. A simple bath and brushing can keep your furry companion clean and healthy between trips to the groomer. Teaching yourself the proper way to trim their nails or claws can also help cut down on costs. With the right tools and a little research, you can groom your pet from the comfort of home.
Sign up for loyalty programs:
Most major pet stores have loyalty programs that feature special discounts or coupons just for members. Some programs will even offer a birthday gift for your pet! If you frequently shop in a certain pet store, it makes good sense to sign up for a loyalty program that allows you to pamper your pet with food, treats, toys and accessories for less.
By planning ahead and budgeting for pet-related expenses, you can avoid surprises and keep more of your hard-earned money in your pocket.
At Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU), we make it easier to create budgets and keep track of all your pet-related expenses with Money Management, a free service available in WPCU's Mobile and Online Banking. With Money Management, you can see all of your financial accounts in one place with one login, allowing you to quickly see where your money is going each month. To get started, simply log into Mobile or Online Banking, then click the “Money Management" tab. It's that easy! For more tips on using Money Management, click here for an interactive online demo.