Pet-ternal Instincts

Adventures in Pet Parenting

Pet-ternal Instincts
4FEB
Strategies for Saving Money on Pet Food

According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2011, Americans spent $50.96 billion on their pets and $19.85 billion was spent on pet food. Like most pet owners, I know that purchasing pet food can really take a bite out of my budget, especially if you are feeding your pet a premium, all natural food,too.

In past years, consumer experts have encouraged pet owners to save money by purchasing pet food in bulk, by using store circulars to capture weekly deals, by clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, by joining retailer clubs to take advantage of scheduled sales, by signing–up for e-newsletters which can contain coupons and by visiting manufacturers websites to score coupons.

Although I do many of these things to save money on pet food, I also implement these cost savings strategies:  

1. Better diets make fuller wallets                                          

Many of us believe that pets are what they eat. As a result, we feed our fur-kids premium diets which have higher concentration of quality animal protein (chicken, fish, lamb and/or beef) with a controlled amount of fat, calories and minerals. Unfortunately, these brands cost more. But, by feeding a better quality food, we feed our pets smaller portions of food, all while keeping him or her fuller. Moreover, due to our purchase of a better diet, we save money because we are buying less bags of pet food per year.

2. Healthier pets means less veterinary expenses

If you feed your pet the appropriate serving size meal, your bag of pet food will last longer and your pet will not be overweight. Like humans, overweight pets are subject to ailments like diabetes, arthritis, digestive disorders, decreased stamina, heat intolerance, respiratory problems, increased blood pressure and heart disease. Furthermore, treating pets with these ailments can cost big bucks.

3. Auto-ship can save you money

If you do know how long it takes for your pet to finish a bag of premium pet food, consider using an online retailer, like PetFoodDirect.com that can ship Fluffy or Fido’s diet directly to you every 30 or 60 days. By selecting the auto-ship delivery option, you can save more money, if you are buying one of the site’s “favored” or bonus brands. In some cases, you can save up to thirty percent on your selection. Moreover, representatives from PetFoodDirect.com suggest buying in bulk to save on shipping costs. Also, for those pet owners whose four-legged friends consume prescription diets, save by buying at Petfooddirect.com, which sells these diets for less as compared to most veterinary offices.

4. Clipping coupons

With TV shows like TLC’s “Extreme Couponing”, we are inspired to utilize coupons, but many of us do not have the time to coupon on a regular basis. These days, visit sites like coupons.com; couponmom.com; couponcabin.com; retailmenot.com; and smartsource.com for printable pet food coupons. Also, consider downloading a mobile app like Coupon Clipper or Coupon Sherpa that also offers pet food savings.

5. Employee discount plan

Are you a member of an employee discount plan that is part of your larger work-life compensation package? These days, many employee discount programs grant workers access to exclusive offerings from local and regional pet vendors. Don’t wait. Take advantage of pet food savings.

6. Get cash back

Do you have a credit card that offers cash back savings?  If you do, use it to buy pet food. The more you spend, the more rewards will be returned to you. Just make sure you can pay your bill in full at the end of the month to make the savings really count.

7. Don’t waste gas

Many suburban, pet owners tell me that they wait until the food runs out to buy more. Don’t waste gas for a single trip to the food store. Use gas saving strategies: Run all errands in a similar location and make it one trip to reduce your fuel cost. This might take some planning, but you will see a substantial gas savings over the cost of the year.

8. Don’t incur the delivery charge

For city dwellers, opting-in for the delivery option can add $15 to $20 to the price of your pet food. If possible, carry a shopping cart to the pet store and schlepp your purchase home. This is inconvenient but you do the math (15 X $12=$180 per year in savings)!

By using these cost saving strategies, you will be able to save money on pet food, treats and more.

For more ideas on how to pet save, come to my #GetPetSavings Twitter Party on Tuesday, February 5, 2012 at 7PM.

Photo cat and dog via Shutterstock 

 

Charlotte Reed

Charlotte Reed

Charlotte Reed is a popular pet expert that routinely brightens up television screens, graces radio waves, appears on best-selling authors' lists and can be found lecturing at sold-out seminars. Reed is the Happy & Healthy Pets blogger for Prevention.com and the Pet Solutions columnist for First for Women magazine. She is also the author of The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette.

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