(BPT) - These days, everyone is searching for ways to save money and stretch budgets. Consumer experts advise people to sniff out deeper discounts, saving opportunities and additional ways to cut costs. For pet owners, it can feel challenging to cut costs without compromising on care.
Being vigilant is key, according to pet expert, Charlotte Reed.
'Clip coupons, use store circulars and ask for discounts like family and friend's rewards, and multiple pet or store loyalty programs,' says Reed. 'Constantly challenge yourself to find ways to save money when it comes to pets. I do it every day!'
To get started, Reed suggests using these five tips. Before you know it, you'll be seeing savings on everything your four-legged friend needs.
1. A membership that pays
You might think of AAA as being strictly for roadside assistance. Think again - pet owners can enjoy additional discounts, which most people never take advantage of. For example, pet-owning members can shop in-store or online and receive discounts with pet manufacturers and national pet retailers. Some discounts vary among regional auto clubs, but it's always worth it to ask.
2. Investigate discount pet medications
The Advocacy for Pets and Affordable Wellness (APAW) raises awareness among pet owners about significant cost savings they can enjoy simply by asking their vet for a prescription, and purchasing that medication from their local retail pharmacy. Just be sure to confirm the retailer's pet pharmacy program before dropping off your pet's prescription. In addition, pet owners can purchase vet-grade, over-the-counter, generic medications, such as flea and tick treatment, for a fraction of the cost of the brand name at pharmacies such as Walmart, Sam's Club or Costco. Visit www.APAW.org for more savings tips, and to find out what pharmacies carry pet Rx programs.
3. Deep discounts on pet necessities
Pet food and cat litter are two of the biggest pet expenses for dog and cat owners. If you purchase these products online from larger online retailers, cash in on the auto-ship option. In most cases, consumers not only get the discount prices of online purchasing, but they frequently get additional discounts which can more than make up for shipping cost.
4. Pet insurance can help you save in the long run
Americans spent $50.96 billion on pets in 2011, and $13.41 billion of that was on vet care, according to the American Pet Products Association. In recent years, treatments once reserved for humans, from radiation therapy to kidney transplants, are now available for pets. That means once-fatal conditions are now treatable, but often at high cost. For pet owners willing to spend the money to treat their pet, insurance can be a viable option. Carefully reviewing deductibles and monthly payments will ensure insurance can fit into your budget, ultimately helping to defray costs in the event of an emergency.
5. DIY can keep money in your wallet
Bathing and grooming at home can help save money, as opposed to going to a dog wash or paying a groomer. For additional savings, protect your pet's health by cleaning his ears, brushing his teeth and clipping his nails. Ask your veterinarian or a vet tech to teach you how to maintain your pet's health with these preventive measures.
When your pet is a member of the family, you want to give him the best care possible. These ideas and others about affordable pet care can be found using resources like APAW; they'll help you treat your pet right - without breaking the family budget.