Popular money-saving expert Andrea Woroch DeWitt got her first adult dog with her husband, Brian.
“I got to choose the dog,” she explains, “and then I let my husband choose the name.”
Bauer, a Goldendoodle named after a gear brand for his dad’s favorite sport, hockey, created a new set of cost concerns for his family. And the fact that Bauer, now 3, is an only child just means that DeWitt and her husband want to spoil him more.
What’s a cost savings expert to do?
“I learned a lot about the time, the money, and everything it takes. A lot of the tips I share I found through personal experience and then speaking with other dog owners,” DeWitt explains.
Her first bit of advice is to think ahead before you choose what breed will be best for you.
DeWitt admits, “Something I didn’t really think about when we were choosing a dog is that although I love my big dog — he’s 95 pounds — I didn’t think about the extra cost for having a big dog.”
A big dog means more food, more treats, a more expensive kennel at boarding facilities, and higher grooming bills. She says that’s something to think about when looking at what size four-legged friend to add to your family.
After Bauer joined the family, one of DeWitt’s first steps was to hit her local dog park. She found that those who frequented the park were a great source of information. From fellow dog owners she learned the appropriate cost of vet care for her area as well as where to go for the best care and price.
That wasn’t the end of what she got from visits to the park. DeWitt made friends that she could swap dog care with at no cost, and Bauer found a dog trainer.
During her discussions with other pet owners, she also discovered that one of the expenses most discussed was dog food. DeWitt realized she needed to focus her tips on everyday savings for quality items.
Here are 10 of her top tips.
1. Take advantage of loyalty programs
Almost every store and online merchant has a loyalty program. Sign up! Not only can you take advantage of member-only sales, but many times these programs reward you the more you shop.
2. Clip coupons
Either the old-fashioned way through newspapers or by going digital, coupons save money. These days there are great coupon-specific websites such as WeThrift. On the site simply just search for the online store you’re looking to buy from, and then WeThrift will show you the best coupon codes that it was able to find.
3. Purchase discount gift cards
There are a number of websites where you can shop for gift cards that their original owners are willing to sell at less than face value. DeWitt points to GiftCardGranny.com. This specific site does a great job of comparing purchasing options from a number of different sites so you can get the most savings possible.
4. Check out low-cost clinics
Many local pet stores partner with vets to offer routine pet checkups and vaccines. Stepping away from your regular vet for this preventive care can save you money. Online resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association and the ASPCA can also help point you in the right direction.
5. Get a prescription for meds and buy them online
Many dog prescription meds can be purchased online at a much lower price than your vet offers. If it isn’t an emergency, request a prescription that you can get filled elsewhere.
6. Subscribe to food and treat delivery
Since food and treats are something you know you will need on a regular basis, check out subscription services that save you even more money when you commit to regular delivery. Woroch also points out having heavy bags of kibble delivered to your door is much easier.
7. Save for emergencies
We all know an emergency vet trip is going to happen. Tuck away some money a little at a time so it doesn’t come as such a shock to your wallet when it happens.
8. Find discount grooming options
A great place to find discounts on local groomers is to check out daily deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. DeWitt and her husband choose to save even more on grooming buy purchasing clippers and doing the job themselves.
9. Skip the kennel
There are more options than ever when it comes to where to board your dog. Through Rover.com and DogVacay.com, you can find a reliable dog sitter locally who will take care of your dog in either your house or theirs. Prices are set by each individual sitter, so use the site to comparison shop, and it never hurts to ask the sitter if she has any price discounts available or a flat-rate option for longer stays.
10. Skip the pet store for toys
Costco, TJMaxx, Marshalls, and similar stores offer great deals on toys. DeWitt buys Bauer’s toys at them about one-third of the price of what pet stores charge. Don’t forget your local dollar stores as well.
Woroch’s favorite way to lower pet-care costs is to combine two tips: Buy discount gift cards and use them with loyalty cards.
“I have received 25 percent off the value of that gift card, and then every time I make a purchase I get reward points and coupons,” Woroch explains.
Tips like those that apply to pet health care can help pet parents save where they often spend the most: at the vet’s office. Woroch describes a mishap when Bauer’s dewclaw was ripped and got infected.
“By the time they shaved it, treated it, wrapped it, and gave him medicine, we spent more than $300 — for an infection,” she says. To pour salt on the wound, as they say, the itemized bill Woroch received outlined exactly what she was paying on every little thing — $30 on shaving the paw and $30 just to wrap it. “It can just make you crazy that that is what they are charging.”
Woroch says that Bauer will still obviously go to the vet, she will just be smart on how she handles the transaction. She explains, “Although I do want to support my local vet, and we will continue going there for certain things, some of the medicine is so much cheaper when you order online.”
Bauer’s dad even gets in on the saving tips and makes beef jerky for him, which can be a healthier and cheaper option compared to purchasing it at a store.
Bauer is one lucky pup! To learn more about his mom’s consumer and money-saving tips, and to watch her segments on local and national news programs, visit andreaworoch.com.
Do you have any money-saving tips to share? Leave them in the comments.
Read more on saving money on Dogster: