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How to Be a Frugal Gardener

Gardening can be a very relaxing hobby, but not if you’re maxing out your credit card every time you visit the store for supplies. From tools to fertilizer, there are many things on a gardener’s checklist. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune on lawn and garden maintenance if you consider the following advice. Below, we have compiled 33 tips on how to become a frugal gardener.

  1. Harvest Rain Water – Using containers to collect rainwater is a great way to quench a lawn’s thirst without driving up your water bill. Rainwater is also chemical-free, which is an added bonus.
  2. Water at Night – Watering your lawn and garden during the coolest hours will ensure that the soil absorbs most of the water before it evaporates. Essentially, that will stretch your water further and reduce your monthly water bill.
  3. Grow Plants From Cuttings – Many plants can be spliced and multiplied. Conduct some research to see if any of your plants can produce cuttings for new plants rather than spending money on new plants.
  4. Invest in PerennialsPerennials may cost more than annuals, but they will reappear the following year. Think of it as a good investment.
  5. Collect Seeds From Your Garden – Rather than purchasing seeds, you can harvest them from the plants already growing in your garden.
  6. Research Before Planting – Research can save you a lot of money. For example, planting something during the wrong time of year or in the wrong area can result in quickly dying plants. Prepare correctly and you will avoid these mistakes.
  7. Join a “Plant Swap” – If you know other gardening enthusiasts, you should begin trading plants, seeds and cuttings. It is a cheap way to experiment with new plants.
  8. Use Free, Unorthodox Planters – Look around you, as almost any container can be a planter. Some people use old tires and boots, but you may have something a little more glamorous in mind. The possibilities are endless.
  9. Buy Off-Season – Just like clothes, plants are easier on your credit card account at the end of the season. If you purchase perennials, don’t worry about the season ending, as you will just get a head start on the next season that the plant returns.
  10. Invest in Good Tools – When you are in a frugal state of mind, it may be hard to spend a lot of money on anything. However, you shouldn’t skimp on the gardening tools, as a good set of tools will last you a lifetime. In the long run, you will have saved an exorbitant amount of money.
  11. Reuse Your Grass Clippings – Don’t be tempted to bag up those grass clippings, as leaving them on the lawn is good fertilizer. Not only does it contain vital nutrients that reabsorb into the soil, grass is 70% water.
  12. Utilize Vinegar – Vinegar is a cheap solution for many household dilemmas and the garden is no exception. From killing weeds to keeping cats away, vinegar is a natural alternative with multiple uses.
  13. Grow From Seeds – Rather than purchasing plants that are ready to be put in the ground, start with a seed. It is much cheaper and will give you more satisfaction when you see that first sprout.
  14. Grow Useful Plants – Try growing plants that “give back”. For example, fruits and vegetables can be eaten, which reduces your grocery bill. Also, certain plants and flowers can attract the right kind of insects to your garden.
  15. Start a Compost Pile – By recycling your yard’s waste, you will have a free, endless source of nutrients for your soil.
  16. Seek Free Manure For Fertilizing – Many farmers would be happy to let you take some manure off their hands. Should you live near the country, ask around for places to obtain this fertilizer at no cost.
  17. Utilize Your Leftovers – Yard waste isn’t the only material you should be putting in your compost heap. Leftover scraps from the table, such as vegetables, are great for fertilizing. Avoid using meat, however, as that will attract stray animals that may dig up your garden.
  18. Use Natural Pest Control – There are many natural, free alternatives to commercial pesticides. Vinegar, dishwashing soap, and ground eggshells are just a few options.
  19. Save Rocks For Later Use – Rocks and concrete can always be used for landscaping purposes, so keep any that you come across.
  20. Ask Friends For Root Cuttings – If you find yourself admiring a friend’s plant, politely ask if you can have a cutting. Most gardeners will be flattered by the request.
  21. Seek an Expert’s Advice – Don’t hesitate in asking someone questions if they are an experienced gardener. Most hobbyists love the chance to talk about their passion and it’s a free source of information for you.
  22. Plant Marigolds – Marigolds are not only beautiful, they attract predators which kill aphids. Aphids, also known as plant lice, are deadly for your garden.
  23. Grow Vertically to Save Space – The use of fences and trellises to grow plants vertically will make more room for your garden. Maximizing your garden space is a frugal endeavor.
  24. Do Everything Yourself – Mowing your yard and trimming your hedges may be a pain, but you should avoid paying anyone else to do it.
  25. Kill Weeds With Boiling Water – If you have weeds growing up through the cracks of your sidewalk and driveway, forget about buying weed killer. Boiling water poured over those cracks will do the trick for free. Also, it is better for the environment than chemicals.
  26. Buy Used Tools at Auctions – It is essential that you purchase quality tools for your gardening. However, you avoid retail prices on eBay or at local auctions.
  27. Peruse Garage Sales in Established Communities – Established communities often have older residents who enjoy gardening. Look to these neighborhoods for garage sales that offer gardening equipment.
  28. Rent, Don’t Buy, Large Equipment – Unless you are living on a farm, you won’t need large equipment to maintain a garden. Renting a power tool is much cheaper than buying one, particularly if you only use said item once a season.
  29. Be Patient – You won’t grow the landscape of your dreams overnight, so don’t get ahead of yourself. Ready-to-plant flowers and trees are tempting, but far from frugal.
  30. Utilize Salt For Landscaping – Like vinegar and boiling water, salt is a natural weed killer. In fact, salting the ground will ensure that nothing grows in that place, so use it wisely!
  31. Grow Native Plants – Plants that are native to your area will be able to handle your soil and climate. The longevity of your plants is important, as replacing them will cost more money and time.
  32. Recycle Coffee Grounds – Never throw your coffee grounds in the trash, as they can be sprinkled onto your lawn as fertilizer. Also, you can put the grinds in your compost heap to increase its nitrogen levels.
  33. Plant Fake Flowers – Purists may scoff at this idea, but there are many fake flowers that appear quite genuine. They never have to be replaced and don’t require sunshine and water.

Gardening is one of the most popular American hobbies, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. If you look at the pastime in a simplistic way, you merely need tools, seeds and water. Any other supplies, such as fertilizer and weed killer, can be obtained naturally for free. Also, you should conduct research online and at the local library so you know what to plant and when. With a little knowledge and a conservative attitude, gardening can be a relaxing, inexpensive way to spend an afternoon, rather than an expensive way to spend your money.

Posted:October 17th, 2007 in Gardening No Comments

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The Ten Best “Green Cars” for the Price

If you actually heed John Edwards’ suggestion to give up your SUV, you probably won’t look for the least expensive green car on the market. SUV prices range anywhere from $16,005 for the 2007 Chevrolet HHR to $107,500 for the 2007 Mercedes-Benz G-Class. If you have the budget to afford any car in that range, then you won’t flinch when faced with the $19,692 – $23,220 price tag for the world’s number one selling hybrid car, the Toyota Prius. Nor will you hesitate to dig until you find the price of the fastest green car to date, the Dodge Viper SRT10 Roadster that runs on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

Unfortunately, prices remain high across the board for any environmentally friendly car. The least expensive green car currently on the American market is the 2007 Hyundai Accent GLS 4-Door with a price tag that carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $12,925. But, according to Yahoo’s “Top 100 Cars by Green Rating,” the Hyundai comes in at number 22 with a green rating of 75. This car is gasoline-powered, as are all the cars listed below (which means your gas reward cards will still earn points). This screening shows that a frugalist may have to bite the bullet and spend more than $18,000 for a hybrid.

Until you’re ready for that financial trauma, you can assuage your environmental guilt with the following ten gasoline-powered yet “green” vehicles that are all priced under $19,000. The following list is offered in order from least to most expensive based upon Yahoo’s MSRP. Information about engines, horsepower, torque, mph in city and on the highway, and fuel tank capacity and range are all included with each vehicle.

1. 2007 Kia Rio SX (MSRP $13,495)

2007 Kia Rio SXAlthough the Rio shares its platform with the Hyundai Accent, it feels sportier, thanks to subtle chassis tweaks. Other additions include a new alloy wheels design, new shift knobs for the manual and automatic transmissions, and an illuminated ignition surround. The Kia Rio SX (Manual) was last redesigned in 2006; no information is currently available on upcoming changes. For a bare-bones car with a low price, it’s surprisingly roomy, refined, and good-looking front-engine, front-drive, 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. The Kia Rio SX ranks at twenty-one on the Yahoo 100 list, with a green rating of 75.

  • Engine: Standard 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 110 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 107 @ 4500 RPM
  • City (mpg): 32
  • Hwy (mgp): 35
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 11.9 gal/381 mi

2. 2007 Toyota Yaris S (MSRP $13,525)

2007 Toyota Yaris SAll new to the U.S. in 2007, the front-engine, front-drive; 4-door, 5-passenger sedan Yaris is Toyota’s cheapest machine in Toyota’s green lineup. The gasoline-powered Yaris S sedan, unlike the three-door Yaris hatchback and the four-door Yaris sedan, gets extra body cladding, bigger 15-inch wheels and a CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. The 5-speed manual overdrive is standard, with an optional 4-speed automatic overdrive. This car ranks at seven out of 100 at Yahoo with a green rating of 77.

  • Engine: Standard 1.5-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4 (Toyota’s latest VVT-i technology)
  • Horsepower: 106 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 103 @ 4200 RPM
  • City (mpg): 27
  • Hwy (mgp): 34 – 37
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 11.1 gal/377 mi

3. 2007 Kia Rio5 SX (MSRP $13,750)

2007 Kia Rio5 SXThis Hyundai Accent clone is the smallest of Kias offered on the market this year. You’ll find hatchback utility in this front-engine, front-drive, 5-door, 5-passenger sedan. The Rio5
is among the lowest priced vehicles sold in the U.S., but Kia strives to offer a full-feature vehicle with a stylish appearance. The Kia Rio5 SX ranks fifteenth out of 100 on the Yahoo list, with a green rating of 75.

  • Engine: Standard 1.6-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 110 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 107 @ 4500 RPM
  • City (mpg): 32
  • Hwy (mgp): 35
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 11.9 gal/381 mi

4. 2007 Honda Fit Sport 5-Spd MT (MSRP $15,170)

2007 Honda Fit Sport MTNew to the U.S. market, the front-engine, front-drive; 5-door, 5-passenger Fit wagon leads a growing platoon of new subcompacts intended to keep soaring fuel prices at bay. The gasoline-powered Fit blends agility with a roomy, upscale interior and clever cargo versatility. The Fit is a popular model in Japan and Europe, where it is sold as the Honda Jazz. The 5-speed manual overdrive is standard, with the 5-speed automatic overdrive as an option. The Honda Fit Sport 5-Spd MT ranks fourteenth out of 100 on the Yahoo list, with a green rating of 76.

  • Engine: Standard 1.5-liter SOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 109 @ 5800 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 105 @ 4800 RPM
  • City (mpg): 33
  • Hwy (mgp): 38
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 10.8 gal/356 mi

5. 2007 Toyota Corolla LE (MSRP $15,515)

2007 Toyota Corolla LEToyota has successfully and consistently sold the Corolla in the U.S. since 1969, and this car remains one of the most popular Toyota vehicles. Although not fast or extremely exciting to drive, it is very predictable. Expect a redesign for 2008. This 2007 front-engine, front-drive, 4-door, 5-passenger sedan comes with a 5-speed manual overdrive with optional 4-speed automatic overdrive. The gasoline-powered Toyota Corolla LE ranks thirteenth on the Yahoo 100 list, with a green rating of 76.

  • Engine: Standard 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 126 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 122 @ 4200 RPM
  • City (mpg): 32
  • Hwy (mgp): 41
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 13.2 gal/422 mi

6. 2007 Honda Civic Sedan DX 5-Spd AT (MSRP $15,810)

2007 Honda Civic Sedan DX ATThe eighth generation of this perennial bestseller was introduced last year, but the cost-cutting that was apparent in the most recent Civics is nowhere to be seen in the new offerings. The Honda Civic DX AT is a gasoline-powered, front-engine, front-drive; 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. The 5-speed automatic overdrive is standard in the AT sedan, but no manual overdrive is available. The Honda Civic Sedan DX 5-Spd AT rates sixteenth out of 100 on the Yahoo list, with a green rating of 75.

  • Engine: Standard 1.8-liter SOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 140 @ 6300 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 128 @ 4300 RPM
  • City (mpg): 30
  • Hwy (mgp): 40
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 13.2 gal/396 mi

7. 2007 Kia Spectra SX (MSRP $15,995)

2007 Kia Spectra SXLoaded with features, the gasoline-powered Kia Spectra SX received new front fascia styling with integrated front spoiler this year, including a revised grille, headlights, bumper and new standard 16-inch alloy wheels. Additionally, the Spectra doesn’t feel like a compact economy car. The SX comes with 5-speed manual overdrive, but now has a new 4-speed automatic transmission available as an option. The SX is roomy with great road manners for a front-engine, front-drive, 4-door, 5-passenger sedan. The Kia Spectra SX ranks twentieth out of 100 on the Yahoo 100 list, with a green rating of 75.

  • Engine: Standard 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 138 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 136 @ 4500 RPM
  • City (mpg): 25
  • Hwy (mgp): 33
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 14.0 gal/350 mi

8. 2007 Ford Focus 5-Door Hatchback SES (MSRP $16,775)

2007 Ford Focus Hatchback SESFord offers a combination of a formal station wagon and a five-door hatchback with this front-engine, front-drive, 5-passenger sedan. The 2007 gasoline-powered Ford Focus 5-door hatchback is a carryover from 2006. A 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. This car ranks five out of 100 at Yahoo with a green rating of 77.

  • Engine: Standard 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 136 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 136 @ 4250 RPM
  • City (mpg): 27
  • Hwy (mgp): 37
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 14.0 gal/378 mi

9. 2007 Hyundai Elantra Limited (MSRP $16,895)

2007 Hyundai Elantra LimitedThe fourth-generation gasoline-powered Elantra follows Hyundai’s success formula in its all-new 2007 version. Even base models come with standard ABS, power mirrors, power windows, and six airbags. The latest front-engine, front-drive; 4-door, 5-passenger sedan Elantra Limited is bigger than the previous edition, and it seats four adults comfortably. The Hyundai Elantra Limited ranks eleventh on the Yahoo 100 list, with a green rating of 76.

  • Engine: Standard 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve inline-4
  • Horsepower: 138 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 136 @ 4600 RPM
  • City (mpg): 28
  • Hwy (mgp): 36
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 14.0 gal/392 mi

10. 2007 MINI Cooper HT (MSRP $18,050)

2007 MINI Cooper HTThe new gasoline-powered MINI for 2007 is remarkably similar to the previous model. The major differences in the 2007 model are the new 2.36” longer body that was changed to meet European Union pedestrian impact standards, a steering system that is now electrically assisted, and a sports suspension with up-rated springs, dampers and anti-roll bars available for any model. You’ll also see new sheet metal, chassis, and safety equipment. Interior space is increased everywhere except for rear seat passengers. A 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive is standard, and a 6-speed automatic transmission with overdrive is optional. The MINI Cooper HT ranks tenth out of 100 on the Yahoo list, with a green rating of 76.

  • Engine: Standard 1.6L 118 hp I4 (utilizes technology from parent BMW)
  • Horsepower: 118 @ 6000 RPM
  • Torque (lb-ft): 114 @ 4250 RPM
  • City (mpg): 32
  • Hwy (mgp): 40
  • Fuel-Tank Capacity/Range: 13.2 gal/356 mi

Conclusion

Yahoo doesn’t carry the last word on green vehicles, as other ratings exist that will show that the Prius is, by far, the best environmentally-friendly car for the price. This vehicle combines an electric motor with a powerful engine to create a car that runs like any other conventional vehicle. Yet, you can see returns down the road with its exceptional fuel efficiency.

Other vehicles, like the Volkswagen Touran, provide green efficiency to European countries, but not to U.S. citizens. Many Volkswagen Tourans have a fuel cell drive system that do not create exhaust emissions. While a bit pricier than the cars shown in the list above, the price tag for this car may be just a bit more than the Prius if it were sold in America. As with any supply-demand economic situation, the best green cars cost more because there are fewer in existence. As demand rises, the price may come down, but don’t expect that situation to occur within the next year or two.

Posted:October 10th, 2007 in Green Transportation No Comments

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57 Creative Ideas to Save Money As a Pet Owner

Whether you are an extravagant pet owner or not, responsibly raising an animal involves years of expenses. Granted, your child’s goldfish may only involve weeks of expenses, but you have to cough up some dough to care for any kind of animal. Many people don’t consider these costs before they commit to pet ownership. From food to regular veterinarian visits, most domestic animals require constant maintenance. Rather than put you off owning a pet altogether, we would like to offer you 57 creative ways to save money as a pet owner.

Acquiring a Pet

  1. Avoid “Puppy Mills” – Unless you want a show dog, buying a dog based on its exclusive pedigree is needlessly expensive. Animal activists even argue that breeding dogs is unethical. Besides, mutts often are the most lovable dogs.
  2. “Free To Good Home” – Many people find themselves with too many puppies or kittens after their pet has a litter. Ask friends or family in this situation for an animal and they will often give it to you for free. Also, you may happen upon a “free to good home” sign or classified ad in your travels.
  3. Take In a Stray – This is a good way to acquire a free animal, provided you are sure he/she is a stray and not someone’s lost pet.
  4. Contact a Rescue Group – There are many animal rescue groups that are looking for good homes to place animals with. If you are keen on having a specific breed, this is the more humane way of acquiring a pedigreed cat or dog.
  5. Work at a Pet Store – Working at a pet store will not only get you a company discount on pet products, you may be able to get a free or inexpensive pet through your connections.
  6. Limit Yourself – Can you really afford a pack of dogs or aquarium full of fish? Limit yourself on how many animals you acquire, as the costs will mount very quickly.
  7. Check the Local Paper – Free and inexpensive pets are often listed in the classified section of your local paper.
  8. Use Craigslist – Craigslist.org is a classified Web site that is free to the public. You can find almost anything on Craigslist, including pet advertisements. Also, you could post your own ad, expressing your desire for a free or inexpensive pet.
  9. Go to the Shelter – There are many animals at your local animal shelter who need good homes. The prices are fair and, if you are going to a shelter that euthanizes animals, you will be saving a life.
  10. Call Dibs On an Unborn Animal – If you know someone who has a pregnant animal or an animal that may become pregnant in the future, call dibs on one of its offspring. This may not yield you immediate results, but may secure you a free or inexpensive pet in the future.
  11. Don’t Tempt Thieves – Like cars, there are certain types of animals that are popular among thieves. Certain dog breeds, in particular, can fetch a high price for dognappers. Try not to obtain animals that people are looking to steal. If you already have one that is highly coveted, keep it out of public view.
  12. Buy a Low-Maintenance Pet – You don’t always have to get a dog or a cat for companionship. Rodents, for example, are easy pets to care for and relatively inexpensive in the long run.
  13. Get a Pet That Will Work For You – Whether it’s a backyard guard dog or a grass-munching goat, you can save money by acquiring a pet that offers something in addition to companionship.
  14. Avoid Rare Animals – Not only are exotic pets expensive to purchase and sometimes illegal to own, they are often very costly to care for. From birds to dogs, it is always cheaper to own a common, domestic animal.

Food

  1. Use a Rewards Card – There are credit cards and grocery store cards that will help you save money when buying food for your pets. When applying for a credit card, make sure it is one with a low interest rate.
  2. Compare Store Prices – You may find that a pet superstore offers better prices than your supermarket, or vice versa. Don’t assume you are getting the best deal on food prices. Call around for price comparisons and keep your eye open for sales.
  3. Skip the Trendy, Expensive Foods – While you want to give your pet healthy foods and the occasional treat, he/she probably doesn’t need anything from the frozen section of your local pet store.
  4. Don’t Feed Your Pet Junk – On the flip side, the cheapest brand of food in the store could be the least healthy, leading to higher health care costs. Consult your veterinarian on what kind of frugal food is safe to purchase.
  5. Feed Your Pet Less – Is your pet eating more than the recommended amount? Only distribute as much as the packaging suggests. You will be saving in food costs and health care costs if your animal maintains a healthy weight.
  6. Use Coupons – Manufacturer and store coupons can save you a lot of money in the long run, particularly if you use them during double or triple coupon events.
  7. Buy In Bulk – You will always need food for your pet, so buying in bulk will not be a wasted investment. This could be a way to save a considerable amount of money. Check your local price club, such as Sam’s Club or Costco.
  8. Don’t Let Wet Food Spoil – If you are feeding your animal canned, wet food, feed them a little at a time and store the rest where it won’t spoil.
  9. Don’t Share Your Pet’s Food – With other critters and insects, that is. Leaving your animal’s food bowl where it can be picked at by strays or swarmed by ants is a surefire way to waste money.
  10. Keep Food Out Of the Rain – If your pet’s food bowl is always outside, be sure to protect it from the rain.
  11. Grow Your Own Pet Food – While this will only work for certain animals, a vegetable garden can be cost-effective for the whole family (including your pet rabbit).

Grooming

  1. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth – This is a service provided by your veterinarian and/or groomer that you can do on your own for a fraction of the price. A toothbrush can be found at your local pet store.
  2. Clean Your Pet’s Ears – Doing this on your own will save in grooming fees and in health care costs, as your animal will get fewer earaches.
  3. Trim Your Pet’s Hair – If you have a long-haired pet that requires frequent haircuts, you can do this at home with a grooming kit that costs less than $100. Usually, this kit will pay for itself with one haircut. However, take your time and be careful, as you don’t want to nick your pet’s skin.
  4. Trim Your Pet’s Nails – Rather than paying someone to do this, trim your animal’s nails with a special tool from your local pet store. This may also save money in reducing household destruction by your pet’s unruly claws.
  5. Wash Your Own Pet – Sure, it’s a pain to do sometimes, but why would you pay someone else to do it? If you are the owner of a large dog, even investing in an outside dog bath will save money.
  6. Regularly Brush Your Pet’s Coat – This is especially important for long-haired dogs. Regular brushing will help to maintain your animal’s appearance without sending him/her to a groomer. This also cuts back on loose hair on your clothes and furniture, reducing the need for dry cleaning.
  7. Trim the Hair Short – Just like your lawn, you will have to trim your animal’s hair less if it is cut short.
  8. Dilute Your Pet’s Shampoo – To make your pet shampoo stretch further, pour half of one bottle into an empty bottle and top both of them off with water.

Healthcare

  1. Attend All Well Visits – Don’t postpone your animal’s regular visits to the veterinarian. Even if he/she is healthy and thriving, their check-ups will keep them that way.
  2. Don’t Get Unnecessary Shots – Ask your veterinarian what your animal absolutely has to have shots for this year. Recommendations change all the time, so stay on top of it and make sure you aren’t spending needless money.
  3. Make Sure Your Pet Exercises – You’re not the only one who needs to get more cardio. A sedentary animal will experience more health problems, costing you more money (and heartbreak).
  4. Think About Medical Insurance – While your hermit crab won’t benefit from it, some animals will be cheaper to maintain if they have an insurance policy. Some affordable plans will cover all routine visits and shots.
  5. Spay/Neuter Your Pet – Doing this will reduce your animal’s chances of developing certain reproductive cancers. Also, he/she will be less likely to stray from home and get hurt.
  6. Find an Affordable Veterinarian – Some animal clinics will see your pet on a sliding scale, should you be under financial strain. Also, local universities with a veterinarian program may see patients for less money than a regular office.
  7. Find Inexpensive Shot Clinics – When it the time comes for your pet to get his/her shots, look for low-cost clinics to save money. Your veterinarian’s office may host shot clinics a few times a year. Also, you can check with the Humane Society for information on shot clinics.
  8. Ask Your Veterinarian For Samples – Like any other doctor, your veterinarian receives samples from drug companies. Request free samples if your animal needs any kind of medication.
  9. Compare Pharmacy Prices – Don’t assume that your pet’s medication is going to be the same price at every pharmacy. If you are about to buy something expensive or if your pet is put on chronic medication, call around town and get the best deal.
  10. Don’t Use Over-the-Counter Flea Products – Many inexpensive flea treatments for dogs and cats are actually quite toxic. Consult your veterinarian about your pet’s flea problem, not your groomer or your local pet store. Though you may think you are saving money with such products, you are actually risking high medical bills or even your pet’s life.
  11. Research Common Household Dangers – Do you know which household plants are toxic to your pet or which foods you should absolutely not feed your dog from the table? A little online research on a credible animal care site can save you a bundle in medical bills.
  12. Keep Your Pet Indoors – Outdoor animals tend to get into more accidents and contract more illnesses.
  13. Mail Order Medications – Monthly prescriptions, such as your dog’s heartworm medication, can be purchased with a credit card through various mail order services. Research this service beforehand, however, and make sure the company you use is reputable.

Toys & Supplies

  1. Give Your Cat Something to Scratch – Doing this is cheaper than reupholstering your furniture. A few scratching posts will suffice, which you should place near the cat’s food and next to the cat’s bed.
  2. Recycle Your Children’s Toys – Did your baby grow out of his/her teething rings (great for a puppy who is teething) or stuffed animals? There may be something in the collection that can be passed down to your playful pet.
  3. Use Household Items as Toys – Not just a cliche image, a ball of yarn is something that cats really do enjoy. That is one of many inexpensive things around the house that your pet can play with.
  4. Skip the Wardrobe – Does your pet really need to wear little sweaters and costumes? You may think the outfits look cute, but they are really a waste of money.
  5. Use Alternative Cat Litter – Refilling your cat’s litter box can really add up, so try an alternative. From sand to wood pellets, some people have made the switch without kitty ever noticing. Do make sure that whatever you use is safe for your cat, however. If you’re really ambitious, you could always toilet train your cat.
  6. Buy a Durable Leash – A leash endures a lot of wear and tear, so buy a heavy-duty one that is appropriate to your animal’s size.
  7. Choose a Practical Collar – Your pet doesn’t need a designer collar, rather one that is safe and long-lasting.
  8. Forgo the Fancy Tags – You will be issued a tag for your dog or cat when you get him/her licensed, so don’t waste your money with some fancy, personalized tag service that is often advertised at the pet store.
  9. Make a Dog Bed – Buying a dog bed is unnecessary, as most indoor dogs are easily trained to sleep on the floor. However, a dog that prefers something soft can be given an old quilt or folded sheet to sleep on.
  10. Assemble Your Own Doghouse – If you are handy with wood projects, then assembling a pet shelter from scrap should be no problem and is much less expensive than commercial doghouses.
  11. Attend Garage Sales – You can find many pet accessories, particularly children’s toys that your pet will love, at garage sales for cheap.

Owning a pet can be costly, though animals offer many emotional benefits. While we aren’t suggesting that you deprive your pet of any comfort, there are many expenses you can forgo as a pet owner. By following some of the above advice, you can save money in areas you never knew possible.

Posted:October 2nd, 2007 in Family No Comments