When I launched Keep the Tail Wagging, my goal was to build a side business that would subsidize our dogs’ livelihood. Keep the Tail Wagging hit the ground running on January 1, 2012 and I’ve been having a blast. Researching each blog post has introduced me to a variety of ways to save money and here are a few tips for saving money for dog owners…
1) Shop Online – I shop Amazon.com for most of our dogs’ toys and other supplies that come up. Not only are the prices lower, if you’re an Amazon prime member (about $80/year) you can get free shipping on some items. $80/year may sound like a lot, but we order so much from Amazon that we make it back in savings in no time.
The items we buy the most (which are spendy in the store) are Kong Frisbees, Traditional Kongs, Naturally Shed Deer Antlers, Pet Dreams dog beds and we’re looking at getting our dogs raised dog beds too.
2) Black Friday – did you know that some of the big pet stores have a Black Friday sale too? I just figured this one out last November. I was coming home after yet another disappointing Black Friday and noticed that our neighborhood pet store was open and the parking lot was empty. I walked out having spent less than $200, joint supplements, dog toys, cat toys, kitty litter, cat food, dog food, and a kitty condo. We were stocked up for through the new year.
3) Anniversary Sales – there’s a local pet store in our city that has an annual sale every Fall that is amazing. Get there early on the first day and go nuts! Again, we’ll spend up to $200 and be able to stock up on all the things we need for the dogs and cats. Not cans of food, cases of cans of food.
5) Look for Coupons – we recently switched to Halo Pets and if you sign up for their newsletter, you receive coupons as a thank you and each newsletter contains links to coupons for the online shoppers and those of us who prefer to shop in the stores. I love Halo Pets, because the food is holistic, they did a lot of research in coming up with recipes that are healthy for our pets, and Halo Pets gives back to the animal rescue community.
I schedule my shopping trips to coincide with the coupons to save a little more money. I love that I can provide our dogs with healthy food without breaking the bank.
You can also set up Google Alerts for “______ coupons” or something similar where the blank is your premium pet food brand. The alerts will trigger emails to your mailbox whenever a coupon is indexed by Google. You click, print, shop, and save.
6) Sign Up for a Frequent Shopping Plan – I have a card at all of the pet stores in our town, but my favorite is Petco,who gives us $5 off for every $100 purchased. What is so unique is that food is included. Another local store doesn’t count purchases for food – so I don’t shop there that often. Being a Petco Pals member allows me to take advantage of the sales prices and the bonus is that I can combine my Halo Pets coupons with the Petco sales and save even more money!
7) Start a Pet Savings Plan – we set aside money into a savings account at our credit union each pay period to cover costs of food and other pet supplies. Technically this isn’t saving money, but we’re making it easier to cover emergencies.
8) Pet Insurance – In one month, our veterinarian bills totaled nearly $3,000 between two dogs. We weren’t prepared for this; are you? Pet insurance serves as a savings account and more. Not only are we paying for coverage, but our insurance carrier, Trupanion Pet Insurance, will work with us and our veterinarian so that we don’t have to wait for reimbursement. Most big vet bills come about, because of an accidental injury and if you haven’t socked away several thousand dollars for these emergencies, it could be difficult to come up with this money.
This is another reason why a pet savings plan is a good idea.
9) Ask for a Price Break – all they can say is “no.” When we adopted litter mate puppies, I was bummed by the cost of dog training that going to be times two. When we met our dog trainer, she cut us a deal, because she was really training us on how best to work with our dogs.
When we signed Blue up for dog training, I remembered seeing a coupon for 20% off of the training. Petco gave me the discount although I didn’t have the coupon with me. It pays to be a loyal customer!
10) Become a pet blogger – Keep the Tail Wagging receives packages from vendors almost weekly. I provide a review in return and we get to keep the products. We’ve received… Ruff Grip Leashes, a Walk ‘n Sync leash and harness system, a Pet Dreams Ortho Bliss memory foam dog bed, Throw them To the Dogs political dog toys, Pawtizer sanitizing wipes, MonoFoil anti bacterial cleanser, Casey Jones Bones dog treats, Shake-a-Paw Greetings, FreshPet dog cookie dough, Two Sister’s Bakery treats, and non-toxic flea and tick treatment. Just to name a few.
If you’d like to start a blog that will attract the attention of pet vendors, you must publish consistent, quality content, create clear product review guidelines, and be learn a lot about managing a website. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite blogging resources for you to check out.
I know that this list was supposed to be 10 items, but I just thought of a bonus tip:
Adopt from a Rescue – when we adopted our dogs, we received a manila envelope filled with coupons from local pet businesses. Many businesses will sponsor rescue groups as a way to connecting with new customers and we get to take advantage of that.