Expenses January 2015

The numbers are in for the first month of 2015 and they don’t look so bad. Take a look for yourself!

Lavender & Mint Buddy Rinse Conditioner

Lavender & Mint Buddy Rinse Conditioner

I ordered the 8 oz. Crown Royale Condition Plus from Cherrybrook.com. I decided to give this a try after I ran out of the Lavender & Mint Buddy Rinse Conditioner. That was a mistake. This is stuff smells like someone’s grandmother’s perfume. Not my grandma, she smelled like fresh homemade tortillas :D. The conditioners’ smell is heavily floral and somewhat musky…it’s really odd. Then, Cherrybrook.com took 3.5 weeks to deliver the said conditioner and I had two email and call multiple times. Generally packages arrive in 3-5 weeks, but I never received an email stating any information other than I had placed an order. Don’t bother with Cherrybrook, unless you need specialized items, which looks to be their main service.

conditionplus-lg

Crown Royale Condition Plus

The following charge for $38.00 was from The Family Vet for a follow-up appointment. We made our way to Dr. Tran last month because Argos had some dry scaling skin on his back towards his tail. Turns out it was a skin infection. He was put on antibiotics and given fish oil supplements. On our follow-up appointment, his skin was clear and it was determined that dry skin was causing his skin chewing which must have let to the skin infection. I was glad to hear that. He is no longer on antibiotic but I’ve decided to keep him on the AllerG-3 fish oil capsules. It will continue to help Argos’s skin and maybe I can see some benefits reflected in his coat.

Ventoquil AllerG-3 Supplement

Ventoquil AllerG-3 Supplement

And last but not least, we purchased a 12 month supply of Revolution flea medication. This will lasts us until June and then it will be time to purchase another 12 months worth. I made the switch from Frontline to Revolution soon after Ellie came home from the Shelter because we noticed that her bum rashes were due to flea bites. Well it had nothing to do with flea bites but this Revolution is pretty phenomenal. While Argos was on Frontline, every week I used to pick out fleas from his coat during his bath…I thought it was normal until we switched to Revolution. I’ve haven’t seen a bug on him for almost a year.

Revolution

Revolution

 

Pet Expenses June 2014

The month of June saw the demise of a perfectly good collar and its matching harness, the first at the hands of Chris and the latter by Ellie’s piranha like teeth. This is the the fourth harness Ellie has destroyed, three of hers and one of Argos’s. I began using harnesses instead of collars when Argos was a puppy because he kept biting on the leash as we went for our walks. The harness minimized his ability to get at his leather leash (which is still looking beautiful after 4 years), it helped teach him to walk nicely at my side and I felt it was bit more humane than a collar. Fast forward to Ellie’s arrival and she quickly let us know she would not be shackled by measly nylon! She sooner broke out of her own harness than I could spin around to  to clean up all the pee puddles left in her stead. She also took it upon herself to liberate Argos from his  shackle. Collars all around then!

Chris broke the clasp on the collar. It too proved to be measly.

So when I wasn’t dealing with broken dog equipment, I was dealing with Ellie’s bum.

Ellie’s Bum

sick dog

Mid May, we noticed a couple of red dots between her anus and vagina. I thought it was nothing, maybe a couple of flea bites or something. The dots began to increase, and Ellie kept biting her butt…in an attempt to satiate the itching perhaps but exacerbating the visible irritation. Whatever it was, it wasn’t going away so I took her to Veterinarian to put her out of her misery. Now, let me explain the hesitation in taking her in. This had already happened in the past. The Vet had determined that it had been fleas somehow congregating at her rear end and so his solution was to switch both the dogs from Frontline to Revolution flea medication. The problem soon went away. I fell in love with Revolution because I have not seen a single flea on either dog since I first started using this last year. On Frontline, I always had to pick one or two fleas out of Argos during his weekly showers. So I was hoping that I could figure out what was irritating Ellie’s butt because it was obviously not fleas. I couldn’t find a single one on her coat or skin.

The Vet came to the same conclusion and the challenge still remains, what gives Ellie a rash every once in a while? He gave her a Convenia and Dexamethason injection (antibiotic and corticosteroid respectively) and put her on 5 mg Prednisone for a week and a half. Sure enough, rash was gone in a few days and has not returned. No clue what caused it.

A couple of weeks later, I took Ellie back to the Veterinarian for her yearly vaccination boosters. And because we love Revolution so much, I had to re-order another 12 month supply of flea medication that should last us till December.

Outings

dogs camping

But all these little set backs were worth it because for a whole weekend at the beginning of June we had a chance to drive up to Santa Barbara county to Jalama Beach in Lompoc, CA. We camped out on the beach for two days and two nights. We had been planning to do this for some time and when I realized they allowed dogs, it was a done deal. We’ll talk about it in detail in another post.

All that adventure put us out a cool $415. Here’s the breakdown.

 

 

Pet Expenses January 2014

The first month of 2014 is done with! So might my bank account! The goal, like I mentioned before, is to spend $900 or less on dog related expenses this year. Well, I spent a total of $327.56…

*(PetSmart) shows what I would have spent, had I as usual, taken them in for grooming. In this case I did it myself but I wanted to noted somehow.

I promise, its not what it looks like. I spent 36% of the set budget on the first month of the year alone. In my defense, however, some of the items will last 6 months to a year. For example, I bought flea medication which will last 6 months, the dog shampoo will last me all year (it’s 1 gallon of dog shampoo!), the poop bags will last a year, and the Greenies should last me a good 4 months. Saving money 101 dictates that sometimes one must buy in bulk to get the better price and because I know dog needs are constant, I did just that.

1_2014 pie chart

January’s expenses in percentages.

I also took advantage of a couple of great deals this month. For example, I got a 15 lb. bag  of Nutro Natural Choice Puppy Food (4 stars on www.dogfoodadvisor.com) for free and I got two value size packages of Greenie Teenies at a very good price from www.chewy.com. I also downgraded the dogs from Earthbath shampoo and went with the more conveniently priced Just Add Water at $12.80 for 1 gallon. Last time I bought a 14 fl. oz. bottle of Earthbath shampoo, I got it for $10, which is a tad expensive. Big savings and we don’t miss the expensive Earthbath.

In trying to map out my expenditures, I logged things a little differently this time. I decided to log tax and discounts to help me see a more detailed picture. Logging the discounts helped me see how much I have saved by switching to alternative brands, buying in bulk, buying at a discount, using coupons and doing things on my own. In doing all of those things I managed to save myself $210. Not bad at all! Another thing I learned this month is that you don’t always get the best prices online. I know its hard to believe but it happens.

1_14 Budget Pie

I have 62% of my budget to use for the rest of the year…

Take for example my local Dog Hound + Cat mom/pop store. I’ve noticed that although I wipe away Argos eye-boogies with wipes every night, the fur around the eyes and even the mouth tends to develop a stench. So I decided to look up some kind of eye cleaner/stain remover that might help with the discoloration around the eyes. On Amazon, I found a product that sold for $8.99 plus $5.99 shipping (not available on Amazon Prime) and when I called Hound Dog + Cat, they didn’t have it in stock but would special order it for me for the nifty price of $8.99. I checked just now on Amazon and the price is now $12.00 with free shipping but I’m no longer interested. Shop around, you might be in for a surprise.

In short, if you wanna save some real money this is what you do:

Dog-Saving-Money

That’s money in the bank!

  1. Buy in bulk
  2. Buy at a discount
  3. Use coupons
  4. DIY
  5. Shop around
  6. Prepare for shopping needs in advance

If you can combine the first three, you are on your way to saving a lot of money!

In pondering the ‘bulk shopping’ idea I started thinking about food vacuum sealers. Ellie will be turning one in April and I will be switching her to adult kibble. If I buy kibble in greater quantities, say 60 lbs of the stuff,  I could be saving myself a few bucks. Food vacuum sealers, seal in food, keeping it fresh longer than normal containers. I can see how this might avoid stale kibble. I must take into account the price of the sealer and subsequent sealing bags and contrast it with the savings per pound on kibble. It might be a wise thing to do or a stupid move…I will have to do my research.

I aid my money saving goals by checking out coupon and deal sites like www.slickdeals.net and www.fatwallet.com daily for anything that catches my attention. Anything worth finding out about, you will find it there. For those of you with Amazon Prime memberships, I recommend using a site like www.camelcamelcamel.com to track the price changes of your favorite products on Amazon. The site makes it really simple for you to see if you are buying at the most expensive price. If you happen to be buying at a low price, you can decided whether it’s worth it to stock up on these favorite items.

IMG_1436

Some of the stuff we bought.

This month I also learned about other dog supply websites such as www.chewy.com and www.petango.com. If you are anything like me, www.amazon.com is oftentimes my default store, because of their low prices. However, I found that both Chewy and Petango had great offers on certain products that beat amazon prices out of the water. I realize that it does take some time to browse different sites to compare prices but you can always get google to help you or you can spend 15 minutes every morning, as I do, to check different sites for anything interesting.

I don’t think I will be spending nearly as much money in subsequent months. I do predict however, that I will need to restock on kibble for Argos and wet food mixers. I’m staying on top of the ads and coupons for possible savings opportunities. I really do think this is ultimately the key to saving money. Planning in advance for future purchases. For example, Argos doesn’t need kibble right away but he has about three weeks to go, enough time for me to start searching the ads for any deals out there. If you wait till you are on your last serving of kibble, you’ll take what your dog needs at whatever price they shove at you. That’s no way to save.

I do hope to stay within my $900 budget this year and tracking my spending and publishing it here makes me feel accountable. It also forces me to look for the best prices and its encouraging me to try different products. If at the end of the year, I should fail in this attempt, it will not be because I got lazy and gave in to frivolous spending. I want to be responsible and save my money where I can. That’s it. If you feel the same way, stay tuned, I feel adventures coming on. If you have tips, tricks or suggestions, let us know below!

So long folks!

Pet Expenses for 2013

It’s a new year and it’s always, somewhat, fun to look back and see the past year in numbers. It was sobering to see a picture of 2013 in terms of dog expenses. I can’t say that it was a complete surprise since, I’m the one  constantly pulling out my credit card at the cash register, but it helps me understand what happened and how to save money this year.

I spent a total of  $1,857.43 on dog goods and services. It looks something like this:

2013 Pet Cost Pie Chart

Pet Expenses 2013

I divided the costs into the following categories:

  • Medical/Wellbeing: Veterinarian costs,  Rx Medications, Flea Medication Treatments
  • Food: Kibble, Food Toppers, Training Treats, Treats
  • Hygiene: Haircuts  (PetSmart), Shampoo/Conditioner, Toothpaste/Toothbrushes, Grooming Tools
  • Supplies: Poop bags, Collars/Leashes, Pet Tracking, Toys, Water Bottle, Bowls, Car Cover

A little under half of the money spent went towards medical care of one sort or another. Ellie and Argos both got very sick at some point in 2013. Ellie got spayed and had a couple of ear infections and a mysterious rash  on her bum. Argos had a bout of diarrhea that lasted quite a while. Lab tests and prescription medications  ensued for both. The only expense I could have avoided if I had understood the issue at once, were the ear infections. An expensive learning curve.

Ellie and Argos are both shelter dogs with dubious beginnings, if I had to guess, puppy mill products of sorts.  I am not ignorant to the idea that health issues may arise in the future due to this very fact. These types of cost can happen to anyone and at any time. So for those of you considering dog adoption, keep these numbers in mind. There are many dogs in desperate need of adoption, but adopting a dog is still a huge responsibility financially and emotionally. Dropping off a dog at a shelter because of an inability to pay for their medical bills is a sad thing to see because unlike what people believe, shelters don’t keep drop offs for too long. Sometimes not even a week. Loving dogs that would otherwise be healthy but for a few pricey antibiotics don’t live to see another day. If adopting, be realistic. These costs happen.

“When you brought this dog into your home you signed an unwritten contract to feed it, care for it, and, yes, to provide medical care as needed.”

-Dr. George Coleman (played by Justin Kirk) Animal Practice 

Below is a map of WHEN the most expenses happened and it is no surprise that July came up the winner with 31%. Ellie had been adopted a few weeks earlier and so general checkups, first round of vaccinations, spaying, and  ear infection #1 took place shortly after that. Add to that new roommate accommodations: new dog bed, leash, collar, harness and a blanket we dropped off the day before bringing her home from the Humane Society so her litter mates could sleep on it. We thought it might help her sleep through the first night at home. Needless to say, the jig was up quickly and all the blanket did was stink to high heaven.

Monthly spending percentages.

Monthly spending percentages.

I also had to switch flea treatment medications. We went from Frontline Plus to prescription only Revolution. When Ellie got a rash on her bum, the Veterinarian wanted to eliminate flea bite irritation and convinced me to switch to something better. He claims Frontline Plus no longer works as it should and has lost its effectiveness. Apparently, it is not normal to see fleas on dogs while on scheduled and continued flea treatments. I went from spending 34.99 for a 3-month supply of Frontline Plus to spending $54.99 for 3-month supply of Revolution, times 2.

I am determined to cut this bill in half in 2014.  However, they will continue to receive the regular and necessary medical care and good quality food, for is  this not the best way to avoid health problems? I sure hope so!

So I’ll have to get creative in cutting costs. For example, treats are nice, but at some point I had 4 different treat bags going at the same time. I think this year I’ll stick to training treats and a treat after teeth brushing. Treats are just that, treats. I once saw a woman claim that her little Shih Tzu was a ‘delicate’ eater, meaning the dog ate very, very little. Then she showed about 10 different treats the dog gets to eat during the day. For a small dog such as a Shih Tzu, 10 different dog treats in various amounts, is a lot of food and she was still offered a full bowl of dog food. No wonder the dog was a ‘delicate’ eater, she was full! I’ll take a huge slice of chocolate cake over a properly balanced meal any day of the week (if I possessed absolutely no guilt/shame and fat just melted away with the heat of exercise thoughts).

Maybe I’ll even try making my own dog treats…maybe.money dog

I also plan on looking into dog insurance, see if it might be worth anything to put both dogs on a plan of some sort. Expect a article on this very subject.

Like I mentioned in earlier posts, I began grooming the dogs myself back in November and I plan on continuing with that through out this year. That’s gonna be a good chunk of moolah saved! As I continue on this home grooming quest I hope I actually get better at giving them haircuts. They continue to look frumpy even after I’m done with them.

My goal is to see whether it is possible to spend $1,000 or less on two dogs, whilst providing them with excellent food and preventative care. I’ll post a monthly expense report to see how I do in my attempts to save money.

How do you keep costs down? Let me know I would love to hear!

Pet Expenses November 2013

For some time now, I’ve wondered how much Chris and I spend on the dogs. Then, after all the expenses this past Summer, I really wondered how much we were spending and so finally I sat down and did something about that curiosity. I pulled up my statements beginning in January 2013 up to November 2013. Folks, no more wondering. So far, it’s about $2,000 and December is not included, as we are currently in December!

I’ve decided to back-post each month individually and reminiscence over those purchases. We didn’t adopt Ellie until June 2013 so the first half of the year is just the costs involved with Argos. The total sum of pet expenses will include Ellie’s adoption process, which although it was a one time thing, it is still money out of my bank account. In January 2014 I will write about 2013 as a whole and think of ways to save money where I can and I will continue monthly expense reports for the 2014 year.

Let me just lay on it a little longer.

Let me just lay on it a little longer.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve made some very foolish expenses and it was all because I didn’t care enough to do some research and prepare. For example, in September I bought a 27 oz. Canister of Greenies (96 count) for $29.93 on Amazon.com. I use the Greenie treats to get my dogs to let me brush their teeth and groom their coats before bedtime. I keep the Greenies in a glass storage jar with airtight bail and seal closures to keep air and moisture out. It’s come to the point where if Argos and Ellie see a toothbrush in my hand, they know what time it is and wait patiently through brushing, combing and plucking just to have a Greenie. Then, while shopping for other supplies, this past month I decided to look up the price of the Greenies and it had significantly fallen. It had been about 2 months since my last Greenie box purchase so there was no purchase adjustment to be made by Amazon. I decided to buy another 27 oz. 96 count Greenies for $19 to stock up. That was a $10.93 difference and a mistake I won’t make again.

November 2013 Pet Expense Report

November 2013 Vendor Cost Individual Items
PetSmart 31.59
PetSmart 13.63
Amazon.com 26.58 Greenies 27 oz canister 96 count & Zukes Roasted Chicken Treats 16 oz
Amazon.com 32.67 Wahl Pet Pro Kit Grooming Kit
Amazon.com 28.33 Earthborn Puppy Vantage 14 lb

Like I mentioned in Grooming Hairy Dogs I decided to groom Argos and Ellie on my own and save some serious money. So as you can see I put that plan into effect and purchased a grooming kit. I also restocked Ellie’s kibble and bought some more Greenies for $10 dollars less. I am trying to remember very hard what I purchased at PetSmart last month. I don’t go to PetSmart very often so it’s bothering me that I can’t clearly recall what I got. I know for sure there were the Top Paw Thining Shears (PetSmart) $14.99 and the Top Paw Ball Tipped Scissors (PetSmart) $13.99 that I mentioned in Grooming Hairy Dogs.

Wahl Pet Pro Grooming Kit

Wahl Pet Pro Grooming Kit

As much as I would like to have the ‘whole’ picture in regards to pet expenses for two dogs, that really won’t be possible to know for 2013 because, like I mentioned earlier, Ellie came to us mid-year and even that had great one-time costs. There is also the fact that although I try to put all dog related expenses in my joint account with Chris, sometime he pays things with his own credit card and then there are those random purchases that were grouped with personal or home purchases from Target or Ross, for example. I also noticed that I did not include what I have spent on toys this year and that is because all the toys that Ellie and Argos have used this year were toys that Argos had collected from a 3-month Barkbox subscription when they ran their Groupon offer sometime in 2012. Those toys have since been destroyed by Ellie’s ferocious teeth.

The BarkBox is a really cute and fun dog subscription box. The toys they sent were the things I enjoyed the most and the treats were a hit or miss with Argos. Their 12 month subscription is their more affordable option which would bring the down the monthly box price from $29 to $17~. I still think of the boxes as a little frivolous specially since I’ve made up my mind about saving as much as I can in 2014 on pet expenses. It goes without saying the I’ll never compromise the quality of their dog food & treats, Vet care, flea medication to save a few bucks. So I will definitely have to get creative to see where I can save.

So my New Year’s resolution for 2014 is as follows:

  • Save 50% of what I spent in 2013
  • Log every Ellie and Argos related purchase (food, toys, grooming supplies, pet supplies, treats, etc.)
  • Dog Insurance (I’ve been researching this matter and my findings will be published in a post to come)
  • More Dog exercise and socializing

How much did you spend on your pets this year?