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.
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.
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:
- Buy in bulk
- Buy at a discount
- Use coupons
- Shop around
- 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.
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!