Financial Tune-Up - Part 9b Save Money a Little Bit More


Financial tune-up is not complete without trying to save money a little bit more.  Last time we tried to save on pets by choosing the right food and vet for our pets.  There are other ways we can save a little bit more on our pets which we didn’t deal yet so here they are. 

How About If You Cannot Afford a Vet?

If you are in a tight budget, you can still take care of your pet.  Some who cannot afford a vet have made use of the local animal shelter.  They have a low cost pet clinic.  The only problem with these low-clinics is their odd hours.  They have to wait for volunteers and the services are of course limited.

Low cost pet clinic is also based on income.  One shelter in Virginia for instance requires an income threshold of $42,000 or less.  The shelter covers all the needs of a cat for instance like annual checkups, flea control and shots and they are not expensive.  An office visit could be $15 while the rabies shot could be $12.

Where can you go if you do not meet the income requirement of a low cost clinic at Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals?  Well, you can take your pet to pet stores that have clinics.  They have regular hours and have more services.  Check before you sign up because the quality of care can be different. 

Schedule Regular Routine Care and Check-ups 

Don’t go just once to have your pet vaccinated and then not go again until the pet has problems.  As the adage goes, “And ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  You can really save money by following this as illness could be caught earlier instead of getting an infection that may require antibiotics.  Give your pet flea and heartworm protection.

Keep a record of all the injections received by the pet so you will be prepared when you move to another city.  Besides, having a copy of the pet’s history will help avoid wrong diagnosis and duplication especially if you plan on having a second opinion when something goes wrong with your pet.
Exercise your pet regularly.  Like humans, they need a healthy lifestyle.  You can make home-made toys that the pet can enjoy.  Old shirts for instance can be a tug-of-war toy for the dog.  Just make sure you supervise the activity as a home-made toy has not been inspected unlike toys bought in the store that has passed inspection. 

Do Some of the Pet Grooming Yourself.

It is messy to give the pet a bath sometimes but it can save you money.  Or if you are not up to it, you can hire a kid in the neighborhood to give your dog a bath.  Both pet and kid will have fun.  So find out how much it will cost if you pay some professional to bathe your pet and determine if it is worth it.

Then there is the nail clipping.  Having this done at the vet clinic could cost too much.  What you can do is buy something like a Pedi-Paw and trim his nails when it is needed.  It may cause problem at the start but the pet will get used to this routine. 

To Buy Pet Health Insurance or Not, That is the Question
Just like any contract you get into, you have to read the fine print.  You have to check if it is a good deal.  Illnesses and accidents can happen and they can be costly.  SPCA pet insurance can help you afford it.  You can get reimbursed 90% of charges.

If a pet health insurance is too expensive, perhaps a wellness plan can be an option.  Quite a few offices offer packages for a wellness plan.  So you can ask any vet about his wellness plan.  This can save you money especially during the first year when pet expenses are high.  

By Roger Guzman, M.D. and Evelyn Guzman

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