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5 Tips for Budgeting Your Pet Care Costs

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Shop Around

If you're the least bit frugal, you probably already comparison shop before making purchases for yourself. Why not do the same when buying for your pet? Here are a few areas where bargain hunting can save you big bucks.

  • Veterinarian. Good care should always be at the top of your list when choosing a vet, but you also want to look at the doctor's prices. Get an estimate for common services from several vets in your area. Compare costs and choose the vet that offers the best combination of experience and value.
  • Medicine. Don't buy medicines from your vet, where mark-ups can exceed 100 percent. Instead, look into an online or mail order store like 1-800-PetMeds or PetCareRX, which are much cheaper. Buy generic instead of brand-name drugs -- they contain exactly the same active ingredients. Also ask whether your local drug store or supermarket will let you add your pet to their prescription savings plan. Don't worry, as many will.
  • Pet insurance. Be extra cautious when considering pet insurance, because it won't necessarily save you money. In fact, you could end up spending more out of pocket. Read the fine print before you sign any pet insurance policy to make sure you know exactly which procedures and services it will cover.
  • Pet food and supplies. Don't spend extra for the "super premium" pet foods if you don't have to. They're not worth the extra money. Any pet food that's labeled "total nutrition" or "complete and balanced" will give your furry friend all the nutrients it needs. When purchasing pet food or litter, buying in bulk can save you big money, especially if you have more than one animal at home. Clip coupons from your local newspaper and look for store specials to maximize your savings.

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