All posts by amy

20 Ways to Save Money on Pet Expenses

Have you ever stopped to think about how much money you spend a year on your furry friends?  I sure know I have.  I’ve been forced to (even though most of the time I really don’t want to know!) because of the sheer amount of money I’ve been forced to spend over the past 4 years trying to keep my babies happy and healthy.  Take a few minutes and just guesstimate the cost of food, vet bills, medications, supplements, toys, and other goodies—it’s a lot!  My kiddos are worth every penny I spend on them, but it sure is nice when I can save a few dollars here and there. I’ve spent the past few weeks jotting down ideas on how to save just a little bit more money, and I think I’m ready to share how you can save money on pet expenses too!


1.  Adopt, don’t shop!
Find your furkid at a local shelter or rescue and you’ll save a lot of money!  Usually, the spay/neuter expense and some vaccinations are included in the adoption fee too. If you’re looking for a pure-bred dog or cat, check for a breed-specific rescue in your area.  Remember – when you adopt, you will save a loving animal by making them part of your family AND you’ll help open up shelter space for another animal who might desperately need it.


2. Choose high-quality foods.

Cheap food offers little nutritional value and it will cost you more in the end with related health issues and higher vet bills.  Check foods to make sure that they’re produced in the USA, and make sure that they’re not jam-packed with fillers (like corn and grain) instead of focusing on animal protein.  The best pet food has meat (i.e., beef, turkey, lamb, salmon or chicken) in the first and second spots on the ingredient list.  As a bonus, pets will normally eat less (and poop less) when fed a high-quality food.

3. Higher prices don’t always mean higher quality.
Don’t just assume that expensive brands are always better or more nutritious. Take the time to compare labels and ingredients.

4. Take advantage of store promotions.
Most stores usually have some kind of loyalty card or program to help you save money.  Also, take advantage of those in-store surveys and coupons that print at the bottom of your receipt!

5. Order food and treats online.
It’s often cheaper and more convenient to order your dog’s food online. You’ll save time and gasoline and often you’ll get free shipping too. I love for their low prices and amazing customer service!  Also, did you know that Purina now has a program that allows them to ship prescription food right to your door?  Ask your vet how to sign up!

6. Choose the auto-ship option to save even more.
Auto Ship is the most convenient and cheapest way for you to get food and treats that you like to regularly order.  Some online stores even offer an additional discount if you have your food automatically shipped when you need it.  Plus, you will never need to worry about running out of food!

7. Make your own treats.
It’s easy to make homemade treats for your pets and most recipes require only a few ingredients you that probably already have on hand.  There are tons of recipes you can find online – for one of my favorite EASY treats to make, check out this blog post.

8. Give kibble as treats
This is also a great way to help with weight management. Most dogs are perfectly happy getting a few small pieces of their regular food instead of more expensive treats.


9. Look for freebies.
What’s better than free?!  Ask friends or post on facebook to see if anyone has pet items they no longer need. Chances are, someone has a dog crate or cat bed they would be happy to give away.  It’s also a great idea to follow your favorite brands on their social media pages – you’d be surprised at how many discounts and freebies companies give away to their loyal customers.

10. Always repurpose.
Instead of buying new, expensive pet items, repurpose household items you already have!  Turn a drawer from a dresser into an eco-friendly cat bed, old rake heads can be given new life as purposeful dog leash storage, use collars off of an old shirt to make a fun dog collar or cat toy; just to name a few ideas.


11. Don’t pay too much for toys.
Shop for toys at dollar stores, eBay, or other discount stores where prices are generally lower than prices at pet stores.  My dogs all-time favorite dolls was under $5 at Marshalls!  I’ve also purchased several brand new cat toys (even one cat scratcher that was still in a sealed box!) at Goodwill.


12. Prevention can save a lot of money.
Annual vet checks, preventative care, keeping your pet at a healthy weight, regular exercise, and parasite preventatives can prevent major health issues and expenses later on.

13. Consider pet insurance.
With recent trends showing that people are truly considering pets as part of their family, pet insurance is becoming increasingly popular.  Be sure to compare what each policy covers, read reviews, and ask friends, family, and vet staff if they have any experience with particular pet insurance plans.

14. Save money on grooming.
Stretch out the time between grooming appointments by leaving how to freshen up your pets at home. Try giving baths, minor hair trims and nail trims at home.  If you’re not sure how to perform something – just ask!  Most groomers should be willing to fill you in on their favorite grooming products, and most vets will happily give you a demo on how to safely cut your pet’s nails. If you need a bigger or more convenient space for giving dog baths, try a self-service pet wash station.

15. Hire someone to take care of your dog.

Paying a friend, family member, neighbor or local pet sitter might still be a better and cheaper option than paying to have your furbaby boarded at a kennel. Bonus! Your pets get to stay comfortably at home or with somebody they love.


16.  Buy preventatives in bulk.
Many preventatives are much cheaper when buying by the box instead of purchasing individual doses.  ALWAYS buy preventatives through your vet office – many companies only guarantee their products when they are purchased from a veterinary clinic.

17.  Have open communication with your vet.
It can be all too tempting to check with Dr.Google in an attempt to save a few bucks on pet care.  More often than not, searching online will do nothing but stress you out.  Be sure to call your vet with any questions or concerns that you may have about your pet’s health.  Also, be sure to let your vet know if you have a budget that needs to be worked around – you should be able to request an estimate prior to any services to make sure everything stays in your price range.

18. Ask for written prescriptions.
I don’t know about all pharmacies, but Wegmans pharmacy will occasionally have antibiotics for a significant discount at various times throughout the year.  Your vet’s top priority is helping your pet, and most are more than happy to write you a prescription to help save you some money.  Letting them know about the deals that your pharmacy is offering will end up not only helping you but when vets know that local pharmacies have products significantly cheaper, they are more likely to write out those prescriptions for other clients.

19. Seek out organizations that can help.
If your pet requires care that you can’t afford, there are organizations that may be able to help.  The Humane Society has a short list of animal welfare groups that are designed to assist people who need help.

20. Get Pets Spayed or Neutered
Yes, this last suggestion is bolded for a reason.  One of the most important things you can do both for your pet and for your wallet is to make sure all of your pets are fixed.  Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and mammary tumors while neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and prostate problems.  The cost of your pet’s spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of the major surgeries involved with treating the above issues, not to mention the cost of having and caring for a litter of puppies or kittens.


Be sure to share in the comments if you have any other frugal pet tips!


The easiest DIY cat toys ever

I made these a few months back and forgot to post them.  Every now and then, I try to be crafty…I’m just usually not too good at it.  I decided to make something that even I couldn’t screw up.  If you know how to make a knot, you can make these DIY toys too!


All you need is leftover fabric, old shirts, etc.  I also used some catnip to get the cats initially interested in their new toys, but if your kitties are extra playful, they’ll love their new home-made toys with or without the catnip.


I used 3 different colors of fleece that I had leftover from a different project.


Cut the fabric so the pieces are relatively the same size.  I made different size toys, so some of my pieces were longer than others.


I had one end of my fabric wider than the other end, just to make it easier for me to knot.  If you’re better at tying knots than I am, this step likely won’t be necessary.


Last but not least, start tying knots!  You can tie as many or as few knots as you’d like, as tight or as loose as desired.  If you know how to tie different styles of knots (I don’t!) you can mix and match those to create fun new toy designs.




Linus was immediately eager to play; Burger and Frenchie didn’t pay much attention until I sprinkled some catnip on the toys.



Andddd you’re done!
If you attempt these super easy DIY toys, be sure to post pictures in the comments down below!


Holidays always hurt the worst

Somehow made it through Thanksgiving.  It was not easy.  Ever since my grandpa died when I was younger, the holidays have always taken an emotional toll on me.  It’s always hurt that I didn’t have my grandpa here with me anymore.  I’ve always wished that I had one of those big families that you always see on TV, where there’s dozens of people coming into town to celebrate.  I’ve always been so jealous of people with big families.


My paternal grandma spent most of the holidays in Florida.  When I was really young, she wouldn’t leave for Florida until after Christmas, but as the years went on, she started heading down there earlier and earlier, usually as soon as the weather started to get cold.  So that left holidays being just myself, my parents and brother, and my maternal grandparents.  I was always okay with that – my grandpa was my best friend, and as long as he was there, I was happy.  When he passed away, my family more or less stopped celebrating holidays.  We would visit my maternal grandma in her assisted living home, spending the majority of each holiday there.  Same with my paternal grandma, who only stayed in Rochester for the holidays once she was physically unable to travel due to her declining health.  After being in and out of the hospital for months with various health issues, it was Christmas Day that the doctors told us she was unable to return home, and that we needed to look into nursing homes for her.


After both grandmas had also passed away, Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at Chinese buffets…just my parents, brother and me.  I would always smuggle some turkey out for Oreo, and when we were pulling in the driveway we could see him jumping around the window, anxiously awaiting his holiday meal.  After that, we would always go for a long walk with my dad.  Oreo always seemed to enjoy that – most nights, he would force my dad and I to take him on separate walks, but seeing him prance down the street when the both of us were with him was priceless.


I wasn’t expecting this Thanksgiving to hit me as hard as it did.  I spent it home by myself with my cats, as my parents can’t leave their new dog alone without her destroying things.  Their house isn’t suitable for people to come over for big dinners (and no one in my family really knows how to cook anyway), and they didn’t want to come over here.  I think I would have been completely OK with the way it played out if Oreo was still here.  It’s almost been 6 months since I lost him.  Half of a whole year.  It still seems so raw.  Most mornings when I wake up, for that first split second, I still reach over to scratch his ears.


Sometimes I can’t believe that I survived losing him.  Part of me had always thought that I truly would die of a broken heart when he was gone.  He was my entire heart and soul, my first child.  I love my kitties so much, but they can’t compete to the complete devotion I felt towards Oreo.  He was my child and I was his mommy, and I was determined to do anything and everything I could to make sure he lived a long, happy and healthy life.  Despite all of that, he did not live nearly long enough (10 short years), and was plagued by a variety of health issues.


I hope he enjoyed his first Thanksgiving in Heaven.
I hope someone remembered to smuggle him a piece of turkey.

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The Fun Days Of Fall…

Just some random ramblings as we finish up what will likely be the last nice day of fall…

Every warm day in the spring and the fall would always be Oreo’s favorite days for walks.  Not too hot that he’d tire out too quickly, not cold enough where he’d refuse to leave the house.  I really miss those walks.  I tried taking Skai for a walk today, she lovedddd running around the beach playing with Riley (the dog next door).  Walking, though…apparently it’s not one of her strengths.  The furthest we made it was just two houses down before she’d turn around and start doing zoomies around the beach.  Also, much like Oreo, Skai is apparently afraid of water!  I had thought that since she loved playing with Riley so much, she’d chase her right into the water.  Every single time, she’d put the brakes on , refusing to go any further than the shoreline.  Silly dogs!



Last night I had a “girls night” with some of the girls from work.  It made me realize how much I miss nights like that.  I used to have dates with friends at least once weekly, but with working two jobs and having Oreo and Burger so sick, it kind of got pushed to the side. I hadn’t realized just how isolated I had become.  With Oreo gone now, and my being down to one job, I have more free time.  I still have a really hard time spending the night anywhere but home since Burger still needs a lot of care, but I really need to start opening up my social calendar instead of turning things down in favor of watching tv and sleeping.



Speaking of Burger…this picture is from right after he threw his bloodclot.  I forget how chunky he used to be!  He’s so much bonier now…I think large in part to his GI issues.  His bloodwork always comes back pretty normal, but I worry about his body not absorbing nutrients like it should.  I remember this day…we’d put him in what used to be our biggest run at work.  He was coming with me every day, making himself cozy wrapped up in blankets, and enjoying watching all of the cats and dogs that came in every day.  On this particular day, we had locked the doors and I was doing cashup for the night when I looked up and saw this guy strutting past me.  He had jumped over the top of the cage and decided that he wanted to explore a bit!  It was at that moment that I knew that I had to do whatever it takes to make sure that he was okay.  He wasn’t done living his life, and I wasn’t going to stop fighting for him until he told me he was ready to go.  Three years later, here we are…he’s still not back to normal and has some days where he gets really sick, but overall, he’s my happy little boy.  He’s really starting to warm up to Skai, as well.  She’s very gentle with him, and he even started to lick her nose a bit today before he realized what he was doing.



I successfully made it through yet another wedding season!  While I’m beyond happy for all of my friends who have found their way to marital bliss, I do tend to feel pretty out of place.  My dad has taken to the task of “finding Amy a boyfriend”.  Any time he goes anywhere, he insists by telling me about some random guy he met and how he thinks that I should go back to the store/lawyers office/doctors office/etc to meet them for myself.  When he was throwing my mom a surprise squaredancing birthday party, he even said “it would be good for you to go!  Maybe you’ll meet a boy!”  I think he was a little disappointed when he saw that the youngest “boy” there was probably in his 50s.  I don’t think he realizes that it’s not something I want.  Sure, every now and then I wonder if I’ll ever get my “happily ever after”, but if I don’t…that’s okay too.  I don’t feel the extreme desire to meet someone, get married, and have kids like most people do.  I do okay by myself.  A big chunk of that is based on my complete inability to trust anyone.  That, coupled with my anxiety levels going through the roof, have made me decide that maybe it’s time to look into counseling again.  It can’t hurt…right?


On that note, I think it’s time to head to sleep.  Shoot some fun fall activities my way!  I didn’t get to really celebrate the Halloween season last year, and I want to make up for it this year.

Goodnight <3

Life Changes and Happy Cat Month!!

Did you know that September is ‘happy cat’ month?  How fitting that it’s also my birthday month!  In the spirit of always making sure that my kitties as as happy and healthy as possible,  I wanted to start at the root of the issue – making sure that I’M happy as well.


Earlier in the month, I made the decision to resign from Chase bank.  While I had always had high hopes of climbing the ranks, I just was no longer happy there.  With each passing day, my job satisfaction level decreased, and I just knew that it was time to get out.  Starting October 1st, I’ll be going back up to a full time position at Greece Animal Hospital.  Working at the vet is by far the most difficult job I’ve ever had; but it’s also the only one where when I leave at the end of the day I feel like I make a difference.  GAH has always been my home.

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Of course, this will lead me with lots more opportunity to pet-sit!  I already do it fairly frequently, but would occasionally turn down gigs because of my crazy schedule between both jobs.  Now I don’t have to worry about that – I’ll be back down to working 40 hour weeks, and on long days I can even bring those pets into work with me if need be!  I am also considering using my newly found free time to take some classes – I’ve been especially thinking about animal behavior and cooking.  I nearly set the microwave on fire at the bank today trying to make popcorn, so I figure it’s time to figure out what the heck to do in the kitchen.


To keep my kitties entertained, I’ve been buying lots of different toys, treats and food for them.  I even signed up for Meowbox – so I get a box full of new toys and treats (and even kitty wine) for my fur babes every month.  Of course, in typical cat fashion, their favorite toy is the cheapest one —


My birthday is coming up next week – Wednesday to be exact. I’ll be turning 31.  It seems completely insane to me – I can’t believe that a DECADE ago I was counting down the days to celebrate my 21st birthday.  Time goes by so fast, it’s crazy.


My parents added a new member to our family last week; a sweet little girl named Skai.  She was rescued from Puerto Rico, and is so timid and shy, but bonded immediately to my mom and dad especially.  She reminds me so much of Oreo in some ways – her looks, obviously, the way she walks, the way she acts with the cats. Yet in other ways they are SO different, and she reminds me of just how perfect Oreo was, and how lucky I was to have him.  I still miss him so much every day, and still always wonder how long it takes for the sheer pain of heartbreak to start to subside.