How I Save on Cat Food and Supplies on a Budget

by David Sung

A few years ago when I moved to Dallas, I didn't know anybody. I was starting my career while most of my friends were still in college.

One day, the office manager where I worked asked me if I wanted a kitten that she had rescued in her neighborhood. I had never owned a pet before, even though I love animals. I considered her offer because I figured a pet would make a great companion.

So, I went to her house where I met a fluffy, gray and black, long-haired kitten. This adorable kitten melted my heart, and I decided to take him in. I named my new furbaby, Rocky.

Little did I realize, though, that having a pet is practically akin to having a kid when it comes to expenses. A cat’s food, toys, litter, and veterinary visits quickly add up. As I tallied my receipts on all the items I’d buy for Rocky, I realized I was spending about $60 a month on average. It seemed like a reasonable amount, but the coupon queen in me is always looking for ways to save. Plus, the prices on cat-related items are increasing each year, and I want to keep his monthly expenses less than $60.

Here are a few money-saving tips that I've learned in my journey as a cat owner that I hope will help you save on items for your furry friend.  I’ll use last month as an example. I stock up on Rocky’s food, litter and related supplies at the beginning of each month. I primarily do this because I’ll save on gas by not making multiple trips to the store in a month, and the pet store where I shop usually sends out an ad at the end of each month. The ad has discounted prices on items I buy.

In January, I saved $23.29 on all his items. On average, I’m saving about $25 each month. Here is how I do it.

Join a Rewards Program

Many pet stores have rewards programs. I’ve joined the Pet Supplies Plus rewards program. In January, I bought Rocky’s food, litter and litter pan bags for the month. The bill subtotal for Rocky’s items was $63.26 before the rewards programs discounts kicked in.

When I used my Pet Supplies Plus rewards card, $17.54 was knocked off the subtotal. And, if you use coupons, you can reap the benefits of additional savings, which brings me to my next tip.

Clip coupons

I had a coupon for 75 cents off cat treats, which I used while I was at Pet Supplies Plus. Fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers nowadays. But, if there is one newspaper each week that you should buy, it’s the Sunday edition – which is usually packed with coupons.

About once a month, I’ll find coupons on all kinds of cat food brands– Temptations, Iams, Purina and more. These coupons come in handy, especially because canned foods, such as Purina Fancy Feast, have doubled from around 28 cents to nearly 60 cents in the past few years. Now this may not seem like much, but it does add up over weeks, months, and years. I suppose I could switch to an even less expensive brand, but then Rocky would be unhappy, and I really don’t want to upset my cat.

In addition to the rewards program discount and the coupon, I saved more money with a coupon that I got from a survey I completed, which is another way to reduce costs.

Complete Store Surveys

Recently, Pet Supplies Plus sent me an email survey. The retailer wanted to know why I never purchased cat litter at their store. I wrote that I could get Rocky’s cat litter cheaper at another store. After I completed the survey and hit the submit button, the store surprised me with a coupon for $5 off any future litter purchase. Score!

I applied that $5 off coupon to the subtotal during my most recent visit. I recommend filling out surveys from retailers where you shop. Stores want to retain your business and make sure you’re satisfied. They’ll send you surveys to get your feedback. It’s good to fill out those surveys because you never know when a retailer may surprise you with an excellent discount.

So, after applying the rewards program discount, coupon and survey coupon, my subtotal bill went from $63.26 to $43.27. I came in well under $60 with my $23.29 in savings.

It’s a win-win situation because Rocky still gets his favorite food and litter (and lives like a little king), and I save money that can be used toward my other necessities such as a tank of gas or groceries.

What are some ways that you save money on caring for your pets? We’d love to share them with our other customers.

Written by Vanessa Trevino.

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