Showing posts with label pet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pet. Show all posts

How To Spend Less At Your Pet's Vet

 
My dog's allergy medication was running low so I had to schedule a visit to the veterinarian so they could poke and pinch her a little before they would renew her prescription. I personally hate having to visit the doctor when I'm healthy and well, and I don't like doing it for my pet either. They insisted she needed a visit which would cost about $56 just for the exam, plus more.

Well, I loaded up all her meds we would want a prescription for - her allergy pills, flea and heartguard stuff, and some ointment for occasional ear infections. When we got there, the vet of course wanted to give us an estimate for an oral tooth cleaning, some unneeded shots, a fecal parasite test, a heartworm test and a senior dog blood profile to check her organs. We declined the tooth cleaning and blood profile right off since those would cost hundreds each alone. They came back in the room with a printed estimate of $440 for the visit for a perfectly healthy dog. It really pissed me off. When I asked if any of them were required for her health and well being, or for her prescriptions the answer was no. How about that, they wanted to have us pay hundreds of dollars for tests that would not lead to any diagnosis or health improvement.

They also put the three medications we wanted on the "estimate" and they charged double the price of my online vet pharmacy I use (Allivet.com). I was going to concede and get the ear ointment at the vet since it was only $47, but when I quickly looked it up using my smartphone I discovered it was only $25 at the online pharmacy. The vet also wanted $113 for some pills that I can get online for $56. I told them I wanted paper prescriptions and to please fax them to my online vet pharmacy, since I had the order on hold pending their Rx.

We ended up paying $93 for the visit, which is a far cry from over $400. Here are my tips to save money at the vet:
  1. Just because a vet offers or recommends a service does not mean your dog needs it. You can brush your dogs teeth at home with a soft moistened cloth with baking soda. Ask the doctor if the recommended service is required. If it's not, don't do it.
  2. If you never board your dog, you don't need a lot of those shots. We decline all shots except Rabies.
  3. You don't need to get heartworm or fecal parasite tests. Give your dog Revolution which has heartworm and flea protectants together in one application. You can tell if your dog gets worms by looking at its poo when you clean it up outside. There are over the counter meds to control it if it is a problem.
  4. The older your dog is, the more dangerous it is to do surgery or sedate them for procedures. Consider the risk and reward of the process. Our dog is 13 years old and has fatty deposits under her skin that are more noticeable. They are harmless and certainly not worth sedation and surgery to do a biopsy to find out they are benign.
  5. Get all prescriptions written out and fax them to an outside online vet pharmacy to save money. Your vet will charge double the price of an online pharmacy. Sometimes, your vet will prescribe a simple antiobiotic ointment or pill that you can even get for free from Publix.
  6. Make sure your pet is clean and brushed, with trimmed nails and clean ears and eyes when you bring it to the vet. It will demonstrate that you care properly for your pet and you won't have them offering to bath, trim or clean your dog at their high prices. 
  7. Do not buy any products from your vet, they are all double the price of an online pharmacy. You can get the same products online.
  8. Keep your pet healthy and well, feeding it good food, and doing mini checkups at home (check paws, trim nails or hair, clean ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, brush hair, check for lumps) regularly so you can monitor if an issue is getting better or worse. Get treatment before it becomes an emergency which are very expensive visits.
A healthly pet is a happy pet, and will greet you warmly every time you walk in the house.

Pamper Your Pet with Love and Nudges Healthy Dog Treats #NudgesMoments

As a regular reader of Frugalapolis, you know we have a wonderful dog who keeps us happy with her unrelenting love and thoughtfulness. We love to give her love and attention too, and plenty of healthy dog treats as rewards for behaving well and for training. Yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks.

We recently purchased some Nudges dog treats at Walmart (with a $1/1 Nudges coupon of course) and the dog loves them! They work great to help us mange her excitement for walks, and help get the results we seek. You can check out my entire shopping Trip through my Google+ Photo Album HereNudges, which are made in USA dog treats, are premium chicken jerky cuts made with real chicken and are wholesome dog treats for your pets. They have no artificial flavors or fillers and best of all they smell good and they are the best dog treats.

She will walk up to the desk and smell the package and then looking longing at one of us. Dogs are so good at non-verbal signals, its hilarious. When I opened the package and smelled them I was a big fan, they seem just like people food! One of my favorite things about the Nudges is that they are large easy to tear pieces so we can put just one piece in our pocket for a short walk and then tear off the appropriate bite-sized pieces for the dog. 
  

Ilom always careful with our dogs' diet, health and safety especially as she ages. Because of this, I’m always a little leery about trying a new treat. With all the recent scares involving dog treats made in other countries, I was happy to see that Nudges are safe high quality dog treats made in the USA!

We like to bring our dog with us to outdoor events and get together with friends who also have pets. This helps our dog get some dog companionship she probably missed since our other dog died a few years ago. She grew up with a playmate and is now the lone dog in the doghouse, which I'm sure she likes sometimes - but then again she gets lonely too. She loved playing with Zoey at a recent 4th of July parade.

Another thing important for an older dog is they like gentle petting and softer voices when you are showing your love. I like to use these times to check out the health of my older dog by feeling for new fatty lumps, checking her ears for cleanliness, looking for any new cuts or insect bites and doing a general inspection of her health. I like to see if her coat is shiny and clean, her breath is not smelly, and her paws have trimmed nails. Excessive itching and scratching means its time for her flea goo treatment and possibly an allergy shot. Any time medication is dispensed is a great time to follow up with a Nudge, those wholesome dog treats she loves. 
If you’re interested in checking out the Nudges dog treats, you can learn more on their Facebook page or the Nudges website. They also have their “Share the Love” promotion going on where you can share your dog’s nudge moments by uploading a photo in their giveaway for weekly prizes or a Samsung Galaxy S4 (and $2500 gift card to apply toward phone services)! Upload one of those adorable pictures you have with you and your dog (you must have at least one) or take a new one!

For all the tweeters out there, you can follow them on twitter @NudgesDogTreats. There will be a twitter party on July 17th 2-3pm EST regarding Nudges wholesome dog treats, creating Nudges moments with your pet, and what makes a great day from your pets perspective. Here is the link to the Hosts Twitter party RSVP page.

If your looking for ideas on fun ways to spend your summer be sure to check out this new magazine featured below. There are a lot of great ideas inside.
For more pet safety tips for the summer months, check out the Live SoFab Digital Magazine. There’s more information about Nudges dog treats there as well.

What's your pets favorite thing to do for a Nudge? Tell us all about it in the comments!

National Pet Day

 
Of course there has to be a National Pet Day. So here's our pet. She's the one with black hair, you can ignore the one with glasses, although he is my pet too.
 

How We Spent Our Money in 2012


One of my favorite websites, Mint.com makes evaluating your expenses much simpler at the end of the year. They actually have a pretty good app for smartphones too which I check everyday to make sure no one stole my identity, or money. One of my other favorite websites, Mr Money Mustache has posted his yearly spending so I feel compelled to also drop our drawers and lay it all out there.
 
I thought it would be interesting to see where all our money went last year and what opportunities there are for improvement this coming year. You might not really care what we spend, but you're probably nosy and will continue to read and see how you compare to us, a couple of cheap asses who recycle plastic baggies (not really). I think this may be a useful exercise to see where our money goes and to try to manage it so that when we retire we'll be able to fully enjoy ourselves on a limited budget. We learned a long time ago how fun it is to not have a car payment. And we learned a few years ago how fun it is to not have a house payment. And we learned last year how fun it is to not have to pay for food, gas or household products. So, just there we have three categories of expenses that have just went poooffff! up the air, gone to heaven and hopefully, never be seen again.
 
As you recall, we did a pretty extensive remodel of our home including all three bedrooms, dining room, living room and office. This ended up being our largest expense of the year and its worth every dime. Now our home is totally renovated and modern, and we're on our way to a clean, uncluttered existence as we sort through the outcast stuff we still have in our "green" room or the stockpile room.
 
Anyway, listed here are our largest expense categories of the year.
 
1. Home (Insurance, taxes, remodel, furnishings, appliances) $13,291
This was by far our biggest expense even though we have no mortgage or loans. The taxes $1000 and insurance $2500 are pretty much out of our control so that is a fixed expense. The remodel and new furnishings were a one time expense we  don't anticipate this again, although there are other projects on the horizon in years to come such as a new roof, fenced yard and we expect a new A/C unit will be needed someday since ours is over fifteen years old. However, we paid for everything and expect next years home expenses to be less than a third of what they were. There are opportunities to repair rather than replace, and preserve what we have so it lasts longer. My goal for 2013 is to spend less than $5000 for the year on this category.
 
2. Utilities (mobile phones, internet, TV, electric, water, garbage) $6,056
We are generally frugal in our use of utilities such as water, electricity and try to recycle to minimize garbage. I've unplugged one dorm size refrigerator and hope to empty our small freezer so we can unplug that as well. That leaves two full size refrigerators and a kegerator sucking down electricity at a high rate. In the warm weather, I unplug and drain the hot tub since we use the pool. Likewise in the cool weather I run the pool filter pump less hours per day since we don't swim in it for half the year (although the dog does - every day!) I was hoping to decrease our TV/Internet expense when our contract was up, but that didn't turn out and I feel fortunate to pay the same rate for another two years. Maybe by then DH can be weaned off cable and we can subsist on online streaming of sports events and TV programs. I'm looking to cutting our cell phone costs in half this year as I combine my smartphone with DH's account at only $40 a line unlimited everything. We are both eligible to upgrade our phones, but the frugal thing is to just keep them both as is. So there is definitely opportunity to cut expenses in this category, so my goal this year is to spend less than $5000 in this category as well.
 
3. Allowances $6000
DH and I each get an allowance monthly to pay for stuff that is not a household expense.This category would also include going out to restaurants which we only do a couple times a year - except for the Firehouse where we go regularly for wings and beer. These optional expenses like beer, cigarettes, going out to eat, massages, extravagent unnecessary expenses (Ipad, extra computers, music) are paid for with cash from our allowance. We both save a significant portion of our allowance being the frugal spenders we are. DH used to spend a good portion of his allowance on driving a race car and I purchased computers and photography equipment. If we decide to do something extravagent that the house "can't afford" we both chip in from our allowance. This category will stay the same next year.
 
4. Auto & Motorcycle (insurance, maintenance, gasoline) $4,126
Our two old cars and two newer motorcycles are very expensive to insure in this state of Florida where almost half the drivers do not carry insurance, and I'm sure a good portion of them are driving on suspended licenses as well. It is dangerous and therefore we have probably excessive insurance compared to most people. But after DH was struck by an uninsured driver in 2010 and we received a nice settlement from our own insurance, we feel safer on the roads having sufficient insurance. But this is one area we can still cut back on insurance with the red truck since it sits in the driveway the majority of its life, and its the biggest boxiest safest vehicle we have. Of our auto expenses, over half is insurance $2470, $1657 was maintenance on all four vehicles. I've made a note to mention $1722 for gasoline even though this was paid for with gift cards we got at Publix from overage, and yard sale proceeds. So the opportunity here is to cut insurance a little and to ride my bike more this year, so this year we can spend less than $4000 in this category.
 
5. Travel $3,384
This category has suffered since we have been remodeling. Now that our home is updated, we plan to resume frequent travel. We already have booked a nice seven day cruise to the Virgin Islands this spring, and plan to book another for Fall 2013, in addition to our annual trip up North to visit our families. We have let all our season tickets to NASCAR races go unrenewed and we may attend these types of events at most once a year. I actually desire to travel to places I haven't been to before, or places I traveled to as a child. I would love to visit San Francisco, Hawaii, Yellowstone National Park, Colorado and Canada. We're actually in a holding pattern for extended long trips as long as we have our old dog. When she passes in a few years, we'll be able to take longer trips overseas without having to worry about finding a caretaker for her. So this year, I would expect this category to at least double, if not approach $10,000.
 
6. Shopping $2,793
Amazon is the death of me. It is way to easy to shop online and it shows up here in this category. We have way to many clothes and shoes and could easily go years without purchasing anything to wear. I see this category as an opportunity to cut in half to about $1400.
 
7. Health (Rx, copays, insurance) $1,722
This category just increased this year because of our Governor, for the first time in ten years we were required to pay health insurance premiums. I hope to just maintain the cost of this category in the future, not much hope of decreasing it until I hit menopause or quit having sex, and can quit going to the doctor for those little pills.
 
8. Entertainment (Busch Gardens, Concerts) $1,656
This category is actually not very much of our budget and I hope to be able to maintain that amount this year. We do go to a lot of free festivals and inexpensive concerts to keep this cost down. Actually, since we used to work concert events we have seen almost every performer we care to see and the cost is often not worth it if we've seen it. We did splurge and buy good tickets for an upcoming Lady Gaga concert this spring.
 
9. Pet $695
The love, companionship and protection we receive in exchange for vet bills and medications is worth the cost for our dog. Dog food and treats are paid for with overage at Publix so this is actually less than most pay for a pet. If we keep this expense under $1000, that would be good. In the future this expense will go away when the dog dies.
 
10. Personal Care $249
This category is probably low since DH pays for his haircuts with cash and takes out the money when he gets his allowance. So it really should be double, closed to $500 for hair cuts and perms. It helps being low maintenance people - no manicures, hair color, no pedicures or expensive massages. All that individual stuff comes out of allowance anyway, it is not considered a household expense.
 
The missing category -  Food & Beer
This category is one where we have eliminated the expense by using coupons and shopping the sales. We buy stuff we don't need, to use the overage to get what we need. We actually made $803 last year, spending $2951 in cash and gift cards to purchase $32,729 worth of products (including $3755 in gift cards and gas cards). The cash used in shops was proceeds from yard sales selling our stockpile from couponing. We also use the cash to pay for our beer kegs, and extra spending money when we travel.
 
So, in summary our goal for the upcoming year is to cut our spending by 10% overall.
 
How did you do?