When our pets enter their golden years, we want to make sure we’re doing the best for them that we can. However, money is tight for many right now, and senior pet care can get expensive, fast. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to carefully plan and budget for your pet’s care during these years.
We want to make sure you have the tools to keep your budget on track while caring for your senior pet. Here’s a look at a few ways to keep costs low so you have the budget to address all your pal’s needs:
Shop the Sales
One straightforward way to keep your budget on track is to make sure you’re shopping with sales and discounts in mind. You can keep an eye on local marketing materials, or search for Petsmart coupons online. Businesses are always hoping to drum up business by offering discounts, so there’s usually some sort of lower-priced option out there for most pet supplies you might need.
Consult Your Veterinarian
It’s easy to jump to a lot of conclusions about what your senior pet needs, but before you rush out and stock up, schedule an appointment with your vet. Let them know you want to do what’s best for your pal but that you’re also working on a budget, so you want to know which items to skip and which are really worth it. They’ll be able to give you great insight that’s based on reality, rather than whatever your friend heard from their second cousin’s roommate.
You should also ask them about discounts and payment plans, especially in the event your pet has an emergency. Most veterinarian offices will work with people to ensure they can afford their pet’s care, but it’s less stressful for you if you ask in advance what their options are. If you can, have them print you something in writing — it’s best if you know the names of payment plans or discounts when you need them.
DIY Pet Aids
As your pet gets older, they might start to have trouble getting around. Hip arthritis, for example, is very common in older animals, and it can make getting onto high surfaces a challenge. Fortunately, there are a ton of relatively simple DIY plans out there for making your pet a ramp or small staircase. This is perfect for a pet that loves to nap on the couch or in your bed who’s starting to have trouble getting there.
You can also look into making your pet an elevated food and water station. Bending far down to get to basics like food and water can be a strain on older pet’s necks. You can easily make a small elevated food station so your pal doesn’t have to strain for snacks. Of course, these aren’t exactly budget-friendly options if you don’t already have the tools to do this work but ask around — you might have a friend or family member with tools you can borrow.
Build and Stick to a Budget
Finally, focus on creating a budget you stick to in all other aspects of your life as well. Many adults spend pretty mindlessly, and this can cause major issues. In addition to simply running out of money for things that matter most, you can wind up causing yourself completely unnecessary stress. Keeping a budget is a great way to ensure you’re spending and saving wisely.
Unfortunately, many people get intimidated by starting a budget. Here’s a low-stress way to begin: Start by just tracking your spending. Use a budgeting app or a spreadsheet to log all of your purchases, including the price, the shop, the date, and a rough description of what you bought. Keep this up for a month or so — long enough to start getting a sense of how you spend your money.
Once you have this log going, you can start to make changes to make your spending more effective. For example, you might realize you’re spending a lot on eating out, and surprisingly little on groceries. Observations like this give you the power to change your habits — buy more fresh food, cook more often, and save money along the way.
Build your budget with categories to reflect your goals, including a category for pet care. Split pet savings between supplies and emergencies to make sure you’re truly saving for both. Pay attention to your budget and keep spending low, and you’ll have the funds to give your pal everything they deserve.
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