3 Money Moves Every Pet Owner Should Make (Without Redoing Your Budget)

Two country people sit in the back of their pick up truck with their dog.
Getty Images
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

These days, our pets are such a huge comfort to us. They’re huge stress relievers and help keep us sane in these crazy times. Study after study shows pets help stave off loneliness and depression.

Anyone who has a dog or cat knows the value of taking a quick mental health break to go pet Rover or Fluffy. They’re little four-legged antidepressants.

They do get a little expensive, though. Between pet food and vet bills, the cost of owning a cat or dog can quickly run into thousands of dollars. And these are tough economic times.

We’ve got some suggestions for simple financial moves you can make that’ll help you spoil Fido and Simba like they deserve.

1. Save Money on Pet Food

Pet owners spend hundreds of dollars a year on pet food. (How much exactly? It really depends on the pet.) You may as well be getting some money back.

Do you buy your pet food at the grocery store? A free app called Fetch Rewards rewards you with gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart just for buying pet food and more than 250 other items at the supermarket. Just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch.

Or, do you buy your pet food online? This free service will send you an alert if you’re about to overpay. Just add it to your browser, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites to see if your item is available for cheaper. It’ll also automatically check for coupon codes you can use online.

2. Does Your Dog Deserve Its Own Yard?

Let’s think bigger. Are you an apartment dweller? Or do you live in a house with a small yard?

You might have dreams to buy a house one day — one with a nice big yard for your furry friend.

To buy a house, you’ll need a good credit rating. It really makes a big difference. If you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.

Within 90 seconds, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).

Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.

3. Take Care of Your Pet Forever

Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? That includes your cats and dogs. Chances are your checking account balance won’t last forever.

If you want to leave your family up to $1.5 million to care of things like funeral expenses and college tuitions (and pet food), use something called term life insurance.

You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But this takes just minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1.5 million with a company called Bestow.

We hear people are paying as little as $10 a month.* (But every year you wait, this gets more expensive.)

It takes just minutes to get a free quote and see how much life insurance you can leave your loved ones — even if you don’t have seven figures in your bank account.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has multiple cats and dogs.

*Bestow: Policies are issued by Bestow Life Insurance Company, Dallas, TX on policy form series BLI-ITPOL. Bestow Life Insurance products may not be available in all states. Policy limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. Our application asks lifestyle and health questions to determine eligibility in order to avoid requiring a medical exam. Prices start at $10/month based on an 18-year-old male rated Preferred Plus NT for a $100k policy for a 10-year term. Rates will vary based on underwriting review.