Whether you are a first-time cat owner or a seasoned pro, you know that cats can be expensive to care for. One of the biggest costs associated with cats is their food. Why? Because they need it every single day. But you don’t have to break the bank to feed your furry friend.
With a little knowledge and some smart strategies, you can save big on cat food costs. Here are 15 clever ways for saving on cat food costs that will help you keep your budget in check without sacrificing your cat’s health.
The 15 Ways How to Save Money on Cat Food
1. Compare Prices and Sign Up for Discount Newsletters
Compare online prices, as many online retailers offer competitive prices. Sometimes, they offer cat food at bigger discounts than physical locations. And some even offer free shipping. Also, one of the best things that you can do is to stay alert of each store’s deals. You can do this by subscribing to their email newsletter.
And if you don’t feel like having your primary email spammed, you can simply register a new email exclusively for these types of deals.
Finally, don’t forget to check out online retailers. Many online retailers offer competitive prices, and some even offer free shipping. It’s worth researching online retailers to see if they have any deals or discounts that you can take advantage of. Here are a few online stores that you may want to register your email with:
2. Pay Attention to Brand Sales & Formal Holidays
The thing is that many companies will offer deals on products that are going out of stock, are in abundant supply, or that aren’t selling that well. This can vary by week, month, or by the time of the year. You also want to pay attention to holidays. Stores love to have deals on holidays including Labor Day, 4th of July, Black Friday, New Year’s Eve, and around Christmas time.
3. Buy Food in Bulk
Buying in bulk is another great way to save money on cat food. Many pet stores offer discounts for buying larger quantities of food, so it is worth researching different stores to find the best deal. One of the best places to do this is on Amazon and Walmart. You can find bulk cat food on both of these sites and stock up for the next few months. Unopened cat food can stay good anywhere from 4 months to about 3 or 4 years depending on the brand and type.
4. Make Your Own Cat Food
There are many easy-to-follow recipes online, so it’s worth researching different recipes to find one that is right for your cat. Making your own cat food can surprisingly be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your family – and it can save you money in the long run.
Cats are essentially carnivores, but they need a balanced diet in order to stay healthy, so make sure to include protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in your cat’s food. You can talk to your vet to make sure you’re feeding your cat the right amount of food and the right ingredients. Note that cats need at least 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So anywhere between about 26% to 40% of their diet should be protein.
5. Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
Signing up for loyalty programs at pet stores is a great way to save money on cat food. Many pet store chains and even local pet stores offer rewards or loyalty programs. For example, PetSmart lets you earn points for every purchase, whether online or at their physical locations. You can then redeem those points for money off of a future purchase.
6. Don’t Go for the Top Name Brands
One of the best ways to save on canned food is to avoid expensive name brands. Some of the more expensive Brands include Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, and Hill’s Pet. That being stated, pay attention to the nutritional value and ingredients – as all brands are not created equal. And remember that higher pricing doesn’t necessarily always mean higher quality. And while you can definitely find cheaper brands that have decent ingredients, some simply aren’t worth the savings. A few quality brands that are less expensive include Purina Pro and Iams.
7. Check Out Online Retailers
Checking out online retailers is another great way to save money on cat food. Online retailers offer competitive prices, and some even offer free shipping. It’s worth researching different online retailers to see if they have any deals or discounts that you can take advantage of.
Many stores offer special discounts (these discounts will usually be anywhere between 5% to 20%) and coupons to members, so signing up for a loyalty program can save you money. For example, one common Petco deal is that they offer 15% off orders over $50 and a buy one get one 50% on their online store.
8. Take Advantage of Auto-shipping
Auto-shipping often comes with significant discounts. Chewy offers a 35% discount (up to $20), on your first auto-ship. Then, you’ll get 5% off your next auto-ship. The shipments can be scheduled based on the amount of food you need, and you can change it at any time. Petco also offers 35% discounts on repeat orders. If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll also notice quite a few brands offering discounts on “monthly order subscriptions” as well as discounts for Prime membership members alone – this discount is around 40%. Some brands that offer discounts for Prime members include Purina, Pedigree, and Blue Buffalo.
9. Follow Pet Food Companies on Social Media
You may not think of social media when it comes to pet food savings, but it can definitely be beneficial. If you aren’t signed up for their newsletter, social media may be the next best thing. Pet companies often provide exclusive discount codes and offers on social media that you might not have known about otherwise. In fact, the majority of major and regional pet food stores and brands are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
10. Shop Wholesale
With wholesale purchasing, you can often get cat food discounts of up to 25-40%, making it much easier to budget for your pet’s needs. Many online pet stores offer bulk discounts and free shipping, so you can be sure to get the best price for your cat’s food. But you can also check physical wholesale stores, such as Costco or Sam’s. Be sure to test whether your pet likes the food (if it’s not their regular brand/meal). First purchase a smaller amount before buying bulk at a wholesale store.
11. Use Browser Extensions for Savings
You may be surprised to learn that you can also use browser extensions to get savings on your cat food. These extensions will tell you when you can get cash back or save money when you shop online. Extensions such as BeFrugal, Honey, Capital One Shopping, and Rakuten will tell you when you can earn cash back on purchases like accessories or cat food. Some will also let you know when you can get a better deal at another site. You can also save money by using random promo codes that may pop up on sites like RetailMeNot.
12. Find Cashback Deals with Phone Apps
You can also use phone apps to find cool cash back deals. It’s possible to earn a few dollars every time you buy something for your cat. You can earn cash back by using apps such as Top Cash Back, Ibotta, Upside, Fetch, and Drop, which you can redeem for gift cards once you have reached a certain amount (which is usually $25–$50).
13. Properly Store Dry Food
Cat food can become stale if it’s not properly stored, and throwing away cat food before it was used because it went bad can waste money. You can store pet food in bulk, so it stays fresh, by simply placing it in the pantry and ensuring that there are no punctures or holes in the packaging. This is actually the best way to do it, but you can also remove it from the packaging and place it in an airtight container – it’s better if the container is opaque. When transferring food from its original packaging into large containers, be sure to track expiration dates and write them on the container.
14. Track & Measure Your Cat’s Food Portions
Overfeeding your cat can lead to expensive food costs every month, not to mention possibly make your cat overweight. Ask your veterinarian how much food you should feed your cat. Remember that a normal healthy cat should eat anywhere between 23 to 36 calories a day per pound of body weight. Most cats weigh anywhere from 8 to 11 pounds as adults. So, this means that an 8-pound cat should eat about 192 to 280 calories every day.
15. Get Samples from Your Vet
Do you take your cat to the vet every 3 to 6 months? Well, you may want to ask them about cat food samples. Why? Because many pet food companies often target vets for new pet food lines and products. This is a great way to continuously get free cat food throughout the year without making any extra trips. Note that it won’t be enough to provide your cat this food exclusively, but you can save these samples for times when you’re in a pinch, or you can use them to find out what foods your cat likes or doesn’t like so that you don’t waste money on large bags of food.
Caring for a cat can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Staying on top of which stores are offering discounts is one of the best ways that you can save on this cost every month. So be sure to sign up for those newsletter and buy and bulk whenever possible to help stretch your penny as far as you can. This tip, along with the others on this list, should have you saving money on cat food in no time.
Featured Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock