How We Found an Extra $1,000 in Our Monthly Budget

monthly grocery budget

My husband and I got serious about money in August of 2015. We’ve always been frugal for the most part and we’ve always been savers since graduating from college, but over the last few years, we were a little “arrogant” with our money and we spent whatever we wanted to. We were not being good stewards of God’s money and resources like we could have been, so we sat down and made changes. We are back to aggressive saving and we continue to be debt-free with the exception of a rental home. We also put extra money each month towards our kid’s college accounts and retirement. Romans 3:8 “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” 

If you need any motivation on saving for retirement, I highly suggest reading Chris Hogan’s new book, Retire Inspired. If you are serious about simply saving more, I recommend Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover and following Dave’s Baby Steps.

Do you know how much you spend on groceries each month? If you are unsure of the amount you spend at the register on a monthly basis, I challenge you to sit down and dig through your finances and come up with a total for the last month. This will give you a good idea of what you are spending. Be warned though – this can be a very eye opening process for some. Your grocery expense might be one of your biggest monthly expenses!

After my husband and I went through our own finances for the month in August to determine what we were spending on groceries, our mouths dropped to the floor. We were a bit shocked and this opened our eyes to where our money was going each month. We also determined what we were spending on other food purchases. Not only were our hard earned dollars going towards groceries, our money was also going towards fast food purchases that occurred often during the week as well as fancy date night dinners. With my husband and I being big tippers as we are (Acts 20:35 “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”) sometimes our date night dinner would cost anywhere from $60-$100 for just two of us! Get this. One month, our grocery and restaurant purchases totaled $1,500. That, my friends, is foolish. We were being DUMB with our money and we were throwing most of it away each month on food. Not anymore.

Related: How to Create a Budget That Really Works

We set a strict food budget and watched what we spent on groceries for the next month. We were able to significantly reduce our food expenses from $1,500 to only $600, and we are still trying to find ways to cut that expense down even more. Our goal is to get our grocery budget down to $400 and cut out most of the fast food purchases. After looking at this month’s finances, we are right on track. Do you know that by watching what we spend on food purchases, we were able to give ourselves a $1,000 raise each month? $1,000!!! That’s a lot of money! While I know many of you come no where close to spending as much as we were, that was one area we really needed to improve.

Instead of throwing this money away each month, we are now smart with our money again. We invest for our retirement each month as well as put away for our kid’s college. We also continue to tithe 10% of our income each month. Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” 

Related: How to Cut Back on Eating Out

Do you know how much you are paying for groceries and food expenses each month? 

7 Ways to Save on Laundry

ways to save on laundry

Doing load after load of your family’s laundry doesn’t just take a lot of time; it can also end up costing you more than you realize financially as well. In fact, it is estimated that American families spend anywhere from $80 to $600 per year on laundry alone! Just imagine the savings you could have if you didn’t have to do laundry all of the time!

While you probably can’t stop doing laundry altogether, it is possible to save big on this common household chore. This post will show you how.

1. Wear Things More Than Once

Just because you’ve worn something once doesn’t automatically mean it’s dirty, especially if you only wore it for a short period of time. Sweaters that don’t even touch your body, the pajamas you can barely keep on your toddler and the shirt your son only wore to church for an hour are all prime candidates to go right back in the drawer. Towels can be used more than once as well.

Similarly, make sure your children are only putting clothes in the wash that are actually dirty as well. If your daughter develops a bad habit of deciding what to wear by throwing everything on the floor or your son throws everything in the hamper to avoid folding it and putting it away, that’s a lot of extra laundry you don’t need to be doing.

2. Wash Only Full Loads

Rather than doing laundry after a specific amount of time as passed (such as every morning or every evening), wait to do a load of laundry until you have a full load. Not only will you spend less time doing laundry, but you can save big on your water bill as well.

Alternately, if you need to do your laundry on a schedule to make sure that it gets done, try lengthening the amount of time between loads. For example, instead of doing laundry every day, you could do laundry every other day or every three days, depending on the amount of clothing your family owns.

3. Use Less Laundry Detergent

When adding detergent to the laundry, do you usually just throw some in without bothering to measure? If so, you may be using way more than you need. While a little extra laundry detergent won’t break the bank right away, all of that wasted detergent can really add up over time. Not only will you need to buy extra detergent, which can be expensive, but you may shorten the lifespan of your clothes or washer as well.

4. Invest in an Energy Efficient Washing Machine

Consider replacing your old or run-down washing machine with an energy efficient washing machine. My sister has an energy efficient washing machine and she absolutely loves it. Our washing machine is about 10 years old and still working, so when that time comes that it decides to give out, we will be replacing ours with energy efficient machines.

5. Switch to Cold Water

Unless your clothes are exceptionally dirty, chances are that hot water isn’t really necessary. Make the switch to cold water for the majority of your laundry loads and save the hot water for the towels and undergarments only. This will ensure that the germs on these sensitive items are well taken care of without needlessly wasting money with every load.

6. Skip the Fabric Softener

What if I told you that you really didn’t need fabric softener to get your clothes nice and soft? It’s true. Skip the expensive fabric softener and use 1/4 to a 1/2 cup of vinegar instead. Vinegar not only helps soften your clothes, it also helps prevent fading, keeps your washing machine cleaner and helps remove excess detergent from your clothes. Just be careful not to mix it with bleach, as this can result in a toxic gas.

7. Don’t Forget the Laundry!

Have you ever thrown in a load of laundry, only to completely forget about it until several hours later or even the next day? Having to rewash a load more than once isn’t just frustrating, it’s also an expensive and time-consuming habit to get into. Set a timer if you need to or make the laundry part of your daily routine, but don’t forget to flip it!

Related: 5 Tips to Keep Up With Laundry

If you are looking for additional ways to save money that don’t take a lot of time and effort, saving money on the laundry is one easy and excellent way to do just that! Try it out for a few weeks. You may be surprised at what a big difference just a few easy changes can make.

How do you save on laundry?

Five Ways to Earn Extra Cash

ways to earn extra cash

Whether you have back to school supplies, birthday presents or unexpected medical expenses to pay for, chances are you will need some quick, easy cash at some point in your life. Don’t rack up your credit card and don’t mess with an unscrupulous pay day loan company. Use one of these five great way to earn some quick cash instead. They won’t provide you with an extra, sustainable income, but they will get you the cash you need fast.

1. Sell Your Unused Belongings

Do you have extra furniture, clothes, toys, collectibles or other home items lying around your home that you don’t want or need anymore? Sell them in a garage sale, to a consignment shop, or on a site like Ebay or Craigslist. Not only will you declutter your home and help someone who needs those items, but you’ll make some quick, easy money too!

2. Sign Up for Inbox Dollars NOW and Earn $5

Join Inbox Dollars right now and you’ll earn $5 in your account just for joining! Then, you can do things like read emails, take a few surveys, play games, or shop to earn more. Once you reach $30 in your account, you can request payment!

3. Donate Plasma

Are you a relatively healthy individual? If so, you could make big bucks by selling your plasma. Depending on where you live, reputable companies may pay you as much as $20-$50 per visit, and you can usually go twice per week. Your body replenishes itself quickly so you aren’t out anything except an hour or so of your time. And for $50, I’d say that’s an hour well spent!

Related: Creative Ways to Make Money on the Side

4. Babysit, Pet Sit or House Sit

Babysitting, pet sitting and house sitting are all great ways to make some quick, easy money without too much work. Depending on the arrangement, you could work from your home or theirs, full time or part time, once in a while or on a consistent schedule. This option is especially great for stay-at-home moms who are home all day anyway.

5. Take Online Surveys

You can take online surveys for cash and rewards from the comfort of your own home. I like using my rewards from surveys for birthday and Christmas presents. My favorites are Toluna, Vindale Research, and Pinecone Research!

Related: Ways to Earn Extra Cash and Rewards

All of these ideas are super easy to do, and there is no wait time to find a job or get paid.

What ways do you like to earn extra cash? 

Hot Deals on Levana Baby Monitors (Review and Giveaway)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Levana. All opinions are my own. #worrylessdomore

levana 2

With baby #3 on the way, I’ve learned by now what products I love and need after my baby is born. For the first child, I think I we received everything under the sun for our first child, and for that I was very thankful. However, I learned what babies need or don’t need pretty quickly and by baby #2, I knew I didn’t need as much. It’s interesting how the list of things needed gets smaller and smaller with each kid. We gave away most of our baby items away after the 2nd child because we thought we were finished, but it turns out, we weren’t. Even though we are starting with almost nothing again, my list of things we need still remains very small. Diapers, wipes, a few summer onesies, bassinet and other odds and ends is all my baby needs in the first few months!

I loved using baby monitors. Baby monitors are great. We lived in a 2 story house, so when my girls were sleeping upstairs, I could hear them wake up when I was working downstairs. Baby monitors are also on the list of must-haves for baby, but this year, I wanted to go a step further and use a digital video baby monitor. I actually wish I had a video baby monitor for my first two babies. There’s just something about being able to hear AND see your baby vs. just hearing and wondering how they are doing. It will be nice to be in one room doing what I need to be doing (working, laundry, dishes, resting) while my baby is in the nursery sleeping. I love knowing that I can check in on my child by glancing at the video monitor instead of opening the door, going in and peeping down into the crib. I can’t tell you how many times I woke my girls up when I tried to check on them as babies! Waking a sleeping baby is never a good idea if you are a tired mom and need rest, too!

The Levana Astra 2 Digital Video Baby Monitor is our choice for a video baby monitor for our baby on the way. This video baby monitor is a brand of high-tech, stylish and reliable baby video monitors that give parents the freedom to do more knowing their child is safe. With a 3.5” screen, whisper quiet pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) image control and soothing Talk to Baby™ intercom you will always feel close to your baby no matter what your day brings.

levana 3

I was able to test this video baby monitor out on my 4 year old daughter recently. She’s been home sick for the last three days with me. While she’s resting and sleeping in the living room, I’m able to come into my office and get some of my work done. While I sit here at the computer, I’m able to watch what she’s doing and will know when she starts squirming around and waking up from her nap.

I placed the camera on one side of the living room and was able to zoom in on her using the video monitor. At one point, I saw her sit up, look around the room, and then go right back to sleep. I can also hear the Peppa Pig episode playing in the background. I like that I can hear AND see everything that’s going on. Knowing that I’ll be able to use this digital baby monitor when the baby arrives gives me a great sense of peace and relief since I’ll be able to monitor him/her when I feel the need and as I’m able to sit down and get some work done during the day.


I can talk to my daughter as well with the Levana Astra 2 Digital Video Baby Monitor. I push a button in the corner of the monitor and I can speak to her. She had fun with this feature as I caught her off guard and started talking to her while she was on the couch. We then started having a cute conversation through the camera with each other and she was amazed that she could hear me and I could hear her! This will come in handy when baby needs to know that I’m still there by hearing my voice when he or she is waking up from nap.

If you are interested in purchasing a digital video baby monitor, Levana is having a huge sale on their special offers page! Check out the great deals you can snag on these monitors! The videos are great for personal use as well as to give as gifts for upcoming baby showers. *While Supplies Last*

buy it now

While you are here, enter for a chance to win a digital video baby monitor. To enter, use the Rafflecopter form below. Follow Levana on Facebook for updates.

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How to Create a Budget that Really Works

create a budget

According to an article on, the third most popular New Year’s Resolution people made last year was to spend less and save more. This comes as no surprise, considering that the average American household owes an average of $7,283 on their credit cards, not including their hefty mortgage and student loan debts. (Source)

Whether you owe a lot or a little, one thing’s for certain: If you want to get control of your finances and pay off your debt, you need a budget, and you need a budget that works.

If you’re one of the many Americans who has tried to budget before and failed, you aren’t alone. Many Americans have trouble making and sticking to a budget. The good news is, creating and keeping a budget that really actually works doesn’t have to be so difficult. Just follow these five steps!

1. Write Down the Numbers

Before you can figure out where you’re going, you have to figure out where you are now. Print out the last few months of bank and credit card statements. Get out a sheet of paper and write down how much you make every month (from work, child support, loans from your parents… everything that comes in). If it varies, write down the lowest amount you consistently make.

Then, write down ALL of your expenses and how much you spend on them. This includes bills like the mortgage, groceries, and cable as well as all the little things like gas station snacks, Starbucks trips and Target runs. If you use cash and you don’t know where your money is going, put that money in a “cash” category.

While you’re writing down numbers, go ahead and write down all of your debt on a separate piece of paper as well. It’s time to get honest.

2. Set Some Tangible Goals

For most people, budgets themselves aren’t intrinsically motivating. Therefore, if you want to succeed, you need to figure out your why. Do you want to get out of debt? Do you want to be a stay-at-home mom? Do you want to save up for a nice vacation? Figure out your motivation, and then put a tangible reminder where you can see it. For example, you might put a picture of a beach house on the fridge. This will help motivate you when times get tough.

Related: 7 Ways to Build an Emergency Fund

3. Adjust the Numbers Accordingly

Once you figure out what you’re making and spending, it’s time to adjust the numbers so everything fits. On a clean sheet of paper, list ALL of the things you spend money on each month, and divvy up your income into each category. Your grand total of expenses has to be equal to or less than your income (with wiggle room!) for your budget to work.

Do your best to make your numbers frugal, but realistic. After all, if your budget is unrealistic, you won’t be able to stick to it. Make sure you include a category for fun or anything else that you HAVE to have as well, even if the category is small.

Depending on how much you need to cut back, you may need to get rid of some things, sell some things, work longer hours or even get another part time job. But you CAN make it work. It might just take work and sacrifice.

4. Choose the Right Budgeting System for You

Figuring out how much you can afford to spend is the easy part. Sticking with the budget is much harder. While having a motivating goal can help tremendously, choosing the right money management system is crucial as well. I’m a huge fan of Dave Ramsey and follow most of his advice. You can find several great books that may help you create a budget and pay down your debts. Here are two books I recommend of many:

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money: The Handbook of Financial Peace University

5. Stick to the Budget!

Lastly, stick to the budget and wait! It won’t be long until your debt starts slowly melting away, your savings start piling up, and you experience financial freedom like you’ve never felt before! Just imagine how amazing that will feel!

Your debt isn’t going to get rid of itself, and the longer you wait, the worse it will get. The time to take action is now. Start today and bring yourself one step closer to financial freedom.

Do you need to take better care of your finances this year? What’s standing in your way?

7 Ways to Save on Dog-Related Pet Expenses

ways to save on dog related expenses

One of the most popular pets in America, dogs are a natural favorite among young and old alike. Unfortunately, this love often comes at a price. According to, Americans spend an average of $1,641 on their dogs every year between the toys, food, vet visits and everything else that dogs need.Thankfully, just because some people spend thousands of dollars on their pets every year does not mean that you have to as well. Here are seven ways to save on dog-related pet expenses that you can try today. Try one or try them all–your wallet will thank you.

1. Sign Up for Store Loyalty Programs

Do you find yourself shopping at the same pet stores time and time again? Ask if they offer any sort of loyalty discount for shopping at their store. The sign up process is usually quick, easy and free, and you can start saving money right away.

Do be careful about signing up for store credit cards or any type of program that requires you to spend a certain amount, however. You don’t want to pay more in fees or interest than you save by using the card or program in the first place.

2. Shop in Bulk

For dog supplies you go through quickly, particularly dog food, you may want to purchase in bulk, preferably when they are on sale. You can save yourself a great deal of time and money by purchasing large quantities less often than by grabbing the small bag every time you are about to run out. Check stores like Costco, Amazon and other online pet supply retailers to see what sorts of bulk discounts you can find.

3. Purchase Quality When It Counts

Do keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always a bargain, however. Purchase cheap dog food and you may find yourself with vet bills after a while. Purchase cheap dog toys and you may find yourself replacing them constantly. Don’t consider just the price when purchasing items for your dog; consider the value as well. Some things are worth spending a little more for.

4. Ask for Discounts

While the price of pet supplies is often non-negotiable, the cost of the services your pet needs can sometimes be negotiated, especially if you choose an individual provider or small business for your services instead of a corporation. The next time you take your dog for training, grooming or to the vet, don’t be afraid to ask if the price is flexible. You may be able to take advantage of a two-for-one or percentage off deal, or you may be able to get certain upgrades or extra services for free.

Related: 6 Tips for Saving Big on Pet Expenses

5. Request Free Samples

Are you considering choosing a new brand of dog food but you aren’t sure which type your dog will enjoy? Why not write a few dog food companies and request a free sample? While you probably won’t get a large amount of food this way, you can save yourself a fair amount by not having to buy several full sized bags to find the brand your dog likes. If you’d like to try a few new products, this is a great, low-risk way to get them.

Related: Freebies and Free Samples

6. Consider Dog Insurance

You pay for health insurance for yourself and your family. Have you ever considered purchasing health insurance for your dog? Every dog will need to visit the vet at some point, and you never know when that huge, unexpected expense will occur. Arm yourself in advance by looking into dog insurance, especially if you have reason to suspect that your dog may have health issues either now or in the future.

Related: 6 Ways to Save on Vet Bills

7. Start a Pet Blog

If you love dogs and dog products and want a great way to get tons of great, new products for cheap or free, you may even consider starting a blog about pets in general or dogs in particular. Oftentimes companies will send bloggers free products in exchange for their honest review. Grow a quality blog and you may just be surprised at how many free products and opportunities you receive.

Your dog may be your baby, but that doesn’t mean that he needs to be as expensive as another person. Use these seven tips to keep your dog costs low and spend your days enjoying your dog–not working to afford him.

Five Ways Decluttering Can Actually Save You Money

decluttering saves money
Shopping sales, using coupons and getting items for free are all fantastic ways to save your family money. Unfortunately, however, these money-saving techniques can come with a certain risk that no one talks about very much: clutter. When we get things for cheap or free, we tend to stock up, hoarding more than we really need. We think “Better safe than sorry–I’d better hold onto these items just in case.” And while it is good to be prepared, sometimes there comes a time when “being prepared” crosses the line into being a pack-rat.

You may think that holding onto things and accumulating as many things as you can for the future is a great way to save money. And, honestly, doing this might save you a little. But what many people don’t realize is that decluttering can actually save them money too. (Plus, it’s simply a nicer way to live.) Here are five ways decluttering can actually save you money.

1. You Can Earn Money By Selling the Extras

The quickest and most obvious way that decluttering can save you money is simply the fact that you can earn money by selling the items you don’t really need anymore. Sell the clothes and toys your family has outgrown on Ebay or at a consignment shop. Have a garage sale and get rid of all of the extra stuff your family doesn’t need anymore. Just think of what you could do with all of that extra money instead!

Related: 5 Easy Steps for Throwing the Perfect Yard Sale

2. You Won’t Waste Money on Things You Won’t Ever Use

Between coupons and sales, there are some incredible deals out there! With items like toothbrushes, ketchup and bathroom cleaner going on sale for next to nothing, it only makes sense to stock up, right? Yet, how many times have these items gotten lost or gone bad before you’ve even had a chance to use them? Clean out your stockpile and take inventory of which items you actually use and not. Even if certain items didn’t cost you very much, if you aren’t using them, the money you spent on them was wasted.

3. You Won’t Have to Buy So Many Replacements

How often have you not been able to find something, so you go out and buy another to replace it? How often have your things been broken because you have too much stuff to store it nicely (think: kids’ toys)? When you have less, you can keep better track of what you have and take better care of it. It becomes less expendable, and you spend less money replacing it.

4. You’ll Use Less

When you have 30 extra things of toothpaste and 50 extra boxes of cereal on hand, it becomes all too easy to become wasteful. After all, you have plenty on hand. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t have a stockpile–you should! But if all of that excess is causing your family to go through items much more quickly than you would otherwise, you may need to reevaluate how much extra you keep on hand.

Related: 10 Ways to Declutter Your Home

5. You’ll Have More Time and Energy for Other Tasks

I’m not sure I would even want to know how much time I’ve spent looking for items I couldn’t find because they got lost in all of the clutter! Not only is searching for your items annoying, but all of the time and energy you spent searching for things was time and energy you didn’t spend doing other, more productive tasks, like working from home, cutting coupons, finding deals or cooking from home so you wouldn’t have to eat out.

Here are more Decluttering and Organization Resources if you’d like to keep reading!

Do you declutter on a regular basis?

Are Yearly Memberships Worth It? (Zoo, Gym, Pool, etc.)

Are Memberships Worth It?

As a frugal shopper, you likely weigh every purchase very carefully before you make a decision. You don’t just want to reduce your spending; you also want to stretch your dollars and get the most bang for your buck.

One way to get an incredible value on summer entertainment is to purchase a yearly membership to a place like a zoo, a pool or a museum. When you divide the price of a yearly pass by the number of times you’re allowed to go, the savings are amazing! But are they worth their high price tag? Here are four questions to ask yourself when deciding if a yearly membership is a good buy for you.

1. How Often Will You Go?

The first and most important question you should ask yourself when considering a membership is “How often will we go?” If you know for sure you plan to visit the zoo, pool, or museum several times over the course of the summer, then a pass is likely a great value. If you enjoy visiting, but probably won’t have a chance to visit often, it may be a waste of money.

2. What Would You Do Instead?

Next, consider the alternative to buying a yearly membership. You aren’t likely to sit at home all summer. If you don’t have a yearly membership, will you visit a new (and expensive) place every week? If so, a yearly membership might make sense to you, because it would save you the expense of doing other activities out of boredom.

3. Do You Have the Money to Purchase One Right Now?

While purchasing yearly memberships for everyone in your family can lead to great savings, they are often quite the investment up front. Do you have the money to pay for one now, or can you skimp and save so you do? If you seriously cannot find a way to come up with the funds, you may have to find a different activity to do this summer and keep saving until next year.

Related: Four Ways to Save on Gym Memberships

4. What Other Hidden Costs are Associated With This Purchase?

Whether you are visiting the zoo, the pool or the museum, the cost of your yearly membership likely isn’t the only expense you will have. How much will you also end up spending on gas, parking, snacks, sunscreen and all of the extras? Don’t forget to factor these costs into the equation when you are deciding if a yearly pass is right for you.

Yearly passes can be a great investment, but only if you use them frequently enough to get your money’s worth. Be honest with yourself. Would getting a yearly pass help you save money this year, or is it just another thing to spend more money on because it’s such a “great deal?” This is a question only you can answer.

Related: Skip the Gym Membership! 10 DVD Workouts to Do At Home

Do you ever buy yearly passes on entertainment? What activities and events do you buy them for?

6 Tips for Saving Big on Pet Expenses

tips for saving big on pet expensesBeing a pet owner comes with a lot of benefits. Not only do pets offer love and companionship, but they can also improve your family’s health, reduce your stress level, teach your children responsibility and help you stay in shape.

Unfortunately, however, these benefits do come at a cost–pet ownership can be very expensive if you don’t take steps to keep it affordable. Here are six ways to do just that.

1. Choose the Right Pet for Your Budget

The cost of purchasing and caring for a pet can vary widely, depending on what type you get and where you get it. If you have a tight budget, you may want to consider purchasing a smaller, less expensive pet, such as a hamster, bearded dragon or fish. These pets provide several benefits without all of the expense.

Alternately, you may consider purchasing your next pet from the humane shelter, from a friend or from a newspaper or Craigslist ad. Find a good pet that needs a new home and you can save significantly over simply stopping by the pet store over the weekend.

2. Consider Overall Cost, not Just Purchase Price

When trying to figure out what type of pet you can afford, don’t just consider the purchase price. You’ll also need to factor in the costs of pet supplies and routine care. Consider one-time expenses such as spaying/neutering, training, microchip implantation and trips to the vet as well as recurring expenses such as food, toys, leashes and other essentials.

Will you need to fence in your yard, build a shaded outdoor area or pay for trips to a kennel while you’re out of town? Are you likely to need to replace or repair furniture, shoes or other belongings while your new pet is adjusting to your home? Is your pet likely to need any special medications as he or she ages? Be sure to factor in those costs as well.

3. Shop Around

Very rarely is the price you see the price you have to pay for pet supplies. Shop around and you may just be surprised by how much you can save. You don’t have to buy all of your pet supplies at the pet store. You can often find a bargain by shopping at a supercenter, dollar store or online retailer. Look for pet supplies on Amazon or check out various online pet supply subscription companies as well.

4. Use What You Already Have

Of course, the fewer items you have to buy, the less money you will need to spend. Instead of purchasing several items specifically for your pet, try to make do with items you already have on hand. For example, you likely already have bowls that will work for food and water, and you may have a baby gate you can use instead of purchasing a special puppy gate. Use a belt instead of a collar and a piece of rope instead of a fancy leash. Get creative!

5. Look for Deals, Rebates and Promotions

For those pet supplies you do have to buy, be sure you get a good deal. Many stores regularly offer sales, rebates, coupons and other promotions. Ask for free samples and inquire about free shipping, membership discounts and bulk purchase discounts. Even small savings can really add up over time.

6. Visit the Vet

Visiting the vet may be expensive at first, but keeping regular check-ups can save you significantly over your pet’s lifetime. Not to mention the fact that routine check-ups will keep your pet healthier and happier as well. Don’t wait until your pet has had an injury or is in severe pain to bring them to the vet. Schedule and keep routine check-ups instead.

Related: 6 Ways to Save on Vet Bills

Just because your pet is worth every penny you spend on him or her doesn’t mean that you should have to spend every penny you have to keep your pet happy, healthy and safe. Use these six money-saving tips and tricks to keep your pet costs low and your time with your pet enjoyable.

What type of pet do you own? How do you keep it affordable?