Save on your pet’s food – help feed homeless pets
Learn how to save in a huge way when you shop for pet food & supplies.
You may have heard about or seen “Extreme Couponing,” a popular new reality show that is currently running on TLC. Like most people, I’ve reacted with both amazement and criticism toward these “Extreme Couponers.”
It is amazing to see the incredible savings these people can accrue at the register, but really, who has the time (some report up to 6 hours per day, several days per week) to dedicate to the collection and organization of such a massive amount of coupons? Also, who in their right mind needs a “stockpile” containing 200 bottles of mustard, 300 bottles of sports drinks and 4,000 toothbrushes?
If you’re like me, you would agree that for the most part, the level of extreme couponing that takes place on the show simply isn’t realistic with most people’s lifestyle. However, this didn’t stop me from realizing a niche form of couponing that not only can benefit our personal pets, but homeless pets, too.
Before I started Extreme Pet Couponing, I’d rack up a huge bill every time I purchased food and supplies at pet stores. I strive to give my pets (and my clients’ pets) some of the highest quality of food, treats and other supplies that I can find, which typically requires a good chunk of dough!
Now, I walk out of the same stores–shopping cart heavy–with a smile on my face. Even before I leave, I feel like dancing when I see all the savings go through on the register. I’ve been inspired to share my pet couponing tips with other pet people.
Larger Purchase: 51 Items Sold (one of my first couponing purchases)
Original Total: $307.66 worth of dog and cat food, treats, toys & other supplies
Spent: $169.04 with coupons
Amount Saved: $138.62
Total Savings: 45%
Medium Purchase: 43 Items Sold
Original Total: $150.68 worth of dog and cat food, treats, toys & other supplies
Initially spent $73.25 with coupons, saving $77.43 for 51% savings.
However, within this purchase, I took advantage of a promotion to earn a $25 gift card, changing the final totals to:
Spent: $48.25 with coupons (including gift card rebate)
Amount Saved: $102.43
Total Savings: 68%
Average Savings = Almost 60%!
The best part about all of this? I’m still very much a beginner–I only started collecting coupons 8 weeks ago. I’ve spent no more than 2 hours per week to prepare for each shopping trip. Each week I’ve learned new ways to save, and as you can see above, greater savings have followed. So, now it’s time for you to take notes and learn how you can do the same!
Getting Started With “Extreme Pet Couponing” – 8 Steps to Success:
1. Create an alternate email address only for the purpose of couponing. Use gmail to make a simple username and password that’s easy to remember. This prevents an overflow of emails into your personal inbox. Just the other day, Nutro sent me an email that contained $18 worth of coupons–I would have missed that in my personal inbox!
2. Decide what brands you wish to purchase from, visit their website and sign up to receive “special offers” (i.e. coupons). This is where your new email address will come in handy. Start with a list of no more than 5 brands to keep it manageable. Keep in mind that the offers/coupons will vary depending on the size of the company. I’ve received the most coupons via email from the following companies:
• Blue Buffalo
• Halo, Purely For Pets
3. Bookmark popular pet coupon sites and visit them at the beginning of each week. Just download and print coupons for the brands you use.
Here are a few of my favorites:
4. Keep an eye out for coupons in the mail, newspapers and magazines.
Yes, there can be lots of junk brands of food and treats mixed in there, but sometimes you get lucky and find a good one! A few weeks ago I found a coupon for $10 off Comfort Zone by Feliway–a product I use for my cat–and just found that it’s currently on sale for $10 off. I’ll save about 50% when I purchase it.
5. Gather/view weekly ads from your favorite pet supply store.
I appreciate having the ad in my office for quick reference, but you can also access the store ads online. You need to periodically look at what’s currently on sale–just be sure to make note of how long the prices last. The goal with extreme couponing is to use manufacturer coupons in conjunction with current sales/clearance items, promotions, store coupons, and #6.
6. The store’s rewards card program–join it, if you haven’t already!
At Petsmart, it’s Pet Perks; at Petco, it’s PetPals. It’s free to join and you technically don’t need to carry a card with you, simply provide your phone number at the register when you check out. It’s magic.
7. Retrieve coupons the old-fashioned way: contact the company and ask!
Of course, nowadays all you need to do is visit the company’s website and click “Contact Us.” You can make this process quick and painless by using a short template and simply switching out the name of the brand for each email. Sneaky, right? Some companies will read them, though, so be genuine!
Companies that have sent me coupons in the mail (so far) include:
• Blue Buffalo, Canidae*, Newman’s Own Organics*, Royal Canin, Nature’s Variety.* *These brands may not be available at both Petsmart/Petco, so be sure to check this before you go!
8. Be organized…or you won’t be able to coupon very effectively!
Create an organization system that works for you. I’ve kept my coupons alphabetically filed behind index cards (according to brands) inside of a medium-sized ziploc bag. However, it may be time for me to graduate to a real coupon binder/folder! Most importantly, keep your coupons in your vehicle–if you discover great price at another store, you may want to have them with you to take advantage of it.
Are you ready to begin? Stick to this guide and you’ll get started off on the right paw with Extreme Pet Couponing! I hope after reading this, you’re feeling inspired to save on your pet related purchases. Furthermore, I’m hoping that there are other pet lovers out there who want to help coupon for a great cause–to support homeless pets.
If you’re interested to learn how you can help Austin Dog Zone help feed homeless pets, look for our next blog about an exciting new program we are offering to benefit both your dog and shelter/rescue pets.
Until then…Happy Couponing! For this post, click here!
Post Written By: Caitlin Lane