img_7784.JPGPets are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. -Roger Caras

For my last Reducing Pet Costs post, I’m turning it over to you! But not before I wax nostalgic about my inaugural Queercents series. I’ve really enjoyed writing these posts, and I’ve learned so much as well. As a re-cap, I’d like to share with you the little tips I’ve taken from each post and applied to my own life.

In the first post of this series, we talked about saving money on pet food. Since writing the post, Grace and I have only bought our pet food in bulk. In addition, a quick call to the vet has us feeding Francie and Hammy only the amount they need, instead of the insane amount we were feeding them before. I had not realized that even if a cat still wants to eat, that doesn’t mean it needs to. If left to their own devices, they would stuff their faces all day and we would be broke.

Researching about pet medical expenses was a little disheartening, especially coming across story after story of people going broke only to have their pet pass away. Grace and I started putting away an extra $75 per month in a high yield savings account to cover a medical emergency for Francie or Hammy. Luckily, there has not been one yet and since they are both young (under 2 years), hopefully it will be a long way off.

It was tons of fun to try out the DIY pet toys for the third post. Hammy particularly liked the obstacle course made up of cups; he chased a shoelace through it until he was panting! Who knew that a solid 30 minutes of amazing adventure for our cats was hidden in our drawers?

Due to the post on pet sitting and boarding, we now have (count them!): Hope, Jen, John, Brian, Sheryl, Leigh and Laura lined up as potential cat sitters. We also know each of their food preferences in order to leave them little treats. And, on the receiving end, I’ve got to know some delicious salsa through my cat-sitting our friends’ cats: Sylvia and Theo. I think they must have read my post!

Another sad post to write was about end-of-life care. Grace and I had a long talk about what our priorities are surrounding their quality of life and I feel assured that we are on the same page. Now I can be confident that we will be able to make those hard decisions and hold each other to our commitments.If my cats wrote this post, I’m sure they would say that the luxury and extras post was the most beneficial for them. They now get brushed every other day, which in addition to reducing my allergies, also is a pleasant and relaxing time for them. They also LOVE the frozen peas in their beds during hot evenings- I just put a dishtowel over the bag so they don’t tear through it. It keeps them cool and it is hilarious to see!

When I first started budgeting for my pets, I estimated it would cost around $50 per month. I was wrong. Now, I have a much better understanding of how much each aspect of pet ownership costs, and I can go into another pet owning decision with much more information. Hopefully, the Thinking Through the Budget post was helpful in doing the same for other people.

I am still unsure how I feel about Tax-Deductable Pets, but Nina made a great point in the comments of the post about the legitimacy of the whole deductions and exemptions part of the tax code. It is the topic of a whole other post, but the complex process of how tax deductions are determined has recently become fascinating to me.

Now it’s your turn- What did YOU take away from this series? Is there something you do differently- big or small- that you learned here? Is there a glaring tip I forgot to mention? In your mind, what is the single most important thing you can do to be a great pet owner? Let’s share!