1. Coordinate routine vet appointments with your fellow board buddies or horse friends to split a farm call.
2. Check your local Vet clinics to see if any of them have Vaccination clinics and everyone head over for cost reduced vaccinations!
3. You budget for your family – make sure you budget for your hobby. Money for horse activities means having a sound budget in all areas. Keep a record of how much you spend on every dollar. Decide whether those things are worth their expense. You know that Starbucks Coffee you just have to have every morning? Well if the coffee costs you 4.00/cup and you have a cup everyday on the way to work – that works out to: $100.00 or more per MONTH! My husband and I have decided that Casa Thornton’s version of Starbucks coffee made at home is just as good and only costs 5.00/month! Total savings $95.00! Realize this – 1 cup of premium coffee costs 4.00/cup = the cost approximately of 1 gallon of gas! No if you add up the number of cups to make one gallon – I think you see where I’m going with this! Make coffee at home – if you have to – go to Starbucks and buy one of their to go mugs so no one knows that you are being frugal and your Starbucks comes from home!
4. From Horse Illustrated – “Put a limit on how much disposable income you can devote to all areas of spending. Be sure you “pay yourself first” by depositing money into a high-interest retirement account, such as a 401K or IRA, so you can continue your horsey habit comfortably throughout life, streses Wayne Tolbert of Lenior City, Tenn., a three-time winner of horsemanship awards from the North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC).
5. Just as you shop for your groceries, personal products – do the same for your horse/dog supplies. Sign up for the various on line stores such as Valley Vet, or check out Vern at http://www.horsewarehouse.com/ – he has REALLY Good Deals on your vaccines and joint supplies. SmartPak is another one that offers good deals. But you need to check – don’t assume that one place is the cheapest. A friend of mine orders 6 PowerPacs for her horses and spent ALOT of money – she did not shop around – said she didn’t have time. I spent 5 minutes online and showed her that she just spent $50.00 more than she had to because she did not take the time to check prices. I told her to contact the place she ordered from and show them the other place that has the sale and see if they will discount her package because if they do not then she would like to cancel – generally they will as they do not want to lose a sale but it is worth asking. I told her that savings was the cost of an entry for two horses at one of our local barrel races – that is when she began to understand!
6. Check around to see if you can purchase your shavings in Bulk rather than bagged. – At our barn where we board – we all go in and pay for a load of shavings split among us three ways by the number of horses we have in stalls. This has drastically reduced our shavings costs as bagged shavings are going up considerably. Another way to save that some of my friends are doing is using wood pellets instead of shavings. In addition, if you have a local saw mill – then you may be able to get free to almost free shavings – note that these will be finer than you normally would get so you may need to bulk it up with a bit of the bagged shavings.
7. To counter the higher prices in hay – buy one load of premium and one load of slightly less than perfect and mix them together. My husband and I buy a good quality grass/alfalfa mix and are fortunate that our hay supplier is very reasonable. However, we also purchase alfalfa hay from them – it is a bit higher than the grass/alfalfa but when we have some hay that the horses tend to pick through we will mix in a flake of the sweet stuff and they will tend to clean their plates better. I had a looooong talk with our guys and told them that they need to eat everything they get because it’s a recession (don’t care what anyone thinks it is) and they have to do their part by eating what they are given. I do have one picky little eater JT who will leave about two flakes of hay in his hay bin that he will not eat – we pull it out and give it to Scotty – he’ll eat anything – Scotty gets his normal in addition to the added treat!
8. Track down several sources for hay, and continuously check prices before you buy. In tough times of short supplies, even a .10 / bale difference can mean a lot. We have our primary hay supplier and then we have 4 other suppliers that we get hay from to stay on their books. Another key note is to pay in cash – all of these suppliers know that we pay in cash so we get priority over some who buy on credit or pay by check. I have a chicken on our mantle that we call our “Chicken Account” and all our loose change, loose bills, any extra cash goes into the “Chicken Account” – this is how we bought Zeke! We usually have anywhere from $50.00 upto $500.00 in this chicken. This is what we use for our Hay, or any great deals that we find that we either need or I know that I can flip for even more money!
9. Periodically go through your tack and supplies and find things that you can sell, swap or auction off – this does two things – it gets rid of items that you no longer use and pads the pocket with extra cash.
10. Use coupons and store’s rock bottom prices to get shampoo, conditioner and hair supplies for your horse at the grocery store. See our trip to KMart – we were able to get 4 bottles of shampoo/conditioner for FREE! Two of these bottles will now go to the barn for the horses. Same for hairspray – need it to keep a mane still in a halter class – two hair sprays for .79 each from sale add and coupon! That is better than paying 2.79/can!
Stay tuned for future ways to save with your horses/dogs.