5 Tips for Saving at Pet Stores

Pet stores provide a comprehensive one-stop location for everything a pet owner needs and wants to provide for her pet. However, sometimes with this one-stop convenience comes a slight raise in price when compared to the small selection of food, toys, bedding and other pet accessories that one can find at most general retail stores. However, the savvy consumer can follow a few tips to save money at the pet stores that provide a better selection of items.

1. Sign Up for Store Rewards Program

Most pet stores, at least the national-brand stores, offer free membership in their store rewards program. Pet owners can provide their mailing address and email address as well as the number and types of pets in their households. The stores will then provide them with wallet-size membership cards and/or keychain cards that can be scanned during every purchase. Sometimes the cards save the consumers money instantly due to weekly specials and sometimes the consumers will rack up loyalty points that can result in discounts and rewards such as cash back in the future.

The store rewards program members may also receive exclusive coupons by mail and email, which are usually tailored to the type of pet(s) in the household.

2. Using Weekly Sales Flyers Properly

Most national pet stores and some locally-owned stores will put weekly or semi-weekly flyers in the Sunday newspaper. These flyers will highlight the week's specials. Sometimes consumers can access digital copies of these flyers online as well. In order to properly use the sales flyer, consumers should take note of any significant sales on items that they buy regularly for their pets. Make a plan and do not be tempted to buy other items at the store.

Consumers can also sometimes use a sales flyer for one store in order to get a matching price on the same item at another similar store. Call ahead and see if the pet store has a price matching policy.

3. Stock Up on Items When on Sale

Many pet items are used up, such as food, litter, vitamins, treats and waste disposal bags. In order to save money, consumers should stock up on these usable items when the items are on sale. Even if this means spending extra one month, the consumer may not have to buy the items again for several months afterward. However, avoid this strategy when it comes to items that last a while, such as food and water dishes, leashes, collars and toys.

4. Search Online for Coupons and Coupon Codes

There are a number of sites dedicated to providing printable coupons for in-store purchases as well as coupon codes for online purchases and most major pet store retailers are among the stores listed at least once a month on these coupon sites. Even locally-owned pet stores may list coupons with sites that concentrate on local coupons. (Consumers can distinguish these types of coupon sites if they have to input their ZIP codes before they can view the coupons.)

5. Look for Manufacturer Coupons

Consumers can find manufacturer coupons for many basic pet products, such as food, litter, treats and sometimes items such as pet fur rollers and toys. These manufacturer coupons most often appear in the Sunday newspaper as well as on coupon sites online. Most pet stores accept manufacturer coupons.