Happy Friday: How One Reader Saved Big on Her New Kitty

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Sent from reader, Alicia:

I’m sure many of your readers are animal people so I wanted to share how I was able to save money on my “free” kitten.

I recently adopted a stray 6-week-old kitten that was found in someone’s garage. We immediately took a trip to the vet to make sure she was healthy, not just for her own good, but for that of my current kitty residents. After a clean bill of health and a financial bill of $158, we were ready to go home and I named her Lucky.

I knew I had to find other ways to save money since the initial vet visit was unavoidable. Moving forward, I can schedule appointments with our local low cost spay and neuter program to get Lucky fixed, microchipped and vaccinated, which will save me nearly $400 compared to the vet. In the meantime, couponing and finding deals have allowed me to save a bunch in providing the basics to her:

– I cashed in my Ebates earnings and chose to get a gift card to Petco, adding an additional 10% to my rebate! When I told the employees at Petco that I got a new kitty, they gave me a new kitten coupon book that had all sorts of discounts on things kittens need, including a coupon for a free jug of litter, saving me $9.99!

Petsmart recently had a $10 off $30 coupon, and I bought a $50 Petsmart coupon at Food Lion and got back $10 for that, so there’s another $20 savings! I used manufacturers coupons on many of the things I bought, saving even more.

– I used my points from Shop Your Way to get a bag of kitten food and some cat toys for free, saving a little over $10!

– The Dollar Tree had some great kitten items, such as a litter pan, bowls, cardboard scratch pad, more toys and pipe cleaners (if you haven’t ever given a cat a pipe cleaner, do it; it’s the best cat toy in the world!). I know this isn’t free, but compared to the cost of these items elsewhere, it’s much more affordable!

– The bonus is that I recently went to a special event for TJMaxx and Marshalls Access Card holders. I entered the drawing and won a $20 gift card, which I used to get a scratch tower to help my new kitty learn good scratching habits!

So while my “free” kitten is going to cost me a lot in the long run, a little couponing and deal finding will allow me to save in many ways on the things Lucky will need to be a happy, healthy cat!

I hope these ideas can help others hunt and pounce on deals for their furry family members!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save.com. Every Friday, we post one photo, submitted by a Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into their frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

Join The Discussion

Comments 35

  1. jaci

    Congrats on the new addition she’s lucky to have you!

  2. Heather C

    OMG, that is a gem of a pic!

  3. Donna

    Thank you for adopting a stray. So many homeless animals need loving homes.

    • Mrs BK


  4. Seren

    Great job, congrats on ur new kitty, so precious …

  5. kerri

    Lucky was shocked at how much u saved too !! Lol. Congrats on ur new addition 🐱

  6. Harlem

    …..Her name is fitting because she has you;)

  7. Laura

    Both of my cats are kittens from feral colonies. Those are the ones that need homes the most! I love hearing about people adopting stray kitties!!

  8. Diana Foster

    Those eyes are SO adorable!!! I would not have been able to pass her by either! lol Congrats!

  9. Rebecca C.

    Way to go on the savings! Your kitty is cute and has a great owner to take care of her 😉

  10. Sue

    I live in a semi rural area. I have 5 acres. People keep dropping off stray animals. I have 2 cats that sleep in my garage. I had them fixed through the feral cat program for $25 and I paid $5 extra for the rabies. I also had their ears tipped so if they are ever caught to go to the pound they will know that they are fixed and won’t be put under to figure out that fact. I wish the program had a follow up for rabies, but they don’t. I wish more people would take advantage of the feral cat program. The one cat we took had to be pregnant. We had so many males at our house. Good luck with the new little one. Enjoy them when they are cute and young. They get old and boring fast. My indoor cat is 12 and time sure does fly.

  11. Susan Crawford

    Good for you. I got my cat Honeybaby from the Humane Society when they were having a free adoption event. She was already spayed and chipped and she got a free vet visit. I also use coupons for her food. Fournately, my local grocery store has a pet club when you spend $50.00 you get a coupon for $5.00 off, that helps. Good tip about Dollar Tree for the cat scratch box, I will have to check it out.

  12. Lori

    We moved to another state and after a few weeks here found a mangy scrawny kitty had wandered into our garage one night and was crying pityfully. He was so malnourished that he had almost no hair and his head looked way too big for his emaciated little body. My son recognized this kitty as one of a litter that lived in the ditches along our rural road. My son sat down on the driveway and the little creature kept circling him until finally comfortable to let my son pet him. We had no kitty food and did not know any better so gave the little guy some milk and then some canned tuna. He started purring and every day came out of the ditch to the door. We bought real kitty food for him, gave him water everyday and put a rolled rug on the porch for him to sleep in. Finally the weather got so bad that we let him sleep in the garage and got him a litter box. Long story short, he is the most grateful pampered beautiful silky looking cat who adores my son and daughter and when they hold him he puts both paws on their faces closes his eyes and licks their cheeks! I was never a cat person but I have to say the little thing wiggled himself into our hearts and lives and we now have had him for 4 years.

    • Stefanie

      I LOVE your story ♡ I absolutely adore watching cats work their way into the hearts of people who aren’t “cat people”. Sounds like that kitty chose you and your family!

    • lily

      So much feels 😍

    • Laura 2

      This made me want to cry but in a good way 🙂

  13. Dawn

    Our Tractor Supply store has a visiting pet vet every Saturday, they microchip, vaccinate, check for heart worms, do fecal checks and more, you can even buy flea medication, and heart worm medication. This may be available at your local Tractor Supply. Their prices are alot lower than the vet.

    • Kiwi

      Yes! We did this with our 3 dogs. Just Google VIP vet, they were very nice and helpful.

  14. llc

    Dont forget to check the rebate section. I know alot of litter companies have rebates. And my personal litter tip – get a deep litter box(coveted or uncovered) and put at least 4″ of litter in the box. That way when they pee, it doesnt reach the bottom. It will clump first and makes it easy to remove the whole pee ball ( and thus no odor). I personally love scoop away and wait for a great target deal to stock up. Good luck with ur kitten.

  15. Babymair

    O my ,how cute ..,congrats on ur new furry baby ..and good luck . !!!

  16. lisa

    Thanks for rescuing Lucky and your other cat residents. I’m sure you’re an excellent cat mama! Love to hear about others rescuing cats/adopting/fostering as well. I helped someone with trap-neuter-return for ferals and my cat was definitely not a feral, but made himself right at home and decided to move in! I’ve never heard about the pipe cleaners so will have to give them a try. Here are some of my tips for saving on pet needs:
    – First wellness visit at Banfield is free.
    – If you need a new vet check their websites and and see if you know anyone whose vet offers a discount to people who are referred by current patients. In my city it’s common for them to offer $20 discount to patients who make a referral and a $20 discount to the new patient.
    – Look for the “hidden” clearance bins at Petco and Petsmart. I only have a cat but the clearance bin for all animals was on the dog side of the store, and I would never have known unless I had been browsing the entire store.

  17. Leah

    Thanks for your negative comment

  18. Matt

    Thanks for letting a bunch of animal lovers know!

  19. Alicia

    Thank you all for the support! I had no chance saying no to that adorable face. I can’t believe I forgot to specifically list the laser pointer aka “the dot” that I also got at the Dollar Tree. It’s decent quality and a much better deal than all the fancy ones you can spend $6 or $7 on. I appreciate all of the tips everyone has shared! Take care of your furry family members!

  20. Alicia

    They probably don’t like you either. 😜 But most of this can be used to save money on other pets too!

  21. Rose

    What a Sweetie!! And how very smart & thrifty of you to find all the ways to make pet ownership affordable!
    A few added words of advice from a Vet Tech & Animal Rescuer of over 10 yrs:
    -Puppies & kittens can be spayed/neutered at 4 months or 4 lbs, which ever comes first. Some Vets will fix them earlier. They can breed as early as 5 months for cats & 6 mos for dogs. Cats breed year round! They go in & out of season every 2 weeks until bred or fixed. Low cost spay/neuter programs can be found in almost every city, the internet is your friend.
    -NO! Female dogs/cats don’t “need” to have one litter first in order to be a (better, healthier, more well adjusted, _____ insert excuse here) pet. Giving birth raises their chances of breast & uterine cancers, in addition to other health problems.
    -Male cats/dogs don’t need their “balls”. Having them neutered removes their risk of testicular cancer, roaming away from home in search of females “in season”, marking or “lifting their leg” inside the house (dogs) & spraying & strong smelling urine (cats). Neutering also cuts down the desire to fight over mating rights with females.
    -Get your pets microchipped, it’s the cheapest peace of mind you’ll ever buy.
    -Feed your pet the highest quality food you can afford. There are just some things your pet can’t digest (fillers), so they’ll pass right through them. The food might cost a little more, but they will eat less & the better nutrition will save you money on Vet bills in the end.
    -Keep your pets on Vet reccomended flea treatment year round.
    -Keep your dog on Heartworm preventative year round.
    -Want to know how one person can save 1,000 cats or dogs? Get one cat or dog fixed. There are not enough homes for all the pets being born in the US today. About 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 13 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year.
    Also, support your Local non-proft pet Rescues & Shelters. They are the one’s who do the work for the animals in Your community. If you want to volunteer or donate, keep it local. Then you know your money is going straight to help the animals and not into some CEO’S pension fund.
    ❤Sending love to all the Fur-babies❤

    • Love My kitty

      We learned the hard way but is best to have cats spayed young. Our beloved cat had a littler of kittens at a young age and then we had her fixed. At 12 years of age she developed breast cancer. We could tell something was wrong and our vet compared her to woman going through menopause, crabby and moody. She was diagnosed after switching vets. Our new vet told us cats that have kittens and then fixed have a higher risk of of these cancers and our 1st vet should have discussed that with us. My beloved cat succumbed to the cancer within 6 months. We were devastated. We later adopted a 4 week old motherless feral kitten and had her fixed asap. She just turned 8 years old.
      Please, just like with your health or the health of a loved one, if you feel something isn’t right, get a 2nd vet opinion. We love the one we switched to years ago and she has made a difference in our kitty’s health and life.

  22. Ruth

    So cute, and you are doing a great thing! Not sure if you are aware (you may already have this covered), but just make sure you ask a lot of questions at the low cost spay/ neuter facility. We’ve used a few to get fostered cats and feral cats fixed here, and found that not all are equal. Low cost works fine for males, but sometimes I opt to take the females to a regular vet. The female surgery is more invasive (of course, right) and they need more pain medication and management when they are done. Some low costs cut costs in the female spay in terms of the number of stitches and pain meds during and after surgery to keep their own costs down. Which is understandable, but possibly not a good situation for a pet you want to be safe and comfortable. So make sure to ask to be sure you are getting what you expect and what your kitty needs! But great suggestions and an adorable kitty!

    • kerri

      My heart goes out to you and your family. Losing a pet IS losing a family member.

  23. JA

    Text Petsmart to 84848 to get coupons. I’ve gotten a 10/30, several percentage of coupons and others. They don’t sent them often but every little bit helps.

  24. Angi

    What a doll! <3

  25. Allison

    Congratulations! Black kitties are the best–such little lovers. ❤️ Just a word of warning on the pipe cleaners–I used to give my cats them all the time since they do love them but be careful when they get to the wadded up stage since cats can swallow them. We narrowly avoided surgery after one of our cats ate one and emergency surgery definitely wouldn’t be a frugal situation! You sound like a great cat mommy but I wanted to share my experience so others don’t have to watch their kitties suffer. Good luck and thank you for rescuing this cute baby!

  26. Denise

    What a cutie

  27. Kathy

    Thanks especially for the low-cost spay/neuter info. I just adopted a neglected cat and her three kittens. One kitten has been placed but I still have three females to spay and am on a very fixed income with a dog and cat already in residence. I am also looking for a TNR group in the Los Angeles area as my neighbor has many cats running the neighborhood who just keep mating and creating more.

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