Thursday, September 18, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments - the We Got a Puppy Edition

You know, this was the week I was going to do a little more fall decorating, and then take pictures and share some fall decorating cuteness with you.  Instead, we got a puppy, and that's about all I know for certain.


Isn't she adorable?  Her name is Taffy.

She is mixed breed.  Her mom looks like a miniature coon hound - very cute, about half the size of any coon hound I've ever known.  Dad's identity is unknown, but judging by babykins here, I think there might be some German Shepherd in the mix somewhere, yes?

When she sleeps and her ears are up, she looks like a little German Shepherd.

So.  Pets are not frugal, in the sense that they cost money, but so do lots of things, and there are some ways to save on pet ownership.

Initially, Taffy was free.  Meaning, the people who had her (and her seven siblings!) were not selling the pups - they just wanted them to go to good homes.  So we did not spend any money for the actual puppy.  That said, I am in the midst of putting together a thank-you for the family who gave her to us, but they didn't ask for a fee.

So far, we have purchased a good-sized bag of puppy chow, a pair of nyla-bones, a collar and some puppy training pads.  I am using water dishes that I had on hand for the bunnies. Since I just have two bunnies that I keep year round (when I do library programs I lease a few more rabbits for about a month), I have excess bowls, so Taffy is using two of those. Originally, they came from goodwill or a yard sale.

Day one, before I found the extra feed dishes in the bunny barn.

Daughter does a lot of pretend play with her stuffed animals, and she got one of the leashes from her collection.  She has gotten them as stocking stuffers (Dollar Tree) or at yard sales, and is very happy to lend one to Taffy.

Taffy is still small - about 6.5 pounds when we brought her home - but growing every day.  Because she is a mixed breed, we don't know how big she will get, though we estimate around 30 pounds.  For now, I can use one of the pet carriers I have for rabbit and chicken programs I do for the library, so we have time to see how she grows and look for a second-hand crate when she reaches her adult size.  I also have a larger pet carrier I will use when she outgrows this one.

We got the nylabones so we would have something to teach her to chew when she is 'chewy'.  She also likes pine cones and sticks when she's outside, and on day three, I broke down and gave her an old sock that had a hole in it.  She was going after everything fabric.  When I was a kid, our dog had an old sock we used to play chew-tug, and that's what Taffy likes to do too.  It is going to take discipline on our parts to not leave other socks laying about, but I also think that once a dog gets a 'special' sock, they know the scent of it, and prefer least, I hope so.


Later in the week, Daughter gave Taffy the stuffed catnip sock she had made for the cat.  For some reason, the cat (who usually loves catnip)  wasn't interested in it.  We also returned the unopened package of puppy training pads, because she only uses them as toys....she grabs a corner and runs for the hills!  It was from Dollar Tree - no refunds, but you can exchange things - so she ended up with a squeaky toy.  I KNOW.

When it comes to health, we plan to give Taffy regular exercise, plenty of fresh clean water and dog food supplemented with minimal treats for training.  The chickens already eat all the table scraps, and it's just too easy for a dog to end up unhealthy from them.  As for vaccinations, I am going to look for a 'rabies clinic' to get her rabies shot.  I'll buy the other shots at the vet supply or the feed store and administer them myself.  I can also buy rabies at the vet supply, but by law it has to be administered by a veterinarian (which makes me wonder why I can buy it, since I'm not a vet) I will look for an affordable option for that one.

We already own grooming supplies, most  purchased second hand for either the cat or the bunnies, so I don't forsee any expense there.

In the mean time, I did stuff like wash clothes and cook food and try not to waste any money.  Truth be told, we were hard pressed to leave the house much, between schooling and puppy and adjusting.  So we ate from our planned menu, kept our frugal habits, and enjoyed our new family member.

What did you do this week to spend less, save more and make do?  Leave a comment so we can all share ideas, won't you please?


  1. Okay, I am completely laughing. She is very cute. We have spent $9,000 on our dogs over 7 years. No, they don't get organic dog food and stuff like that. Mainly our lab has had joint issues. 2 surgeries and 5 years of daily anti-inflammatories just add up. They get in your heart. We will never, ever have dogs after these. :). But I can say if we could not have afforded the care for him we may have had to make different choices and that would have been so hard. For all I have complained about them, they have brought us a lot of joy and shared laughter in our family.

    1. Sheila, we had a border collie for about 14 years, and he was on insulin the last 2 years or so. Then, it just stopped working anymore. It was hard, but it was his time. He got in our hearts too - he was the best dog. It's been several years since we lost Max, and I think we're in a good place for a puppy. She is really sweet...and she is really a puppy. She is beginning to understand housebreaking, but forgets when she is excited, tired, distracted...she's all puppy! She's either tearing around with a toy or sleeping, it seems...unless she's found something she'd like to chew (like a kitchen chair, the ottoman, the carpet, my toes). All in all, we are really enjoying her, but puppies are work! :)

  2. Oh, she is adorable! I don't think it matters that she costs money because she will be such a joy and frugality has it limits IMO. Maybe the deer will stay away from your property with a dog around.

    I have done a bit of stocking up on meat this week. Pork roast marked down to 1.87 a pound. Whole organic chickens were on sale for 1.28 a pound. This sale comes along 3-4 times a year. I bring them home and take them out of the packaging and clean them out so that they are ready to go straight from the freezer to the crockpot. Butter is BOGO this week and there are coupons! It is 1.25-1.35 a pound. I have gotten 5 and have 9 more coupons to make two more stops for it by Tues as I am out and passing that store. My biggest savings was $56 for 4 grocery totes of food AND a $50 gas gift card. I really have to work to do that deal when it comes along but it is so worth it. I am working on eating what we have from the freezer instead of making or buying more. I cleaned out one freezer this week and did have to pitch some things just because I had forgotten about them.

    I cooked a turkey breast on Sunday and we had four meals from it plus I have 7 containers of soup all ready to thaw and eat in my freezer. I have one more small turkey from last years sales to go. I think that one will go in the smoker next weekend. Yum. We have not had the smoker out all summer and it is almost too late.

    We went to the free TR night concert at the library. The people behind us were eating sushi! Interesting. There is an elderly couple who live nearby and walk there with their wheelie walkers. It is so cute. She is out in front and he is about 6 feet behind. They stop by Subway and both sit there and eat an entire foot long sub! One more concert next week.

    We had our mini physical for the health insurance for free at my husband's employer. There were hundreds of people being run through. If we do not do this our insurance is $100 extra per person per month.

    It has been extremely humid and moldy and damp here. We have been using lemongrass essential oil for stuffy noses and sinus. I was able to get a friend to stop using OTC nasal sprays and is now using lemongrass too. Same with my Dad who was taking OTC sinus meds every night. This has worked great for the small grandchildren, too. My daughter puts a few drops on a cotton ball in their room at night. It is a very inexpensive oil and saves so much over meds and does not dry out the sinuses. Just sniffing the bottle 3-4 times works great, too.

    We are still harvesting a few tomatoes and peppers. I killed the lettuce by putting it in the screen porch. I asked hubby to look and see if he has any kind of chicken wire or similar that I can make a cage to go over the planter so that I can replant. We'll see. No point in replanting just for the squirrels.

    I just heard on the radio that General Mills will be closing two of their cereal plants next year because of decreasing cereal sales. They say it is because people are not eating breakfast but seriously don't you all think it is because cereal is over $4 a box and the box is tiny? I still buy cereal but only if I can get it for $1 or less a box.

    My daughter was telling me that many of their friends are going cash only because of debit card data breaches and stolen information. I have mixed feelings about this. I am picturing carrying too much cash and the fact that we have so many budget categories. I am also thinking about how often my debit card gets swiped in a week. Any one have any thoughts on it?

    I have had a terrible time with getting hubby to turn off lights for all of the 36 plus years we have been married. Last week I mentioned that every light left on is less money in the motor home fund because that is where extra utility money goes. I am seeing less lights left on and I only mentioned it once. :)

    Have a happy week everyone!

    1. Lana, I agree about the dog. We are frugal because we want to be intentional with what we have. If we were doing all the things we do in response to something like a medical emergency (and the debt that might cause), we would stay focused on decreased spending and not taking on something that would cost money over time...but at this time in our lives, a puppy is a reasonable choice for us. I am hopeful about the deer backing off a little bit too - but I'll wait and see.

      You got some great deals! I was smiling, because I cooked a turkey breast this past week too. We've already had several meals that included turkey, and there is more in the freezer, plus some stock....and I have one more after this from last season as well! :)

      I actually got out yesterday after some deals that came up with the change in the grocery ad week. One is that 10 lb. of russet potatoes is .99, limit 2. The store with the sale is far from me, so I am price matching at Walmart. We have a root cellar, so I am trying to figure out how many would get us through the next several months. We do have some volunteer potatoes that came up this year, but they are outside the enclosures, and besides the deer, gophers can b e a problem for them as well, so we'll have to see if there are any left for us!

      One of my goals is to learn more about essential oils. It feels like there is just so much to know...I need to start small and go one step at a time. Thanks for posting!

    2. There is an awful lot of information on oils and uses of them on the Heritage Essential Oils .com site. Linda does a good job of keeping everyone informed and writes very good articles which are on the site. You can easily check for what oils are best for any health issue by clicking on the 'Health Issues' tab. I also like that they post testimonies on how the oils worked for their customers under each oil. The 'Education' tab has many articles that will help you. The 'universal' oil is lavender and is useful for just about any issue. I always suggest Warrior and Plague Defense for all of the bugs that go around in the winter. Warrior is antibacterial and Plague Defense is antiviral. You can always ask me too! Heritage is the brand I know as it is the one I use and I feel it is a very good value. Linda has a gift for mixing blends and the natural health practitioner who healed me of my horrible allergies and food intolerances works with her on those blends. Every order that goes out is prayed over for healing for the ones who ordered it. Since you buy directly from them you do not pay for a bunch of commissions for sellers. Oils have a been a real blessing for our family and friends.

  3. Oh sweet puppy! She certainly looks like a German shepherd. I don't know coon hounds. One of our dogs is a shepherd. She is just under 70 pounds. Big paws,big teeth. Your puppys hair looks pretty fluffy still but the shepherd is thick and coarse. Get the right brush for getting excess hair out. They shed a lot. I'd suggest a harness for her....with their thick necks and thick fur it works better than a collar. We use an Easy Walk as makes harder for them to pull and they are strong dogs. We adopted her when she was 5 months so we missed out on most of the puppy stuff.

  4. Oh my goodness, that is one adorable puppy! It sure does look like there is a German Shepherd in her family tree! A few months ago, we adopted a puppy that's a white German Shepherd/Yellow Lab mix. He is five months old and weighs 52 pounds already. Hope you're enjoying your pup - they are lots of work but so much fun!

  5. She is a great little pup...and growing like a weed! She's 9.5 pounds and 10 weeks old, so I'm thinking that while she is growing, I don't expect her to be huge....but I guess we'll know for sure in about a year! :D


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