Top 10 Ways Pet Bird Owners Can Save Money
Especially in this economy, everyone is looking to save a little cash where they can. As we all know, owning birds can be expensive. We’ve done a bit of research and put together what we call the “10 Best Ways” to cut spending and take your dollar that little bit further.
- DIY Toys – You don’t have to be an “expert” in the toy-making field to create a design your bird will love. Some projects don’t require any tools and can save you a lot of money, especially if your bird goes through the toys quickly. Simple toy ideas include turning leftover household items – bottle caps, washed pill bottles, paper towel rolls, and cardboard boxes – into almost bird-like Disneyland. My birds love nothing more than a nice roll of paper towels to fight on or a cardboard box to explore.
- Buy in bulk – If you have more than one bird, you can drastically cut expenses by buying your food and other items in bulk. Instead of buying those 5-pound bags of food for $ 10 each, buy the 25-pound bag for $ 50! Of course, prices will vary by vendor, but buying in bulk has been shown to be easier on the wallet. Don’t you think you’ll go through all that food soon? Parrot food can be frozen for maximum freshness; just repackage it in airtight containers or bags and toss it in the freezer.
- This is not only true for food, but also for toys. Many online sellers offer discounted toys if you buy a certain quantity or more. One of my birds goes through preening toys like it’s nobody’s business, so I shop online through a popular provider and get 5 at a time, saving a lot of cash in the meantime.
- Make your own food. You know it’s true, they say you can make food in your kitchen cheaper than eating out. For birds that is also true. Instead of buying pre-made baby bird bread mixes, for example, you can easily go out and buy basic necessities for less than the cost of a bread mix. Plus, you end up with twice the amount of mix you’d normally buy, cutting your costs in half.
- Recycle old toy parts. Some toys have a shelf life of a few minutes. However, many birds will get bored with a toy before it is completely demolished. Removing the aforementioned toy once the bird is bored and taking it apart for reuse in other toys is a great way to save. Most toys, even those destined for destruction, have reusable parts, from plastic chains to metal quick links. I have a ‘dumpster’ so every time my birds chew on a toy, I take it out of the cage, take it apart, and throw the reusable parts into the bin. When I want to make a toy, I look in the container for the parts I need.
- Shopping around. Take advantage of the wonder that is the World Wide Web and visit several stores before making your big purchase. You’ll often find products cheaper online than at your local store, and you can take advantage of free shipping deals to stretch your money even further.
- Cage liner. What do you use to line the cage? If you use some type of pre-cut and purchased cage liner, consider switching to newspaper. Don’t you get the newspaper? I bet one of your neighbors does. People will gladly donate their old newspaper once they have finished reading it. Better yet, if you have a large flock, call your local newspaper and ask if you can go ‘dumpster diving’ in their recycling bins. Often newspapers are printed and have multiple stacks of newspapers that contain errors, so they simply throw away the papers for recycling. Take advantage of those ‘mistakes’ and line up the cage, for free!
- Learn from others. You don’t have to go shopping for a stack of bird books to gain knowledge. Take advantage of the many online resources available. You can access web forums to chat with other bird owners, informative websites to learn about anything from species to nutrition, and even e-books. If you’ve heard about a great book but don’t want to buy it, head to your local library. Libraries will often have a large number of books available through interlibrary loans.
- Barter. If you know other bird owners, make friends and take advantage of what others have to offer. Going on vacation and need a bird sitter? See a trusted bird friend who will take care of your birds while you are away, in exchange for future bird care services from you. Bird owners are eager to help and always ready to help out. Birds of the same plumage must stay together, you know.
- Your bird doesn’t need 3 of everything. Remember when you find that new “must have” product, sit back and evaluate it. How is this new and improved toy different from toys stored or hung in the bird cage? Will this article really improve the quality of life for your birds or make things easier for you in the long run? What items is this object made of and can it be replicated for you at a lower cost?
Consider the source. Just because an item is specifically marketed for ‘birds’ doesn’t mean you can’t buy that item elsewhere and at a cheaper cost, simply because it’s on the island of dogs! I found many toys roaming the island of cats from my local pet store. You can even find cheaper priced toy pieces at your local craft store, such as Michaels, which are often sold in pet stores.