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Everyday Cheapskate: 9 Ways to Cut Pet Care Costs

Mary Hunt on

I use my shredder to shred my junk mail. Then I use it as bedding for my three rabbits. They love tossing it around and nesting their cages with shredded paper. Before I shred, however, I remove colored magazines and glossy flyers, as they don't work well in animal cages. Recycling my paper this way is a great money-saver, and it's fun for my rabbits. -- Susanna


I use a clean dog's brush to remove all the animal hair that attaches to my area rug during the week. It takes just a few seconds. It's easy and cheap because I do not have to buy sticky sheets or disposable products to remove the hair. It's also a lot quicker than taking out the vacuum. You can purchase a dog brush at the dollar store for only $1. -- Janice


Don't toss out the cardboard french fry container next time you eat fast food. Instead, flatten it, and save it for your next dog walk. When Fido leaves his mark, pull out the container, pop it open, and scoop up the mess. Transfer to the plastic bag you also carry with you, and drop the whole thing into the nearest trash can. -- Billie



For an effective flea dip, boil orange and lemon peels in water. Cool the water, and use it for a pet rinse or dip. It smells nice and fresh. You can also slice citrus and rub the fruit into the dog's coat. The bugs will keel over from the smell. -- Ted


Nontoxic bug and squirrel repellents will keep your dog (or your neighbors' dogs) from doing their business on the part of your yard you'd like to keep clean. Black pepper is nontoxic, so I sprinkle a little of it in certain areas to keep my Rottweiler in the part of the yard reserved for her. -- Lois


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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