My favorite personal finance-related activity is shopping. It’s the same love of shopping that got me in a hole in the first place, but that was because I was a poor shopper whereas now I’m an experienced and nuanced shopper.
I have a puppy and as anyone with a pet can tell you, there are a lot of expenses that go into raising a furry one. There are so many different products and plans, and you’ve got options from grocery stores to pet stores to online storefronts to pick up your essentials. Here’s what I’ve picked up in that short time when it comes to Petco vs Chewy.
Petco, Petsmart and the like
- Staff that can be helpful when you’re choosing what items will best fit your pet
- Healthy and luxury brands of food that you won’t see at grocery stores
- Petco and Petsmart have loyalty programs that send coupons and promotions by email which can result in big savings
- You could run into another pet-lover like yourself to befriend
- Pet stores are everywhere it seems, so once you settle into preferred items, you won’t have trouble finding them
- Prices are higher than what you’ll get at online stores like Chewy.com, or at local grocery stores
- Staff that can be disinterested (unfortunately you can apply this to any brick-and-mortar store)
- Variety can be overwhelming especially if you’re just starting out with a pet
- You’ll be tempted by so many toys and accessories that you can’t get anywhere else. There’s nothing quite like blinging out your pet
- Every time I have had to return something to the big pet store, it takes forever
Online Pet Stores
- Free shipping is often available at certain thresholds – this is important since we all know what it feels like to lug around a 25 pound bag of kibble or litter
- Reviews are the core of any e-commerce site so you can learn from other people like you if the products can be trusted or not
- Prices are typically lower online since websites don’t need to maintain an expensive storefront space
- Variety is the space of life and you will find many more options for your pet/s, from food to accessories
- Shopping from your phone when in line at the post office, or on the tablet in bed beats shopping at an actual store
- Returns can be tricky depending on the online store policy. Find the policy before you make your order
- You can’t take your pet with you to check out products (I’ve seen people take cats to Petco to examine the cat litter
- If you need something right away, then it can be a real pain waiting for your shipment to arrive
Grocery Store Pet Aisle
- After grabbing your veggies and other groceries, it’s easy to stop by the pet aisle to grab necessities
- Prices are typically competitive, and you can benefit from further discounts that your favorite grocery store offers
- The clearance aisle at the local grocery store can be the best place to find high-quality pet goods
- Returns are fast and easy since you go through the normal grocery store customer service lanes
- Shopping at one stop rather than two saves precious time which you can use to make more money or have fun
- Grocery stores are going to carry fewer options than pet stores and online marketplaces. If you like specific brands or more gourmet brands, you will have trouble finding them at most grocery stores
- Pet goods seem to sit longer on grocery store shelves. I’ve had at least five occasions at different grocery stores where the item I needed was already past its expiration date
So where do I shop?
All of the above of course! Being the resident personal finance gangster, I’m always taking advantage of the best available deals online or in-store. You can and should do the same.