We all know that guinea pigs are easier to care for compared to other pets, but still, they require an abundant amount of money to meet their basic needs. So, here are some useful tips to save money on guinea pigs that I discovered through my experience of owning guinea pigs, that you’ll wish you knew earlier to save thousands of dollars.
Yep, you heard it right, I’m spilling the beans on how to keep your pockets intact while still giving your fluffy friends the love and care they deserve.
In the world of guinea pig ownership, every penny saved is a victory, and I’m about to unveil strategies that will make you the frugal hero your pocket deserves.
Picture this: cleaner bedding, healthier diets, and delighted piggies, all without burning through your hard-earned cash. Intrigued? Well, you should be! let’s get into the 7 tips to save money on guinea pigs it, shall we?
1. Use Fleece liners or Shredded Paper as Bedding
While the local PetSmart paper bedding may initially appear appealing, its value diminishes once your guinea pig pees and poops on it with urine and feces. Consequently, you are left disposing of expensive yellowish bedding every day.
In contrast, investing in high-quality fleece liners may seem costly at first but proves advantageous in the long term. It can endure for several years and is effortlessly maintainable.
Therefore, I highly recommend opting for top-notch fleece bedding for your pet’s comfort and convenience. Plus, it still looks nice and it’s easy to clean.
|Full Cheeks Small Pet Paper Bedding
|RIOUSSI Guinea Pig Cage Liners
|Shredded paper from home
|$28 CAD (85L)
|$26.5 CAD (14×28 inches, pack of 2)
|use for 5 days, non-reuseable
|use for 4-7 days, washable and reuseable
|use for 4-7 days, washable and reusable
Another option is to use shredded paper. Now using shredded paper/cardboard might seem weird, but it saves tons of money, space and the environment.
All you need to do is buy a cheap paper shredder that lasts for years if you don’t already have one, and shred cardboard boxes like Amazon ones, useless documents and papers.
Tada! DIY paper bedding. It absorbs your guinea pigs’ urine and smells of it, and if you’re worried about the bedding being too hard, sprinkle a little bit of store-bought bedding on top, or softer shredded paper.
However, My guinea pigs personally don’t mind when I just put hard shredded cardboard.
Staples and tape can easily damage the shredder blades, causing them to malfunction or break down. It’s also not good for your piggy if they chew on it too. Therefore, it’s recommended that you carefully inspect all documents and remove any staples or tape before shredding them.
This will not only help keep your shredder in good condition, but it will also help ensure that your documents are shredded properly and securely.
2. Buy Hay from Farms
I’m sure we were all shocked at the amount of hay these little critters munch down in a single day. After all, the amount is UNLIMITED. Unfortunately, our pockets have a bottom.
That’s why to save money, when my family goes on a short day trip to more rural areas of our city, we always buy bundles of hay from farms.
Is Hay from farms better than hay from pet stores?
Yes, Not only is the hay from farms much cheaper than the ones in pet stores, but the hay is also fresh and of higher quality.
I’m not kidding when I say the hay from farms smells better than the ones from Pet stores. My guinea pigs drooled over the farm hay and refused to eat PetSmart hay ever again. Sometimes, things that cost more money don’t necessarily mean it’s better.
How do I choose the best hay from farms for my guinea pigs?
Firstly, find Farms that sell Timothy hay. They can sell it to small mammals or even horses. Buy a stack or two (my family bought 4 just for two guinea pigs).
Remember to read the reviews and make sure to choose the right cut of hay. Also, inspect the hay before buying to check for anything that’s not supposed to be there.
I like to keep one stack handy and transfer some of the hay into a bag or box for more convenient feeding.
Trust me, the stacks are big, but you’ll be surprised how quickly these stacks will be emptied as well as the amount of money you saved!
|Timothy Hay from PetSmart
|Timothy Hay from red Barn Company
|1 large-size bag (6 lb)
|= $4 per lb
|=$0.40 per lb
In other words – Guinea pig Costco!
Just to be clear, the farm we frequent isn’t sponsoring us. My family and I genuinely appreciate the quality and affordability of their hay, making it our go-to spot for stocking up.
3. Make Your Hideouts
Have you ever visited a pet store and seen hideouts in different shapes and sizes, that got your interest until you peaked at the price tag? Or did you buy an expensive hideout for your guinea pig, just for them to get stuck in it as they grew bigger?
Sadly, both situations have been way too familiar to me as well. So that’s why my sister and I began using cardboard boxes as hideouts. Here’s how to make it:
Step 1: Find a suitable cardboard box (size doesn’t matter). Make sure it’s clean and safe for your piggies
Step 2: Cut a hole/door(s) on the cardboard box
Step 3: There’s no step 3
90% of my guinea pigs’ hideouts are homemade. If you’re a more DIY person, feel free to decorate it, or add more doors to the hideout!
In contrast, the rest of the 10% are hideouts that I think will last long, and ones I’m not able to make it, like these two
Also, your guinea pigs don’t care how beautiful or ugly their hideouts are, as long as it’s comfortable for them.
You can also turn other things lying around your home to make fun toys too. For example, in this video, I made a maze for my guinea pigs using only cardboard boxes.
That being said, there are several hideouts that I never regretted purchasing for my guinea pigs because they’re durable and the piggies loved it. So I’m not saying don’t buy hides, just choose wisely.
4. Feed them leftovers
This means that you can feed your guinea pigs parts of vegetables or fruits that you don’t normally put into dishes. As long as it’s safe for the piggies, it’s just another piece of mouth-watering veggie for them to munch on. For example, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, parts of bell peppers you usually throw away (no seeds), ends of cilantro/parsley, etc.
Keep in mind that fresh vegetables for guinea pigs should be limited to one cup a day, and fruits should only be fed once a week as a treat. That’s because too much sugar can cause obesity, for example, bananas for guinea pigs.
You can also cut grass from outside for them, but make sure there are no chemicals though.
Another sneaky way to save money and also make delicious and healthy treats for your guinea pigs at the same time is this recipe: these easy homemade cookies for guinea pigs. They’re made from the hay clippings that you find at the bottom of hay bags!
Adding to that, this tip may seem small, but with time, the number adds up.
5. Buy in Bulk
Yes, you heard it right – bulk buying is the secret sauce to saving your money without compromising on your furry friend’s well-being.
Whether it’s bedding, food, or those irresistible chew toys, purchasing in larger quantities not only ensures you never run out unexpectedly but also scores you some serious discounts. Just like buying hay from barns as we discussed earlier. And who doesn’t love a good deal?
Take bedding, for instance. Instead of buying small packs that seem to vanish into thin air, opt for that jumbo bag of cozy goodness.
I recently snagged a 10-pound bag of premium bedding for just $20 (I still like to have some to sprinkle on the shredded paper sometimes), a steal compared to the smaller bags that cost almost the same per pound.
The savings here aren’t just financial, they’re practical too – fewer trips to the store means more time cuddling with your guinea pigs.
Buying the right Veggies
Picture this: you’re strolling through the grocery store, contemplating whether to grab a bag of pre-packaged salad greens or opt for the loose ones. It might seem more convenient to snag that ready-to-go bag, but let’s crunch some numbers and see how bulk buying can trim down those expenses.
A typical bag of salad greens (let’s say around 200 grams) can set you back about $4.99. Sure, it’s convenient – grab and go, no fuss. But let’s break it down. That’s roughly $2.50 per 100 grams. Now, multiply that by the amount your guinea pigs can devour in a week, and you’ll quickly see the dollars add up faster than a guinea pig’s dash for fresh veggies.
On the flip side, head over to the loose greens section. You can often find non-bagged salad greens for about $1.99 per 100 grams. That’s almost a dollar less than the pre-packaged option. Now, imagine filling up your cart with a hefty batch of these loose greens. Your guinea pigs get a variety, and you get some extra loonies in your pocket.
Adding to that, most bagged salad greens go to waste much more quickly too, because they’re pre-chopped already.
Besides the financial benefits, upcycling also contributes to reducing waste. By giving a second life to items that would otherwise end up in landfills, you’re not only saving money but also making a positive impact on the environment.
For example, I turned a protein powder container into a translucent hideout for my guinea pigs, and they loved it. You can also use your old clothes and transform them into something amazing, like this no-sew snuffle mat for guinea pigs and rabbits.
The following links are tutorials to spark some inspiration and explore the sky-high possibilities.
- easy pet-friendly Pinata for small pets made from cardboard
- a cuddle bed for guinea pigs made from old clothes and scraps
- a cardboard maze
- 2-minute treat balls made from toilet paper rolls for guinea pigs and rabbits
You can also find lots of cheap upcycling DIYs for guinea pigs in this playlist on my YouTube channel too.
7. Keep your piggies healthy
Last but not least, an obvious one, because who wants the loved piggies sick? Health is wealth, even for guinea pigs. Plus all the vet fees are worth a king’s ransom.
Moreover, PLEASE take your guinea pig to the vet if the first sign of sickness appears. Guinea pigs are tiny creatures and their illness can worsen at an alarming rate, meaning the fees will only go up as the illness worsens. An example of that is bladder stones – your guinea pig’s condition severity can go from 1 to 100 really fast. Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way.
We all know how expensive the vet fees are, but if your guinea pig is sick and the earliest appointment is 3 days later, and if the vet’s open, go in first thing in the morning for an emergency. Yes it’s not ideal and yes most clinics charge emergency fees, but this can be life or death for your piggy.
Another option is to always know an animal hospital that is open 24/7 and cares for guinea pigs too. You can ask your regular vet to recommend one. But keep in mind that the knowledge of guinea pigs the vets there have will be much less than your regular vet.
Most importantly, remember it is better early than late. Trust your gut if you think your potato-shaped furball is not himself/herself – it’s your guinea pig mama/papa instincts 🙂
What do you think?
And there you have it, folks! 5 tips to save lots of money while keeping your guinea pigs happy and healthy. So, do these tips help you? Please shoot me a comment if you have any more suggestions, questions, etc. Hope this article helps and please share it with someone else who also has guinea pigs!