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Quick and casual ways to finance spay/neuter and basic cat expenses

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
There are always people who say they want to get their cats S/N'd but lack the money or are experiencing financial difficulties or so forth. The reality is that some of these posters are irresponsible types who just want to make excuses. But I really think a good number of them are legitimate and I agree it can sometimes be difficult to come up with an extra $100 at the end of the month to get the cat neutered. I -- and no doubt many of you -- have been there!

And sometimes it is tough to take a "second job" where you have to (1) apply, (2) interview, (3) get on the schedule, (4) wait for your first paycheck, etc. And many employers expect new hires to promise 20+ hours/week and a commitment that they will stay long enough to make hiring worth the bother they go through for the sake of training...plus it is on your employment history, and constantly taking on and then resigning from secondary jobs makes you look irregular.

Solution? Get a temporary job or a casual arrangement (= payment within 24 hours). Here are the top five ways I have earned extra money when things were tight:

1. Picking strawberries (or any kind of fruit or produce). Situations are usually advertised, and you basically just show up at the farm and get an ID number. As long as you don't look violent or inebriated they will let you on the premises. You pick fruit or produce, turn in baskets that get weighed and are given tickets or vouchers as you work. When it is time to go, you turn in all your tickets to the cashier and are paid cash based on the amount that you picked. When I was in junior high, I rode my bike out to a farm and did this for eleven days in a row. I made $600 and used half of that money to repay the vet bill from an expensive visit for my two pets -- yep, caused by me neglecting to spend about $30 on preventative care. (Not my proudest moment as a pet owner!)

2. Delivering phone books. Those phone books have to arrive at your doorstep somehow, right? You show up at the advertised location -- it was a VFW building for that city. They verify proof of auto insurance and give you a "route" of phonebooks that need to be delivered (usually 10 hours worth of effort). Load them in your car and away you go. Work at your own pace delivering the books -- all in one day or split it up over multiple days -- then call back to homebase when you are done. In a matter of hours they will cut you a personal check that in my experience translated to $10-11/hour after expenses. You can keep taking additional "routes" until the entire delivery for your city is complete. It can go on anywhere from 2-3 weeks depending on circumstaces. More than once I used this opportunity to pick up a quick $1000-1200 -- but even doing a single route could pay for neutering a cat.

3. Run errands for a realtor. Realtors are basically self-employed people and the successful ones have a million-and-one things to do. Basically just contact a busy looking realty office and offer your services to help run errands for anyone needing help. A realtor might need someone to drive out in the middle of nowhere and slap a "SOLD" sticker on a for-sale sign. Someone might need you to go around and fill up a dozen baskets with little flyers. There are also publicity issues -- I once made $60 walking around putting a notice on 500 doorknobs at a large condo complex for a woman to announce she had sold one of their neighbor's condos and could help anyone else who needed a listing agent. It took most of the day and man my feet were sore, but...$60 cash in hand isn't bad and it was cheaper for her than paying postage. It is true most companies employ their own full time "handyman", but successful realtors don't want to wait four days for the company "errand boy" to do it. They are too busy showing property or too tired from doing their primary work, so they will throw someone some cash to take care of these miscellaneous tasks. I never did it but they also sometimes want a person to fix up vacant houses that are having a hard time selling -- either regular cleaning or more heavy-duty repairs.

4. Christmas work. There's a lot of casual jobs available around the holidays. I once worked in a Christmas tree lot that involved helping customers pick a tree and then loading it onto the roof of the car. Cash was paid at the end of each shift plus there were generous tips from customers who were in the Christmas spirit. It was about $12-14/hour -- informally hired (hey, you don't look scary or stink of booze, can you handle picking up a tree?), work as much as you can for two weeks, then...thanks, we are done here! I found it by calling a phone number that was offering two jobs -- the tree job and a second opportunity where they needed people to help mass-produce bows for Christmas wreaths and gift wrap stuff to be picked up the next day.

5. Delivery for a florist. While I'm sure it is nice to give and/or receive on Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, someone has to actually deliver all of those flowers! Basically there is a huge overflow and no way even the most well-staffed florist can keep up with all the deliveries, so people get paid cash (or a personal check) by number of deliveries made and it is an informal situation where they trust anyone who is dressed nicely and appears responsibly insured. I made $160 one Valentine's Day from delivering roses -- think how far that'd go towards taking care of a cat! Again, we are not talking about selling flowers by the side of the road or anything -- this was delivering nice flowers to homes or businesses.

These are just five ways that I have made money from temporary jobs over the course of my life. All of it was honest work and none of it was charity or people taking pity on me. None of it required fees or charges to participate -- although sometimes it did require a full tank of gas to get started. All of these examples paid cash money immediately or a personal check by the next business day. I almost always broke a sweat, but I never felt in physical jeopardy or danger by being involved and never felt humiliated or pathetic by taking on any of these opportunities to make some money. None of them required me to hassle others by phone or try to sell someone something, and in most cases we are dealing with neutral or even positive things. (Who gets mad at someone delivering flowers?)

And no, you won't get rich or even make it above the poverty line if you try to permanently subsist on this type of work. But it is a valid way for working adults and teens or students to make some extra cash that helps with expenses such as fixing your cat.

The purpose of this thread is not just to list my random employment history -- I am encouraging the responsible people who want to care for their cats to "think outside of the box" when it comes for paying for neutering or spaying. The irresponsible people will shrug off any suggestions because it honestly isn't a matter of money, they just don't care or simply can't be accountable for what goes on in their life. But for the sincere people, it'd be great if other posters would add their own ideas for how to finance cat expenses when money is tight.
post #2 of 6
This is really excellent advice!!
post #3 of 6
Thank you for the great tips, EXCELLENT
post #4 of 6
It's funny but yesterday I was thinking of posting thread on exactly this subject - maybe because there have been a number of people who are having this kind of trouble. Getting a second job is good if you can, but it is simply not possible for many.

I tried pet insurance but it was so expensive in relation to the benefits that I gave it up. Now I keep a special savings account into which I put the same amount as I would have paid for the insurance, and it is a cushion. I think if everyone could do that - even a small amount once a week quickly adds up - the price of a packet of cigarettes or a bottle of wine. After all, aren't your cats worth one of your treats? Then, if you have an emergency and you can offer the vet at least a good downpayment, they are more likely to be sympathetic to your promises to pay later. Even children or teenagers can do this, and their parents are bound to be impressed with the level of responsibility shown and be more open to helping when it is needed.
post #5 of 6
Wonderful Advice!

I don't have time for a second job but I do put have a savings account that helps out when I need it. I agree that if you can't get a second job you should definitly be putting aside some money each paycheck, even if it's a very small amount, so that you can take care of your pets. Just think that your cats are just as important, if not more important, than your health insurance, your 401k or dinner with a friend. But somehow people can always find time and money for those things but not their pets.

post #6 of 6
I do feel that many people take on animals without any idea of what they will cost in feed and maintenance. But to be fair, things have changed a lot in the last couple of generations - my grandmother only fed her cat scraps and would not even have thought of shots or anything. If it was sick she would get it help, after trying a few herbal remedies first! But she loved it and thought she was a good cat owner.

And of course, many people acquire an animal, a stray perhaps, that they want to love and then find it is sick and they can't afford the bills. Others fall on hard times, as we all do with varying degrees from time to time.

I just think a thread like this from time to time reminds people of their responsibility and warns them of the dangers of taking on things without thinking down the line and preparing as much as they are able in case of that 'rainy day'.
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