BYOB Wedding (for the hosts, not the guests!)

Reception rules, state liquor laws, and other variables can effect your wedding alcohol budget.  Figure out how to make the best of it, and cut costs as low as they'll go.

The date is getting closer!  Today our contributing writer, Katie Jakub, counts down to her Pi Day wedding with a look into liquor cost solutions.

Liquor: the sweet elixir that makes all of your relatives and friends shake their groove things on the dance floor.  Liquor has been giving Grandmas the courage to learn new-fangled dances since 2000 B.C.  However, the cost of liquor can add up quickly.

Many venues and their caterers require that if you’re providing liquor that you purchase it through them—the prices per package can range from nominal charges per person to $30, $40 and higher.  When you select a venue where you can bring your own alcoholic beverages, savings are in your future if you do it right.

Before we get to ways to save, make sure you know the alcohol laws of your state.  Certain states, such as Pennsylvania, do not allow you to bring liquor across the border if you’ve purchased them in other states.


If it’s illegal to transport across the border and you can’t price shop between different stores, your options are unfortunately pretty limited.   If you prefer premium brands, the big ways to save are to plan in advance, shop near the holidays when the prices drop, and to search for manufacturer and store coupons.  We found that the prices were lowest near Christmas when the big brands were marked down.  Pennsylvania’s state stores list their monthly sales online and regularly have coupons online and in the newspaper.   We also try to find the hanging coupons on our favorite brands when we buy our booze.

Good news: you can return liquor that is unopened if you have a receipt.  They do stare at you like you’re crazy when you do a return, though.


Competition in the alcohol market is your friend.  Party stores and warehouse clubs had the best prices from the locations we scouted in Ohio and Kentucky (we were visiting friends in Covington, we did not just go to look at liquor prices).  We did our final comparison between a Kentucky party warehouse store and the PA State stores.  Generally, the regular price of items in Kentucky was the sale price in PA and most of the items were on sale on average $4-$5 cheaper in Kentucky when we did our comparison.

The store where we window shopped gave 10% discounts on single item cases and 5% discounts on mixed cases.  They also had coupons on several of the items which meant multiple savings on one item.  If you’re traveling from one state to another for savings, just make sure you account for the price of gas.  Had we been able to buy in Kentucky, the savings would’ve paid for our trip and then some.

After the wedding, we’ll do a recap of how much we bought and how much we needed (and if someone had to do a liquor run!).  All of the numbers online have been very inconsistent and alcohol is something that we didn’t want to under-buy!

Favorite Savings Account Building App: Digit

Have trouble saving money?  Let this app do it for you.

We all know we should be saving.  An emergency fund is a must.  We should be saving for retirement.  We may have dreams like saving for a house, super luxe vacation, or paying for our kids’ college.

But for tons of people, it just never happens.  We have all this knowledge, but then we have a really hard time implementing it.

Enter Digit.  It’s a pretty innovative app that solves a very prevalent problem:  people don’t save their money.  So what Digit does is save that money for you.  Once you download and link your account, it uses an algorithm to determine how much money you won’t even notice is “missing.”  Normally when money goes missing in our budget, it goes to consumer goods or fast food.  But in this case, it goes to an FDIC insured Digit savings account.  You get to watch your savings build with literally no effort on your part.  Their system is really great, so they guarantee they’ll never cause you to overdraw.  They’re so confident, they’re willing to pay any and all fees if that does ever happen.

Courtesy of Hello Digit, Inc.

Courtesy of Hello Digit, Inc.

Who Digit Isn’t For

If you’re already saving your money, and don’t think you could be saving any more, this app probably isn’t for you.   There’s no interest on the Digit savings account, so you’d  be better off earning 0.05% from your bank or whatever amount you’re currently earning.  Also, if you hate texting, this may not be a great app for you.

Who Digit Is For

Everybody else.  While Digit doesn’t pay interest, if you’re currently saving $0/month, you’re not earning any interest anyways.  (0.05% of $0 = $0.) So much of personal finance is behavioral, and if your behavior isn’t lining up with your goals or all of the things you know you should be doing financially, you’re better off letting an app do it for you.  It will give you forward progress towards all those goals, and remove your emotional blocks from the equation.

And for a lot of people, that forward progress is all they need to get going.  Once we start seeing that we can save towards our dreams, the inertia gets going and we alter our behavior to keep striving towards them in bigger ways.

Want to start achieving those dreams?  You can get started with Digit here. It’s free, so there’s no reason not to start achieving today.





*This post contains an affiliate link.  That means when you use digit for free, not only are you saving money, but you’re also helping fund this blog.  Thank you for your support!*

The YMCA is More Than a Cheesy Wedding Dance

The YMCA and YWCA work for your community and for you.  Let them  help you get your financial life turned around.

We all know the YMCA for the song by The Village People.  When I was a kid, I knew the YMCA as the place where I took swimming lessons, progressing from a guppy to a dolphin.

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the YMCA, and YWCA, for all that they do.  And I mean all of it.  To get an idea, let’s look at the actual lyrics to that Village People song (I’ve gotten rid of some of the more repetitive parts of the lyrics):

Young man, there’s no need to feel down.
I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground.
I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town
There’s no need to be unhappy.

Young man, there’s a place you can go.
I said, young man, when you’re short on your dough.
You can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
Many ways to have a good time.

It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.
It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A.

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal,
You can do whatever you feel…

Young man, are you listening to me?
I said, young man, what do you want to be?
I said, young man, you can make real your dreams.
But you got to know this one thing!

No man does it all by himself.
I said, young man, put your pride on the shelf,
And just go there, to the Y.M.C.A.
I’m sure they can help you today.

You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal,
You can do whatever you feel …

Young man, I was once in your shoes.
I said, I was down and out with the blues.
I felt no man cared if I were alive.
I felt the whole world was so jive …

That’s when someone came up to me,
And said, young man, take a walk up the street.
There’s a place there called the Y.M.C.A.
They can start you back on your way.

Young man, young man, are you listening to me?
Young man, young man, what do you wanna be?

So pretty much everyone mumbles through the important parts of that song while they scream “YMCA!” and jump up and down making their body into letters like a freaking cheerleader.

But the important parts of the song are pretty important.  The YMCA/YWCA has a lot of programs to help people.  In a lot of different ways.  If you know about these programs, they can help you get to a point where you can help yourself.  But you have to know about them.


For Youth Development.
For Healthy Living.
For Social Responsibility.

Who couldn’t get behind and organization with a motto like that?  To give you an idea of what the YMCA offers, here are some of the programs they’re currently offering in Pittsburgh.  They’re a nationwide organization, though, so try to find your local branch through the national website.

  • connecting youth with service opportunities that match their interests
  • tutoring and mentoring programs
  • Black Achievers- a program helping African American youth set high educational standards, and helping them get there
  • homeschool enrichment programs
  • leader’s club for youth
  • all kind of sports programs for everyone from the youngest to the oldest on an affordable budget
  • programs that work with the community to influence local politics (advocacy)
  • family support services
  • camps for kids with special needs
  • job training
  • drug and alcohol counseling
  • food pantries
  • housing for single residents
  • I haven’t even scratched the surface


Eliminating racism.
Empowering women.

They have some seriously great motto writers.  The YWCA is amazing, too.  They also offer housing, but theirs is for single women, women with children, or low-income families.  The main causes in these housing efforts are to help those who are homeless or those who suffer from drug/alcohol addiction.  They also have an array of programs in our area, and are nationwide:

  • initiatives for teenage girls to get involved with STEM topics at a young age
  • free tax preparation through VITA
  • health care navigators
  • assistance applying for free childcare for working mothers, along with a myriad of other programs
  • career counseling
  • free legal advice and representation
  • help getting low-cost or free women’s health services (think annual checkups of all kinds)
  • free exercise classes for women and families
  • advocacy and education for racial issues, including numerous opportunities for recognition for those working against racism
  • again, I’m just scratching the surface


So whether you’re looking to get your kids into an affordable swim class, or need help getting back on your feet, the Y is a great organization to be a part of.  Our communities are important.  Working to make them better through an organization like the Y is a great way to spend your time and energy that will pay dividends throughout your community.  And knowing that they are there to help may be the first step in improving your life, from the most dire of situations to those just needing a little help to get their finances back on track.


Much love to Sheila from The Frugal Exerciser for inspiring this post.  Have something you want to see covered on Femme Frugality?  Shoot me an email.


*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Shoeaholic No More*

Sunday Loves

Happy Sunday everyone!  I’m not really looking forward to Monday, but am enjoying the weekend while it’s here.  Hope you are, too!

Before I get into all of the awesome posts I’ve been reading lately, I wanted to put out the word that I’ve started a new Pinterest board, all about Pittsburgh.  If you’re from Pittsburgh, or just love pinning about it (it is an awesome city, afterall,) shoot me an email and I’ll make you a contributor!  Conversely, if you just want to learn about the sweetness that is the city of bridges, you can follow the board here.  Tell all your friends!

Reads Worth Your Time

Mrs. Frugalwoods shared a great post about privilege.  It’s something that’s all too true and doesn’t get said nearly enough in the PF community.

In our house, work dries up a little bit during the summer months.  So we have to save and budget for it accordingly.  (Think of me this summer if you’re hiring a writer!)  Joyce over at My Stay at Home Adventures finds that summer drains her bank account in unique ways, too, and shares her tips and tricks.

Lactating and looking for cash?  The Penny Hoarder recently highlighted how you can make money selling your breast milk.  Or just donate it to a really good cause.

Liz at Friday Night Shenanigans just paid off her credit card debt!  Congrats!  Hopefully I’m right behind you, sister!

Sometimes we spend our money on crap.  Just because it’s fancy doesn’t mean it’s not crap.  Tonya shares what to spend your money on instead over at Budget and the Beach, and I couldn’t agree more.


Tomorrow we’ll look at a great, nationwide community resource here on Femme Frugality thanks to a reader suggestion.  See you then!

Shopping for Clothes on the Cheap

I discovered this great website for fashion where everything is $5.99 or under!

A few months ago, I was contacted by  They wanted to know if I’d do a review of their clothing.  Being in need of new clothing, I said yes.

They sell clothes on the cheap to the tune of $5.99 and under.  I’m normally pretty skeptical of websites that offer clothing at prices that low.  Their stuff must be crap, right?  I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong.  I ordered two shirts, a wallet, and pair of shoes I was sure wouldn’t fit since you can’t try on shoes when ordering online.

My ballet flats fit!  I was amazed!  And they’re a lot more durable than the ones I normally pick up once a season.  (I don’t have many shoes, so I wear mine out very quickly wearing them day in and day out.)  I’ve been wearing the shirts to work a lot over the past months.  Like at least once a week a lot.  So they get washed a lot.  They’re still in perfect shape.

I’m very picky with my wallets, however.  So when the wallet arrived, it didn’t quite have the functionality that I was hoping for.  I was able to do an exchange, though, and got the pink shirt in the picture above.  When you’re shopping online for clothes, a good return/exchange policy is key, and I found theirs to be great.

You have 7 days from the date of delivery to file your return on their website.  You need some info from your receipt (I was also able to find it on my invoice,) and then they send you a prepaid shipping label that you take to the UPS store.  Was totally painless.  Just make sure you stay in that 7 day period!

One thing to know before shopping on is that they are basically wholesalers.  It’s how they keep their prices so low, but it also means that once an item is out, it’s out.  So if you see something you love, jump on it quickly.  Even then, it may not be able to be processed if too many people do the same thing at the same time as you.  While their inventory may not be around long, it is vast, so finding something else you love if that happens is no problem at all.

Another thing about the shopping experience that I was pleasantly surprised by is that their models look like real people.  From what I could tell, there wasn’t a whole lot of airbrushing or unhealthy, unrealistic girls trying on clothes in front of a camera.  And this was true across all sizes.  That’s not to say none of the girls were skinny, because some people are skinny and healthy, but there was a fair representation of all body types and sizes, giving you an idea of what the clothes would actually look like in person.

Overall recommend?  Yes.  Just be sure to try on your stuff right away so you know you can get your return in by the seventh day if need be.  And know that the shopping experience is a little different, being prepared to jump on the things you really want.  But $5.99 max/item, with what I’ve found to be good quality?  That’s a definite win.



*I’ve been provided with free product and compensation for my time in order to be able to write this post.  Regardless, opinions are 100% honest and my own.*

Small Businesses Used to Increase Family Income

Small Businesses Used to Increase Family Income-Alternatives to Traditional Loans

When your income increases, some of your financial hardship is alleviated. That’s why many families today are launching home-based, small businesses. It takes hard work and determination but is often the best decision for the long-term success of the family.

Once you have a flawless idea and plan of action, you will probably need funds to launch or grow your idea. As a parent, we don’t want our business venture to affect the family finances, so we avoid personal loans and loans from family and friends. Since the financial crisis of 2008, it has also been much harder to secure a traditional loan with a bank or credit union. That’s why nontraditional, alternative loans have become increasingly popular, especially used for small business loans.

Alternative lenders typically require you’ve been in business for only a few months to be eligible for a business loan. Rather than focusing solely on credit scores, other factors are taken into consideration such as credit card sales, band deposit history, tax standings, credit partners and even social media standings. Most alternative lenders offer free, online applications and quick approvals. Upon authorization, you’ll receive the funds you need in as little as 72 hours. Plus, they don’t report to credit agencies, so your income and debt ratio aren’t altered.

When securing a small business loan, you often have the option of choosing from several loan offers that have different rates and factors, so you can determine what works best for you, your family and your small business. With an alternative small business loan, you can do whatever you see fit with your funds. New computers? Advertising budget? Social media consultant? Launch party? Use your small business loan for whatever you need to increase your visibility and revenue.

If you are committed, a home-based business may be the perfect resolution to increasing your family’s income and securing a more prosperous future.



*I have been compensated for this post contributed by an outside writer.*

Too Many Baskets, Not Enough Eggs

Maintaining sanity through time management, money management, and prioritization.

When I was growing up, there was a shining pillar of frugality in my life.  She exuded her standards quietly, without drawing attention, but as I got older I came to realize just how powerful they were.

She was a stay-at-home mother.  Her husband had a nice job that (I assume–I never asked) made plenty of money.  Her children and I were friends.  But when we all went shopping together, we’d always go to discount stores and use coupons.  It confused me as a kid.  They didn’t need to shop at these stores for food, clothes, or everyday items.  But they did.  And they did it happily.

As her children got older, moved away and started having families of their own, I came to realize what their family did spend money on:  family.  While brand-name clothing wasn’t on the shopping list, this woman wouldn’t bat at eye at flying across the country to visit a grandchild, take care of one of her own, grown, adult children when they fell ill, or to go to a birthday party.

And I think that’s kind of beautiful.  Her example not only taught me what mattered in her life, but it also taught me that in order to be able to afford the things that really  matter, you may have to give up some of the things that really don’t.  When you have the right perspective, giving those things up isn’t a sacrifice; it’s an active and rewarding choice.  She also didn’t have a personal finance blog, which makes me question my own vanity-levels as her simple example taught me more than any preaching could have done.

But there was some preaching.

We also went to the same church, and on occasion she’d teach my Sunday school class.   In the religion of my youth, you didn’t go around asking people about their income, but you were taught sound money habits as a matter of spirituality from a young age.

Her lessons stuck with me.  I received 52 over the course of every single year, and hers are the ones that I still remember.  Her father was also a very frugal man.  At several points in their family’s life, something bad happened.  A job was lost.  A medical emergency came up.  What could have been chaos crept up on them as it does at certain points in all of our lives.

But their family didn’t suffer monetarily at any of these times.  They had the financial means or opportunities to obtain those means because her father abode by the adage, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”  He always had a side hustle going on.  They always had savings.  They were always okay.  And there was all kinds of peace that came from that knowledge.

My egg shortage.

Like I said, I’ve always remembered her lessons.  As I became an adult myself, I tried to live them.  I’ve tried to always have something going on on the side.  While it’s sometimes been a struggle, I’ve tried to always have a decent emergency fund.  I’ve tried to diversify my baskets so that everything will be okay always.

Recently, I came to the realization that I have a lot of baskets.  Like a lot.  They’re labeled “Family,” “Work,” “Side-hustle Blogging,” “Health Insurance,” “Car Insurance,” “Professional Development,” “Tutoring,” and so on into oblivion.

I also came to the realization that the eggs aren’t just my money; they’re my time.  Here’s my mathematical proof:

Time=Money  and  Money=Eggs —–>  Time=Eggs

I was spreading myself so thin that I literally made myself sick.  (Though germs certainly didn’t help.)  I was adding more stress to my life in order to feel secure.  In order to order the future, I was sacrificing a lot of the beautiful things about the here and now.

I’m not getting rid of any baskets.  But I have changed how I manage my eggs.  Call it a lesson in time management.  Call it a lesson in money management.  Call it a convoluted metaphor.

Slow Down

I’ve been getting Steph Halligan’s Art to Self cartoons delivered to my inbox since Day 1.  They’re great.  I’d sign up to get the same done if you want a little more joy in your life.  Last month, there was one that took me a while to truly internalize.  It’s entitled, “Slow Down,” and talks about how when we feel rushed, it’s usually because we are rushing ourselves.  The world doesn’t end if we don’t get every last thing we have to get done done right now.

And this is the place I’ve been operating at since my recovery.  I’ve been thinking less about all the things still left on my to-do list.  I’ve been thinking more about what’s right in front of me.  I’ve still been getting work done, but it hasn’t taken nearly the mental toll on me that it was in the past few months.  I’ve been enjoying life more, and realizing that there’s no point in being secure if your stress levels are at 10 all the time, anyways.

Pick the Necessary Baskets, Then the Ones That Yield the Most Eggs.

There are things that will need to be done whether I’m excited about them or not.  The health insurance and car insurance baskets need to be filled, whether I enjoy the time I put into making the money to get the eggs in there or not.

But those baskets are depleted each month and then need to be refilled.  So after I meet my necessities, I’m keeping an eye on whether the eggs are disappearing or if they’re creating more eggs on their own.  My old, massive cell phone bill? That was definitely a self-depleting basket.  So I altered what I was doing.

But when I put eggs (both time and money) into my professional development basket, something amazing starts happening.  My “Work” basket starts filling up a little faster each month.  I do a better job, have better skills, and have to spend less time processing tasks in my brain.  If I keep investing in that professional development basket, I’ll be making more money for the same amount of work.

The same thing goes with blogging.  There are so many tasks to get caught up in.  But only focusing on the ones that either grow audience, deepen my connection with my audience, or increase income will allow me to get those eggs multiplying faster.  So I’m not going to waste as much time on the things that ultimately don’t matter.

Family First

But the first basket that needs to be filled, regardless of necessity or spontaneous egg reproduction, is “Family.”  And a large part of that is not being  stressed out when I am spending time with them.  Turning off technology.  Turning off all the tabs in my brain.  Just enjoying our moments together as they happen.  It really doesn’t matter if we live in our own house or rent apartments for the rest of our lives; if I miss those moments with family, not so much out of time-constraints, but out of preoccupation, then none of the other baskets matter.  Because in my quest to secure my life, I will have missed life itself.

Affording a Valentine in Pittsburgh Versus Other Top 10 Cities for Love

by Tali Wee of Zillow

Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays where retailers raise their prices and the pressure to show enough affection can become intense. As Femme pointed out, promo codes for personalized gift ideas or even free movie screenings are the best ways to dodge the gouges to your wallet this year. Whether you’re spoiling your long-time love or wowing a new suitor, Valentine’s Day can spur overspending.

If you’re unmarried in Pittsburgh this Valentine’s Day, and hoping for a lavish date from your partner, your chances are more hopeful than residents in other U.S. cities. Luckily in Pittsburgh, the median disposable income of singles is $16,159. The median disposable income in other major metros is dramatically lower; for example Miami’s is $1,553.

Zillow compiled a list of the top 10 places for singles to find love in 2015, and Pittsburgh ranked sixth. One of the four metrics used to calculate the rankings was the median income of singles in an area, minus their rent costs.
Significant median disposable income suggests singles are better equipped to pay for that pricey bouquet of flowers, the fine dining experience and theater tickets – though coupons are still wise reductions! Singles in Washington, DC, the best city to find your Valentine, have a median disposable income of $25,915.

The other metrics used to create the ranking included the percentage of population that is single and the percentage of those singles who recently relocated to the city. In Pittsburgh, the population is 67 percent single, with 7.6 percent of them new in town. Those odds make it fairly likely to find a Valentine.
Lastly, the economists measured the total number of date spots per capita. In the ‘burgh, date locations are abound at 30 spots per 10,000 people.

The good news this season is that local lovers have the funds to splurge, just enough to flatter their partners, without breaking their budgets. No debt necessary!

To check out all 10 of the best locations to find love this year, review the graphic below.

Courtesy of: Zillow

*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich and Simple Cheap Mom*

How We’ve Cut Our Expenses by $4,380/Year

We've found a way to cut $4,380 of spending out of our budget.  Learn how you can do the same.

When I started this blog, we were living on a really tight budget.  It’s still tight, to be honest, but there’s a little more room to breathe these days.  (Or do things like build a pretty decent emergency fund and save for a house.)

Part of the reason things have gotten better is that our income has increased.  When you’re low-income, this is one of the best ways to eradicate your financial woes.  It hasn’t been an easy or quick process, but it has been the #1 thing that’s helped us on our journey.

But another huge reason things have gotten better is that we’ve cut our expenses in a big way.  We’ve looked at our monthly bills and slashed them.  Now that we’ve gotten to a point where increased income is possible, that extra money that would have gone to major corporations can now be saved and invested into our future.  There’s lots of little ways we’ve saved in our day-to-day life, but these are the three big ones that have been consistent and major game changers:

1.  We cut our cable.  $1,440 savings/year.

Initially, this was a painful process.  We had to have cable for the best sports packages.  We are from Pittsburgh, after all.  Not every Penguins game and hardly any Pirates games are on broadcast TV.  Then, since we had the bigger package anyways, why not tack on HBO for $20/month?  Game of Thrones, anyone?

But the price tag was insane.  We were paying $170/month for our internet and cable.  That number was unacceptable.  So we cut it.  We waited to go in on buying seasons of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray/DVD with friends when they came out.  The husband gets a lot of his hockey fix via radio.  Missing Pirates games is still painful, but in a real pinch we can visit our friends who still pay for the bigger packages.  Or even just go to the game itself.

When we cut it, we found out that by keeping the basic-est of basic cable we actually reduced our internet bill.  So now we pay $50/month.  If we just had internet, it would be closer to $56.  The savings, my friends, is worth it.

2.  We switched cell phone carriers. $1,560/year.

We always knew our cell phone bill was too high.  We tried to take the smallest packages, and only got a smart phone when our carrier didn’t have a flip phone option for us at renewal.  Then something amazing happened.  I discovered Republic Wireless.  Before we were paying $180 + occasional mystery charges to one of the major providers.  When we switched, we got fancier phones and a bigger data package for $50/month total for the both of us.  Same service at an astronomically lower price?  I don’t know why everybody doesn’t do it.  (Unless Sprint has shoddy service in your area.  Then you shouldn’t do it.)

3.  We paid off one of our cars.  And kept it.  $1,380/year.

I’m not completely against car loans.  I’m probably one of the few frugal bloggers who will say that, because a car is a depreciating asset.  I used to drive beaters, and they all cost me a ton of money in repairs and inconveniences.  So to buy a barely-used car that wouldn’t have as many problems was a no-brainer for us.  Significantly less spent on maintenance monthly.  Significantly less than we would have spent on a loan for a brand, sparkling new automobile.

In 2012 I paid off my car completely.  I paid it off a few months early, saving about $60 in interest.  Not a lot, but you know what they say about a penny saved….  More importantly we kept that car.  We take good care of it, and while it’s not the sexiest thing on earth and is a decade out of style, it’s still serving us well 3 years later.  (Knock on wood for me!)

That car payment was about $115/month.  By kicking it to the curb, and driving our vehicle until it bites the dust, we’ve saved $1,380/year, assuming that we could get a similar loan on a vehicle that was only a year out of style.

We cut our exspenses by a grand total of $4,380/year.

Like I said before, there are still little things we do everyday that add up in a big way, but if you have to or want to cut your budget by thousands, look into those monthly bills.  Look into the services you’re likely paying too much for.  When you finish paying something off, don’t immediately search to replace it with the latest and greatest thing.  Our cable cut allowed us to learn to live on less.  Our cell phone switch allowed us to get more for our money.  And paying off and keeping our car taught us to appreciate and take care of what we have.





*Because I’ve had such a great experience with Republic Wireless, I am now an affiliate.  When you buy through my affiliate links, you help fund the writing on this blog.  If you do purchase, thank you for using my link, and I hope you enjoy all that monthly savings like our family has!*

Frugal Pet Adoption in #Pittsburgh

From The Humane Society to Animal Friends, adopting makes so much more sense than buying.


This post is inspired by the ideas of Sheila from The Frugal Exerciser.  Have something you want to see on Femme Frugality?  Shoot me an email.

I was super stoked when Sheila told me she wanted to hear about frugal pet adoptions.  I hail from Pittsburgh, home of The Humane Society, so I feel like there’s a lot of pride in our animal rescue organizations here in this city.  When I had to give up my own pet, they were there for me as I walked away bleary eyed.

That’s the thing about pets:  they touch our hearts.  And to touch our hearts they don’t need us to spend a bunch of money on them.  Who cares about pedigree, trendy breeds, or fancy pet stores when there are so many shelters filled with animals who would love nothing more than a loving home?  The trendy breeds cost a lot more money, while the shelter animals are affordable and come with a complimentary dose of that feel-good hormone we get when we do something decent for another living being.

In Pittsburgh, there are three major shelters that I’m aware of:  The Human Society, Animal Rescue League and Animal Friends.  When it comes to getting a new pet, there are two things you’re generally concerned about financially right off the bat:  adoption fees, and spaying/neutering/vaccinations.

Adoption Fees

The Humane Society (most inclusive packages for puppies)- On the higher end of the scale, The Humane Society does offer the most inclusive package for adoptions for puppies.  While a puppy under six months runs $250, that fee includes obedience classes.  Dogs six months and older are $155, and their fee includes training classes.  Dogs seven years and older are $50.

Kittens at the Humane Society are $100.  If they’re over six months old, they are $30, and if they’re 10 years or older they’re only $10.  See all the animals available for adoption at The Humane Society here.

Animal Rescue League (most affordable cats)- Animal Rescue League’s prices vary throughout the year.  Their cats are the most affordable out of the three options, though.  They range anywhere from a buyer-set donation up to $80.  I was in there this weekend with a friend, and they were between $20 and $75 depending on age.

Dogs range from $60 to $150, going up as the age goes down.  Most of their dogs go for $125.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Could Save You on Adoption Fees.

If the Pens win a game, Animal Rescue League reduces their adoption fees by a certain percentage the next day.  The percentage is decided by the jersey number of whoever scores a winning goal.  For example, if Sid the Kid himself scored the winning goal, all adoption fees would be 87% off the next day.  The Pens also do some type of calendar with ARL each New Year to help them raise money.

Check out the pets available for adoption at Animal Rescue League here.

Animal Friends (most affordable puppies)Animal Friends is really cool in that it doesn’t euthanize for kennel space.  They also have the most affordable puppies of the three, with the youngest puppies going for $125, and those older than six months selling for $75.

Their kittens sell for $100, or, if they are over six months, they sell for $75.

Animal Friends also has some really cool adoption discount programs.  For instance, any veteran who wants to adopt a pet age 2 or older can do so for free.  If you’re a senior (age 60+,) you’re eligible for discounted adoption rates. It’s called the Golden Age Retriever Program.

You can check out all of the animals currently up for adoption at Animal Friends here.


If you have found a stray, taken a kitten from a friend’s recent litter, or otherwise came into a pet that has not had the proper procedures done, you’re going to want to get it spayed or neutered.

The Humane Society- For dogs, spaying is $150 and neutering is $130.  For cats, spaying is $80 and neutering is $60.  These services also include microchipping.

The Humane Society also has a low-cost spaying and neutering program for households that make less than $25,000/year.  You can find out more about the program here.  The costs under this program for canine spaying is $100 (or $125 with vaccines,) and $90 for canine neutering (or $115 with vaccines.)  For cats, prices under this program are $60 for spaying ($78 with vaccines,) or $50 for neutering ($68 with vaccines.)

Sundays are Spay Days, and you can get your cat spayed for $65 with an appointment.  This includes vaccinations and microchipping.

Animal Rescue League- For cats, the Animal Rescue League charges $63 for spaying or neutering including vaccines.  If your cat already has the vaccines, it’s only $43, but you have to be able to prove it.  These are also Spay Days, and they run Tuesday thru Friday by appointment.

Spaying a dog at Animal Rescue League is $152, while neutering is $131.  If you have a Pit Bull it’s only $73, male or female.

Animal Friends-  What you pay for spaying or neutering your cat at Animal Friends depends on your income.  If you make more than $40,000/year, you pay $50 to get them spayed, or $40 for neutering them.  If you make less than that, you pay $25 for either procedure.

Spaying a dog is $85, and neutering is $70.

Similar to Animal Rescue League (only cheaper,) Pit Bulls are a lower cost to spay or neuter at only $30.

Other Programs You Should Know About

Spay or Neuter Your Pet for Free

City of Pittsburgh Residents Get Free Spaying/Neutering (For Their Pets)

Right now the city of Pittsburgh has a program going where all city residents can get their pets spayed or neutered for free.  This does not include vaccinations, but it does include microchipping (for an additional $3.)  Because you’re legally allowed to have five pets, you can get up this service for up to five pets.  You can get more info on the program here.

A Food Bank Especially For Pets

Have you gotten into a spot where you can’t afford to feed your pet?  The Humane Society runs a program called Ellie’s Pet Pantry that may be able to help you out with some free pet food.  You can check out more on the program here.


I’d love to hear more about your furry friends!  How did they come into your lives?  Did the costs of pet ownership surprise you?

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