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The Money Saver Thread

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  • The Money Saver Thread

    With threads lately about everyone having to tighten their belts (I know I have--a lot.), why not start a thread of money-saving tips for horsepeople...things we all do to save pennies without cutting corners that others might not think of or know about. I think we all know about getting a Stanley or similar trunk for a tack trunk, but what are some other goodies you have discovered? When where to shop, horsey uses for non horsey things, etc. Add your post tips and ideas!

    I went the tool trunk route and got one I like better than the Stanley (though no wheels) on clearance at Lowe's for $54. It's huge and roomy. Do check the clearance isle at big box or home improvement stores for closeouts that might not be offered on the website. My trunk was not on clearance online, just in the stores.

    Also, I buy things like blankets at the end of the season on sale. Sure, the style or color might change, but the warmth won't.

    My biggest tip, if you can (I'm lucky this way) is to look for boys' footwear for paddock boots and barn boots, if your feet are small enough. A boys' 4 = women's 6, boys' 5 = women's 7, boys' 6 = women's 8. For example, LL Bean's waterproof hiking boots (excellent for barn work!) are $99 in women's sizes...and $59 in boys. Their comfort mocs (which went WAY up in price, BOO!) are $49 for women's and $36 for youth. In every way, they are the same shoes. My Sorel winter boots are kids', too, and the only difference other than the big one in price is the kids' are an inch or two shorter, which was fine with me because I have weird-shaped calves anyway. Only word of warning, they may be a shade wider than women's B width, so it may not work for a very narrow foot, or one larger than a women's size 6 to 8.

  • #2
    HenryisBlaisin' - great tips about the boots!
    Also if you can manage to find a size that fits, the kids' size Carhartts are cheaper than their women's line.

    The $1 Store helps me save a lot of horse-related moo-lah:
    *Molasses cookies for horse treats - a package of 12 that can be broken into halves to stretch even farther.
    *Plain dry pasta is - for some weird reason - a good treat too - at $1 for a pound box (sometimes a 2fer!), a real bar-gain.
    *hairbrushes for manes & tails
    *small buckets for tack cleaning
    *knockoff of Murphy's Oilsoap
    *hand-sized towels

    All of it lasts long enough to justify not buying the pricier stuff.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


    • #3
      I use a gardening tote as my grooming/gear bag... very durable and roomy.

      I buy bulk treats at fleet farm (25 lb bags) and they last forever.

      I do Smartpaks to save money/time going to pick up supplements. This way I don't have to buy baggies, totes for storage, etc.

      I buy a lot of gear used online (saddle pads, bridle, splint boots, girths, halters) since I need cob size which is hard to find at my local store. This way I get better quality gear for the price of average quality new.

      Goodwill is a great place for riding jackets and barn clothes/sport shirts if you have a good eye. I like the "color sales" every Sun-Tues.

      I get a package training rate from my trainer.

      I work with a very nice tailor and shoe repair guy to fix blankets, zippers, boots, etc. I customized my tall boots!

      I invest in a few smart pieces (ie- show boots, nice helmet, gloves, a few nice breeches) and they last a long time.


      • #4
        Coffee filters do multiple job. Can wipe off a horse, can be put between delicate items. http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/...084/page6.html While this doesn't just stop at horse related things, it does show how versatile filters are.

        The dollar store is a veritable one stop shop for horse things. Brushes, totes, cleaners, treats, wash cloths and towels, the works.

        *Sigh, my ADHD prevented me from understanding one of the above posts... Heh...
        Last edited by goneriding24; Sep. 21, 2012, 06:34 PM. Reason: .
        GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!


        • #5
          Don't waste your money on any supplement not prescribed by a vet for a very specific nutritional deficit or diagnosed condition.

          Nothing is cheaper than small carrot pieces for treats.

          Feed more hay less grain (healthier anyway).

          Only vaccinate for diseases to which you have a probability of actual exposure--this varies greatly by horse's age.

          Consider barefoot.

          Sell old tack and show clothes not in current or likely use.


          • #6
            Stay on top of barn repairs. See some fence boards that need replacing? Do it before a horse goes through them and needs big vet bills. Same with stalls, pens etc. Sure accidents will happen but you can reduce the probability by just staying on top of routine maintenance. It's so easy to say well, it'll hold another week, I'll get to it later. Usually it does but then there are the times it winds up costing us big.

            I'm a big, big big fan of keeping up on preventatives. Keep the horses wormed. Keep up on trims. Keep property maintained. Take care of minor cuts and scrapes and lamenesses before they escalate into bigger vet bills. See a problem brewing? Nip it in the bud before it gets bigger and more expensive to fix.


            • #7
              Alfalfa cubes are great for treats - can't beat 50# for like 10 bucks, either . Not as economical but still cheap - my horses love the $1 a pound dried banana's that Wal Mart has from time to time in big crates on the fruit section.

              I buy used as much as possible....things I wouldn't normally spluge on new, are reasonable and I feel smart for saving the money. I use lots and lots of pads and baby pads so I buy used lots on ebay.


              • #8
                Carrots for treats - a 25 lb bag for $5 goes a long way. I buy some tack and most of my lightly used blankets/sheets/wraps at our REINS tack store (and also feel good about supporting the program). Today I bought a brand new pair of treadstep half chaps for $30! I buy shampoo and conditioner at the dollar store - works just as well as the expensive 'horse' stuff. My tack trunk is from WalMart and works just fine. Rub rags in bulk from Costco. My mare is shod in front only. I work off a bit of her board training a pony and starting another for the BO. I wait to buy breeches when they go on sale, and finally, I buy my knee socks at PayLess for a couple of bucks.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SendenHorse View Post

                  Goodwill is a great place for riding jackets and barn clothes/sport shirts if you have a good eye. I like the "color sales" every Sun-Tues.
                  Goodwill, Salvation Army etc, are the BEST places to get winter riding gear. Barn coats, sweaters, etc. Super cheap, and you can throw em away if they get ruined without a care. You can also find good blankets for dogs crates etc there.

                  Having local tack swaps are great. My friends and I are always rooting through each others things and trading. Something you don't use might be something your friend desperately needs!
                  Boss Mare Eventing Blog


                  • #10
                    Gosh, I wish I could get some tips, but at this point I think I am doing everything I can

                    I buy everything used & or generic (and try to sub things without the horse price mark-up when I can)f

                    What I am not using I sell (CL, ebay, consign, tack swaps, used book stores).

                    Like other posters, I do a lot of barn shopping at the Dollar store & Good Will.

                    I am glad my gal can go barefoot & live in the rough. I just moved her to a private place across the street from our trainer to save cash. It is actually nicer & I can still do lessons & use the arena (for a small fee per use).

                    Asking around for boarding situations has really been useful for a few of my friends. There are may be hobby farms or the like that might just want a buddy for their horse or like the look of a few in the pasture. We've lucked out with good situations.

                    One gal drove by a nice, fenced empty field & barn practically next door to her house every day. Finally stopped and asked, now has self board at a great place, all to herself for very low $.


                    • #11
                      After Christmas I get my horses boxes of candy canes for about 25-50 cents! Same thing after Valentine's day, I get the little boxes of conversation hearts for pennies!

                      I second all of the tricks for being horse frugal, and for me it's all about being personally frugal myself. I clip coupons, shop the sales, and buy generics whenever I can. I save money in my own budget so that I have a little extra with my horse spending.

                      My horses sleep in Rambos, but I've got the same worn down Walmart flannel sheets for years!


                      • #12
                        Another tip about boots/shoes: if you don't fit in boys', try MEN'S. And try Ebay. Smaller sizes of men's shoes don't seem to sell that well and if you're patient you can pick 'em off cheap. I wear Basses at the barn and some expensive Italian loafers at work and got them both off Ebay *brand new* for about $8 each! Been doing this for years and I don't think I've ever paid more than $25 for a pair of barn shoes.
                        "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                        • #13
                          I feed alfalfa hay instead of grass hay.
                          It's a $ 2.50 difference per bale but the alfalfa bale lasts twice as long.
                          \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"


                          • #14
                            Throw away the Smartpak and Dover catalogs. Don't look, just toss.
                            come what may

                            Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


                            • #15
                              Find out when barns, stores, etc. host consignment weekends. I picked up a pair of Ariat tall boots, two pairs of TS breeches, a pair of half chaps and a pair of open front boots for DD last spring for right at $100. Better yet, host your own!
                              A proud friend of bar.ka.


                              • #16
                                Somebody needs to find and bump up the "Slow Cooker Recipes for Nights You Go to the Barn" thread. Doing a fast food drive thru on your way home because you're too tired to cook is both expensive and not-so-healthy.

                                Meatless meals are generally cheaper and better for you. With the exception of the frozen sodium-loaded cheese lasagna items you see at the grocery store. Lentils, beans, tofu, etc. for cheap protein.

                                Back in horse world, I am experimenting with ways to save on hay. My horses tend to think hay comes in an unlimited supply, and it's my fault for letting them think that. It used to be that I'd toss out a couple of flakes, and they'd eat some and pee, poop and tromp on the rest. This year, I am trying putting hay in their buckets after they finish their grain. They seem to be eating most of it. I tried a hay bag, but they pulled the hay out of it, and put it on the ground so they could pee, poop and tromp on it, so that was not the answer. Nothing stops them from pulling the hay out of the bucket, but there's not that much hay in the bucket, so they've been eating it. I tend to buy too much hay, and over-feed.
                                It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                                www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


                                • #17
                                  I got this tip from the menagerie section, but I was thrilled -- save $$$$ on cat litter by buying a bag of Equine Pine versus the cat litter pine. At Rural King a 30 lb bag was $5 (versus 5 lbs of cat litter for $10!). However, I think bedding horses with that stuff would put you in the Richie Rich category!

                                  I get hair conditioner from the dollar store rather than buying expensive mane and tail stuff. Also combs for getting out burrs.

                                  My husband just lost his job, so I am learning VERY fast how to economize everywhere.

                                  Oh yes, I am also a Good Will fan. They never have horse stuff at mine, but jackets, boots, and shirts for the barn are in abundance. And you can probably find yoga pants there, which can be a riding tight. One more Good Will tip -- a few weeks ago, I bought a huge plastic bag full of hair accessories for $4 -- ties, headbands, fancy bows, all in there. Once I made sure I wasn't going to get head lice, it's a great bargain.


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by VTMorgan06 View Post
                                    After Christmas I get my horses boxes of candy canes for about 25-50 cents! Same thing after Valentine's day, I get the little boxes of conversation hearts for pennies!

                                    I second all of the tricks for being horse frugal, and for me it's all about being personally frugal myself. I clip coupons, shop the sales, and buy generics whenever I can. I save money in my own budget so that I have a little extra with my horse spending.

                                    My horses sleep in Rambos, but I've got the same worn down Walmart flannel sheets for years!

                                    All of the above! You just echoed my sentiments exactly LOL! I won't pay anywhere near full price for any clothes for myself but will spend far more on clothes and tack for my horse

                                    And as for tack cleaning products, the "oldies but goodies" such as Castile soap, ammonia, and glycerine are inexpensive AND work far better than most of the high priced "fancy schmancy" products out there.

                                    When hunting season is approaching, I can purchase the large bags of deer carrots at a great deal--my horse doesn't care what size or shape the carrot it!

                                    As others have said, peruse eBay and Craig's list--there are lots of good deal on tack out there. I often buy tack lots and sell off the items I don't need and often wind up making most or all my money back and basically get the item(s) I want for free or next to nothing.


                                    • #19
                                      Barter!! I got DD a nice western saddle that still has good years left in it for about 80lbs of meat we had butchered. When I was just going barefoot, I bartered meat for trims.

                                      If you have any sewing talent, artistic talent, vegetable growing talent, canning, whatever, see what people will be willing to trade.

                                      I feed free choice round bales, but I have them behind feeder panels so there is no stepping in, peeing on etc

                                      My grocer sells 25# bags of carrots for $7. If you have an extra fridge, or a cool place to store them, that is much better than $3 and $4 bags of treats
                                      Last edited by rustbreeches; Sep. 22, 2012, 04:52 PM.
                                      Originally posted by The Saddle
                                      Perhaps I need my flocking adjusted.


                                      • #20
                                        I second the drop the supplements! I cannot believe horses need all those supplements. feed them right and save. Keep hay in front of them and get rid of gastric ulcers.