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DIY pet beds for frugal folks

Pets cost a lot more than just the price tag imposed by the breeder, shelter or pet store. As any devoted dog owner will attest, our four-legged friends can be expensive. If your pets need a supportive seat to call their own but your pocketbook is tapped out from chiropractor visits and doggy day care, do what Elena del Rio Parra did, and make your own! She's the winner of the Frugal $ense contest for the month of October, congratulations Elena!

Bankrate: What is your dog's name and how old is she?

Elena: Eco, she's turning 9 in a couple of weeks.

Bankrate: How did you come up with your winning tip?

Elena: It was really easy. I was just flipping through a catalog for cats and dogs. They're really expensive items, actually. I have a mattress made of Memory Foam and she would get up on it sometimes, so I got the idea of making her a bed.

October's Frugal $ense winner: Elena del Rio Parra
Elena del Rio Parra, of Atlanta, won $100 for submitting the following tip:

Deluxe therapeutic pet bed for $20
I wanted to replace my dog's eight-year-old bed. I bought $20 worth of shredded Memory Foam and replaced the filling. Now she has a new therapeutic bed suited for an older dog, and I had enough foam left to make a second bed and extra pillows. My dog thinks this tip is a winner, and her joints and little bones agree!
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  Elena del Rio

Bankrate: Where did you get the shredded Memory Foam?

Elena: I bought it last fall on eBay. Now, they're selling pet beds made of it. You have to really pack the foam well; make it hard so the dog won't sink.

Bankrate: Have you always been frugal or was there something that got the ball rolling on saving money?

Elena: Yes, it's odd because my family in Spain have done really well moneywise. They don't know what to give me for Christmas as I don't really want anything. I'm not a good citizen in that way; I'm not very good at contributing to the consumer society. That's my question, in general, is there any way society can grow without consuming and buying stuff? I don't know very much about economics but it seems like society should be able to function without just being fueled by constantly buying and consuming.

Bankrate: Do you have any other money-saving pet tips?

Elena: We just buy good stuff that lasts. Eco basically likes anything. She likes to play with 2-liter bottles -- anything -- if you play with it, too. 

Bankrate: What is your favorite all-time money-saving tip?

Elena: Hmm, well it's not a specific tip. I buy a pair of shoes every five years or so. I work with university students who just buy on fashion; they're always buying, buying, buying. You don't have to change your car every three years. But it's really hard to change people's thinking and attitudes. I buy expensive things that will last a long time.

Bankrate: Why did you enter the Frugal contest?

Elena: I always read the tips even when they don't apply to me really, and I had this tip -- so I entered.'s corrections policy
-- Posted: Nov. 15, 2006
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